Know your vote: Meet your candidates for ASPSU executive roles


Accountability, accessibility and affordability are the primary goals of Brent Finkbeiner in his run for president of Associated Students of Portland State University.

“Accountability starts with us, we’re the student government,” said Finkbeiner, who has served on ASPSU since September 2016, and is a School of Business Honors Track student. His prior leadership experiences include his time in the Army as a combat medic, two years with Clackamas Community College student government where he was a senator then elected president, and Oregon Community College Student Association where he was elected Board Chair. “Nothing is mine alone, I always have somebody next to me.”

Finkbeiner believes accountability to fellow students will add to ASPSU’s accessibility and negotiating power with the Board of Trustees. Another relationship important to Finkbeiner is with, whoever it may be, the incoming PSU president. “We want to have everybody in the process together,” Finkbeiner said.

The “Meet the Candidates” event follows a week of senior-level student government resignations. Watch the video report by Laurena Hirata/PSU Vanguard

In the face of a proposed 9 percent tuition increase for this and subsequent years, Finkbeiner is ready to act. The high cost of textbooks is another action issue. “We’re slowly tapping into open education resources, online resources, that are able to make the accessibility and affordability piece easier for students,” Finkbeiner said.

As a member of student government at CCC, Finkbeiner had experience with a student grant fund, which he would like to initiate at PSU. “It’s a system where we actually are given authority by the college to write grants for $100–500 for students in need,” he explained. Another experience Finkbeiner would bring to PSU is his work with the CCC student government to organize a run that profited over $1500 for students.

Finkbeiner’s priority is connecting and working with any and all students. “My philosophy is to always care about the people that I lead, and to put their needs before my own,” he said. “That’s where I start, and it hasn’t failed me.”

Candidate Donald Thompson III sees his role as vice president as purposely assuring connections with ASPSU. “We have a structure in place where we’re going to make sure that we represent the students, work with our constituent base, and do things together as a community,” Thompson said.

Thompson, a biochemistry major and member of the University Honors College, has served on the ASPSU Student Fee Committee for two terms. In the past year the SFC has successfully worked to maintain certain programs, such as Student Legal Services and the Immigration Clinic, the funding of which were counterbalanced by the SFC’s efforts to lower the student building fee.

“What I truly would like to see is more students becoming involved on the PSU campus,” Thompson said. “My goal is to give the student body a clear understanding of what’s happening at the school.” He wants to build trust, representation and communication.

“Leaders are empowered by the people who need them, not to be the person who says yes or no to things, but to be the person that gives back,” Thompson said. He believes the responsibility of leaders is to meet people, hear their voices, and address their concerns.

Finkbeiner and Thompson are running on the Engage PSU slate unopposed. Other candidates for ASPSU president and vice president have withdrawn.

A calendar for ASPSU elections can be found at

ASPSU meetings are from 5–8 p.m. every other Monday. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come to the meetings. The ASPSU is found online at


—Presidential & VP Debate, Tuesday, April 11, 12–2 p.m. SMSU 329

—SFC Debate, Wednesday, April 12, 1–3 p.m. Parkway North, SMSU 101

—Senate Debate & Town Hall, Thursday, April 13, 1–3 p.m. SMSU 294

We want to hear from you. To submit debate questions for candidates, click here.

Pick up a copy of the Vanguard’s April 25 ASPSU Elections Guide for a full breakdown of candidates and resolutions on this year’s ballot.

Editor’s Note: All debates were originally to be located in SMSU Parkway North. The Presidential & VP and Senate debates have been relocated.