ASWSU Presidential Candidates Debate Student Involvement, Fiscal Responsibility
By: Zack Menchel
Pullman, Wash. ASWSU presidential candidates and their running mates debated issues relating to student programs and fiscal priorities among other topics Wednesday night in the CUB Senior Ballroom.
Senior political science major Taylor Hennessey and his running mate junior sports management major Kevin Massimino sat on the left side of the stage.
On the right side of the stage sat their opposition, senior political science major Jake Mayson and his running mate sophomore hospitality business management major Harrison Diemert.
The night began with each pairing’s opening statement followed by seven questions regarding various on-campus issues prepared by the Election Board.
The questions addressed both the ticket and candidates individually and both tickets were allotted a one-minute rebuttal.
The most pressing issue on the campaign agenda this year focuses on a general deficiency in accessibility and knowledge of student programs.
Hennessey and Massimino utilized their platform of interaction to discuss a solution to the lack of visibility of many of WSU’s current programs.
The pair proposed a complete retooling of ASWSU’s website in order to create a central hub of information regarding student services such as tutoring and scholarships.
“The site would be introduced to incoming students at Alive! Summer Orientation,” said Massimino.
“We want them to know that ASWSU is the resource to answer their questions about any services the school currently offers,” Massimino said.
They also stressed the importance of maintaining a strong ASWSU presence at Alive! to assist students with any concerns they may have.
Mayson and Diemert cited Multicultural Services and Cougar Leadership Retreat, a program that allows students to voice their opinions, thoughts, and concerns about campus life as the answers to improving the identity of student programs as a whole.
“It begins with a core group of phenomenal leaders on campus,” said Mayson.
“By creating a connection between various programs and student government, we can really expand ASWSU’s reach and visibility here on campus,” Mayson said.
Financial responsibilities and planning provided another hot-button topic on the evening for the candidates.
Using their platform of affordability, Mayson and Diemert stated their primary commitment is to get money back into students’ pockets.
“If elected I think our top priority and one that excites students is the gas co-op,” said Mayson.
“The idea of taking a chunk out of the average $1,400 dollars the average WSU student spends on transportation every year would be huge,” Mayson said.
The ticket said if elected they would concentrate on funding student programs to make sure they fulfill what they’re tasked to do and would instill a zero increase budget policy unless the increase provided opportunity for student employment.
Highlighting Mayson and Diemert’s point on finances is their idea for the Bookie to provide four $1,000 scholarships to students who demonstrated exemplary leadership each semester.
Hennessey and Massimino related to the audience by discussing the pains of buying and re-selling textbooks at the Bookie.
The duo said that because the Bookie does not deal with state money and can be adjusted barring necessity, they would strive to be more fiscally responsible with the student bookstore’s dividend in textbook pricing.
In addition, Hennessey and Massimino expressed the significance of public fundraising to their campaign’s goals and pledged to donate $500 out of each of their salaries back to students in some form, be it scholarships or student program funding.
Other topics covered throughout the debate included academic colleges versus living districts, specific plans for ASWSU community programs, specific characteristics of each candidate’s leadership qualities, and how each ticket will stand out.
Director of Student Involvement Connan Campbell said he felt the debate was an overall success and was thrilled with the candidates’ presentations.
“The candidates were clear about their platform points and stuck to them consistently,” said Campbell.
“They did a good job highlighting their own strengths but also poked holes in their opponent’s agendas while pointing out their weaknesses,” Campbell said.
Campbell said voters could do no wrong with either campaign ticket, as they both possess the knowledge and experience to step in and make an immediate impact.
He said his hope for the election is that the candidates reach out to the students that don’t usually vote and try to get them educated and more informed about what’s happening around campus.
More than 800 students and staff members attended Wednesday’s debate, the first of at least three taking place leading up to the election.
The ASWSU president and vice president will be anointed on March 5.
1. Kevin Massimino
Title: ASWSU Director of Student Life/District 3 Senator
2. Jake Mayson
Title: ASWSU Chief of Staff
3. Connan Campbell
Title: Faculty Director of Student Involvement
Summary: On Wednesday, Feb. 13 more than 800 WSU students and faculty members gathered in the CUB Senior Ballroom to watch a debate between the Hennessey/Massimino and Mayson/Diemert tickets. The debate was the first in a series leading up to the election in March. The debate’s two hot-button topics focused on prioritizing fiscal responsibilities and the need for exposure of student programs.
- Time and Place
- Naming of Candidates
- Brief Explanation of Debate Principles
II). Why? & What?
- Debate of hot-button issues
- To Decide ASWSU Presidency
- Candidate Agenda/Solutions
- Faculty Advisor Thoughts on Event
IV. Wrap-Up Information