Whitties go to the polls for first-year senate, amendment on senior voting

Josh Goodman

First-year senate candidates field questions from classmates in Jewett Lounge, Tuesday, Sept. 15. Credit: Cornelius

First-year senate candidates field questions from classmates in Jewett Lounge, Tuesday, Sept. 15. Credit: Cornelius

First-years heading to the polls this Monday, Sept. 21 got an opportunity to meet their senator candidates for the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) in a forum that was as much about Disney princesses as it was about politics.

“I thought it was successful,” said sophomore ASWC Oversight Chair Jack MacNichol.   “We had a couple great questions, but then we did, as these forums tend to do, diverge, into some questions about which Disney princess represents you.”

The forum on Tuesday, Sept. 15, the first of two, served as an opportunity for first-years to get to know the first-year senator candidates running in Monday’s election.   The election also features a campus-wide vote on an amendment to allow senior voting in executive elections during the spring.   Though most of the forum consisted of offbeat questions, candidates also showed their serious side.

“I really thought… having solar panels that were recently installed was a really cool idea,” said first-year candidate Nathan Abrams. “I think if Whitman could build on its dependence on green energy, it would be a really good thing. I think a fair amount of the campus would be behind that.”

“My first idea that I’ve noticed at this is school is that we have chalkboards,” said first-year candidate Autumn Knutson. “I thought it would be cool to have whiteboards.”

Though the forum spent more time on favorite childhood television shows and James Bond actors than issues like these, it appears to have been helpful.

“I sort of had an idea before but it changed a little bit,” said first-year Nate Lessler. “It helped me. It could have been shorter: I think a lot of the questions where they had similar answers could have been fast.”

Amendment on senior voting

Monday’s election will also feature a proposed amendment to the ASWC constitution seeking to overturn last year’s controversial rule barring seniors from voting in executive council elections. It will require 20 percent of the student body to vote and a two-thirds majority among those who do to pass.

The amendment would change part of Section One of the ASWC constitution to say, “All members of ASWC will be eligible to vote in the election.” The current wording says “All members of ASWC who are not graduating in the current semester will be eligible to vote in the election.”

In spite of a lack of publicity for the amendment, MacNichol is confident that the amendment will get the necessary votes.

“All the freshmen will be voting,” he said. “But I also think a lot of seniors, if they want to vote in the spring, will be interested in this, because the amendment will allow them to vote in the Executive Council elections.”

The election takes place Monday, Sept. 21, with online voting from midnight until 8 p.m.   First-years will have the opportunity to rank senator candidates in order of preference, from first to seventh.   All students will be able to vote for or against the proposed senior voting amendment.

Students interested in learning more about first-year senator candidates can attend tonight’s forum in the Anderson Main Lounge at 7 p.m.