IMPORTANT MESSAGE


We are excited to announce that the Viking Union is open Monday-Friday 8am – 5pm.
While no services are available, the Multi-Purpose Room is home to a Student Study Space, students can connect to campus WiFi for streaming classes and ATUS printers are available in the Study Space. There is also comfortable seating throughout the 6th floor. At this time, the building is only open to Students, Staff, and Faculty. Face Coverings and Symptom Attestations are required, and Physical Distancing will be monitored. There is no eating allowed in the building. Greeters will welcome you at the Garden St and High St main entrances. We look forward to seeing you!

The Bookstore offers pickup with prearranged appointments Mon-Fri 9am-1pm. Set up a bookstore appointment

ASWWU Executive Board

Purpose


This website is meant to provide centralized communication and updates related to the Associated Students of Western Washington University (ASWWU) Executive Board’s work and advocacy for demands forwarded by WWU Black Student Organizations on June 19, 2020. The AS Executive Board acknowledges that the ASWWU has historically failed Black students and we, as an organization that supports all students, must do better. We appreciate the many students who have challenged us to do better, asked us to think about our mechanisms for support, and have let us know their disappointment in our communication. No words will adequately capture the historical harm or barriers that the ASWWU has imposed upon Black students, nor will a website ever erase the broken promises from ASWWU leadership to Black student leaders.

This website is a starting place and underscores our ongoing commitment to meeting, and advocating for, the demands of WWU Black Student Organizations. Looking ahead, we need to improve our communication on specific work we’re doing and conceptualize this page as a starting point. We hope you’ll consult this page as a resource, reach out to your elected officials for questions on specific initiatives, and apply for AS jobs, committee appointments, or run for office to help shape our organization.

Context


On June 4, 2020, the Associated Students of Western Washington University (ASWWU) released a statement outlining 14 commitments to address and dismantle systemic anti-Blackness within the organization. On June 19, 2020, WWU Black Student Organizations forwarded an email to ASWWU and Viking Union leadership detailing three demands for the ASWWU and 19 demands for Western Washington University. Upon receipt, ASWWU leadership committed to advocating for all these demands at all levels of university governance with specific attention to promptly and transparently operationalizing the demands for the ASWWU. Many of these demands intersect with various commitments made by the ASWWU on June 4, 2020. On July 11, 2020, WWU Black Student Organizations sent an email to the ASWWU Executive Board and their advisors/colleagues outlining frustration with the lack of communication from the Board about meeting their June 19th demands. On July 30, 2020, WWU Black Student Organizations sent an email to ASWWU and Viking Union personnel, indicating a continued lack of communication and action related to their June 19th demands; they also indicated a failure on the part of Viking Union leadership to meet previously set communication goals.

ASWWU's Work to address demands from WWU Black Student Organizations (BSO)


The following chart consists of updates provided by members of the Executive Board in work they are doing that is aligned with demands from WWU Black Student Organizations for both the ASWWU and WWU. Individual board members who are engaged in the listed work have their last names and positions following each update. Find their contact information and position descriptions on the left column of this page. This information was last updated on April 27, 2021

WWU Black Student Organizations' ASWWU Demand #1: Create a Black student space


  • UPDATE as of March 12, 2021: Alexander stated that he is meeting with Facilities Development and Capital Budget colleagues on space allocation for the BSO.
  • Attending frequent meetings with Viking Union leadership alongside the AS VP for Activities and AS VP for Diversity to prioritize the creation of Black student space within the Viking Union. Should a long-term solution not be immediately feasible, Ballard requests immediate options be identified and presented to the working group/committee. Ballard confirmed with Greg McBride that an architect has been hired to assist with the design of this space (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Kaemingk, AS VP for Activities; Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)
  • As soon as student compensation is finalized, McBride will assemble a subcommittee of the chartered group to look at space design. This committee/working group will be comprised of Black student leaders, professional staff, and ASWWU employees (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Arranging meetings and conversations with Viking Union leadership to solidify a plan of action to respond to Black student space and coalition (Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Kaemingk, AS VP for Activities)
  • Following update session on September 4, 2020, at which a quorum of the Executive Board was not present, Viking Union leadership indicated that construction in the building has been suspended and an architect has been assigned to this project; they are currently exploring the building to identify spaces that could be converted to space for Black students (Ford, AS President)
  • Creating steering committee of Black students to brainstorm and map out how the final space will look (Ford, AS President)


WWU Black Student Organizations' ASWWU Demand #2: Abolish the AS Employee Development Fund [$5000], the lobbying trip to Washington D.C. [$4200] and defund all travel of the AS Executive Board. Invest this money into Black students.


