A.S. presidential candidates dispute

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A.S. presidential candidates dispute

Elissa Tauscher

Elissa Tauscher

Elissa Tauscher

by Jocelyn Moran, Senior Staff Writer

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Candidates for Associated Students president debated in the Lee and Frank Goldberg Courtyard on Wednesday March 8 over issues facing SDSU, such as changing the Aztec mascot, student fears of deportation and the SDSU presidential transfer.

The A.S. presidential candidates are international security and conflict resolution junior Kaitlyn Hart, international security conflict and resolution junior Chloe Sension, business marketing junior Chimezie Ebiriekwe and accounting junior Ben Delbick.

On the same morning as the deabte, SDSU President Elliot Hirshman sent out an email at 7 a.m. to the campus community announcing his resignation effective June 30.

Ebiriekwe thanked Hirshman for what he has done for the university — such as help raise $750  million for the school through The Campaign for SDSU.

Delbick said Hirshman has done a terrific job for the campus, but there are still challenges facing SDSU.

“I want shared governance to be at the highest point that it’s ever been with whoever this next president is, and students and administration working together to solve problems,” Delbick said.

Hart said the job Hirshman has done hasn’t united the campus enough.

“I hope whoever comes in shares the idea of growing culturally here on campus,” Hart said.

Sension said she is prepared to join meetings to help select the next president.

“I want to make sure this president is someone who is unafraid to interact and communicate with students and who talks about the real issues that are affecting the different communities at our university,” Sension said.

Each candidate was asked to respond to criticism about A.S. representatives being majority Greek.

Delbick, who is the president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said the criticism is “totally unfair” because Greek communities have good leadership development programs.

Sension, who is the president of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, said all perceptions from people are valid, and it is important to listen to all criticisms.

For future policy proposals, Delbick said he would develop programs to help prepare students for graduate school.

Sension said she wants to participate in technological advancements for SDSU.

Hart said she would implement programs that help victims of sexual assault.

Ebiriekwe said he would work to battle food insecurity.

With recent debates about changing SDSU’s Aztec mascot, candidates were asked if they would support replacing it.

Sension said she intends to vote yes on the resolution to change the mascot because of events she has attended that have helped her understand the racist and institutionalized history of the Aztec mascot.

Ebiriekwe said it would be unethical to take a stance on the issue. Ebiriekwe is a part of the University Affairs council, which was meeting to discuss the mascot that afternoon.

Hart said she does not have a formed opinion at this point.

Delbick said changing the mascot would be a terrible thing for SDSU, and was then booed by some people in the crowd.

He said changing the mascot would be expensive and would hurt SDSU’s brand and national recognition.

“I’m not going to dance around any issue,” Delbick said. “I’m gonna tell you what I believe, and I firmly believe SDSU should not change the mascot. I am a very proud Aztec.”

Candidates were also asked about the recent executive orders regarding the deportations of undocumented people implemented by President Donald Trump’s administration that have caused fears among students.

Hart said students’ immigration status is not the business of the university.

“You’re here to learn, to develop, to become a better human being and to grow,” Hart said. “If you’re an immigrant, guess what? You’re still going to grow the same way.”

Ebiriekwe said he wants to make sure undocumented students know where to get the resources they need.

Sension said students’ status does not define their right to an education, and she would want to permanently establish an undocumented resource center where students can learn what their rights are.

Delbick said it is important SDSU remain a safe space for students and a sanctuary for students of all ethnicities.

Voting for A.S. positions will take place March 13 through 16 on WebPortal.

The winners will be announced at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 16 in Montezuma Hall.

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