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Friday, December 19, 2014

ASUNM presidential candidate roundtable

news@dailylobo.com

Next Wednesday undergraduates can vote for student government representatives from “Unite for ASUNM,” “Believe for ASUNM” and “Shout for ASUNM” slates in the ASUNM elections. Read up on the presidential candidates and their platforms today before heading to the polls next week. Questions and responses for vice-presidential candidates will run Monday.

Holly Marquez, “Unite for ASUNM”

Daily Lobo: If elected, on what principles would you model your presidency?

HM: “The main reason is integrity, because you always want to be someone who can work with students: You’re approachable, you’re never someone that’s just not doing what’s right for yourself, students, and the University. One of the main concerns with students is that there is not communication with departments, with administrators, within students, and so they always ask for more community.”

DL: After months of debate, the SUB Board finally decided in February to keep Chick-fil-A on campus. Did you work to support or refute this decision?

HM: “It was probably one of the toughest decisions I ever made. It’s a very controversial topic. You had to look at two different things: the student voice, the students who are feeling victimized by this problem, and then you have to look at UNM’s side. Is it feasible and what is the restaurant doing that is not working on campus? I stick with my decision to keep Chick-fil-A on campus, but I also support the legislation that we’re working on through the SUB Board. The Retail and Marketing Committee is working on specific guidelines … because I don’t think we should have this open discussion every single time that a student has a problem with something.”

DL: Earlier in the semester, the University witnessed various cases of assaults on campus that prompted safety initiatives from the administration. If elected, how do you plan to make the campus safer for students?

HM: “Already the student affairs office is working on a lot of initiatives which I also support. They’re holding forums and counseling sessions on how to deal with assaults. Personally, I think that we just need to look at how our safety structure is and I would have to further research on who I’d want to work with about that. I can tell you that sometimes I do feel unsafe, and being a student listening to all these horror stories, you want to take action, but I think it also takes time to figure out how to do that.”

DL: There have been discussions about whether the Athletics Department has been receiving too much money from student fees. What are your opinions on this, and how do you think the University could operate more efficiently on a tight budget?

HM: “I have learned more than anything that the University is a very complex system and the decisions that the Student Fee Review Board made this past session are really intricate. As far as giving more funding to Athletics, people are going to ask for money because they want to give the most that they can for the organization that they are affiliated with. I think that it is always about compromising. We have to let them know what we have to work with and see what we can take away and what we can give to make it a good program within limits.

Getting rid of unnecessary things … there’s always something that can be reduced just because it’s not being utilized enough.”

DL: A number of UNM students are older, non-traditional students who have one or two jobs while taking classes at UNM and who commute to campus. Considering that you are a young, traditional student, how are you prepared to represent non-traditional students?

HM: “I would ensure that diversity is a main focus, because UNM and New Mexico have a varying range of demographics and personality styles. My goal would be to further communication with nontraditional students by means of monthly emails to the student body and meetings with the Association for Non-Traditional Students. I would like to see how they would like to integrate into campus so we remain transparent with our goals as fellow students at the University. One area where I see that greater involvement and networking can be achieved is teaching the non-traditional demographic about how the ASUNM student government works and how they could get jobs or positions in which to express themselves and help others on campus.”

DL: Why are you the best choice for president?

HM: “I really care about students and the University. No matter what happens, I think that we’re going to have great student leaders on campus and so when I think about my position as president, I know that I will be passionate and dedicated. If someone needs help I’m willing to be a mentor to them. I’m willing and open to new things and working with the students.”

Isaac Romero, “Believe for ASUNM”

DL: If elected, on what principles would you model your presidency?

IR: “I would want to make sure that I am open and available to students. I want students to know of all the leadership opportunities that are available to them, especially within our agencies because there are at least 30 positions that students can get involved in and get paid for.”

DL: After months of debate, the SUB Board finally decided in February to keep Chick-fil-A on campus. Did you work to support or refute this decision?

IR: “This is a pretty big issue that did come up and my stance on it was I did vote to remove Chick-fil-A from the SUB. As a senator, that was how I felt speaking with students. My reason behind that was because speaking with students who might have been discouraged coming to the SUB because they feel unsafe was an issue.”

DL: There has been discussion about whether the Athletics Department has been receiving too much money from student fees. What are your opinions on this, and how do you think the University could operate more efficiently on tight budget?

