Campaigning for student government elections began early last week, and so far we at the Vanguard have reasons to believe that this year will lend itself to a much more eventful race than that of last year.
In an attempt to come back from the previous election’s embarrassing voter turnout, current members of the Associated Students of Portland State University have demonstrated a marked improvement in increasing awareness of student elections. Last year, a disappointing total of 569 students participated in the vote.
PSU students are presented with three slates to choose from, each of which boasts notable strengths and a commitment to serving the campus community. While we would not be disappointed to see any of the three slates take office—particularly Marcus Sis and Erica Fuller of the Students For A Better Tomorrow, Today slate—there is one slate in particular that stands out above the rest.
Eric Noll and Rayleen McMillan of the Take Back PSU! slate boast an impressive list of concrete accomplishments in their bid for president and vice president, respectively. Together they would bring a combined five years worth of student government experience in the state of Oregon.
As current members of ASPSU, Noll and McMillan are well equipped to navigate the inner workings of student government. One of the pair’s greatest assets lies in their complementary experience organizing at both the state level and here on campus.
This year, Noll served as ASPSU’s legislative affairs director and chair of the Oregon Student Association. McMillan filled the post of university affairs director and played a prominent role in advocating for shared governance and equitable pay for PSU professors during contentious contract negotiations between PSU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the administration.
Beyond experience, Take Back PSU! is organized. They have built a comprehensive platform around the notion that students deserve to have more of a say in the future of their university.
According to the slate’s website, takebackpsu.org, “Students pay more than 75 percent of this university’s budget through tuition, but we don’t have 75 percent of the say in what happens at PSU.”
On Thursday, ASPSU held its annual presidential/vice presidential debate. While the candidates from all three slates performed notably well, Noll and McMillan left a far more memorable impression. All of the candidates seem to agree on the majority of issues discussed, but Noll and McMillan had a way of responding to the questions that makes us think they have what it takes to follow through on their campaign promises.
According to Noll’s candidate profile on ASPSU’s website, the three pillars of the Take Back PSU! campaign are: “1) provide students meaningful access to a quality education, 2) make visible progress toward a safer campus, and 3) develop authentic student involvement in campus governance.” For a detailed account of how Noll and McMillan plan to bring these goals to fruition, visit their website at takebackpsu.org.
Throughout our past year of ASPSU coverage, Vanguard staff members have not been disappointed by attempts to reach out to Noll and McMillan during the reporting process. Both candidates have prioritized transparency in their interactions with Student Media, which is something that cannot be said for all current members of ASPSU.
Beyond transparency, we at the Vanguard are impressed by what we’ve seen Noll and McMillan accomplish this year. The Vanguard is fully confident in its endorsement of the Take Back PSU! candidates, and as a staff we look forward to seeing more students casting ballots in this year’s election.
Voting for ASPSU elections opens Friday at 7 a.m. and will close on May 23 at 7 p.m. To vote, visit http://elections.aspsu.pdx.edu.