ASPSU appoints new positions at first meeting

The Associated Students of Portland State University held its first senate meeting with its newly elected leadership on June 1 to introduce members, appoint new positions and announce future events.
The meeting began with ASPSU member introductions. Each member announced their name, major, position and something interesting about themselves.
Next, voting members of the Senate voted to appoint new directors nominated by incoming President Dana Ghazi and Vice President Davíd Martinez.
Trevor Jacobson, who has previous experience as Associated Student Government President at Clatsop Community College and is currently part of the PSU Resident Hall Association, was appointed University Affairs Director.
Sumitra Chhetri, a senator, was selected as Legislative Affairs Director, with previous experience in Washington, D.C. and lobbying in Salem.
Wanjiku Wainaina was chosen as Multicultural Affairs Director.
“I am very passionate about working with different minority groups, and I feel like that includes people with disabilities as well,” Wainaina said.
Wainaina currently works as a caregiver and advocates for patient rights. She wants to work on expanded student representation and promotion of the Multicultural Center and other spaces or events.
Mustafa Almuzel, a Student Ambassador and international student who is part of the Saudi Student Club, was chosen to be International Affairs Director. He emphasized that he would like PSU to be a safe spiritual place for students and would like to promote more events that bridge relations between domestic and international students.
Devin Backstrom was appointed as Academic Affairs Director. He is part of the Oregon Students of Color Coalition and past ASPSU Senator and SFC member.
Backstrom was chosen as Senate Chair, a position he will fill in addition to his director position. The Senate Chair solicits meetings, sends agendas, oversees compliance with Robert’s Rules of Order and facilitates Senate meetings.
Crystal Granger was selected as Student Life Director and said she would like to create more events that are inclusive to all alumni, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff.
Samantha Ing, who has experience at the Women’s Resource Center, is co-chair of the Women of Color Outreach Program and conducts medical research for underprivileged populations, was appointed Equal Rights Advocacy Director.
Alfredo Gonzalez was appointed Sustainability Affairs Director, focusing on divestment of fossil fuels. His goal is for PSU to become the first university in Oregon to divest from fossil fuel–related companies.
Following director appointments, new members of the Senate were elected to fill roles vacated by the appointments. Yoli Flores, Isaiah Venegas, Mawadda Amboun and Keikoanne Hollins were all newly appointed. Hollins was also nominated for Senate chair, though Backstrom received the majority vote.
Next, Evan Clary was appointed as a new member of the Judicial Review Board.
Additional executive positions include Marcus Sis as Chief of Staff, Gregory Elkins as Operations Director and Liddy Champion as Student Pantry Coordinator.
After assigning new positions, Ghazi introduced herself and the leadership of ASPSU to the other members.
“I want to encourage all of you to feel like part of this team, and work together so we can get the best out of our experience,” Ghazi said. “We are going to be together for a year and I am really excited to work with all of you. Any ideas and anything you are passionate about, that is what will move you.”
The Oregon House Committee on Higher Education held an informational hearing in Salem last Friday, which Ghazi and Martinez attended. Issues such as campus safety and increased funding for higher education were discussed at the meeting.
ASPSU members also expressed interest in creating bylaws and a campus safety work group to present ideas and move forward with campus safety reform.
Further announcements included Oregon Student Association’s biannual issue-choosing process in August. In the past, issues such as tuition affordability, food security and sexual assault were discussed. ASPSU members were encouraged to consider the issues they believe should be prioritized this year.
The meeting concluded with a brief on future events for ASPSU. On June 21, there was an OSA training. ASPSU will have three senate meetings over the summer, including a summer barbecue to get to know other members.
To learn more about ASPSU and see their full Executive Cabinet, visit