December Work Days

Most students go home their first week of winter break, but that’s not true for the leaders of the Oregon Student Association. This week students from all across the state gathered in Salem for the final meeting of the 2011-2013 Legislature. Students from PSU, UO, EOU, WOU, SOU, LCC, SWCC, and LBCC were in the capitol to share a unified message of increasing access and affordability of Oregon’s post-secondary education.  We focused our advocacy around funding for our schools,  financial aid dollars, and our shared policy priorities of TE, school not prisons, and cultural competency for healthcare providers. Students met with returning legislators to discuss OSA’s legislative agenda for the 2013 Legislative Session and we also met with exiting legislators to thank them for working with students and we asked them for tips to improve our advocacy. Here are some issue updates from our week lobbying in Salem.

Public Safety Reform

Governor Kitzhaber’s Commission on Public Safety has started to finalize their recommendations. Commissioners agree that there needs to be some changes to juvenile sentencing guidelines in this state. The Oregon Student Association agrees that we need to encourage Oregon’s youth to be in school and not jail. We are looking forward to the final recommendations from this committee and hope legislation is developed quickly.

Tuition Equity

Legislators are interested in seeing the bill and having a new conversation about this important issue now the federal government has halted the deportation of DREAMers. This policy is called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and if a student qualified for DACA they will also have a legal path to working and living in Oregon. We must allow these students access to instate tuition. Changes in this federal policy makes some legislators in rethinking their previous opposition to Tuition Equity.


The Governor’s office presented his next step in post-secondary education governance reform. The proposal that is being discussed is will consolidate the Community College and Workforce Development Agency and OUS into one larger agency of the Department of Post-secondary Education. The plan then also gives UO and PSU institutional boards. This will be discussed in more detail in January by the OSA boards.

We are looking forward to bringing the student voice to Salem again during the first working days of the 2013-15 Legislature, also called the January Organizing Days. Please get ready to bring your lobbying skills to Salem January 14th-17th.

Have a wonderful rest of your break everyone!