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By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

Candidates committed to connecting upper and lower campus emphasized the disparity between U commuter students and residents.

During Wednesday’s debate held at the Petersen Heritage Center, ASUU presidential, vice-presidential and senior class president candidates addressed questions relating to the Residence Halls. This was the first debate of the Associated Students of the University of Utah elections.

With increased marketing, more programming and further representation of resident students and the Residence Halls Association, candidates said they would strengthen the presence of ASUU in the Residence Halls.

Students fielded questions expressing concerns about diversity, environmental sustainability and the representation of non-traditional residents by ASUU.

FUSE senior class president candidate Nicole Nguyen praised the RHA’s peer facilitator program and pledged to take in consideration the needs of different demographics. “We want to create a safe place, so that students can be themselves in their own identities,” Nguyen said.

The Forward Party, however, committed to create a diversity council rather than just the existing diversity board. They also said they would have a member of RHA come to executive cabinet meetings to represent the halls.

Some students were concerned about recycling, because while there are some recycling bins surrounding the Residence Halls, no recycling program is in place. Activate presidential candidate Cameron Beech said he would put together a recycling task force within the first 30 days of his administration to address this issue.

Forward Party senior class president candidate Brittany Bell, who is a resident adviser in Sage Point, said RHA already has recycling bins, and she would work to have bins on each floor.

The More 4 U Party emphasized its push for more child care, which has been one of its main campaign issues. Candidates said they would create more open nights for parents in the Residence Halls, and all parties said they would support more RHA events for married students and bring Homecoming activities to the Residence Halls.

More 4 U party members said that two of their biggest goals are to solicit and listen to student opinions and to improve transportation on campus by providing shuttle schedules and shelters.

Some parties introduced new platform ideas at the debate. For example, Activate said it would provide free tax services through ASUU for all students.

The FUSE Party introduced a plan called the Graduation Guarantee, offering academic advising to help students graduate in four years. Advisers would meet with students once a semester to help determine which classes to take to meet major and graduation requirements. If the student does not graduate in four years, the university would pick up the cost of any additional tuition needed to graduate.

Forward called for fiscal responsibility in ASUU. “We will be responsible with funds and let students know where the fees are being spent,” said vice presidential candidate Clayton McDonald.

Out of the four parties, all parties except More 4 U have candidates who have lived in the Residence Halls. Forward’s senior class president candidate Brittany Bell, FUSE’s senior class president candidate Nicole Nguyen and Activate’s vice presidential candidate Ryan Carrier have all been resident advisers.

When asked whether they would live in the Residence Halls if elected, all candidates committed that they would.

National Residence Halls Honorary President Katy Christiansen said the biggest issue facing U residents is time management.

“We would like to have more support to help (residents) balance time and have social experiences,” Christiansen said.

Lindsay Williams, an undecided freshman living in the Residence Halls, said RHA is mostly a separate issue. Tyler Anderson, a freshman in political science and economics, agreed.

“The issues concerning me are campus-wide issues, not Residence Halls issues,” he said.

Kim Peterson

Kim Peterson

A sea of colors represents the different candidates of each party at the first ASUU campaign debate held Wednesday in the Heritage Center.