Courtesy of Alex Wittwer

New SFC Members refuse to go forward without ASPSU apology

The Associated Students of Portland State University voted during a senate meeting on Sept. 30 to elect two new members to the Student Fee Committee: Faith Pauken and Aydia Johnson, who both stated separately they would not go forward without an official apology from ASPSU. 

Regarding flyers passed out by student activists with a photo of former SFC member Philip Arola gathering with the alt-right group the Proud Boys on it, Pauken said at the senate meeting: “Having this flyer be one of the first things I see is embarrassing. I’m his replacement, and we should apologize. I will refuse to move forward in this position if we do not make a public apology—we held Philip accountable, and should hold ourselves accountable.” 

Johnson later agreed with Pauken, saying others on ASPSU—including directors and some SFC members—held the same beliefs. 

 “I think yes, ASPSU should make a formal apology,” Johnson said. “Their apology was not okay in my opinion and in many other people’s opinions. The more transparency, the better.” 

On Arola’s resignation, Pauken said she was disgusted to be walking into a position where the first thing she sees is a former member acting out of hate. 

“One of the most important qualities to possess as an SFC member is to have a strong sense of neutrality, which Philip did not,” Pauken said. “It is not a political belief; it is hatred and will not be tolerated. As a white person, it is my responsibility to uplift the voices that are not heard and be an ally to those of all identities.” 

Both Pauken and Johnson stressed the importance of accountability going forward as SFC members. 

“I will hold myself accountable for all my actions, maintain an unbiased point of view when making committee decisions and be an inclusive member,” Pauken said. 

Johnson stressed that her role on the SFC should be unbiased and neutral. “Once I started going to [SFC meetings], I understood what was going on, and I realized a lot of members on the SFC don’t understand what’s going on…it didn’t seem like it was working,” Johnson said. 

Faith Pauken and Aydia Johnson were both elected 14-0-1.

Courtesy of Faith Pauken Faith Pauken

Faith Pauken 

“Communication and respect are of utmost importance to me. I’ll provide information questions and so on to the best of my ability while keeping in account each and every one of your opinions, ideas and comments.” 

Major: Communications

Minor: Spanish

Alma mater: Lincoln High School

Qualifications: President of Gay-Straight Alliance at Lincoln High School, worked with Mayor Ted Wheeler on issues of gun safety, helped organize tribute at Lincoln High School after Parkland shooting 

Reason for joining the SFC: ”I really want to make sure underrepresented communities are becoming represented communities. I definitely [have had] to live by ‘take space make space’…I want to make a lot of space for people who haven’t had the space.” 

Fun fact: An incoming freshman, hopes to continue on SFC for college career 

I….believe the SFC should have more representation, more voices heard, and I believe that I do have that voice.” 

Aydia Johnson Alex Wittwer

Aydia Johnson 

Major: Political Science, focus in Public Service

Minor: Conflict Resolution

Alma mater: Central Catholic High School

Qualifications: ASPSU Senator, president of Opus Editorial at PSU, vice-president and public relations officer for volunteering of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at PSU, helped with Disarm PSU through ASPSU 

Reason for joining the SFC: “I was originally [an ASPSU] senator last year, and I felt like I didn’t do that much…I wanted to do more.” 

Fun fact: Participates in a Dungeons and Dragons group with the same people that participate in Opus Editorial