Candidates for the 2010 Associated Students Inc. presidency participated in an open forum in the University Union Plaza Tuesday to introduce students to their stances on issues like student access, sustainability and the budget.
The three candidates — computer science graduate student Jon McElroy, art and design senior Kelly Griggs and psychology senior Jacob Alvarez — handed out T-shirts and answered questions from their individual booths. About 200 students were in and out of the plaza during the hour when the forum took place.
Each candidate had about five minutes to take the stage in the UU Plaza to state their platforms and goals.
McElroy said it’s vital that next year’s ASI president ensures college based fee money is sent straight to the students, in form of classes and teachers, if the fee increase passes.
Based on feedback from the 30 on-campus organizations Griggs spoke with leading up to her campaign, students are largely concerned about registration problems, something she says is also tied to budget issues.
“All these fee increases that are going into various places on the campus affect our classes and our teachers and what we can do,” Griggs said.
Each candidate also emphasized their desire for transparency within ASI.
McElroy plans to achieve transparent communication by using the Web to evoke student interaction. He plans to use YouTube and Web site updates to keep students informed, but for Alvarez, transparency comes in the form of student outreach.
“We’ve been working throughout the year on just getting out there in the Cal Poly community and just working with students and really educating them based on the information we have,” Alvarez said.
During his brief on-stage introduction, Alvarez told the audience about three platform issues he hopes to address: degree progress, student access and diversity.
“I also want to work with the academic senate and the registrar’s office to promote that senior-level standing students should have priority registration,” Alvarez said.
Griggs, the last of the three candidates to take the stage, said there are two types of people who run for ASI president: people with their own agendas and people “whose issues are the students’ issues.” She identified herself as the latter.
Affordability and accountability are two topics, among many, that she hopes to address if she wins.
“We need to make sure that the college based fee and the budget is transparent and we’re really getting what we want around this campus for our money,” she said. “If it doesn’t go through, you know, obviously we’re going to be tight with our budget.”
Current ASI president Angela Kramer attended the forum and offered a few thoughts on what she wants to see from her successor.
“You only serve as ASI president for a year, which is a ridiculously short amount of time,” Kramer said. “You have these big dreams and then you learn quite quickly that you kind of need to narrow it down and keep an eye on the priorities.”
She’d like to see the safe ride program come to life and a reprioritization of Cal Poly’s education system on the state level.
“I’d like to see the next president continue to make trips up to Sacramento, maybe create a lobby core and ensure that this university keeps going up, up and up,” Kramer said.
Statistics senior Lauren Sweeney watched the forum from the steps of the plaza and said she was impressed with Griggs’ platform.
“She knows what she wants to do for us. She’s still concentrating on the sustainability that was really big last year,” Sweeney said.
Statistics senior Kristin Graves said that, in light of this year’s student deaths, she’s hoping for an ASI president that will bridget the gap between ASI and the greek system.
“Both ASI and (the greek system) are really pivotal parts of the campus community and I think that if they work together, they can accomplish a lot,” she said.
The candidates will hold a public debate at 11 a.m. Thursday in the UU Plaza. The Mustang Daily will stream live video of the event on our Web site for students to watch and chat about the issues discussed.
Mustang Daily reporter Alex Kacik contributed to this report.