Campus, News

Student government candidates focus on transparency in debate

Associated Students, Inc. executive candidates called for an increase in administrative transparency and promised to facilitate student safety during the ASI debate at the speakers platform today at noon.

Many of the candidates said they thought students needed to have more say when it comes to fees and decisions normally made by the administration.

“Next year, I want to make sure we work on a variety of issues, the main one being to vote for student voices,” said Logan Vournas, vice presidential candidate and current senator at-large. “Because this is our campus, and unfortunately, it feels like our voices aren’t being heard and the university isn’t responding to us — I think — the way they should.”

 

ASI vice presidential candidate Logan Vournas, right, and presidential candidate Marvin Flores, left, participate in the ASI executive debates.
Johnny Romero | Daily 49er
ASI vice presidential candidate Logan Vournas, right, and presidential candidate Marvin Flores, left, participate in the ASI executive debates March 17.

 

Whether through the food pantry for students struggling to buy groceries that Vournas implemented this year or through a campus safety student oversight committee that ASI presidential candidate Dylan Tom proposed, helping students feel more secure remained the overarching theme throughout the forum for most of the candidates.

The common focus came in the wake of student frustration with the administration for not issuing a timely warning email after a recent incident where a male student displayed a knife in class. Campus officials were also slow to release more specific information about the incident including that the 20-year-old student works for University Police as a Community Service Officer.

“I think that what we’re looking for is more transparency, and we don’t like it when decisions are made for us,” Tom said. “Why are the decisions that affect the student body not being made by the student body? And that’s why, when I’m running for president, I want to get the students more involved in making these decisions — these closed meetings where administration is deciding things for us, or the senators are deciding things without consulting the entire student body.”

Treasurer hopeful Mariam Balogun said she wanted to close the gap between ASI and students, improving fiscal transparency and student government visibility.

ASI presidential candidate Isidro Morales, a fall 2015 transfer student, also talked about student participation, but he focused more on school spirit.

“One of the things I noticed here on campus is the pride factor,” Morales said. “You know, we’re 49ers, but I don’t sense that when I walk onto this campus.”

Questions for the candidates came from Cal State Long Beach students and were either submitted to the Daily 49er before the debate, on Twitter during the debate or on index cards from the live audience.

In total, 11 executive candidates participated in the event, including Tom, Morales, Marvin Flores, Oscar Acevedo and Robert Espinoza running for president; Vournas, Novy Bowman and Gabriel Avila running for vice president; and Balogun, Eduardo Vargas and Gio Smith running for treasurer.

Students can vote in the ASI elections online March 21-23. The election results will be announced March 24 at 11:30 a.m. in the Senate Chambers of the University Student Union.

ASI vice presidential candidate Gabriel Avila speaks at the ASI executive debate March 17.
Johnny Romero | Daily 49er
ASI vice presidential candidate Gabriel Avila speaks at the ASI executive debate March 17.
Gio Smith, who is running for ASI treasurer, speaks at the ASI executive debates March 17.
Johnny Romero | Daily 49er
Gio Smith, who is running for ASI treasurer, speaks at the ASI executive debates March 17.

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