The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Debate shares candidates’ views

Senior and former Student Senator Eric Ristau came to Wednesday’s Student Senate presidential debate unsure of which ticket to vote for and left with the same uncertainty, he said.

“I haven’t … heard enough from the tickets to make a wise, informed decision,” Ristau said.

Ristau was one of roughly 50 students watching the slightly more than half-hour debate, which took place at noon in The Cabin in Davies Center. The majority of attendees were either current or former student senators.

The two tickets vying for the top spot in next week’s election – juniors Emily Ascher and running mate Michelle Madsen; and junior Aaron Olson and his vice presidential candidate sophomore De Anna Breault – both stressed the importance of experience during the debate.

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Ascher said the skills she has developed as a representative to the National Association of College and University Residence Halls provide her with a strong communication background that would be beneficial as president.

In the position, Ascher said she took the concerns of Eau Claire students to both the state and national levels and would be able to convey students’ thoughts to campus administrators.

“I know that the voice of the students is importantly expressed by the Student Senate throughout the school year,” she said. Ascher also said communication between Senate and the student body would be her and Madsen’s most pressing goal as president and vice president.

Olson said the two years he has served on Student Senate as a senator, and his current position of Student Services Director, as well as Breault’s senate experience, better qualify their ticket to fill the Senate’s top positions.

“When you look at the stage there’s a difference,” Olson said. “There’s qualified and unqualified, there’s experienced and inexperienced.”

Ristau said one of his concerns is the student body as a whole is not paying attention to Student Senate.

“As we’ve come along the number of years I’ve been here, the level of interest in Student Senate appears to have gone down,” Ristau said, “and that’s troubling.”

Both tickets addressed the issue of increasing student involvement in the campus government during the debate and each proposed ways they plan to do so.

Ascher said she would strive to make senators more visible to their peers in a variety of ways, including working with campus media to profile one senator per week.

“One of the goals that Michelle and I have for this upcoming year is to spotlight the senators,” she said. “(We would) make sure that students know … for a week they could focus on a senator’s experience.”

Olson said he plans to make Senate more visible on campus via daily interviews with random students if elected president.

“I will make the pledge to you right now that if I’m elected president, I will do one interview a day for my entire term,” Olson said.

No matter whom students plan to vote for, it’s important that they be informed on all candidates before choosing the next Student Senate executives, Ristau said.

“I think it’s important for students to vote so long as they’re informed and they know why they’re voting for people.”

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Debate shares candidates’ views