I attended both of the recent ASPSU Judicial Board meetings regarding the election eligibility of Rudy Soto. The board handled the issue very professionally.

ASPSU judicial board

I attended both of the recent ASPSU Judicial Board meetings regarding the election eligibility of Rudy Soto. The board handled the issue very professionally. Keith Creech, the Judicial Board chair, did an excellent job orchestrating and managing the meetings. Each of the meetings was tense and contentious, yet Mr. Creech kept the subject on track and moving forward.

Open to the public, students were permitted to express their opinions and questions. ASPSU President Courtney Morse lent her experience and knowledge to the proceedings, providing very beneficial insight. The group’s adviser, Natalee Webb, attended these meetings; her understanding and experience of ASPSU affairs also assisted the board.

As an impartial observer not involved in the election, I was pleased by the competency and professionalism exhibited by the Judicial Board and the ASPSU officers who spoke. Never having followed ASPSU issues, I was impressed and a little proud of my university’s student government.

A student

Invalidating Rudy Soto’s victory means invalidating the student voice

Rudy Soto and Brad Vehafric won this year’s ASPSU elections, 999-910. They ran one of the most diverse slates of candidates in years and are now facing defeat based on a legal technicality. As a candidate who ran with Rudy Soto, I am grateful for all the hard work he did to help almost every one of us in his slate get elected. Most importantly, I am grateful for the sincerity and grace that he’s displayed both with his allies and opponents throughout the election season. He deserves this victory. Rudy Soto represents a change that PSU’s student government, ASPSU, desperately needs. With his energy, passion, leadership experience, fine mind and sincerity, he deserves the position as president that the student body rightfully granted to him. It is his and only his.

I am not going to lie. I am frustrated and angry. I am frustrated and angry that the Judicial Board made the decision to invalidate student body president-elect Rudy Soto. The last time I checked, ASPSU is to “advocate for and represent the interests of the students of Portland State University.” The last time I checked, the ASPSU president “acts as the official spokesperson for the students as a whole, within and without the university.” And the last time I checked, the student body, by 89 votes, granted Rudy Soto the honor to uphold these duties, to be the president, the primary spokesperson for every student of PSU. As both a student of PSU and a representative of the current administration that voted in the elections, I am rather insulted. I am insulted that despite the low voting turnout in student elections every year, the voices of the constituents that I am supposed to represent, of the very few that voted, had no significance in this year’s elections after all. This makes me sad.

Don’t get me wrong. I have utmost respect not only for Rudy Soto, but most especially for Patrick Beisell. But, when looking at the overall picture and putting aside the criticisms, the postponed elections, the scandals in the Elections Board, the technicalities, I ask myself at the end of the day: Is it in the best interests of students? Invalidating Rudy Soto as president-elect is not in the best interests of students, and thus, I urge the Elections Board to ask the Department of Justice to intervene and give their opinion. It is absolutely not fair to deny Rudy his victory and most importantly, deny the student body’s voice, because of Patrick Beisell’s cunning lack of integrity and his friends’ positions in the current administration. If ASPSU wishes to reverse the trend of student apathy and wish to retrieve participation and trust and repair its damaged prestige, ASPSU needs to make student government relevant in students’ lives and truly represent and respect the students that they claim to represent.

Christian AnicieteStudent senator, ASPSU

Rudy deserved to win

Rudy Soto grew up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Nampa, Idaho. He had always been a smart student and a natural leader, but after becoming associated with the Blood Gang in middle school, Rudy’s bad choices got him incarcerated in the Idaho juvenile system. After two years of being locked up, Rudy was released and immediately moved to the inner eastside of Portland to live with his brother and finish up school at Cleveland High School. I met Rudy in the middle of his fight for his future. Rudy realized that he needed new dreams and a new direction, and he was willing to do anything to accomplish those dreams. By the end of his senior year, Rudy’s grades had increased significantly, he was a qualified leader and he was rightly awarded a diversity scholarship to attend Portland State University. Last week, Rudy Soto was elected president of the ASPSU.

In a society dominated by white, middle-class leaders, we have created a system of advantage that clearly is not designed for people of color to have equal opportunity to succeed. We give lip service to diversity while making it increasingly difficult for minority students to get involved. Rudy has fought this system of advantage from a very young age. In a time where we should be celebrating his victory, a misinformed and misdirected Judicial Board has declared Rudy’s victory invalid. The four-week add/drop period is designed to offer students flexibility in deciding how they craft their schedules. Instead of honoring this rule for all students (including those running for student government), Rudy Soto has been discriminated against…again.

I am the executive director for a nonprofit organization that works with teenagers in the inner city of Portland. We hear more about what is wrong with young people today than what is right. In a time when young people are fighting for hope, Rudy went out and created some. He is an example for thousands of kids in the city. After rising above his circumstances to graduate high school, enroll in college, and win this election, he has been unjustly stripped of his presidency. Those in power at Portland State University need to do the right thing and revalidate this victory. This is about more than student government. This is about more than loopholes and constitutional revisions. This is about courageous leadership. This is about rising above. This is about justice…something Rudy knows quite a bit about.

Ben Sand

ASPSU elections and Rudy Soto

I believe that the ASPSU Elections Board will be meeting on Tuesday to disqualify Rudy Soto because of the Judicial Board ruling last Thursday. However, unlike the Judicial Board, I would hope that the Elections Board would be interested in obtaining legal advice on this matter. I would ask that the Elections Board get the opinion of the Department of Justice. If this is not a situation where ASPSU needs an unbiased opinion then no such situation exists. It is unsettling to me that ASPSU is so quick to overturn the popular vote, the will of the student majority, without so much as an interest in seeking real legal advice. Do they really want take away a victory based on a technicality that might not have any substantive legal grounds? Seemingly, ASPSU is prepared to ignore students and their rights by disregarding their votes, which immeasurably undermines the validity and credibility of student government and its processes. I would submit that it is their duty as student leaders to get the opinion of the Department of Justice. Thank you and good luck.

Brad VehafricVice presidential candidate