- Collegian staff
Ian Curtis, New President of ASWU
Photos by Josie Elicker
Former President of the Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU), Oakley Rae Phoenix ’(23), has resigned. In an email to the entire student body, Former Vice President Ian Curtis (‘23) stated it was due to personal reasons. Curtis will be stepping into the presidency, and Eliza Gonzalez (’25) will be the new vice president for the rest of the academic year.
In an email response, Curtis emphasized that the responsibilities of presidency and vice presidency differ drastically. “The Vice Presidency is very internally focused and well-defined. My main roles were overseeing the ASWU Senate and helping facilitate that group, including overseeing elections, recruiting and onboarding new members, preparing the meeting agenda, and coordinating all guest speakers at the meetings.” Curtis said, “The Presidency, in contrast, is very externally focused with few laid out responsibilities.” He highlighted that one of the main responsibilities of presidency includes conveying student concerns to administration, which encompasses figures such as President Thorsett, Dean Feingold, Provost Carol Long, and the Board of Trustees.
Curtis said he “intend[s] to advocate strongly for issues of social justice in this role,” citing his involvement with climate justice work and being one of the founders of the Climate Action Alliance in 2019, serving as President for over a year until this semester. He stated he wants to “continue the work that I have helped with to make ASWU a more welcoming and accessible environment by continuing to bring in students that want to make this campus a better place for all of us.”
The resignation of Phoenix was described as unexpected by much of the student body, and Curtis admits “the transition was abrupt.” However, he emphasized that “ the rest of ASWU Exec [Treasurer Brice Hoerauf (‘25), Chief Justice Colby Alexander (‘24), Press Secretary Makenna Ray (‘25) and Eliza Gonzalez] is a group that I trust and have a lot of confidence in which has eased the burden on me. In my new role as President I will also be onboarding Eliza Gonzalez '25 as our new Vice President, but I think that she is a natural for the role and will have no problem adjusting.”
With the advent of Curtis’ presidency, he said he is “excited for the opportunity to create a better Willamette for the years of students that will follow me. I really want to do a good job at listening to student concerns and addressing some of the major issues that we face on campus.” Curtis welcomes anyone to come to his office hours from 12:30-2:30 PM on Mondays in the ASWU Office on UC 2nd or reach out to him via email if you have any questions or concerns. After reaching out to Eliza Gonzalez, there was no response.