On Jan. 22, the Associated Students of Portland State University will be holding a public forum to elect a new vice president following the resignation of Yesenia Silva-Hernandez, who left the position Jan. 1.
Held in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 298 from 5 to 7 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to meet and get to know the three candidates, which have been narrowed down to Linda Hoppes, Steven Balogh and Tia Gomez-Zeller.
Alejandra Dominguez, the publicity and design director at ASPSU, stressed the importance of student attendance at this forum, stating in an email that the vice president has a huge “impact in [the] student financial committee and other important committees.”
ASPSU started accepting applications for the new vice president position Jan. 1, subsequent the resignation of Silva-Hernandez. According to ASPSU president Harris Foster, Silva-Hernandez submitted her letter of resignation prior to the start of winter term, citing personal reasons.
Those interested in the position were to submit applications by Jan. 10. However, the position was only available to those already working within ASPSU.
“For the vice president we did require that the applicants be internal, because we feel that we would be more effective if we don’t have to train someone for a position of this level who has never worked in ASPSU or with the Oregon Student Association,” Foster said. “In addition, we need someone who can carry on Yesenia’s campaigns so that our campaign promises can be met.
“With spring term elections and vote campaigns fast approaching, we need someone who can pick up where Yesenia left off and who wouldn’t need to be trained for a term before they become fully able to function in [ASPSU].”
After applications were submitted, the final candidates were chosen by Foster in accordance to article 10.1.1 of the 2013–2014 ASPSU constitution, which states that, “except for the ASPSU president and the [student fee committee] chair any vacancies shall be filled by the nomination of the President subject to the confirmation of the senate.”
However, Foster decided to involve the rest of ASPSU and the public in his decision through the public forum.
“In this case I have elected for a different process than our standard hiring committee due to the fact that it would be very difficult to deliberate and decide between current officials while in the presence of their peers. So, since it is a duty of Shaymaa Taha, chief of staff, and I to evaluate ASPSU officials anyway, it won’t cause any additional drama for her and I to have conversations about who is best for the position.
“I’ve [also] decided to have Taha and Silva-Hernandez help me in deliberations,” Foster said. “All of that being said, however, yes I will make the final decision on who I nominate for the position.”
After the final candidate is chosen, the senate will decide whether to approve Foster’s choice at a senate meeting that will be held on Jan. 27.
For those who cannot attend the forum, PSU’s radio station, KPSU, will be streaming it live through their website, kpsu.org.
For more information about ASPSU, visit aspsu.pdx.edu