ASI Debate Forum Lacks Participants and Candidates


Canva illustration by Ernesto Leon/ The Runner

Ernesto Leon, Assistant Features Editor

CSU Bakersfield’s Associated Students Inc. board held its first debate forum Monday, April 4. Out of 23 candidates running for ASI, only 10 potential members were present throughout the event. The ASI debate forum was held during the same time as the ASI’s ‘Game Day’ event, which both started at noon.  

The debate forum did introduce candidates who made their interests clear on what they want for the future of ASI and why they believe to be the best candidate for the position as well as what problems students will be facing as we return to an in-person environment in the fall of 2022.  

Most of the candidate’s biggest issue regarding returning to campus was the lack of engagement and community that they will be facing as school starts back up again.  

“I think one of the biggest problems that many students are going to face in the fall will have to do with connecting to one another. I think communication is key and trying to create an environment that helps students not feel alone and know about the resources that are there, and the things we can do to help…,” said Andrea Bautista. 

Those running unopposed that came to the event were Kayla Medina, running for director of clubs and organizations outreach, Yasmin Marcelo, running for director of arts and humanities, and Sarah Alame, running for director of sustainability. Marcelo explained that the Department of Arts and Humanities is like her home, and she wants to see more representation and highlights for students who are studying in the department. She also wants to help individuals who are victims of harassment to know where to go when they go through these traumatic experiences, and would like ASI to take a more active role in supporting these students. Alame would like to take more proactive measures in combating wastefulness and reducing harm to the environment and brought up wanting to limit the amount of plastic CSUB is utilizing.  

“Currently, The Runner Cafe plastic wraps every individual apple when giving them out to students. The amount of plastic use is going to go up, especially in the fall… We’ve even found microplastics in people’s blood recently,” said Alame.  

All candidates running for Vice President of Finance and Director of Diversity and Inclusion were present throughout the event and answered questions from the audience. Daniel Albiar, Julissa Chavana, and Erick Plata Torres are the candidates running for vice president of finance and provided information on what made them the best person for the job.  

Torres talked about his previous experience as Director of Transfer Students, where he helped pass a $100 donation to any new club, any internship that works with community outreach, and his job of helping students with financial aid. Albiar talked about his background in business starting his first one at the age of 14, and is the President of the Bussiness Student Association on campus which raised $1,000. Chavana mentioned the importance of students when thinking of this position. She has her own photography business, which she says brings a new aspect to this candidacy one that focuses not only on profit for ASI but on people and them being informed of the availability of resources CSUB offers.  

Candidates running for Director of Diversity and Inclusion include JaNell Gore, Andrea Bautista, and Alejandro Romero. The audience asked what they would do if a student who experienced harassment came to them. Bautista made it known she would be there for them and do everything she can to make sure that the student feels safe and have it reported. Gore explained that they would submit a forum on the CSUB website that allows students to report any incident of harassment of any kind and help that student get out of that situation as soon as possible. Romero talked about being there for the student throughout the entirety of that process which can be scary. To make sure the student feels comfortable and heard.  

Candidates who were present throughout the event but their opponents were not were Nick Dobusch, running for director of athletics engagement, and Wefaq Alshami, running for director of international student relations.