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Candidates discuss political platforms

On Monday afternoon, candidates for the ASPSU President and Vice President positions gathered for a forum. The candidates met in the Parkway Commons in an attempt to have the student body learn more about their political agendas, as well as their leadership personalities.

Current President Mary Cunningham began the session by introducing the candidates and the format of the forum. The forum consisted of opening statements by both parties, followed by response to written questions from the audience and then closing statements.

After each giving brief introductions of their qualifications as leaders, the first question asked what kind of lobbying experience each party had.

Candidate Kristin Wallace first responded by saying that she was “all about” lobbying in Salem and that the president position called for “someone with extensive experience in lobbying.” She then iterated that “this is what I have done for two years and will continue to do.” Her running mate Dune Zhu also cited his prior experience with the Oregon Students of Color Coalition.

Candidate Cory Murphy responded by stating that he was committed to establishing a “lobbying team with multiple perspectives” which he felt was reflective of how Salem works. He also added that because of his current involvement in the student senate, that this lobbying team was already “partially in place.”

Running mate Lindsey Blauer was unable to attend the forum and was not present.

On the controversial topic about whether PSU should raise the minimum GPA requirement to 3.0, Wallace and Zhu asserted their opposition to the proposal, which they felt would limit the “accessibility of the college” and would block more students from entering, especially non-traditional ones, when “retention is already the lowest among Oregon universities.” Murphy, on the other hand, was in favor of “access, but also excellence,” and noted that the proposed change would only affect future first-year students. He added that he would like to therefore “go beyond the hype” and do more investigation on the issue.

Finally, the candidates all reiterated their main issues to close out the forum, with Wallace and Zhu discussing their commitment to diversity, especially for students of color and sexual minorities, while Murphy spoke of his desire to make the university a better community as a whole and to improve campus life for students.