Hopefully, the results are in and no one is contesting the results of ASPSU’s online elections. Though students, in general, were highly doubtful of the efficacy and ethics of the online elections, it seems to have proceeded with no major technical difficulties (besides a few ballot spelling errors, though our own “elligibility” (sic) to make such pronouncements is called into question – see the Vanguard, May 15 “Elections are here”).
The general feeling among the students I have spoken with, albeit not a statistical cross-section, is a desire to see ASPSU function with a degree of organization where the inevitable political struggles are fought over issues and not the mechanics of how the fight should proceed.
ASPSU, your students are calling for more action and a growing consensus is that in the past you have spent an inordinate amount of time debating your own disorganization and confusion over procedural rules and regulations; leaving students with the constant ache of “what could have been.”
This is not to say that the concerted efforts of the 2000-2001 ASPSU body were a failure, in fact there was a supreme amount of energy and cohesion throughout fall quarter and into winter quarter. The efforts of ASPSU President Bar Johnston during the national presidential election (though critiqued by this newspaper as being too partisan) involved, exhilarated and even agitated a large number of students. In the very least, her and her government’s actions inspired and reminded many of the passion that can and should be accompanied with exercising your right to vote.
Another highlight was her administration’s willingness to stand up for another student under fire, Dimitris Desyllas. His continued conflict with PSU President Daniel Bernstine over the seizure of work-related materials in a journalism office highlights the tenacity that must be employed by ASPSU in its unequivocal protection of student’s and their organization’s rights.
The first press conference was a superior example of ASPSU’s ability to represent with clarity and passion the student’s interest above all others. The next administration must be willing to be implicated when dealing with such important matters and, more importantly, act decisively on such matters.
However, “decisiveness” will be determined by ASPSU’s ability to move beyond the administerial confusion (which plagued the election committee from the start, for example) and proceed with an agenda of action and not the political implosion which has tarnished many students’ opinions of ASPSU.
Students who work two jobs, raise children, worry about rising tuition and pay substantial fees for student organizations like ASPSU, do not want to hear about the misunderstood and misinterpreted procedures that ASPSU govern themselves by.
Instead, they want to know that they are being effectively represented in Portland, in their departments, in negotiations with Aramark and President Bernstine, and in the Oregon House. I hope an attention to administerial detail is a primary focus of the new administration. In my opinion, the newly minted ASPSU (and the students of PSU) has every reason to believe that they will build on past successes and shed old habits, and in the process represent the students of Portland State as they desire and deserve to be represented.