ASWU executive-elects speak on their hopes for the future, campaign experience

ASWU president-elect Tersa Almaw wants to get students involved with events on campus.

ASWU president-elect Tersa Almaw wants to get students involved with events on campus.

Cambria Pilger | Staff Writer

The results from the recent election resulted in junior Tersa Almaw as president, sophomore Andrews Boateng as executive vice president and sophomore Chelsea Shearer as financial vice president. Each elect had a different experience during the campaign process and looks forward to working in ASWU and developing new relationships within the Whitworth community.

Almaw wants to better unite Whitworthians in order to give them a shared experience as well as to find new ways to get more students involved in events, she said. She also hopes to spark conversation about the issues in our community.

Boateng desires to help Whitworth students become more service-oriented both on and off campus. He plans to make ASWU more inclusive through brainstorming how to incorporate different groups that do not feel like their voices are being heard currently.

One of Shearer’s goals is to make the responsibilities of the financial vice president role more known and present at Whitworth. She plans to meet with club leaders frequently and to create a comfortable environment for students to talk with her. Along with clubs and club leaders, Shearer will continue meeting new people on campus, she said.

EVP-elect Andrews Boateng hopes to make ASWU a more transparent organization.

EVP-elect Andrews Boateng hopes to make ASWU a more transparent organization.

“I think next year there’s going to be a lot of changes,” Shearer said. “I think there were so many more people voting in this election because they want change, and so I think that Teri and Andrews and I are going to implement a lot more of what students have been asking for.”

As president, Almaw also hopes to integrate intersectionality because it is very important to her, she said. Since she is taking fewer credits next semester than she usually does, Almaw said she will have more time to serve and give all that she can to the community.

One of Boateng’s goals is to make ASWU more transparent. He will work alongside Shearer to communicate with students about how their money is being used.

During the campaign, balancing work, school, campaigning and time to be alone was a challenge, Almaw said. Meeting up with new people, encouraging them to vote, and being surrounded by people for long periods was overwhelming at times, she said. It was exciting to meet new people, however, and taught her to push herself out of her comfort zone and genuinely talk to people. She learned to interact with people more and reach out to others, she said.

FVP-elect Chelsea Shearer wants to create a comfortable environment for club leaders.

FVP-elect Chelsea Shearer wants to create a comfortable environment for club leaders.

Boateng said he is glad that students were able to experience democracy on campus during the election and to get involved. The campaign period was not long enough to fully campaign, he said. He wishes there had been more time to meet one-on-one with students and to hear everyone’s voices.

“I want us to put whatever happened in the election behind us and work towards a common goal of making this campus a better place,” Boateng said. “My message is we can coexist despite our differences. I want us to be united no matter what you believe; no matter who you are.”

For Shearer, the campaign gave her time to relate to others on campus, she said. It was challenging to manage time, especially when balancing door-to-door visits, campaigning, and talking to others.

The elections were a stressful time for all the candidates, Shearer said. It was a lot of work but very fun. The candidates each grew together and realized that students want change and new ideas, she said.

Contact Cambria Pilger at

ASWU Election results announced

The results of the 2017 ASWU Election have been announced.

Man Ho Lee | Staff Writer

Junior Jeff DeBray won the presidency. DeBray is the current financial vice president, majoring in political science and economics. DeBray won over junior Hannah LeRoy who ran as a write-in candidate.

Junior Dylan Reyes won the election for the seat of executive vice president. Reyes is majoring in theology and  ran unopposed for this position.

Freshman Shaun Fisher won the seat for financial vice president. Fisher is the current Baldwin Jenkins senator, majoring in mathematical economics and mathematics. Fisher won over Andy Weeks for this position.

ASWU executive candidates debate before election

Abebaye Asrat Bekele | Staff Writer 

The ASWU executive debates were held on April 10. Presidential candidates Jeff DeBray and  Hannah Le Roy, executive vice president candidate Dylan Reyes and financial vice president candidates Andrew Weeks and Shaun Fisher were asked questions on various issues from the audience, the organizers of the debate and each other.    

Making it [ASWU] more connected with residence life so it can have a more visible presence is one solution to get more people involved, DeBray said.

“I would hope that ASWU can come to those Prime Times and engage with the students first and it also encourages them to be involved in leadership,” DeBray said.

DeBray is a junior majoring in political science and economics, and the current ASWU financial vice president.

“[Leadership is] a proactive and reactive position of empowering students learning what they want to see and then moving forward from there,” DeBray said.

As a president, I would patch the disconnect with students by getting to know people and by being more approachable, Le Roy said.  

“A good way to amend that [disconnect with ASWU president] is to go to Prime Times got to BJ’S primetime get to know them and be part of their community,” Le Roy said.

Le Roy is a Junior majoring in sociology with an emphasis in social services.

Being able to hear what other people have to say is really valuable, Le Roy said.

“I have a passion for people that is one of the big reasons why I decided to run for executive Vice president,” said executive vice president candidate Dylan Reyes.

Reyes is a junior majoring in theology.

As a leader, my role is to bridge the gap between the leadership and what people want, Reyes said.   

“I am running because as an executive member I think I can be a very effective leader on the ASWU team and allow our student government to be a lot more transparent to the student body,” Weeks said.

Weeks is a freshman majoring in arts administration. He is also the current senator of Duvall.

Fisher is a sophomore and he is the current senator of Baldwin Jenkins.

Financial vice president candidate Shaun Fisher was encouraged to apply by his friends and being a Mathematical Economics and Mathematics dual major has helped him learn about finances, Fisher said

“Not only is it all about money in the books but I think the FVP position is a very strong interpersonal position where you go out and make this connection with the student body and helping students connect them with other students that have similar passions as them,” Fisher said.

Elections will be held April 11. Students can vote from home or their dorm rooms by going to the website, Whitworth and then by logging in using their regular username and password or students can vote in the HUB by using the iPads provided for this purpose.

Contact Abebaye Asrat Bekele at


ASWU general election candidates announced

Abebaye Asrat Bekele | Staff Writer

The results of the 2017 spring ASWU primary election have been announced.

Junior Jeff DeBray and junior Hannah Le Roy will be on the ballot for president for the general election.

DeBray is majoring in political science and economics, and the current ASWU financial vice president.

Le Roy is a Junior majoring in sociology with an emphasis in social services.

The only student on the ballot for executive vice president is junior Dylan Reyes. Reyes is majoring in theology.   

Freshman Andrew Weeks and sophomore Shaun Fisher are on the ballot for financial vice president.

Weeks is an arts administration major. He is also the current senator of Duvall.

Fisher is a mathematical economics and mathematics major.

The general election will be held next Tuesday, April 11 from 8am-8pm.

“Students can vote online finding a link that Dayna sent out in a mass email or you can just go to Whitworth and then you just log in using your regular password and username,”  Abigail Hochberger senator of Stewart/Village said.

Candidates will go to prime times on Sunday, April 9 and a debate will be held in the Lied square Monday, April 10 at 6 Pm, Hochberger said.

Contact Abebaye Asrat Bekele at

Student Elections Committee prepares for 2017 ASWU Elections

Austriauna Brooks | Staff Writer

With general elections coming up April 11, each candidate prepares for their campaign with posters and reminding people to vote for them. Behind the scenes the Student Elections Committee (SEC) is a committee that enforces regulation for candidates to follow during their campaigns.

The SEC is a student run committee composed of three Associated Students of Whitworth University (ASWU) assembly members, four students from the student body and the chair who is the executive vice president, Norma Heredia. The SEC is open to anyone except for students who plan to campaign for any ASWU executive or assembly office.

The job of the SEC is to conduct all elections. Conducting these elections includes establishing the elections timeline, developing campaign guidelines, approving campaign materials and counting votes according to the ASWU website under the bylaws. They are also responsible for handling issues or violations that may occur during campaigns.

Senior Breanna Lyons is the president of ASWU. Before she was president, she was a dorm senator and a member of the SEC until she started campaigning for a special events coordinator. Seeing how hard the candidates work during the campaigning process brought a new respect for the candidates and their dedication in pursuing their position, Lyons said.

Students may not be involved with student government in general because of time constraints and being involved with other communities, Lyons said. She believes students should join the SEC if they want to help with the election process instead of running for a position.

“The SEC could be seen as a way to be a part of a piece of student government without having to commit to a full year,” Lyons said. “They are only called soon during the two election cycles, but play a very important part in monitoring the integrity and fairness of the elections.”

