ASWSU passes six bills in four-hour meeting

The ASWSU Senate discussed funding for the Hawaiian club and the In It to End It club events for Mom’s weekend.

The Hawaiian club delegates, including the Hawaiian club’s Treasurer Jessica Villanueva, asked the ASWSU Senate for $1,633 for their annual Mom’s weekend Luau event. The ASWSU Senate passed the funds request unanimously.

The appropriated funds will be used for the posters advertising the event, the traditional Hawaiian food and the event’s staging area. The event’s total cost is $12,000, $7,000 of which was donated from the Coug Parents group and the Residence Hall Association. The remaining cost will be covered by ticket sales, Villanueva said.

“The event is to showcase Hawaiian culture and educate and spread awareness,” she said.

Amethyst Freibott, president of the In It To End It Club, whose mission is to shine a light on slavery, asked the Senate for $1,933 of the $2,533 total cost for their Mom’s weekend event from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on April 8. This request was also unanimously approved.

Two speakers will speak at the In It to End It club’s event, including Trades of Hope representative Tammy Desjardins and Robert Beiser, the executive director of Seattle Against Slavery.

The event will be in line with the club’s mission of “bringing practical engagement with the issue of modern day slavery.” The event will also be aimed at networking opportunities and local international efforts, according to the slide show Freibott presented at the meeting.

“We want people to leave empowered,” Freibott said. “We want to create a movement in WSU. WSU [should] be the spearhead of freeing 45.8 million people.”

Resolution 46-28, authored by Sen. Jagjeet Gill, was the first resolution during the meeting. The resolution deals with the 38.6 percent retention rate of WSU’s STEM degrees by creating a new science learning center. The new center, as passed, would be situated within Troy Hall and give science students the luxury that current writing and math students now enjoy with the math and writing learning centers, Gill said.

“I have been through Chemistry 105 and 107 and they can be pretty tough,” Gill said. “[There is a] strong correlation between success at math and hours spent at a math learning center.”

Gill said a poll showed 91 percent of WSU students supported the creation of a science learning center.

The Senate also passed Resolution 46-29, which showed support for a state legislature bill concerned with the availability of resources for higher education students.

Over the past 40 years, textbook prices have risen more than 1,000 percent, or triple the inflation rate, according to the resolution, authored by Sen. Matthew Morrow. The typical college student pays $960 per year on textbooks. In a survey, 50 percent of WSU students indicated they forego buying textbooks because of the cost.

The resolution will give a campus coordinator the ability to grant funding to pay instructors for open source textbooks.

“It’s a big issue that needs to be addressed, there is a huge legislative contingent working on [increasing the amount of available open resources],” Sen. Kevin Schilling said. “There is even bipartisan support for it, which right now is really hard to get, even for potholes.”

Other resolutions that passed include Resolution 46-44 which states the ASWSU Election Board must hold at least one public debate within the election cycle and Resolution 46-45 which further specifies in the ethics code of conduct what ASWSU senators can and can’t do.

Line (D) of the resolution, after a long deliberation, was changed from, “I won’t use our officer position to promote a campaign of an ASWSU office,” to, “I won’t use my position in office to unfairly benefit my friends and colleagues.” This change occurred due to concerns by some senators of the original wording’s ambiguity and how the Judicial Board may rule on the issue in the future.

At the end of the meeting, Morrow gave a few words congratulating how the senators performed during the earlier hearing regarding the impeachment of former International Student Council President Kevin Lindquist, who ultimately resigned before the hearing ended.

“Democracy dies in darkness, at least according to the Washington Post,” Morrow said. “What holds us accountable is the student body, the press and each other.”