Senate hopefuls discuss platforms

By Christie S. Peterson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Just as there are trends in pop culture, there are trends in ASUA campaign issues.

This year, the trends among Undergraduate Senate candidates are toward making student government more accessible and accountable to students and increasing student involvement campus-wide.

The campaigns of nearly all 12 running Mark Willner, Mindy McCollum, Gahl Leddel, Mike Lavin, Sergio Jasso, Charlie Hong, Andrew Higgins, Kyle Dorsey, Enrique Davis, Gilbert Davidson, Jonathan Bierner, and Jay Won Bartlett follow these trends.

Because of space considerations, the first six will be profiled today and the second group will be featured in Monday's Wildcat.

Mark Willner has never participated in ASUA before and does not plan to pursue a career in politics. He sees these as benefits.

"It seems to me that the senate is very cliquish, a real resume-builder for a lot of people," he said. "I'm just trying to do some good."

Willner not only wants to expand student knowledge of ASUA, making it "student oriented instead of resume-oriented," but also increase campus safety through better lighting and increased programs.

"It's an issue that people have tried to bring up every year, but it's never accomplished," he said. "There are so many things that would be so easy to do to heighten security."

Mindy McCollum has worked as Brad Milligan's aide this year, attended every senate meeting, and wants to become a senator for next.

Her campaign focuses on the creation of "Wildcat Days" which would be rally-type events held once a month to "increase Wildcat spirit."

"The students pay a student fee and that fee should go back to students," she said.

The second thing McCollum wants to do is to increase academic advising, especially for freshmen, through a peer advising program.

She said she sees a problem with the current system where there are 12 academic advisors for the 14,000 students in the College of Arts and Sciences. She wants to utilize upperclassmen to fill this shortage because, "they were just there; they just went through that."

Gahl Leddel has also never held an elected office in ASUA, but wants to run because, "I've had a few ideas, a few things I wanted to do as a senator."

His goals include improving parking on campus through the "implementation of non-traditional methods" of transportation, such as the UA shuttle service, which he said too many students are not aware of.

Leddel also plans on "revamping of the UDWPE (Upper Division Writing Provision Exam)," a graduation requirement.

"UDWPE may not be a marquee issue, but it's something every student must take," Leddel said. He disagrees with it because he said it is not representative of the way students are taught to write and is "not an effective gauge of students' writing abilities."

Leddel also wants to create a program to loan computers to students who need them for classes but cannot afford them.

Mike Lavin has many things that he wants to accomplish in ASUA next year, but is most intent on increasing student involvement in the representative process.

"What I'm definitely running on is not just my own issues, but the issues of students on campus," he said. "I want to be a representative, not a trustee."

To reach more students, Lavin wants to hold regularly scheduled question and answer "Mall meetings" and get more coverage of the issues addressed at each meeting in the "Wildcat."

These student-oriented issues include increasing campus safety, club funding, bookstore managing, lobbying of regents and administration, cost of food on campus, and "a more proactive ASUA."

"It's really bad when you're being represented by people you don't know or often (don't) have direct access to," he said.

Sergio Jasso is also running on many issues issues that others have already run and won on ones that are "close to finalization," and whose current sponsors are graduating.

Among his issues are the publication of teacher evaluations, which current ASUA President T.J. Trujillo ran on last year. Jasso worked on his campaign and said the issue is "close to my heart."

He said he is worried that if efforts are backed off now, administrators will "bury" it and the project will not reach completion.

Another of Jasso's issues is to have all course-related fees, such as special calculators or computer programs, published to be "fair and better for students."

Finally, Jasso said he would like to increase funds to minority resource centers on campus, which he calls "a good tool for a great number of students on campus."

Charlie Hong has worked in the Department of Student Programs as the Greek Outreach Director and as the Vice President of Finance in the Inter-Fraternity Council.

His major goals if elected will be to increase student enjoyment and safety on campus.

"I think that students are here for an education, but on top of that, they're here for fun," he said. To do this, he wants to bring more popular concerts to campus.

Offsetting this fun is a concern for student safety, which he said he wants to boost by adding more blue emergency lights and telephones around campus.

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