Sophomore Maddie Gregory is the senator of Ballard and heard about the SEC. Being a biology and pre-med major is time-consuming but she joined the SEC because she loves being involved by giving back to the student body and ASWU, she said.

Gregory’s favorite part about being a member of the SEC is seeing candidates become senators for the next year. When it all comes down to it, senators informing the students about the candidates is an important factor for the students to know who they want to represent their voice, Gregory said.

"We really rely more on the [student] interactions through the senators,” she said. “People tend to respond better when you talk to them in person."

Junior Norma Heredia, who is also the ASWU executive vice president, thinks being in the public sphere and allowing student voices to be heard increases growth and opens up an individual. Heredia and her colleagues encourage senators to seek out members of the Whitworth student body as possible candidates for upcoming elections.

"It takes our leadership members to encourage the hidden talents that's out there," Heredia said. “It's a group effort. If the team is excited, the school will see that."

The SEC is a preview of what it takes to be a part of student government and being on the SEC is not easy because it makes individuals make decisions in a timely manner, Heredia said.

“It forces you to be on your toes 24/7,” she said. “This job really makes you think about rules and policies to implement before they happen. By putting ourselves in a position like this, it is allowing each and every one of us to use a skill that can always be expanded upon.”

If you have interests in joining the SEC, contact Norma Heredia at

Contact Austriauna Brooks at

Young voters seek the end of the Electoral College

With the 2016 Presidential election now closed, many Americans had their eyes on news stations that covered the electoral votes as they came in. While the Electoral College system has been used to elect presidents since 1787, many people, especially young voters, have expressed dissatisfaction with the American system of voting.

A 2013 Gallup study found that 69 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 would “vote ‘for’ doing away with the Electoral College.” Many college students who voted for the first time in the 2016 election, fall into that category.

“I feel like it’s kind of ridiculous because they push you and push you to vote, but then in the end, your vote doesn’t really matter,” Whitworth sophomore Wynter Nelson said before the election.

Nelson intended to vote in the 2016 election, but said she felt that young voters’ views of the Electoral College could cause them to not vote.

“People should feel like their voice is being heard and I feel like people aren’t feeling that,” Nelson said.

Nelson and other millennials are not alone in that thinking. Kathy Lee, professor of political science, called the Electoral College an “antiquated mechanism.”

“If we think about it, political equality lies at the core of democratic theory,” Lee said. “And the Electoral College makes certain states potentially have far more weight than other states.”

While their numbers may not be as dramatic, other age groups have expressed frustration with the Electoral College and would like to see its removal from the election process. The same Gallup poll shows that approximately 60 percent of voters ages 65 and older would favor abolishing the Electoral College.

The trend is not new. A 1948 Gallup poll showed 56 percent of American voters disapproving of the Electoral College.

However, not all young voters are displeased with the current system of voting. Katlin Bowers, president of Whitworth’s political science club, finds the Electoral College’s legitimacy in its formation in the U.S. Constitution.

“I approve of it,” Bowers said. “It’s written in the second article of the Constitution. So I respect that. I also believe we are not a direct democracy. We are a representative democracy and that is a huge player in it.”

While some students may appreciate the Electoral College, most do not. Whitworth senior Jenna Morris has already voted in her home state, but does not feel represented.

“I’m from Idaho,” Morris said. “If I don’t vote Republican, my vote’s not going to count. They’re always going to be red.”

Whitworth senior Evan Jaeger said the Electoral College does not adequately represent a large portion of voters in America. In a winner-take-all-system, most of the people who vote do not get represented, he said.

“You can have somebody get a plurality, so 51 percent of the votes and they still represent all 100 percent of the people even though, theoretically, 49 percent of the population didn’t want to support them,” Jaeger said. “It doesn’t represent people as much as a direct vote would.”

The Gallup study does not address the reason for the disdain among young voters.

However, Lee argued that the Electoral College contradicts many of the ideals young voters have learned as students.

“When young people think about small ‘d’ democracy, I would think one of the first places they go is voting,” Lee said. “Majority rule and ‘people are sovereign’ and all of these statements that they have probably talked about in someone’s class. And the Electoral College seems to fly in the face of those statements.”

