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Friday, January 22, 2021

Laura Wagner and Althea Frye selected as the first co-vice chairs of the AS Senate

The vote came to a 10-10 tie, leaving decision to AS Senate Pro-Tempore

A generic graphic of the AS logo via the aswwu instagram page
A generic graphic of the AS logo via the aswwu instagram page

By Nathan Schumock

For the first time at Western Washington University, the Associated Students senate will have co-vice chairs. 

Laura Wagner, from the Huxley College of the Environment, and Althea Frye, from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will represent the senate as co-vice chairs.

 Voting ended in a 10-10 tie, so the senators held two more votes to end the deadlock — but each time it ended in an even split. 

According to the AS bylaws, the AS senate pro tempore is supposed to break the tie. Sargun Handa, the current senate pro tempore, said it will be helpful to keep both Wagner and Frye on as vice chairs, because of the added work that comes with the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing the anti-racism movement at Western.

“I need as much help as possible. So, I think having two vice chairs will actually be really beneficial this year,” Handa said. “And that’s exactly what the senate needs.”

Handa said she didn’t want to negate 10 senators’ votes by choosing one candidate over the other, so she chose having co-vice chairs as a compromise. 

The vice chair acts as a substitute for the senate pro-tempore if she is absent, according to the AS bylaws. Since there are two vice-chairs, they will alternate performing the duties of the pro tempore if she is not present, Handa said.

Handa said they also coordinate forums and other student outreach activities, as well as assisting with different committee appointments and scheduling.

“They’re like a support system for the senate,” Handa said. “The vice-chair is like the glue for the senate that keeps everybody together.”

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