With the high attendance at last Tuesday’s forum on higher education reform, it’s clear that restructuring has gained momentum among universities in the Oregon University System.
With the high attendance at last Tuesday’s forum on higher education reform, it’s clear that restructuring has gained momentum among universities in the Oregon University System. In order to raise student awareness, ASPSU is planning to launch a grassroots campaign across Portland State’s campus.
At the beginning of last week, a group of concerned student senators convened in order to organize an unofficial committee to promote student outreach. Though formal plans have yet to be established, the senators involved plan to run the campaign similarly to the Vote OR Vote initiative held during the fall term.
Much like the Vote OR Vote campaign, ASPSU will be utilizing several different approaches to opening a dialogue with students. ASPSU has proposed revisiting class raps, as well as tabling in the Park Blocks in order to reach out and connect with the student body.
In addition to outreach, ASPSU has scheduled five town hall meetings—two at the end of this term, and three planned for spring term. The dates of these town hall meetings have yet to be established, but the goal is to inform the student body of the potential outcomes of restructure and to create an opportunity for a question-and-answer session.
“The goal of these town hall meetings is to just get everyone generally informed,” Legislative Affairs Director Marcus Sis said. “The goal of the class raps is to get students involved, [and] get them to volunteer.”
Student Senator Pearce Whitehead, who also sits on the committee, said he is interested in potentially organizing a day of action. This would be an opportunity to gather students in the park and mix a party atmosphere with an information session, he said.
“We’ve got a general understanding of what students want out of restructure,” he said. “But what we really want to do is get out there and hear firsthand what students have to say about this.”
According to Student Senator Karen Ulbright, the Senate is also preparing to take on a greater role in restructuring than it has in the past. Restructure will be the primary topic during tonight’s Senate meeting, where fact sheets will be distributed for senators to present to their constituencies.
“We want to make sure that all our senators really have at least a basic understanding of what to ask their constituencies,” Ulbright said. “There’s a lot of misinformation and, of course, we still don’t know what this bill is going to look like in the end.”
Each ASPSU senator is also required to maintain a relationship with the constituency that they represent. According to ASPSU President Katie Markey, many senators have yet to address the issue of higher education reform with their constituency. In addition to the increased student dialogue, senators will also be contacting these groups in the coming weeks to address any issues or concerns that they may have with restructure.
Markey said, however, that ASPSU has formally opposed the University of Oregon proposal. This is the same stance that has been adopted by the Associated Students of Oregon State University and the Associated Students of University of Oregon. ?