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ASOSU was established in 1900 as the result of organizing done by students to raise money for the football team which was in debt. Originally called the Student Assembly a constitution was adopted in 1906, and student fees were made mandatory in 1909. The establishment of the Student Assembly led the faculty to turn the powers of government to the students. By 1927 the term “Associated Students” was used and the ASOSC became the sole campus organization with general authority over all student enterprises.
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The Associated Students of Oregon State University, or ASOSU, has worked to serve and represent the student population for more than 100 years. Activism is a key component to ASOSU's activities. A few of ASOSU's successes in the 2011-2012 academic year have been:
As a student led university program, ASOSU works very closely with the Office of the Dean of Student Life and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs. While it is not strictly a part of the reporting line for either of these offices, there are important components of ASOSU that are integrated into Student Life/Student Affairs at OSU. The faculty and full-time staff, while paid by student fees, are supervised through the Office of Student Life, providing a direct link between the two offices in order to support the student leaders in ASOSU.
Contact information for all ASOSU staff members are posted on our website. If you would like to speak to an ASOSU staff member in person, you can visit him or her in the Snell 149 office space. Contact information and office hours are posted at each person's workstation.
Student fees are paid by every student to fund student groups, organizations, and services that would otherwise by unaffordable. These programs are then available to students at no additional cost. Full time students in the 2015-2016 academic year will pay $446.21 per term in student fees. More information can be found on the Student Incidental Fee Committee's website.
These fees are mandatory for every student; if any were to student opt out, the cost would increase for other students. The unanimous 2000 Supreme Court ruling on the case of Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth holds that mandatory fees may be used to subsidize student groups as long as the funding system is viewpoint-neutral. (Click to download SIFC Training Powerpoint) (Student Press Law Center)
ASOSU is governed by a Constitution and Statutes which student leaders swear to uphold when they take office. Student leaders are required to abide by these governing documents, which are written and maintained by students, act as rules and guidelines for how business is conducted, and how student leaders interact with one another. It is important to note that ASOSU draws legitimacy from the fact that it is designed to run as a Student Government, not as a University Department, so when looking for guidelines as to how student leaders interact within the ASOSU, the Constitution and Statutes are very important.
“I (full name), enter into this solemn oath as (position) of the Associated Students of Oregon State University with the solemn pledge to be constantly faithful to the obligation I now accept. I swear to uphold and execute to the best of my abilities the provisions of the Constitution and such acts as may be passed according to those provisions. These things I solemnly affirm and stand ready to be challenged should I fail in my obligation.”
ASOSU has a Shared Governance agreement (download PDF) with the OSU administration and Faculty Senate. Its purpose is to ensure the representation of student needs and perspectives in decision-making processes important issues. This arrangement is not common among Universities. The processes will provide evidence of a substantial student role in institutional activities and governance at the university. This means that students should be involved in all governance processes and that there will be a clear record of meetings as well as student participation.
For ASOSU, the “Government” means overseeing and supporting the needs of all students at Oregon State University. Specific to ASOSU, we do this by focusing our advocacy for specific student communities and also in building relationships and coalitions between student communities. These communities range from student veterans (task forces), to students with financial need (services), or students within Oregon and the United States (associations).
ASOSU participates in local, state, and federal policy that relates to student’s accessibility and affordability of higher education. ASOSU participates in Voter Registration and Education, but it maintains a non-partisan stance, as is required by Student Fee funded organizations.
For well over 100 years students at Oregon State University have been organizing themselves as a student union and have been collecting a student fee to fund student services. The money which goes into the organization and services has been fought for over the last century. It is important that students maintain and have a say in the use of their money. On an institutional level, state investment in higher education has been cut in half. Today student tuition dollars make up almost two-thirds of the investment in the university. Students know that it isn’t all state money because they are the ones who have allied for grants, scholarships, loans, and put themselves in debt to be here trying to acquire a quality education.
When speaking about direct-action organizing, members of ASOSU are speaking about a people based approach to organizing. A direct-action approach involves the power of people to take collective action on their own behalf. The ASOSU executive branch is a direct action organization which empowers students directly affected by problems to take action to implement solutions by organizing around common issue campaigns.
The Oregon Student Association is the coalition of public universities and community colleges that seeks to advocate for student access and affordability of higher education. ASOSU is dues paying member of this organization. Through these dues ASOSU has limited member access to the United States Student Association. While ASOSU has participated with USSA in different capacities in the past, they are currently not a direct member but they maintain a strong presence through the Oregon Student Association.
