ASUA Senate Q&A provides students with chance to learn about candidates

Randall Eck | The Daily Wildcat Candidates in the ASUA Senate race for the 2019-2020 school year spoke in front of members of the public in the Kiva Auditorium on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Each candidate had time to speak about their platforms and answer questions from current ASUA members and the audience.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona, UA’s undergraduate student-government body, hosted a public Q&A for students to learn about the candidates seeking to represent UA’s colleges and student body in the AUSA Senate next year on Wednesday, March 20. 

The forum, hosted in the Kiva Auditorium of the Student Union Memorial Center, attracted a small crowd of supporters and students. Each candidate had the opportunity to address the crowd and answer questions from a panel of current ASUA senators and from the public. 

Of ASUA’s 13 college-specific senate seats, the seat for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is the only competitive race. The seat for the College of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture has no candidates at all. 

          RELATED: Leaders of tomorrow: get to know the ASUA executive candidates

In an election where none of ASUA’s three executive positions have more than one candidate, the only competitive race most UA students will vote on is for ASUA’s three at-large senate seats. Five candidates are vying for these positions. 

Students can vote online in ASUA’s elections at on March 25 and 26 and can read candidates’ full platforms. 

Learn about the five candidates vying for ASUA’s at-large senate seats and their positions as well as performance at ASUA’s March 20 forum below: 

Rocque Perez

Rocque Perez, a political science student, is currently an at-large ASUA student body senator running for re-election. He spoke in a senate Q&A session in the Kiva Auditorium on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Perez, a political science sophomore, is the only current ASUA senator seeking re-election.

Perez laid out his three campaign pillars — civic engagement, student engagement and equality vs. equity — during his time onstage. 

“I think that there needs to be some kind of legislation within ASUA to establish requirements for ASUA senators to reach out to and build relationships with cultural centers on campus,” Perez said. 

Perez also plans to work with Census campaigners on campus to ensure university students are represented, better market ASUA’s presence and purpose to students on campus and work with the scholarship department on programs to support aimed to increase equity on campus. 

Skyler Kopit

Skyler Kopit is a physiology junior and an ASUA student body senator candidate. She spoke and answered questions at the ASUA Senate Q&A in the Kiva Auditorium on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Kopit, a physiology junior, was formerly the Social Media Chair of the Student Health Advocacy Committee.

Kopit plans to advocate for free mental health consulting on campus, lengthening SafeRide’s hours to increase student safety and the creation of a textbook donation area in UA’s libraries. 

“My passion for student’s wellbeing drives my campaign. This includes their mental health and my campaign to provide free [Counseling and Psych Services] sessions to students; their physical health and campaign to lengthen SafeRide hours and their financial well-being and my campaign to create a textbook donation location in the library,” Kopit said. 

Kopit also wants to bridge the gap between ASUA and students to increase access to available services and resources. 

Ana Mendoza

Ana Mendoza is a transfer student and one of five candidates vying for a position as one of three ASUA student body senators. She spoke in front of current ASUA members and the public at a Q&A in the Kiva Auditorium on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Mendoza, a political science student, is running for ASUA on the platform of increased diversity and inclusion as well as support for transfer students like herself. 

Mendoza wants to increase ASUA support for cultural centers on campus, create programs to help students navigate funding for graduate school tests as well as applications and expand outreach efforts at community college campuses. 

“I want our cultural centers to provide training to ASUA and for ASUA to show constant support for our marginalized students on campus, especially for those in the DACA community,” Mendoza said. 

Mendoza wants ASUA to increase student outreach and ensure transparency and students to have a seat at the table when ASUA is communicating with UA’s administration.  

Rodrigo Robles

Rodrigo Robles is a pre-business student and one of five candidates running for ASUA student body senator. He answered questions as a part of the Senate Q&A in the Kiva Auditorium on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Robles, a pre-business student, is a member of KAMP Student Radio.

Robles plans to engage UA clubs, fight for sustainability on campus and improve campus safety if elected. 

One of Robles' main platforms is introducing re-usable straws to campus and revamping recycling around the SUMC. 

“I want to be active on campus. I like to interact with people; building connections is so important,” Robles said. 

If elected, Robles told the forum he is ready to work as a team and devote his time to the Senate. 

Mark Jennings

Mark Jennings is one of five candidates vying for three student body senator positions in ASUA. He spoke in ASUA's senate Q&A in the Kive Auditorium on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Jennings, a student in the Eller College of Management, highlighted three majors themes for his campaign: student safety, free-speech protection and more efficient campus services. 

Jennings promised to fight against the establishment of “free speech zones on campus,” which he said limit the diversity of campus discourse inside and outside of the classroom. 

“I want to improve student safety by trying to get the SafeRide program to run 24 hours a day, because it is not currently available during the times of day when students are most vulnerable,” Jennings said. 

Jennings also plans to bring more Tucson police onto campus. 

Jennings also pledged to be available to all students to hear complaints and suggestions to improve ASUA and the university. 

Check back to the Daily Wildcat after ASUA’s elections for full profiles of all of next year’s senators and their campaign promises.  

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