ASWC Election Results


Contributed by ASWC

The Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) recently held executive council elections, selecting junior Arthur Shemitz as ASWC President, junior Dana Casterella as ASWC Vice-President, junior Mitchell Cutter as Finance Chair and junior Dennis Young as Nominations Chair.

Three students, junior Arthur Shemitz, sophomore AnnaMarie McCorvie and first-year Jacob Case all ran for the position of ASWC president, the most contested position of the race.

Shemitz, this year’s ASWC Vice President, ran on a platform of emphasizing diversity, inclusion and transparency. Specific goals he endorsed include hiring an ASWC diversity director, advocating for test-optional admissions, putting more gender neutral bathrooms on campus, expanding the First Generation-Working class fly-in program and working to hold open forums with trustees each semester.

“ASWC does an incredible job of equipping people with the toolbox of how to think through ideas, how to advocate for ideas, and how to make those ideas reality,” said Shemitz. “ASWC is a really fantastic application of the liberal arts and the kind of argumentation that we value because it really makes us think about the systems that we live in and … what role that we as individuals could play in changing those systems, and ASWC is a whole bunch of nerds who are really passionate about the inner workings of this college, the inner workings of our own bylaws, but we’re cool nerds, and we get stuff done.”

Sophomore AnnaMarie McCorvie, who came second in the presidential race and is this year’s  Nominations Chair, ran on a platform of creating a structure for student voices to be heard at the highest levels of the college. The biggest priorities of her campaign were to amend the Title IX process so that students feel safer on campus, support marginalized students on campus through increased conversations and support systems, and encourage more political participation among students through collaborative events in Walla Walla.

“Women are the backbone of most of our organizations but even still as like a very liberal campus, we struggle with women being in public places of power. So, for example, all of the heads of our Campus Media Organizations are women … but they are very much behind the scenes workers. Leann and Katharine in the Student Activities office are women and they run this college to a huge degree, but they are not the public faces of the College. Chuck Cleveland is, and the head of admissions Tony Cabasco is,” said McCorvie. “In many ways, we still have a problem with who is doing the work and who is publicly [acknowledged].”

In the executive council election, only two of the positions were contested, President and Nominations Chair. The other two positions, Finance Chair and Vice President, only had one candidate in the running. While technically the race is open to any student, some members of ASWC encourage only those with experience within the organization to run for these highest offices, as they will be required to run committee meetings.

“The Executive Council is tricky because I personally do not think you should run for those positions unless you have ASWC experience,” said McCorvie.

Class senate elections present a more complicated picture, because any student with any level of experience in student government is welcome to run.

“I think the issue is that we get a lot of people that funnel in the first year [running for senate] and it’s a very steep funnel. If you don’t get involved your first year, the likeliness that you will get involved in subsequent years is very low,” said senior Oversight Chair Jon Miranda. “Once they go on from those first couple weeks of first year, they do clubs, they do sports, they do club sports, they do philanthropic organizations, all sorts of things they get involved in which is awesome, but which doesn’t leave a lot of time to get involved in ASWC.”

To that end, Miranda and his committee have worked to solicit petitions for senate races. Despite those efforts, the Senior Senate race has fewer candidates that positions and at the time of writing, the Oversight Committee is accepting petitions from current juniors who wish to run. As the campus readies itself for the upcoming Senate elections, all eyes are on our new President.

“I am very honored and excited to have been elected,” said Shemitz, “I take this responsibility very seriously and I look forward to working hard to achieve the goals I set forth in my platform and working to make ASWC an instrument for justice and transparency.”