ASW swore in its newly-elected student board for the 2020-21 school year Wednesday, hosting the ceremony virtually via Zoom after the campus has been closed for the remainder of the semester.
“Welcome to our very first, to my knowledge, virtual swearing-in ceremony,” said Kate Pasco, current ASW Chief Justice of the 2019-20 school year. “I’m really glad we found an alternative way to do this.”
As chief justice, Pasco is responsible for swearing in new members of ASW. At the ceremony Wednesday, she passed the reins off to the 2020-21 chief justice, Chris Ooley, after swearing him in at the start of the night.
When swearing in new members of the board, the student leaders must recite the following creed:
I, (name of individual), do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the Associated Students of Westminster and all its purposes and procedures; and that I will endeavor to the best of my abilities to fulfill the duties, obligations, and responsibilities of the office to which I have been elected (or appointed).
Ooley was sworn in as the chief justice, taking on the position after winning in the ASW election in February. Ooley had previously served as a senator during the 2019-20 school year, reporting he had supported and passed several bills during his time.
“I have yet to have a chance with experience on the board, as most of my time in ASW has been spent on Senate,” Ooley said in an email. “So I am looking forward to benefiting my constituents on a greater scale.”
Ooley ran on a platform to “promote transparency and awareness” around the ASW documents to “support the rest of the student board with their priorities and goals.”
“Aside from immediately setting up a cohesive judicial council for the academic year, my first project for my term is revising and updating specific guiding documents,” he said. “Namely the Clubs Charter and Financial Code, as well as encouraging clarity and outreach about these documents and how our processes within ASW work.”
Immediately after being sworn in, Ooley then took on the responsibilities of his role to swear in the remainder of the student board in both the elected and appointed positions.
Elected positions are chosen during the campus-wide election in February, where students vote for their president, vice president, chief justice, clubs president and senators. ASW filled each of these positions, after holding a special election in March for the clubs president — the only position which had no candidates during the initial vote.
Ooley began with swearing in the elected positions on the student board: Obaid Barakzai (ASW president), Daud Mumin (vice president) and Dwain Worrell (clubs president).
Barakzai was the only candidate who ran opposed during the regular election, winning the vote as ASW president. He ran on a platform that promotes diversity and inclusion within student government — encouraging voices to be heard by representatives and leaders.
“As the new 2020-2021 ASW Student Body President, I am very thrilled to help redefine inclusion, making ASW a home away from home for everyone,” Barakzai said in an email. “I am super excited to reach out to all populations on campus and incorporate their voices in our decision making and every step we take moving forward.”
Mumin, the newly-elected vice president, ran on a similar campaign — saying he would want to bridge the gap between students and ASW leaders, fully communicating all the resources available.
“I look forward to working with my team on building bridges so that students know that we serve their interest, not ours,” Mumin said in an email.
Barakzai and Mumin say their first goals and priorities as newly-elected student leaders is to plan a virtual town hall meeting with the college administration. There, students can voice their thoughts and concerns on what they want to see happen next year.
President Beth Dobkin plans to work with ASW to make this event a reality, the president confirmed in an interview with The Forum. Dobkin said she feels these events are important to “see a face and make a contact” to ease concerns.
Mumin also said his goals center around addressing needs amid the virus, getting creative with solutions.
“COVID-19 has required Obaid and I to think of new ways to reach our goals, virtually,” he said. “We are in an unprecedented time, so we have to think of unprecedented, but effective solutions.”
Newly-elected Clubs President Dwain Worrell was also sworn in, almost two weeks after winning the special election for the position. Worrell also cited ways the virus has affected his training and how he will move forward — but said the support he has gotten has made the transition easier.
“Learning how to lead out the monthly Monday clubs meetings, the admitted students day, and clubs leadership trainings, [they] have all been compromised due to the Covid19 virus,” he said in an email.
After the swearing in of the student board, Chief Justice Chris Ooley then swore in the newly-elected senators for the 2020-21 school year: Tristan Palmer (senator for the School of Arts and Sciences), Eva Anderson (sophomore senator) and Brynlie Green (sophomore senator).
There are still several positions open on Senate, which President Barakzai said he hopes to fill in the coming months. Once the positions are filled, the senators will appoint a speaker of the senate.
Barakzai then presented his candidates to be appointed in the remaining student board: events president, executive creative director and the director of budgeting and accounting.
Barakzai and Mumin both chose Isaac Landau as events president, citing they believe he’s a good candidate that encourages inclusivity across campus. Landau had previously run against Dwain Worell for clubs president during the special election.
Barakzai and Mumin also appointed Marco Stetich as the executive creative director, and Paula Wang as the director of budgeting and accounting.
While the president and vice president can appoint candidates to the positions, the Senate must vote in order to approve. The three elected senators voted to approve all three candidates, officially appointing them to their respective positions.