On campus the ASOSU often coalitions with other student organizations for events, advocacy, and educational purposes. Through University committees, campaigns, and task forces ASOSU offers a broad overlap for many campus resources and seeks to unite student groups to build the community and actively engage students.
The ASOSU President recommends students to the University Provost who appoints them to various University committees. Within ASOSU, the Executive Secretary oversees committees and the application process to make sure students are represented and advocated for within University decisions and initiatives. The secretary oversees the ASOSU Committees Internship class so that students are able to record and reflect their experiences while receiving academic credits for their participation and engagement.
The ASOSU President oversees the Executive Branch and works with the Judicial and Legislative Branch to promote student success, shared governance, and advocate for student needs. The MU President chair's the Advisory Board of the Memorial Union.
ASOSU works on student issues through direct-action organizing. Through meeting with university administrators, faculty and staff, to state and federal legislators and decision makers, ASOSU seeks to promote accessibility and affordability of higher education. ASOSU is also devoted to uniting student communities within the University and promoting student success.
Come in and ask the students! The best way to support ASOSU is to participate in their work whether it is by joining a task force or providing resources for a campaign. The most important thing to remember is that this is a student led and student run organization, so it is up to the students to decide the direction of their campaigns as well as the work that they plan to do.
ASOSU is comprised of three branches: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The Executive Branch is comprised of the executive cabinet, task force directors, support staff and professional staff who focus on direct-action organizing and promoting student resources and services. The legislative branch is comprised of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate who focus on direct-action organizing through legislation and budgeting. The judicial branch is comprised of 7 students who focus on upholding the constitution of the ASOSU and providing checks and balances to the legislative branch.
The ASOSU’s relationship with the Student Incidental Fee Committee (SIFC) and the fee process have changed over time. When student fees were established at OSU, the fee committee was part of the ASOSU student government. Over time, as the need for fees and budgets of greater complexity arose, the committee and the fees process grew. As this happened, the SIFC gradually became an entity independent of ASOSU, and indeed independent of all other fee funded entities in order to better oversee the fee allocation process. SIFC and ASOSU currently have a collaborative relationship, and all budgets passed by the SIFC must be passed by a joint session of the ASOSU Congress to gain final approval.
The ASOSU President, the ASOSU Vice President, ASOSU Speaker of the House, the ASOSU Representatives, and the ASOSU senators are elected. The Judicial Branch members are appointed by the ASOSU President. The ASOSU President and Vice President oversee the hiring of the Executive Branch staff. ASOSU is dependent on interns who are often recruited. Interns are basically volunteers who may or may not participate in the ASOSU Internship Courses (Organizing for Social Change, ASOSU Committees, ASOSU Congress).
ASOSU currently employs three full-time professional staff: one Faculty Advisor, a Student Advocate assisting students on internal OSU legal/policy matters, and SafeRide Coordinator. The professional staff are employed through the Office of Student Life and have reporting responsibility to both DOSL and ASOSU. These professional staff members provide important functions such as advising, institutional memory, in-house verification of employment eligibility, and expertise around organizing, OSU policy, etc.
The ASOSU Faculty Advisor works for students to provide personal, professional, and academic support to all students, inside all the parts of the ASOSU.
SafeRide: ASOSU’s largest service is a nightly safer ride home service for students across the entire Corvallis/Philomath communities.
Office of Advocacy: ASOSU's student-centric advocacy office to assist students facing internal OSU matters, such as grade disputes, campus-housing contract disputes, Title IX assistance, and much more.
Student Legal Services: ASOSU's legal advising office for issues outside of the University. ASOSU's Student Legal Services assistance ranges from issues of immigration, to tenant-landlord disputes.
The ASOSU internship courses require students to earn ~15 hours per credit (1-3). These hours have to be earned by an ASOSU sponsored activity (such as a task force meeting, organizing with ASOSU staff, etc), but as ASOSU is supportive of student organizations they can often encourage interns to support other organizations needs. Because of the layout of the internship courses there are more students seeking hours in Fall and Winter Term, but Spring Term may have some available students as well. Contact the Chief of Operations (the Site Supervisor of the “Organizing for Social Change” and independent hour-seeking courses) for ASOSU intern support.
ASOSU interns are recruited throughout the year by the members of ASOSU. The ASOSU typically focuses on recruiting students to the fall course during summer START sessions and Welcome week. Students can get involved with the ASOSU without being in these courses, but the course supports students by giving them academic credit for their involvement and includes methods and tactics on organizing as well as some of the history and philosophy behind the curriculum. Elections take place in the Spring for the upcoming academic year. To get involved with the ASOSU please email asosu[AT]oregonstate.edu.