Unfortunately for those voters, the Electoral College is not likely to end in the near future. Eliminating the Electoral College would require a Constitutional amendment.

“Congress is so gridlocked right now, they would need bipartisan support to pass something that dramatic,” Bowers said. “And then they would have to write a whole new plan and a new process of voting. That takes a very long time. Also to get two-thirds of the Senate to change the amendment? Insane.”

A Constitutional amendment would not only require a two-thirds majority in Congress, but a three-fourths majority among the states as well.

It would be interesting to see how people would react to a presidential election where neither candidate reached the necessary 270 electoral votes and the election went to the House of Representatives, Lee said.

If the person who Congress voted in did not win the popular vote, we might see a revolt, she said.

The 2000 election resulted in a similar situation where the winner, George Bush, won the electoral vote, but not the popular vote. Al Gore won more than 500,000 more votes than Bush, but still lost the election.

Nelson said that as young adults get older they pay more attention to the media and politics. Young adults were especially paying attention to this election because it is so controversial and unlike past elections, Nelson said.

Regardless of her views of the Electoral College, Nelson planned to vote.

“I feel like I am a citizen,” she said. “It’s my right. It’s my duty to vote and be a part of the decisions made for our nation and I think that’s really important.”

Peter Houston-Hencken

News Editor

Church and state: separating faith and politics when casting a vote

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

In the current presidential election, a tension exists between the role of faith and politics. Both candidates align themselves with Christianity, with Donald Trump identifying himself as Presbyterian and Hillary Clinton as Methodist, which could prove challenging for Christian voters.

Half of Americans say that it is important to have a president who shares their religious beliefs and 40 percent say there has been too little religious discussion by political leaders, according to the Pew Research Center.

Being a private institution founded by the Presbyterian church, Whitworth is at the forefront of the intersection of faith and politics, meaning that everyone in the community, especially faculty, must think about the intersection of faith and politics and what it means for them.

“Both religion and politics teach and guide a society for what they should and shouldn’t do,” sociology professor Stacy Keogh George said.

From a sociological perspective, religion is a social institution that is meant to guide morality and give people a foundation to invest in the society that they are embedded in, whereas politics is a social institution that is supposed to govern and help guide morality in a community and create laws that say what people can and cannot do, Keogh George said. They might look like different institutions but they have similar functions.

In a 2015 open letter to Donald Trump, the then—stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Reverend Gradye Parsonsstated that he, “would like to share with you [Donald Trump]  the Presbyterian policies on refugees and immigrants...I hope you will find this helpful. I especially hope it will inform you on your policies going forward.”

Political science professor Kathryn Lee said she thinks the Gospel often reflects a view of valuing human dignity and wanting to do good in the world.

One way political and religious identities may interact is through voting habits. According to the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of adults say they are less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who does not believe in God.

Finding the best policies that will help people, while using religion as a lens and social science research to support it, is one way that Lee’s faith and political identity interact, Lee said.

“Religion is a lens—not the lens—a lens that I use for me to think: how can human beings flourish, where can we help people?” Lee said. “When should that be done by the private sector and when should that be done by the government?”

Although there is a ‘separation of church and state’ in the United States, some Whitworth professors question whether an individual can separate their political and religious beliefs.

“I think anybody that is a true believer in whatever religion they’re a part of [separating religious and political ideas is] difficult to do because if that is really your guiding faith in life, that’s going to also guide how you vote,” Keogh George said.

Religion and faith are often grouped together, but political science professor Patrick Van Inwegen presented a caveat to the separation of faith and politics argument: that you can separate religion from politics, but not faith from politics.

“If we’re talking about religion in that sense, then I think people can and often do separate them,” Van Inwegen said. “If we’re talking more about faith and we’re talking more about the individual, I think it’s less likely those things get separated.”

Faith is something personal to every individual, whereas religion is something people share. Even though people often do try to separate those things, they should evaluate things based on their values, Van Inwegen said.

Christians make up a large population at Whitworth, and whether they can or should separate their beliefs, they should not think of voting as a personal decision.

“Voting is not just for me and my interests,” Lee said. “Voting is a mechanism by which we think of ‘We the People.’”

People may think of voting as a question of “What is the best choice for me?” Or they may think of voting as a collective choice, “What is best for the world?”

