Recent minutes published by the ASWC Communications Office.

Senate Reconvenes for Spring Semester

In a prompt start to the Spring Semester, ASWC’s Senate convened on Sunday to discuss club leadership, support Slam Poetry, and confirm a new Ombudsperson. President Percival celebrated ASWC coverage in the Union Bulletin about a Resolution’s “sex assault legislation opposition” as well as myWhitman’s newly added pre-registration form about preferred gender pronouns. He also introduced a “tri-college collaboration” with Walla Walla University and Walla Walla community college. Sustainability Director Dani Hupper, meanwhile, anticipated the growth of the Bike Share Program and progress on upcoming carbon tax legislation. The first-year delegation reported on their participation in a Mascot Working Group and outreach to other Panel 13 colleges.

Josie Furbershaw, ASWC’s Club Director, reviewed a survey of twenty-nine student clubs to encourage greater support of student organizations. She noted their appreciation of strong core membership and organized communication, and mentioned that many desired more funding and increased attendance. Ultimately, Furbershaw called upon Senators to communicate with and assist their three to four assigned clubs.

Senate welcomed Almighty Ink and approved funding for their attendance of CUPSI, a national college slam poetry competition. In addition to hosting upwards of sixty colleges in a competitive capacity, CUPSI offers writing sessions and promotes social awareness. Whitman’s team is intent on “bringing positive energy back to [the] school,” and Paige Dempsey graciously performed a polished poem for the Senate. For the first time in Senate history, two Senators were equally eligible for the position of Ombudsperson because they have served the same number of semesters on ASWC. Following substantial debate regarding the voting process, incumbent Ombudsman Mitch Cutter was elected to serve his second semester. Cutter affirmed the importance of continuity and looks forward to scheduling more one-on-one’s with Senate members.

Minute by Minute

Though summaries and email updates often give adequate updates on ASWC’s doings, more exact details — who said what, how the votes fell, and why decisions were made — appear in the Senate Minutes. Like many formal gatherings, ASWC Senate meetings use Robert’s Rules of Order, a system of dialogue often used in governing groups to organize the proceedings. 

Every other week, the ASWC Senate meets at 7:00 Sunday evening in Memorial 321; anyone from the Whitman community can attend and even add their name to the Speakers’ List. After taking attendance and bringing the meeting to order, the President calls for a motion to approve the precious Senate’s minutes — except in the case of a roll call vote, a voting member of ASWC makes a motion that must be seconded and then approved by a majority of voting members present.

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Senate the Fourth

Sunday’s Senate began promptly at 7:00 PM with a flurry of discussion, culminating in debate over the role of the Resolution. Vice President Arthur Shemitz and President Jack Percival recalled their presentation to the Trustees during which they highlighted campus safety, preferred gender pronouns, and the Global Studies Initiative. President Percival solicited feedback on ASWC’s budget priorities for a meeting with the budget advisory committee. He planned to request additional funds for the Bike Share Program, Power and Privilege Symposium, and FGWC (First Generation and Working Class) fly-in pre orientation. After reviewing club budgets, Arthur Shemitz, AnnaMarie McCorvie and Jon Miranda worked towards drafting a new by-law concerning Campus Media Organizations’ purchases of personal items such as pens and stickers. Mitch Cutter updated the Senate on his investigations into college transparency, possible carbon taxes and transforming Reid into a community space with a “restaurant-that-serves-alcohol feel.”

ASWC ratified the Whitman Socialist Front after what Arthur Shemitz praised as “one of the most impressive presentations I’ve ever seen.” Club founder Brynn Louise explained that the Whitman Socialist Front “intends to educate the community” about socialism and “bring[…] about an… egalitarian society.” The club hopes to collaborate with other ideologically similar groups on campus, such as FACE and the Black Student Union.

Yu Jian Wang and NoahLani Nitwinsella, members of Whitman’s Moot Court team, received funding to attend a Moot Court competition in Anaheim, California. Wang emphasized how Moot Court allows students to practice reading case files “as long as a Biology textbook,” an especially valuable opportunity for students interested in law.

