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Candidates for A.S. vice president of external relations, executive vice president face off in second day of debates

A.S.+vice+president+of+external+affairs+candidates+Stephanie+Estrada+%28left%29+and+Angelica+Espinoza+face+off+in+the+second+day+of+A.S.+election+debates+at+the+Conrad+Prebys+Aztec+Student+Union+on+March+20.
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Candidates for A.S. vice president of external relations, executive vice president face off in second day of debates

A.S. vice president of external affairs candidates Stephanie Estrada (left) and Angelica Espinoza face off in the second day of A.S. election debates at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union on March 20.

A.S. vice president of external affairs candidates Stephanie Estrada (left) and Angelica Espinoza face off in the second day of A.S. election debates at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union on March 20.

Will Fritz

A.S. vice president of external affairs candidates Stephanie Estrada (left) and Angelica Espinoza face off in the second day of A.S. election debates at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union on March 20.

Will Fritz

Will Fritz

A.S. vice president of external affairs candidates Stephanie Estrada (left) and Angelica Espinoza face off in the second day of A.S. election debates at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union on March 20.

by Michael Cline, Senior Staff Writer

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The candidates for Associated Students vice president of external relations and executive vice president debated in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union ahead of next week’s Associated Students elections. External relations candidates Angelica Espinoza and Stephanie Estrada discussed issues including basic needs initiatives, sexual assault prevention and campus inclusivity. Executive vice president candidates Kyla Blaylock and Christian Holt also took the stage to discuss campus activism and student engagement.

College of Arts and Letters Council Executive Vice President Espinoza identified advocacy for basic needs initiatives and empowerment of sexual assault survivors as key priorities for her campaign. She also called for additional legal services for students on campus.

“I hope to diversify the legal services that A.S. has to offer to ensure that no matter what vulnerable situations students are put in, they will be mitigated to the best of their ability,” Espinoza said.

College of Arts and Letters Council representative Estrada said she would acknowledge different identity groups on campus while expanding research and employment programs and services to students. She also vowed to address basic needs initiatives.

“I want to focus on basic needs, for example, housing insecurities, food insecurities, as well as mental health,” Estrada said.

Both Espinoza and Estrada condemned the racial slur targeting the Black Resource Center. Espinoza called for a greater response to hate crimes and social media posts that include racial slurs. She pledged to promote inclusivity through mandatory education programs at orientation.

“Ignorance is no longer an option or excuse,” Espinoza said.

Estrada added the need to ensure student safety on campus. She also offered a personal apology to the Asian and Pacific Islander community for a social media post on her account that had included a racial slur.

“I am deeply sorry,” Estrada said. “I should have been educated, and I should have been conscious of what I said.”

Espinoza called for a new subcommittee to increase campus diversity and improve inclusivity.

The candidates for executive vice president also debated community engagement and collaboration, along with student activism on campus.

Executive vice president candidates Christian Holt (left podium) and Kyla Blaylock (right podium) are joined on stage by their respective campaign managers, interdisciplinary junior Jaylla McConell (left) and political science sophomore Max Johnson (right). Photo by Will Fritz

Holt, who served as a voting member on the Afrikan Student Union, said he would help commuter students and student-athletes fully participate on campus, while championing allyship between underrepresented and represented communities and organizations. He also vowed to “redefine” the university community, campus pride and the way student leaders are elected to office.

“People should not be scared to run solo,” Holt said. “People should be proud to run solo. People should be proud to make their message heard.”

Aztec Student Union Board chair Blaylock, running on the slate “Vote SDSU,” explained the slogan’s significance to her campaign.

“We can, especially in my role as (executive vice president), strengthen our intentional programming,” Blaylock said. We can diversify what leadership looks like. We can sustain the work of the executives before us, encourage sustainable practices, and together unify.”

Blaylock and Holt also discussed their support for the Pell Grant protest’s intentions. Holt, who attended the protest, said it was an important aspect of his candidacy.

“I stand will all students on this campus and whatever they’re going through,” Holt said.

Blaylock said the protest may have been viewed as “performative advocacy” and stressed the need for leaders to support and advocate for policies in their offices as well.

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