ASUW Elections

Ballot Measures

WSA Initiative

ASUW Constitutional Referenda (5)

 

(Each ballot measure will have at least one PRO-statement written in favor of the measure and at least one CON-statement written opposed to the measure. These can be found listed below each ballot measure).

 

Initiative 1 (Washington Student Association)

Question: Do you support a $4 voluntary donation option on MyUW to support the Washington Student Association (WSA), a Registered Student Organization, which advocates for lowering tuition, more financial aid, and implementing the accessibility and quality of higher education?

PRO: The Washington Student Association Chapter at the University of Washington is an RSO committed towards advocating on behalf of students and supporting student activism. In addition to financially supporting the ASUW Office of Government Relations, we support the Washington Student Association alongside every other public four year university in the state. Your voluntary donation of $4 will go towards supporting ASUW events such as the Legislative Reception, Huskies on the Hill, and Spark. It will also go towards our state wide lobbying efforts in a multi-university coalition that advocates for over 130,000 undergraduate and graduate students. This year, we successfully lobbied for 11 bills that were signed into law, including a fully funded State Need Grant, a student loan bill of rights, protected financial aid for undocumented students, and open educational resources! Your support of the WSA-UW will create a more affordable and inclusive path to higher education.

PRO: Board Bill 4.09 should be approved. First, since the WSA STAR program fundraising is optional, there is functionally no downside to passing the resolution. The WSA Chair is already a position that was established and filled this year. The UW and especially organizations like the Office of Government Relations and various Board members have worked very hard towards getting the signatures necessary for WSA to join the STAR system. Because those people worked so hard to make that happen, it is only fair to reward their hard work by passing a bill without downside. If people do not want to fund them, they do not have to. But students would also be given the opportunity to fund an organization that will advocate for lowering tuition, increasing financial aid, and increasing accessibility and quality of college education at UW. It seems like a no-risk-maybe-win situation and there is not an argument against that.

CON: While the WSA was founded in order to help the lobbying efforts of the ASUW Office of Government Relations (OGR), these days OGR has to spend an extraordinary amount of time working on maintaining its membership in the WSA by getting enough signature for this ballot question, time that would be better spent performing the lobbying work to advance student interests.  The WSA legally cannot lobby for student interests and exists solely for coordination. This coordination would still be possible even if UW was no longer a member of WSA. OGR can coordinate with WSA as separate entities or even form a partnership. Approving this ballot measure will simply force OGR to spend more time in the future maintaining WSA membership, reducing the effectiveness of their lobbying.  We cannot continue to kick the can down the road. OGR deserves the ability to focus on advocating student interests. Vote no.

CON: The ASUW is already functioning well without being included within the WSA. We have a director of our chapter already who can relay any necessary information if any should come up. But perhaps more importantly is that the ASUW has spent many years without being a part of the WSA and there have not been any material repercussions. Furthermore, students are already struggling with student fees and tuition, and while the fee for WSA is optional on the STAR system, many students would feel obligated to contribute when they are already financially strapped. Furthermore, for such an inconsequential addition to the ASUW, students would not want to take the time to read or skip through the payment option.

 

Referendum 1 (ASUW Constitution)

Question: Do you support an amendment to the ASUW Constitution which makes the Legislative Steering Committee, a committee which drafts the ASUW Lobbying Agenda each year, more representative of all UW students by including two representatives appointed by the Joint Commission Committee?

PRO: “You should vote in favor of this measure, because it would ensure that ASUW’s legislative efforts at the state and local level represent all UW students. One of our greatest legislative victories this year was lobbying the Washington state legislature in support of passing HB 1488, which extended the College Bound Scholarship to DACA recipients. This was only possible due to input and support from JCC. But more needs to be done. For example, with the passage of HR 620 in the US House of Representatives (weakens the federal ADA), there is a clear need for states to take the lead in supporting students with disabilities. Bringing JCC, which includes representatives from these and other communities, into the Lobbying Agenda process earlier and more formally will allow us to take the lead on this and other issues that affect students. Vote yes on this ballot question.”

