Senate debate suffers from low candidate turnout

As part of the election process for the Associated Students of Portland State University, Student Senate hopefuls met yesterday in Parkway North of Smith Memorial Student Union to debate the issues and represent for their campaigns.

As part of the election process for the Associated Students of Portland State University, Student Senate hopefuls met yesterday in Parkway North of Smith Memorial Student Union to debate the issues and represent for their campaigns.

Only nine of 22 candidates running attended the debate, and of those not present only one submitted a statement to be read on their behalf.

The student senate has been struggling for years to fill all of their available 25 seats, and to have enough members present at meetings to meet quorum, the minimum number necessary to conduct business. The 2008-09 school year marks the first time student senators have been offered a stipend for participating, yet the turnout is still below average.

With only 22 candidates for 25 seats, a single vote will elect the candidate to office, perhaps leaving some to take the position lightly. However, the candidates present for the debate were focused on the issues at hand.

The debate was formatted much like the presidential debates, giving each candidate two minutes to summarize their campaign goals, followed by a series of questions from the moderator.

Daniel Lyons:
Though not present, Lyons submitted a statement for the debate. He has served three terms on the student senate, making 2009-2010 his fourth year. His statement was not read in its entirety at the debate, but it focuses on improvements to the senate with the recent creation of the Senate Coordinating Committee.

“This committee is to assist and oversee the senators and their individual campaigns to make sure that the senate is effective in solving issues of the campus and to outreach to the student body,” Lyons wrote in his statement.

Steven “PV” Jantz:
Possibly the most prepared of the candidates, Jantz spoke eloquently of his campaign to move the American Sign Language program from communications to foreign language. As a hearing impaired individual, Jantz said he feels strongly about his ability to communicate with a diverse number of students.    

“Be loud and be proud, state your position and don’t move one inch,” Jantz said.

Dylan Enloe:
Enloe discussed his goals for creating more convenient Web access to different departments, including ASPSU. He also discussed the need for more transparency at Portland State in terms of giving students access to school records that have been somewhat closed to students in the past.

“I can help navigate the giant bureaucracy that is this school,” Enloe said.

Fallon Roderick:

Roderick’s main focus is to make the university more synonymous with Portland as a city.

“Living in Portland now, I think it is important to connect PSU students to the city around them,” Roderick said. She also mentioned a desire to reform the University Studies program, a more long-term goal.

Daria Raskova:
Raskova’s primary agenda seemed to be improving general communication with students. Coming from a diverse background, she said she could adequately and accurately represent the student body and their needs.

“I’m here for the students and to communicate for students, so speak up!” Raskova said.

Pakou Xion:
Xion focused many of her statements on diversity and the need for tuition control. Her campaign goals are intending to further develop the community at Portland State, as well with Portland at large.

“It takes one person to reach out and make a difference,” Xion said.

Brendan Castricano:
Castricano said his priority in this campaign is sustainability. He discussed creating a better and less expensive Flexpass to cut down on emissions and to further reduce Portland State’s carbon footprint. He also expressed interest in making the ASPSU office more visible and welcoming.

“I’ve witnessed students come into the office and not find what they’re looking for. It needs to be available for every student who has no idea about student government,” Castricano said.

Amina Ali:
Ali put an emphasis on improving on-campus childcare resources, as well as keeping the senate accountable for their role as a communication station for students.

“We are students first, and we need to make sure our voices are heard,” Ali said.

Johanna Rose:
The majority of questions asked of Rose were met with a general response of “I need more information.”

While she expressed a general interest in helping Portland State, she failed to mention specifics.

“Loving this school came as a surprise to me and I want to get more involved with it,” Rose said.

Nick Carlstrom:
Carlstrom’s agenda is focused on aiding in campus athletics and ensuring they have adequate funding. He emphatically communicated his willingness to communicate with and represent students.

“I will listen, I will be present, but most importantly I will act,” he said.

Complete list
Amina O. Ali
Jessica Bernier
Patricia Binder
Nick Mercury Carlstrom
Brendan R. Castricano
Dylan Enloe
Maria Escobar-Sinn
Sarah Hassouneh
Jacob Holmstead
Adja Faun Imara
Steven PV Jantz
Nathan Keep
Daniel R. Lyons
Katie Markey
Samira A. Mohamed
Daria Raskova
Fallon Roderick
Johanna Rose
Cathy Symes
Monica Valencia
Pakou Xion
Efe Yildirim