ASWC Standoff Over Bylaw Interpretation Enters 11th Day

Shelly Le

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As the heated student government debate over late-night pizza heads into its 11th day, neither senators nor members of the Associated Students of Whitman College administration appear ready to budge from their positions.

Despite bleary eyes and listless hand waves, senators have been unwilling to resolve their divided opinions over the language used in Bylaw 341 concerning the ASWC office fund, which currently reads as “The ASWC office fund shall be used for all expenses incurred in the distribution of legislation.” Specifically, debate over the term “distribution” has caused frustration and turmoil.

Approximately half of ASWC’s voting members are in favor of amending the bylaw to allow for members of ASWC to use the office fund during any time while on campus, regardless of whether or not they’re with other members of ASWC discussing matters regarding the student body. Supporters of amending the bylaw argue that members of ASWC are perpetually working for the student body. However, amending the bylaw takes a 2/3 majority vote, which members wishing to amend the bylaw currently don’t have.

The entirety of Sunday night, March 23, was spent debating the amendment. When the clock struck midnight, senior ASWC senator Bayvon Kehroozian, sensing that the 2/3 majority vote would not be met, stood up to give a filibuster.

“We’re always working for our constituents. It’s crazy. Sometimes, I have to schedule when I cut my nails because I’m so busy. I’ll even wake up at 3 a.m. to check my ASWC email because I get so many emails,” senior ASWC senator Bayvon Kehroozian said while filibustering.

Kehroozian is leading the movement, specifically so that ASWC members can order pizza using the office fund during late nights spent in the library.

“Technically, I’m checking my ASWC email while I’m working on my senior thesis, so really, I’m constantly working for ASWC anyway. But with this amendment, I want to make the lives of those who work for the government much easier and happier,” he said.

Sophomore senator Tanya Udisco, who is in favor of amending the bylaw, notes that asking that money be spent for late night studying is not out of line for members of the student government.

“We all really want to have some Sweet Basil, but it’s expensive for us to order since we’re just a bunch of busy students. And especially because we’re leaders of the student body, we don’t necessarily have time to hold jobs. So we need some way of staying happy and healthy,” she said.

A small coalition of ASWC voting members, however, believe that demands to amend the bylaw are ridiculous and a gross misuse of power. While Kehroozian has been pushing for the amendment changes, the coalition has refused to budge.

“This is absurd. Bayvon doesn’t even like eating pizza. He’s lactose intolerant for goodness sakes,” said senior ASWC senator Cane Jarmody. “If anything, [his lactose intolerance] is more incentive for me to prevent this amendment from occurring.”

Sophomore ASWC Vice President Pack Jercival, however, is one of the few senators who are divided on their opinions. Their votes could be the swinging factor in the final decision.

“I really feel for Bayvon, you know? I mean, I spend all of my time staring out the huge windows in the quiet room, so I know how it feels to be burning the midnight oil, exhausted from an invigorating ASWC debate, but starving from not eating dinner because I love mingling with my constituents,” Jercival said.

Members of ASWC have had to spend their time in the main conference room in Memorial Hall since two Sundays ago and have been unable to leave to shower, eat or attend classes since then. Junior ASWC President Rim Teed says he’s become accustomed to the scent, but regrets that staff workers who come into the conference room to clean now must wear clothes pins on their noses to avoid gagging from the smell.

“It’s tough––I mean, I feel horrible that we’re taking up so much time and space, but we’re talking about some really important stuff here. This discussion could be felt amongst ASWC and the student body for decades,” Teed said.

Kehroozian has continued filibustering since Sunday night and credits the all-nighters spent working on his senior thesis for preparing him for the lack of sleep he’s had while filibustering.

“This is the most important thing I’ve ever done. This is about pride, about values. We deserve to be happy, gosh dangit!” Behroozian said.

Teed has given special consent to allow Kehroozian to urinate in a mason jar in a corner, which has enabled Kehroozian to continue filibustering.

“It’s not like we’re the federal government. This is training for potential politicians––like ‘How to be a Politician For Dummies.’ If he needs to go, he’s gotta go. And I’m not going to have someone clean up urine from the carpet,” Teed said.

Stay tuned for online updates on Kehroozian’s favorite topics while filibustering as the ASWC senate standoff enters its 12th day.