Editorial: What The Beacon expects from ASUP in 2017-2018

By The Beacon | April 5, 2017 7:57pm

John Akers and Brandon Rivera.

Media Credit: Sam Keeler / The Beacon

The new ASUP Executive Board was finalized last week when Brandon Rivera and John Akers won the runoff election for President and Vice President. They were the only candidates on the runoff ballot. The Executive Board is composed of six student leaders, Rivera, Akers and Jacque Nelson will return their second year of service, while Hannah Baade, Mario Sarich and Alex Peterson will join the team.

These students are tasked with leading the student body through the 2017-2018 academic year, advocating for their needs and protecting their rights on The Bluff.

These candidates ran and were elected based on the platforms of safety, sustainability and education: all worthy causes. The student body has voted, and now it’s time for the leaders to make good on their promises.

Journalism organizations have long been responsible for holding leaders to account, and in that spirit, The Beacon editorial board urges the ASUP executive board to consider the following points in the coming year.

Cooperation with the press

In light of recent national events between government leaders and news media, there is an immediate need for ASUP be honest, forthcoming and transparent in communications with The Beacon and any other media outlet they may come in contact with, for the sake of the student body.

Prioritize diversity

ASUP leaders need to prioritize making more concrete, visible efforts towards diversifying our campus. The Beacon advocates for more initiatives and events that celebrate and promote diversity of race, gender identity and sexual orientation, immigration status and socioeconomic status on campus.

Create a resolution for an affirmative consent policy

Sexual assault has been in the spotlight on The Bluff this year. Students are making it clear that interpersonal safety— and preventing interpersonal violence— is a priority on The Bluff. Students are showing they care about this issue in a multitude of ways.

A new organization, Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) was founded, there have been events like the “Hunting Ground” screening, discussions, protests, and a Take Back the Night event. More students are having conversations out in the open that before may have been hidden in the shadows. For the safety and respect of all students, we suggest ASUP create a resolution for an affirmative consent policy.

Open communication

The Beacon advises that ASUP take the next step in maintaining a direct and regular conversation with the student body after making a noticeable effort to beef up their social media presence this year. Although officers hold regular office hours and Senate meetings are open to students, The Beacon editorial board suggests that ASUP bridge the gap between leadership and the student body by instituting regular town hall-style meetings, where leadership personnel are made accessible in group settings. This year, ASUP created a first-ever Diversity Scholarship that all students could apply for, but they received less than a dozen applications. We feel this may have been due to poor advertising, and general lack of awareness of the scholarship.

ASUP has power and influence on this campus. The whole university community relies on ASUP leaders to be a bridge between students and administration. We expect the new members of the executive board to rise to the challenge of leadership and advocate for student needs during the 2017-2018 academic year.