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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


ASUA Candidates go head to head

Will Ferguson
UA men’s baseball beat hard Harvard University 13-2 on Sunday, March 4, 2012. Will Ferguson/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Candidates running for executive positions in ASUA emphasized building a personal connection with students during the debate on Sunday. They also discussed club funding and how to improve student services.

Chad Travis, a business economics junior running for president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, and opponent Katy Murray, a marketing junior, agreed that establishing stronger ties with students is the best way to represent the student body’s voice.

When asked if he thought emailing was an effective way to get student opinions, Travis said it was not because it needs to be done through ways such as riding along with Safe Ride customers, talking to students individually and in person as well as electronically. He said he thinks it is important to actually walk around campus to talk to students before speaking for them to the administration, Arizona Board of Regents or the state Legislature.

Murray said she agreed that it is important to get student opinions on certain issues, but it is also necessary to establish relations with the regents and other governing boards that the student body president will speak to on behalf of the UA. Murray said because of her experiences, she believes she has connections like this and will do a good job representing the student body.

The candidates running for the executive vice president position were asked how they plan to help the hundreds of clubs on campus. If elected, they will serve as the chief club advocate. Krystina Nguyen, a biology junior, said she plans to increase the appropriations board’s budget, which acts as the main source for club funding. Nguyen added that it would be bad to have a stagnant budget for the appropriations board because as the number of clubs increase on campus, the budget must be able to fund them.

Kevin Elliott, a political science junior, said he agrees with this, but at the same time does not want to increase the Student Services Fee, which is used to partially fund the appropriations board. It would then be necessary to look for funding through various UA departments as well as third-party donors. Although the board’s budget is planned to increase, Nguyen said that if she is elected she plans on looking into other forms of funding as well. The Student Services Fee has granted $125,000 to the board for next year.

In addition to increasing club funding, each candidate said they plan on doing more specific things to help clubs succeed in retention and start-up. Elliott said if he is elected, he plans to implement a program to help clubs write a constitution. He said this is a requirement for all clubs that want to be recognized by ASUA, and he realizes how difficult it can be.

To help with retention, Nguyen said she plans on hiring a team of people to help motivate, organize and plan events with clubs.

The administrative vice presidential position oversees the 15 programs and services at the UA including Safe Ride, Spring Fling, Legal Services, Students for Sustainability and Freshman Class Council. Candidates Dani Dobrusin, a political science junior, and Paige Sager, a marketing junior, were asked about how to improve these programs and services.

One major change that Dobrusin said she wants to initiate is a five-year plan to save money spent by Safe Ride. She said she plans to do this by starting a fund to buy hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Although these vehicles are not planned to be released outside of California for the next three years, she said, in the future these cars could save Safe Ride a lot of money. Sager responded, saying that although it is a good plan, some of the funds toward these vehicles may be spent on fixing Safe Ride’s current cars. The cars tend to break down a lot, Sager said.

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