IR: “As far as increasing student fees for Athletics, I think that it’s necessary to get students’ input. If students want to pay more, I think that Athletics is going to have to offer something more than they already do, which is free tickets. I think it’s great, but I don’t think it’s necessarily fair for students to have to pay for something that might not be their faults. Athletics can look forward to looking into the budget more to see where they can out keep funding and move funding around to see how they can make their budget more efficient.

The University operating on a tighter budget is difficult. At ASUNM we have to deal with a ton of budgets … I guess the University will just have to figure out what their primary concern is and focus on that first and see where the budget needs to be lax or needs to be tightened.”

DL: Earlier in the semester, the University witnessed various cases of assaults on campus that prompted safety initiatives from the administration. If elected, how do you plan to make the campus safer for students?

IR: “UNMPD has taken a lot of steps, such as adding more security on staff. They have become much more visible lately, so … I would make sure that’s sustained. I did see that UNMPD is offering students jobs, so I think that’s great. Allowing students to contribute to the safety of the campus more and making it more of peer accountability is something that we can continue to address and make sure that this kind of safety is maintained.”

DL: A number of UNM students are older, non-traditional students who have one or two jobs while taking classes at UNM and who commute to campus. Considering that you are a young, traditional student, how are you prepared to represent non-traditional students?

IR: “I have met a lot of non-traditional students during my time here. I think the one thing that is most important is giving non-traditional students an opportunity. A lot of times they feel excluded because everything is more geared towards a younger population. We have the Association for Non-Traditional Students and I’ve worked with them before. We need to show them that there are resources and people available here for them and to talk with some of those students to see where they feel that UNM can better cater to their needs.”

DL: Why are you the best choice for president?

IR: “I think I am the best choice for ASUNM president because I’ve been involved since my first semester as a freshman. I have four semesters of senate experience under my belt. I’ve been a resident adviser for two years now and orientation leader and I think these experiences have rooted me here at the University. I have a very open mind and am very open to student input.”

Matthew Skeets, “Shout for ASUNM”

DL: If elected, on what principles would you model your presidency?

MK: “Of course ASUNM is doing good things, but I feel we could expand even further to reach out to student organizations that feel disenfranchised and underrepresented on campus.”

DL: After months of debate, the SUB Board finally decided in February to keep Chick-fil-A on campus. Did you work to support or refute this decision?

MK: “As far as my stance on the “Shout” slate, I really wanted to assess how students’ voices were being heard because at this point we feel that a large portion of the students’ voices were not heard during the debate. We saw the protests and petitions, but we felt that that portion was ignored. If elected, we’d really listen to what the students are saying about it.”

DL: There has been discussion about whether the Athletics Department has been receiving too much money from student fees. What are your opinions on this, and how do you think the University could operate more efficiently on a tight budget?

MK: “We’d really look into how student fees would impact students who have a hard time paying for school. We would also want to look into how increasing student fees would impact student recruitment strategies.

Critically analyzing each aspect of the student body and the intersection of those identities, I think is really important to think about because not all students are the same. We don’t all come from in state, we’re all not from privileged families, some of us have children and I think we have to take that into account when talking about fees and the budget.”

DL: Earlier in the semester, the University witnessed various cases of assault on campus that prompted safety initiatives from the administration. If elected, how do you plan to make the campus safer for students?

MK: “We are taking a proactive stance. We’re not about pointing out the wrongs of the University or what ASUNM is doing in regards to those incidences. We’re really trying to be proactive about this, about instilling workshops that deal with sexuality, with race, and with gender especially. It’s those kinds of workshops that we’re trying to instill during Lobo Orientation, if there’s a way we could have incoming freshmen take those workshops.”

DL: A number of UNM students are older, non-traditional students who have one or two jobs while taking classes at UNM and who commute to campus. Considering that you are a young, traditional student, how are you prepared to represent nontraditional students?

MK: “Our slate is meeting with some non-traditional students this Monday to talk about their needs. With non-traditional students, we have to consider students with children and students who have other priorities rather than school, and work with them to see how we can make ASUNM better suited to represent them.”

DL: Why are you the best choice for president?

MK: “I represent an entirely new perspective, an entirely new voice, an entirely new vision for ASUNM. It’s kind of insulting when people say I shouldn’t be president because I don’t have ASUNM experience. If we’re really grading students if they’re ASUNM-efficient that really brings up these barriers between who can be in ASUNM and who cannot.”