PRO: Board Bill 4.21 should be approved. Given that the ASUW has not had robust constitutional amendments in some time, the Judicial Committee, which oversaw the changes listed in this bill, are acting in the best interest of the UW student body. The amendments are technical in nature, and are well researched and amended in great detail. The changes increase democratic access points for students, including a more equitable distribution of seats for the Legislative Steering Committee. They also update the constitution to trim the fat that is no longer relevant, for instance, removing the ASUW Governance Committee. The bill also includes practical updates like moving the election period to the fourth week of Spring quarter to resolve conflicts and hassle. Lastly, there are aesthetic changes to who certain bills and actions are channeled through, which seems to streamline the processes of ASUW.

CON: This Ballot Measure would give too much power to the student senate because five members would be appointed by them. Four would be directly appointed, and the fifth would be a senate liaison to the Board. With only eleven voting members, five seems like too high because they all functionally represent one interest group. Furthermore, the legislation is unclear about who on Board would be “most proximate” to overseeing the Office of Government Relations. It seems strangely underdeveloped that such an otherwise specific amendment would be so critically unspecific in this regard. Lastly, the Ballot Measure requires more specification about how the four open selection members should be chosen, especially with regards to equity. If we are editing who can vote, there should be some explicit focus on inclusion.

 

Referendum 2 (ASUW Constitution)

Question: Do you support an amendment to the ASUW Constitution which makes sections regarding ASUW elections, MEChA, the ASUW Senate’s ability to make Constitutional amendments, Legislative Steering Committee, and ASUW Finance and Budget and Personnel Committee more easily understood and clear?

PRO: Board Bill 4.21 should be approved. Given that the ASUW has not had robust constitutional amendments in some time, the Judicial Committee, which oversaw the changes listed in this bill, are acting in the best interest of the UW student body. The amendments are technical in nature, and are well researched and amended in great detail. The changes increase democratic access points for students, including a more equitable distribution of seats for the Legislative Steering Committee. They also update the constitution to trim the fat that is no longer relevant, for instance, removing the ASUW Governance Committee. The bill also includes practical updates like moving the election period to the fourth week of Spring quarter to resolve conflicts and hassle. Lastly, there are aesthetic changes to who certain bills and actions are channeled through, which seems to streamline the processes of ASUW.

CON: “Vote no on this amendment. It will reduce clarity, not enhance it. For context, ASUW Senate can put forward constitutional amendments like the one you see right now, for voter approval. It must consult with the Judicial Committee before doing so, but those recommendations are not binding. This amendment removes the language “but the Student Senate may consider and pass amendment proposals while such [Judicial] review is pending. The recommendations of the Judicial Committee are advisory only, and the Student Senate may accept or reject them in whole or in part”. This language explains what happens if senate chooses to disregard the recommendation of the Judicial committee. If it is removed, the clause will be less clear. The ballot is your opportunity to have a say in the Association’s functions. It is important that the mechanisms for putting questions on it are easy to understand. Vote no.”

 

Referendum 3 (ASUW Constitution)

Question: Do you support an amendment to the ASUW Constitution which disbands the ASUW Governance Committee, a committee that has been made obsolete by the creation of the Office of Volunteer Opportunities?

PRO: Board Bill 4.21 should be approved. Given that the ASUW has not had robust constitutional amendments in some time, the Judicial Committee, which oversaw the changes listed in this bill, are acting in the best interest of the UW student body. The amendments are technical in nature, and are well researched and amended in great detail. The changes increase democratic access points for students, including a more equitable distribution of seats for the Legislative Steering Committee. They also update the constitution to trim the fat that is no longer relevant, for instance, removing the ASUW Governance Committee. The bill also includes practical updates like moving the election period to the fourth week of Spring quarter to resolve conflicts and hassle. Lastly, there are aesthetic changes to who certain bills and actions are channeled through, which seems to streamline the processes of ASUW.

CON: This Ballot Question seems aimed at cutting the extraneous parts of ASUW, which in theory seems helpful. But this Ballot Measure is also emblematic of its own criticism. The Governance Committee has not been useful in a long time, but its existence does not do anything bad for the ASUW. Why should something like that be cut, when it has no impact right now? If ever it was decided that the ASUW Governance Committee were necessary for some project, it should be readily available to be put back into use. If it is officially removed, and then its previous function deemed necessary to return, there would be a long process to recreate the committee which would almost certainly be more cumbersome than having the committee on the books while functionally doing nothing.

