Letter from ASPSU President Courtney Morse Dear Students, The Associated Students of Portland State University would like to offer our sincerest apologies for the postponement of the ASPSU Annual Elections. This apology is especially intended for the candidates and their volunteers who have worked so hard for the chance to be strong leaders in student government next year.
Letter from ASPSU President Courtney Morse
The Associated Students of Portland State University would like to offer our sincerest apologies for the postponement of the ASPSU Annual Elections. This apology is especially intended for the candidates and their volunteers who have worked so hard for the chance to be strong leaders in student government next year. We know the amount of time, money, and work that has gone into the election campaigns can never be recovered and we deeply regret these losses. The ASPSU Executive Staff is fully aware of the dissatisfaction expressed by several parties inside and outside of the ASPSU and we are taking all of these concerns to heart, but would appreciate support and new ideas as well as the criticism.
There have been several unfortunate events and circumstances that have led the Elections Board, the body that oversees the student government elections, to not follow the correct procedures that ensure a successful election. These include a lack of records keeping, bylaw violations, and high turnover since its inception. For these reasons and more, the Elections Board has made the recommendation that ASPSU President Courtney Morse postpone the ASPSU Annual Election. Upon critical review of the ASPSU Constitution, specifically Article 7, Section 1.7, which states that the president must “establish the necessary guidelines and procedures for ensuring fair elections with the widest possible participation by members of ASPSU and must carry out elections as specified by this Constitution,” President Courtney Morse has decided to postpone this highly anticipated event. Although it is a violation of the ASPSU Constitution to hold the ASPSU Annual Election outside of week nine of winter term, the president considers our service to students as the most important factor in her decision. President Courtney Morse has decided to postpone the elections so that it is an equitable process with widespread participation by ASPSU members and greater voter turnout by the Portland State University student body.
A fair, meaningful election next term is our ultimate goal, and please be assured that we will achieve this through proper planning and oversight. The ASPSU Executive Staff will ensure that the Elections Board runs a smooth election process with increased transparency and efficiency. We sincerely hope that all students will choose to participate in the upcoming elections, and we will do our part to get out the vote.
If you have further questions or would like more information from the people who are involved and working together, please do not hesitate to contact us in the ASPSU office in Smith 117, or e-mail [email protected] Thank you for taking the time to read our message, and we wish you best of luck on your finals.
Sincerely,President Courtney Morse and the ASPSU Executive Staff
An unbalanced view
The Women’s Resource Center would like to express our concern and objection regarding messages both subtle and overt that the Vanguard has chosen to use in its Feb. 2, 2007 edition, entitled the Health and Sex Guide. The first message being the implication of violence, discrimination, and stereotyping of your cover illustration by Evan Soares. None of the drawings illustrate a healthy sexual interaction. Instead, these drawings depict pain, fear, sexual oppression, and force. With every female being dominated in some way, it is more a demonstration of institutionalized oppression of both genders rather than healthy sexual encounters.
We were also appalled by the advertising supplement “Stop the Madness,” a 12-page anti-choice and anti-voice piece of propaganda. In challenging your alliance with anti-choice groups, we believe that a woman’s CHOICE represents the fundamental human right for her to decide what is appropriate for herself, her body, and her life at any particular time. Groups like Humanlife.org try to use one-sided stories to disempower women from believing that they are the best person to be making decisions about their reproductive health. They use words like madness and easy way out to minimize the personal, and difficult, decisions that a woman makes. Anti-choice groups try to make women believe they can’t decide for themselves to have a baby or to wait. Pro-choice gives women the medical integrity to know what is right for them. Personal decisions vary from each individual to the next throughout our developmental phases, stress levels, and lifetime. These are sensitive and personal issues and deserve to be respected and supported like other personal medical decisions. As a staple newspaper you should be providing all sides on an issue, not just the one with money and power.
The overrepresented theme of your Health and Sex Guide came across as sexual violence against women and anti-choice. What does it mean to put a 12-page advertisement in a Vanguard issue? We challenge you to look at the overt themes you are presenting to the student population, and hope that in the future you will provide more balance and room for diverse opinions.
Inadequate health services
As a queer student on campus, I look at the Student Health and Counseling Center and always fear going in. Not only do I not feel comfortable in SHAC where the nurses are insensitive, tactless, and (on occasion) homophobic, but SHAC does not provide adequate services for queer students like myself on campus. When I needed HIV testing I had to wait two hours to even schedule an appointment, and then when I did it was two weeks out. After waiting an unbearable two weeks I went in and had the nurse tell me that the one doctor who was available had to leave the center on account of a previous obligation. I always found this statement ironic. Aren’t we, the students who pay the health fee, the obligation? Shouldn’t the center see us as a priority?
I am of the opinion that SHAC is in serious need of rapid HIV testing as well as more comprehensive STD testing and better counseling services for queer students. When I was verbally attacked on campus I didn’t know where to go for help and ultimately ended up turning to SMYRC (Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center)–which also provides rapid HIV testing-and away from the campus community that is supposed to act as a safety net of services for students.
Though I can only speak for myself, I think that the inadequacy of SHAC’s STD, birth control, and counseling services negatively affect a large population of students on campus, and to build a greater community on campus we need to start recognizing that the problems our health system leaves unattended are not issues that can afford to be ignored.
ASPSU president needs to step down
It is time for current ASPSU President Courtney Morse to step down from the ASPSU presidency. President Morse has completely failed in every aspect of her obligation to the PSU student body. The student community remains underrepresented in political and professional issues that affect the PSU community as a whole. Indeed, a majority of committee seats remain unfilled, while President Morse meets with legislators on issues outside of her range of control. This leaves no doubt as to the explanation of why the Elections Board lacks the capabilities to oversee the ’07-’08 ASPSU presidential elections. President Morse apparently took office already filling the roll of “lame duck.” Hungry for balut, anyone?