Lauren Morency named new ASPSU vice president

After the resignation of Selina Poulsen in mid-August, the Student Senate appointed Lauren Morency as the new ASPSU vice president at its meeting on Sept. 14.

After the resignation of Selina Poulsen in mid-August, the Student Senate appointed Lauren Morency as the new ASPSU vice president at its meeting on Sept. 14. Though she was initially expected to resign on Sept. 30, Poulsen—who took office June 1—resigned on Aug. 17 due to personal reasons, leaving ASPSU without a vice president for nearly a month.

Several candidates were considered for the vacant position, ASPSU president Katie Markey said. In the event that the vice president resigns, the ASPSU constitution rules that the president is responsible for filling an appointment, which must be confirmed by the Student Senate.

“I went through and talked to the senators that were here over the summer and the executive staff to ask them what qualities they were looking for [in a candidate],” Markey said. “Then I went through a process of figuring out who would be the best person to fill Selina’s shoes.”

According to Markey, the candidate needed to have both verbal and written communications skills, knowledge of the university and a personable demeanor. Knowledge of ASPSU was preferred, but not required, she said. In addition, the ideal candidate would have a deep understanding of broad student issues.

After Markey presented her appointment to the senators, with Poulsen’s resignation letter in hand, the floor was opened for questions and discussion.

“They grilled me for a good 20 minutes,” Morency said. However, the Senate voted unanimously to appoint her.

Morency’s first experience with student government was as a legislative affairs director at Portland Community

College. After taking a year off, she enrolled at Portland State in the fall of 2009, where she quickly became interested in ASPSU. Though she began as a legislative intern, she was hired as the organization’s communications director last winter, a position she kept until June. Most recently, however, Morency served as a senator.

“I had no communication experience, so it really forced me to get to know the university’s ins and outs really quickly,” she said. “I think having those positions…has helped me adapt to the roles of student government.”

Morency’s goals for the upcoming year revolve around ASPSU’s three campaigns: student voice in university restructuring, student dignity and student access to fee-funded services. She would also like to see a successful voter registration drive. This year, ASPSU’s goal is to register 3,000 students; as of yesterday, it has registered 434 students to vote.

In addition, Morency noted that she would like to increase the

Senate’s accountability by providing its members with more direction.

“My job is really to help them stay focused and stay on track,” she said. As ASPSU vice president, Morency also serves as president of the Senate.

Though Morency is confident, she is also aware that she needs time to get acquainted with this year’s organization, especially since she was gone during the summer. When she was first appointed, she took a week to acclimate herself with the campaigns and the vice president’s role within ASPSU.

Morency noted that Poulsen was in office for a short period of time, during the most inactive months of the year. As a result, she hopes that the adjustment process will be fairly easy.

“I’m not here to replace Selina; I’m here to add my qualities,” she said. “I’m hoping that there’s not a lot of resentment because she didn’t really get a chance to run with her position.”

Poulsen was not available for comment.

Duties of the ASPSU vice president

According to the ASPSU constitution, the vice president’s responsibilities include:

  •  Monitoring the administrative and academic responsibilities and procedures of the University for their impact on individual members of ASPSU and on the activities of the ASPSU organization.
  • Presiding over the Student Senate.
  • Assuming all duties pertaining to the office of the ASPSU president if  the president is unable to perform those duties.