Where the candidates stand

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Dan Monteleone, 26, English literature ‘amp; political science, senior
Senator of Humanities

I believe that many on the Senate no longer represent the wills of the students. I would like to be involved because I feel that there needs to be responsibility on the Senate, and that Senators need to have the students in mind when making their decision. I am becoming disillusioned by the amount of bickering that goes on both publicly and privately within the Senate, and feel that fresh blood would help change this.

If I were to be elected, I would ensure that the student’s best interests are taken into account. Raising salaries, building a $40,000 statue, and increasing the elections marketing budget by 1200% when student organizations are struggling to get funding is ridiculous. While ideas like the statue have some merit, funding is far too tight right now, and this incessant spending at this time suggests that the Senate is out of touch with the student body.

I have devoted my life to public service. From student council to A.S.B. to Associated Student government and my current job as Chair of the CSUN University Student Union Board of Directors, I have always sought to put the public first, whether it is my classmates or my fellow college students. I have worked in state and local politics since senior year of high school, and interned on various state and local election campaigns.

I believe that the current A.S. Senate is out of touch with the student population. In a single meeting I attended of the A.S., I heard them complain about not wanting to talk in front of the Sundial, complaints about harassing students in regards to Big Show, and future plans to harass students who don’t show enough spirit and wear non-CSUN regalia. We need an Associated Student government that actually represents the students, not themselves.

When I was in community college, I served as Vice President of an Associated Student government that had an annual budget of 80,000 dollars total, which is equal to the amount being spent on A.S. Elections marketing and the Matador statue. I’ve been able to deal with limited budgets, and not spend student money frivolously, and I feel that I would be not only an excellent addition to the Senate, but a necessary one.


Montana Pham, 21, Information systems ‘amp; business, senior
Business ‘amp; Economics Senator, Seat II

I would like to increase the visibility of all the campus resources and support services to students. I want to be able to represent my college regarding all their problems from security issues to club involvement to the use of their student fees.

I would continue my interaction with the clubs and organization along with the administration to create a better atmosphere of involvement and academics. I want to ease financial impact by supporting the AS Governments plan to have a book exchange program as well as provide for a ‘Matador One’ card to streamline many services for students.

I am President of Management Information Systems Association who moved up the ranks from member to Vice President. I am a previous business senator, giving me the knowledge and experience of how the student government process works. I am also Vice President of Education and Discipline at my church youth group of about 100 children and teenagers. I am also involved in New Student Orientation as a ‘Leader’ and ‘Matador Mentor’.

I believe the biggest issue with CSUN is visibility. If students were more aware of their resources, services, clubs and events, they would be more inclined to participate and be more proactive in their college life. Common issues are that CSUN is a ‘commuter’ school, and that we lack school ‘spirit’. Of course, student government is partly to blame, and we really are trying to turn things around. I hope to continue President Segura’s and our government’s efforts to make life here at CSUN the best we possibly can for our constituents.

I am always contactable through e-mail at Montana.Pham.92@csun.edu and can be an invaluable resource to you. In the New Student Orientation program, many call me the walking CSUN encyclopedia, so I hope to bring my knowledge to students just as I have for freshmen the last two years. You can read more about me and our slate on Facebook, MySpace, and our website at www.csune3.org.


Mimi Nguyen, 20, marketing, junior
Upper Division Senator

I am running for this position because I want to improve our clubs and organizations. I also want to experience something new.

I plan to listen to student’s views and complaints, attend weekly meetings, and try to allocate our tuition to improve our campus.

I’m currently the Director of Marketing and was president of my pledge class for Alpha Kappa Psi professional fraternity on campus. I volunteered and oversaw 80 teenage students for my church confirmation.

I think the big issues are CSUN’s campus spirit, traffic flow, and tuition. Also, we can focus on our clubs and organizations.

Cassaundra Rodriguez, 20, sociology, junior
Upper Division Senator

I am running for this position because I particularly want to focus on the issues that juniors and seniors face such as graduating on time and availability of classes. I also have become very interested in working on improving access to resources and information for students who will be entering the workforce or graduate education in the near future.

