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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Seven new board members elected and four referenda pass in AS election

By Emily Jackson

A new Associated Students Board of Directors was elected and all four referendums were passed after the AS elections on Friday, May 4.

Four of the seven board of directors positions were contested.

According to the AS website, the newly-elected VP for Academic Affairs is Levi Eckman, who won by 53 votes in the third and final round; the VP for Student Life is Anne Lee, who won by 979 votes; the VP for Governmental Affairs is Natasha Hessami, winning by 906 votes. Finally, Ama Monkah has been elected as VP for Activities, winning by 1,243 votes.

The three unopposed candidates also elected were AS President Millka Solomon, VP for Diversity Camilla Mejia and VP for Business and Operations Genaro Meza.

Four referendums were also on the ballot this year.

First, the AS will recommend the Sustainable Action Fund be renamed the Sustainability, Equity and Justice Fund. The referendum passed with 1,837 to 335 votes. The AS will recommend renewal of the fund at a rate of 90 cents, not exceeding $9. The student body can vote to raise this up to $1.20 per academic credit per quarter, and up to $12.

The College of Ethnic Studies will return, passing with 1,804 to 405 votes. They will also advocate for the Ethnic Studies Curriculum to become a program of study, according to the AS website. In addition, Ethnic Studies courses may become part of General University Requirements.

Second, the AS will recommend the renewal of the Student Technology Fee, which passed 1,562 to 625 votes. The renewal rate will be $35 per quarter for students taking six-plus credits, and $17.50 per quarter for students taking five credits or less.

Finally, the AS will support a multi-year implementation to make Western a smoke-free campus over the next several years, according to the AS website. This passed with 1,352 to 895 votes.

Under current Western policy, smoking is prohibited inside all university buildings and vehicles, according to Western Policy P-U5950.12. Outside, smoking is prohibited within 25 feet from specific areas, according to the same policy. The policy also says the university may impose additional restrictions.

The elected AS Board of Directors will begin work on the Saturday of Spring Commencement, according to the job descriptions for the positions.

Francesca Cruz, AS elections coordinator, said in an email 17.26 percent of the student body voted in the AS elections this year. Last year’s voter turnout was 16.2 percent, she said.

“This year was exciting,” Cruz said. “We had the highest voter turnout since the 2012 AS elections when the turnout was 24.5 percent.”



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