Students are now able to vote in the 2022 Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) elections to cast their choices for student government representatives, until May 2.
According to the ASPSU, its primary tasks are to “allocate the student fee, represent students on committees and in deliberations with university administrators, as well as lobby in Salem on student issues, among many other responsibilities.” The ASPSU currently boasts 41 members—73.8% of which are transfer students and 60% first-generation college students. ASPSU’s team comprises both resident and non-resident graduate and undergraduate students.
Student government is crucial in providing input and participation into discussion of things such as student incidental fees, which are included in Oregon Revised Statutes, the Oregon Administrative Rules and the State Board of Higher Education.
PSU students were sent the 2022 ASPSU Voter Pamphlet to their emails, providing further information beyond names of candidates running for student government. The open positions discussed in the non-biased pamphlet consist of Presidential and Vice Presidential tickets, along with a Student Fee Committee (SFC) candidate and Senate candidates.
There are two presidential candidates this year. Kierra Wing, running with slate Create the Change, is the first candidate. Her platform is focused on initiating change, amplifying underrepresented voices and creating good student experiences at PSU. She has been with ASPSU for the past three years, first as an intern for the Sustainability and Legislative Affairs committees and then serving as a chair of the Student Fee Committee (SFC) for the past two years.
“A vote for my slate is a vote for change,” Wing stated. “Vote Kierra Wing for President and Dom Chen for Vice President! With your vote and your voice, we can build a lively and inclusive campus environment centered around student success!”
The second presidential candidate is Ethan Vo, who runs with slate Fight for Students’ Rights. Vo is a current member of the ASPSU as the Operations Manager. His platform centers around student advocacy, promoting equity and building diversity. Vo aims to increase campus safety, ensure the cost of attendance remains manageable and advocate for mental health services.
“Having spent years as a wildland firefighter, advocate and community volunteer, I am committed to putting others first,” Vo stated. “In the realm of students, I want to advocate for members of the community who have concerns or want to speak up. Being a minority myself, I’ve felt and understood the struggles of being heard. Due to that, I don’t want anyone else to feel that way.”
Vo was formerly the Personal Relations Coordinator for the Vietnamese Student Association prior to being removed from his post on April 18 due to allegations of interpersonal violence. Vo’s Vice Presidential running mate, Peach Anderson, resigned from ASPSU elections on April 19, and one other candidate on Vo’s slate withdrew and ran as an independent instead. An email sent out by ASPSU declared that they were “aware of allegations made against a current member” and “working with campus partners to address [the] situation.”
Vice Presidential candidate
There is one Vice Presidential candidate, Dom Chen, who runs alongside Wing with Create the Change. Chen currently serves her third year with the Associated Students of PSU and as Vice Chair of SFC. Chen highlights the promotion of fee transparency, advocating for student needs, creating better outreach of ASPSU to the entire student body and becoming a more outspoken leader.
Student Fee Committee (SFC) candidates
Beyond the presidential election, students can vote for candidates in the Student Fee Committee (SFC) election. There are six candidates—three who run independently and three for Create the Change.
Emily Hollinger is the first listed candidate, and runs independently to advocate for SFC to give more consideration to distance and graduate programs.
Felisha Brewer is the next listed candidate, who worked as a peer mentor and advocate for the TRIO Student Support Services Program, and now runs to provide an equitable voice pertaining to student fees in higher education.
Tim Knispel runs with Create the Change for SFC reelection, where he works to fight imposed undue financial burden on students. Knispel also serves as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Board for Student Legal Services and on the Tuition Review Advisory Committee (TRAC).
Lanie Sticka runs for reelection with Create the Change, and has past experience as an ASPSU senator and as an Economic Development Intern for Oregon City. She wants to use her leadership and fiscal knowledge to benefit the student body.
Hakan Kutgun runs for reelection after five years in ASPSU, which includes time as SFC Vice Chair and Executive Director, as well as three years of representative experience. Kutgun values civic engagement, student power and diversity above all else and wishes to continue his work in SFC.
Carter Silago runs for reelection with Create the Change for a third year in SFC. Alongside learning about mandatory fees and budget allocation, Silago is a participant in Student Activities and Leadership Program’s policy change, as well as a co-coordinator for United Indigenous Students in Higher Education, which participates in local Native American events.
The ASPSU Senate is also part of the student government elections with ten total candidates.
Gabriella Tangkilisan runs with Create the Change for a second year in ASPSU, previously serving as a Judicial Review Board member. Tangkilisan is involved with the Women’s Resource Center on the leadership cohort and is a secretary of the Pre-Medicine Student Association. Her platform supports equity, inclusion and minority representation in student government.
Michael Jones runs for a senator position. Jones is focused on cultivating his leadership skills and creating positive change in the PSU community, specifically in uplifting minorities.
Mathew Hull runs with Create the Change to exercise his passion for community service and interest in finance and investing.
Emily Williams runs with Create the Change to continue work in student government as an advocate for education resources, disability support and first-generation student support.
Abi Mavity runs with Fight for Students’ Rights for SFC to ensure the student body feels well supported at PSU. Mavity is part of the PSU Food Pantry management team that works to fight food insecurity.
Pavithra Prasad runs with Create the Change to continue work with ASPSU. Prasad is currently the Sustainability Affairs Committee Director and a volunteer at the Cultural Sustainability Task force of the Student Sustainability Center. Prasad wants to proactively approach student life issues to build a sustainable environment and community.
Maria Zavala runs with Create the Change to continue work with ASPSU to advocate for underrepresented communities. Zavala seeks to support individuals to achieve stable and dignified living standards.
Radha Kuruva runs for reelection in ASPSU as part of the Multicultural and International Affairs Committee. Kuruva wants to take what she has previously learned with ASPSU and serve the PSU community.
Jeremy Hitchen runs with Create the Change to use his knowledge as a finance major and ASPSU intern to be an effective student representative.
Conor Carroll runs as a senate candidate to raise student government awareness within the student body and initiate positive change. Carroll, with past experience in student media, is the Creative Director for PSU’s Student Association of Political Science.