  • April 27, 2021: Introduced abolition of AS Employee Development Fund to AS Finance Council and AS Executive Board (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore; Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs).
  • March 12, 2021: Did not request continued allocation of the $4200 for the Federal Lobby Days Trip and commits to redistributing that funding to the BSO demands, once that account is further developed.
  • $2,000 is being invested into the BSO Coalition from the Diversity Initiative Fund. (Molina, AS VP for )
  • Black Student Coalition Account is in the works.
  • Committed on June 30, 2020 at the Executive Board’s special meeting to reinvest those funds into support for Black students. If the Black Student Coalition is developed as part of the ASWWU, Ballard will advocate for those funds to be directly transferred to the Coalition’s budget. If the Black Student Coalition is developed to function externally of the ASWWU, those funds will return to the AS Reserves to support other student programs/projects on campus. Regardless, Ballard plans to propose action during the 2020-21 academic year for the Federal Lobbying Trip fund to be removed from the AS’ next budget (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Ensuring equitable and accessible recruitment of Black students to AS committees, specifically to AS Finance Council to ensure ethical and representative distribution of funds (Ford, AS President)
  • Exploring use of Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund to support expenses related to resources and space for Black students (Ford, AS President)


WWU Black Student Organizations' ASWWU Demand #3: Immediately create the Black Student Coalition that is led by a council of Black student leaders and Black staff that are compensated


  • April 27, 2021: BSO Coalition Development Specialist positions have been hired and begun their terms (Ford, AS President; Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • March 12, 2021: The BSO work group has developed job position description titled “BSO Coalition Development Specialist.” hired through the Viking Union. (Malik & Ranulfo)
  • BSO Coalition Development Specialist hiring committee, has gone through the hiring process and hired three student employees. (Malik & Ranulfo)
  • Developing plans for the Black Student Coalition to function within the ASWWU or externally; these plans will be presented to the chartered committee (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Frequent meetings with Viking Union leadership (Eric Alexander, Raquel Vigil, and Casey Hayden) to secure dedicated funding for student compensation as part of the Black Student Coalition (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Immediately getting student compensation approved by all University and legal bodies (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)
  • Drafting a charge and charter for a committee/working group that will develop a structure for the Black Student Coalition and plan for implementation of Black student space in the Viking Union. This committee/working group will be comprised of Black student leaders, professional staff, and ASWWU employees. Everyone will be compensated for their time (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Meeting with SJE Committee to talk about funding for Black Student Coalition (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Reached out to UW VP for Diversity to chat about how their coalitions operate (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Exploring options for compensation of students who serve on the Black student coalition; initial options include the use of stipends, contracted compensation, and employment (Ford, AS President)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #1: Annual School-wide recognition and celebration of Black History Month, MLK Day, and Juneteenth


  • March 12, 2021: Western Intersectional Lobby Day Legislative Agenda included statewide recognition of Juneteenth.
  • MLK Advisory Team was tasked with Virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Event. The University has put money forth to bring guest keynote speaker Ijeoma Oluo. In partnership with WWC, BTC, and NWIC. (Ford, AS President; Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • The ASWWU spotlighting Black History Month.
  • Starting conversation about Juneteenth celebration.
  • Working with Dr. Melynda Huskey, demanding increased and dedicated financial support for programs related to Black History Month, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Juneteenth (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Working with Huskey to request that Black speakers, artists, and performers be brought to campus regularly to celebrate these important holidays (Brock, AS VP for Student Services)
  • Exploring the Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund as a resource avenue to bring Black speakers and performers to campus for Black History Month, MLK Day, and Juneteenth (Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #3: Re-Evaluate each major application campus-wide


  • April 27, 2021: Continued negotiations with college deans to re-evaluate major applications and GPA entry requirements (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • March 12, 2021: Lobbied through the Washington Student Association to remove standardized testing from university application processes. (Not major applications but maybe still applicable) 
  • Lobbied for the removal of the EdTPA, a biased exam that hinders eligible BIPOC student teacher candidates from receiving their teaching certificate. 
  • Corresponding with each Dean about their major applications that have a GPA requirement and its inherent anti-Blackness. Currently discussing alternatives (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Wrote on July 28, 2020 to WWU’s executive leadership, calling for an indefinite suspension on the use of GPA and SAT/ACT scores as part of admissions or major applications (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #4: Annual ‘Black Friday’ to be hosted before Thanksgiving Break


