ASUO

Meet the ASUO presidential candidates



University of Oregon students planning to vote in this year’s ASUO elections should get familiar with the presidential candidates: Joaquin Ramos, Helena Schlegel and Miles Sisk. The Emerald snagged some time with each candidate to ask them a few questions.

Joaquin Ramos is this year’s ASUO state affairs commissioner and is running with the Ducks F.I.R.S.T. slate. The acronym encapsulates the campaign’s platform: Free HIV testing, Inclusive spaces, Resources, Student jobs and Tuition affordability.

What are some of the most important issues to your slate?

JR: All of those issues are really important. I feel like what’s going to resonate with students most is focusing on tuition affordability as well as student jobs because a lot of students are really mad that our tuition keeps rising and they have no way of paying for the increase. However, we also want to have a focus on marginalized communities, and to make our campus really inclusive and really accessible for a lot of people. We also want to offer free HIV testing and free STD testing because our HIV testing that used to be free no longer exists. The grant that was paying for it just ran out this year so we don’t have that resource anymore.

How did you go about organizing the campaign?

JR: I decided to run about halfway through fall term, and since then I’ve wanted people to approach me — I let people know that I was running and I wanted them to approach me and tell me they were interested in running so that I knew the people on my slate were gonna be really passionate and care about the issues that we were putting forward. And then we did like core meetings and things like that so people would know what our values were and why we were running.

Is there anything you’re hoping will go differently with elections this year?

JR: I really hope there’s less drama. I feel like all the candidates, we’re going to be cordial with each other. I don’t think there’s going to be any big issues between our campaigns, hopefully.

Helena Schlegel is the presidential candidate for UO Forward. She holds the student seat on the board of trustees.

What are some of the most important issues to your slate?

HS: UO Forward really wants to prioritize student safety, and that looks like a lot of different things, so we want to work on supporting and uniting student-run groups that work on sexual assault prevention because that’s such a big problem on our campus. We want to ensure that the groups that are already working on the support issue can collaborate and have the resources to be able to make positive change on campus regarding that issue. Another issue near and dear to my heart is sustaining the counseling center so all students have access to the counseling center and then once their eight to ten free sessions are up, they can still visit the counseling center. Just so students aren’t turned away, they don’t have to wait weeks or up to a few months to get support.

Another thing we want to try to work on is improving the campus culture on campus. Just like briefly on that one, that one could look like being more inclusive and safe, and having safe spaces on campus for students to go and talk about the issues bothering them, and also we want to work on having more healthy communication reaching all realms of campus, so students, faculty, staff and administration.

And then the last one is we want to increase connectivity, which kind of goes along with what I just said about better communication. We want to ensure that communication between students exists and that students are aware of what the ASUO has to offer them. But especially, undergrads have an idea of what the ASUO does, but law students and graduate students and GTFs have almost no interaction with the ASUO, so we want to improve that by making student liaison positions to these communities that are historically left out of the ASUO.

What do you think is unique about your slate?

HS: I think our team brings a good intersection of experience in the ASUO, leadership within and outside of the ASUO, and most importantly, passion. I think I can speak for everyone on the campaign when we say that we honestly want to work to improve the student body and the ASUO, and we want to serve students to the best of our ability, and because of our past experiences within the ASUO and other spaces on campus, we can use that experience that we have to work hard and have as much positive change on campus

What would you like to see go differently during elections this year?

HS: I just hope that elections give all the candidates a fair chance to communicate and educate the student body on what they want to achieve.

Miles Sisk is the presidential candidate for the We Are Oregon slate. He is this year’s ASUO Senate vice president and chair of the EMU Board.

What are some of the most important issues to your slate?

MS: One of them is of course campus safety; there are about four different things we want to focus on, very specific items that we want to focus on to make campus a safer place. Another one is we want to find more efficient ways to use the ASUO budget. We don’t want to cut any services, we don’t want to make any major changes, we just want to find ways that money is being wasted or ways that money is not being spent efficiently. We want to build U of O as a very strong global community by supporting students to go study abroad, by providing more resources and support for international students, and we want to drastically increase involvement on campus. We want to get more people involved in groups, in club sports, in Greek life, in everything and anything people can get involved in we want them to get involved in. Those are our four main items.

What is something unique to your campaign?

MS: One thing that’s interesting and one thing I’m really proud of and something that I pushed for a lot is we have a strong point about bringing in more resources and more support for international students. Our campaign is also bringing international students in leadership in the ASUO like no ASUO has ever really done before. We want to not only focus on providing more resources for international students, but bringing international students to the forefront of campus leadership and getting them involved and making sure they’re able to speak out on issues, so that’s really one cool thing about our campaign is we have an unprecedented level of international involvement.

How did you go about getting organized?

MS: A lot of getting a campaign started is building the right networks. I didn’t really start doing anything until the end of fall term, when I started having conversations with people, and since then it progressed into a very full, strong campaign, almost surprisingly so. It just kind of rolled right in. It’s a good mix; we have a lot of people who are involved in the ASUO, we have a lot of people involved in clubs, I have several group leaders working with us on our slate and there are people from all over, really.

Follow Kaylee Tornay on Twitter @ka_tornay


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Kaylee Tornay

Kaylee Tornay

Kaylee is the Emerald's 2015-2016 Hiring and Training Director. Formerly an ASUO reporter for the News Desk and writer for the Arts and Culture Desk, Kaylee has also interned for the Medford Mail Tribune and freelanced for the Bend Bulletin.
Ask her to discuss local journalism or for tips on throwing shade at people who take up too much room on the sidewalk.