This piece reflects the views of the author, Alexander Reasoner, and not those of Emerald Media Group. It was originally submitted to members of the Emerald staff on April 10. It has been edited by the Emerald for grammar and style. Send your columns or submissions about our content or campus issues to [email protected].
As a member of the Departments Finance Committee this year, I was present for the budget hearings that decided this year’s ASUO budget. I had never before been involved in the process before and was excited to see how the different committees would come together. Unfortunately, the experience convinced me that changes need to be made.
Decisions made by the majority of Senate and the other committees were shocking. Most shocking was the casual nature in which bus access for students living along Kinsrow by Autzen Stadium was ignored to make room for politically expedient increases in other areas of the budget. As the budget hearing progressed, it became apparent that the goals of the ASUO this year were to increase funding for certain programming at the expense of seemingly everything else.
The argument that a few students would be unable to access vital transportation was brushed off, including the suggestion that they become reliant on the already strained services provided by SafeRide and DDS. Additionally, the passionate argument of another student was brushed aside to push a political agenda.
In full disclosure, Zach Rentschler was the reason I first ran for ASUO a year ago, and I consider him a friend, but it was his stance on this issue that cemented my respect for him—not just as a friend but as a leader on this campus. Zach’s decision to bring the entire process crashing to a halt was made from the principle of not denying a service that students rely upon.
The pettiness of the anger from certain members of Senate and the Executive showed the massive discount between them and Zach. They viewed his decision as a political move, a gimmick to get his name out there for his impending campaign. To me, it was someone taking a stand against actively harmful policy.
What my experience taught me was that the ASUO needs an overhaul. It needs people who aren’t insiders, who aren’t tied to the petty politics. When I look at the candidates running alongside me, I see leaders from across campus who are motivated to fight for students. I find the chance to work with students from diverse backgrounds, with members of Greek Life, student association leaders, and club leaders. I see the kind of leaders who can make a real change on this campus.
The biggest disservice we made in the first week of campaigning was focusing too much on the idea of bringing Uber back and not spending enough time talking about the other bedrocks of our campaign: bringing free, open-source, and accessible textbooks to campus as Oregon State and Portland State have already initiated, and to increase LTD funding to bring the 79x route back to full service.
These were the issues that made me passionate about running with One Oregon. In the coming week, I hope I and my fellow candidates with One Oregon can better bring the issues to the fore.