“When you ask me how should Christians vote, I don’t know how they should vote but I know that I think that they should have the common good in mind when they vote,” Lee said.

“There’s a strong mandate in the Bible,” history professor Dale Soden said. “To love the Lord your God with all your heart and love thy neighbor.”

Regardless of the difficulties regarding your faith and political beliefs when voting, it is something that must be done. The challenge of voting as a Christian, Soden said, is to discern which policies promote loving God and loving your neighbor.

Contact Emily Goodell at


A first-timer’s guide to elections

Karlin Andersen


Young voters have been a crucial demographic to campaigns in recent elections to rally support for candidates. However, with some voters experiencing elections for the first time, they can feel unprepared to take on the voting process and navigate their political views.

Voters between the ages of 18 and 24 were a “decisive” factor in the 2012 presidential election, with their votes accounting for 19 percent of all votes cast, according to a 2012 Politico article.

Young voters can also be first-time voters who need to register, consider their political views and vote, all while possibly living away from home for the first time. Student voters introduce another challenge by remaining a resident of one state while working or studying in another.

“I live in Nevada so I’m not sure if I can vote here, or how that’s going to work,” saidfirst-time voter sophomore Melissa Voss.

Voss registered to vote online and received a confirmation card but said she feels unprepared and concerned about how she will vote from outside her home state.

“Being an out-of-state voter and having no clue on how to go about doing that, or even if I can vote from Washington, it would be nice to know,” Voss said.

Political Science Club Vice President Luke Atherton said that as an Oregon resident he registered for an absentee ballot to be sent to his house in Spokane. He can then mail it to an Oregon voting office or return it in person over fall break. As Oregon is one of three states that casts ballots by mail, Atherton recognized the out-of-state voting process in all states may not be as simple as in Oregon. However, he said registering to vote was not difficult.

“It’s super nice that Oregon offers that online registration,” Atherton said. “It makes it very simple, it’s just your name, your driver’s license, [or] your social security number and you’re set.”

While Voss said she will vote, she is apprehensive about voting for a president based on the available candidates.

“It would be nice to be able to know this is what I believe, this is what this candidate believes, this is what this candidate believes, without it being so shrouded in, ‘Oh they’re not super great people,’” Voss said.

The fact that you might get to vote and you choose not to is crazy to me.
— Luke Atherton, vice-president of political science club

Grappling with a wide variety of issues and candidates’ stances can be difficult for individuals who have never participated in the political process. In 2008 only 79 percent of first-time-voters said they were certain in their choice of vote, according to a Pew Research survey.

Students in political science professor Kathy Lee’s courses expressed a lack of policy knowledge in the beginning of class. Lee said students themselves understand they lack the necessary knowledge to make an educated decision.

“I have a feeling that if you were walking around the UW campus you would know there’s a presidential election going on,” Lee said. “You walk around this campus, I’m not sure you would know.”

Lee encouraged students to take the survey which poses questions on a wide range of policies and then gives four political parties and candidates those answers best align with those of the student. Lee said her students were surprised with the results after taking the survey and hoped it would push them to look further into the debated policies.

Atherton said resources that allow voters to critically examine their beliefs can help them make a more informed decision.

“It’s very easy, especially in this country, to fall into partisan lines and say ‘I’m a Democrat or I’m a Republican so I vote this way’ and kind of lose touch of what that actually means,” Atherton said. “What is a conservative standing on fiscal policy? What’s going on? What do I believe, which one do I align with?”

Atherton encouraged student voters to reach outside their comfort zone to learn about each policy and candidate before they cast their vote.

“Voting in general is really important,” Atherton said. “The fact that you might get to vote and you choose not to is crazy to me. Vote and do it in an informed way, it really doesn’t take much time.”

Lee agreed and stressed the future ramifications of voting students may not consider when casting their ballot. 

“I think this is an extremely important election and not to be taken lightly,” Lee said. “It may feel removed from students, but their future livelihood whether that be economic livelihood or security, I think this is all kind of out there in this election. I think they have to take it seriously.”

NOTE: In the Whitworthian's print issue, Kathy Lee's indirect quote reads "Lee said she feels students are unprepared to vote in the upcoming election..." It should read "Lee said students themselves understand they lack the necessary knowledge to make an educated decision." This change is reflected in the online version of the story.

Contact Karlin Andersen at