Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

On Friday, Oct. 7, through Monday, Oct. 12, ASUPS will open electronic polls for its fall 2022 election. Independent of preference for individual candidates, the relative importance is high for students at this university.

Undergraduate students will vote to elect ten of their peers to the ASUPS Senate, a body responsible for allocating over $500,000 of annual student funds (levied via the student government fee) and representing the student voice on a range of issues brought forth by the ASUPS Cabinet and other groups in the University’s shared governance system.

Twelve student senators usually carry out this vital function, but graduations, resignations, and the regular elections cycle have brought this number to four. This can only be resolved through the upcoming election and is problematic for at least three reasons:

  1. The amount of student representation. The student body’s interests are too varied to be adequately represented by four student senators. Low representation means fewer viewpoints expressed and, in turn, a lower likelihood that these views include or are representative of students belonging to marginalized groups.
  2. The proportion of student representation. Student senators are not the only voting members of the ASUPS Senate—there is also the ASUPS Vice President and a faculty representative, staff representative, and Dean of Students designee. This means that the current proportion of students serving as voting members of the Senate is just five out of eight. Until the election restores its full student membership, students’ principal representative group will be abnormally influenced by faculty and staff voices; voices which, historically (though not necessarily presently), have been more antithetical to systemic change. 
  3. The ability to pass legislation. Article III, Section 11 of the ASUPS Constitution states that quorum—the minimum number of members that must be present for a body to hold a vote— “shall be two-thirds (2/3) of the current voting membership” for the ASUPS Senate. With a current voting membership of eight instead of the Senate’s usual sixteen, just three absences can—and has—delayed or prevented the group from voting on issues such as confirming student appointments and approving certain positions for pay in ASUPS’ media organizations. As attendees of an institution already plagued by excessive bureaucratic barriers, students deserve a representative body capable of effective and efficient governance. That is only possible with a full ASUPS Senate, as decided by undergraduate students in the upcoming election.

The Fall 2022 ASUPS Election is similarly momentous for graduate students, who will elect the inaugural Graduate Student Executive Representative. The position was established in the October 29, 2021 amendment to the ASUPS Constitution and codifies, for the first time, a pathway for graduate students to voice issues to ASUPS, the University, and the Board of Trustees via the position’s membership on the ASUPS President’s Council. The election marks the beginning of meaningful representation and legitimate support for graduate students within the University’s system of shared governance.

For these reasons, undergraduates and graduates alike should care about the upcoming ASUPS election, regardless of preference for particular candidates. Students will receive a ballot link to their Puget Sound emails on Oct. 7 at 12 a.m. I implore everyone to vote.


Nate Sansone, ASUPS President