Allocating student fees, diversity headline elections debate

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Expenses, travel key subjects in discussion

A week before elections, 2017-18 student body officer candidates gathered at Centre Stage March 1 to debate — the main issue being the allocation of student fees. Student body president of UVUSA Birch Eve, and students Danny Davis and Carrie Chappell were moderators at the debate.

Candidates running for student body president, Alex Trujillo and Jake Larson discussed where they would prioritize student fees.

While Trujillo said he does not plan on raising student fees, he would support an increase towards the arts program. “That is my main focus where I want to help out,” said Trujillo.

Larson said that after being a part of the student fee hearing process as former vice president of activities and student life, she plans on allocating the estimated $17 million in student fees towards student resources, such as mental health services on campus. Trujillo then agreed that he would support student resources and added that academics were important as well.

On the use of student fees to fund student government attending conferences and trainings across the nation, Trujillo said how he’d be smart and respectful of using the funds, while presidential candidate Rob Smith advocated for transparency and possibly cutting travel funding in order to lower student fees. Smith, who has never been a member of UVUSA, called the travel “vacations,” before correcting himself and calling them “opportunities” instead. “It’s important to make sure that in any way that we’re using student money, that it’s doing something to be beneficial to our students,” said Smith.

“This sounds like a complicated question, here’s the smart answer, let’s be smart about the money that’s coming in,” said Trujillo. “I would make sure we’re being wise on what travels we’re doing.”

On promoting UVUSA events, vice president of activities and student life candidate Dustin Draper, wants to change the status quo and make new traditions for the university.

“I want to make new changes. I don’t want to do the same things we did last year, because they did not have a good turnout,” said Draper.

Current activities chair of UVUSA and vice president of activities candidate, Gage Marberger, is learning how events are planned so that he could build a team to execute the next school years’ events.

“Going forward into next year, I will be able to know how the events have been run and how to organize a team to execute those activities and events,” said Marberger.

Davis asked vice president of academic senate candidates Chelsie Kraczek and Jaxon Olsen about the changes they would bring to the position. Kraczek said that she would organize forums for students to talk about issues and concerns they are having. She wants to change the way the forums are promoted to students.

Olsen agreed with Kraczek on expanding the forum program, but would focus more on campus surveys. “I would like to expand our campus-wide surveys, so that we can get a feel of the overall student voice. I think these can be utilized heavily during student fee hearings, so that students are more informed about where their student fees are going,” said Olsen.

Regarding the topic of “safe zone” trainings, an LGBT awareness workshop, presidential candidates Larson and Smith agreed that it was important to the campus.

“If students aren’t feeling safe on campus, that’s something we need to look at,” said Larson. The Safe Zone Training was an amazing opportunity to learn, according to Larson.

“Hopefully, we’re creating an environment at our university that’s a safe zone everywhere,” said Smith. “We want all students to feel safe while they are here, to be to get the best education they possibly can.”

On fostering the “spirit of diversity at UVU,” Tanner McQuivey, running unopposed for executive vice president, said he had just looked up the meaning of diversity. “We need to be able to foster to any student,” he said.

Olsen and Logan Cottle, running for vice president of academic senate, agreed that they would advocate for the free speech of students.

“Currently we do not have a problem with free speech at UVU,” said Cottle. “We cannot stress enough the fact students need to be heard all the time and there’s always room for improvement.”

Olsen said that students may utilize their free speech by filling out campus surveys to voice their opinions.

According to the UVU Student Elections website, a primary will not be held during this election due to,“three or less candidates running per position.” Voting for the final election will occur March 6-8.