The Associated Students of Portland State hosted the Student Fee Committee debate On April 8, 2015, where candidates responded to questions posed by the audience and a Student Media panel.
Current SFC Chair Andy Mayer and Vice Chair Keikoanne Hollins participated in the debate, as well as two write-in candidates, ASPSU Director of University Affairs Jonathen Gates and Anna Vetter. Gates was a member of the SFC in the 2012–13 school year.
Turnover rate within ASPSU
“A lot of it is the really hard training process and getting into the flow of what this actually is; there’s a lot of bureaucracy to get through,” Mayer said. “There’s a lot of money and a lot of laws about how this money can be spent, so [students] have frustration in that they can’t see what their work is doing.”
“I think ASPSU needs to get out of its office, get a little tan, maybe, and start spending more time outside where the students are not rushing between classes or trying to sit down and study,” Gates said.
Gates said utilizing the Park Blocks as a platform to communicate to students would likely increase overall student interest in ASPSU.
Mayer explained that currently, funding for athletics programs rely on student participation at events.
Gates said, “I don’t think that the NCAA athletics program that exists at PSU is significantly beneficial to the institution or the students that go here, based on the cost that gets spent on it. But, as a member of the SFC, I am not going to act on my own sole belief that athletics money could be better spent elsewhere without a significant student mandate.”
Hollins said that she runs track and field at PSU.
“People in Portland love their athletics…[It] can be used to gain attendance from the general public,” she said. “If we can create a good relationship between the University and athletics, there’s potential for there to be a lot of success.”
Building and renovations funding
Candidates also discussed the SFC’s role in funding buildings and renovations, including the $1.5 million SFC allocation for the upcoming Viking Pavilion, which will be an upgrade to the current Peter W. Stott Center.
“Coming in, I would have a very different perspective than those who were embroiled in that process last year,” Vetter said. “I think that I would be very critical about the purposes and the necessity for the funds, just on its face. That being said…I think that it’s definitely an area where we can help to build that community, and opening it up to those other than athletes would be really valuable.”
Hollins expressed her support of the renovations.
“When it rains, [the Stott Center] actually does flood…It’s just not a safe [space] for students to be using and occupying,” Hollins said.
All four of the debate participants said they would be willing to serve in SFC chair or vice chair positions
Listen to the full debate: