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Senate seats reduced: ASWU passes first restructuring bill

Emma Innes

Staff writer

The Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU) passed a constitutional amendment Mar. 11 as part of a broader plan to restructure ASWU. According to ASWU Vice President Mary Robicheaux (‘21), the changes are due to a lack of student interest in ASWU, shown by a lack of voter turnout and issues with filling Senate seats. By making structural changes, ASWU hopes to increase student interest and facilitate a better relationship between ASWU and the student body.

The amendment reduced the number of senators for each class from five to four. The American Studies Program from Tokyo International University of America will keep its two seats for a total of 18 senators. The role of caucus whips, who lead the Senators of their class, will be removed due to the decrease in Senators. Other changes from the amendment include fixing Article I section 2 to read “College of Arts and Sciences” instead of “College of Liberal Arts,” and the adding of equity language. The promotion of equity will be added to Executive roles and the preamble will be changed to add equity and accessibility. The amended preamble shall read: “We, the Associated Students of Willamette University, commit to uplifting the quality of the student experience at all levels of university and campus life. We shall uphold the standards of equity, accessibility, accountability, inclusivity, and transparency among students, faculty, and university administrators.”

The amendment will be voted on by the student body during the Mar. 19 Executive elections. If passed, it will immediately take effect. ASWU has further changes planned involving Senate roles, Elections, ASWU projects, communication to the student body, codes of conduct, creating compensation for Senators, creating a House of Representatives made of club leaders and creating a relationship with the student government of Pacific Northwest Art College, newly acquired by Willamette University. Senator compensation, changing the Senate roles, outreach to the student body and election changes are being prioritized with other tasks. Changes such as the House of Representatives and the codes of conduct will wait until next semester.

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