On Monday the postponed ASPSU election will likely narrow from three sets of presidential and vice-presidential candidates to just two. Progressive slate presidential and vice-presidential candidates Pollyann Birge and Maude Bowman said personal issues and their need to distance themselves from a corrupt political system prompted the decision.
“I had to step away from the situation,” Birge said about coming to the decision to withdraw from the race. Aside from the free speech controversy surrounding the Progressive slate’s campaign manager, Reina Abolofia, Birge also cited academic and health concerns as two big reasons for her decision. “My body told me ‘I can’t do this.'”
Vice-presidential candidate Maude Bowman believes their decision to pull out of the race also stems from the corruption and unethical behavior within ASPSU, which allegedly allowed the constitutional rights of Abolofia to be violated. “This whole situation is about how ASPSU shuts people out. It’s about power, privilege and oppression. They’re [ASPSU] upholding the status quo,” said Bowman. “How is that supposed to make a difference?”
Birge’s decision to step away from the race does not mean she will walk away from student leadership entirely. “I have been an effective leader outside of ASPSU and I will continue to work on progressive issues. Making ASPSU accountable is equally as important as being ASPSU president.”
Early next week Birge and Bowman plan to officially withdraw from ASPSU elections and release a joint statement explaining their reasons. The withdrawal will leave presidential and vice-presidential candidates Christy Harper and Ryan Klute, and Justin Myers and Brett Pearce on the ballot.
— Dan Garcia