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Cameran Patterson (right), senator at-large who represents athletics and recreation, and Tim Ryan (left), senator for the College of Social Sciences, explain why they are the best choice for ASI President during the ASI Presidential Debate moderated by The Collegian on Friday, March 11, 2016. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

Both ASI presidential candidates express support for CFA

The election to pick a new student government starts Tuesday, but on Friday, during the ASI Presidential Debate, both candidates came out in support for the faculty in the CFA wage dispute with the CSU system.

“I know a lot of students don’t really give faculty the credit they deserve and all the hard work they put in behind the scenes,” said Tim Ryan, one of the two candidates for ASI president. “I am very supportive of the faculty and their movement.”

Ryan clarified his remarks on Saturday to explain that he will stand with the students — whatever their position may be.

“I support the right for faculty to strike in order to be fairly compensated for their hard work and dedication to our students … I support the right to strike as long as the strike activities do not interrupt or inhibit student success and the academic learning environment,” Ryan said.

His opponent, Cameran Patterson, echoed the sentiment on Friday.

“The teaching profession is an extremely valuable profession, and they should be compensated as such,” Patterson said. “I think the least that we can do — not only as ASI representatives, but as students — is to stand by our teachers who have given up so much just for us to enjoy the educational opportunities that we have here at Fresno State.”

Following Friday’s debate, which was hosted by The Collegian, Patterson reaffirmed his stance of support on Twitter.

“It’s our job to stand with our Educators. I stand with CSU Faculty & #CFA,” Patterson’s tweet said.

“I will likely be drafting a letter to the Capitol to show my support, and I am willing to show my dedication to the issue in other ways in hopes of achieving a compromise,” Patterson said Sunday.

Regardless of who students choose during the election, the new president of Associated Students, Inc. will show support for faculty in the strike — if one materializes.

Dr. Diane Blair, communication professor and president for the campus CFA chapter, said she was happy by what the candidates said during the debate.

“I was very happy to hear that both ASI presidential candidates indicated their support for the CFA faculty strike,” Blair said. “My experience thus far in talking with students about the strike is that they are supportive of faculty, and they recognize that faculty have both a need and a right to advocate for themselves. I sincerely appreciate that the ASI presidential candidates seeking to represent our student body also recognize the importance of supporting faculty on our campus.”

Current ASI President Abigail Hudson couldn’t be reached for comment.

“As far as I know the current ASI president and officers have not made a public statement with regards to the faculty strike,” Blair said.

Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro responded Sunday to what was said at the debate. He reiterated his stance of support for state government to secure more funding for the California State University system to raise teachers’ wages.

“I fully support our faculty and staff, which is why we have invested $25 million in new permanent state funding for increased salary and benefits since July 2013 — our campus’ largest single investment,” Castro said. “We will invest more in the future as additional state funds become available from the legislature and governor while also dealing with critical physical infrastructure needs.”

ASI elections begin Tuesday at 9 a.m. and run until noon on Thursday.

If the strike does happen, it’s planned for April 13 through April 19.