ASUPS is guided by a number of principles. We seek to use these principles to hold our feet to the fire, and ensure we achieve our highest organizational potential to ensure the optimal wellbeing of our student body.
ASUPS recognizes that people come to the University of Puget Sound with different identities, and that each person’s experience at the University is informed by the histories and present realitiesof their identities as an individual and communal experience. As such, ASUPS recognizes that in order to best serve our student body, students will need different levels of support and advocacy in order to achieve their highest potential and to unlock the potential of a transformative and justice informed higher education experience.
In concert with the principle of Justice, ASUPS also recognizes that in seeking to address historical and present inequities and oppressions, we must center those who experience oppression. The tools and strategies ASUPS uses to uplift our students must be tailored to support the needs of our students and their identities.
ASUPS further recognizes that focusing solely on a paradigm of diversity has not historically worked effectively and efficiently, and that it does not value our students as individuals with intrinsic worth. As such, we seek a model that does not simply increase minoritized bodies by number in our community, but rather a model that seeks to eliminate barriers to access and that is radically inclusive of minoritized people. As such, ASUPS will advocate for equity within the broader University and its functioning, and commits itself to an equitable lens in all of the work that ASUPS does.
ASUPS recognizes the need to be universally accessible to people of all abilities, both visible and hidden. As such, ASUPS commits itself to provide all of our materials in a way that is accessible and to all and commits itself to ensuring all ASUPS sponsored events are as accessible as feasibly possible. Furthermore, ASUPS commits itself to advocating for the needs of people with disabilities to the administration of the University and to the Board of Trustees, and to ensure that all of our facilities and programming is universally accessible, inclusive, and exceeds the base expectations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ASUPS recognizes that in order for our community to reach its highest potential and for our University to achieve its purest ideals of aliberatory education, we must be radically inclusive of the people that comprise our community. First and foremost, with an equity and justice lens, we must seek to include the people who are a part of our community that have been historically and presently excluded from our community. We must further seek to include the people who are not presently part of our community due to systemic and inequitable barriers, be they external barriers or barriers from within our own institution. Our inclusive practice must include people of dominant identities, and our educational practice must seek to raise consciousness and build allies from people of dominant identities, while still centering those who have been most hurt by exclusion. We recognize that we must meet each student where they are in their growth journey, and fully and wholly commit ourselves to engaging with love and compassion all people in our community. Our practice seeks to be radically inclusive of all members of community.
We recognize the baggage associated with the world “radical,” but we affirm that the change that we seek in our community is truly radical. We seek an inclusivity that has yet to be seen in our community and in our broader society; one that sees intrinsic worth in the members of our community that is not premised on their value to dominant identities or ideologies or their productive output, and rather that is premised on their humanity. We also affirm that in pursuit of radical inclusivity, we do not seek to leave behind people of dominant identities. Rather, we affirm the need to envelop them within the umbrella of inclusivity while centering the needs of those who have been historically minoritized.
ASUPS recognizes that as a national community of people, as a regional community of people, as a local community of people, and as a community of learners in higher education, we have systematically oppressed and excluded members of our community. We recognize the national history and present realities that inform our students’ reality, and we recognize that within the microcosm of our community we have failed our students. In our work we seek to name the injustices and oppressions that occur in our community, including those as a result of our own actions presently and historically, and we seek to address them in a holistic and equitable manner. We seek liberation for all of our students from systemic oppression, and we recognize that when one of us experience oppression none of us are free. In ascribing to the principle of equity, we also recognize that we must center the needs of those of us who are systemically oppressed in order to liberate all of us, including those of us of dominant identities. As such, ASUPS seeks to center people of minoritized identities, including, but not limited to: women, people of color, people who are queer, people who are trans, people who are non-binary, immigrants, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, socio-economically disadvantaged people, . ASUPS recognizes that these oppressions are intrinsically linked to one another and any work to address any one of them must be intersectional in its practice, and we reaffirm that the oppression of one of us prevents all of us from enjoying our fullest potential.
ASUPS recognizes that we must be intentionally and holistically be in community with one another. We must continue to build mutualunderstanding and compassion in our pursuit of dismantling systemic oppression.
Further, ASUPS recognizes that we must be full and intentional members of our community in Tacoma. We recognize that many of our struggles are linked to the struggles of Tacoma, and many of our joys and successes are linked to the joys and successes of Tacoma. We recognize that Tacoma is rich in knowledge, and that any separation of our community from the broader Tacoma community only acts to our educational detriment. We commit ourselves to solidarity with the city, and we commit to mutual learning and collaboration to attain our highest educational and communal potential.
*Images courtesy of Sophia Munic*