The 2020 ASUN senatorial debates ended with the College of Business and College of Journalism candidates on Feb. 25 in the Joe Crowley Student Union.
Each of the candidates were allowed two minutes to introduce themselves. They were also allowed two minutes to respond to questions, and after each candidate had a chance to respond, an additional two minutes for rebuttal.
The questions were asked by University of Nevada, Reno Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Dave Shintani.
COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
There are four available senate seats for the College of Business and three candidates running: Jacob Bourgault, Corey Huber and Keegan Murphy.
The first question asked candidates how they would increase internship opportunities.
Bourgault said he would bring more opportunities to the college career fair by reaching out to the community or found in neighboring states and electronically.
Huber, who is currently a senator for the College of Business, agreed with Bourgault about the career fair and said ASUN should be asking students who and what they want at the fair. He also suggested increasing the Pack Internship Grant Program and working closely with the Career and Corporate Outreach Center in the College of Business.
Murphy, who is currently the speaker pro tempore of the Senate, also mentioned working with the Career and Corporate Outreach Center and said students should attend the career fair and business mingling events. He also suggested looking into unpaid internships.
The second question asked candidates how they would plan to engage in outreach with their constituents.
Huber said it’s important to let students know who you are and mentioned College of Science Senator Kavin Sivakumar’s “meet your senator” event. He also suggested working with the Business Student Council.
Murphy said he would talk with different business clubs and suggested the start of a College of Business newsletter that would be written by the Business Student Council or the senators from the College of Business. He also said the senators should sit in on meetings with the Business Student Council and should utilize the College of Business’s social media pages.
Bourgault said he would go to club meetings to meet constituents and said it was important to reach out to Greek Life and other students on campus outside of the College of Business.
The first question from the audience asked the candidates how they would promote equity as a senator.
Murphy said he can’t speak for everyone, but he can use his platform. He said he would encourage people to come to ASUN events and meetings.
Bourgault said he wants to increase graduation rates for minority students and first generation students. He said outreach is important to find out what students need.
Huber said he agreed with both his fellow candidates. He encouraged students to come to ASUN meetings and reminded the audience that any student can draft legislation.
The second question from the audience asked candidates about what qualifies them to be a senator.
Bourgault talked about his job, where he helps refugees in the community settle, and highlighted his time as president of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
Huber said he has been working on a 24 hour building and other legislation during his time as senator. He later said in his rebuttal that he is on the Committee on Budget which makes him qualified to work on the ASUN budget.
Murphy highlighted his position as Speaker Pro Tempore and said he has written many pieces of legislation and edited the Statutes of Associated Students. In his rebuttal time, he mentioned his connections with administration and said he would expand the network before passing it down to the next senators.
Another audience question asked the candidates how they plan to represent women and minority groups on campus.
Huber said it’s important to show women that they can be successful too and mentioned the International Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium as an example of how to do so. He also said it’s important to show minority groups that campus is an open place. Huber also suggested more flexible office hours.
Murphy said he wants to work with the Committee on Engagement to talk to students in middle school and high school about business. He also shared ideas of potential events, including a “Women in Business” day and starting a series recognizing successful women in the College of Business. He also said that there are a lot of underutilized clubs and suggested furthering the “Elect All the People” campaign by ASUN.
Bourgault said he would increase the knowledge of the women-specific scholarships by visiting sororities and other organizations on campus.
The fourth audience question asked candidates how they would promote civic engagement in the College of Business.
Bourgault suggested having more university philanthropy events with community organizations, citing the Undie Run as one such example. He said events like these link people and help raise money.
Huber said he would work with the Committee on Civic Engagement, and Murphy agreed. He also suggested working with the Business Student Council for the Business Student Week.
Another audience question asked candidates if they had any ideas for resolutions or bills.
Murphy said pointless legislation shouldn’t be written. He said he wants to write legislation about putting more lighting on campus and working with the Department of Legislative Affairs to lobby the Nevada Legislature.
Bourgault said he wants to work on outreach before drafting legislation.
Huber said he agreed with both of his candidates and said he wants to promote recycling and creating a more green campus.
The last audience question asked candidates about student advisory boards in colleges besides the College of Business.
Bourgault said he wouldn’t have an issue helping other colleges form their own advisory boards.
Huber agreed and said student advisory boards involve more of the colleges themselves and allows for more connections with the deans of the colleges. During his time for rebuttal, he said that without the Business Student Council, the new business building might not have been built.
Murphy said it’s important to have student feedback and said he would reach out to the student leaders of clubs. He also said he would use his experience to help other colleges formulate a constitution and infrastructure necessary for a student advisory board.
COLLEGE OF JOURNALISM
There is one available senate seat for the College of Journalism and one candidate running: Vanessa Riberio.
The first question asked Riberio about the greatest challenge to free speech.
Riberio said the challenge is finding the balance of what is inciting violence and what is allowing students to share their thoughts. She said the Statutes of Associated Students should have rules that would allow students to be reprimanded for hate speech. She said working to inform students first should alleviate later issues with free speech.
The next question asked how Riberio would create buy-in so students will realize their role in supporting the university when they buy from the Nevada Wolfshop.
Riberio said she would inform people through visuals and campaigns created by journalism students, as they have access to tools to create digestible graphics.
The first audience question asked how Riberio would promote student media. Riberio said that the six student media organizations on campus have skills that are applicable to each other. She said that these skills can be used to support each other.
The next audience question asked Riberio what equity and inclusion mean to her. Riberio said she wants students to know they are recognized and emphasized the importance of celebrating those students so they feel like what they are doing is important.
Shintani asked Riberio how she would help make the university a Hispanic-serving institution.
Riberio said she would love to talk to organizations, faculty and staff to see what their needs are. She suggested using graphics and visualization to help represent hispanic students on campus.
Another audience question asked the candidate what committees they would want to be on.
Riberio said she would want to be on the Committee on Civic Engagement because she wants to see more students engaged. She also said she would want to be on the Committee on Academics.
The fourth audience question asked how Riberio would combat the stigma surrounding journalists.
Riberio said journalists have a commitment to the truth, and the journalism school talks about difficult and uncomfortable truths. She said she doesn’t think the journalism school being known for its commitment to fact isn’t a bad thing.
The last audience question asked Riberio about her ideas for legislation.
Riberio said she wants to tackle sustainability. She also said she wants to reach out to professionals in the community and ask what they can do for students.
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
Sarah Kellar, the only candidate running for the two seats available for the College of Education, was unable to attend the debate.
Primary election debates between the presidential and vice presidential candidates will occur on March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater. Primary elections will occur on March 4 and 5.
General election debates between the presidential and vice presidential candidates will occur on March 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater. General elections will follow on March 11 and 12. Students can vote in the Center for Student Engagement or on WebCT.
Further information on the future debates and candidates can be accessed on the Nevada Sagebrush website.
Taylor Avery can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @travery98.