Tuesday’s Candidates Debate in UMC Room 235 brought members of the Refresh and Excel tickets, as well as independents, to the stage. They appeared before an unusually large crowd of around 200 people, mostly students, to argue their stances on what issues they will control if elected to office.
The candidates, who are split into two five-person tickets (the Refresh and Excel tickets) and four independent candidates, discussed safety, diversity and CU’s green reputation. They also took questions from students, but while the candidates all spoke, there was no direct debating that occurred between candidate hopefuls.
Election Commissioner Danielle Warly said that last year only four people showed up to the debate and CUSG was thrilled to see an increase in turnout.
Warly, a 20-year-old junior international affairs major, said the debate was important.
“CU Student Government is actually the largest student government in the nation with a budget of $36.6 million that gets allocated to various student groups on campus, as well as to our cost centers,” Warly said. “CUSG is a tremendously influential institution.”
Legislative Council President Will Krebs spoke about the duties of representative-at-large.
“Representatives, in my opinion, have a very difficult duty,” Krebs said. “It falls on their shoulders to go out into campus and to speak with individual students, to speak with groups, to try to garner as much information as possible to find out what the student body wants done, what policies the students want.”
After Warly’s description of the debate rules and some quick introductions of the CUSG candidates, as well as the ASSG and LEEDS Council candidates, the student government candidates answered two introductory questions each with an allotted time of two minutes.
Candidates first addressed their beliefs on the roles of their office representatives according to cost center relationships and student fees.
Refresh ticket representatives said they believe in the power of cost centers to enhance the lives of students. They said they want to make the specifics of the student government budget clearer while bringing down student fees.
Excel ticket representatives said it is important to network between the 13 cost centers across the campus and the nearly 300 small student groups by working with the finance board to decide what direction to go in.
The candidates also spoke of how they will make necessary changes to the school according the best interests of the students.
Candidates emphasized their desires to speak directly to students, both individually and through student groups, to determine what will benefit the student body as a whole.
Some candidates said using surveys and data networking will help in making decisions for the students based on money and policy.
After the introductory questions, CUSG candidates discussed current CU issues ranging from safety and diversity to student fees and sustainability.
Several of the students linked the lack of diversity on campus with the recent safety issues.
Brittany Hallett, a freshman business major and independent candidate, said she wants more focus on student safety. She suggested more lights on campus and longer NightRide hours.
Candidates said they are concerned about CU not being as diverse as they would like. Thoughts on uniting the campus by supporting the many different student groups and minorities on campus were highlighted in each speech.
The Excel ticket candidates said cost center services are for all students — including international ones — while the Refresh ticket candidates said they would want to talk to more students to understand their concerns before offering up a solution.
The candidates spoke on maintaining efficiency with student fees without raising them. There was emphasis on smart spending and collaborating efforts with the finance board.
One question for potential representatives asked how they would address the relationship between CU and state legislative policies.
All parties said they are hoping to find a balance between the power of the state legislation and CUSG. The issue is when to take a stance on what the student body wants and when to let the state decide.
On the topic of sustainability, each candidate was specific in mentioning the programs they wished to improve and expand.
CU’s zero-waste stadium and recycling and composting programs were mentioned throughout the debate. Plans to expand the composting aspect as well as reaching out to local communities for support were among some of the candidates’ ideas.
The debate ended with an open forum section where members of the audience could ask questions.
The questions included concerns about meeting the needs of international students, student group funding and student job cuts. These questions required candidates to state detailed ideas on how they will make specific changes if elected.
Discussion of forming a student-worker alliance, designed to meet with the international students to learn more of their needs and allow them to work with leaders, such as advisors, were suggested by the candidates.
Warly concluded the debate by thanking the audience and congratulating the candidates.
She said she hoped the debate was informative and will help students make logical decisions when voting.
“We want to hear what you have to say,” she said. “You being here and getting involved is the first step.”
For more information on the candidates, check out their bios here.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Carli Auran at Carli.firstname.lastname@example.org.