Names to know in the ASUO

Oregon Daily Emerald



ASUO President Emma Kallaway acts as the official spokesperson of University students on campus and within the community. She recently appeared on radio in Boise, Idaho to do some pre-game trash-talking for the Ducks. Kallaway had a rocky summer that included the revelation that the ASUO’s emergency reserve funds would have to be tapped to fix a $400,000 accounting error. She is also the target of a grievance filed by her general election opponent in the ASUO’s Constitution Court that seeks to remove her from office. Kallaway graduated from Shorewood High School in Seattle, Wash., where she was a varsity cross country runner and a member of the Black Student Union. She joined student government in her freshman year as an intern for the ASUO’s multicultural advocate. She later campaigned for former President Emily McLain and served on her executive staff overseeing student programs. In 2008 she was elected to the Student Senate, where she sat on the board of directors of the Erb Memorial Union. A longtime FIG assistant, Kallaway was elected in the spring by a nearly 10-point margin of victory.


Vice president

ASUO Vice President Getachew Kassa calls himself Kallaway’s “sounding board.” Soft-spoken and unassuming, Kassa grew up in Portland by way of Sudan. He sits on the United States Student Association’s board of directors, representing students of African descent (he’s Ethiopian). Kassa’s first exposure to the ASUO came during his freshman year when he joined the Black Student Union and the African Student Association. In his second year, he was the BSU’s programs coordinator and in his third year he became the group’s president, which he said was “kind of a jump.” Kassa said he was mentored in the ways of campus politics by former presidential candidate Kari Herinckx, who told him about “the things an average student wouldn’t realize without having those experiences for themselves.” He wants to make the ASUO a more inviting place for students not already connected, and to enshrine in ASUO rules a more concrete role for the vice president, he said. This month, Kassa is running the hiring process for senators and Constitution Court justices, who will decide the pending case that could remove Kallaway from office.


Summer Senate chair

Summer Senate Chair Nick Gower represents students in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. He ran for ASUO vice president in the spring on the Students First slate, which elected six new student senators. One of them has since resigned, but the self-described fiscal conservative is still left with many potential allies to slow student government spending and act as a check on the executive, or to win the Senate presidency should he seek it. When earlier this summer Kallaway published a late and truncated letter describing how she would spend her time in office, Gower balked and ask her to rewrite it. But he has decried the grievance filed against her as a distraction that “needlessly dramatizes” the situation. Gower is a member of the Forensics Debate and Speech team and a former treasurer of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He started in the ASUO in 2007 as an intern to Finance Coordinator Matt Rose, a fellow debater. He was elected to the Senate on the progressive Rock the Yellow slate, which Rose managed. He graduated from Sprague High School in Salem and works as a clerk in the U.S. attorney’s office in Eugene.


Former senator

Former Sen. Tina Snodgrass no longer has a seat on the Senate and the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee, but her reputation as a capable and pragmatic student leader led Kassa to ask her to sit on the panel that will recommend whom he should appoint to the Constitution Court. Snodgrass ran for the Senate as part of  the conservative Oregon Action Team slate that elected former President Sam Dotters-Katz. Perhaps her defining moment during her one-year term in the Senate and the ACFC came when she voted to strip all funding from the campus chapter of the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group. Snodgrass tried hard to compromise with the controversial group; she was the only committee member who wanted to continue funding OSPIRG at some level. In the end, neither side was willing to budge in the protracted conflict. Snodgrass served for three years on the Club Sports executive committee, which voted in the spring to cancel the entire season of men’s ultimate frisbee after players were caught playing without pants or underwear. Snodgrass, who plays on the women’s ultimate team, abstained from the vote and later unsuccessfully moved to overturn the decision.


Legislative affairs coordinator

ASUO Legislative Affairs Coordinator Robert Greene is beginning his sophomore year with a seat on the United States Student Association’s board of directors, representing the Pacific Northwest region. He won the seat at the USSA’s annual student congress in Denver this summer, running unopposed after his sole opponent dropped out of the race. He represents schools from Washington and Oregon on the board, which he said complements his campus job lobbying for federal legislation to increase financial aid and allow undocumented students to obtain citizenship by earning a college degree. Greene started his career in campus politics by volunteering in a voter registration drive and non-partisan voter education. “I pretty much just showed up and took any volunteer position I could,” he said. He spent two terms as an ASUO intern before running for a Senate seat in the spring with the True Blue Student Coalition. He said he plans to be active in the ASUO for as long as he attends the University.  “I don’t know about running for office (again),” he said, “but staying involved however I can.”

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