Five of 12 ASUI Senate candidates were present at the last ASUI Senate Forum Wednesday. Jonah Baker, Drew Gonzalez, Sean Malone, Acey Norris and Sierra Rothermich are all seeking a first-term seat with the Senate.
The forum began with a question from ASUI Election Coordinator Denessey Rodriguez, who asked candidates what they view as the biggest health-related issue on campus.
Gonzales, who was also present at the first candidate forum, reiterated his strong stance on the importance improving access to mental health resources across campus.
“I’ll continue to say this and stick to what I know,” Gonzalez said. “Mental health plays into every aspect of life and we need access.”
Rothermich talked about her dedication to collaboration and communication between students and administrators at the university.
Rothermich noted her time as part of the Women’s Center and said that if elected, she would work closely with the center to increase campus safety for all.
Baker said he felt student spaces could be improved through implementation of the blue light emergency alarm system, noting the cost should be relatively low to students when taking the small size of UI’s campus into account.
“Any reason to implement and improve a safety resource should justify the expenditure,” Baker said.
Rodriguez also asked the candidates how they think the decline in enrollment could be counteracted through ASUI.
Norris said that she thinks increasing recruitment specialists in Southern Idaho could greatly increase enrollment.
“If we want to increase enrollment, we need to spread information on the university to all parts of Idaho,” Norris said.
Rothermich said that she thinks better utilization of marketing is UI’s best bet in increasing enrollment.
“We need to find an emotional connection with potential students and current students and alumni,” Rothermich said. “It’s a double win for all.”
Baker said low enrollments affects the disconnect between administration of students.
Malone said he thinks the parking situation on campus needs to be addressed.
“I think there is a lot of fields that could be used for parking lots,” Malone said. “It can put students in a situation on the weekend where they choose to drive impaired because they don’t want to get a ticket.”
The forum ended with a student asking why athletics always taking precedence over arts programs.
“We should be advocating for students of all walks of life and all the interests they have,” Norris said. “We need to spread awareness that you are here and should be recognized just like student athletes and any other student of a diverse background.”
Voting for ASUI Senate opens on Nov. 12 and runs until Nov. 14.
Jonah Baker is a columnist and copy editor at The Argonaut.
Ellamae Burnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EllamaeBurnell
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