  • Requesting from Huskey the implementation of a program from which profits from campus eateries on the designated “Black Friday” contributes directly to Black student organizations (Brock, AS VP for Student Services)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #5: Start-up week for Black Students


  • Requesting that welcome week programs be created for incoming/prospective Black students (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Brock, AS VP for Student Services)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #6: Rename Huxley College, and rename campus buildings to honor important figures in Black history


  • April 27, 2021: Appointed two student representative to WWU Legacy Review Task Force. Working to ensure BIPOC representation on that committee (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore; Lavalais, AS VP for Sustainability; Ford, AS President)
  • Met with Provost Carbajal and emailed Huxley’s Dean to change Huxley College’s name (under discussion). Currently investigating the history behind the names Edens, Higginson, Fairhaven, and Woodring (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)

WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #7: Add Black art pieces, sculptures and famous Black figures in history to line the walls of their respective buildings and departments.


  • April 27, 2021: Supported student senators in initiating this request with the Dean of CFPA (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Discussed how to integrate students sustainably into the process of picking the art on campus and possibly hosting a Black student art search to showcase Black student art within the new dorm building with Ranulfo Molina, Keenan Kaemingk, and CFPA Senator Aidyn Stevens.


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #8: Mandate anti-racism and anti-Blackness training for staff and create an anti-discrimination policy that can hold faculty and staff accountable


  • April 27, 2021: Work and discussions with WWU Faculty Senate to operationalize this demand (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • March 12, 2021: Brought this ask to the Washington Student Association to create and lobby for anti-racism training for all students, faculty, and staff within higher education institutions. 
  • SB 5227 comes directly from WWU’s BSO Demands and was lobbied for at Western Lobby Day and Western Intersectional Lobby Day. 
  • Continued to engage in conversations with administration and legislators around logistics, implementation, funding, etc. 
  • Emailed Dr. Huskey, President Randhawa, and Eric Alexander about training they plan to implement for faculty and full-time staff. (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #9: Mandate anti-racism and anti-Blackness training for students


  • April 27, 2021: This demand is complete
  • March 12, 2021: SB 5227 encompasses both the student side and the faculty, staff, and administration side of training.
  • Communicated with Casey Hayden, advisor to the AS Personnel Office, for state of anti-racism training for AS student employees (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Speaking with professional staff to create anti-Racism and anti-Blackness training for student employees as part of the Student Senate (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #11: Develop an African-American Studies program that is taught by Black staff


  • April 27, 2021: Met with Provost Carbajal about this demand alongside Ethnic Studies College progress (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • March 12, 2021: Lobbied Washington State for $3.4 million dollars to develop Ethnic Studies curriculum, the first step for building a College of Ethnic Studies that could house the African-American Studies program.
  • Planning to collaborate with AS VP for Governmental Affairs and AS Director of Legislative Affairs to find funding for more faculty to create an African American Studies major (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #12: Stand by Shred the Contract and end the contract with Aramark


  • April 27, 2021: Advocated for this position to the WWU Board of Trustees, wrote and affirmed resolutions for this position (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Involved as a member of Shred the Contract (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Supporting the ASWWU Board and Senate’s previous actions to endorse Shred the Contract’s work to end WWU’s contract with Aramark and shift to a self-operated dining system (Brock, AS VP for Student Services)
  • Meeting with Shred the Contract student organizers in Fall 2020 to support their work to end WWU’s contract with Aramark (Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #13: Create a cross-cultural education course within each major, and mandate it as a major course requirement - not an elective


  • April 27, 2021: Working on the creation of a new General University Requirement series called PLEJ (Power, Liberation, Equity, and Justice) (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Discussing with the Academic Coordinating Commission and Committee for Undergraduate Education work to create a mandatory cross-cultural education course in each major (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #14: Diversify the authors used in class curricula


  • April 27, 2021: Began this conversation in the Honors Program (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Gathering student testimonials about the need for more Black texts, especially history textbooks, in order to persuade History, English, and Honors Program professors. In the future, these conversations will be campus-wide (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #15: Review the hiring process of all faculty within the College of Science and Engineering, College of Business and Economics, Psychology and Anthropology


