ASUU Candidates Spar in First Debate

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(Photo by Brent Uberty)

(Photo by Brent Uberty)
(Photo by Brent Uberty)

The ASUU candidates for senior class president, vice president and president debated Wednesday night in front of an audience of three people.

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 The event took place at the Heritage Center. Florence Fernandez, the current senior class president, began the debate by discussing future changes in ASUU leadership. The proposed revisions, which include eliminating the senior class president position, would go into effect during the 2016-2017 school year. As a result, the position of vice president would be modified to take on the duties previously fulfilled by the class president. The changes would take place after first going through the student senate and assembly and then a student vote on the referendum.

Devin Price, the senior class presidential candidate with the Snow Party, is the only student running for the office and wins by default. Price said at the beginning of the debate that he chose to run for the position because he has a strong passion for programming events on campus.

“I felt that I could really make a difference,” he said.

Price hopes to create a student leadership council while in office that would connect the different student groups on campus and involve them in campus activities.

“Anyone who wants to be involved should be involved,” he said.

The president and vice president debate began at 6 p.m. The audience increased slightly, with the majority of the crowd composed of candidates running for office as representatives.

Each candidate had two minutes to address a question and an additional two minutes for rebuttal after the opposing party answered.

The Empower Party’s presidential candidate, Satin Tashnizi, seemed rattled during her introduction, questioning whether she should just go over their platform. Camille Conerly, the party’s vice president, stepped in.

Snow Party presidential candidate Ambra Jackson emphasized in her introduction the importance of ASUU meeting with students and forming connections with groups across campus. Anthony Fratto, the party’s vice president, hopes to improve safety on campus and build upon the sexual assault campaign, It’s on Us, that has been implemented by the current administration.

Tashnizi and Conerly want to increase mental health awareness at the U. Conerly said problems that arise should be handled on an individual basis and not be given blanket solutions.

Tashnizi then made a statement toward the end of the debate that left many in the audience confused.

“My dream school was actually Amherst,” she said. “I was set that I was going to move to Massachusetts, marry a Kennedy and have a great life. The U was not an aspiring goal of mine, but more of a last-minute decision.”

She tried to recover by adding that she has since fallen in love with the U. But she was again thrown off by a question about budgeting.

“Student fees remind me of the tax system in America,” she said. “Americans like to whine and complain about taxes.”

Jackson, when asked about her party’s platform, gave a response that elicited nods of approval from both sides of the table.

“We want to improve the campus climate to make sure everyone coming to the U feels the same sense of connection,” she said. “We would also like to make our diversity needs on campus more specific. Once we make those changes, we will move towards having a more cohesive campus.”

The next debate will be held Monday, March 2, at 2 p.m. at the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

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