I was thrilled to find out last Friday night I was elected to be the next WSA President with Aidan Martinez for WSA Vice-President. It’s a great Wescam pickup line.
But actually, Aidan and I have a lot of big ideas to “Refresh Wesleyan” by making big structural changes to the WSA to give it a new tone, feeling and purpose. To begin the new era of WSA transparency and inclusivity, I’m putting everything on the table. My goal is to make the WSA a:
1. Coalition of engaged campus leaders
2. Platform for organization and action around student issues
3. Venue where minority voices are specifically heard and valued
4. Force on campus issues related to social justice, identity, students rights and activism
5. Nexus of campus conversations and respectful debate
6. Strong voice in Board of Trustee and administrative decisions
7. Body of internal checks and balances and improved institutional memory to keep ourselves accountable
8. Transparent and communicative institution so the student body can keep us accountable
To put these words to action Aidan Martinez ’17 and I have proposed numerous WSA Constitutional Changes, which will be voted on by the WSA this Sunday night and by the student body next week. We have proposed to:
1. Create a bicameral assembly to set checks and balances, allow for varying levels of member commitment, and furthermore include a greater range of student voices on the WSA. The WSA will be made up of the Senate, resembling what the WSA is today, and the House, which will be a coalition of campus leaders from diverse parts of our community.
There will be 35 Senators who are elected by the student body for a year term, serve as a Chair or Member of a Sub-Committee/Working Group, vote on WSA Resolutions, and are eligible to attend Board of Trustee meetings. The purpose of the Senate is to represent the student voice to the Board of Trustees and administration, create, debate and vote on Resolutions, ensure the WSA is initiating and following through on meaningful projects and maintain WSA’s institutional stability and memory.
The purpose of the House is to bring student leaders already working on issues they are passionate about together in one place to collaborate, support each other, debate large campus issues, benefit from the resources of the WSA Committee/Sub-Committee structure, and keep the WSA Senate accountable for its actions. All registered student groups and sports teams are eligible to appoint one representative to be House of Representatives member. SALD Interns, the Dwight Greene Intern, Inter-Greek Council representatives, Senior Class Officers, WSA Office Workers, and Class Council members are eligible to be members of the House of Representatives. A student who would like to be part of the House but is not eligible under these parameters may join after ze attends three WSA Town Hall Meetings. All House members will work on a WSA Sub-Committee/Working Group and attend WSA Town Hall Meetings.
2. Reconfigure the internal committee structure to allow for more collaboration and integration, spread the workload among members and institutionally affirm that minority voices are heard in every decision. WSA Senators and House members will sit on either the Student Life Committee, Academic Affairs Committee or Communications and Outreach Committee. New committees can be created immediately (by members and proposed by any student) as campus issues arise as long as enough WSA members commit to being on the committee.
The Student Life Committee will include (at the least) the sub-committees: Sexual Violence and Title IX Policy, First Generation and Low-Income Student Issues, Environmental Sustainability, Physical and Mental Wellbeing, and Campus Social Life.
The Academic Affairs Committee will send two members to the faculty Educational Policy Committee and work on issues related to libraries, the Career Center, pre-major and major advising, Pre-Registration, course offerings, faculty hires and improving resources for underrepresented students in various academic departments (ex. minorities and women in STEM fields).
The Communications and Outreach Committee will include a Communications Director and other WSA members who reach out to the Middletown community and Wesleyan administrators, alumni, parents, faculty and students. It will be responsible for student group registration, the WSA website, interactions with the WSA Office and SBC, and following up on WSA Resolutions.
3. Reform the SBC so members are elected on a separate ballot from general WSA members allowing students to directly run to be on the SBC. The SBC Chair will be internally elected by the WSA. The SBC will have a guidebook for student group leaders that contains examples of previous decisions and general rules to expect when applying for funding. This guidebook will carry over year-to-year. There will be an online sign up with specific time slots for SBC meetings. Furthermore, there will be an SBC Appeals Board that contains one SBC member and two WSA members.
If you want to be part of this change RUN FOR THE WSA. The WSA email sent out on Wednesday indicated that to run you must:
1. Collect 25 signatures on an election petition. Petitions are available in the WSA Office in Usdan or here. Petitions are due at 12:00pm on Friday April 25 to the Candidates Meeting in Usdan 108.
2. Email a 200 word candidate statement to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 25 at 12:00pm.
3. A mandatory candidates meeting will be held on April 25 at 12:00pm in Usdan 110. If you cannot attend you must send a proxy and notify email@example.com.
4. The election will be held from April 27 – May 1 at wsa.wesleyan.edu/voting.
Cullen is a member of the class of 2016.