  • April 27, 2021: Consistently supported extension of searches to allow for more BIPOC candidates (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Reviewing the hiring process of all faculty within CSE, CBE, Psychology, Anthropology, and the Honors Program (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #18: Define 'reasonable accommodations' for students observing religious holidays


  • April 27, 2021: This demand is complete
  • April 27, 2021: Prepared clarified language for reasonable accommodations, which were approved by the Academic Coordinating Commission and Faculty Senate. Also, prepared and supported an ASWWU resolution, acknowledging WWU's obligation per state law to accommodate students during the holy month of Ramadan (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Discussing syllabus requirements with Academic Coordinating Commission and Title IX office to define reasonable accommodations for students observing religious holidays. Mandating at least a 12 hour extension and different exam times with penalty as breaking the anti-Discrimination code if not followed (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


Other work:


  • UPDATE as of March 12, 2021: Defund the Western Washington University Police and invest the money into recruiting and retaining Black Mental Health counselors. Lobbied Washington State for $3.4 million dollars of equity funding that would go to more BIPOC Mental Health Counselors during Western Lobby Days. Getting student feedback on the Local Lobby Day topics to create an inclusive agenda in the Legislative Affairs Council in hopes that we can lobby for defunding the Bellingham Police Department, since this is done on a local level. 
  • Continued communication with administration and legislators to see if fiscal notes within police reform bills would be going to further funding our own WWU Police Department.
  • Getting student feedback on the Local Lobby Day topics to create an inclusive agenda in the Legislative Affairs Council in hopes that we can lobby for defunding the Bellingham Police Department, since this is done on a local level. 
  • Continued communication with administration and legislators to see if fiscal notes within police reform bills would be going to further funding our own WWU Police Department.
  • Frequent meetings with Viking Union leadership to ensure AS-support for Black student demands is complementary of professional staff’s work (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Kaemingk, AS VP for Activities)
  • Creating a charge and charter for the Restructure of the ESC Committee in collaboration with ESC Advocacy and Programming Coordinator (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Meeting with Dr. Melynda Huskey to see where the University is in response to BSO and NASU demands. Additionally, if there are ways the AS and WWU can collaborate to meet these demands (Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Meeting with the Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund (SEJF) program team and Greg McBride to discuss how SEJF can meet Black Student Demands (Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)
  • Collaborating with AS Executive Board members to support their work for Black student demands (Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)
  • Meeting with WWU’s Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety to document their work to meet the demands of Black students (Molina, AS VP for Diversity, Brock, AS VP for Student Services, Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Serving on hiring committees for the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Collaborating with SJEC (Social Justice and Equity Committee) to create a survey aiming to identify needs of Undocumented Students at WWU during the COVID-19 pandemic (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Highlighting the fail rates of Introductory math courses at WWU and creating better educational resources. Asking CSE to submit a report on their progress in solving this issue (Students of color, especially Black and Indigenous students, and first-generation students disproportionately receive failing grades at an unacceptable rate) (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)

BOARD MEMBERS


AS Alumni Coordinator

Vacant

AS Board Program Coordinator

Annie Byers

AS President

Abdul Malik Ford

The AS President serves as the chief administrative and financial officer of the ASWWU; they also serve as the spokesperson and chair of the AS Executive Board of Directors. In their role, they represent the interests of the organization and all Western students to external-governing bodies and the university President. With university leadership, the AS President works most closely with the university President; they also work closely with the Executive Board’s vice presidents to support ongoing initiatives.

ASVP for Activities

Keenan Kaemingk

The AS VP for Activities represents the interest of all Western students in matters pertaining to student activities and co-curricular involvement. The AS VP for Activities also assumes several leadership roles assisting clubs access AS resources, become officially recognized, and being broadly accessible to all students. With university leadership, the AS VP for Activities works most closely with the Assistant Director of Student Activities, Club Activities Manager, ESC Club Advising Manager, as well as with student staff and student club leaders. The current AS VP for Activities is Keenan Kaemingk (He/Him/His). You can reach Keenan by email at asvpact@wwu.edu.

