As the race for student government executive seats rolls into its last week, candidates for the top spots pushed for more student representation and efficiency in leadership at CSU Tuesday, emphasizing that their respective campaigns are what will bring positive change to CSU.
Every campaign touted saving money and alleviating textbook costs as important items on their docket but disagreed on the level of representation students should have at the state Capitol.
Dan Gearhart, who is vying for the presidency alongside Tim Hole, admitted his ticket’s main goal to get student-voting rights on the CSU System Board of Governors is lofty, but said it is a goal that is necessary for CSU students.
“We need this,” the senior political science major said. “The students are paying more and more and more money.”
Student leaders brought a legislative measure to state lawmakers at the beginning of the semester that would have granted the presidents from the Fort Collins and Pueblo campuses, who are currently ex officio members on the board, full voting rights.
The measure was subsequently killed in the House Committee that reviewed the bill.
Paul Wade, who is looking to gain the vice presidency, said he supports like legislation but that it’s probably a pipe dream that won’t be realized during the next administration.
Wade, who campaigns with presidential hopeful Andy Moores, said candidates need to focus on more realistic goals, adding that his ticket offers simple solutions to problems, including a lack of transparency at the university.
“Simplicity and practicality are what mold our decisions,” Wade said. “Our goals might seem limited, but we’re running on goals we actually think we can achieve.”
He called for more transparency in the CSU budget, which he said is hard to interpret through university fact publications.
“That’s sort of what we’re being fed is this mystery meat,” he said.
Shaun Reed, a presidential candidate who lobbied heavily for the BOG student-voting bill, echoed Gearhart and Hole’s main campaign goal, saying that student-voting rights on the board are a priority for student government.
He said if elected, he would revisit the legislation.
“I went down to the Capitol three times for House Bill 1177,” he said. “The way I walked out of that is, ‘I’ll see you next year.'”
The bill received resistance in the House Education Committee because, lawmakers said, a similar bill for faculty voting right on the board was also overturned a month prior.
Reed said the bill died because it didn’t receive enough support from higher education institutions across the state.
“We need more support from Colorado abroad,” Reed said. “We didn’t have enough of a lobbying effort coming from everywhere.”
William Overmann said he and his running mate Ben Walker, who joined the contest for the presidency and vice presidency as write in candidates, plan to act as a “bridge between faculty and students.”
He also placed an emphasis on fostering a free flow of information between administration and the student body by strengthening the relationship between student leadership and the university’s top offices — a relationship he said has been thin in the past.
“I think that would make the process easier to have face time instead of just e-mails,” Overmann said.
Conrad Miller and Jake Donovan, who are also vying for the presidency and vice presidency respectively, said in an interview with the Collegian editorial board Tuesday that student efforts should be focused on campus activity, saying that state representation should be left to board appointees.
“There were some problems with that and the way it was shot down in the first committee,” Miller said. “When you add in students, and then faculty, which happened about a month before the student proposal, that’s a bias.”
Miller and Donovan touted their flagship goals of eliminating final tests before 9 a.m., establishing free printing in the library and free online textbooks.
Development Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates’ main campaign focuses
Gearhart/Hole: Increasing student involvement on campus
Donovan/Miller: Increasing efficiency, involvement in ASCSU
Moores/Wade: Shoring up student feedback
Reed/Panagakos: CSU budget transparency, student representation
Overmann/Walker: Increasing communication between leadership and student body