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Thursday’s Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) presidential debate opened with three candidates competing against each other on stage. When it ended, there were only two.
Write-in candidate and environmental management and protection junior Kyle Jordan withdrew from the competition in his closing remarks, but not before endorsing civil engineering senior Lance Collins over agricultural business junior Owen Schwaegerle.
“I hope that the best candidate for this position will win, and I believe that is Lance Collins,” Jordan told a crowd of students gathered around the outdoor stage in the Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU).
Jordan, who transferred into Cal Poly before the start of the year, dropped out of the race because he felt the other candidates could do a better job of representing students across campus.
He has served on current ASI President and graduate student Joi Sullivan’s executive cabinet and still plans on being active in student government, especially if he attends graduate school at Cal Poly. But for the time being, he’s more interested in handling administrative affairs than directly representing students.
“I definitely feel like I have the right critical mind to solve a lot of issues on campus, but I realize that I don’t have enough of the connections on campus to make the decisions students want,” Jordan said.
Former candidate Will Blumhardt was disqualified from last year’s presidential race. He eventually joined Sullivan’s campaign team and now serves on her executive cabinet alongside Jordan.
Jordan supported Collins in part because of his history with orientation programs. When all three candidates were asked whether they supported mandatory Week of Welcome (WOW) and Soar programming, Collins was the only one to respond affirmatively.
“Lance has worked tirelessly for the last four years as both a Poly Rep and as a WOW leader; and then finally (as an) Orientation Board leader to make the experience for students on campus the best it can be,” Jordan said. “The idea is taking WOW week and making that kind of connection that everyone makes on campus for the rest of the year.”
Collins and Schwaegerle both had booths at the event staffed by members of their campaign teams. Schwaegerle’s supporters handed out lemonade and SLO Donut Company doughnuts, while Collins’ team passed out root beer floats.
Schwaegerle was just as surprised as the rest of the audience by Jordan’s statement at the end of the debate, he said. While he didn’t plan on Collins receiving an endorsement from one of their competitors, he has six days to win over students until voting opens on April 22.
“That took me a little by surprise … I didn’t expect that to happen,” Schwaegerle said. “It’s anyone’s game at the moment, but … I’m confident that the students will make the best decision.”
Voting will open Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. and close Thursday at 7 a.m. Students can vote for Collins or Schwaegerle as well as Board of Directors representatives for their academic colleges through the Cal Poly Portal.