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Meet the Parties: ASUU Elections 2017

It’s that time of year, the ASUU Election cycle is upon us once again. Read below to find out information about the three parties that are running this year, and what their platforms are. As a student on this campus, be informed as to where your vote is going! Voting takes place on your CIS account March 3-9.

ACT Party

President: Mohan Sudabattula

Vice President of University Relations: Taylor Checketts

Vice President of Student Relations: Liz Reiss

The ACT Party’s philosophy is that “actions speak louder” than words. They have three political agendas as a party and under each focus, they have concrete initiatives they’d like to bring to the U. These platforms are clarity, safety, and unity. They want to bring clarity to the U by giving students a say in where their student fees go.

In reference to clarity, the ACT party states that “we want to give students a direct say in how they’d like us to use those funds”.  They plan to see this through by sending out a survey at the beginning of each semester to see what ASUU sponsored services they’d like to see supported. Additionally, they’d like to implement a new, easy to access feedback system that would be called “the State of the U”. This idea consists of two parts; one semester-ly town hall meeting with the student body presidency and upper university administration to address specific issues per town hall, and a video series that we would put on each week.”

When asked about their platform of safety, the ACT party responds, “safety is something we really care about as a team. It’s personal for us. The biggest change we want to see on campus is that the university improves its stance on how it handles sexual assault. We believe that our university should take a more preventative stance on campus safety. The only way this can happen is if we shift our conversations on sexual assault from awareness of it, to confronting rape culture”. Their first plan to do this is to put on a conference during “It’s On Us” week called the “Are U Ready?” conference, meaning are you ready to confront rape culture? Are you ready to been an advocate and stop sexual violence?” Their second plan is to implement a new program that would be a combined effort with the same offices called “Peer Allies” who would be trained intensively in active listening skills, bystander intervention and go through the 40-hour training with the Rape Recovery Center.  ACT states that “the peer ally’s role would basically be to encourage supportive conversations on sexual violence for potential victims and assist them in the reporting process. Reporting sexual assault crimes on campus currently is very difficult and not sensitive to the survivors. It is a lonely process that makes many people feel uncomfortable pursuing. Our hopes are that this program will change this by equipping first responders to be better support systems for our community.”

In regards to Unity, they’d like to hold an inclusive event series, partnering with the MUSE project. ACT discusses, “on one night we would bring in a big name musician to perform, and on the next night have a great speaker come in and give a talk.” They also want to bolster the success of Recycle Rice-Eccles, by reallocating funds from the Homecoming Dance, which they refer to as an “outdated and unused program”, to help create a tradition of recycling during our homecoming football game. This would be seen through an ongoing competition between the PAC 12 schools, and 60+ other universities called the “Game Day Recycling Challenge”. ACT believes that “with the help of the MUSS Board and Student Alumni Board, we intend to foster a new vision of sustainability by promoting the Game Day Recycling Challenge for our homecoming game”.  

 

Precision Party

President: Skyler Walker

Vice President of University Relations: Polly Creveling

Vice President of Student Relations: Franco Jin

The Precision Party states, “our platform is created around three pillars, focusing on student wellness, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of student government while restructuring the organization of ASUU. Student Wellness encompasses many different facets that we wanted to incorporate in the development of or platform. These components include mental, sexual, financial, social, physical, and scholastic well-being, but it also includes campus safety and ensuring students have accessibility to those resources.”

To ensure student safety, sexual and physical wellness, the party will continue working with the campus safety task force. We also will develop a crash course during new student orientation that is led by the National Guard, focusing on campus self-defense so students feel safe and prepared in case of an unforeseeable unsafe event. Additionally, they want to make sure all course syllabi have the resources and contact information that is needed to help a victim of violence.

The party discusses, “parking is a frustrating issue for the hundreds of students who commute and park on campus. We want to increase the availability of student parking by moving construction staging as well as relocating parking for auxiliary campus events (i.e. Career fair, student orientation) away from preferred student parking and to Steiner Lot where they will be shuttled to their event.”

Precision wants “to continue to de-stigmatize mental health and make help more accessible for students. This will be done by creating Mindfulness Ambassadors that are scattered throughout campus to help students who may be farther from the Student Services Building and may not feel comfortable going there alone or want to talk to someone closer”. They also want to ensure that students’ voices are heard on both a micro and macro level. This will be achieved through establishing on campus brave spaces where students have a place to voice their opinions or concerns on different political and social issues. Precision would like to make the University of Utah campus a permanent voting center to ensure that the student voice, as well as other Salt Lake City residents, is heard on the national level.

Precisions believes that “a sensible government is critical to ensuring that students are being heard, represented, and served during their college experience. This will be done by prioritizing student organizations and student government relationships. We want to establish a Town Hall where students are encouraged to come and voice their opinions and ask questions of ASUU. This will allow us to be more in tune with the students on campus to make sure we are serving the student body the way they want.” They place an emphasis on internal restructuring, that will be designed to help streamline the reimbursement process for student organizations through an increase in finance board staff. They state that “we also want to increase funding for student travel and student organizations as this is usually a budget that is frequently exceeded during the year.”

 

Unite Party

President: Zach Berger

Vice President of University Relations: Zoe Kozlowski

Vice President of Student Relations: Saeed Shihab

The Unite Party hopes to expand and develop the role of ASUU in the lives of the student body by revitalizing campus events, improving campus safety, and facilitating campus involvement.  They will “create innovative and fun events on campus like a color run, movie nights on the field at Rice-Eccles, and a campus tailgate.  We’ll also provide a bigger and better concert experience for students by presenting one concert instead of two, thereby increasing our artist budget and giving us the option to book more popular artists.”

The party will also facilitate campus involvement by creating a more comprehensive online database that can lead students to the clubs, jobs, internships, and scholarships that they are most interested in.  They have stated they will work as closely as possible with a variety of student groups to plan, market, and execute events that interest the student body and promote an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere on campus.

Lastly, the party “will improve our campus safety by working to provide incentives to student groups that actively promote anti-sexual assault training and education and by making an iteration of the President’s task force on campus safety a permanent institution of the University. Often, students are unaware of resources that exist on campus, so we plan to develop a marketing campaign that promotes awareness of facilities and support systems like the Women’s Resource Center, the Center for Student Wellness, the Rape Recovery Center, the Title IX Office, and our campus’s sexual assault victim advocates.  

Rape culture is a pervasive issue that may not be commonly understood by a significant portion of our student body.  As such, with specific reference to the Greek community, President Zach Berger believes that “including the 40-hour bystander intervention training for chapter presidents as a criterion for the Dean of Students Award for Excellence would allow chapter presidents to more effectively discuss and address sexual assault and rape culture issues that may be present within their chapters.” Unite understands “that this is an extremely difficult issue to address, and we fully intend to expand our platform throughout the year.  Campus safety is a constantly evolving topic, and we will work to put into place both direct, short-term initiatives as well as institutional, long-term ones that will benefit the University and its students for years to come.” VP Candidate Saeed Shihab shared, “we aren’t as educated as we should be in bystander intervention or resources available. The easiest way to get your foot in the door is to start by BELIEVING and never victim blame. I want to break down the stereotype of rape as a ‘women’s issue’ it’s a problem that every single individual should care about, regardless of sex or gender.”

*All information within this article was directly provided by each party themselves. Photos and logos taken from party Facebook pages.

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