ASLMU presidential debates bring controversial topics to the forefront of conversations | News

the Presidential debatewho was the final ASLMU election event, covered topics on birth control, underrepresented communities and mental health resources.

This debate was moderated by Chelsea Brown, the assistant director of student engagement for the Service and action center. The candidates for the post of President of the ASLMU are Saul Rascon Salazarjunior major in international relations, and Chris Wilson, junior accounting and management and double major leadership. Running for ASLMU vice president on their respective tickets are Ava Raymond, a sophomore in management and leadership and a double major in English, and Gabi Jeakle, a junior double major in English and history.

In their opening statements, Jeakle and Salazar addressed the need for tangible change by advocating for the student body and acting as a liaison between students and administration. Wilson and Raymond made similar points in their opening statement, continuing to talk about the need to give students a voice and bring the community closer to LMU.

The first question asked by Brown was, “How would you go about recruiting and selecting qualified candidates for these [ASLMU] posts? »

Jeakle and Salazar responded first, emphasizing their desire to increase community engagement and choose representatives from underrepresented communities. “The best way to represent and help communities is to reach out to the people who are in those communities,” Jeakle said.

Both Raymond and Wilson agreed with these points and emphasized the need for engagement with the student body to better help underrepresented communities and create new positions. “Part of our platform is actually that we want to create an ASLMU position for international students,” Raymond replied.

Following these responses, Brown asked the candidates to talk about a time when they felt supported by LMU and a time when they felt let down by the University, which led her to the following question: “How will this experience influence the way you make decisions as president or vice-president?”

“My sophomore year, as the pandemic hit, I was having serious academic difficulties…reaching out to community of care, the resources were there, but I felt like they were only there on paper,” Salazar said. “As president of ASLMU, I would like to not only transfer funds to the Community of Care program and the Psychological services for students [SPS] program, but make sure there are plenty of representatives of people who not only understand going through a pandemic, but what it’s like to go through a pandemic without being motivated, [and] the impression of going against the current.

Jeakle emphasized the requirement for the University to create pathways for students to access resources, stating his desire to use ASLMU funding to increase resource transparency with students. She said that although she feels supported by the University, the help she received could easily have been unavailable to other students.

“I and some of my fellow senators were trying to pass a resolution to have a women’s health clinic on campus,” Raymond said in response to the University’s sense of abandonment, speaking of the disapproval of the University for Women’s Health. clinical.

“I felt I needed to speak to someone, I tried to contact SPS, and they were like ‘Oh, we’re available in two weeks’ and I said ‘it’s not. isn’t useful’. It’s a crisis moment for me,” Wilson said of a time when he felt let down by the University. “Basically, I just took my debit card , and I took all the money I had and put it on a flight home, because I didn’t feel supported, and I had to leave… We really want to make sure that students have access to appropriate mental health support.

Later in the event, Brown continued the conversation about community engagement by asking, “What ideas do you have for creatively connecting with students to make sure they’re up to date with what’s being done? both by the ASLMU and the LMU as a whole?”

Jeakle and Salazar brought up the idea of ​​advocacy and increasing the visibility of underrepresented communities. “Part of our advocacy platform is that we want to make sure that cultural and justice organizations receive weekly personal invitations,” Salazar said.

Raymond and Wilson followed up on this by talking about increasing in-person engagement, referring to events like Wellness Wednesday. “We really want to make sure people know that ASLMU is here for you, ASLMU is here to serve you, ASLMU is basically the resource center for students,” Raymond replied.

“I think it’s about making sure ASLMU is the central resource,” Wilson said. “Right now, when you need something from LMU, you have to browse around 8,000 different websites.”

After the event, contestants from both tickets sat down with Loyolan for an interview about the topics discussed at the event.

When asked to elaborate on their plan for women on campus, Raymond blames the Jesuit tradition for the lack of contraceptives on campus:

“We think the Jesuit community adds a lot of value to our community, but we think there should be condoms in the convenience store. There should be free condoms in halls of residence, and we believe there should be a women’s health clinic that provides free STD testing, provides free medical exams, and provides prescriptions for birth control because ultimately it is a basic need of women.

“There is so much unspent money at ASLMU, and there is money that is spent in places where it benefits ASLMU’s image but does not benefit the tangible things that our platform -shape transports,” Salazar said commenting on recent issues with SPS being inaccessible to the large number of students who need mental health services. “Having a serious conversation with a variety of student leaders from marginalized communities, the SPS director, and decision-making administrators is one of our priorities when talking about something as serious as student psychological services.”

The ASLMU debates are now closed and the voting period will open on Tuesday, March 22 at 8 a.m. Students interested in voting can log into their LEO account and vote for the 2022 ASLMU Elections any time before Thursday, March 24 at 5 p.m. For more information, the complete chronology of the ASLMU elections is available here.

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