ASWSU fill two open Senate positions

The senators hear from three candidates and a community affairs update



President Luke Deschenes speaking during an ASWSU meeting earlier this year

GREY KAMASZ, Evergreen reporter

ASWSU heard from Luke Deschenes, ASWSU director of community affairs, and voted to fill the All-Campus Senator positions at their weekly meeting Wednesday.

The meeting opened with an update from Deschenes, who updated the senators on three events: the ASWSU city council joint meeting on March 29, the 32 Walk Audit at 4 p.m. April 3 and an Earth Day event.

The senators next moved to fill their all-campus senator position. There were two open positions with three applicants.

ASWSU Vice President Kiana Parsi said senators who abstain from voting should not share about an applicant during discussion. The senators then discussed how they were going to vote.

Parsi said each applicant would present one by one before the senators. The senators will then ask questions of the applicant. At the very end, all applicants will return to the room, and senators will motion for discussion.

Parsi said they would discuss the applicants by last name for the discussion portion. The senators will review the list twice for each seat and list their first and second choice.

Before voting began, President Jacob Martinez said two All-Campus Senator positions were open. He encouraged senators to take notes and ask as many questions as possible. With that, Martinez introduced the first applicant.

The first applicant was Taylor Johnson, who previously applied for an ASWSU position. Johnson said she decided to reapply for an appointment because she put hard work into the Senate and felt she should finish the job she completed.

Johnson said she found issues that needed to be addressed within the campus and wanted to spend time on some projects and start new projects so future senators could continue.

Johnson presented two bills she wanted to pass. The first was a volunteer event with the Cougar Food Pantry, suggesting a food drive. She said the event could be small and help give back to the campus.

The second bill Johnson presented would clarify some guidelines within the bylaws. She said there was a gray area and many questions, and the bill would specify specifics to eliminate a gray area or questions about it in the future.

Johnson said that per the bylaws, ASWSU must have a representative from the Cougar Pantry Board and that she fulfills that requirement.

ASWSU Vice President Parsi opened the floor for discussion, and Senator Trevor Johnson asked applicant Johnson about the specific barriers in the bylaws.

In response to Senator Johnson’s question, applicant Johnson said the university absence or leave does not mention what is excused. She said making that clear would help in future problems.

The next applicant Martinez introduced was Isaac Velazquez, a freshman delegate and political science major. Velasquez said he fits the position because of his dedication, leadership experience, adaptability and ability to see different perspectives.

Velasquez proposed public transportation improvement and strongly emphasized recruiting students from all backgrounds.

For public transportation, Velasquez said he wants to improve public transportation through more funding and more priority for public transportation.

Velasquez said WSU should strongly emphasize recruiting students from all backgrounds. WSU has diverse opportunities, clubs and resources for all students.

Lastly, Velasquez emphasized how he would conduct his capacity as a senator through his motto “leadership is love and leadership is sacrifice.” Velasquez said he is dedicated, compassionate, approachable and trustworthy. He said he vows to serve correctly and to go off the agenda of past, present and future.

Parsi opened the floor for discussion, and Senator Sicaly Sorrell asked how Velasquez would address public transportation at WSU.

In response to Senator Sorrell, Velasquez said he knows how Pullman’s external general committee works. The committee is meeting with the city council soon, and Velasquez said he would attend and advocate for funding.

The final applicant introduced by Martinez was psychology major Jonathan Hernandez. Hernandez said his passion for public services comes from his experience growing up in a disadvantaged household. 

He said it is a duty and obligation to make a difference in their lives, and he promised to bring his passion, dedication and individuality, along with putting the needs of the students first.

Parsi opened the floor for discussion, and Senator Ainsley Carpenter asked Hernandez what problems students face today. In response, Hernandez said he is working with other campus leaders to open the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education café. He also said the way our buildings are maintained is not up to standards.  

After further questions from other senators, Parsi motioned to confirm the two senate positions. In voting for their choices, Velasquez and Johnson won the majority votes.