Screenshot courtesy of The Daily Aztec
Associated Students presidential candidates Bella Martelino and Ashley Tejada debated about issues that most affect the San Diego State student body on March 17.
Biology junior Martelino, and English senior Tejada debated on the topics of COVID-19 policy, mental health, affordable housing and more.
Martelino is the current A.S. Executive Vice President and Tejada currently serves as a student-at-large on the A.S. Board of Directors.
Tejada said that the student voice was muted and neglected during the senate decision to cancel Spring Break.
“I was in the center during that Zoom call when students were Zoom-bombing,” Tejada said. “Students were very upset at the time and Zoom-bombing is even a strong word to use because they had a right to be there.”
Martelino said she would like to implement more campus security for the SDSU neighborhoods.
“I have currently had a number of female friends who’ve had unknown people stalking outside of their houses, following them at home at night and even breaking in. When the university hired Elite security this year to track down parties I would work as President with University PD and Administration to utilize Elite security to ensure the safety of our SDSU neighborhood,” Martelino said.
Additionally, Martelino said the Sophomore Success program, which requires non-local students to sign an agreement to live in SDSU housing for at least two years is unaffordable.
Tejada said she wants to work to give the administration a statistic of how many students are struggling with housing affordability to prove change needs to be made.
“I want to make sure that we exhaust all options on our campus because our administration and our faculty needs to do better right here. Because they are failing the student body. They are failing with affordable housing,” Tejada said.
Tejada said the university’s decision to cancel Spring Break and add more rest and recovery days created more three-day weekends and therefore more opportunities are COVID-19 spikes. She also said the student body alone is not to blame for the spike but the county is as well.
“As a county we have guidelines. As a university, we have policies to put in place. But automatically going to blaming students is not the answer,” Tejada said.
Both Martelino and Tejada said they will be pushing for student accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Moving forward with “partying” in regards to, I think it is really interesting how that was our focus especially when so many different things were happening,” Martelino said. “We allocated funds for Elite security when it could have possibly been going to students in need.”
While discussing mental health initiatives the candidates will take on as president, the topic of Spring Break was brought up again.
Martelino said as president one of her ultimate priorities will be to collaborate with multiple governing bodies to make mental health a priority.
In a rebuttal statement Tejada said, “I want to bring to the table, she is currently Vice President. So I’m curious as to why she wasn’t at the university senate speaking on the student’s behalf.”
Associated Students candidate voting opens on March 22 in the SDSU student webportal.
Watch the full debate online on the Daily Aztec website or on the Daily Aztec Youtube channel.