ASWU does not accurately represent the student body

by Abby Nye

The Associated Students of Whitworth University (ASWU) made a decision to write a resolution that would express the stance of Whitworth’s student body on supporting DACA recipients in late February. This decision was called into action by a few ASWU members. The decision was passed unanimously within ASWU. As an off-campus student, I was uninformed that this resolution would reflect the opinion of ASWU, which strives to represent the student body, according to this resolution.

Resolutions are a rare occurrence, and the ASWU bylaws give no information as to how they are passed. I would have expected this resolution about DACA to come with a more personal outreach in order to get an understanding about where all students stand, both in support and against. However, many students didn’t receive any information that this decision was being made to reflect the stance of the student body.

ASWU is made up of both elected officials and hired members. According to the job description,  Residence Hall Senators elected from each residence hall are expected to “Insure that all constituencies of the residence hall student population… are well represented and informed.” However, the ASWU bylaws state that senators and representatives are not obligated to vote according to the majority opinion of their constituents.

Many ASWU leaders have expressed liberal political and social views. To some, the passing of this resolution seemed like a part of a personal agenda.

“There are plenty of people on this campus who do not support DACA and would disagree with ASWU speaking for them or not getting their input,” said junior Ali Forbush. They have, as a result, created a leadership that appears unapproachable and biased toward their personal views.

Whitworth is a diverse campus. With this comes varying opinions, and there are many students that would disagree with the decision to support DACA. The lack of information regarding this decision seems to have intentionally overlooked students who would have disagreed. Because they are not required to vote with the opinion of their constituents, residence hall senators and representatives can carry out a leadership that doesn’t actually reflect the majority opinion. It’s difficult to express support of an opposing view because there isn’t any reward for it.

“I think that this just perpetuates the problem that many conservatives on campus feel that they cannot speak their mind to ASWU or other students because they either will not be listened to or their opinion is not valued,” Forbush said.

The lack of information regarding the passing of resolutions, and that they will reflect the opinion of the student body, brings to light the many ways that ASWU is not an accurate representation of the student body. Residence hall senators and representatives are allowed to vote in their own interest, which can easily overlook many opposing opinions. I believe these senators and representatives should be required to take their constituents opinions into account more.

A leadership that requires more outreach and better representation of all students must be put into place for all students to feel as though Whitworth reflects majority opinions. Students deserve the opportunity to be heard. They deserve the chance to speak up, and have their opinion be expressed in ASWU. It’s time for ASWU leadership to set aside their personal opinions to develop a student leadership in which all opinions can be safely expressed.

Contact Abby Nye at anye19@my.whitworth.edu

2 Replies to “ASWU does not accurately represent the student body”

  1. From what I’ve seen, and heard, this is 100% accurate. It’s sad that ASWU’s executive team does not foster a better platform for "all voices to be heard" as they state in their mission statement.

  2. During my time at Whitworth I felt these same sentiments along with poor governing and little understanding. Seldom did it feel as if the elected individuals had anything other than their own agendas to worry about.

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