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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Meet the ASUU 2019-20 Candidates

Candidate for VP of Student Relations Gabe Martinez, candidate for President AnnaMarie Barnes, and candidate for VP of University Relations Latifa Yaqoobi (Courtesy of Barnes Ticket)


If you haven’t already seen the lawn signs around campus and notifications in your UMail inbox and social media feeds, it’s the time of the year for Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU) student government elections.

One party, the Barnes Ticket, announced candidacy for the 2019-20 ASUU presidency uncontested, while an unprecedented number of students are running for ASUU Senate and Assembly seats. “In my four years of involvement with ASUU this is the highest number of legislative candidates I can recall seeing,” said senior Kaitlin McLean, a physics and psychology major who currently serves as ASUU Senate Chair. McLean said that this year, “Senators and their college student councils worked hard to recruit both undergraduate and graduate students to run for legislative positions.”

“It is important to know who the candidates are for your specific college, no matter if they are running unopposed or not,” McLean said. “These are the students who you will be working with if you are seeking ASUU student group funding, and they can also bring your college’s voice to the table. We encourage you to look up the candidates for your college and reach out to them with questions or concerns. See if this is who you want representing you.”

Here are the 2019-20 candidates for ASUU’s Executive, Senate and Assembly seats. More information on each candidate can be found on the ASUU website.


Executive Candidates

ASUU Presidential candidate AnnaMarie Barnes (Courtesy of Barnes Ticket)

ASUU presidential candidate AnnaMarie Barnes (she/her/hers) is currently a junior majoring in political science, international studies and anthropology.

“In my three years of experience in ASUU, I have been able to see my peers create positive change for the student body — but I have also seen where our advocacy has fallen short. I’ve seen students struggling with their academics, finances and mental health that didn’t know where they could turn for assistance. Where to go and what to do should never be a question for our students. I’m running to ensure students are aware of the services available to them and have an effective voice to the university administration so they can communicate their needs accordingly,” Barnes said. “There is nowhere else on campus to affect change at this level, and I want to use this platform to amplify the voices of my peers who are concerned about campus safety, access to mental health services, childcare, leadership opportunities, job placement and so much more.”

The Barnes Ticket promises to “work hard to ensure that the student voice is represented on campus, make mental health services more accessible than ever and build a campus community where we can learn and grow together.” Barnes has been previously involved with ASUU as a First Year Council member and is currently serving her third year as an ASUU Assembly Representative for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. As ASUU President, Barnes hopes to implement her experiences with ASUU, the Hinckley Institute of Politics and other organizations at the U “to ensure that students have an effective voice on campus that is clearly and truly represented to the university administration.”

ASUU Vice President of University Relations candidate Latifa Yaqoobi (Courtesy of Barnes Ticket)

The ASUU vice president of university relations candidate on the Barnes Ticket, Latifa Yaqoobi (she/her/hers), is a junior pursuing degrees in psychology, communications and ethnic studies. Yaqoobi is currently a presidential intern and a McNair Scholar. Previous ASUU involvements include membership on the Elections Committee and in Assembly as a Representative for the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. Yaqoobi is running because she “wants to increase access to mental health services on campus and make student wellness an ASUU priority.”

ASUU Vice President of Student Relations candidate Gabe Martinez (Courtesy of Barnes Ticket)

The candidate for ASUU vice president of student relations is Gabe Martinez (he/him/his), a junior double majoring in religious studies and philosophy with a minor in leadership studies. Martinez has been heavily involved on campus as an orientation team leader, campus life mentor and Swoop Camp coordinator. ASUU involvements include serving on the First Year Council and Campus Relations Board member as well as being the associate director of the ASUU Campus Relations Board. “I decided to run because I have seen how getting involved on campus has changed individuals’ lives. I want to continue to cultivate a positive community for students and help them find ways to get involved,” Martinez said. “I believe we [the Barnes Ticket] all think and bring something different to the table, and that is the best way to develop an effective team.”

Barnes, Yaqoobi and Martinez first met as members of the same ASUU First Year Council in 2016.


Senate Candidates

One student from each college within the University of Utah is elected to serve in ASUU’s Senate each year. Several of the colleges have contested races in which more than one student is vying for a single Senate seat. For example, the College of Science has five students running for one seat. The College of Architecture and Planning, David Eccles School of Business and the College of Social and Behavioral Science all have three students running, while Undergraduate Studies (students who are undeclared) and the College of Engineering each have two candidates running.

Last year there were nine unfulfilled seats in the Senate, but according to McLean it looks like there will only be five unfulfilled Senate seats this year. Notably, the new School for Cultural and Social Transformation (the smallest college at the U population-wise) also has a Senate candidate running this year.

The College of Social Work, College of Nursing, College of Mines and Earth Sciences, College of Humanities and College of Health currently have no candidates running for Senate. If you are a student in one of these colleges interested in an ASUU Senator position, email [email protected].

College of Architecture and Planning: Caroline Castleton, Erik Fronberg and Varun Selvam

David Eccles School of Business: Kaden Madson, Damon Ngo and Emily Pellegrino

School for Cultural and Social Transformation: Sierra Holmes

School of Dentistry: Emily Thomas

College of Education: Danielle Martinez

College of Engineering: Hunter Mansfield and Zach Zundel

College of Fine Arts: Amy Cox

S.J. Quinney College of Law: Ben Lehnardt

School of Medicine: Mariajose Velasco

College of Pharmacy: Alan Abbinanti

College of Science: Candace Bryan, Michael Dichmann, Erika Feten, Rebecca Hardenbrook and Aryana Vadipour

College of Social and Behavioral Science: Devon Cantwell, Samantha Pope and Alejandro Sanchez

Undergraduate Studies: Connor Leeming and Nick Tygesen


Assembly Candidates

The number of Assembly seats per college is determined by the number of students enrolled per college as of Fall 2018. This year, the only contested race is between four candidates running for three Assembly seats in undergraduate studies. Ermiya Fanaeian, a first year pre-business student running for Assembly representative in undergraduate studies, wrote that “student body elections are a great way for students to start participating civically and to have their voices heard in our legislative process here on campus.”

No students are currently filed as Assembly Reps. for the College of Nursing, College of Mines and Earth Sciences, S.J. Quinney College of Law, College of Education and College of Architecture and Planning. Each of these colleges has one empty seat. The School of Medicine has no students running and has two open Assembly seats. The David Eccles School of Business has three students running and one available seat.

David Eccles School of Business (four seats): Ashley Jimenez, Nolan Phan and Peyton Williams

School for Cultural and Social Transformation (one seat): Amanda Carrasco

School of Dentistry (one seat): Kaleb (KC) Esplin

College of Engineering (five seats): Avery Abelhouzen, Anika Isom, Mitchell Kirkham, Erin Morgan and Adrian Porras

College of Fine Arts (two seats): Owen Michael Jordan Migdal and Gabriel Misla

College of Health (two seats): Casey Mcfarland and Joshua Nguyen

College of Humanities (two seats): Puneet Singh and Jennifer Williams

College of Pharmacy (one seat): Mustafa Tekarli

College of Science (three seats): Mj Kim, Rory Phibbs and Zahra Saifee

College of Social and Behavioral Science (four seats): Darienne DeBrule, Sarah Hong, Kendall Smith-Williams and Taylor Thompson

College of Social Work (one seat): Emma Hicks

Undergraduate Studies (three seats): Arno Coppa, Ermiya Fanaeian, Lauren Sorge and Reagan Sorge

[email protected]


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