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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “ASUA candidates debate aid, elections”

    The two candidates for the open seat on the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate engaged in a public debate last night, in which they outlined their different plans should they win the special election that will occur Sept. 17.

    Andre Rubio, a political science junior, said that his platform for election includes increasing campus-wide diversity emphasis, new student financial education, club outreach and more stringent campus safety regulations.

    “”Over the past years, there were $17 million in scholarships that were not awarded because students had not even applied for them,”” Rubio said. “”There are really a lot of resources here on campus that we can use to really educate students so they don’t graduate with debt,so they can graduate and buy a car, so they can graduate and buy a house – these are things that a college graduate deserves””

    Dominick Plado, a public administration and policy sophomore, said that the only way to make the ASUA better is to change the way the student government is elected, by having each college elect its own representative to serve in the government.

    Plado said his entire platform consists of getting students involved in ASUA, developing increased campus sustainability and creating fiscal transparency and responsibility.

    “”A lot of people that I have talked to over the past couple days, while I have been campaigning, said that they refer to ASUA as AEUA, the associated elite of The University of Arizona,”” Plado said. “”Last year’s administration did a great job of changing the somewhat tarnished name of ASUA, but I think that there is a lot more work that we can do in that area.””

    Kenny Ho, ASUA election commissioner, said that this election process started in May after one of last year’s senators resigned. This election process provides the student body an opportunity to get involved and shape their government, he said.

    “”I really want students to know what ASUA is and really get involved with the voting process, and just knowing what the senators can do for them,”” Ho said.

    Rubio is in his second year as the ASUA diversity director and said that this position has given him a greater understanding of the campus as a whole and would provide a unique point of view that he could add to the senate.

    “”I really feel that the senate could just use a new perspective, because that really doesn’t hurt anyone at all,”” Rubio said. “”As diversity director I really just pushed and pushed and pushed to create a new position that would really try and reach out to students who we can call marginalized,but really, just might be neglected.””

    Plado said that he has gained experience by acting as the vice president of programming in the Residence Hall Association during his freshman year and is currently chairing the 2009 National Association of College and University Residence Halls conference, which promotes living on campus as an vital part of the college experience.

    “”I feel that not being a part of this organization (ASUA) and coming from a totally different organization … I have a lot of fresh ideas and fresh perspective that I can offer to this group,”” Plado said. “”I don’t have this mindset of ‘I have been in here for a while so I know what I’m doing so I can do it this way.'””

    He said that the ASUA needs a fresh outlook that is not founded in the Greek life system, adding, “”All nine of you (senators) are Greek-affiliated except for (Sen.) Gabby (Ziccarelli).””

    The audience of mostly ASUA members immediately corrected Plado, however. The audience informed him that more than half of the senate members were, in fact, not affiliated with Greek life on campus.

    “”I was told that you were all in social fraternities,”” Plado said. “”I know that four of you are in one fraternity in particular, so 40 percent of the senate is representing such a small portion of the school.””

    Rubio said that the ASUA is currently working for the benefit of students and that there was no reason for someone to try and implement wholesale changes.

    “”ASUA is really a selfless entity that, as of right now, I definitely feel is working for students. However, I think there are a lot of students that use our services that don’t even know we offer them,”” Rubio said. “”I have something that I believe in and that is the students, but I also want to give them a better experience and that is what ASUA does.””

    In his closing argument, Plado made a point to emphasize his desire to keep his word and follow through on what he says.

    “”I’m really firm when it comes to people doing what they say they’re going to do, because your word is all you have,”” Plado said. “”If I tell (someone) on Friday that I need a review written on Monday, and they, for some reason, get into a car accident and lose both of their hands, I still expect them to have something written for me on Monday.””

    Ho said that students can vote online and that polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. In the end, it is up to the student body to choose the best candidate to fill the open senate position, he said.

    “”The senators do so much for this campus, and they have so much responsibility; it’s the students’ power to decide who they want to represent them,”” Ho said. “”Just like the election with the president (of the United States), it is just important to get your voice out there.””

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