Mar 282010
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Two top student leaders announced they would carry the sole ticket for student government elections focused on funding challenges for higher education Friday, just to withdraw later that day.

The short-lived nature of the move by Matt Worthington, current director of Legislative Affairs for the Associated Students of CSU, and ASCSU Vice President Tim Hole was intended to draw attention to that fact that no other candidates are running with the issue at the top of their tickets.

In a written statement to the Collegian, Worthington said he and Hole felt “obligated to improve the conversation” among opposing teams.

“Higher education is dying in Colorado, and it’s too valuable to lose,” said Worthington, who has been leading the statewide “I AM HIGHER EDUCATION” movement at CSU.

In response to an elections committee meeting Friday, Worthington and Hole dropped out of the race not wanting to take away from the viability of other campaigns or meddle the elections process.

Presidential ticket Jack Becker and Darrie Burrage said that while Worthington and Hole’s campaign probably “snuck in” to the race, they appreciate the wake up call.

“Really, they were in it to make a statement. I don’t know if they wanted to win and hold terms,” Becker said. He said his and Burrage’s goal to rally student voice falls in line with Worthington’s demands.

“I hope Matt will come out on Monday and stand on the free speech stump and scream about higher education,” Becker said.

Candidates Cooper Anderson and Jennifer Babos outlined fighting for higher education on their platform and said they didn’t think Worthington and Hole’s participation was “that big of a deal” because it highlighted the problems with Colorado’s education system.

During Friday’s public debate on the Lory Student Center Plaza, Worthington asked the other tickets if they were willing to make a verbal pledge to “make higher education a top priority” if they were to be elected. Each team signed on to do so.

“We were surprised by the swiftness that the other campaigns bought-in to the issue and were impressed by the passion that they felt for improving our university,” Worthington said in the statement.

David Ambrose and April Ragland, who are also vying for the executive spots, said Worthington’s effort to bring attention back to higher education was important to the elections process.

If elected, they realize that fighting for the access and affordability of higher education needs to be a top priority, Ragland said.

“Too often in politics we focus on the issues that divide us. Today we are ecstatic that we have found an issue that can unite us,” Worthington said, explaining that he and Hole are eager to hear how tickets plan to tackle the crisis.

Worthington and Hole will endorse all other “viable” campaigns because, if elected, each ticket promised to dedicate their term to saving higher education.

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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