ASUO election Illustration

(Eleanor Klock/Daily Emeral)

There are 31 candidates running in this year’s ASUO elections, and most are running unopposed. Additionally, there are no ballot measures on the table after ASUO voted against putting OSPIRG’s reaffirmation on this year’s ballot, and OSPIRG decided against collecting the required signatures to put itself up for vote. 

Of those running for office, there are only four races — down from five in 2020 — in this year’s election. ASUO Elections Coordinator Stasya Jackson said the high number of students running unopposed has been a pattern over the past couple years, although she said she’s unsure of the exact reason behind that trend.

ASUO President Isaiah Boyd is among those vying for a seat with no competition as he runs for his second year at the head of ASUO’s executive branch. In his candidate profile, Boyd wrote that he is hoping to build upon this year’s work during the 2021-22 academic year. “I am running for office to advocate for the needs of students across campus, ensure transparency in university operations, expand the student support programs established this year, and to continue to fight for a more equitable higher education,” he wrote.

Odalis Aguilar-Aguilar, a junior currently serving as one of ASUO’s secretaries, is running as Boyd’s vice president. Her election profile emphasizes empowering historically underrepresented students and ensuring University of Oregon administration incorporates student voice.

Thirteen students are running unopposed for the ASUO senate. Only four of those students did not serve on this year’s senate and only two did not hold an ASUO position this year. No one has declared candidacy for four of the senate’s available academic seats.

The one senate race is for seat four — a one-year senator position, who will also serve on the EMU Board — where Kavi Shrestha is challenging current academic senator Nathan Waldman.

Waldman said they were inspired to run for a finance seat after the fallout from ASUO’s decision to cut its student ticket agreement with UO’s athletics department. “In a lot of the conversations I had with students, a lot of students didn't even know what they were paying for and didn't know what services they had access to,” they said. “That was frustrating to hear.”

As a result, Waldman’s platform centers around transparency and student outreach — both in negotiations they engage in and in ensuring students are aware of the services ASUO offers. They said they also want to ensure marginalized students have a voice in ASUO, hold UO administration accountable and work to implement ASUO’s new basic needs programming. 

“I want to make sure that students have the ability to access support when they need it,” Waldman said, “because I think that's something that the university should provide, but they don't. That’s kind of what the I-Fee is for: to fill those gaps and make sure that students can do what they need to do and be successful.”

Shrestha said he also noticed that a lot of UO students don’t pay attention to ASUO until something big happens. “I want to try and work toward changing that culture,” he said. Although Shrestha acknowledged a culture change isn’t something he can do immediately or on his own, he said student engagement is one of the things he wants to prioritize if elected to the senate.

“I don't have a perfect blueprint to how we can make that culture change or anything like that,” he said. “But I want to try and focus on elevating the voices of students here at school and making sure what they want to be changed is centered in what ASUO does going forward.”

This goal of student engagement ties into the advocacy work Shrestha did in high school when he started a campaign to get the Tigard-Tualatin School Board to elect a member who would prioritize student voices.

Beyond student engagement, Shrestha said he also wants to focus on investing in BIPOC and LGBTQ+ student organizations, food security and access to free menstrual products. “There's so much that needs to be done on so many different issues,” he said. And while he acknowledged that he — and ASUO as a whole — won’t be able to tackle everything at once, Shrestha said he and ASUO can try. 

Kati Rodriguez Perez and Anna Jatsura are both running for the same seat on the EMU Board. 

Rodriguez Perez’s platform centers around administrative transparency and uplifting student voice, according to her candidate profile. They have experience as an intern with the Oregon Student Association and work with the UO Women’s Center to combat sexual violence.

Jatsura wrote about the value she sees in community and highlighted her work with the Justice Bean Hall Council and mock trial in her candidate profile.

On ASUO’s Programs Finance Committee, Emily Chang and Katie Mayer are competing for the same seat. Chang served on PFC during the 2020-21 academic year, while Mayer sat on the EMU Board.

Chang’s voter profile centers her experiences as an international student and Mayer’s emphasizes advocating for student organizations.

Keaton Ibendahl and Kelly Keith are squaring off for a position on ASUO’s Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee. 

Ibendahl wrote that she wants to represent student interests in negotiating contracts. She currently interns with OSPIRG and held a couple leadership positions in high school.

Keith’s ASUO profile also emphasizes the importance of advocating for marginalized students. She wants to use objectivity and empathy to foster open communication and equity, she wrote.

UO students can learn more about their future ASUO representatives at a Virtual Candidate Town Hall Event on April 8.

ASUO elections will run from 9 a.m. on April 7 to 4 p.m. on April 14. Students can vote on Engage, which can also be accessed through the ASUO elections website. Barring a runoff, the Elections Board will publish all results by 5 p.m. April 14.