Student government chooses new staff

Just two weeks before the taking office, incoming student government President Erin Devaney and Vice President Molly Woon announced their decisions for executive positions.

The hiring committee chose executive staff members and two Student Fee Committee members from 30 applicants interviewed over the past two weeks. The six positions cover a variety of duties for the Associated Students of Portland State University, from office management to running individual campaigns. The new administration takes office June 1.

Devaney and Woon stressed that their new co-workers have a lot of experience outside of ASPSU. Of the six executive staff members, only one has a background in ASPSU. The others are better known for leadership of student groups.

“There’s been a major disconnect between student groups and ASPSU,” Devaney said. “Hopefully [these appointments] will help us to work more closely with student groups this year.”

Mayela Herrera, who will become Multicultural Affairs director, is co-coordinator of Las Mujeres. Queers & Allies co-coordinator Angela Leonard is the new Student Rights Advocate. Emily Blakeslee, who is involved with Students For Unity, will take over as University Affairs Director. New administrative director Cameron Turner – the only male among the new hires – is currently vice president of College Republicans, and Communications Director Jessica Lyness comes from KPSU, the campus radio station.

Amanda Newberg will continue as legislative affairs director, the new version of her state affairs position in the current ASPSU administration.

Other job descriptions have been slightly tweaked from this year’s positions as well. The university affairs director, which Devaney and Woon describe currently as a catch-all for unclaimed jobs, will focus on the pair’s campaign goals of finding funding for 24-hour library services, monitoring text book prices and expanding TriMet service at PSU.

Wafa Ghnaim-Alston and Katie Wylie will be appointed to the SFC. Both are experienced with ASPSU: Wylie has served on the SFC before, and Ghnaim-Alston is the current university affairs director for the Harper/Klute administration.

The webmaster position is still open.

The new ASPSU executive staff

University Affairs Director
Emily Blakeslee
Run grass-roots campaigns including finding funding for 24-hour library services, increasing sustainability, monitoring textbook prices and expanding TriMet service at PSU.

Multicultural Affairs Director
Maria Mayela Herrera
Moderate conflict between multicultural groups; serve as a strong representative on the Oregon Students of Color Coalition and develop a campus chapter; push for Chicano/Latino studies major

Communications Director
Jessica Lyness
Raise student awareness of ASPSU campaigns among students, administrators and the community

Administrative Director
Cameron Turner
Manage office, keep all-university committee members organized, work on shared governance plan

Legislative Affairs Director
Amanda Newberg
Lobby at state and federal levels for student interests, particularly by applying pressure at the state level for a tuition freeze and full funding for the Oregon Opportunity Grant.

Student Rights Advocate
Angela Leonardo
Lobby for increased access and resources for differently-abled students, the LGBTQ community and students of color.

Student Fee Committee
Katie Wylie, Wafa Ghnaim-Alston
Allocate student fees to campus groups.