Elections for next year's senate seats and president/vice president positions for the Associated Students of CSU are an odd mix of tough competition and wide-open fields with little or no opposition.
Only two sets of candidates – Chris Hutchins/Nicholette Andrews and Courtney Stephens/Jon Muller – are running for the president/vice president slots, a sharp change from the four sets of candidates who battled on the Lory Student Center Plaza last year.
"In general we normally have at least four," said Cord Brundage, who ran for the presidency two years ago. "(But) we've had as low as one and probably as many as seven."
ASCSU Elections Manager Brian Hardouin agreed that the number of presidential candidates varies from year to year, but there are usually two strong competitors for the position.
Current Vice President Ben Goldstein said the students would benefit, regardless of which candidate wins, because in past years there have been "joke" campaigns, whereas this year both sets of candidates are good choices.
"In this case I think we have two strong tickets and either way the students vote they'll have some adequate leaders," he said.
Stephens and Muller said they were surprised by the lack of competition this year, and by the fact that there are no non-ASCSU candidates this year, a common occurrence in the past.
"We definitely thought there would be at least one (non-ASCSU candidate)," Stephens said.
Stephens is the current director of community affairs for ASCSU and Muller is a senior senator for the College of Liberal Arts. Hutchins is a senator for the College of Business and Andrews is an assistant director for RamRide.
"I think it's kind of mixed," Muller said of only having one opponent. "I think competition is healthy."
Muller feels the lack of candidates for ASCSU senate seats was a bigger problem.
"I was disappointed that more people didn't go for the senate seats," he said.
Hutchins is also disappointed in the small number of candidates for all the seats. He and Andrews said the lack of candidates is the result of poor marketing.
"It basically shows that ASCSU didn't do a good enough job promoting elections," Andrews said.
Senate competition is a mixed bag: The natural sciences, business and liberal arts colleges are playing musical chairs – too many people, and not enough seats. Other colleges, such as the graduate school and intra-university, which is for open-option students, have no candidates at all. The graduate school positions are notoriously hard to fill, Hardouin said, probably because graduate students tend to be busier than undergraduates.
Tina van Rikxoord, a graduate school senator, agreed. While she is surprised by the lack of candidates, she understands it.
"ASCSU is a huge commitment of time," she said. "A lot of (graduate students) senators don't have enough time and end up quitting. I think a lot of grad students, because we tend to be older, a lot more of us have families. So we tend to have those (other) commitments and jobs."
Graduate students are compensating for this loss of representation by starting the Graduate School Council, which van Rikxoord encouraged graduate students to join.
The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the only other college facing any competition, with three candidates competing for two seats. Other colleges, including agricultural sciences, applied human sciences and engineering, have too many senate seats and not enough candidates.
Hardouin said this is a usual occurrence.
"What happens then is the write-in candidates will have the opportunity to fill those seats," he said.
He encouraged interested students to contact him at the ASCSU offices in the Lory Student Center or by calling the ASCSU main office at 491-5931.