The Downtown campus student government announced Monday who will run for office this semester, with current President Joseph Grossman and nonprofit leadership and management sophomore Erika Green headlining the two executive tickets.
Grossman will run with current Vice President of Services David Bakardjiev as his vice president of policy and criminal justice and political science junior Leighana Moldrem as his vice president of services.
Green, who interns with the Arizona Students’ Association, will run with health sciences pre-professional freshman Sally Lopez Bravo as vice president of policy and journalism freshman Travis Moore as vice president of services.
Grossman and Lopez Bravo have come into conflict this semester, even before they knew they would be running against each other.
In late January, Lopez Bravo and an Arizona Students’ Association intern gave a presentation to one of Grossman’s classes. The intern she was with misspoke during her presentation, Lopez Bravo said, calling ASU President Michael Crow “Jim Crow.”
Grossman said the presentation was unprofessional and “unprofessionalism is unacceptable,” he said.
Grossman said he called the executive director of ASA and said Lopez Bravo should be fired for not acting professionally, and also said they should write an apology letter to Crow and the class professor.
As a student organizer with ASA, Lopez Bravo is responsible for the interns.
Lopez Bravo said she and the intern, of their own accord, sent a letter to Crow and the professor, apologizing for what happened and everything was resolved.
Looking back, Grossman said asking for someone to fire Lopez Bravo might have been excessive.
“These things happen,” Lopez Bravo said. “A small problem became a large issue.”
Lopez Bravo said the incident did not play into her decision to run or not when Green approached her in early February. She had been planning to run for a USGD position since fall semester.
“They’re doing such a great job,” Lopez Bravo said. “I just think there should be another leadership perspective.”
Green said the group she has set up to challenge Grossman is well-qualified for their jobs.
Moore is a Devil’s Advocate, applied to be a CA next year and was president of his high school’s student government, Green said. He has been interested in becoming more engaged with the campus, she added.
Lopez Bravo is well versed in what goes on at the Capitol through more than a semester of working with the Arizona Students’ Association, first as an intern and now as student organizer, Green said. Like Moore, Lopez Bravo was also the president of her high school’s student body.
The new addition to Grossman’s ticket from last year, Moldrem, is qualified to work as the vice president of services because she knows how the university works, Grossman said. She has worked with students, and the vice president of services is supposed to stay connected with students, Grossman said.
He began talking with her about running about a month before the application was due, Grossman said.
“She brings a very different, creative outlook into the field,” he said. “She’s really a go-getter.”
With three juniors on Grossman’s ticket and two freshmen and a sophomore on Green’s, candidates’ experience could be an important factor in the race.
But Green said she is not worried, and that her ticket’s youth might be a benefit.
“I’m not afraid or intimidated,” Green said. “With them being older, they’ve been on campus longer, but we have a fresh view and we can see the problems maybe they can’t.”
Originally, three executive tickets applied to run along with 10 students going for senator positions, but one of the executive tickets was disqualified and two potential senators dropped out due to other obligations, according to a USGD statement.
Director of Administration Rudy Rivas said the election committee met Friday and voted 4-1 to disqualify the third executive ticket after one of the members was found to be ineligible.
Rivas said even with one less executive ticket, the election season should still be exciting.
“I think we have two good groups, and they’re going to have a good election season against each other,” he said.
The two senators who dropped out had applied to run for a Barrett, the Honors College seat and a Cronkite School seat.
There aren’t any students running to represent Barrett, the Honors College.
The disqualification of candidates was a much bigger problem on the Tempe campus this year, said ASASU Elections Director Derrik Hester.
Of the 19 students who originally applied to run for the Senate, nine were disqualified for missing information on their applications — usually a transcript.
“For us, it was a little bit ridiculous,” Hester said, adding the application clearly states what documents are needed to complete it.
The 10 students now running for office are all assured of earning a seat, as long as they aren’t disqualified.
Part of the reason few students are running, Hester said, is because of the late start he got promoting the applications.
Hester said he was appointed to his position four months later than the election code calls for, giving him only two weeks to do the work that would have filled those four months.
“We tried our hardest, but it was just something that was hard to overcome for me,” he said.
The low turnout was exacerbated when one of the two executive tickets that applied to run was disqualified. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing that ticket’s dismissal, Hester said. A decision on whether they will remain disqualified will be made by Wednesday.
Even if the ticket remains disqualified, Hester said it doesn’t necessarily mean students will be left with a bad choice for president.
The quality of the candidate is more important than having a large range of candidates to choose from, he said.
“It’ll definitely be an election without a bunch of options,” Hester said. “Having just one ticket, for me, I don’t think it’s bad.”
Students in the the Downtown campus’s College of Public Programs will not have to worry about a lack of candidates. Five students will run for the college’s two seats, including current senators Joey Amonett and Cecilio Porras.
“We have a lot of majors that are specifically directed at civic engagement,” Amonett said. “Student government is a great way to get involved … as they are trying to become leaders in the community.”
The other three students running for the Senate are running unopposed.
Current senators Malcolm Brinkley and Eneida Shqalsi will run again for their seats representing the Cronkite School and School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, respectively.
Elementary education major Monica Payne is running to represent the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. If she is elected and represents the college in the fall, she will be its first representative since Andrew Schmiedeler resigned from his seat amid constitutional violations in January 2011.
“It would have been nice to have a little more competition, because I feel like competition drives results,” Amonett said. “But … it is what it is and we kind of have to go from there.”
This is the second straight year the College of Public Program’s Senate seats are the only seats with more than two applicants. Last year, there were three candidates for the two seats.
Amonett said last year he only spoke with students he ran into and didn’t actively seek them out to campaign. With five students vying for the seats this year, he said the race will probably be similarly campaigned as the executive race.
“I just have to go out and say how I think I can make the Downtown campus and the College of Public Programs better,” Amonett said.
Rivas said he is more excited for the College of Public Programs race than even the executive race.
“We’ve never had this many people apply for one Senate seat,” Rivas said. “This just shows a lot of people want to get involved in student government.”
But overall, the number of students voted into office on April 10-11 will be less than last year. A new Downtown election policy outlaws write-in candidates, so the highest number of students who could be elected to Senate seats this spring is five. Last year, the campus elected eight senators.
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Correction: March 13, 2012
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the senate seats for the Cronkite School had no applicants after two candidates dropped out due to other obligations. Malcolm Brinkley is running again for his Cronkite School seat.
Correction: April 2, 2012
An earlier version of this article had Leighana Moldrem’s name spelled incorrectly.