Here’s the 411 on the ASUO

$215.25 per term could buy a significant amount of Taco Bell, or pay the student incidental fee. What could amount to 180 tacos makes every I-fee paying student a member of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon. The ASUO isn’t just any student government, it’s a student government with over $15 million to spend.

The ASUO is comprised of the executive branch, senate branch and constitution court branch that interact to govern and spend incidental funds. The I-fee pays for students to use LTD, clubs, pays classified staff and much more, all outlined in its 19 page budget. @@can we link to [email protected]@

The ASUO elections, held in the spring, determine who spends incidental fee funds and makes decisions on behalf of students. Student groups and programs alike apply for funding annually through different ASUO committees such as the PFC, the DFC and the ACFC. Committees set budgets with a series of checks and balances from the ASUO Senate and Executive.

ASUO President Beatriz Gutierrez leads the executive branch with vice presidents Tran Dinh and Patrick Kindred. The executive staff also includes positions focused on student advocacy, accessibility finance and more. The ASUO president and vice presidents were elected under the Ducks Like You campaign. In last year’s election the majority of the senate seats went to candidates from the Mighty Oregon campaign, creating a perceived divide between the executive and senate branches. In a past interview Gutierrez was optimistic about the future relationship between the two groups. Stay tuned to see the interaction between both branches after last year’s heated election.

The ASUO Senate, comprised of 20 elected senators and one non-voting freshman representative, meet weekly to hear special requests, budget submissions and student politics. Groups can apply for money from the surplus, money left over from the previous year’s incidental fee budget, by filling out a special request form.

Students can air grievances or concerns during the public forum portion of senate meetings. The senate can make resolutions on behalf of the students of the University of Oregon. A resolution is non-binding and can lend support to groups or causes. Resolutions can be benign or controversial, like the Quack Pac resolution passed last winter affirming Israel’s right to exist.

The ASUO has had a fairly dramatic history. In last year’s election several grievances were filed, one campaign’s candidate switched mid-election and a presidential candidate was arrested. ASUO campaigns spent more than $16,000 combined to win a student government election. It’s fair to say that the ASUO takes itself very seriously.

After last year’s rocky election an elections reform working group was created to discuss and plan potential changes to ASUO elections. If the current schedule remains elections will be held spring term and students should prepare to be swarmed by campaigns all over campus.

Students interested in learning more about the ASUO can attend weekly senate meetings, follow the Emerald’s live senate coverage and visit the McArthur Court ASUO office too see where 180 tacos go.


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Alexandra Wallachy

Alexandra Wallachy

Alex is a head correspondent at the Emerald focusing on higher education and student government. She is also a producer for the Emerald Podcast Network and a huge fan of the Daily Show.