ASVP for Diversity

Ranulfo Molina

The AS VP for Diversity represents the interest of all Western students in matters pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. The AS VP for Diversity also regularly advocates for student needs and assumes several leadership roles within the Ethnic Student Center and Multicultural Center. With university leadership, the AS VP for Diversity works most closely with the Executive Director of Student Engagement/Director of the Viking Union, directors and professional staff that work within the Multicultural center, as well as both full-time and student staff in the Ethnic Student Center and Student Advocacy and Identity Resource Center. The current AS VP for Student Services is Ranulfo Molina (He/Him/His). You can reach Ranulfo by email at asvp.div@wwu.edu.

ASVP for Governmental Affairs

Nicole Ballard

The AS VP for Governmental Affairs represents the interest of all Western students in matters pertaining to legislative affairs or advocacy. Specifically, they focus on promoting awareness of student needs throughout local, state, and federal legislative bodies. The AS VP for Governmental Affairs also oversees creation of the AS Legislative Agenda, Western Lobby Day, Western Intersectional Lobby Day, and the AS Office of Civic Engagement. With university leadership, the AS VP for Governmental Affairs works most closely with the executive director of governmental relations and the university’s lobbying team; they also work closely with the Washington Student Association and student lobbyists from other higher education institutions in the state. The current AS VP for Governmental Affairs is Nicole Ballard (She/Her/Hers). You can reach her by email at asvp.gov@wwu.edu.

ASVP for Student Services

Carson Brock

The AS VP for Student Services represents the interest of all Western students in matters pertaining to enrollment and student services. The AS VP for Student Services also regularly advocates for student needs to University Residences, campus dining, and Off-Campus Living. With university leadership, the AS VP for Student Services works most closely with the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services, Director of University Residences, Associate Director of Residence Live, as well as with leadership from student organizations. The current AS VP for Student Services is Carson Brock (He/Him/His). You can reach Carson by email at as.vp.studentservices@wwu.edu.

ASVP for Sustainability

Zarea Lavalais

The AS VP for Sustainability represents the interest of all Western students in matters pertaining to environmental and social sustainability of the university and organization. The AS VP for Sustainability oversees the AS Environmental and Sustainability Programs Office and chairs the Sustainability Equity and Justice Fund. They also consult and assume leadership roles for initiatives related to reducing Western’s carbon footprint and promoting alternative forms of transportation. With university leadership, the AS VP for Sustainability works most closely with the Vice President of University Advancement, as well as with leadership from student organizations and the Office of Sustainability. The current AS VP for Sustainability is Zarea Lavalais (She/Her/Hers). You can reach Zarea by email at as.vp.sustainability@wwu.edu.

Program Advisor

Vacant

Senate Pro-Tempore

Sargun Handa

The AS Senate Pro Tempore represents the interest of all Western students in matters pertaining to academic affairs and academic shared governance. The AS Senate Pro Tempore also chairs the AS Student Senate, one of the ASWWU’s two governing bodies. With university leadership, the AS Senate Pro Tempore works most closely with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, as well as with leadership from student organizations and elected student senators. The current AS Senate Pro Tempore is Sargun Handa (She/They). You can reach Sargun by email at as.senateprotempore@wwu.edu.

Purpose


This website is meant to provide centralized communication and updates related to the Associated Students of Western Washington University (ASWWU) Executive Board’s work and advocacy for demands forwarded by WWU Black Student Organizations on June 19, 2020. The AS Executive Board acknowledges that the ASWWU has historically failed Black students and we, as an organization that supports all students, must do better. We appreciate the many students who have challenged us to do better, asked us to think about our mechanisms for support, and have let us know their disappointment in our communication. No words will adequately capture the historical harm or barriers that the ASWWU has imposed upon Black students, nor will a website ever erase the broken promises from ASWWU leadership to Black student leaders.

This website is a starting place and underscores our ongoing commitment to meeting, and advocating for, the demands of WWU Black Student Organizations. Looking ahead, we need to improve our communication on specific work we’re doing and conceptualize this page as a starting point. We hope you’ll consult this page as a resource, reach out to your elected officials for questions on specific initiatives, and apply for AS jobs, committee appointments, or run for office to help shape our organization.

