The Collegian moderated a presidential debate at Fresno State on Friday where the two candidates for ASI president went head-to-head to convince the student body they were the best choice.
The two candidates running for president of Associated Students, Inc. are junior political science major and current ASI senator for the College of Social Sciences, Tim Ryan, and sophomore political science major and current ASI senator at-large for Athletics and Recreation, Cameran Patterson.
During the opening statements, Ryan talked about his two-year experience with ASI first as a research assistant and then as a senator. He also is a Smittcamp Family Honors scholar, and the philanthropy director and scholarship director of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity, of which he is a member.
Ryan said as president he would like to address student financial burdens, expand healthy food options on campus and increase student involvement.
Patterson talked about his involvement with ASI as a senator and as a member of the Legal Committee. Patterson also introduced a five-point plan to improve the Fresno State campus if he were to become president.
Patterson said his plan includes awareness of resources on campus, transparency when dealing with ASI, a water conservation plan, a judiciary board to cure safety problems on campus and a community revitalization plan.
Patterson said students should vote for him because of his ability to connect with the average student.
“I’m not in this to be a politician, I’m here to be a humanitarian and seek ways that I can help every single Fresno State student to the best of my ability,” Patterson said.
Ryan said as president, he would like to broaden his impact on the campus and create more services and awareness for those services for students across the campus.
“I’m hoping to be able to have that opportunity to serve students in the presidential position and to have the opportunity to focus my positive energy and impact this campus in a positive way,” Ryan said.
On insuring First Amendment rights, Ryan said he supports students’ right to free speech all across campus, not just in the Free Speech Area.
“There isn’t a place on campus that is attempting to deter students from being able to speak their minds,” Ryan said. “I would make sure that students [are] aware that they can and that there would not be any sort of prosecution for students if they want to make sure that they have the ability to voice their beliefs.”
Patterson said he would like to make sure every student knows that their First Amendment right is protected on campus.
“Every student and every individual has something new to bring to the table,” Patterson said. “Even though we might not agree to these ideas, we might not agree with these beliefs, what is comes down to is allowing those ideas to enter a melting pot and us to cultivate ideas.”
With Fresno State being a commuter campus, Patterson said parking on campus is a big issue and he would like to work with other students to find a solution to the parking situation, but he could not say with certainty that he would support a parking structure.
Ryan said after data on the effectiveness of the Bulldog Express shuttle comes out, he would have a better understanding of whether or not a parking structure would be beneficial. Ryan said a parking structure would definitely be costly and affect student fees, but he is willing to do what is best for the students.
Ryan said that hasty decisions should not be made when dealing with the campus getting a parking structure or a new University Student Union.
“I want to allow the voice of the students to be able to make that decision,” Ryan said. “There are going to have to be fee increases for students so it’s going to be what students are more comfortable paying for and what they think is going to be a better use of their funds and what is going to have a more positive impact on this campus.”
Patterson said he believes a new USU will allow students to feel more comfortable to be on campus, but something like a referendum should be used to get the voices of the whole student body heard, and not just administration and ASI.
“It would really depend on what the students want and what changes they want to see on campus,” Patterson said. “Whatever decision that they make collectively, I will stand with that decision.”
Ryan said that he wants to push campus health awareness and expand health food options on campus. He said awareness of health services, including physical health, mental health and counseling services is important.
Patterson said there’s always room for improvement as far as healthy food options on campus. He said he would also like to expand healthy food options at Campus Pointe.
On the upcoming possibility of a faculty strike, Ryan said he supports the faculty and their decision to strike as long as it does not inhibit students from their education.
Patterson also supports the faculty and their right to strike. He said they deserve higher compensation for all of the work that they do.
A member from the audience asked the candidates if their platforms included getting students to utilize the advising services on campus.
Patterson said he would try to make students aware of the advising services, but also engaging with advisers to see the problems they see happening on campus.
Ryan said he would like to address the discrepancies between the advising services offered between colleges and make sure each student from these colleges have the same services offered to them in order to make sure that they have support.
Ryan urged students to vote and get involved more with campus.
Patterson said that he hoped students got more engaged and excited to vote.
ASI elections begin Tuesday at 9 a.m. and run until noon on Thursday.