Video by Dan Neligh and Jessica Goldberg
Slideshow by Stephanie Snyder and Molly Smith
At Wednesday night’s presidential debate, the Cano/Vaughn and Vasquez/Abercrombie campaigns took similar stances on many topics but often differed in how they would approach those issues, most notably when it came to executive board salaries.
The campaigns’ views on executive board salaries became a main topic of discrepancy when freshman Sen. Andres Cano revealed that, while he wanted to increase the salaries of senators, he would cut the salary of executive board members, himself included, by 50 percent.
“We have faculty facing a decrease in their pay and student leaders need to as well,” Cano said, adding that he does not think students should have to worry about student government’s salaries in a time like this.
Freshman Sen. Vaughn Hillyard, of Barrett, the Honors College, said that he thinks elected members of ASASUD should be doing their jobs because they are passionate about their campus. “It shouldn’t be about pay. This is about campus development.”
Conversely, junior Director of Parliamentary Procedures Christian Vasquez and freshman Sen. Jessica Abercrombie, of the Walter Cronkite School, advocated for a salary increase among senators and members of the judiciary board while maintaining the current compensation for the executive board. Vasquez said elected leaders work a great deal, and they need to be compensated fairly.
“We definitely think that the senators do a lot in their roles. They have to be a part of at least two different committees, and those committee can meet as many times as once a week or even twice a week.” Vasquez said.
However, both presidential candidates said they did not support the push to make downtown a tobacco-free campus.
Vasquez said he thinks the ban would not work because it would be difficult to regulate. He said that it could be unsafe for students to have to wander through downtown Phoenix if they want to smoke a cigarette late at night or early in the morning.
“People come and walk through our campus that aren’t students. How are they supposed to know about this ‘no smoking’ ban on campus? How are they supposed to be regulated? How are students supposed to be regulated?” Vasquez said
Cano said that although he supports having a healthy campus, he opposes the smoking ban because he believes students should be able to choose if they want to smoke.
“We do not support this ban, however we will support making sure that downtown student government is going to provide health classes to help those who want to stop smoking,” Cano said.
The campaigns also expressed their plans to work on expanding the M&G program on the Downtown campus.
Cano and Hillyard said they are supporting the campaign, advocating increased dining options downtown along with increased M&G and Sun Dollar options.
“Our campaign is going to promise that all those rows of restaurants right next to the Cronkite School are going to have M&G options,” Cano added
Vasquez said Aramark’s contract with ASU is not binding and he wants the company that handles the M&G program to know that the University can go elsewhere if it needs to.
“If we are not getting what we want from Aramark we can go somewhere else, and that is something we will definitely advocate for and remind Aramark that they need to work with us, because eventually that contract is going to be up and we can decide to go with another provider,” Vasquez said.
Throughout the debate there were also concerns about the candidates that came into question.
Vasquez’s commitment to the Downtown campus was brought up when Cano said somebody whose only connection to the campus is his minor should not run for president.
“I am new here, this is my first semester here, but something that should not be questioned is my dedication to this campus,” Vasquez said, later adding, “I am a commuter student. I understand the needs of commuter students, and Jessica understands the needs of residential students. And that is why together we think we can best represent all of the students here at this campus.”
Hillyard himself was criticized, too, when Abercrombie questioned his lack of experience and knowledge of the campus’s constitution.
“I think the constitution its something we should look at,” Hillyard said. “When it comes to the universal constitution it is something I’m brand new to, but the idea is that its having all four campuses focus on one constitution. Andres and I are not supporters of that. As we said earlier, the downtown campus is unique.”
Cano and Vaughn also shot down claims they plan to downsize campus recreation.
“It is false to say that I have said that we are going to downsize campus (recreation),” Cano said. “We are not going to do that. That has never come out of my mouth.”
Question’s surrounding Abercrombie’s ethics were also brought up when debate shifted to a meeting where the Cronkite senator did not abstain from voting on a request for funds for a trip for campus recreational activity that she participated in.
“I put myself in the position as representing my constituents, and a good portion of the students who went were Cronkite constituents,” Abercrombie said. “And I voted in favor of them.”
Elections will be next Tuesday and Wednesday.
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