Candidates from the two opposing parties in this year’s CUSG elections, Empower and New Wave, faced off in a cross-examination style debate Tuesday evening.
Following a series of questions from the election commissioner about campus climate, organizations, activities and cost of education, the candidates had an opportunity to answer questions from the audience. Differing strategies regarding the allocation of student funding stood out as one of the most contentious topics between the two platforms.
Representatives from the student government party Empower emphasized the importance of streamlining the budget strategy for improved efficiency. Their proposed zero-based budgeting plan would be implemented in student cost centers, such as the Rec Center or UMC, to avoid ending up with surplus money in the budget. The party advocates for joint spending with campus administration in covering significant expenses.
New Wave, on the other hand, defended budget surpluses as necessary to ensuring the longevity of student organizations and providing a safety net in the event of fluctuations in budget allowances. On joint spending, New Wave prioritizes retaining autonomy from campus administration.
“The second we do joint spending with administration is the second that they have the ability to infringe on our autonomy,” said Lauren Goldfarb, New Wave tri-executive nominee, on the dangers of sharing cost burdens, a strategy advocated by Empower.
The New Wave party seeks to bar the allocation of student funding toward events that promote hate speech through the addition of a new clause in the Student Organization Allocation Committee (SOAC) bylaws.
“[The amendment] is contradictory to other amendments and state and federal law,” said Joshua Cunningham, Empower representative at large candidate, in reference to a potential conflict between New Wave’s proposal and current law favoring viewpoint neutrality in how funding is distributed.
In regard to transparency, the parties proposed similar solutions with the goal of better informing students of CUSG operations, like draft bills, and encouraging student involvement in the legislative process. Both parties aim to update online content to better allow for accountability.
The New Wave platform includes the creation of a regular forum that would allow students to communicate with their representatives and receive updates.
Empower welcomes student contribution through a regular coffee hour in which students can voice their opinions. The party also aims to make certain meetings open to the public.
Students can cast their votes through MyCUInfo starting at 8 a.m. Monday, April 10, until 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 13. Polling stations at the UMC will also be available for students who wish to vote in person and to accommodate visually impaired students.
Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Heidi Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.