Sophomore Dan Pailthorp joined the Student Life Committee upon ASWC’s unanimous confirmation. The committee, according to Nominations Chair AnnaMarie McCorvie, “makes non-academic, non-disciplinary changes, and works, for example, on gender diversity.” Pailthorp intends to increase the diversity of voices addressing the Global Studies Initiative and other ongoing issues; he believes that “through these types of conversations, Whitman can be a campus that communicates more.”

Following recent horrific events in Paris, first-year Senator Caroline Bauwens wrote a Resolution extending support to the people of France. However, the Senate expressed concern over the implications of its passage, and chose to remand it (send it back) to the Student Affairs Committee. Finance Chair Anya Tudisco questioned whether “this is the sort of issue Whitman should be taking a stance on” through with a Resolution. First-year Senator Ben Cosgrove stated his discomfort with “supporting one country over another.” Vice President Arthur Shemitz encouraged the Senate to show its sympathy and support for the French by attending last Monday’s candlelight vigil.

Sunday’s Senate, in Seconds

As the song  “Cupid Shuffle” faded out, ASWC representatives gathered for the year’s second Senate.

During Senate updates, ASWC’s committees continued to prove their productivity and commitment. Anya Tudisco, chair of the Finance Committee,  solicited advice on the use of ASWC’s Savings Fund, a sum of unused ASWC budget money that now exceeds $20,000.  Nominations Chair AnnaMarie McCorvie enthusiastically presented the new College Advisory Committees, including a potential Athletics committee. Club Director Josie Furbershaw discussed her work on revising club constitutions and supporting club leaders. Since the last senate meeting, Katie Steen worked with SVP (Sexual Violence Prevention) representatives from the Greek community, while Jack Percival met with President Kathy Murray about student safety.

Max Hanson urged ASWC to ratify WhitCity as a recognized club, emphasizing its “goal of getting students out to games… and engaged in the Whitman college athletics atmosphere.” ASWC Senators agreed that WhitCity is an effective way to increase support for varsity athletics and ratified the club  16-2-1. However, Gillian Friedman, Olivia Hagel and Anya Tudisco spoke for many ASWC representatives when expressing frustration over the quickness of the decision, which was put to a vote without a formal debate. Hagel saw the minimal deliberation time as contrary to what Senate is “supposed to be about,” especially in light of WhitCity’s unclear funding strategies.

The Borders Studies program requested $500 from the Travel  and Student Development fund to support an excursion  to the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center to converse with activists, detainees and immigration lawyers. ASWC unanimously decided to fund the trip.

ASWC also confirmed Mitch Cutter and Alex Barsher as members of the new Buildings and Grounds College Committee. Cutter, a self-proclaimed wearer of many hats,  pledged “to take those garments and put them into [the] job” by focusing on sustainability and students’ input. Barsher emphasized the importance of “framing the right questions” to understand and speak for the college’s spirit.

Acts SAS 15.1 and 15.2 introduced a College Committee that will advise the Registrar’s Office, potentially about class selection, faculty hiring, and changes to the system of registering for classes. The Registrar’s office requested the committee be comprised of a student from each year and preferably from different disciplines of study. Because the Registrar’s Committee applications were distributed to the student body prior to this senate meeting even though the positions technically hadn’t been approved, Oversight Committee Chair Jon Miranda wryly  asked the Nominations Committee to “try to make sure things exists before [they] advertise them.”

Resolution SRF 15.1, drafted by Mitch Cutter, was adopted by acclamation (a unanimous vote that carries extra symbolic weight). The resolution “expresses support for the Umpqua Community College Community” following the tragic shooting of nine individuals on October 1st.

Finally, ASWC developed new speaking procedures to incorporate the ideas and opinions of non-voting members. Previously, “formal debate” only allowed voting members of ASWC to speak, leaving WEB chair Olivia Hagel and other non-voting members without a voice.  Ironically enough, a short debate led to the creation of “debate,” in which all ASWC representatives can speak, and “inclusive debate,” when everyone present can speak.  ASWC will implement these new categories of debate as a trial-run at the next Senate.