ASWSU election debates get a facelift

The revised debate schedule will allow for longer sessions on a wider range of topics.

By Justin Runquist

ASWSU President Jake Bredstrand presented a modified 2011 ASWSU election calendar, designed to prevent the recurrence of problems from previous elections, Wednesday at the ASWSU Senate meeting.

The changes primarily pertain to debates leading up to the election, Bredstrand said. Previously, the debates were too narrow, limiting discussion to what candidates will do for select communities at WSU, he said.

“I don’t think the debates have ever really allowed the candidates to show their strengths in different areas,” Bredstrand said. “What we really need to focus on are the large-scale issues that affect the entire student body.” Rafael Pruneda, chair of the Election Board, assisted Bredstrand in the presentation. Pruneda explained how the debates will change. Instead of a multicultural debate, as usual, debates on a broader range of topics can encompass the same issues that would surface in a multicultural debate, he said.

“We really are passionate about making sure everyone is heard,” Pruneda said, explaining that he does not want to let candidates of any ethnicity lose a chance to speak.

Bredstrand said he hopes to garner a larger audience for the 2011 election than what he saw in the past few years of debates.

“We hope if we promote more than one or two debates, then we’ll get a much better turnout,” he said.

Aside from debate modifications, Bredstrand said the Election Board wants to ensure all campaign violations are filed before Spring Break.

“We don’t want to get back from break and have new issues arise,” he said.

Sen. Derrick Skaug asked Bredstrand whether senatorial candidates will have a chance to debate, as well. Bredstrand said that idea is up for consideration.

The general debate for executive tickets is scheduled for Feb. 17 in the CUB Auditorium. Sen. Kyle Conboy suggested changing its location to the CUB Lair, which he said would probably attract more of an audience from students passing by. Bredstrand said the location could be subject to change.

The senators confirmed the election calendar unanimously, but it remains open to some changes at the discretion of the Election Board.

Two senators also resigned at the meeting.

Sen. Dominique Austin and Sen. Sherese Hooper decided to pull out of the Senate to enhance focus on their studies. Neither of them attended the meeting, but Sen. Bryan Inglin confirmed their resignation.

Austin said being part of ASWSU was a positive experience and that it was a tough decision to resign.

“Unfortunately the time commitment began to interfere with my primary goal: obtaining an education,” Austin said.

Two vacant seats remain in the Senate.

Pruneda told the senators that filing petitions for 2011 election candidates are available Friday in the ASWSU office and at aswsu.wsu.edu.

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