Candidates for upper division senator seek to help students transition and graduate

Adolfo Flores

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With the sun glaring down on them the candidates for upper division senator discussed preparing future graduates, retaining students who aren’t meeting GPA requirements, and their own qualifications.

Daniel Savala, a first-semester CSUN student hailing from Los Rios Community College in Sacramento, admitted he may be new to CSUN, but not to student government, serving in student body government since high school until he transferred from community college.

‘Having me as a student senator you get tabula rasa, I’m a blank slate with a fresh perspective,’ Savala said. ‘As an upper division senator my job will be to help students graduate and elevate the graduate rate.’

As a first time transfer student, Savala said he knows first-hand how easily a transfer student can fall through the cracks and if elected he would work with them more closely to identify their needs.

The current upper division senator, Austin Ysais, is also up for re-election and used his experience in A.S. to attempt to prove that he is the more qualified candidate.

He also advocated aiding transfer students in their transition, as well as preparing soon to be graduates for the real world using the Society of Woman Engineers as an example.

‘(They) have an evening of industry in which they bring in 10 companies to interview graduates and have them meet professionals,’ Ysais said.When discussing students who had below a 1.0 GPA some candidates differed in their views.

Stephanie Barahona, who is currently an A.S. senator, said those students who aren’t performing as well should be helped.

‘They should be in a program that helps them improve their grades, but at the same time students should have a 2.0 because that’s the minimum requirement to get in,’ Barahona said.

Mark Kleckner, another candidate for upper division senator who made a point during the debate that in order to increase school spirit clubs needed better funding, agreed that these are the students that need more support from the campus and advisors.

‘Students who have below a 1.0 GPA have no place at CSUN because they lower the standards here at CSUN. There is a place for them where they can improve themselves and that’s community college,’ Savala said.

Ysais disagreed with sending those students to a two-year institution.

‘We keep mentioning community college but we’re upper division senators which means upper division classes aren’t available at a community college,’ Ysais said, adding resources must reach these students before they get to that point.

However when Savala was informed that CSUN is considering implementing a policy that would eject students who have below a 1.0 GPA, he said he doesn’t agree with the policy.

Increasing campus safety was also discussed.

‘According to the CSUN police department from 2007 to 2008 five woman were raped on your campus,’ bellowed Savala into the microphone attempting to get the attention of students who were passing by.

He noted that one way to deter violence is decreasing dark spaces on campus.

‘We should be able to feel safe on campus,’ Barahona said. ‘We need to increase campus safety like having more blue emergency poles.’

‘We all have a different ideas,’ Ysais. ‘Some of the candidates running for senator were talking as if they were going to be president.’