Student government presidential campaign season started Friday when the Associated Students of CSU announced four candidates vying for the honor of occupying the organization’s highest office.
ASCSU is pushing for a massive increase in voter support this year, hoping to change the low turnout of past elections, as students at CSU have been relatively apathetic toward student government elections.
President Larry Penley has declared a 25 percent threshold for student voter support.
“We’ve been hovering around 18 or 19 percent in the past few years, and we think 25 percent is feasible,” said Emily Luae, the elections director for ASCSU.
The election is expected by student leaders and administration to spawn a bigger voter turnout than ever in the past.
“We really feel that it’s in their best interests to vote because if they vote, they can get their voice heard,” Luae said.
The four tickets will all run on their own platforms, some focusing on issues pertaining to funding for higher education, while others will focus on transparency for university spending.
They consist of Jarred Quintana, former president of the Interfraternity Council and Estevan Jaimes, the director of Diversity Advocate Council; Zane Guilfoyle, director of Student Services, and Sen. Seth Walters; Nicholas Powers and Andrew Katers; and Sen. Taylor Smoot and Quinn Girrens, chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Quintana said the student voice is not often represented in CSU administration, citing CSU’s implementation of a double-digit increase in tuition for fiscal year 2008.
“The main point of our platform is to increase student voice,” Quintana said. He said transparency in policy implementation is paramount in voicing the student interest.
Smoot and Girrens will focus on accountability in student fee and tuition increases, which Smoot says doesn’t exist.
“Students don’t really get the breakdown of how their tuition dollars are spent,” he said.
The campaign wants to establish a forum to convey where tuition dollars go to students, who he said are largely unaware of what proportions of the money goes where.
Guilfoyle and Walters will pay attention to increasing student voice by mobilizing student voters, who are largely apathetic to student government to make their needs known.
“One of our main points is to restore faith in the student government,” Walters said. “Student governments impact students a lot more than I think some people realize.”
Powers and Katers were unavailable for comment.
Each of the campiagns are allowed a $2,000 spending limit. They are self-funded and candidates are allowed to raise the money through donations and some fundraising.
The campaigns will run through April 7, when voting, which will be hosted by RamWeb, starts. Students will have the opportunity to ask the campaigners questions at debates, the first on Wednesday and the second on April 1. Voting will last through April 9.
News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.