The two ASI presidential hopefuls — agricultural sciences junior Jana Colombini and mechanical engineering senior Isaias Diaz — faced off Thursday at a debate in the University Union (UU) Plaza.
Colombini is the current vice chair of the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors, a founding member of Alpha Gamma Delta and is training to become a Week of Welcome (WOW) leader. Her campaign is centered on three words: care, communicate and connect.
Diaz has worked closely with the Cal Poly Athletics as a member of the wrestling team, and he is currently working to get Kappa Chi recognized by the university. As ASI president, he said he would improve community relations, inclusivity and the campus social scene.
Here’s what the candidates had to say about the issues.
Addressing current issues
The first question covered the blanket topic of how the candidates would address current issues facing students.
Colombini wants to focus on campus safety and diversity and have better communication between ASI and the campus, especially in terms of financial distribution.
Additionally, she wants the students to be better represented.
“We need to take back this university, take back this community,” Colombini said. “We have over $2 million of economic revenue. We need to be respected for that.”
Diaz wants to connect all aspects of Cal Poly — greek life, athletics and clubs in order to create a sense of familiarity and increase interaction with fellow students. According to Diaz, there needs to be increased diversity on campus, but, we have to focus on inclusivity first.
“When Mustangs support Mustangs, the entire Cal Poly community is strengthened,” Diaz said.
Diversity and inclusivity
Colombini wants all secretaries on her potential executive cabinet to be involved with on campus inclusivity — including having a secretary of diversity and inclusivity. She also stands with SLO Solidarity’s movement.
Diaz said he would strive to increase inclusivity on campus. One way he plans to do that is by getting more people involved in Athletics. Not only does he want to get more people to attend tailgates and spirit events, but he wants to have a student-athlete on his executive cabinet to serve as the voice for Cal Poly Athletics. He even called for some type of spirit week and talent show to make students on campus feel connected.
Diaz also said he wants to have a broad range of voices in his potential office.
“I want my executive cabinet to be as diverse as the population on campus,” Diaz said.
Diaz said that students were not very informed about what was going on with the referendum, especially in the planning stages. The referendum — which did not pass — was voted on by only 4,000 students, or 20 percent of the student body.
However, Colombini, one of the student leaders who worked on the referendum, said they reached out to more than 10,000 students.
The Poly “P”
One audience member asked a question about the Poly “P,” which had been painted with rainbow colors for Pride Month by an unknown group earlier this week. It was repainted white Wednesday, a couple days before the beginning of Open House.
Colombini said that all paintings of the “P” must be done through ASI, and that the rainbow was not — though she said the repainting could have been handled better.
Diaz said that Cal Poly has to look presentable, which means being neutral. Having a white “P” was appropriate for Open House, he said.
Had the faculty strike happened, both candidates said they would have participated in the strike. Colombini would have attended classes, however, while Diaz would have skipped to support the faculty.
Candidates were asked what they would do to ensure tuition costs do not increase.
Since Colombini is paying her way through college and Diaz is relying on financial aid, they both said they will fight the California State University (CSU) system to keep costs down.
Colombini discussed taking a more active role in the California State Student Association (CSSA) to coordinate with other like-minded CSU students.
Voting opens on Wednesday, April 20 at 9 a.m. and closes on Thursday, April 21 at 9 a.m. The winner will be announced at 11 a.m. on Thursday in the UU Plaza.