ASI Candidates Wrap Up Campaigns

By Daniel Ucko

While the world must wait until 2008 to vote on the next
president of the United States, the time has arrived to choose the
leader of Cal Poly’s student government, Associated Students
Inc.

There are no Obamas or Hilarys in this election, but the stakes
surrounding the student center and other grassy areas of campus
remind students that something big is happening.

Two platforms – Team CPP and The Movement – are facing off in
the ASI elections, which begin today and continue through
Thursday.

Between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. today and 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on
Thursday, students can choose who will be running things next at
four different polling locations, according to ASI Elections Chair
Sevada Isayan.

Isayan said that there will be booths staffed with unbiased poll
collectors between Buildings 3 and 4, between Buildings 6 and 9, at
the Collins School, and in the quad.

The Candidates

There are 24 candidates for presidential and senatorial
positions within ASI, as current president Arno Keshishian prepares
to pass the torch to either Chris Wyrick of the Team CPP ticket or
Karl Harris of opposing platform The Movement. Brittany Yates and
Angie Jungo are running for vice president with Wyrick and Harris,
respectively.

“[There’s] never any set Republican or Democratic type of party
per say, but there are people who represent different beliefs at
the time,” said Wyrick.

The Movement stands for accessibility, advocacy, and
accountability, while Team CPP’s slogan is “empowering the student
voice.”

In order to increase voter turnout and election awareness, an
open forum debate will be held today during U-hour at the pancakes
outside the marketplace. Led by Isayan, students will be able to
ask candidates questions about their campaigns.

“The debates are really good. I think it helped increase the
votes last year or at least help the students hear what the
candidates are saying,” said Wyrick, a fourth-year finance real
estate and law student. “I would encourage the commuter students
this year to [question] myself and Karl and anyone who’s up there
because I’ve always said, ‘I can sit there and tell you all my
goals for the organization but you may only care about one of
them.'”

Harris, a fifth-year urban regional planning student, believes
more students will be voting in this year’s elections than previous
years.

“At this point I think [voter turnout] is improving. We’re
helping make them more aware about what’s going on (at Cal Poly),”
said Harris. “ASI: that’s us. We want to empower the students to
believe that they can vote and make the decisions that will be
affecting them. It’s their ASI.”

According to Wyrick, the president and vice president are a
package deal, but all other positions are open game.

The other executive board positions are as follows: Senator At
Large, Agricultural Senator, Business Senator, CEIS Senator, CHRM
Senator, CLASS Senator, Engineering Senator, Environmental Senator,
and Science Senator.

Wyrick explained that all of the senators can be elected from
either platform and that this affects how the winners feel if they
are not elected with their teammates.

“If you have another senator get elected, it does hurt a little
bit,” said Wyrick. “I think that initially it is kind of hard just
speaking form a personal sense. You’re so involved in campaigning
for your ticket, you build bonds as a team.”

The Electoral Process

Isayan, a fourth-year electrical engineering student, is
responsible for organizing and overseeing the advertising, polling,
and ballot counting as the elections chair.

“We have a certain budget we use to do all our work,” he
said.

Isayan explained that ASI provides him with a budget of a little
over $6,000. He and an appointed committee of non-bias students are
responsible for distributing the funds.

He makes sure the applicants are not working for a particular
campaign to ensure personal convictions do not get in the way of
running a fair, unbiased election.

Close to $2,000 goes towards ads in The Poly Post, while another
$1,000 plus pays for additional advertising via T-shirts, posters,
flyers, cards, and more.

Isayan said that an additional $2,000 pays for staffing the poll
booths with workers, and the remainder pays for miscellaneous
costs.

While part of the duty of the elections chair is to listen to
violations or squabbles between candidates, Isayan hasn’t run into
any problems so far.

“This year I’d say things are running pretty smoothly.
Everything is going the way it is supposed to be,” he said.

The ballots are counted when voting ends on Thursday. Isayan and
his committee help I&IT count the ballots with a machine and
plan to have the results announced by the end of the day.

“Generally if nothing major comes up in the counting, it should
be announced by the end of the day. There might be some unforeseen
circumstances, but it just depends on what happens. We want it to
be done as soon as possible. We want nothing to happen, but things
do happen,” said Isayan.

The Campaign Trail

Each platform is responsible for raising their own funds to
support their campaigns, and Isayan made it clear that the
elections committee is not allowed to provide either team with any
money.

Wyrick and Harris each hope to provide students with a stronger
voice and encourage involvement on campus.

“Why I’m running is to get the students more interested,” Harris
said. “We are a group that is trying to get students involved.
Something I’ve learned is that students make up the school. If we
didn’t go to class, what would the faculty be here for?”

Angie Jungo, vice presidential candidate for The Movement, said
that their team name came from a brainstorm and that they wanted to
really identify their group and what they stand for.

“We want to go back to the original concept of ASI, which was to
be more of a voice for students and be a united force for the
student population – not just ASI the corporation.”

“The strength within the word ‘movement’ empowers people to
believe that they can be of service to their community,” said
Harris

The significant differentiation between platforms is that The
Movement has a strong environmental focus, with members on The
Green Team and a conscious effort to utilize less staking in order
to conserve resources.

For Wyrick, the U-hour forum is a critical part of a successful
election, so that more students are informed about the candidates
and their goals.

“I think it’s important to create that forum for students where
they can reach out to the candidate and approach issues that are
important to them,” said Wyrick. “It’s better than a speech because
you can talk about stuff the students want to hear. It gives
students the opportunity to speak about issues that are important
to them that may not be as important to the candidate.”

Rico Cantt, a third-year industrial business and marketing
student, expressed his reasons for running as a senator at large on
Team CPP.

“One of the reasons why I wanted to get involved in ASI is
because I am a very involved person and one of the things this
campus needs is better communication between the students and the
university,” said Cantt. “And that is why I’m on Team CPP: to
empower the student voice.”

Daniel Ucko can be reached by e-mail at news@thepolypost.com or
by phone at (909) 869-3747.

Company Swings Night Away

The Cal Poly Ballroom Dance Company performed a variety of dance styles Friday night

Company Swings Night Away

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