 

Referendum 4 (ASUW Constitution)

Question:Do you support an amendment to the ASUW Constitution which moves future ASUW Elections to the fourth week of Spring Quarter in order to improve ASUW operations?

PRO: Board Bill 4.21 should be approved. Given that the ASUW has not had robust constitutional amendments in some time, the Judicial Committee, which oversaw the changes listed in this bill, are acting in the best interest of the UW student body. The amendments are technical in nature, and are well researched and amended in great detail. The changes increase democratic access points for students, including a more equitable distribution of seats for the Legislative Steering Committee. They also update the constitution to trim the fat that is no longer relevant, for instance, removing the ASUW Governance Committee. The bill also includes practical updates like moving the election period to the fourth week of Spring quarter to resolve conflicts and hassle. Lastly, there are aesthetic changes to who certain bills and actions are channeled through, which seems to streamline the processes of ASUW.

CON: Moving the elections three weeks earlier will allow less time for candidates to prepare for their campaigns and less time for them to decide whether or not to run.  This forces campaign decisions and planning to start at an earlier point in the year. These days, it is often the case that candidates would have to start planning early Winter Quarter, perhaps even Late Fall.  This, unfortunately, causes many students, who perhaps are wavering on their decision to run, to start too late in the process, disenfranchising those students. Moving the elections three weeks earlier would only exacerbate that problem.  The ASUW has always strived to be more inclusive for students, but this earlier election date runs contrary to that goal. Moving elections three weeks earlier will make running for office less inclusive and will force candidates to begin planning even earlier.  Vote no.

 

Referendum 5 (ASUW Constitution)

Question:Do you support an amendment to the ASUW Constitution which ensures and accurately reflects the operations of the Elections Administration Committee and Personnel Committee?”

PRO: Board Bill 4.21 should be approved. Given that the ASUW has not had robust constitutional amendments in some time, the Judicial Committee, which oversaw the changes listed in this bill, are acting in the best interest of the UW student body. The amendments are technical in nature, and are well researched and amended in great detail. The changes increase democratic access points for students, including a more equitable distribution of seats for the Legislative Steering Committee. They also update the constitution to trim the fat that is no longer relevant, for instance, removing the ASUW Governance Committee. The bill also includes practical updates like moving the election period to the fourth week of Spring quarter to resolve conflicts and hassle. Lastly, there are aesthetic changes to who certain bills and actions are channeled through, which seems to streamline the processes of ASUW.

CON: There is already unwarranted criticism of actions taken by the Elections Administration Committee, and this Ballot Measure would only open up doors to more criticism. The individuals who lodge criticism at the Elections Administration Committee already have an understanding of the ways the organization works, but making them more privy to details only adds fuel to the question of legitimacy. Furthermore, the question of moving ASUW elections forward to the fourth week of Spring quarter is detrimental because it is already difficult to plan a campaign with the current timing of elections, and moving it forward would put undue strain on candidates, which would just create more barriers to access.

 

Definitions:

  • A constitutional amendment: a ballot measure that changes the ASUW Constitution
  • An initiative: a ballot measure that is placed on the ballot by means of a petition of ASUW members
      • 5% of ASUW members
  • A referendum: a ballot measure that is placed on the ballot by vote of the ASUW Board
      • Two/thirds vote of the Board

Initiative & Constitutional Amendment Requirements

  • All initiatives and constitutional amendments must be certified by the Office of the Registrar to have signatures equal to five percent of the ASUW membership in favor of placing the initiative on the ballot
  • The wording of initiatives amending the constitution must be approved by ASUW Judicial Committee and by the Board of Directors before the collection of signatures
  • initiatives amending the constitution can only be placed on the General Election ballot after a majority vote by the Board of Directors

Deadlines

  • ASUW Constitutional Amendment: Submit petition to the ASUW Judicial Committee by 5:00pm on April 13th, 2018
  • Ballot Initiatives: Petitions must be submitted to the ASUW Judicial Committee by 5:00pm on April 13th, 2018