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“That’s too bad”: A recap of tonight’s CUSG debate

There are more than 80 candidates and three tickets running this election, which is high for CU Student Government elections. The addition of a third party makes for a large playing field this year. It is a chance to hear answers and to learn a little more about who the heck is running this year and why you should care about them.

There is a large gallery of Unite people because of the dominance of this party in the current government. There are a ton of the most influential groups and bloggers that were stationed there too covering the most important CUSG event of the year coming into the elections. The three parties seemed to group together as well, making for a very unique experience in cheering on their people, and I was in the middle of all of it.

There is also a huge number of candidates running for other positions in the audience. There are very few of us who do not fit any of the above categories, myself included.

On to the questions:

The first question on both the representatives side and the tri-executive side was about the allocation and services of student fees.

They all said practically the same thing. They all looked toward efficiency and working with administration to create transparency as to what student fees are being spent on. This years budgets are not actually available because of the outdated website.

The second question was about student outreach and involvement, especially of the younger students and transfer students.

A lot of opportunities are not being utilized, said everyone in the group. They all seem to be obsessed with expanding office hours. The two main parties are also talking about freshman council a lot and the difficulties with SOFO, again because of the outdated website. That creates a huge disconnect on campus because people don’t know where to go.

The third question was about an issue that is very important to me. That issue is on mental health and how we can better mental health care.

They are all obsessed with safety on the hill, which is actually a huge problem. There are a ton of other resources available that people don’t know about. Inspire is also wanting to expand mental health services like CAPS (THANK YOU!) and are looking to expand advertising for these services. It is all about making students feel comfortable on campus because of the stigmatization of the mental health problem on campus. As someone with mental health problems, this is something that is very important for me.

The next question was on commuication between the CUSG, Administration, and students on the whole. This is an issue that is very important to the CUSG because it has been a struggle historically.

There is a disconnect because there is no transparency and the CUSG is not keeping up with the times. They are also not keeping up with other colleges and with the latest technology. Updating technology is key!!! Communication starts with freshmen and transfer students. Centralizing everything is so important on this campus. All three groups are also looking to have CUSG members get involved in everything.

The next question was about tuition. I predicted that all three groups would pull out the “lowering tuition card” meaning that they think they can actually shrink tuition rates.

What they can actually do: Nothing

What they say they will do: Support more funding for higher education. Unite is pulling out the “decrease tuition card” but they cannot actually REDUCE tuition. Colorado successfully passed a bill to cap increases, but tuition will forever increase at some level. CUSG is using their fees most efficiently. Movement and Inspire did not say that they would work with legislators to decrease tuition because that is a nearly impossible dream. An Inspire representative said something that is pure GOLD! “That’s too bad” (referring to increasing tuition cost pushing many people away from the university) is pure GOLD!

The next question was about the Movement group and their involvement in the CUSG.

Movement members actually do a lot individually inside and outside the CUSG. They are just as reputable as other party members.

The first unique question posed to the tri-executives running was about Wardenburg and their health insurance plans.

Many believe that the insurance is inadequate for students and it is not transparent enough. They also want to explore insurance plans that are more adequate for the individual students. They are also looking to foster a new relationship with Wardenburg. The gold plan does not cover specialist visits, which is something that is not known by many students, and that opting out is a key option for saving you a ton of money.

The next question was about 4/20 (only in Colorado)

Many students are not happy with the treatment of 4/20. It makes CU look like a police state. Focus should be on education in using these recreational drugs like the cannabis symposium. The issue on campus is a divided issue and affects our degree. It is just as big a deal to make it a ploic state as it is on campus. There is a better way to combat this issue. Hope is that the issue will go away (it wont). They are all on the same page (again) about this issue.

The next question was about integrating international students into student life.

Encouraging students to study abroad is key. International students are very beneficial to our degree. Targeted outreach to students and mentoring is also very important. There is also an important emphasis on acclimating them to campus life in the United States.

Recently, an initiative called the “Chancellors Protocol” was expanded. As a result of this, the Legislative Council of the CUSG did not have as much power in deciding how much money would be allocated into the cost centers on the CU campus. Legislative council members from every party had something to say about that.

They explained that it needs to be revisited because of the way Legislative Council was taken out of the decision making process. Legislative Council is being overlooked to a large extent because of the new protocol and the investment they put in to cost centers as an individual needs to be recognized.

The next question was about the campus climate.

Campus Climate is lessened as differences arise by having different backgrounds and issues. A primary focus was on helping out the veterans because of the unique challenges they face and the growing number of them that are coming to CU.

The next question was about campus climate.

There is a lack of any idea as to what the true campus climate is like because of the lack of initiative by the administration, although they are trying to get that across. It needs to be led somewhat by the students and it needs to be communicated in such a way that all students would be able to answer these questions. The campus has also been working on Diversity Training by all staff members and increasing awareness of the differences that make us who we are.

All in all, the candidates gave some good and interesting answers to the questions that are pressuring our campus today. They all seem equally qualified and matched and they gave very similar answers to many of the questions. So to all the candidates, good luck, and to all the voters, vote, VOTE for CUSG.

Here are the main issues that came across in my opinion:

  1. Increase transparency and communication on all sides. (administration, community, CUSG)
  2. Increasing awareness of groups, people, and communities on campus.
  3. Listening to the student needs on campus that they do not talk about is crucial.
  4. Making sure that the community is safe and healthy.
  5. Tapping into the technology and resources of the day in a more efficient manner.

If you need more information on the candidates and to see a video of the debates, please follow this link: http://cusg.colorado.edu/content/elections

 

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