During the last week of the 2020 ASUN elections, vice presidential candidates Austin Brown and Claudia Feil answered questions during the debate on Monday, Mar. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union.
General elections for the positions of president, vice president and senators open on Wednesday, March 11 starting at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. Students can vote on WebCampus through the elections module or in-person at the Center for Student Engagement in the Joe Crowley Student Union.
Questions were read by Romando Nash, the associate vice president for Student Life Services at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The first question of the night asked candidates what initiatives they would create to support nontraditional students.
Brown said he would want to increase the transfer orientation experience by partnering with resources on campus.
Feil said she thinks serving nontraditional students starts with the executive board. She said she would want to work with the president to hire a diverse board that would focus on inclusion efforts. She said that the Department of Diversity and Inclusion needs more support to be successful.
The second question of the night asked candidates how they would grow the Pack Friendly Business campaign.
Feil said that she would want to use the Director of Public Relations to let students know about the service and additionally help promote those businesses.
Brown pointed out that most of the businesses with the campaign are restaurants. He said he thinks it’s important to add more grocery stores to the campaign because being able to buy fresh produce and nutritional foods can help students live a sustainable and healthy life. He also said he wants to add Walmart to the list.
Another question asked candidates how their role would be affected if their prefered presidential candidate didn’t win.
Brown said he was running without a president and said that he’s here for the job. He said that he could work with any of the presidential candidates. Brown added in his rebuttal that he has a relationship with the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, which would be helpful in his role as vice president.
Feil said she works well with others and that she has played a lot of different roles within ASUN. She said she would try to have a productive and positive relationship with whoever is elected president. Feil said in her rebuttal that she has preexisting relationships with most of the branches of ASUN and organizations on campus mentioned in the vice president’s duties.
An audience member asked candidates about their vision of the future of Pack Provisions.
Feil said that she got to work with Pack Provisions during her time as a senator and said she’s seen it grow in the last two years. She said she sees it as its own space and she said she wants to educate students about the service. She said she would work with the director of Pack Provisions to make sure that their vision is being upheld.
Brown said he wants to help Pack Provisions get more staff. He also said he wants to see data associated with the service so that it can be shared with students. Brown added that he thinks it important to work with Pack Friendly Businesses to see if they would want to donate. He said education about the service is also important.
A question from the audience asked the candidates how they would use the $500,000 budget increase.
Brown said more support should go to clubs and their travel. He said he would want to increase funds for the Department of Diversity and Inclusion, including improving their wages. Brown added later that he thinks that the Department of Legislative Affairs should receive more funding, especially because it will be a Nevada legislative year. He said he would want to bus students down to Carson City so that they can talk to their representatives.
Feil said she thinks it’s important to work with the president to insure fiscal responsibility and transparency. She said that during her time as Director of Campus Wellness, she got to be part of the budget proposals. She agreed with Brown and said that clubs should have more funds, as well as programming. She added diversity and inclusion and sustainability should receive more funding. Feil added later that she would want to fill every position within the departments of ASUN.
An audience question asked candidates how they would have competency in regards to diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Feil said she learned a lot about the struggles that marginalized groups face while on the campaign trail. She said that it’s important to outreach and listen to students. She said that inclusion should be a mindset that is seen throughout all of ASUN.
Brown said that he wants to educate students better through orientation. He said that this could be done by having students involved in diversity and inclusion hold workshops at orientation. He also said that it’s important to plan events with marginalized students, not just for them.
“From a student perspective, there have been several instances regarding the presidential candidates addressing issues on social media. How do you handle situations like this as it may impact how students view you as a candidate?” an audience member asked.
Feil said she stands by her candidate, Andrew McKinney and that she thinks he is the most qualified for the position. She said that his past actions are not representative of who he is today. She said she doesn’t have a Twitter because she doesn’t like it.
“I think something Andrew and I have done well is focusing on our own campaign and focusing on what we have to offer, not anyone else,” said Feil.
Brown said he wants to focus on what he’s doing and what he can do for the students.
“I also think it’s kind of sad to see that because it makes ASUN not look as professional to students who do see this on Twitter or any other social media platforms,” said Brown.
Taylor Avery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @travery98.