Despite a referendum last year that established instant runoff voting in student elections, five months planning and coding to set up a new election system, only two candidates have filed for the position of student body president, vice president and student fee committee chair.
Students will run for student government positions in two slates. Courtney Morse and Jesse Bufton are running on a self-defined “progressive slate” as President and Vice President, respectively. Madeline Enos will run for SFC chair.
Senior Ryan Klute will run as President with Ana Johns as Vice President on a “diverse” slate, in which they plan to encourage and foster an array of opinions and political views. Kayla Goldfarb will run on this slate as SFC chair.
Candidates from both slates agree on several issues, including a commitment to maintaining and improving sustainability on campus and resurrecting the Higher One boycott.
The Morse/Bufton slate stressed the importance of providing services and access to students. “I know ASPSU’s power and we are all going to focus on making higher education available to all students,” Morse said.
Morse and Bufton said that if elected, they plan to work closely with the Oregon Student Association on legislative issues.
“Given that it is a legislative year, it is important to use our influence as young, active college students and our resources to work on higher education,” Morse said.
Klute and Johns said their campaign with place an emphasis on campus issues. The key goal, Klute said, will be to strengthen student involvement in university processes and decisions and ensure that student positions on campus committees are filled.
“I couldn’t sit in the wayside,” Klute said, “I work so hard for students, to see nothing happening was so frustrating.”
Klute and Johns were critical of the current administration as led by student government president Erin Devaney, who ran on a progressive slate last year.
“A lot of students felt disenfranchised by this administration,” Johns said.
Klute echoed the complaint, accusing the current administration of accomplishing very little. “We are both frustrated by the lack of anything happening this year, with lots of important issues on the line.”
Both Klute and Johns have a history of involvement in student politics. Klute served as ASPSU vice president during the 2004-05 academic year and Johns served on the senate and on various committees.
Morse and Bufton are serving on the student senate this year and are both active in student groups. Morse was involved with OSPIRG, a student environmental and political activism group, while Bufton was a member of the College Democrats.
Some student leaders have expressed disappointment that just two slates are running this year. Instant run-off voting was created last year to make it easier for more than two candidates to run for the same office by allowing voters to prioritize candidates rather than vote for a favorite. The idea was to discourage a polarized debate and allow candidates to run with fewer resources.
“After all the hard work last year, it’s too bad that instant run-on seems to be moot this year,” Devaney said.
Morse was also disappointed by the turnout. “It seems to be a strong progressive slate and a conservative slate, which is indicative of PSU politics and student government’s tendency to pool its resources into two opposing sides.”
No write-in candidates will be allowed this year, but late registration rules for candidates have been relaxed. Students can register up to 48 hours before the election if they collect 20 student signatures and meet the academic requirements to run for office.
Ryan Klute/Ana Johns
Courtney Morse/Jesse Bufton