ASUPS responds to recent criticism

In light of a recent Hey You which targeted the efficiency of our student government organization ASUPS, The Trail decided to investigate what ASUPS has truly been up to in more depth than a little weekly blurb can provide. The Trail spoke with several ASUPS members about ASUPS’s reaction to its recent portrayal in The Trail and what has truly been going on with our student government.

When asked about his reaction to the recent Hey You, Senior Senator and Club Liaison Jordan Lane didn’t seem particularly fazed. “It’s definitely easy to point the blame at ASUPS, ‘cause it’s a huge organization,” said Lane. “There’s not a lack of transparency, but there’s a lack of student participation and wanting to see what’s going on in ASUPS.”

“I think one of the main reasons that people are so critical of ASUPS is that the vast majority of our work is behind the scenes and is not incredibly visible to the general students,” said senior Nathan Morman, ASUPS Director of Public Relations.  “It is unfortunate that we are perceived as not being particularly useful by some of the student body but it is also understandable considering how invisible a large portion of our work is.  Stephanie Baugh, our Director of Business Services, Josh Pelz, our Director of Technology Services, and Alex Lewis, our Vice President, are the three individuals in particular who do a large portion of behind the scenes work and get little to no recognition for it.  Seeing those three working late into the night to get things done for the student body is not only common, it’s practically standard.”

Freshman Senator at Large Scott Miller addressed the Hey You’s particular emphasis on the Director of Technology Services. “I’d say our web site’s out of date,” he said, “but our Director of Technology Services has a lot of stuff to do. The worst part of that Hey You was the part that said we’re not supporting the community, because we’re supporting somewhere around 85 clubs already. We’re funding them, supporting them, in addition to campus events.” As for any slowness on ASUPS part, Miller said, “we’re training our new people, like me. So we’re not fully functional but we’re certainly a contributing member and we’re certainly doing a lot more to help the school than people who write angry ‘Hey Yous.”

So what should the anonymous Hey You writer do? “I think it’s a big problem on this campus with people pointing the finger at ASUPS but not coming in and participating and offering up solutions to the problems they see– which is something we encourage. Basically, if people want to see change, they need to come in and voice their opinions. Anyone [in ASUPS] would be willing to step up to the plate and make whatever happen that a student voices concern about,” Lane said.

That being said, a lack of student involvement hasn’t prevented ASUPS from getting to work. Current ASUPS projects include getting a computer bar set up in the SUB piano lounge, making bus passes available to students, getting a coffee cart in Wyatt, erecting bike racks at the library, and extending Oppenheimer café’s hours.

ASUPS is also involved in issues regarding the pass/fail system. “The faculty senate is trying to change it,” Miller said. “They’re trying to restrict in a number of ways, put it more in control of individual professors. They want to raise the minimum grade to get a pass, which defeats the whole point of pass/fail.”

“The senate and exec team have been pushing hard against the faculty to make sure pass/fail is still an option for all students,” Lane said. While ASUPS can’t over-ride the faculty senate, “we can petition them to express what we feel, what the students feel. We’re going to communicate and work with them on that,” Miller said.

“If you have an issue with how ASUPS is being run, feel free to email any senator, anyone on the exec team, because honestly, everyone is wiling and receptive to any constructive criticism,” Lane said. “Attacks at ASUPS through ‘Hey You’s isn’t the best way to get what you want, to have change. Senators hold office hours in Diversions, and you can come talk to us. All of our meetings are open. People think we’re ineffective because we’re only going off of what the student body gives us. But ASUPS is a two-way street. We can’t magically fix problems if people aren’t bringing them to us.”

More information about ASUPS can be found at  http://asups.pugetsound.edu and on their Facebook page, “Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound.”