On Wednesday, The Collegian hosted Associated Students, Inc. presidential interviews, interviewing two of the candidates for president, Arthur Montejano and Daniel Harrison. The following is an excerpt of the questions asked to the candidates and the answers given. Watch the full interviews at http://collegian.csufresno.edu/2012/03/22/2012-associated-students-inc-presidential-interviews/.
If elected president, what could you do to help alleviate students’ financial troubles?
Arthur Montejano: A crucial role that ASI needs to play a bigger part in is in introducing students to those resources and putting them into their hands, saying, this is where you can go. ASI needs to be a bigger resource in that sense… Student assistantships or graduate assistantships might not be as well advertised as they should, and by embracing students, faculty and staff as partners in identifying those solutions, we can identify them and make them [more] well known.
Daniel Harrison: I’m the only candidate proposing a decrease in the ASI fee… If ASI’s able to say, you know what, we have decreased the fee and we have made our organization and our level of government on campus more efficient — follow our example. I think that argument has [a lot of] merit.
Mr. Harrison, as you’ve said tonight, if elected, you would decrease the ASI fee, which is $34.50 for each student, by 25 percent. You say you would compensate for the revenue loss to the ASI budget by cutting the portion of the revenue that goes into ASI reserves. Why do you think this is a good plan for ASI?
DH: In the current economic crisis, and with the amount of money ASI has in reserve, I think it’s a little unnecessary to continue to take more than is necessary from students.
Mr. Montejano, to encourage students to become involved in public advocacy, you have proposed “a Student General Assembly to be held once a semester that would provide a forum for students to learn about issues relevant to them and discuss solutions.” How would you go about getting this program started, and is it realistic to expect many students to take advantage of such a program?
AM: The General Assembly would, essentially, start like this: You would assign each senator an area or topic that is of interest to them … They would then … help develop a workshop that would address that issue as it pertains to students… When you give students an opportunity to voice their opinion and to feel like they are meaningful participants in the dialogue, they will jump [at the chance to participate in such a program].
What would you do about the proposed $34 parking permit increase? What, realistically, can the ASI president do about it?
AM: I do not support a parking fee increase that does not have student input, plain and simple. We need to have a voice in that, and we need — because we are the ones who will ultimately share the burden of funding this new project — we need to determine now is that fee appropriate. If it’s not, then how can we address the need for more parking by working with faculty and staff and with student input.
DH: It’s a very unfortunate event. ASI can’t do much directly. However … we can make a recommendation to the university auxiliary, the university board, and say, you know what, for spring semester, this would be better… We need to make a recommendation to the university so that they can alleviate that, and make it more gradual.
If elected, what would be the first thing you would want to accomplish?
AM: The first thing on my agenda would be to establish relationships with the Senate. When you embrace people and bring them in, you make it easier for us to all function more effectively… By establishing that relationship, we’ve set ourselves up for success.
DH: The first thing to do would be to restructure the Senate so that they can function more efficiently. Currently, senators are asked to do just a few hours a month. I think they need to be doing the same amount that they’re doing per month per week… If they’re working more often, we can get these kind of things done where we can write these comprehensive recommendations for the university board regarding the parking permit fee increase.
You can vote for either of these candidates from Tuesday, March 27 through Thursday, March 29 in your Fresno State email.