With just four days before the next student government staff takes office on June 1, incoming ASPSU President Jonathan Sanford has yet to fill any executive staff positions. The transition process on campus is already ramping up, Sanford said.
With just four days before the next student government staff takes office on June 1, incoming ASPSU President Jonathan Sanford has yet to fill any executive staff positions.
Sanford said he will choose from a wide pool of applicants as he looks to hire a chief of staff and legislative affairs director by this weekend’s Oregon Student Association transition meeting—when next year’s OSA agenda will be set.
The transition process on campus is already ramping up, Sanford said. As he continues to flesh out his staff, Sanford said his administration will focus on the four key themes that were the message of his campaign: engagement, safety, inclusion and proper funding.
“The four themes are what [are] really guiding us. I’ll do my best not to change those,” he said.
To that end, he said he will lobby for the student senate to change the job description of the ASPSU legislative affairs director to include lobbying local government so that Portland State’s interests are better represented at all levels.
Sanford said the legislative agenda will focus on a number of issues, from the simple task of keeping Portland State’s budget intact during the state-wide budget crisis, to working to expand funding for safety and accessibility.
“There are currently 11 or 12 CPSO [Campus Public Safety Officers] for 27,000 students,” he said, noting that guidelines suggest around three per 1,000 students.
Despite potential roadblocks, Sanford seemed optimistic about starting his term in office.
“We’re really excited about having the opportunity to work with not just the students but also the faculty and staff, and build a more well-connected, well-funded campus,” Sanford said.
He said that preliminary meetings, both formal and informal, have already started and will continue throughout the summer.
“Those have focused on the old priorities as opposed to the new,” he said, calling the many meetings an “open conversation” between himself and the outgoing administration.
At a transition meeting last night, the outgoing administration had a chance to talk about their successes and failures, Sanford said.
Sanford also pointed to improvements in the institutional memory process, including a devoted wiki, a focus on the traditional “transition binders” and cooperative outgoing staff.
The 2009–10 ASPSU administration will emphasize a more managerial style focused on directing the efforts of interns and workers rather than have Sanford’s directors doing all the work themselves, he said.
His explanation of his priorities mirrored this commitment to teamwork.
“It’s not up to me, it’s up to my team. Together we will set the priorities,” he said.
He expressed hope that his hires would be experienced and “the best of the best at PSU.”
Sanford said that increasing outreach to students would be his first task, mentioning an upcoming initiative to e-mail every student and ask for input about his agenda and priorities.
He also plans to hold “fireside chats” over the student radio station, KPSU, every three weeks to provide updates about student government initiatives and events.
The new ASPSU Web site will also include a forum for students to provide feedback and enhance communication with the new administration.
Sanford also discussed veterans’ affairs, an issue he addressed during the campaign.
“We need to build a program or a specific curriculum around veterans, so the university institutionalizes their knowledge,” he said.
Sanford added that he did not want to focus specifically on the issue because he is a veteran himself and wants to represent all students.
He did not flesh out his sustainability agenda, and said that it depends on the priorities of his team. He did point out that it was one of the primary positions being created at ASPSU.