ASUA vice presidential candidates debate recap

Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat ASUA Executive Vice President Candidate Matthew Rein answers questions fielded by a panel in the Sabino Room of the Student Union Memorial Center on Friday, Feb. 23. Questions included topics such as diversity and renaming Colombus day to Indigenous People's Day.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona hosted a debate for its three vice-presidential candidates that advanced to the general elections on Wednesday Feb. 23. Each candidate had the opportunity to introduce their platforms and answer questions from a panel.

The vice-presidential debate is the third out of four debates hosted over the month of February leading up to the ASUA general elections set to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 27. 

Executive vice-presidential candidate Matthew Rein is the only candidate running for the positio. His platforms are connecting clubs across campus with ASUA, ensuring that senators stay engaged with their constituency and fighting to lower tuition and fees. 

Rein engaged in a question-and-answer forum with a panel consisting of ASUA elections commissioner Marlon Freeman, current ASUA executive vice president David McGarey, current ASUA at-large senator Cris Reyes, Jacob Sickler who directs marketing for ASUA and current club advocate Cassandra Bade. 

The administrative vice-presidential portion of the forum was a debate between the two candidates. The two candidates--Kate Rosenstengel and Shawn McCarthy--were the only two candidates to run for the position in the primary elections. 

Both had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their platforms. 

Rosenstengel currently serves as an at-large senator in ASUA. Rosenstengel’s platforms are to hire diverse program directors for ASUA, begin program fairs so that the student body is aware of what ASUA has to offer and increase collaboration within the programs that would sit under her leadership. 

McCarthy currently serves as deputy chief of staff to current administrative vice president Lorenzo Johnson. 

McCarthy’s platforms are to aid UA Campus Pantry, develop an ASUA strategic plan that involves the student-body, re-establishing ASUA’s relationship with Housing and Residential Life, create an "ASUA Next Steps" program for freshman and a new diversion program for parking tickets and conduct violations. 

Rosenstengel and McCarthy both answered questions by a different panel than the group that questioned Rein. 

The panel for the administrative vice-presidential debate consisted of Johnson, his current chief of staff Brie Alford, Chance Stewart who is directing Spring Fling, Courtney Pijanowski, co-director of Students for Sustainability and Sabrina Etcheverry, co-director for ASUA Pride Alliance. 

All three candidates were asked questions specific to their platforms and potential roles during their portions of the forum. However, all three candidates were asked some of the same questions. 

The three were asked about aiding in efforts to change Christopher Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. All three supported the efforts and gave their own ideas on how ASUA can aid in the process. 

Rein sees ASUA getting involved in the efforts by holding events with Native American student-based groups on campus to build a good relationship with them. Rosenstengel, agreed, echoing the power of public protest to make a difference. 

McCarthy would make it a goal for the month of October, when Columbus Day is celebrated, to educate people on the history of Christopher Columbus. He would want to show that the administrative branch of ASUA stands in solidarity with this measure. 

They were also asked about boosting opportunity for marginalized communities to participate in programs like study abroad and alternative breaks. 

The three agreed that opening up scholarships opportunities to allow marginalized students to have a chance to participate can increase the chances of those students being able to go. 

All three were asked about how they would use their roles to increase equity on campus, to which they all said that recognizing privilege would be a good first step. 

ASUA will host their presidential debate between current at-large senator Anna Woolridge and current ASUA diversity director Natalynn Masters on Sunday, Feb. 25. The ASUA general elections will be held from Tuesday, Feb. 27 to Wednesday, Feb. 28. 

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