The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

ASNMSU presidential and vice-presidential debates take center stage

The+ASNMSU+2024+presidential+candidates+debate+in+the+Corbett+Auditorium+on+Thursday%2C+March+27%2C+2024.+The+candidates+listed+left+to+right%3A+Ala+Alhalholy%2C+Jay+Choate%2C+Javan+Hollins%2C+Anisa+Sanchez.%0A
Leah De La Torre
The ASNMSU 2024 presidential candidates debate in the Corbett Auditorium on Thursday, March 27, 2024. The candidates listed left to right: Ala Alhalholy, Jay Choate, Javan Hollins, Anisa Sanchez.

As the student election season heats up, candidates running for presidency and vice presidency of the Associated Students of New Mexico State University met in a public forum on Wednesday, March 27, to debate their policies and make a final push for their campaigns.  

An audience of approximately 30 students and faculty members joined the candidates in the Corbett Center Student Union auditorium. This year, there are three candidates seeking to be elected ASNMSU president: Anisa Sanchez, Ala Alhalholy and Javan Hollins. 

While he participated in the debate, candidate Jay Choate withdrew from the race on Monday, April 1.  

This year’s vice presidency candidates are Alex Duran, Elida Miller and Christopher Hamilton. All presidential candidates have a running mate this year, except Javan Hollins, who is running independently.  

Each presidential and vice-presidential candidate started the debate with a two-minute introduction of themselves, as well as the visions and initiatives they would like to see in their potential leadership roles. Candidates were given one minute to answer questions, as well as a 30-second rebuttal period after all candidates answered the question.  

Presidential Candidates on the issues

Presidential candidates were asked what they believed to be the biggest issue facing both NMSU and the association. All of them believed that transparency is a forefront issue. Communication and access to the association were other popular answers. 

College of Arts and Sciences senator, Ala Alhalholy, cited members of the association are distant from one another, which leads to less efficiency and transparency. 

 

Javan Hollins discusses the goals and initiatives of his ASNMSU presidential candidacy at the debates on March 27, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

“I think implementing retreat early on in the semester — with everybody getting to know everyone, everyone being respectful of everybody — will help us become one big, united force,” Alhalholy said. “If we are all on the same page, we can all push our initiatives and make a greater impact on campus and better help students.”  

 

Former ASNMSU justice and current Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity president, Javan Hollins, mentioned that a lack of communication leads to a lack of trust and outreach from the association. 

“When you open up that line of communication and also that support, you build trust, you build a relationship. At the end of the day, we all have the same mission, and we are all trying to accomplish the same thing, and that’s by making students better on this campus,” Hollins said. 

Several questions along the lines of fairness within the association were also asked. Just a few weeks ago, The Round Up reported on Resolution 98, which was an anti-nepotism bill introduced by ASNMSU Sen. Alex Duran. The resolution sparked much debate and was tabled during that February meeting. However, presidential candidates acknowledged the need for diverse perspectives within ASNMSU.  

Former association Attorney General, Jay Choate, said there needs to be more outreach and that certain positions should be geared towards certain departments at the university for complete transparency and quality of hires.  

“I think we should be focusing on specific parts of campus to

Presidential candidate Ala Alhalholy introduces herself to Thursday’s debate attendees. Mar. 27, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

engage those students within the association so that we are getting the most qualified people for the positions,” Choate said.

Anisa Sanchez, current director of ASNMSU Governmental Affairs, said if elected, she will move forward with more outreach and bolster human resource practices to ensure that hiring operations are fair and updated.  

“It has a lot to do with outreach,” Sanchez said. “Utilizing the hiring committee and ensuring that we are working to get the most qualified candidates and applicants in our office working for us.” 

Hollins and  Alhalholy echoed the opinions of their fellow candidates, citing the need for diverse perspectives within the association for things to be done fairly and efficiently.  

