Martinez, Parsi discuss campaign at ASWSU presidential debate

Pair hope to expand mental health resources, provide more representation for multicultural groups



All-Campus Senators Jacob Martinez and Kiana Parsi said a major focus for their campaign is representing all students at WSU.

MOLLY WILK, Evergreen reporter

All-Campus Senators Jacob Martinez and Kiana Parsi spoke at the March 6 ASWSU presidential debate about their plans if elected as ASWSU president and vice president.

Community Outreach

Martinez and Parsi stressed the importance of representation in the community throughout the debate.

The team said they hope to attend more multicultural group meetings and build relationships that make individuals comfortable enough to reach out to them when they have issues.

By reaching out to all groups on campus, including communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community, freshmen and other WSU campuses, Martinez said he believes he will be able to make those connections and increase representation for all groups across the WSU system.

“There is a power in numbers,” Parsi said. “It starts with us, … even if we’re the only ones that have a certain group’s back, people will follow and people will understand.” 

After going through the campaign process, Parsi said she has a better understanding of the power of reaching out to people and plans to continue doing so if elected, through polls, surveys, attending group meetings and holding office hours. 

Both Martinez and Parsi said they have unfortunately been unable to attend as many multicultural group meetings as they would have liked to this semester, but going forward are pushing for themselves and more senators to attend these meetings regularly. 

“It’s our responsibility to reach out to [minority groups],” Parsi said. “Even if I can only find a few people from each community, if they can all give me a list of ten problems they’re having, we can make a plan and attack the problems.” 

They also plan on making it part of a senator’s job description to attend meetings of multicultural groups regularly to ensure these groups feel heard, Martinez said.

The two also discussed encouraging more diversity in Greek life and Greek chapters on campus. 


The pair encourages students to reach out to them directly when they need to be held accountable or to attend the Wednesday night senate meetings to speak during public testimony. 

“We’re not running for this position to let anyone down,” Parsi said. “If anyone feels that we are not doing our job well, come bang on the door. Be mad, I would be mad. … It’s your school and you voted for us so if we let you down you have every right to try and kick us out.” 

They said they understand the lack of transparency and unstable relationship between the executive team and Senate has been a concern in the past, but they are planning to work on fixing these issues if elected. 

Campaign Goals and Qualifications 

Having both served on the ASWSU Senate, Martinez and Parsi said their experiences as a part of the Senate are what qualifies them to take on the roles of president and vice president.

Martinez has served on the Senate for the past three years, first as a freshman delegate and the last two years as an all-campus senator, he said. 

During his time on the Senate, Martinez said he has worked on several bylaws, some of which he continues to work on now. 

When asked by vice presidential candidate Kjelt Visser why his passed resolutions have not yet gone into place, Martinez said he has been in touch with the executive team and has been working on these projects.

“I am very passionate about this position and have wanted it ever since my freshman year. And so, I will let nothing get in the way from me assuring that students get their voices heard,” Martinez said. “I understand that I may be passing all these resolutions but they are slowly coming up and it’s going to slowly make a big change overall.” 

Martinez said they are passionate about making campus more eco-friendly by reducing plastic bag and straw usage. He also said they are interested in addressing the affordable on-campus housing issue and want to discuss the issue with Coug Housing. 

Parsi said she is running for vice president because she has too many times experienced herself or candidate Martinez being turned down when trying to make change. She said by running for the position for herself she will be able to finally make the changes she has in mind. 

The two have strong morals and are not afraid to turn down any resolutions that they view as questionable, she said. 

Mental Health

Martinez and Parsi emphasized their focus on creating more accessible mental health resources for students. 

The two plan to reach out to Cougar Health Services and health administrators to discuss the possibility of recruiting more counselors and psychologists, Martinez said. 

Moving CHS’s Counseling and Psychological Services to a larger space would allow for the addition of more staff, he said. He is currently working to pass a resolution to move the center. 

More staff would also limit the length of the current waitlist which has prevented many students from receiving the help they are looking for, Parsi said. 

Beyond psychological services, Martinez said he hopes to work with the Interfraternity Council to implement more mental health services for members of the Greek community. 

He also said he is working to pass a bylaw requiring Greek chapters to complete crisis prevention training in hopes of making the community a safer place. 

Closing Statement

Martinez and Parsi finished the debate by thanking the audience and encouraging students to reach out with questions and concerns. 

“We hope you believe us and trust us,” Martinez said. “We will serve every one of you and hear all of your voices.”