This year, the Emerald wanted to change its ASUO coverage. The news desk decided to create a questionnaire with specific issues and questions that all slates completed and returned to the Emerald. The following questions came from the Emerald newsroom as well as some responses the Emerald collected after sharing a form on social media. The Emerald did not edit the slates' responses for grammar but rather fact checked them and added editor's notes to correct any factual errors.
The goal of this questionnaire is to help readers and community members understand how each slate will address the issues facing our university so that voters can make informed decisions during election week.
— The Emerald newsroom
Fiscal and administrative issues
-Tuition costs have been increasing for years due to rising expenses at the university and stagnant support from state government. What will you do to work to slow the increases in tuition? -Be specific, write something beyond “pressure administrators to not increase tuition and encourage legislators to increase state funding.”
The Oregon Alliance takes tuition increases very seriously. Our slate members originate from diverse socio economic backgrounds and struggle to pay for our education with constant increases in tution. Our methodology in addressing tuition hikes reflects our passion to our school and our education. Our slate combines over ten years of lobbying experience. We have met with and convinced powerful individuals to back important issues that affect our community in the past and we will bring this talent to the role of student government. Recently, Salem has begun to respond to these unfair increases with legislative action. We will be active in their new found passion, presenting to them the needs of the student body and incentivizing their decision to restrict any tuition increase. The Oregon Alliance also seeks to address inconsistencies and gross misuse of the ASUO budget. By cutting back on useless spending we will be able to negotiate with the school administration regarding the withdrawal of student funds. This is a fight that resonates with our entire slate and one we will not back down from no matter the pushback from Salem or the administration.
-What will you do to ensure student voices are heard in university decision-making processes, such as tuition-setting or academic requirements?
In past years, the student body has been kept in the dark on critical financial decisions made by ASUO. This has allowed the student government to pass resolutions that would otherwise be unpopular to the majority of the student body. One of our main goals for our administration is to increase transparency with all budgetary decisions. We will be sending out the notes from all meeting with any decision on funding that is larger than $10,000 of the students money. We will host open meetings on any decision regarding the funding of any group(s) who request funding above the $10,000 range. We will also increase office hours for senators with a direct hand in deciding on the use of funds if those funds are being allocated directly to one or two groups, clubs, or campus organizations. We will also be prioritizing the use of funds to protect student safety. This decision shall be explained through open meetings, office hours, and online sources. The student body will never feel afraid confronting a senator of member of ASUO about ANY decision made that will use the money they pay their student government.
-What experience do the members of your slate have with university decision-making processes?
Every one of our slate members has held a position of leadership on this campus. We have coordinated with ASUO for support and funding. Our slate members have also been directly involved in monumental campus activism and student movements. We have marched with numerous political groups to protest tuition increases, lobbied for a cleaner campus environment, advocated for marginalized groups, and rallied for protection from assault and violence. Our slate is comprised of student leaders who have done what they can to improve the moral voice of ASUO but now take a stand to progress our student body from within the government itself. -The relationship between student leaders and university administrators has often been tense or even adversarial in the past. On what issues do you hope to work with the administration to resolve, and how do you plan to represent student voices on those issues to administrators?
-The relationship between student leaders and university administrators has often been tense or even adversarial in the past. On what issues do you hope to work with the administration to resolve, and how do you plan to represent student voices on those issues to administrators?
Our slate has not held positions of power within ASUO in the past. We present a fresh new perspective on negotiation and campus leadership. With our fresh approach and our political experience, we will support a different methodology when working with the University of Oregon administration. Every administrator, just like every student, has a goal they seek to achieve. The art of negotiation is to create a plan that empowers the student voice while working with those in power. Our slate has the benefit of experience with numerous departments on this school. Through those experiences we, better than anyone, can speak to the objectives of each department and lobby them to support decisions that improve the educational and living conditions of the student body as a whole.
-One comment we received expressed a student’s concern with food security for people on campus. How will your slate allocate funds and resources to ensure that students are food secure?
Student hunger is an issue that has vast consequences if gone unaddressed. It is the responsibility of the student government to ensure that students have access to affordable and healthy food no matter their socio economic status. Our slate plans on addressing this by working with existing groups who fight hunger, for example Oregon Students Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) to incentivise them to make this fight a central objective for their organization. We will also work with the dining halls, which already has a contract with the nonprofit organization Food For Lane County, to ensure they provide similar access to affordable food for students. With our dedication to this issue coupled with our familiarity with existing organizations we can ensure that no student is forced to go hungry.
-In the event that an ASUO administrative change occurs, such as a cabinet member’s firing or resignation, how and when would you tell the student body? What would you do to appoint a new cabinet member?
