One presidential candidate in student elections

Photo Illustration by Randy Hatfield

By Gregor Elgee

Winston Lee didn’t know he was the only candidate running for student body president until the end of last week. Having written a two-page platform describing his plan for next year, the realization he would have no one to compete with was a shock.

The ASG Program Support Supervisor, Recognized Student Organizations Officer and the current ASG president said that advertising and the recent petition could be potential reasons for the low turnout — 3 Club Affairs Officer candidates and one Presidential candidate.   

“We tried to be thorough about the advertisement.” said Micaela Smith, the Program Support Supervisor of the ASG. “Especially when we had the first round of applications go out, we got individual emails sent out to everyone as well as an announcement that was posted on canvas…If anything, there was more online advertising than there was last year.”

Andrew Rwamashongye, a first-year Shoreline student who used to be a member of Western Washington University’s student government, said that he did not see the online advertising. Having applied for several hired positions, including Vice President, Rwamashongye said that posters in the library were the only reason he knew when and how to apply.

“From having done Hall Council at Western, our advisor used to say that (posters are) the most passive way to tell someone something because not everybody reads them…If I hadn’t had more convenience or time, I might not have noticed.”

In addition Rwamashongye said that he found the reasoning behind the 50-signature petition to be vague.

“I still don’t understand it…Is this qualification for people pre-voting for you? What is the purpose?…Ok, so you got the signatures but you guys still have to review my application and all this other stuff.”

Lee, in comparison, said that the petition has made the elections similar to Public Office.

“This is an election,” said Lee. “If you want to run for public office, if you are not a party nominee, you need to get citizen nominations. This shows that you are ready to run for office… We can discuss the numbers it required for students to get the nomination. Fifty may be too much. Somebody may (also) say ‘Oh it’s not enough! It’s too easy! You can get it done in a day! It’s all debatable…”

Current ASG president Ashley Cowan, who will be facilitating the open forum discussion for candidates on April 27, said she also thought the advertising was more substantial than last year but said the 50-signature petition may have discouraged students from wanting to run for the President or Club Affairs Officer positions.

“I’m sure it did (discourage students) but the intent was to make sure that those who ran were very interested in the job,” Cowan said. “Part of what the job entails is reaching out to students.”

The Public Information Office (PIO), which sends out daily emails to students, sent out an announcement on March 15 (finals week) as well as the first week of spring quarter advertising the ASG openings. In addition, the E-learning center posted an announcement which stayed on Canvas March 15-18 stating that the ASG was looking to fill elected and hired positions.