Prez candidates debate smoking
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 13:02
The five candidates running for ASUSU president — the largest number of candidates for the office in years — debated Monday in the Hub on how to best keep students involved, responsible money management and whether USU should become a non-smoking campus.
In regards to USU’s status on smoking, the candidates were split on the issue. Candidate Luke Ensign said though he has opinions of his own, it comes down to the students.
“I think it would actually be good,” Ensign said, “but it all comes down to number one — what the students think about that. What do the majority say?”
Candidates Hayden Smith, Chaise Warr and Doug Fiefia also said it was an issue for students to decide.
Candidate Josue Carias said he was for a campus-wide smoking ban.
“If you’ve ever had a whiff of somebody else’s smoke coming through while you’re walking to class, they are infringing on your rights,” Carias said. “They can smoke off campus — that’s totally fine, they can live their lives, but they are infringing on someone else’s rights when they smoke and that gets all up in your face.”
In addition to prepared questions, Abigail Kingsford, debate moderator and ASUSU public relations director, asked the candidates questions submitted via Twitter. The first came from ASUSU President Christian Thrapp on how to help international students feel like they belong at USU.
“I think they are not understood as students, and I think if we could throw events for them and have ASUSU promote them, I think we can appreciate their culture and invite them and make them feel at home at USU,” Fiefia said.
International students tend to stay within their own “niche” when they get to USU, Smith said. Promoting campus-wide events where a wide variety of people can come learn about the cultures at USU is something he said he wants to do.
Questions were also taken from the audience in the Hub.
Jake Johnson, a sophomore in political science, asked about specific ways the candidates plan to hold ASUSU accountable to the students.
“I’ve noticed in my time here that I don’t know if ASUSU really has a matrix for holding yourselves accountable to students,” Johnson said. “There seems to be kind of this upper echelon you all report to, but not to me, the average student. How do you plan to fix that?”
Ensign said one of his plans if he takes office will be to have each of the college senators regularly create a short video of what they are up to and post it online so students can ask questions about it.
Smith said he wants the ASUSU officers to stay visible to students.
“Basically, we do all this campaigning and we have some great officers this year, but sometimes after all this campaigning you don’t see them ever again,” Smith said. “I want the officers to be more out there with the students ... I don’t want them to just disappear into their offices and just disappear into what they’re doing.”
Warr, who is currently ASUSU’s programming vice president, said he wants to continue practices adopted this year such as posting goals online and hosting open forums. Fiefia also said he wants to continue the practice of posting goals.
Knowing where the money is being spent is important, Carias said. He added he will post where money is being spent on Canvas for students to see and also make certain fees opt-in.
Why involvement is important came up in the last question of the debate.
“I haven’t been involved, I don’t know for sure still what ASUSU is,” said Taylor Carlisle, a freshman in civil engineering. “My question is, what are you planning on doing? Because the reason I am not involved is I don’t understand why you would be involved. What are you planning to do to change that, if it’s so important to be involved?”