ASCWU election season has begun: Primary debate and election to take place next week
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The Associated Students of Central Washington University (ASCWU) Election Commission has begun the spring election cycle for the 2017-2018 academic year. Last Tuesday, the commission wrapped up their campaign kick off.
This event allowed for all primary candidates to meet one another, reference campaign rules and regulations, ask any questions regarding the election cycle and allow for the candidates to meet with the Washington Student Association (WSA). During the campaign kick-off, candidates were also able to record optional candidate video tapes- their 150 worded declaration of candidacy.
Director Of Student Involvement Andre Dickerson was in attendance during the campaign kickoff. During the event, Dickerson was able to give some words of advice to the candidates present in the rooms regarding ethical guidelines and making the best of their campaign. Dickerson gave some optimistic remarks later about the candidates.
“I think we have a really strong group of professional and enthusiastic students who are looking to lead student government next year, be strong representatives and really embody the voice of our students on campus,” Dickerson said.
Being an alumni of CWU, Dickerson knew all about what it means to be proactive in extracurricular activities and throughout the community. Dickerson said that he was very active during his time on campus, even though he never ran for office.
“They have a phenomenal opportunity to gain additional leadership experience and really cultivate experiences that most folks will not get until they are in the professional world, such as being a supervisor [or] being someone who administers and oversees a budget,” Dickerson said. “Someone who’s a part of a team that legitimately influences and impacts change in an institution.”
ASCWU-SG Election Coordinator Tyson Shepard has been working between the ASCWU Election Committee and the officers of the ASCWU department as a neutral figure in order to make sure that the election process is handled fairly and accurately.
“I was appointed by the student government to come in and oversee the elections process,” Shepard said. “You kinda just overlook everything… You’re literally the go-to guy.”
As a neutral moderator, Shepard deals with many aspects of planning the election.
“I’m not a voting member of anything, actually. So for all the work that I do, I actually don’t get any say in what policy works and what doesn’t. That’s up to the Election Commission; and the elections commission is made up of five different members,” Shepard said. “Those are the ones that actually will vote on something.”
Shepard’s job — so far — has primarily been overseeing the operations and decisions made by the Elections Commission.
“The thing that’s awesome about this university is anybody that has a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or is in good standing, can run,” Shepard said. “I think that if you have the ambition to run and you’ve proven that you can hold your own as a student, you can kinda step into that position of leadership, but it’s up to you. We don’t go out to you and say ‘we think you’re a good candidate, you should run,’ it’s actually honestly on you.”
Together, with the help of the Elections Commission, Shepard and his fellow peers work hours on end to ensure that everything is setup for the student’s running for office; he also assures that everyone gets a fair and honest attempt at running for an office of their choice. Shepard said that he was very satisfied with the work that they’ve been able to accomplish together.
“They’re very passionate about reaching out to all the students and making sure that everyone is included in the process,” Shepard said. “I know they’re super busy, but they’ve gone out of their way to help me.”
Eric Bennett, a member of the ASCWU Election Commission, is one of the five members appointed to working on this election. Bennett said that he’s been enjoying his work as a commissioner so far and is very excited about the opportunity for people’s voices to be heard.
“We want a variety of people. We wanna not only hear from the upper classmen, but we wanna hear from maybe someone who’s just become an upperclassman and their experiences as a freshman,” Bennett said.
Bennett was the first commissioner elected for this election cycle under Tyson. The commission has been meeting quite frequently this past month- determining how the structure of the election will play out, what information in the candidate registry needs to be updated and designing posters for upcoming events.
“[The] next step is developing questions for the debates [and] new processes for how we will run the forums, since we’re all, most of us, new to doing this at Central,” Bennett said.
According to Shepard, primary elections will be determined by write in candidates. Since there are currently no more than two candidates running for each office, the necessity for a primary election and debate will depend on if there are any substantial write in candidates. Debates for final candidates will be hosted Tuesday, May 23.