Mar 262008
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge

Candidates for student leadership sat in the Lory Student Center Plaza Wednesday to answer questions from students and student leaders — some of them missing the mark.

Katie Gleeson, the president of the Associated Students of CSU, asked all the vice presidential candidates to name a local senator or district representative.

While the rest of the candidates were able to answer, Andrew Katers, running alongside Nicholas Powers for a ticket with no student government experience, could not.

“Off the top of my head, I can’t name anyone,” he said.

The next question, from Trevor Trout, the Vice President of ASCSU, tested the candidate’s feel for student fee requests, asking if they knew the amount of the overall fee increase for fiscal year 2009.

The question, dealing with one of the most relevant issues for this election season, was directed at running mates Jarred Quintana and Estevan Jaimes, and senators Zane Guilfoyle and Seth Walters.

Jaimes jumped on the answer, citing it as 13 percent. The actual amount of the increase was 5.6 percent.

Other important issues addressed by students included the skyrocketing cost of education in Colorado, which student leaders have said is bankrupting students.

Powers said they wouldn’t beat around the bush by saying his ticket would work to reduce cost, but that he and Katers would put their effort into promoting a transparent environment where increases would be disclosed up front and be reasonable.

“We’ve heard people say over the years that they will lower cost,” Powers said. “That’s not a reality. Cost will always go up.”

Quintana and Jaimes said they would put a freeze on student fees, not allowing the Student Fee Review Board to approve funds over 10 percent for each program.

Guilfoyle said students are being bankrupted by fees, tuition and the cost of living and can no longer afford high increases in each area.

“The cost of living increases with the fees,” he said. “Right now, students spend about $1,000 a year on fees.”

Student fees came under scrutiny this week when the Athletics Department informed the SFRB that the program would need a late fee increase.

When asked about the importance of a good sports program at a university, Sen. Taylor Smoot said athletics is of great importance to the success of a school.

He said when he goes to a game and the team is losing and doesn’t have support from fans, “that hurts me.” But he said the fee increase should have come in on time.

Quintana said that, while the fee request was late, the Athletic Department needs more funding to stay competitive.

“We’re not just trying to be a top contender in the Mountain West Conference, but in the nation,” he said.

News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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