Candidates address student concerns at forums

By Meaghan Sands

Cal Poly Pomona students had the opportunity to ask ASI candidates questions during two open forums held last Tuesday and Thursday in University Park in front of the Bronco Student Center.

Students taking part in the forum were most concerned about how candidates would promote campus involvement and school spirit.

Jose Garcia, a fourth-year international business management student, attended the forum to see what changes each candidate would implement next year. Garcia was hoping to gain insight to help his voting decision.

One thing Garcia is hoping to see is an increase in school spirit.

“I want to see the basketball games packed all the time,” said Garcia. “I think if we get more school spirit we’re going to improve the overall environment here on campus.”

Students wanted to know how each candidate planned to guide the campus away from being a predominantly commuter school.

Jason Wong, a first-year economics student, listened in on the forum to find out what the candidates could offer him as a student and an on-campus resident.

“School spirit is important, especially at a commuter campus,” said Wong. “It’s what the school thrives on, especially for events like this. If [Cal Poly Pomona] got the word out more and there was more school spirit, there would be more involvement and students coming here to listen to what [the candidates] have to say.”

Students also asked questions about what candidates would do to get ASI more involved and visible on campus, as well as why each candidate felt they were the best fit for their position.

“If we continue to advertise ASI and let [students] know that it’s not an intimidating place, they’ll get more involved and it will be more of a collaborative effort,” said vice presidential candidate Joe Shashaty.

The majority of the candidates were in favor of the ASI Funding Reallocation that is on the ballot. The reallocation will take money from athletics, which would be getting double funding, and put funds toward student councils such as cultural centers.

Colin Danahy, Inter-Hall Council senator-at-large candidate, was the only one who voiced concern about the reallocation during the forums.

“My main concern is [if], with fees rising and the allocation not providing any extra funding toward scholarships for athletes, the athletic scholarships will be large enough to cover the amount they’re covering now,” said Danahy.

The candidates expressed mixed thoughts about the new Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex fee. Some felt that the fee was reasonable because of the benefits that the BRIC will bring, while others felt the extra money would deter students from attending CPP.

Presidential candidate Aisha Razzak, and her vice-presidential running mate Devon Graves, were present at both forums and pushed that their backgrounds were rooted in early involvement in ASI.

“I think the fee is actually really reasonable,” said Razzak. “We’re providing 200 plus jobs with the BRIC opening, so that revenue is going to go toward that as well, and if we’re giving money to students then we really are students serving students at its finest.”

While Razzak felt the fee was reasonable, other candidates felt the fee would be an unnecessary addition to the already high prices of attending school.

“I feel like the fee might be a problem simply because students are already struggling as it is and implementing more fees might discourage them from using the facilities,” said Jared Tolbert, agriculture senator candidate.

Other candidates present throughout the forums were Robert “Tommy” Ward, presidential candidate and vice presidential running mate, Justine Budisantoso; and Raquel “Rocky” Mercado, CLASS senator.

Ward promoted his and Budisantoso’s platform which is strengthened by their immersion in campus clubs.

Student attendance at the forums was quite low. Some students felt that the location of the forum may have played a part in why there was low attendance. However, lack of interest was the main concern.

“There’s nothing that’s going to attract people to come listen,” said Amina Razzak, a fifth-year chemical engineering student.

ASI voting began Monday and is running through 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Students will be able to vote online via any computer using their Bronco ID and password.

According to Susan Ashe, CPP director of judicial affairs, this is the second year ASI has done online voting and since the switch they have seen an increase in the number of students who vote.

OpenForum

Kyle Thurin/The Poly Post

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