ASPSU reinstates dismissed senators

The ASPSU senate voted on reinstating dismissed senators last Wednesday, as well as made a decision to support a Black Studies major at Portland State University.

Two weeks ago, five senators were removed from their posts for breach of the ASPSU senate attendance policy. The policy states that senators will not be absent for two or more meetings. Senators Shariyar Smith, Josh Morris, Justice McPherson, Michael-Sean Kelly and Nathan Pawlicki walked out of a senate meeting Oct. 2. They also missed a special senate meeting held Oct. 4.

McPherson, Kelly and Pawlicki were in attendance Wednesday as the senate decided to allow them to return. Smith and Morris did not attend. ASPSU senator Caine Lowery spoke out against reinstating the senators.

“I’d like to point out that we didn’t get any business taken care of while they were on it (the senate),” Lowery said.

McPherson was voted down for reinstatement. The senate voted both Kelly and Pawlicki back into office.

The senate accepted both Kelvin Nicholson, ASPSU university affairs director, and Jason Lowery, multicultural affairs director onto the elections committee.

ASPSU senator Reina Abolofia expressed her concern over the choices.

“I’m not sure if we should keep members of the executive staff on the elections committee. I’d like to reach out to the student body,” Abolofia said.

Also during the meeting, the senate voted down the proposal to place another flag on campus.

Elmer’s Flag and Banner offered to donate a flag, as well as other materials, for the project. The Portland State grounds crew is available to provide the labor. ASPSU senator Nathan Sackett spearheaded the project. Many senators spoke against the motion.

“People that I speak to on campus are completely opposed to relocation,” Abolofia said. “I’m going to vote this down until we get more proof about endorsements from student groups, just so that we as senators can see that there is interest.”

“I’m really concerned about the labor portion,” said Maude Bowman, ASPSU senator. “We are really understaffed right now.”

And despite the protests of a small vocal minority, the senate agreed to support a black studies major.

“The school has budget cuts,” Sackett said. “Where are we going to get full-time staff for this major? Money isn’t addressed in the bill.”

The Black Studies department has existed for more than 30 years at Portland State. Currently, the university only offers a minor and a certificate in it. There is a push in the senate to show support for Black Studies as an accredited major, as the classes appear to be popular among students.

“Typically, the classes fill fast,” said Dimitrius Desyllas, ASPSU senator. “A degree program will create diversity on campus; people will be offered something they are interested in. I want to speak in favor of black studies existing on campus.”

“Giving the department accreditation will make it stronger,” said Jesse Shapiro, ASPSU senator.