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Thursday, May 13, 2021

New AS board position voted upon, Center of International Studies seeks more funding

A new position with the Associated Students board and funding for the Center for International Services were addressed at the AS board meeting, Nov. 18.

New AS Position: Board Assistant for Academic Shared Governance:

Associated Students Vice President for Academic Affairs Zachary Dove came into the meeting hoping to vote to approve the salary and description for a new position: Board Assistant for Academic Shared Governance.

“Historically, my position is overworked and under-supported,” Dove said.

This position would help would help share the weight of some responsibilities Dove currently has, including student outreach and other projects through Academic Affairs. The Board Assistant would also be attending committee meetings that Dove currently can’t attend.

“One of the problems I run into is that I have 15 or 16 committees that I serve on. A couple of them overlap, so in that situation, there is a student representative not the room, and so decisions are being made without student representatives,” he said.

The salary was approved 4-0, with Israel Rios abstaining from a vote. AS President Belina Seare and Abby Ramos, AS Vice President for Diversity, left the meeting early and therefore did not vote.

It is important to note that if the position is successful, when put into the AS operations budget, it could increase student fees by 14 cents.

Hannah Brock, AS Vice President of Business and Operations,  proposed a five-quarter pilot program funded by a grant from discretionary funds. With the salary agreed upon, the position would cost $3,750 for the remaining quarters and $5,500 for the next year. Dove seconded it.

Faculty Senate Discussion:  President of the Faculty Senate, Molly Ware, and her vice president Kristen Larson opened up a discussion about continuing talks between students and faculty senate. Dove started by introducing them and explaining their continued goal in trying to get students and faculty involved in what he referred to as “inclusive excellence.”

“If Western is going to want to advertise the fact that they are open to diverse students, they need to put some actions where their mouths are and make sure that actions are being taken to address student concerns of campus climate,” Dove said. “If no action is taken, you’re going to see drops in retention, in my opinion.”

In 2012, a campus climate survey revealed that a substantial amount of students of color and queer identified students were experiencing discrimination on campus. The attempts to rectify this, started by the former Vice President of Academic Affairs, Josie Ellison, developed into two year long process of students meeting with faculty about the issues at hand, and potential solutions.

Larson and Ware also came with a page of “new concrete ideas.” These ideas include:

  • Classroom climate formative assessment process: A pilot assessment that can be employed in the middle of the quarter to help professors understand their classroom environment, and what they can work on.
  • Building a culture of success in collaboration with student services: Collaboration between faculty services such as the Counseling center in order to build a culture of well-being in a time where student mental illness is on the rise.
  • Supporting academic success across campus: How to help clarify the functionality of office hours to students with less institutionalized education. How does faculty handle office hours across different departments?
  • New faculty mentoring: Connecting new faculty with similarly identified faculty veterans, in order to maintain retention of faculty members from diverse communities.

These proposals are not final, and will be voted upon by the entire faculty senate at a later date.

Center for International Studies renewing funding proposal: Vicki Hamblin came before the board asking for a three-year grant to establish an office and new programs. She came before the board once again to request an extension of their funding for another year, in order to secure permanent funding for the department.

Brock said that it’s not healthy to renew programs more than once. For that reason, the renewal was not immediately voted upon. Instead, Brock will be taking the info back to the business committee and will discuss renewal with them.

Most of the funding problems come from the lack of enrollment of international students at Western. According to Hamblin, less than 1 percent of students are from abroad. A portion of the fees paid by international students goes toward paying for the Center.  The center is currently working directly with admissions to increase recruitment of international students, in hopes that an increase of funding from the fees will help them become self-sustaining.

A few other items discussed at the board meeting include:

  • The Oregon Students of Color Conference took place took place last weekend. Student speakers were invited to share their experiences.
  • Board debriefed on AS Club Hub goals, which include having conversations on how to run better.


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