29 college democrats representing four Oregon universities drafted the first ever constitution for the Oregon Federation of College Democrats at the Oregon Democratic Convention Saturday.
Ben Lenet, co-chair of the University of Oregon College Democrats, was voted in as president and Portland State University student and co-chair of the Portland State College Democrats, Amanda Crawford, was voted in as vice president.
Crawford said the goal of the federation is to strengthen existing college democrat chapters in Oregon schools and to create new ones. Crawford said the first Executive Board meeting should occur soon, but the date is still undetermined.
One student from Portland State University, 16 students from University of Oregon, 10 students from Lewis and Clark Law School and two students from Willamette University were the only Oregon higher education students to become part of the newly founded federation. The lopsided turnout was an issue for Crawford, who said the significant majority representing University of Oregon could be a hindrance to fair voting.
“It puts the smaller schools at a disadvantage,” she said. Originally, the group proposed to establish a one vote per person voting style for the federation.
Along with students from Lewis and Clark, Crawford raised her objections to the proposed one vote for one person voting style. Eventually it was accepted that voting in the group would be a senate style, two votes per school, which Crawford and most of the students present agreed was fair.
“I’m curious as to why someone would find it appropriate to give one vote per person when one group has a significant majority,” she said.
All schools in Oregon with a Democratic student group, with the exception of community colleges, were invited to send representatives to be a part federation’s creation, but many did not respond, according to Crawford. At the time invitations were sent and student groups were being contacted, Crawford did not realize Community Colleges could be invited. Crawford said and these schools will be contacted soon about joining the federation.
Crawford said one part of the federation’s agenda is to build up a Democratic presence at Oregon State University, which she said currently leans towards the more conservative end of the political spectrum. Pacific University also does not currently have a Democratic Student group, and a creation of one is also a priority, according to Crawford.
“We are working so that every college has a democratic chapter,” Lenet said. “College students are begging for a change right now.”
Lenet said it is in the best interest for Students to get involved in politics as republican policies are, in his belief, hurting all college students.
“The pain caused by this president’s policies can be felt by all students,” he said.
Crawford also said that it is important to get involved. She says that the experience a person can get from joining the college democrats can be used in many areas, even if one is not planning a career in politics.
“It’s experience you can use for anything,” she said, “College Dems is a good way to get out of your comfort zone and learn a new skill.”