Campaigning for ASW elections began Monday for students to elect the student government board. There are seven candidates running for the five elected positions.
Voting opens Thursday and will be open for a 24-hour period. Students can complete the survey through Canvas, choosing their desired candidates for each position.
Voting closes Friday and winners will be announced by the end of that day.
The Forum talked to each of the candidates to learn more about their platforms. All interviews were done via email because of the short campaign period.
There are two students running for ASW President: sophomore Obaid Barakzai and third-year student Katie Boutwell.
Barakzai is running on a campaign that promotes diversity and inclusion within ASW — encouraging voices to be heard by student representatives and leaders.
Barakzai previously worked in ASW as the executive creative director during the Fall 2019 semester. In this position, he led the creative team in designing advertisements for student clubs and ASW.
He reports stepping down from the position in December after being asked by the ASW president and the adviser to either step down or risk facing a potential impeachment.
Impeachment within ASW would require a majority vote from the Senate to be approved. The situation was presented to Barakzai after disagreements within the student board on whether he violated his job responsibilities.
Barakzai did not respond to comment on the situation.
Barakzai points to his experience in ASW as an advantage, being the only presidential candidate with this knowledge.
Barakzai said he is running on a campaign that wants to redefine inclusion on campus and promote visibility. During the ASW debate Tuesday night, he said the inclusion of one group shouldn’t be accepted at the expense of another.
“In the past, ASW hasn’t been inclusive to all of the populations on campus,” he said. “I would like to include and serve all populations on campus through communication and having events with them to make sure their voices are heard and how they can be best supported.”
He said focusing on these groups and hearing from all students would be at the center of his campaign.
Boutwell is running on a campaign that promotes communication across campus, creating pathways to bridge the gap between students and the administration.
One of the main components of her campaign is gender inclusion, she said during the ASW debate Tuesday. She said her value of communication would be used to find a space where all identities are welcomed and heard.
“I wish to create a more inclusive community for those who identify as non-binary or trans students,” Boutwell said. “This includes campus spaces as well as a more prominent voice on campus.”
Boutwell says she would use this communication to spark discussion and initiate change.
She said one of her priorities would be uniting the separate communities across campus to be unified as one student body. Doing that requires opening up to club leaders and having open conversations between them and the student body.
“I see the potential that Westminster has for a conglomerate community,” she said. “As of right now it is very segregated by individual groups, and clubs.”
ASW Vice President
There is one student running unopposed for ASW Vice President: sophomore justice studies major Daud Mumin.
Mumin has experience within ASW, serving as a first-year senator for the 2019-20 academic year.
Mumin says he is running because as a first-generation African American student, he has felt he hasn’t always been represented in areas of leadership on campus. He said he would want to bridge the gap between students and ASW leaders, fully communicating all the resources available.
“I care about tackling large systems that are oppressive, roadblocks, and barriers to our happiness, longevity and success,” Mumin said. “With that goal, it can make leading scary, and I want to make sure that the student body knows that I will make every decision and step with their well-being in mind.”
Mumin said his three goals if elected would be to give students the opportunity to voice concerns through an “Reimagine Project” that would fund student initiatives and make involvement on campus more fun. He says this initiative takes inspiration from current Vice President Kenzie Campbell’s Eco-Warrior Fund.
Mumin publicly endorsed Barakzai as president during the ASW debate Tuesday night, sharing similar goals of visibility on campus.
“There is hope for Westminster and ASW to be visible, transformative, and bring every to the table — our table,” Mumin said.
ASW Chief Justice
There is one student running for the ASW Chief Justice: Chris Ooley, an economics pre-law major with a minor in business. He is running unopposed, so students have the option to either vote in favor of Ooley or they can choose to abstain from voting.
Ooley has experience working within ASW as a first-year senator from the 2018-19 academic year and the senator for the school of business for the 2019-20 school year.
During his time working in the Senate, Ooley reports passing and sponsoring several bills. Through this, he said he believes he has the appropriate background knowledge and experience to draft the guiding documents of ASW — which is one of the main responsibilities of the Chief Justice.
Ooley said he would want to “promote transparency and awareness” around the ASW documents to “support the rest of the student board with their priorities and goals.”
Ooley also has experience working in the Admissions Office as a student worker. He said he would lean on all this experience, especially his knowledge on the ASW constitution and elections handbook, to succeed in the position.
“I would like to see the needs of students met more frequently as a priority,” he said. “Although Chief Justice has less flexibility in terms of meeting this goal than other positions within ASW, I believe that […] all students deserve to have their suggestions and changes considered and honored.
ASW Clubs President
Currently, there are no students running for Clubs President. In the case of no candidates, ASW will host a special election before the end of the semester to fill the slot.
During a special election, students will be given the opportunity to vote through Canvas — similar to the general election.
Tristan Palmer – Arts and Sciences
Palmer is a junior geology major with a minor in chemistry running for the senator of the school of arts and sciences. Palmer said he is vying for a spot in ASW because he believes ASW is supposed to represent students — however, he believes it has failed in the last few years.
Palmer notes he does not bring experience from inside ASW, but has been on the board of several other clubs: GeoClub, American Chemical Society and an outdoor leader for the OutDoor Program.
“All of these roles have taught me how to facilitate group discussions,” he said. “I’m hoping that these skills will allow me to better assess what students want and need, and how ASW can best provide those things.”
Palmer said his platform focuses on student voices and including them in important discussions.
“My largest goal on campus is to make everyone’s voice heard on campus,” he said. “The student body has been left out of far too many important decisions, and I’m hoping to help that I can provide a voice for those who are otherwise ignored.”
Eva Anderson – Sophomore
Anderson is running for one of the two sophomore senator positions for ASW Senate. She has experience as a first-year senator over the past school year, and said she wants to build on that knowledge.
“I feel that I have learned how the school functions and have a better understanding on how ASW runs. I hope with the knowledge that I have gained, we can help the students have the best college experience possible.”
She said she’s running on a platform that prioritizes transparency, directly reflecting what students want to see get done in ASW. Her perspective from being a minority will help her promote diversity and inclusion, she said.
“I would like to see students prioritized,” Anderson said. “We are there for students and I want them to know how appreciated they are. I also want to try really hard on visibility and being accessible, having the students know that we are their biggest cheerleader and want to see them have a fun time and succeed.”
Brynlie Green – Sophomore
Green is running for the second sophomore senator position. Green is a first-year student majoring in English and justice studies.
Green is involved in several activities on campus, including the Honors College and spirit team. Despite her busy schedule, Green said she wants to combine all of the different positions she has held to represent multiple communities.
“By being involved with so many different aspects of campus life, I have the opportunity to get to know and consistently interact with a wide array of diverse students that we have on campus,” she said. “I know that all of these involvements of mine inform who I will be as a senator.”
Green said her extensive experience on campus will help inform her on what decisions to make as a student leader. Using her involvement, she said she can learn from the different groups on campus to make up a holistic view of the student body.
“As a senator, this will allow me to make decisions that are truly representative of our campus,” she said. “Not just the part of campus I belong to.”
Green said one of her main priorities would be to increase the communication between students and administration, focusing on transparency.
“What I think is the most important thing to be prioritized is accessibility and transparency of decisions being made on campus,” she said. “I believe that many students feel like they don’t really know what happens in meetings, or what decisions are currently up for debate.”
*Correction: A previous version of this article misstated a candidate’s slogan. Barakzai’s slogan is to “Redefine Inclusion.”
A previous version incorrectly named ASW Vice President Kenzie Campbell’s project. It is the Eco-Warrior Fund.