Ducks Together and United UO: A look at the two campaigns competing for 32 open ASUO positions
Ducks Together and United UO are the two campaigns competing in the ASUO elections this year. Next year’s ASUO administration has 32 open spots up for grabs.
The Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) is UO’s student government, and it’s one way students can express their opinions on UO policies and procedures. ASUO also manages the incidental fee — the fee that funds numerous student groups, the free UO athletic tickets and the free bus tickets throughout Lane County.
ASUO will hold a public candidate debate on Thursday, April 5 in the EMU Cedar and Spruce rooms from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The 2018 ASUO election polls open on DuckWeb on Monday, April 9 at 9 a.m. The polls will close on Thursday, April 12, and election results will be posted on DuckWeb the same day by 6 p.m.
Here is a look at the two slates and some of their aspirations for next year:
Led by presidential candidate Maria Gallegos, Ducks Together wants to ensure that students have a say in campus decisions.
“I feel like the main thing that sets us apart is how community-oriented and devoted we are, in terms of tuition and protections for students,” Gallegos said. “We just want communal say over what happens to us, which I don’t think is that radical to ask for.”
As a junior, Gallegos has been working in ASUO since her freshman year, when she interned with former ASUO President Beatriz Gutierrez at OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon. Gallegos is currently serving as an ASUO Senator as the History, Music, and Language representative. She’s majoring in ethnic studies and minoring in both environmental studies and women, gender and sexuality studies.
Ivan Chen, also a junior, is the Ducks Together candidate for external vice president, and junior Imani Dorsey is the Ducks Together candidate for internal vice president. Both are majoring in ethnic studies.
Tuition and Affordability
Ducks Together wants to make sure that students have a say in how the University of Oregon makes tuition changes. Gallegos said she wants to ensure that ASUO keeps track of whether UO administration follows the recently passed House Bill 4141, which mandates the UO to create tuition advisory council with student members.
Gallegos wants to establish the council by next year. Ducks Together also wants to have students who are not affiliated with ASUO be members. According to Gallegos, ASUO-only groups can have “more privilege in those conversations, and it can become elitist.”
“Regardless of whether I win or not, I also want regular students who are working — they don’t necessarily have to be an all-star, super-involved student — to be on that panel,” Gallegos said. “Folks who genuinely are impacted by tuition.”
Protections for Students
Ducks Together also wants to establish student panels that are involved in deciding punishments for student conduct code violations in the Office of Student Conduct.
Gallegos participated in the demonstration by the Student Collective during President Schill’s speech last year, and she says that the way the office handled students’ punishments was unfair.
“The office basically had one-on-ones with them. It was very discreet,” said Gallegos, who is currently on the Student Code of Conduct Committee. “Students didn’t really have a say in what happened to them.”
Student panels would see students who were alleged to have broken the student code of conduct and would decide the guidelines of their punishment. The Office of Student Conduct cannot fill these panels because it would have to hire a full-time staff member to do this, and Gallegos wants to make ASUO in charge of organizing these student panels.
“Other major universities do this, so I don’t see why we can’t,” Gallegos said.
Funding for Student Services
Another key plank of Ducks Together’s platform is to secure funding for student services such as the Food Pantry, Safe Ride and the Designated Driver Shuttle.
“When you call Safe Ride currently, it’s like an hour away if it’s available. But cutting their funding probably isn’t the smartest thing to do because we know it’s such a highly used resource,” Gallegos said, referring to how ASUO tabled the $13,400 request made by Safe Ride in February, as reported by the Emerald.
Jacob Faatz of United UO is a newcomer to ASUO, but he says that his lack of ASUO experience doesn’t deter him from running for ASUO president.
“I think that my experience and my passion and knowledge about these issues and the community will bring a lot to the table,” Faatz said, “and I think my candidates think the same thing. We’re eager and ready to work hard.”
Faatz is interning for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and has also interned for Oregon Senator Lee Beyer. As a junior, he’s currently majoring in history and minoring in planning, public policy and management. Karishma Shah is the United UO candidate for external vice president, and she’s majoring in business and Spanish.
United UO does not have a candidate for internal vice president, and Faatz’s decision to only have one vice president is allowed according to the ASUO Constitution. United UO only has one candidate for vice president because, according to Faatz, it would be easier to communicate with one vice president and not two.
In response to the recent crimes on campus, Faatz wants to establish more lighting in places that are dark on campus, as well as expand the advertising for Safe Ride and the Designated Driver Shuttle to encourage more students to use the services.
Students may not use campus shuttle services because “students feel like it won’t be them that will be attacked,” Faatz said.
Faatz also proposes that the UO Health Center subsidize testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia to promote students to get tested.
This policy goal, he says, is in response to Lane County showing higher rates of sexually transmitted infections than is the average for state of Oregon and the average U.S. county, according to a recent report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
“If we can break down the barriers, that being money, for students to go get tested,” Faatz said. “I think that would then allow students to be educated on knowing what STIs they’ve contracted.”
United UO also wants to help prevent students being abused by their landlords in off-campus housing.
Faatz wants to work with the Community Alliance of Tenants, an Oregon-based tenant-rights organization, to establish a 24-hour hotline for frustrated tenants. The hotline would be for students who believe their landlords are violating the Eugene Rental Housing Code.
Another big issue on campus that Faatz wants to tackle is campus parking — specifically, the lack of available parking spaces.
United UO’s proposal is to increase funding for campus bike lockers, which Faatz says will prevent bike theft and promote biking as a means of traveling to campus.
“You can’t just tell people to stop driving your cars,” Faatz said, “but you can provide options for other ways of transportation.”
Correction: The print edition of this article stated that Gallegos interned with Gutierrez in her 2014 presidential campaign. Gallegos interned with Gutierrez at OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon.
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