I must achieve collaboration on improving the current situation concerning graduation rates, availability of classes and advisement. I also want to ensure that open communication is maintained among senators, administrators and students. I also am interested in working on areas that concern all students, such as parking and school spirit.

I have been familiar with and involved in Associated Students since my freshman year. Therefore, the transition from at-large student to senator would prove less challenging. This benefit would allow me to address my senate goals a lot faster. I also have developed my leadership and communication skills in wonderful organizations such as NSCS, WSSA and MEChA. I especially have found that I am comfortable talking to large groups of students based on my recent employment as a Supplemental Instruction Leader. I also have been working as a writing tutor and have found joy in helping students reach that metaphorical light bulb or ‘Aha!’ moment. Essentially, I love to help others and I like being a resource and advocate for students.

As mentioned previously, timely graduation, availability of classes and overall issues relating to the completion of our degrees and quality of our education.

I feel I can bring passion to this responsibility and be made available to all students by maintaining office hours, making appointments and responding to all emails or calls. In some ways, I have already been working as a resource for my fellow students by encouraging them to attend senate meetings, campus events and informing them on the A.S. budget process. I am also very down to earth and friendly. As a senator, I would love for students to approach me to discuss the issues that impact them. I would more than welcome it!

Poneh Karbalai, 18, undecided, freshman
Lower Division Senator

I plan to bring a fresh, new perspective to the position. I plan to make not only my voice hear but my peers as well. The position is to represent the lower division students and they should have a say in what is going on, I will try my hardest to make sure that happens.

I am running for the position because I think that I can help improve the school. I have a lot of new ideas, I promise to work hard and give a freshman’s input.

I have a lot of experience that can help me help the school. I started the Cooking Club from scratch at my high school and was President for a year. I was also treasurer of Key Club which did community service so I understand
the value of money. I also volunteered at West Hills Hospital, it helped me learn to deal with different personalities as well as compromise.

I believe that money is one of the biggest problems facing CSUN. Students are paying a lot of money to go to this university. I think that we need to make sure that all that money is being spent to help improve student’s school experience and make their lives easier.

I would like voters to know that I am an extremely hard worker and I will try my best to help improve the school.

Melissa Wilner, 18, Spanish ‘amp; sociology, junior
Senator of Social and Behavior Sciences

I am running for senator of social and behavioral sciences because i feel that i can make a difference in the student life here on campus i am also very open to hearing any concerns any students may have which i am excellent at helping solve the issue or concern that they may have.

I plan to plan fundraisers to award more students scholarships. that way more students who are struggling with the rising cost of tuition

I was on the leadership council in high school where I organized events for students and listened to what they had to say.

I believe and issue CSUN is dealing with is school spirit and also the rise in tuition.

Is there any other information you would like voters to know in regards to why they should elect you?

I believe I am the ideal candidate because I work well with others and am very determined person and I always make sure that I put 110% into everything I do.

Abel Pacheco, 21, political science ‘amp; business, junior
At-Large Senator

I am running for my re-election because I have been vocal advocate for students at the statewide level with the California State Student Association and at the campus level with the University Administration. I hope to continue my inclusive leadership and open door policy in addressing and hearing student/athletic/club/organization concerns.

If re-elected, I will continue my work and advocacy on behalf of students.

I am currently the At-Large Senator IV, Vice-Chair of the University Student Union Board of Directors, University Delegate to the California State Student Association, a Member of the North Campus Board of Directors and I have prior experience as the Intern for the CA Latino Director for Barack Obama during the primaries.

CSUN students have 3 big issues to address. The first issue is external in regards to budget cuts and matters of statewide political importance because of how they trickle down to the pockets of all students, the class sizes and services the University can provide. So we need an advocate for students statewide. The second issue is the campus quality fee and the level of accountability it has to students. Students should and must be the final voice in how the money is allocated. The third issue is campus spirit, pride and involvement. We can address this issues by various ways. By outreaching and informing students of the many programs, clubs, events, organizations and the many Matador sports games.

I hope to be re-elected so that I may continue to serve students and address their needs and concerns. I have always had an open door policy and my inclusive leadership and my very diverse background fits well to serve as an At-Large Senator.