Reflection on the election

After what presumably appeared to be a laborious eternity to spectators and supporters, the ASPSU 2007-08 election has come to a close.

After what presumably appeared to be a laborious eternity to spectators and supporters, the ASPSU 2007-08 election has come to a close. In an ironically short period of time, the old staffers, senators, SFC members, and executives will leave, and the new members will transition into their new seats in student government.

We believe that due to the nature of this election there was a large amount of slander, propaganda, and generally incorrect or under-researched information circulated to Portland State students, alumni, and the general Portland populous. It is for this concerning reason that we would like to stand the record upright and offer a few passing remarks as we ourselves move on to other endeavors.

When we made the life-altering decision to run for public office, it was a decision predicated on two desires: 1) To help PSU students create a better life and a greater community for themselves, and 2) to make a difference in the university that we care so much about. Those two factors never wavered throughout the six months that we planned, recruited and campaigned for the positions of president and vice president.

It was certainly saddening when the announcement came on April 20 that we had lost the election, especially by such a slim margin of votes. At that moment in time, we understood the election to be over, and thus it was with some hesitancy that we filed the appeal concerning Rudy Soto’s ineligibility. We would like a few things to be noted regarding the appeals process that followed: 1) On April 20 Ethan Gross, the chair of the Elections Board, informed us that “Rudy was not an eligible candidate according to the constitution.” Understand that this caused quite some confusion within our campaign-how could someone who could not be a candidate win an election? Was he even a student during the time of the election? These questions, at the time, had no answers and thus we filed the appeal to the Judicial Board asking them to look at the case and answer some of the questions that we had. 2) Never, at any time, even when the documents were benevolently circulated in numerous meetings, did either one of us view the records of Rudy Soto. We felt it was not our place to analyze confidential records of a fellow student. We came to the understanding that Rudy Soto was ineligible due to credit requirements because we knew that he had passed the eligibility check on the 16th of April, and thus his ineligibility could not have been due to grades.

We knew the possible outcomes of running for public office–one of which is slander and ridicule. However, printing and yelling anti-Semitic, bigoted, and generally antagonistic comments does not accomplish the presumed aim of wounding its recipient; rather, those unnecessary comments only served to alienate observers and readers further. Additionally, the fact that almost a dozen professional attorneys, various media pundits, elected officials, PSU administrators, and Department of Justice representatives became involved in this case was detrimentally damaging. The over-investment by various “adults”-all of whom made it quite apparent that they had no interest in objectively researching the issue and its arguments-smeared the image of a student-run, student-operated government, and ultimately trampled upon much of the lingering faith that students held in an effective student process.

This has been a difficult, strenuous, and overly protracted election, with many broken hopes, broken laws, and even broken signs; our only hope at this point is that the current membership of the Judicial and Elections boards can leave behind suggestions and solutions regarding the issue that we have muddled through in these past months so that future generations of students do not have to undergo what we have all endured.

As was publicly stated in Tuesday’s Vanguard article, we do not intend to file another appeal, and we have tried to persuade our supporters not to file another appeal as well. Consequently, we wish the Soto/Vehafric administration the best of luck in hiring staff, transitioning into the organization, and most importantly winning concrete victories for students.

In solidarity,

Patrick Beisell and Johnnie Ozimkowski