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ASPSU gears up for next year

Since being elected to office this past spring, ASPSU President Amara Marino and Vice President Joe Johnson began carrying out their campaign focus of establishing shared governance at Portland State University.

They hope to fulfill the standards set by the Oregon University System, which would require all-university committees to receive student input.

Collaborating with Marino and Johnson on this goal has been ASPSU state affairs director Miriam Gonzales and administrative director Justin Myers.

Myers, also a senator, put his efforts into increasing student participation in all-university committees where student seats often go unfilled.

He acknowledges the intimidation some students may feel in serving on these committees, but he feels it is important in achieving shared governance.

He went on to say the faculty members that often serve with students on these committees “appreciate what you have to say.” He also said that if students were involved, “they’d see their opportunities more.”

Demonstrating its involvement, ASPSU recently took on a couple of immediate goals.

“We’ve been working on the tuition plateau,” Marino said.

The possible elimination of the current tuition plateau put ASPSU into action. It began petitioning, and received the backing of the Oregon Student Association, which recently spoke out against this potential plan.

ASPSU also set out to organize against the proposed 10 percent tax on Counseling and Psychological Services and Student Health Services. The proposal would tax the expenditures of the two offices to cover the rent of their new locations. Students would pay the same fees, but could possibly see a decrease in their quality of service.

To increase the involvement of students, ASPSU continues to run campaigns that are open for students to work on and earn credit for.

Last year’s campaign to keep Tri-Met bus passes affordable for students will be maintained this year by ASPSU university affairs director Ryan Vesalpour.

Vesalpour will also seek to extend the hours of the Smith Memorial Student Union, and organize student involvement fairs every term.

A new campaign beginning this year concentrates on renovating the South Park Blocks playground where many students’ children play. Marino teamed up with ASPSU Sen. Stacey Rustad to try to achieve this goal.

Other campaigns include bringing a disabilities studies program to PSU. Heading this is ASPSU equal rights advocate Sunsong Firedancer, who will also continue work with the Oregon Statewide Student Equal Rights Alliance.

Manisha Ganesh, ASPSU multicultural affairs director, will carry on the campaign of turning Chicano studies into a major.

Information on all of these campaigns, and how to get involved with them, can be found on the ASPSU Web site at