Mar 282010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Student government presidential tickets fielded questions about their stance on gun policy, business and work ethics and their plans for saving higher education during the first election debate on the Lory Student Center Plaza Friday.

Each running team was asked to explain their platform and, if elected, which of their campaign goals was the top priority.

Presidential candidate Jack Becker and his running mate Darrie Burrage said their main focus is to gather student voice through forums where participants would work together to identify solutions or common wants.

Cooper Anderson, who is running for president with vice presidential candidate Jennifer Babos, said that improving sexual assault education at CSU took precedence in their campaign. Babos said that, if elected, she and Anderson would create positions within The Associated Students of CSU to work with advocacy groups to do so.

Making a “day-to-day” impact is the top priority for presidential candidate David Ambrose and his running mate April Ragland. In an effort to promote student involvement, the duo plans to allocate more of ASCSU’s budget to Student Funding Board, which gives money to student organizations.

After familiarizing the crowd with each campaign, ASCSU Elections Manager Keith Robinson allowed students to take over and ask questions.

Q: If students give input on how ASCSU should handle a situation, but leaders and staff members don’t agree, how would you handle the situation?

A: “We’re tired of a student government that doesn’t listen to students,” Ambrose said, adding that he and Ragland formed their campaign around student demand.

Student voice, Anderson said, is more important than the internal wants of ASCSU and said if he and Babos felt otherwise they wouldn’t be running for executive positions.

“When you change policy, you’re going to have winners and losers,” Burrage said. But with their plan to hold forums to gather student opinion, he said he hopes everyone will be comfortable with the decision making process.

Q: What are your concrete plans for tackling the higher education crisis and what will your relationship with the Associated Students of Colorado (the state’s student government) look like?

A:The Becker and Barrage ticket said they plan to appoint a representative to work directly with lawmakers on finding a solution. They plan to lead by example and cut “in-house” costs, saying regardless of who wins or loses the election. they still plan to collaborate with others to work on the issue.

If elected, Anderson and Babos will gather community input on what voters would like to see happen with higher education in Colorado. Anderson said citizens think degrees are overvalued and ASCSU needs to change the debate and push legislation at the Capitol.

Ambrose and Ragland said that while ASC’s march on the Capitol earlier this month was a good start, the only way students will get a voice at the state House is by hiring a full-time lobbyist to push the issue.

Q: How do your personal ethics affect your business decisions?

“Nothing is worth doing if you have to give up personal beliefs and character to get it done,” Babos said. Leaders also need to be the hardest workers, Anderson said.

Respect and honesty, Ragland said, are the most important values she brings to the table when dealing with an individual on a personal or business level. Ambrose said he and Ragland’s ethics and beliefs fall in line with one and other.

A leader, Becker said, should never take advantage or disrespect an individual because cooperation is the key to success in any project. For Burrage it’s about “balanced reciprocity” and said a leader should never ask for others to take part in something without offering his or her time too.

Q: Is CSU’s new policy banning concealed carry on campus good idea?

Ambrose, who worked to gather student support against the ban, said he disagrees with the CSU System Board of Governor’s decision because it ignored student voice. Ragland did not comment, but during the “yes-or-no only” round of the debate, said that she disagreed with the ban.

Becker said in the decision to ban weapons, students were “tremendously outvoted,” and while getting a concealed weapons permit is not something he’s interested in, if elected he and Burrage will need to identify how people feel “on both sides of the fence.” Burrage did not comment but during the “yes-or-no only” round of the debate said that he agreed with the ban.

The decision to prohibit concealed weapons on campus, Anderson said, was a poor decision on the part of CSU administration. Anderson also worked to battle the ban and said the “spontaneous student reaction” against it should have been a sign that it wasn’t what they wanted. Babos didn’t comment but during the “yes-or-no only” round of the debate but said that she disagreed with the ban.

Students who missed Friday’s debate can attend a formal debate, mediated by CTV, March 31 at 7 p.m. in the LSC Theater. Voting will take place April 5 through April 7 on RAMweb.

Results will be announced at 8 p.m. in the ASCSU Senate Chambers in the LSC and live on CTV Channel 11.

_Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at _

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