ASWC elections: first-years choose senators, seniors win the right to vote

Josh Goodman

First-year Calvin Atkins walked briskly across Ankeny to the ASWC offices in Reid to learn his fate in senate elections on Monday, Sept. 21. For him, the news was good: he will be on ASWC’s Finance Committee.

“It was kind of like relief,” he said. “I could see the election going any way.   I was talking with a lot of the other candidates, and we were thinking of reasons why any person could get elected.”

Also elected as first-year senators were Autumn Knutson, Nathan Abrams and Alex Brott.  In addition, the entire student body voted to allow outgoing seniors to vote in executive elections.

The election is being regarded as a success.

“I thought turnout was, by Whitman standards, good, but I wouldn’t call it a knockout category,” said sophomore Oversight Chair Jack MacNichol. “I would love to see numbers more like 80 percent rather than 30.47 percent [for the amendment] or 64.50 percent [for first-year senators].”

Voting this year used a new software, which sped up the results process.

“The results came through pretty clear,” MacNichol said. “About five minutes after the polls closed, [we received] a link with the results.   It was . . . much easier than ever before.”

The only problem that occurred was among a handful of new students who had enough credits to be considered second-semester first-years or sophomores. Although not initially able to vote, that problem was resolved quickly for most people, according to MacNichol.

Senior ASWC President Nadim Damluji looks forward to the new senators joining the team.

“Everyone was really well-qualified,” he said. “I look forward to working with all the new freshmen senators.”

In addition to first-year elections, the constitutional amendment allowing seniors a vote in executive elections only slightly passed.  While it easily got above the 20% of the student body required for it to pass, it received 68.28% of the vote, only a sliver above the necessary two-thirds vote for a constitutional amendment.

Still, not everyone went home happy.

“I’m definitely disappointed,” said Paul “H-P” Hamilton-Pennell, who received fifth place in the senate election. “I think I was probably less invested in the prospect of being in student government as the other kids were, so there aren’t any personal ramifications, but I was excited about working with some of those guys and getting to know them.”

Hugh Parker and Devin Kuh also did not receive enough votes to win.

Hamilton-Pennell  feels that being new at Whitman affected how elections went.

“Just about everyone I talked to said they voted for so and so because they were the only person who they had heard of that was running,” he said. “I’ll be interested to see as issues arise, especially in my class, how people start feeling about the elections and about ASWC.”

Still, he considers the loss a “mixed blessing,” given his currently busy schedule.

Meanwhile, Atkins is getting ready for his duties as an ASWC senator.

“I’m just really excited to be in student government and be able to help [turn] the freshmen ideas into reality,” he said. “I’m just prepared to do my job now.”