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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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2024 ASUU Presidential Candidates Talk Campus Issues During Final Debate

The Boyden, SET and Tsang tickets took the stage one last time before voting opens next week on Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 a.m. and closes Thursday, Feb. 29 at noon.
The+final+2024+ASUU+Presidential+Debate+at+Kingsbury+Hall+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+20%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Marco+Lozzi+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Marco Lozzi
The final 2024 ASUU Presidential Debate at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The ASUU presidential debates concluded on Tuesday at Kingsbury Hall, marking the end of the campaign season for this year’s three tickets.

The Boyden ticket, SET ticket and Tsang ticket debated topics including campus safety, transportation and parking, student events and funding.

Joe Boyden, who is running for president, talked about his experience as associate director of the Campus Events Board, and as co-founder of the student group Summit. Boyden said the group sees nearly 250 participants weekly, and this exemplifies his “connection with students.”

Milan Subotić is the presidential candidate for the SET ticket and immigrated to Lehi, Utah seven years ago from Croatia. He said his motivation in the race is to make his friends and family proud and expand equity across campus. Subotić is currently the finance director of ASUU.

The third candidate running for president, Brendan Tsang, said he wants to restructure ASUU to be a better resource for students. The Tsang ticket emphasized parking, safety and inclusivity within campus life. As a business student, he wants to expand the business school’s resources to other departments.

When asked about leadership abilities, Boyden mentioned co-founding Summit as a freshman and reiterated their high membership numbers, crediting it to interacting with students as much as he can in between classes.

“I will grow where I am planted,” Boyden said.

Tsang expanded on his level of experience within leadership, including how interning for the University of Utah President’s Office gave him insight into how ASUU works. He also said he was a recipient of the Aspire Scholarship, which has allowed him to “step out of boundaries” when understanding diverse groups of students.

“If I can change one person’s life I will be a happy person,” he said.

Subotić said as an immigrant he felt “unincluded” in Utah County, and struggled to feel belonging at the U. However, once he got involved with student leadership, he found a place he could call home. The SET ticket said they intend to make ASUU a home for all students to feel they belong.

Milan Subotić, the presidential candidate for the SET ticket, speaks during the last 2024 ASUU Presidential Debate alongside Joe Boyden (left), presidential candidate for the Boyden ticket and Brendan Tsang (right), presidential candidate for the Tsang ticket, at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

Near the middle of the debate, candidates for the vice president of student relations and VP for university relations positions took the stage for short remarks. 

Tsang ticket’s Humzah Khan for vice president of student relations and Areesha Nazir for vice president of university relations said they want to hold the U accountable for sustainability efforts. As the U “capitalizes” on skiing and outdoor recreation, they said the U must advocate for the environment and push state legislation to preserve natural resources. 

They also said they would push for community gardens and “guest meal swipes” for students in need of food on campus.

Aynaelyssya Thomas for vice president of university relations and Keana Estorpe for vice president of student relations, from the SET ticket, said they are the only ticket with all current ASUU members, so they know how ASUU processes work.

Subotić and Estorpe are both immigrants. They want to support more diversity on campus and include graduate students in more campus affairs. 

The Boyden ticket, including Ty Nishikawa for vice president of university relations and Paige Moon for vice president of student relations, said their main focus is on safety and culture. Nishikawa said he wants to give every student a college experience with “no regrets.”

For closing remarks, presidential candidates came back to the stage.

From left, Milan Subotić, Brendan Tsang and Joe Boyden prepare before going on stage during the ASUU Presidential Debate at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

“We are a ticket that will be present during our candidacy and want to ensure that groups, clubs and organizations all get the proper support that they need from ASUU,” Tsang said.

Boyden concluded and said as elected president he would “be bold” when requesting from the Board of Trustees. “I invite you to do the same,” he said. “To speak up and be bold.” 

“I’m going to fight for your rights,” Subotić said. “I’m going to fight for your ability to stay on this campus, and your rights to be part of this community.”

Student Governance Advisor Ethan Foley said the 2024 ASUU election has had the most candidates in U history. Last year, there were 82 running candidates between the presidential, attorney general, and senator seats. This year, there are 173 candidates.

Foley also said 4,449 students, 13% of the student body, voted in last year’s election — the highest turnout in U history. 

They hope to increase these numbers again in the 2024 election.

ASUU voting begins on Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 a.m. and will close on Thursday, Feb. 29 at noon.

 

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@LibbeyHNews

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About the Contributors
Libbey Hanson, News Writer
(she/her) Libbey is a second-year graduate student in the MPA program studying public policy and administration. She is most interested in environmental policy and social justice issues. You can usually find her in the mountains hiking and skiing or reading and writing at a local coffee shop.
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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