A.S. external relations, university affairs candidates square off in debate


Elissa Tauscher

A.S. vice president of external relations candidates Michael Wiafe (left) and Latrel Powell (right) debate each other on Tuesday at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

by Bella Ross, Senior Staff Writer

Candidates for the vice president of external relations and vice president of university affairs took to the stage for a debate on March 13 in preparation for the upcoming Associated Students elections.

Some of the issues at hand included how to deal with the Aztec mascot, the recent social moratorium that was imposed on campus fraternities, campus safety and transparency.

The candidates for vice president of external affairs include Michael Wiafe and Latrel Powell. For vice president of university affairs, the candidates are Anya Shutovska and Ronnie Cravens.

All of the candidates agreed that the human representation of the Aztec mascot was inappropriate and should be retired. However, there was disagreement between Shutovska and Cravens over whether withholding the names of those on that Aztec mascot task force – a group tasked with analyzing the appropriateness of the continued use of the Aztec Mascot – is appropriate.

“I think that for their own personal safety and well-being, it is the right thing to make sure they remain unnamed until a decision is put forth,” Shutovska said.

Cravens disagreed, saying he found the practice to be a violation of transparency values.

“I feel like all knowledge should be given to the students,” Cravens said. “Transparency is key for communication.”

In reference to the recent social moratorium that has been levied on campus fraternities, there was a consensus between all candidates that greek life should remain on campus. Wiafe said the moratorium was a much needed step for campus fraternities.

“They needed a moment to regain themselves and I definitely believe that we should all take this opportunity to look at where we came from,” Wiafe said.

Powell said this would be a good opportunity for fraternities to diversify their involvement on campus. He said this could promote great solidarity between the different communities on campus. Cravens, a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, agreed with this and said the moratorium could stimulate cross communication between greek life other cultural organizations.

Another topic of discussion was campus safety, something that both Shutovska and Cravens listed as one of their top three priorities. For Shutovska, this means promoting greater use of campus police services as well as the red and black shuttle, which will be renovated for the 2018-19 school year.

Powell said he wanted to advocate for a greater sense of safety among undocumented students by emphasizing SDSU’s role as a sanctuary campus, something he listed as one of his top three priorities.

When it comes to transparency, Wiafe said he proposes the creation of an A.S. business social media account to keep students updated with A.S. affairs. This initiative connects to his priorities of getting more students involved with A.S. as well as helping more students understand politics and why they are important to them.

Addressing transparency, Shutovska said she would like to see more students using Your Voice Matters, an A.S. program that allows students to submit comments for consideration by A.S.

A second debate between candidates for A.S. president, executive vice president and vice president of financial affairs will be held from 12 – 1 p.m. in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. All of the candidates for those positions are running unopposed.