Senate candidate endorsement interview: Jonathan Iniguez

The California Aggie: Can you introduce yourself — your name, your year, your major and your pronouns?

Jonathan Iniguez: Nice. My name is Jonathan Iniguez. I’m a third-year — I’m a transfer student. I’m a political science major. His and him are my pronouns.

TCA: And then are you running on a slate? 

JI: Yes, I’m running on a slate. I’m running on [the] Thrive slate.

TCA: Okay, and why did you choose Thrive?

JI: I chose Thrive just because I — before I started to run, or decided to enter the election, I kind of liked the way that Thrive’s message is about every Aggie matters, and that’s something that I felt like I could really relate to, just because I felt like every person’s voice matters. Especially because they have a mental health awareness on there and something that I’m very — that’s something that I’m actually running on. One of my platforms is for mental health — our own viewpoints, our missions were kind of together.

TCA: And then, speaking about platforms, could you go into your platforms and explain how you plan to accomplish them?

JI: Sure. My first platform, it’s on safety — campus safety. The reason I’m choosing campus safety is because the first semester that I’ve been here, I mean the first quarter that I’ve been here, I’ve noticed that we have the emergency blue lights around campus. But something I’ve noticed is that they are in heavily dense student populations, like the library and the MU. But I’ve noticed that there’s not emergency blue lights around areas of campus where there’s not a lot of students, because students have to walk home at night. So for example, like right now that it’s spring, the sun doesn’t — the sun goes down like around six o’clock. Students that finish class at like eight, nine o’clock, students that are riding their bike or walking home, to have some type of forum to reach someone in case they need an emergency. Just because they’re so — that they’re so far apart — that if someone does have an emergency, how are they going to reach that emergency call on time without them getting harmed or anything like that? So that’s one of my platforms. My second platform is actually mental health awareness as well. I think that mental health awareness is very, very important. Actually, myself, I felt like I dealt with mental health during community college. I felt like it was a rough patch to me. So just knowing and being able to accomplish and being able to escape our mental health is something that I’m really passionate for. The way that I want to help that out is by letting students know that it’s okay to talk about it. Trying to — like posters, flyers in classrooms, letting them know that it’s okay to talk. See if we could write legislation, or some type of bill that we could finance to have a number in case students just want to call and say, ‘You know, I’m not going to go out today,’ because they don’t feel comfortable — just because a lot of them are transfer students or a lot of are freshmen. You don’t feel comfortable talking to a lot of people you just met. So, I actually have a friend who’s a freshman. He’s very homesick. So I talk to him every once in a while, he doesn’t really feel like he has a chance to talk to anybody — so that’s something I thought about. My last platform that I’m running on is campus management and development. The reason I chose this is because I’ve noticed that as I ride my bike and try to look for parking, but yet parking is so limited just because there’s a lot of bikes that look like they were left over for like six months to like over six months just because of the dust accumulation on the bikes. So my goal would be to work with [the] External Affairs committee and try to get that resolved. And this is something people complain about: There’s not enough parking. But I think there is enough parking, it’s just the space available. And also I wanted to work on filters for the water hydration systems. Sometimes I’m trying to fill up my water bottle and you see the filter is like red. So I want to make sure that all that is kept up to date because students here during finals or midterms, they don’t want to walk a lot of places just to get to hydrate themselves. So especially when you walk to a hydration station and you see that the filter needs to be replaced, I don’t feel comfortable. And you kind of feel like you’re just drinking sink water. And I don’t — I think everybody kind of feels the same way. So it’s my goal to be part of and try to get that fixed. I’m trying to get goals that are attainable, not goals that I want to promise people, and that are going to be attainable if I do get elected into Senate. So those are the platforms on running on.

TCA: You talked about campus management and the old bicycles taking up the space, do you know who’s in charge of getting rid of those bikes?

JI: Yes. I did my research and it had to do with [the] External Affairs committee in ASUCD. They handle all those situations. So I was kind of — I wanted to kind of talk — if I do get elected, I want to kind of get personal with them and really try to see how we can change this. Either getting some type of funds to hire students just to go around. This bike’s been here [for] more than a week, put a tag on it. Because I kind of seen that some bikes have yellow papers on them. I’m assuming that’s — I wasn’t trying to just read someone’s paper — but I’m assuming that’s kind of giving someone a warning that your bike, somebody may impound it. So I just think that not just waiting, and I think it was like two weeks later, I still see the same things. So hiring students, giving more students jobs just to go around campus and figure out the type bikes that aren’t being used.

TCA: What do you feel is one area that ASUCD falls short on and what could be done to improve it?

JI: I think something that ASUCD is kind of short on is communication or the link between students and ASUCD. I don’t think a lot of students realize how many benefits ASUCD provides for them, like the Coffee House. A lot of people probably think it’s an individual party, but it’s actually ASUCD the one that’s actually helping us out with that. So I think that just the link between ASUCD and the student body. I think that’s the biggest problem that ASUCD has, and I’m more than happy to kind of link that barrier.

TCA: Why do you think that you have to be a senator to accomplish your platforms, your goals?

JI: I feel like I don’t have to be a senator to accomplish this. I know that I could go around campus and gather the student body up. But I feel like I could do a lot more changes being a senator. Just because a lot more doors open up for you, a lot of things are more accessible just because it’s easier to talk to more people, right? I think that being a regular student trying to make those movements, you’re sometimes put on like a wait list or, okay, the email response is not enough. As when you become a senator, you’re actually in charge of something. So like people are willing to actually reach back out. So that’s something I felt. Just because I felt, when I was at community college, I actually had the same problem with trying to get changes done onto campus. And eventually, it used to be hard just because it used to be so hard for communication between a student and student government.

TCA: What is your stance on the Basic Needs and Services Referendum?

JI: I support it. I think that everybody needs the basic needs. I think that minimum wage has gone up. So I think that the fee also needs to, just because I think that if students want to continue having these benefits, I think it’s a must. But if students aren’t willing to vote and kind of pick up the fee, I just think that, as a senator, as a budget, I think there’s ways that — finding different ways to kind of still keep the resources that students need.

TCA: What, specifically, have you done to ensure the passage of the fee referendum?

JI: I’ve been talking to everybody that I know, I’ve talked to them and I’m basically communicating with them that yes, that fees might go up, but it has to do with the benefit of the students. And I don’t necessarily tell them, yes, vote on it yes, don’t vote on it. I feel like everybody, at the end of the day still has their own opinion. I just give them my point of view, but I just tell them that it’s to keep the resources that we have. Something that I usually tell students is — because I eventually started riding the bus as well — when I’m on the bus, I actually mention to students that this is something that’s provided by ASUCD. As you walk into the bus, we have — ASUCD has — flyers posted saying, ‘This is brought to you by ASUCD.’

TCA: If elected, what units would you be interested in adopting?

JI: I think the units like the Coffee House, Unitrans. Just because I feel like a lot of those units are heavily correlated with students just because a lot of students are inside the Coffee House every day. And I think Unitrans just because a lot of students ride the Unitrans.