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Chronicle Hosts First 2024 ASUU Presidential Debate

All three tickets running for the presidency were present debating topics including DEI, transparency and campus safety.
Marco Lozzi
From left, student body presidential candidates Brendan Tsang, Joseph Boyden and Milan Subotić answer questions during the ASUU debate hosted by the Daily Utah Chronicle at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


The 2024 ASUU debate was held yesterday, hosted by the Daily Utah Chronicle in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and was centered around getting to know the tickets running for office better and getting a closer look at the platforms they are running on. 

Topics that were covered included changes the tickets would make to ASUU, student safety, accessibility, diversity and inclusion for all students, as well as advocating for the student body. The event was livestreamed on the @thechrony Instagram page, giving the option for students watching virtually to ask questions.

Three tickets are running for the ASUU presidency — the Boyden ticket, the SET ticket and the Tsang ticket. Each ticket was given a short amount of time to introduce themselves at the beginning before splitting.

After their introductions, candidates were split into the respective positions they were running for. The candidates for vice president of student affairs went first, then the candidates for VP of university relations, and the candidates for student body president ended the debate.

Candidates running for VP of student affairs were asked about how they would support trans students on campus, as well as students who are blind and visually impaired and changes they would make within ASUU. Humzah Khan, of the Tsang ticket, said he would support an initiative to include all-gender restrooms in new buildings built on campus, as well as adding more to current buildings.

Paige Moon of the Boyden ticket said that “We can do a better job at making sure all students are seen, especially those with disabilities.”

During the VP of university relations portion of the debate, candidates answered questions about how they would solve issues of campus safety. Areesha Nazir, of the Tsang ticket, said they aim to expand services such as Safe Ride.

It stops at midnight and it should be going for a lot longer than that and on the weekend and also expanding it to go off campus a couple miles so that “If you live off campus the university isn’t just letting you do your thing but rather being involved in that process,” Nazir said.

When asked about weaknesses and changes to be made in ASUU’s budget, Aynaelyssya Thomas of the SET ticket said they want to expand funding to support more graduate students.

“One of our biggest priorities is getting travel money for graduate students to go to research events as part of their career and education,” she said.

The presidential candidate debate section had Brenden Tsang from the Tsang ticket, Milan Subotić from SET and Joe Boyden from the Boyden ticket. The presidential candidates answered questions regarding recent legislation that will restrict Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs in government offices and Utah education.

Boyden said that with DEI bills, he wanted to talk to students at the U and see how the bill was affecting them, and make sure that students affected will still be supported on campus.

The Boyden ticket talk about their platform during the ASUU-Chronicle debate at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

Tsang said his ticket is committed to building more transparency, as well as showing up and being present for student leaders, to better serve them with club funding.

“I think an important part of that is really having deep conversations with the student organizations to be able to understand where their funds are going to, but also for them to come to us and talk about you know, why they need the funds so we can, you know, assess their need for their financial aid for their organization,” Tsang said.

Candidates were also asked about the recent national rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism on campuses and how they would address it at the U. Subotić talked about his own background as a refugee from Croatia, and how religious discrimination has affected him. 

We want to build a culture and character that everyone feels unified,” Boyden said. “I went to an interfaith meeting and they talked about when a student meets another student they vibe with and create a good relationship their bias usually goes down 40%.”

Zaynab Salih, a senior at the U who attended the debate, said she wished the candidates provided more actionable steps for the ideas they proposed.

“I’m really interested in like the actual process of how they’re going to get all these things that they’re promising, because you can talk all you want, but I feel like there has always been a lack of tickets in every year providing the processes that they’re actually going to take and the steps that they’re going to take,” she said.

ASUU voting opens Feb. 26 at 7 a.m. and runs through Feb. 29 at 12 p.m. ASUU Elections results will be announced on March 1.

CJ Alexander contributed to this story.


Editor’s note, Feb. 14, 10:10 a.m. • This story was updated to correct a quote from Areesha Nazir of the Tsang ticket about students who live off campus.


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About the Contributors
Allison Stuart, News Writer
Allison is a senior at the U and has been writing for the Chronicle since the fall of 2021. Her interests include reading biographies, working out, singing and organizing. She is studying communication with an emphasis in journalism at the University of Utah.
Marco Lozzi, Photographer
Born in Texas and raised by Italian parents, Marco Lozzi grew up with two vastly different cultures. Now a sophomore at the U, he is majoring in communication with a journalism emphasis while also minoring in photography and Italian. He joined the Chrony to gain experience working as a photojournalist for a larger entity. When he's not taking or editing photos, he can be found hitting the slopes, napping, or making pasta.

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