ASPSU isn’t doing its job
I find it sad and pathetic that the current ASPSU administration has been so blatantly not fulfilling the duties for which they were elected [“ASPSU struggles with quorum, turnover,” Nov. 9, 2006]. It is the duty of the student body president to fill all seats of representation that students have. During past administrations (and I‘m not referring to last year, but two and three years ago), students were close to establishing a plan of shared governance, which would give students a real, workable voice in the operations of the university. Administrators were impressed with the way student government was running and saw that perhaps students were ready to be given a larger role in university governance. Flash forward to today, and student government can’t even fill the seats in their own governance, much less the governance of the university at large.
The fact that the senate has only met five times since being elected is unacceptable. The ASPSU constitution very clearly states that if a senator has more than two unexcused absences from senate, then they are guilty of non-fulfillment of duties and should be removed from office to make way for representatives that will actually make some kind of difference, no matter how small it may be. If there aren‘t enough senators to make quorum, that should be the number one priority of the executive branch. Going to the judicial board and changing the definition of quorum so the senate can meet with less representation is unacceptable. They only need 13 people! Thirteen people out of 25,000! I‘m sure there are plenty of students out there that would be willing to build up their resumes and learn a little about their university by participating in student government, yet they have no idea that this is even an option.
The senate doesn‘t have enough responsibilities to deserve more money. One senate meeting a week, one committee meeting a week, one All-University Committee that meets maybe once a month, and (in my day) two office hours a week. This does not deserve a salary (a salary that would come out of the students’ pockets). You can‘t give money until the system of accountability is fixed.
If a system of evaluation including review of job performance and enforced attendance of meetings were instituted and improved the performance of senators, then maybe a stipend would make sense. But given the current state of ASPSU, if a stipend for senators were to be approved, we would be paying people to not go to meetings, not represent students, and keep others from doing their jobs (unless they simply remove all quorum requirements completely. While they‘re at it, how about abolishing the senate entirely?)
They say that a diploma is only as good as the institution that issues it. For that reason, every student at PSU should care about the direction of PSU, even if you‘re graduating this year. The student government is the public face of the PSU student body. They are the ones meeting with the administration, state legislators, and national government. If they look incompetent, all students at PSU look bad.
ASPSU prez admits they could do better
I would like to make it very clear that ASPSU could do better when it comes to committee appointments [“ASPSU struggles with quorum, turnover,” Nov. 9, 2006], and if there is one thing that could be improved the most about this year’s administration, this would be it. I take full responsibility. However, there is a serious lack of information regarding the successes that have been made on our platforms.
Just because previous student governments haven’t prioritized campaigns, doesn’t mean you should entirely discount our organizing. This shows complete lack of knowledge on the effectiveness of where we do choose to prioritize campaigns. We have registered 3,744 students to vote. We handed out over 5,000 voter guides. We have held 48 presentations on ballot measures. We have recruited 22 interns and filled the senate with young, motivated senators. We have not chosen to recycle the same ASPSUers. We are working with our administration to successfully purchase a contract that would make PSU operate on 100% renewable energy.
We have met with the governor’s staff numerous times to advocate for students. We have gathered hundreds of signatures to support 188 million in the next session for Oregon’s Higher Ed system. We threw together an event with President Bernstine, other members of the PSU administration, all branches of ASPSU, multi-cultural and student groups to commit to prioritizing funds for Ethnic Studies, Queer studies, and Judaic Studies. We have gathered numerous endorsements for this and are hosting a rally for the programs. We are organizing a day to bring 100 high school students on campus from underrepresented communities to prepare them for college.
These are the issues we are prioritizing for students – and I ask you to think differently about the functions of student government and to recognize how we chose to prioritize our time.
PSU Student Body President