Our slate would approach an opening within our government body with the same dedication to transparency as explained above. It is essential that any replacement be dedicated, involved, and able to fulfill any role in student government. By promoting transparency and ensuring that all suitable candidates are aware they can apply, we can be sure that whoever takes up the mantle of leadership has the support of the majority of our fellow students. We will contact the entire student body through online platforms but also contact popular groups and organizations. When deciding who will be appointed to fill the vacant position, we will research that individuals dedication to their school and ability to serve.
-How would your slate specifically promote transparency and accountability in its daily work?
Transparency can only be ensured by constant and varied communication with the student body. Our slate is dedicated to promoting transparency by utilizing all forms of communication available to us. We will post often on social media, send emails, increase office hours, and contact organizations with all decisions that we make. We truly wish to hear often from the general student body so we will incentivise each individual to get involved and make sure their voice is heard.
-Student fees fund the ASUO budget. How would your slate avoid any budgetary issues?
The money that students place into the hands of the ASUO must be taken and used with absolute transparency and communication. Each student struggles to make sure that they can pay for college and this must always be considered with any choice the ASUO makes when deciding how the money should be spent. For this reason it is absolutely mandatory that every penny of the ASUO budget is promoted and approved by the student body as a whole. While it is impossible for any government to ensure that each action will be agreed upon by every student, any controversy will be heard and considered before the budget is voted on by the government. Our slate by promoting public interest and student safety will ensure that the majority of students will benefit from budgetary decisions.
Inclusivity and diversity
-What does diversity mean to you and how will you specifically work to build a diverse coalition next year?
A diverse student body is the best way to ensure that all actions taken by the ASUO benefit the entire school. Diverse backgrounds and perspectives help educate and enlighten governmental policy and for this reason our slate promotes the direct action of all students in our decisions as leaders. We will ensure that we promote diversity on our campus by opening our decisions to the public for discussion and debate. With more students active in each of our decisions, we can better produce legislation that serves every duck on campus. We call ourselves the Oregon Alliance because we believe in this message. We are all allied together as one Oregon family who is striving to promote the general welfare of our entire student body.
-The slates that are running this year say that students’ voices have been ignored over the years. What exactly does this mean, and how will you fix this problem? Please be specific and list concrete examples of actions that you will take over the course of the school year.
Students have in the past been disconnected from their ASUO and the decisions their government has made. When students have staged mass rallies to protest legislation, the ASUO has either ignored or gleefully laughed at their brave decision to make their voice heard. This was best exemplified during the ASUO’s decision to pass an unconstitutional BDS policy. However, while this senate meeting provided a perfect example of the spite ASUO held for certain student groups, the general disconnect of the student body has allowed our student government to take advantage of the students in other decisions it has made in the past. Certain groups that promote student safety have had their budgets cut while other groups the ASUO has, for reasons unknown, deemed worthy have seen their budgets increase exponentially. By providing transparency the Oregon Alliance hopes to incentivise more students than ever to become aware of their governments actions and make their voices heard.
-As student government leaders, how will you help to promote a healthy discourse in which debate can take place and different viewpoints are respected?
Our slate, when it is elected to ASUO, will promote discourse by providing numerous platforms for each student to be heard. During a town hall or open public debate certain students may feel intimidated to speak out. This is unfair. We wish to provide these arenas for students to be heard but also allow students to speak directly with student government members so their opinions can be addressed.
-What are your thoughts the spirit and subject matter of last year’s approved, but now overturned, Boycott, Divest and Sanction resolution?
The Oregon Alliance vehemently opposes the BDS policy that was passed on campus last year. We concede, as a slate, that the objectives of the student government to address discrimination on campus, which motivated the passage of the policy, was admirable and we equally seek to ensure that no student feels fear on campus because of their identity. However, the direct response to this policy, as was seen on other campuses where BDS was approved, was violence, anti semitism, and increased discrimination. For this reason we are resolved to pass a resolution defining and condemning discrimination in all forms as soon as we are able. Hopefully with this resolution no student will be fearful that future governments will support policies that target them and their communities.
-What are your slate’s thoughts on the bill in the Oregon legislature that would disarm Portland State University and the UO’s police departments? Please explain your position.
The Oregon Alliance respectfully disagrees with the idea of disarming UOPD. This action does not align with the powers of the student body government and therefore cannot be decided by any ASUO government. We realize that a bill has recently been introduced in Salem to disarm UOPD as well as Portland State PD and we will observe and respect the decisions made by the state leadership on this issue.
-How will your slate specifically work with representatives of the Greek life community to ensure that students are safe while participating in fraternity and sorority events?
Our slate is comprised of some individuals from the Greek community. We have forged strong relationships with the IFC and PHC leadership and will utilize these relationships to ensure that every student that is active in the recruitment process is safe and healthy. We condemn any form of hazing or forced action made by any chapter and will not hesitate to take direct action if such treatment of students is occuring. Our slate has the best access to enforce this stance and the consensus of the Greek community to involve ourselves if necessary should disgraceful action occur.