The Associated Student Government race heated up during Thursday’s University Star-sponsored debate.
Presidential candidates Tiffany Young, John Willms and Quentin De La Garza were joined by vice presidential candidates Sean Quiñones and Christian Carlson at the debate. A fourth presidential candidate, Abdual Muhialdin, was out-of-state and unable to attend the debate.
The candidates discussed their platforms and answered questions regarding the role of student government, the importance of school pride and how they would improve the organization if elected.
John Willms, electronic media sophomore, is the only candidate with no ASG experience, which was one of the more contested points of the debate. Willms said the fact that he has never been a part of ASG works to his advantage. As a “regular student,” Willms says he has a unique perspective on ASG after viewing it from the outside and thinks ASG is not important to students.
Carlson asked Willms how he would become acquainted with organization in time for the fall semester, to which Willms answered that he would learn as he goes. Quinones agreed with Willms, saying a fresh face could be beneficial.
One of Willms’ largest initiatives is installing hammocks across the campus, and he would focus on representing the student body “in a way that they would represent themselves.”
De La Garza argued that Willms does not understand the internal workings of ASG, saying that is what the organization needs. He said that while focusing on “nice things” like hammocks is important, but the safety of students and faculty would be his foremost priority.
De La Garza recounted an incident in which four fraternity members assaulted him at Riverfest. He would want additional police officers around campus who are well trained because all students should feel safe, he said.
If elected, De La Garza said he would like to make the class registration process less confusing.
by integrating the Bobcat Schedule Builder and the degree audit plan into “one unifying mechanism” to simplify the process.
The effectiveness of ASG and past administrations was called into question several times. Quiñones said he would work to diversify the organization, which is heavily made up of Greeks, and wants a more passionate and effective senate. Carlson agreed, saying the student government should be motivated to speak to students in class.
Young echoed the need for a diverse senate, and said ASG is a “pivotal moment in taking what someone says in The Quad and making it a reality.”
Young, public relations sophomore, said she is running on a “numbers campaign” which will promote “involvement and pride at the university.” Young said she plans to make students aware of the different high rankings of Texas State by being in The Quad and on social media. Young said she plans to work with the PACE Center to create a database of organizations and promote involvement throughout the university.
“Through ASG I found my voice, and I want to empower others to find their voice through different organizations,” Young said.
Carlson, international business junior, said he hopes to rectify the problem of students not recognizing the accomplishments and efforts of ASG, which is why they might not know what the student government’s functions are.
It was later found that Carlson did not meet the eligibility requirements for the vice president position. Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Dean of Students Office cannot discuss the specifics of Carlson’s ineligibility, and he did not return calls for comment.
Quiñones, public administration sophomore and remaining vice presidential candidate, said besides diversifying the senate, he wants to help improve the the dining options on campus and establish a veteran mentor program to make those students feel more at home.
When discussing the enforcement of the smoking ban, Willms said trash receptacles should be available for cigarette butts, while Carlson believes ASG should focus on enforcement of the ban rather than enabling rule breakers. Quiñones said many students may not be aware of the smoking ban, bringing up legislation encouraging students to help enforce it.
Quiñones said the ban “isn’t just a rule, it’s a way of life,” and “it’s more than just a piece of paper.”