Feb 152009
Authors: Shelley Woll

To ensure candidates for this year’s city elections act on issues most concerning to students, a student government committee delivered findings from CSU surveys to contenders last week and will interview candidates about policy plans next month.

The survey, which was conducted this month by student government’s Community Elections Committee, polled young voters on their opinions regarding affordable housing, environment, transportation, economic growth and voter knowledge and education.

According to the survey, which was sent via e-mail to 4,000 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students and garnered 297 CSU student responses, 85 percent of students feel that environmental sustainability should be a concern for the city candidates.

“I think the environment is a big issue in Fort Collins” said senior business major Kari Lynch. “And that isn’t getting talked about enough.”

After collecting results from their cross-campus survey, the CEC created a candidate survey, which was sent to every contender last Monday.

“Our goal is to translate what the candidates intend on doing if elected,” said Tim Sellers, a member of the CEC Assessment Subcommittee.

The CEC plans to assess candidate responses to use them in the one-on-one candidate interviews that the committee plans to conduct and record prior to the city elections on April 7. The deadline for all candidates to reply is March 6.

The candidates will be interviewed by five committee members: three that will consistently interview and two that will rotate out with each candidate.

The committee is not releasing the candidate questions or responses until after all interviews have been conducted.

“The interview is where we feel we can do the most in-depth inquisition of the candidates.” Sellers said.

So far, only Ben Manvel, running for councilman in District 1, which covers the northeast section of Fort Collins, has replied and scheduled an interview for March 5.

CEC chair Courtney Sullivan said she hopes every candidate will reply and submit to an interview with the CEC in order to inform not only the CSU campus but all of Fort Collins about what they’ll be voting for.

During interviews, the committee, which says it is non-partisan and politically neutral, plans on avoiding controversial student issues such as the U+2 housing policy, which prevents more than three unrelated people from sharing a house within city limits.

The CEC is focused on researching candidate previous records to best formulate questions about affordable housing and environmental issues.

The committee plans to discuss how best to create and distribute voter education material at its meeting today.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Shelley Woll can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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