ASWSU Senators pass legislative agenda

Priorities include funding for the Center for Animal Health and mental health services.



Karee Shaw, Director of Facilities & Operations, presented ASWSU's Devon Holze with the Student-Driven Program of the Year award Wednesday in the CUB.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen reporter

ASWSU senators approved their legislative agenda for the year, passed a new bill about discrimination and approved funding for STAGE Student Theatre at their meeting Wednesday night.

Senators pass agenda for Olympia

The ASWSU Senate passed the legislative agenda presented by the Executive Legislative Board which will be lobbied for at the state capital this spring.

The agenda will request help from the state representatives for funding the $36.4 million Paul G. Allen Center for Global Animal Health, said Gavin Pielow, director of Legislative Affairs.

“Beyond pre-vet students, our school’s reputation and drive to the top 25 will be impacted,” Pielow said.

The ASWSU senators also will be lobbying for a Sexual Assault Victim Bill of Rights to be added into the Washington Administrative Code, he said.

The Bill of Rights would act to further protect victims of sexual violence by giving them the right to consult with a sexual assault advocate during any law enforcement interview, the right to be involved in the judicial system if so desired and the right to be protected from their accused perpetrator, Pielow said.

Another topic of concern to the student lobbyists was improving accessibility of mental health services, he said.

“I really pushed to get more mental health resources,” Vice President Tyler Parchem said. “I specifically asked about increasing the number of counselors.”

The senators plan on requesting $200,000 from the state to attract more counselors to the Palouse area, Pielow said.

He addressed the struggle of maintaining counselors in Pullman due to the location, but said he is hopeful the requested funds will improve the retention rates of mental health professionals.

Senators also discussed efforts to speed up the addition of passing lanes on State Route 26.

The lobby group will ask state legislators to expedite the funding for the project, Pielow said. Full funding of the roadwork is currently expected to take about 10 years.

Right now there are 114 miles of road on the route with one passing lane. Pielow said this makes conditions hazardous and the road dangerous to drive on.

“When the whole university goes on the road, there are countless collisions,” he said.

Other items to be addressed are expanding State Need Grant eligibility and greater access to open educational resources to reduce textbook costs.

“The legislative board always does an excellent job lobbying, this year is no exception,” ASWSU Pro-Tempore Lindsay Schilperoort said.

More legislation passed

Senators passed a resolution to endorse the Sexual Assault Victim Bill of Rights that will be presented to the House of Representatives.

“We are voicing our support as a body,” Senator Hannah Martian said. “It will give it more of an oomph for the state legislators to approve it.”

Senators also passed a bill that would prohibit students from serving on ASWSU while under investigation by the Office for Equal Opportunity for gender-based or sexual harassment.

MyWSU revamp

Director of University Affairs Bailey Fillinger said the Undergraduate Advising Executive Council is in the process of improving the MyWSU shopping cart.

WSU is trying to implement a feature where certain students will not have to meet with their adviser before adding classes to their shopping cart because their adviser can approve it online, Fillinger said.

“They are trying to make the experience more interactive,” she said.

STAGE Student Theatre funding approved

STAGE asked ASWSU to fund the One-Act Festival, which is four acts written, directed and produced by students. STAGE was approved $4,000.

“Because of funds that were cut, we have to pay for more technical items,” STAGE President Aryn Allen said.

Allen said the group hopes to get funding from S&A next year to cut the ticket pricing from $10 to $5 for students.