ASWSU votes to support marginalized students

ASWSU passed three resolutions supporting multicultural students, mental health


BONNIE JAMES | The Daily Evergreen

Ajenae Hardwell, ASWSU all campus sen., discusses a suicide prevention resolution at an ASWSU Senate meeting Wednesday at the CUB.

DAN DOUCET, Evergreen opinion editor

ASWSU senators passed a resolution urging WSU faculty, staff, multicultural committees and administration to meet and create a plan for fighting issues marginalized people face.

According to the resolution, passed at the Senate meeting Wednesday, current campus culture allows micro-aggressions against marginalized people and has led to some feeling unsafe. It states that the minority student retention rate is about 10 to 20 percent lower than WSU’s 78 percent average.

The resolution references past protests regarding these concerns, and states that WSU administration and ASWSU have failed to follow through on promises.

All Campus Sen. A’Jenae Hardwell, the resolution’s author, said the bill will bring accountability and transparency to the administration’s actions regarding campus climate.

Freshman Delegate Blake Gurney said the resolution had good measures listed that would lead to tangible change.

“It’s just a matter of getting the wheels in motion,” he said.

Also at their meeting, senators passed a resolution calling for mandatory mental health training for student leaders, similar to alcohol and violence workshops that are already in place.

The resolution lists statistics related to WSU students and mental health, including the number of students affected by anxiety, hopelessness and depression, and the number that seek help.

Arts, Sciences, Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy Sen. Jacob Lizarraga, one of the resolution’s authors, said he hopes the resolution will increase awareness about mental health. It also calls for WSU Health & Wellness Services to increase outreach, including adding more information to its mental health curriculum and updating outreach materials.

“I wanted to increase the number of students that know how to deal with mental health illness,” Lizarraga said.

Senators also passed a resolution showing support for several multicultural conferences, which have been canceled in past years due to lack of funding. The conferences — Children of Aztlan Sharing Higher Education, Visionaries Inspiring Black Empowered Students, and Shaping High School Asian Pacific Islanders for the Next Generation — focus on teaching  high school students about higher education.

Uncertified Sen. Leonard Covarrubias, one of the resolution’s authors, said the conferences bring students from marginalized communities and help them realize college is a possibility.

“They tell those students, ‘Hey, you can go on to higher education,’ and that’s something that’s not really told to those communities,” he said.

ASVMP Sen. Devon Holze, the resolution’s other author, said it would serve as a clear outline as to why ASWSU thinks the conferences are important, in case they are threatened in the future.

“These conferences aren’t just about recruitment for our school,” she said, “They’re about empowering students.”