VANGUARD EDITORIAL: “What would you say…you do here?”

The current student government took office last May, and many of its members are more than three quarters of the way through their tenure. Yet, ASPSU has little to show for it.

The current student government took office last May, and many of its members are more than three quarters of the way through their tenure. Yet, ASPSU has little to show for it.

Despite having months to make headway with the major campaigns promised by President Katie Markey and her former vice president, there has been high staff turnover and very little follow-through on projects. Most egregiously, the student body has not been included in Markey’s discussions with school administration and state lawmakers regarding Oregon’s possible restructure of higher education.

As is the case every year, ASPSU started off strong by registering voters under the supervision of the Oregon Student Association, a special-interest group that lobbies on behalf of students. Numerous volunteers swarmed the Park Blocks during fall term, imploring students to vote and registering over 2,500 to do so. But since that time, quarreling and alleged backstabbing have stymied any progress toward creating gender-neutral spaces, student fee accountability and a student voice in university restructuring, as promised.

In February, Markey will sit on a panel discussing the Oregon University System’s proposal for education reform, though no concerted effort has been made so far to let students know about the event. Markey ostensibly speaks for the student body, but is working more closely with OSA than Portland State students to formulate a stance on the issue. Markey and her staffers will spend countless hours in Salem over the next few weeks lobbying on our behalf—but for what? Not only are students voiceless in the restructuring discussion, but it’s unknown what the one person elected to speak for them is even saying.

The lack of outreach is likely due, in part, to the low retention rate of ASPSU staff members. The Vanguard reported last July [“ASPSU gears up for next year,” April 14, 2010] that all of the executive staff positions were filled. Comparing the roster from last summer to the current staff listings on ASPSU’s website reveals that only three of nine executive branch members are from the original group. The vice presidential position, for which students originally elected Selina Poulsen, has since been held by two other people. Additionally, a committee recently convened to investigate the circumstances around which Markey appointed the latest vice president.

Beyond a lack of campaign follow-through and student outreach efforts, is a deficit of transparency. Students have no way to even contribute their view on a financial restructuring of OUS because the ASPSU website has no updated pictures of executive staff members and no individual contact information is listed. It can be intimidating to walk into the ASPSU office because of its clutter and cliquish atmosphere, so there have to be other avenues of communication available to the student body. A few months back, Markey sequestered her desk to the office’s conference room, a space once available to all ASPSU and student group members in need of a place to meet. This isolating move symbolizes the direction of ASPSU under Markey’s leadership—away from students and toward what can only be perceived as self-interest.

Virginia Vickery Editor-in-Chief Corie Charnley News Editor  

Nicholas Kula Arts & Culture Editor Richard Oxley Opinion Editor

Robert Britt Sports Editor Kristin Pugmire Copy Chief