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Veterinary Medicine students ask for ASWSU representation

Students must vote to create a new Senate seat

Jordan Frost speaks at ASWSU's first senate meeting of the fall semester August 23 in the CUB.

Jordan Frost speaks at ASWSU's first senate meeting of the fall semester August 23 in the CUB.

Jordan Frost speaks at ASWSU's first senate meeting of the fall semester August 23 in the CUB.

KATIE SHADLER, Evergreen reporter

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The ASWSU president is supporting a plan to create an executive position for the College of Veterinary Medicine students this year, after students petitioned for a seat in the ASWSU Senate.

Two veterinary medicine college promoters, Julianna Brutman and Lindsay Cannon, spoke with President Jordan Frost about this issue Friday.

The Senate, comprised of 20 senators from various colleges, currently has four positions combined for the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine. Cannon said it is statically impossible for vet med students to obtain a seat with students in CAS outnumbering vet med students 10 to 1.

“Despite our smaller size, we deserve representation,” Cannon said.

Brutman said the elected students typically study very different material and don’t have an understanding of vet med students’ needs.
Cannon said vet med students previously tried to obtain a position within the Senate, but were unable to receive one due to the organization of it at the time.

Frost said when the Senate composition was changed in 2009 from districts to colleges, a formula was applied to determine the number of seats each college would get based on population of certified students. Given the small amount of certified students in vet med at the time, they were combined with arts and sciences, as well as pharmacy.

After talking with Frost, Cannon said it was originally organized by living space rather than study. Because the college is smaller than other programs, it suffered from this system. However, with the reorganization, Brutman and Cannon have decided to create a petition, seeing as theirs is the only degree-granting undergraduate college without a Senate seat.

The petition requests the ASWSU Senate either designate one of the four current College of Arts and Sciences seats, or motion to create one new seat for the vet med students by the spring 2018 ASWSU election cycle.

Frost said the executive position would be a temporary solution that would essentially allow a direct line from the College of Veterinary Medicine to the ASWSU executive staff. This position would be unpaid and would give them a platform to sit on university committees and advocate for their constituents at the highest level of student government.

They would not be required to attend executive meetings weekly, but could come to express specific concerns and issues from their college. The position would serve in an advisory role to the president, to be sure they have a consistent voice and access.

Cannon said Frost showed full support of creating an executive position, but the executive board will make the decision.

In order for a position to be obtained for next year, Frost said the Senate would need to change the Constitution, which requires a referendum on the ballot and a campus-wide vote to make the change. He said at this point, there is no assurance that they will have a seat next year.

Cannon said some have suspected they are seeking the Senate seat for themselves. But with both graduating with neuroscience degrees in the spring, they won’t be around when the potential seat becomes available.

“We have many underclassmen who would jump at the opportunity,” Cannon said. “We really think our students deserve a spot, and they are willing to take it.”

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