Context


On June 4, 2020, the Associated Students of Western Washington University (ASWWU) released a statement outlining 14 commitments to address and dismantle systemic anti-Blackness within the organization. On June 19, 2020, WWU Black Student Organizations forwarded an email to ASWWU and Viking Union leadership detailing three demands for the ASWWU and 19 demands for Western Washington University. Upon receipt, ASWWU leadership committed to advocating for all these demands at all levels of university governance with specific attention to promptly and transparently operationalizing the demands for the ASWWU. Many of these demands intersect with various commitments made by the ASWWU on June 4, 2020. On July 11, 2020, WWU Black Student Organizations sent an email to the ASWWU Executive Board and their advisors/colleagues outlining frustration with the lack of communication from the Board about meeting their June 19th demands. On July 30, 2020, WWU Black Student Organizations sent an email to ASWWU and Viking Union personnel, indicating a continued lack of communication and action related to their June 19th demands; they also indicated a failure on the part of Viking Union leadership to meet previously set communication goals.

ASWWU's Work to address demands from WWU Black Student Organizations (BSO)


The following chart consists of updates provided by members of the Executive Board in work they are doing that is aligned with demands from WWU Black Student Organizations for both the ASWWU and WWU. Individual board members who are engaged in the listed work have their last names and positions following each update. Find their contact information and position descriptions on the left column of this page. This information was last updated on April 27, 2021

WWU Black Student Organizations' ASWWU Demand #1: Create a Black student space


  • UPDATE as of March 12, 2021: Alexander stated that he is meeting with Facilities Development and Capital Budget colleagues on space allocation for the BSO.
  • Attending frequent meetings with Viking Union leadership alongside the AS VP for Activities and AS VP for Diversity to prioritize the creation of Black student space within the Viking Union. Should a long-term solution not be immediately feasible, Ballard requests immediate options be identified and presented to the working group/committee. Ballard confirmed with Greg McBride that an architect has been hired to assist with the design of this space (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Kaemingk, AS VP for Activities; Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)
  • As soon as student compensation is finalized, McBride will assemble a subcommittee of the chartered group to look at space design. This committee/working group will be comprised of Black student leaders, professional staff, and ASWWU employees (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Arranging meetings and conversations with Viking Union leadership to solidify a plan of action to respond to Black student space and coalition (Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Kaemingk, AS VP for Activities)
  • Following update session on September 4, 2020, at which a quorum of the Executive Board was not present, Viking Union leadership indicated that construction in the building has been suspended and an architect has been assigned to this project; they are currently exploring the building to identify spaces that could be converted to space for Black students (Ford, AS President)
  • Creating steering committee of Black students to brainstorm and map out how the final space will look (Ford, AS President)


WWU Black Student Organizations' ASWWU Demand #2: Abolish the AS Employee Development Fund [$5000], the lobbying trip to Washington D.C. [$4200] and defund all travel of the AS Executive Board. Invest this money into Black students.


  • April 27, 2021: Introduced abolition of AS Employee Development Fund to AS Finance Council and AS Executive Board (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore; Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs).
  • March 12, 2021: Did not request continued allocation of the $4200 for the Federal Lobby Days Trip and commits to redistributing that funding to the BSO demands, once that account is further developed.
  • $2,000 is being invested into the BSO Coalition from the Diversity Initiative Fund. (Molina, AS VP for )
  • Black Student Coalition Account is in the works.
  • Committed on June 30, 2020 at the Executive Board’s special meeting to reinvest those funds into support for Black students. If the Black Student Coalition is developed as part of the ASWWU, Ballard will advocate for those funds to be directly transferred to the Coalition’s budget. If the Black Student Coalition is developed to function externally of the ASWWU, those funds will return to the AS Reserves to support other student programs/projects on campus. Regardless, Ballard plans to propose action during the 2020-21 academic year for the Federal Lobbying Trip fund to be removed from the AS’ next budget (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Ensuring equitable and accessible recruitment of Black students to AS committees, specifically to AS Finance Council to ensure ethical and representative distribution of funds (Ford, AS President)
  • Exploring use of Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund to support expenses related to resources and space for Black students (Ford, AS President)


WWU Black Student Organizations' ASWWU Demand #3: Immediately create the Black Student Coalition that is led by a council of Black student leaders and Black staff that are compensated


