Vanguard endorsements

Student government elections have arrived, this year without raising much of a ruckus. The work that student leaders do is increasingly important, as is the fair and democratic process used to elect them.

Student government elections have arrived, this year without raising much of a ruckus. The work that student leaders do is increasingly important, as is the fair and democratic process used to elect them.

There are only two candidates running for ASPSU president this year, meaning that instant-runoff voting will not be used. Below is the “Vanguard Ballot,” our editorial board’s picks for president and vice president, our selection for Student Fee Committee chair, and our preference for the six available Student Fee Committee seats.

To make our endorsements, the Vanguard editorial board conducted two interviews with each of the six candidates for student government’s top positions, as well as one interview with each of the eight people running for SFC spots. In addition to the impressions and information gained from the interviews, we drew from our knowledge of the candidates’ experience and track records to make our final decisions. These endorsements are a synthesis of the editorial board’s positions, not necessarily the position of any one member.

The individuals voted into ASPSU positions will be representing over 25,000 students at Portland State for an entire year, starting summer 2007. Research the issues, think carefully and vote. Polls open on Sunday, April 20 at midnight and will remain open until Saturday, April 26 at 7 a.m. on:

Student body President/Vice President

Our pick

Hannah Fisher and Kyle Cady

Fisher and Cady are the easy choice for ASPSU’s top executive offices. Their goals are a refreshing contrast to previous candidates: Housing needs drastic reform, and their ideas for improving diversity on campus seem realistic and tangible. It’s the duo’s experience and knowledge that makes them the best candidates.

Fisher, a 19-year-old sophomore, has worked on the State Board of Higher Education, the ASPSU executive staff and for the Disability Advocacy Cultural Association-an extensive list of accomplishments given her short tenure at PSU. She has strong connections to the PSU administration, not to mention the invaluable relationships she has built with local and state politicians, which would be an immeasurable service to students during next year’s legislative session. Fisher, however, has a tendency toward micromanagement. She must realize that she wouldn’t be able to do everything herself, and must instead trust her executive staff–otherwise, she could see the same turnover problems that have plagued this year’s administration.

Cady is a transfer student who has a laundry list of accomplishments and experience with training and advocacy organizations, including the Oregon Student Association and the Portland Community College student government. Cady’s ideas for reforming the senate have a strong foundation, such as involving senators with voter registration and implementing weekly training sessions. He is an affable and approachable leader who would be able to give the student senate the training and guidance they need to be more effective.

The other candidates

Christian Aniciete and Karla Hernandez

Aniciete has been outmatched and overshadowed in every aspect of this race. He doesn’t come close to measuring up to Fisher on any level, and it is evident that he has neither a clear understanding of issues that matter to students, nor could he advocate for them effectively. Aniciete’s platform has very little substance. Although Aniciete has shown dedication and commitment to the university through his service in KAIBIGAN and the student senate, he comes across as uncertain and timid, attributes that a student government leader cannot exude. He has too few connections at PSU, in the city and in the state, and too little knowledge of Portland State to serve as student body president.

Hernandez is a competent, thoughtful and intelligent candidate. Her ideas for revamping the student senate are clear and thorough, and she would make a fine vice president. However, Cady’s ideas are just as good, if not better. Despite Hernandez’s ability, she and Aniciete do not have the experience to represent students and lead ASPSU.

Student Fee Committee Chair

Our pick

Rylee Richardson

Despite unimaginative plans for the SFC, Richardson would best serve the committee because she is dedicated and seems to be a keen leader. Richardson’s contemplative, tempered personality would be an asset as Student Fee Committee chair, a taxing and difficult role. Her even-keeled and unbiased approach to the position is something that would benefit the committee as it works to allocate $12 million in student fees. Richardson says an open dialogue would be key to running the committee. She has a flexible attitude about the student fee, and even though she would have much to learn to do the job well, her previous involvement with student groups would expedite the process.

The other candidate

Aimeera Flint

There is little difference between Flint and Richardson. They have similar ideas and similar goals for the SFC. Flint seems as though she would be a thoughtful, innovative leader, but she plans to graduate in August or at the end of fall term. And although she says she would continue taking classes through the end of the year (the necessary six credits per term to work in student government), she would have little reason to stay at PSU, but financial reasons to leave. We cannot in good conscience endorse a candidate who plans to graduate halfway into the year, only to spend the next half of the year in a job that is meant for a student still pursuing their degree.

Student Fee Committee

Our picks

Kit Seulean: Seulean is an intelligent and knowledgeable candidate, likely the most qualified person for the job. He is the only person with experience on the SFC, which leaves us with one question: Why isn’t Seulean running for SFC Chair?

Waddah Sofan: Sofan is a graduate student working toward a degree in conflict resolution, something that would be invaluable to a group of people who will spend numerous hours together in small rooms. He has a clear understanding of the SFC process.

Yazmin Estevez: Her involvement in student groups and apparent interest in the campus culture makes Estevez a quality candidate for the committee. Estevez seems to understand the true importance of neutrality in the committee.

Petter Dahlgren: Having worked as a student ambassador, coordinated the Soccer Club for two years, organized his own radio show on KPSU and started two other student groups, Dahlgren clearly understands the importance of diverse variety of student groups at PSU.

Matt Ellis: Ellis is vying for a spot on the committee because he thinks the committee has been doing it all wrong. He believes previous committees haven’t properly represented students, and thinks he’s the man to do it. Even though he’s a little disgruntled, he has a refreshing outlook.

Patricia Binder: Her personal experience as an activist is a little worrisome, but Binder seems to understand the purpose of the committee and the necessity of neutrality. Binder is one of the few candidates with actual budgetary experience, having previously worked on the student budget committee at Lane Community College.

The other candidates

Anna Malenkovich: Very involved in student groups on campus, Malenkovich seems as though she would represent students, but only a very specific sect of students. She failed to show any real interest in or commitment to the SFC, and did not appear as though she would aptly represent the student body as a whole.

Khadija Fai: Fai came across as nice, but she lacks the certain knowledge of what the Student Fee Committee actually does. She appears uncertain of many of the committee’s procedures and has no clear plans for what she would do as a member of the SFC.