CSU students and faculty trickled through the Lory Student Center Plaza Friday morning as this yearâ€™s Associated Students of CSU presidential candidates kicked off their first official debate.
And while some people kept walking to and from class, others paused and listened to the candidatesâ€™ back-and-forth discussion about points ranging from the definition of shared governance to their personal stance on snow days.
Both presidential candidates Regina Martel and John Dietrick emphasized their ASCSU experience when asked about their qualifications. Martel, a junior political science major, spoke of her time as the director of RamRide in addition to the executive branch experience she acquired as chief of staff â€“â€“ her current position.
Dietrick, a junior criminal justice major, cited his experience as a leader in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity along with his two years in the judicial branch, most recently as the associate justice on the ASCSU Supreme Court. This position, Dietrick said, helped him see CSUâ€™s student government from a different angle to the point that he now knows â€œwhere the cracks and holes are.â€
As for vice presidential candidates, Joe Eden â€“â€“ Martelâ€™s running mate â€“â€“ and Peter Muller â€“â€“ Dietrickâ€™s running mate â€“â€“ both cited very different backgrounds.
While Eden, a junior political science major, said his three years in ASCSU, time as a senator and current position as chair of the senateâ€™s committee on internal affairs make him worthy of the vice presidential spot, Muller cites his time working in Campus Recreation and the universityâ€™s Housing and Dining Services as his biggest qualification.
â€œIâ€™ve met a lot of people,â€ said the sophomore business administration major, before adding that he, like Dietrick, is also a leader in a fraternity on campus. â€œIâ€™m a people person.â€
Throughout the question-and-answer session, Martel and Dietrick both stressed the importance of reaching out to students and making sure their voices are heard.
â€œWe donâ€™t want to assume what students are passionate about,â€ Martel said, adding that she and Eden plan to reach out across campus by going to residence halls and being on the Plaza, instead of just stopping at an open-door policy.
Muller echoed these ideas, saying that he hopes to encourage more people to voice their opinions at ASCSUâ€™s weekly Senate meetings, which he doesnâ€™t think happens enough.
â€œWhat we really need is people on the ground,â€ Muller said, going off one of Dietrickâ€™s comments about hopefully being on the Plaza at least once a month to speak with students if elected.
Martel repeatedly highlighted her experience in the executive branch and consequent professionalism, adding that it would ultimately help her be a legitimate student representative and bring an accurate student voice to the CSU System Board of Governors.
When asked about issues like the proposed on-campus stadium and the concealed weapon policy, Martel again spoke of the importance of making sure the student voice is heard by actively seeking student feedback.
Dietrick and Muller, in comparison, decided to take stances on the two issues â€“â€“ confirming their support for both the stadium construction and the right to carry concealed weapons on campus.
The Plaza debate, an ASCSU election tradition, is one of two question-and-answer sessions candidates are set to take part in â€“â€“ including the more formal North Ballroom debate, which takes place on March 28 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the LSC.
Voting for the next ASCSU president and vice president will be from April 2 to April 4 until 4 p.m.
News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who said what?
What are your qualifications for ASCSU president/vice president?
Regina Martel: Experience as ASCSUâ€™s director of RamRide, as well as time in the executive branch in her current position as Chief of Staff
Joe Eden: Service as ASCSU senator and chair of the senateâ€™s committee on internal affairs
John Dietrick: Two years of experience in ASCSUâ€™s judicial branch and time as the organizationâ€™s Supreme Court associate justice
Peter Muller: Worked at several places around campus, including in Campus Recreation and Housing and Dining Services
What do you think the ASCSU presidentâ€™s role is in regards to the CSU System Board of Governors?
Martel: â€œTo be an advocate for students and legitimize student voice.â€
Dietrick: â€œTo voice student opinion.â€
Are you in support of the proposed on-campus stadium?
Martel: â€œWeâ€™re not taking a stance, but want students to be informed. Weâ€™re actively pursuing student opinion.â€
Dietrick: â€œWeâ€™re in support. We think an on-campus stadium would boost this university and get people excited about CSU.â€