Campus safety addressed 

Another question touched on the topic of safety on campus. Last week, it was reported by NMSU communications that a sexual assault incident was being investigated. Police documents obtained by NMSU News22 showed the sexual assault occurred within a housing residence on campus grounds. 

All presidential candidates agreed that safety is a top priority and that resources should be made readily available to students. 

 

Anisa Sanchez explains her motivations for her ASNMSU presidential candidacy. Mar. 27, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

Choate mentioned that he believed the association should work with NMSU administration on these issues and expand access to mental health resources. Hollins agreed with that statement, and Alhalholy said she will look further into expanding support on this issue.  

 

Sanchez also chimed in on the issue.  

“It all comes down to just ensuring that our students know that they are safe here and that we are here for them,” Sanchez stated.  

Vice Presidential Candidates on the Issues: 

Vice presidential candidates then stepped onto the stage to make their case to voters, with the first question regarding communication between the branches of ASNMSU.  

All three candidates shared similar ideas on how to keep communication steady and consistent within the NMSU community. Duran said that ASNMSU needs to expand on campus and show more student support.  

Elida Miller gives the debate attendees a rundown of her vice presidential goals with the ASNMSU senate. Mar. 27, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

“We need to be going out to students again; we need to show face, to show the support to them all that we are here to represent you all, and we are going to sacrifice whatever we have to do make sure your voices are heard properly and effectively within the student government,” Duran said. “Our slogan is ‘Your student government, not ours.’”

Hamilton stated that a distance from face-to-face communication has resulted in inefficiency and problems left alone and not solved.  

“It’s very easy to send a story or to send an email, but when you have that sit down one-on one with a fellow constituent, it means so much more, the conversation actually can get through, that’s how we can break down barriers,” Hamilton said. “That’s how we will solve [the problems]. By sitting down one-on-one and having those tough conversations.”  

Miller said that she wants to improve the retreat processes to build relationships between the branches of ASNMSU earlier in the year so there is trust between members. She also echoed the idea of getting out on campus to build trust with constituents.  

Christopher Hamilton describes what his candidacy initiatives would be if elected as ASNMSU vice president at the association debates on March 27, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

“I want us to be present, attend council meetings, attend clubs, because that will make it to where the office is a more open environment, because they, [the constituents], know our faces, they recognize us, and they are more willing to come to us with their concerns,” Miller cited.  

According to the ASNMSU website, voting will begin on Monday, April 1 at 8 a.m., and will be open until Friday, April 5 at 5 p.m. Unofficial results will be posted on April 5 at 11 p.m. 

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About the Contributors
Noah Apodaca, Staff Writer

Noah Apodaca is a junior at New Mexico State University, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies with an emphasis in broadcast, as well as a minor in government. This is Noah's first year with The Round Up. 

Born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Noah got his start in the media industry in 2022, when he joined KRWG-TV's News22 program as a writer, reporter and anchor. With News22, he has covered a wide range of topics, including traveling to the 2023 Conference USA Championship game in Lynchburg, Virginia. 

In addition to News22, Noah has worked with NMSU's journalism department’s online news publication, Kokopelli, KFOX14 in El Paso, Texas, and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich.

In his spare time, you can catch Noah at the gym, at the airport fulfilling his love of travel, or at home streaming some Disney+ alongside his five dogs. He is ecstatic to join The Round Up team this year!

Leah De La Torre, Multimedia Specialist
Leah De La Torre is entering her second year at The Round Up as a multimedia specialist. She will be majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. She grew up in El Paso, Texas. De La Torre has been making videos with her family and friends since she was in elementary school, and her love for the camera continued through high school as she became a member of the video and broadcast team. There, not only did she learn more about photography and video making but gained an interest in journalism. Her other interests include playing the cello, sewing, and listening to her favorite music artists like Her’s and The Strokes. Working for The Round Up, she hopes to continue doing what she loves, being behind the camera and contributing to making and telling stories about her community.

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