Associated Students executive candidates debate faculty strike, A.S. transparency

by Jamie Ballard, News Editor

The candidates for Associated Students Vice President of Financial Affairs, Vice President of External Relations, and Vice President of University Affairs faced off in a debate on Tuesday, Mar. 8.

The candidates discussed many of the issues facing San Diego State, including the potential faculty strike, campus safety and communication between A.S. and the general student body.

The six candidates began with opening statements to explain their platforms and what issues most concerned them. Each candidate had the opportunity to answer the same set of questions during the debate, with the exception of one position-specific question at the end.

The candidates for V.P. of Financial Affairs are Alex Shapiro and Ian Fielden. Clayton Bishop and Dylan Colliflower are the candidates for V.P. of External Relations, and Arnelle Sambile and Chimezie Ebiriekwe are the candidates for V.P. of University Affairs.

One topic many candidates emphasized was the need for transparency in A.S.

“It’s important that A.S. is less intimidating and every student knows how to get involved with A.S.,” Shapiro said.

Ebriekwe agreed.

“We should promote the goals of A.S. on the A.S. website to keep students informed,” he said.

They discussed the possibility of keeping students informed through a variety of means.

“We need to reach out to the students,” Bishop said. “We can’t just wait for them to reach out to us.”

The candidates were also asked how they stay up to date on current events and campus news.

“I think there are other resources out there to get (public news) out there more effectively than (word of mouth),” Fielden said.

Each candidate was given one minute to answer the questions. Though each one also had the opportunity for rebuttals, none of the candidates used them during the debate.

The turnout for the event was largely made up of the candidates’ supporters and the seats in front of the podium remained empty.

“Most of the people here today are our friends,” Colliflower said. “We need to enhance communication, potentially by updating our website. I’d also like to enact a Raise Your Vote campaign to get students involved.”

Audience members were informed of the opportunity to submit questions for the candidates via write-ins or social media. One student question addressed the list of 20 demands that students presented to California State University Chancellor Timothy White at his open forum on March 2 and asked if the candidates supported the demands, and if so, how they planned to focus on them in office.

Most of the candidates stated they agreed with many of the demands.

“It’s a diverse list,” Bishop said. “I would work with the VP of Financial Affairs to address some of the demands, such as the one about having a food bank on campus.”

“It’s important to note who wrote the demands,” Sambile said. “Many of them are underserved and underrepresented communities. These are cries for help, and we in A.S. need more transparency to show the progress being made on these issues.”

The candidates for A.S. President and Executive Vice President are scheduled to debate on Wednesday, March 9 at noon in the courtyard of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. The Daily Aztec will be moderating and live-tweeting the debate.