With election approaching, A.S. candidates debate

Daily Sundial

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Tackling issues as broad as political ethics, school spirit and a lack of student knowledge and participation in Associated Students-related programs, presidential candidates for A.S. faced off Tuesday evening at CSUN’s Northridge Center.

The majority of the approximately 120 people in attendance were there to support 2005-06 presidential candidate Zack Bates, senior graphics design major, and his running-mate for vice president, sophomore business major, Ana Matijasevic.

Other candidates for president and vice president include current A.S. officers, such as Director of Finance Chad Charton, and his running mate, Attorney General Safa Sajadi, as well as Director of Legislative Affairs Enrique Galan, and his running mate, College of Education II Senator Peter Gallego.

Charton, junior business major, spoke about his three years working with A.S. He also addressed the recent controversy regarding an anonymous letter attacking a nominee for the open vice presidential seat in the senate.

“There has been a lot of controversy, a lot of political undertones,” Charton said. “I’m tired of it. It’s shameful, disgraceful, a highlight of how it disservices our constituency. It is quite evident that (the person or persons who produced the letter) are still in office, and they shouldn’t be.”

Charton said that, if elected, he would put a stop to political corruption.

Presidential candidate Bates called the distribution of the letter sneaky, and said it was an unfair attempt to discredit another person.

“These are not the characteristics of a leader,” Bates said.

Enrique Galan, junior Chicano/a studies and political science major, called the situation regrettable.

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“It seems there are people implicated in that,” Galan said. “This is nothing compared to what has happened in the past two-and-a-half years.”

Galan said there are bigger concerns facing A.S., such as budget cuts, threats to the Educational Opportunity Program and Pell Grants, and President George W. Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s efforts to scale back other student programs.

Galan said students need to wake up and become more involved.

“There has been a half billion dollars in budget cuts, (with) millions and millions more to come,” Galan said. “Our tuition is going up, and we’re getting less.”

Bates and Matijasevic, both student-athletes, said their lack of experience in A.S. would be a benefit, since they would bring a fresh voice to the body.

Bates said he is well prepared, citing his experience serving as president of the Student Athletic Committee, as well as working with the Big West Conference as a student representative.

Bates said he would like to see more school spirit at CSUN.

“You see people walking around with UCLA and USC shirts at a CSUN (sporting event,” Bates said.

Bates said he would work to make CSUN athletics a top-notch Division I program, promote the positive aspects of Greek life, help increase the graduation rate of all students, and improve student resources, such as advisement and access to study halls.

In lieu of an opening statement, Charton read from “To Hear the Unburdened,” a book that states a great leader “listens to the complaints not spoken of.”

Charton said his three years in office show he has no agenda, and that he has always done all he can do to help students.