Former Student Veterans Association President Jesse O’Brien and Treasurer Kris Williams resigned from their positions last month in a private meeting with adviser Katie Jundt.
Former Student Veterans Association President Jesse O’Brien and Treasurer Kris Williams resigned from their positions last month in a private meeting with adviser Katie Jundt. Student Activities and Leadership Programs deemed both ineligible to serve in office.
“Something like this has never happened before,” said the new SVA president, Cody Noren.
Noren was the former vice president before O’Brien stepped down.
SVA administrative positions are usually held for the full academic year, according to Noren.
“One of the duties as a student leader is to maintain our academics,” O’Brien said. “I was unable to meet the requirements set forth by SALP and as such I had to step down.”
O’Brien said he felt lucky to be surrounded by motivated individuals.
“Having someone like Cody Noren supporting the SVA is truly amazing,” he said.
O’Brien will continue to work as an active member of the SVA and said last year’s Open Forum discussion of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with the Queer Resource Center was his favorite project.
Noren has taken over the position of SVA president for the remainder of the year. In a
letter e-mailed to SVA members and posted on the SVA website, he announced his appointments of former Communications Director Dave Christensen to the position of vice president and SVA member Paul Polsin to the position of treasurer.
“Guys like Dave Christensen and Paul Polsin…are what make an organization like the SVA a brotherhood that will continue to grow,” O’Brien said.
New appointments must be confirmed by an association vote within 30 days. SVA members will vote on the appointment of Christensen and Polsin at the organization’s meeting tomorrow. Absentee votes will be accepted at the SALP office until Feb. 7.
Any students wishing to run for an open position must contact the SVA office before tomorrow’s meeting to be placed on the ballot.
Noren, Christenson and Polsin expressed intentions to continue current SVA projects like a planned veterans’ memorial on campus, building the SVA’s membership and providing community outreach.
“It’s very important that as many veterans as possible, even if they’re not necessarily actively involved…come and enroll as part of our membership,” said Christenson. “There’s strength in numbers. It would be tremendously helpful for the programs and plans we have in the future to have all the veterans who are enrolled at PSU on our membership rolls.”
Though there are currently about 700 veterans enrolled as students at Portland State, the SVA’s current membership is 454.
The SVA provides many support services for student veterans, many of whom face unique challenges when returning to school. The organization sponsors free private counseling every Tuesday. Counseling is also open to both SVA members and non-members.
Additionally, the SVA plans to host free seminars on applying for federal employment and on financial aid for veterans. According to Noren, many veterans are not aware of the financial aid that is available to them.
“I had a guy come in,” Noren said, “he was going to school here for three years; he didn’t even realize he was eligible for the GI bill…So, I would tell [veterans] if they have any kind of questions or issues or anything like that to come down here and talk to us. There’s always somebody here.” ?