Both presidential candidates for the associated student government promised to increase accountability and transparency of the A.S. in order to build more unity among students, and both sides said they would oppose creating a football program at CSUN in the current economy.
Candidates were given the opportunity to address these and other topics at an outdoor debate Tuesday afternoon as part of a meet-the-candidates event which took place on the lawn just north of the USU.
“(Football) should not be a priority,” said Emmanuel Martinez, presidential candidate and current USU chair of arts and culture. “At the current moment we don’t have the proper funding or the proper location. It’s not the best thing for the students.”
Both candidates acknowledged that a football program might enhance school spirit at CSUN, but Sydni Powell, the current vice president of A.S. and presidential hopeful, said that investing in such a program would add an estimated $200-$300 to student enrollment fees.
Powell said students would have to tell her they want football at CSUN before she would support creating the program.
“For me to feel comfortable taxing the students an extra $200 a semester, then I would need an actual majority of students to tell me that was the case,” she said.
CSUN’s football program was discontinued in 2001 due to financial issues. The Los Angeles Times reported the football program was costing CSUN $1 million per year, and only bringing $26,000 in ticket sales. Funding for the team was also complicated by Title IX requirements, which grant funding equality between women and men’s sports programs on college campuses.
“I think the fact that we don’t have a football stadium is what makes us different,” said Josue Silva, a freshman psychology major who attended the debate. “We invest in academics more than sports. That’s why I came to CSUN.”
Candidates for other student government seats were at the event to shake hands and discuss their platforms with students. The event was one of the last opportunities for candidates to campaign before the elections today and Friday. Only presidential candidates participated in the debate along with their running mates for vice president.
“It’s all about the quality they bring,” said Hilda Galan, junior art major, after the debate. “They both have their strengths and their weaknesses. I’m torn between them both.”
All candidates agree that there is a lack of solidarity and communication between students and the student government, and advocate more face-to-face and electronic interaction.
“Communication to and from the students is the most important issue we have to tackle,” said Christopher Woolett, current senator for the college of humanities and Powell’s vice presidential running mate. John Saringo-Rodriquez is running for vice president under Emmanuel Martinez’s ticket.