Dr. Khalid Alballaa and Linda Hoppes, of the Students for Affordable Education slate, were unable to attend the Associated Students of Portland State University executive debate. The Vanguard asked them to respond to debate questions over email.
The role of student government
“ASPSU is the party that advocates for and protects the interest of all students,” they said, answering together. “Its role is not limited within the university; it extends to influence policymakers in Salem and elsewhere.”
Alballaa and Hoppes said they plan to continue advocating for student rights and interests by supporting PSU’s Legislative Affairs Director and the Oregon Students Association.
They also said they would “ensure resource centers are properly supported and margain with with the President’s office and Alumni Association to create more need-based scholarships.”
They said ASPSU has traditionally been isolated from the student body, which has manifested in low student engagement.
“We want to increase student engagement by focusing on activities that create a strong [PSU] community where we can feel safer and have fun while we accomplish our goals,” they said.
They continued that they would like to re-implement a newsletter program from a previous ASPSU administration.
“The newsletter was a great way for students to know what we were doing and how they could get involved,” they said.
“Sexual assault prevention is [at the] heart of what we want to support if we get elected,” they said. Alballaa and Hoppes were two of several students who started a PSU chapter of Students Active For Ending Rape, which aims to address the issue of on-campus sexual assault.
“We would create a coalition between SAFER and other groups working on this important issue to better understand the concerns within the system and then get multiple perspectives to address this problem,” they continued. “We plan to create a social shift in perspective regarding sexual assault survivors and how to better empower them.”
Alballaa and Hoppes said they will also continue to work with the administration and the Board of Trustees on armed officer implementation.
“Zero dollars [of student-allocated funds] goes to the food pantry,” Alballaa said. “When serving [on] the SFC, I worked to address this issue, but some dated policies prevented the success of my efforts.”
He continued that he and Hoppes would work to address those policies and would additionally plan fundraising functions for donations with local organizations and the alumni office.
Alballaa was the liaison to all childcare programs when he was an SFC member.
“Students with children need a lot of support to make a better future for themselves and for their kids,” he said. “We believe an increase in scholarships for low-income students with children is a must. We plan to support them by backing funds…allocated to them by the SFC and by helping to educate students with children about the resources that are available to them on campus and elsewhere.”
Hoppes, who created the Sustainability Affairs director position last year and is a member of Divest PSU, said, “I will personally be dedicated to continuing to shift the culture in ASPSU to embrace sustainability in all of our work.”