Presidential forums lack attendance

Even with the free candy provided by the elections committee, the student government presidential and vice presidential forums had a disappointing turnout this Monday. Some candidates did not even make it to the forums.

The forums are meant to be an opportunity for the student population to meet and learn more about the candidates and their platforms.

The candidates were able to state their positions on the issues and the audience was given a chance to ask the candidates questions. The questions were either addressed individually or as a group.

The forum took place Monday from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Parkway North.

Today the treasurer and student fee committee candidates will debate.

There are four parties running for the presidential ticket:
Stephen Archer – president, Salimeh Evjen – vice president;
Mary Cunningham – president, Emily Garrick – vice president;
Alonso Melendez – president, Juston Wood – vice president and
Luis Trybom – president, Paul Bronleewe – vice president.

However, only Archer, Cunningham and Garrick, and Wood were at the forums for the duration. Evjen came for the last part of the forum and Bronleewe and Trybom took turns attending the forum.

While all the candidates essentially want similar things for the student body, there are some definite distinctions in their individual platforms.

Archer and Evjen’s motto for this year is “expect more.” Archer emphasized that he has had a lot of experience in student government; he has been involved in some aspect for the last six years.

“I know what the students want and things like that,” Archer said. Archer’s stated main goal is to help students.

Evjen, Archer’s running mate, discussed getting the student body more involved.Evjen said that the average student does not know where the ASPSU office is, where the student government Web site is or who is the current student body president.

Cunningham and Garrick’s main platform issues are campus community, non-traditional student outreach and one stop financial support.

“Whoever wins needs to address these issues,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham and Garrick both have extensive experience working in the student government.

As the state affairs director for Portland State, Cunningham has been working on several issues, including tuition hikes.

Garrick’s main goal as vice president will be to run and empower the Senate. Garrick said that the Senate has a $6,000 budget for next year and she would like to see that the money is spent wisely.

Garrick and Woods both noted the problem with this year’s Senate was that the scheduling of the meetings was not conducive for the senators’ schedules. Quorum was not made for most of the term.

“My schedule comes second,” Garrick said.

Garrick stressed it was important to go to all the candidates’ Web sites and read the flyers to help become a more informed voter.

Melendez and Wood’s focus is on diversity and establishing a sense of community here on campus.

Wood spoke about support given to him and Melendez by current student body president Bar Johnston and the student fee committee chair Shane Jordan.Wood admitted that his experience with ASPSU is limited but he felt that this could be viewed as a good thing because he can provide a new perspective.

An audience member challenged Wood about the time commitment required to be a president or vice president for student government. The stated time requirement for the president and vice president is a minimum 16 to 20 hours per week.

Wood plays quarterback for PSU’s football team, owns a business and carries a 3.9 G.P.A. He responded that he was used to having to balance multiple tasks.

Trybom and Bronleewe have a more lighthearted campaign.

“It’s basically all about affirming, motivating and going crazy,” Trybom said.

Bronleewe pointed out the fact that he and Trybom were the original founders of the “Bucket Brigade.” The “Bucket Brigade” consists of some students who paint their bodies and go the games to support the athletes and the students.

“We paint up our bodies and act all crazy,” Bronleewe said.

All of this is done in an effort to get students involved and aware about what is going on around campus.

“There are people who don’t give a rat’s ass about student government,” Trybom said.

The elections will take place online May 14, 15 and 16.