  • April 27, 2021: BSO Coalition Development Specialist positions have been hired and begun their terms (Ford, AS President; Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • March 12, 2021: The BSO work group has developed job position description titled “BSO Coalition Development Specialist.” hired through the Viking Union. (Malik & Ranulfo)
  • BSO Coalition Development Specialist hiring committee, has gone through the hiring process and hired three student employees. (Malik & Ranulfo)
  • Developing plans for the Black Student Coalition to function within the ASWWU or externally; these plans will be presented to the chartered committee (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Frequent meetings with Viking Union leadership (Eric Alexander, Raquel Vigil, and Casey Hayden) to secure dedicated funding for student compensation as part of the Black Student Coalition (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Immediately getting student compensation approved by all University and legal bodies (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)
  • Drafting a charge and charter for a committee/working group that will develop a structure for the Black Student Coalition and plan for implementation of Black student space in the Viking Union. This committee/working group will be comprised of Black student leaders, professional staff, and ASWWU employees. Everyone will be compensated for their time (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Meeting with SJE Committee to talk about funding for Black Student Coalition (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Reached out to UW VP for Diversity to chat about how their coalitions operate (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Exploring options for compensation of students who serve on the Black student coalition; initial options include the use of stipends, contracted compensation, and employment (Ford, AS President)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #1: Annual School-wide recognition and celebration of Black History Month, MLK Day, and Juneteenth


  • March 12, 2021: Western Intersectional Lobby Day Legislative Agenda included statewide recognition of Juneteenth.
  • MLK Advisory Team was tasked with Virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Event. The University has put money forth to bring guest keynote speaker Ijeoma Oluo. In partnership with WWC, BTC, and NWIC. (Ford, AS President; Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • The ASWWU spotlighting Black History Month.
  • Starting conversation about Juneteenth celebration.
  • Working with Dr. Melynda Huskey, demanding increased and dedicated financial support for programs related to Black History Month, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Juneteenth (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Working with Huskey to request that Black speakers, artists, and performers be brought to campus regularly to celebrate these important holidays (Brock, AS VP for Student Services)
  • Exploring the Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund as a resource avenue to bring Black speakers and performers to campus for Black History Month, MLK Day, and Juneteenth (Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #3: Re-Evaluate each major application campus-wide


  • April 27, 2021: Continued negotiations with college deans to re-evaluate major applications and GPA entry requirements (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • March 12, 2021: Lobbied through the Washington Student Association to remove standardized testing from university application processes. (Not major applications but maybe still applicable) 
  • Lobbied for the removal of the EdTPA, a biased exam that hinders eligible BIPOC student teacher candidates from receiving their teaching certificate. 
  • Corresponding with each Dean about their major applications that have a GPA requirement and its inherent anti-Blackness. Currently discussing alternatives (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Wrote on July 28, 2020 to WWU’s executive leadership, calling for an indefinite suspension on the use of GPA and SAT/ACT scores as part of admissions or major applications (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #4: Annual ‘Black Friday’ to be hosted before Thanksgiving Break


  • Requesting from Huskey the implementation of a program from which profits from campus eateries on the designated “Black Friday” contributes directly to Black student organizations (Brock, AS VP for Student Services)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #5: Start-up week for Black Students


  • Requesting that welcome week programs be created for incoming/prospective Black students (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Brock, AS VP for Student Services)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #6: Rename Huxley College, and rename campus buildings to honor important figures in Black history


  • April 27, 2021: Appointed two student representative to WWU Legacy Review Task Force. Working to ensure BIPOC representation on that committee (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore; Lavalais, AS VP for Sustainability; Ford, AS President)
  • Met with Provost Carbajal and emailed Huxley’s Dean to change Huxley College’s name (under discussion). Currently investigating the history behind the names Edens, Higginson, Fairhaven, and Woodring (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)

WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #7: Add Black art pieces, sculptures and famous Black figures in history to line the walls of their respective buildings and departments.


  • April 27, 2021: Supported student senators in initiating this request with the Dean of CFPA (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Discussed how to integrate students sustainably into the process of picking the art on campus and possibly hosting a Black student art search to showcase Black student art within the new dorm building with Ranulfo Molina, Keenan Kaemingk, and CFPA Senator Aidyn Stevens.


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #8: Mandate anti-racism and anti-Blackness training for staff and create an anti-discrimination policy that can hold faculty and staff accountable


  • April 27, 2021: Work and discussions with WWU Faculty Senate to operationalize this demand (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • March 12, 2021: Brought this ask to the Washington Student Association to create and lobby for anti-racism training for all students, faculty, and staff within higher education institutions. 
  • SB 5227 comes directly from WWU’s BSO Demands and was lobbied for at Western Lobby Day and Western Intersectional Lobby Day. 
  • Continued to engage in conversations with administration and legislators around logistics, implementation, funding, etc. 
  • Emailed Dr. Huskey, President Randhawa, and Eric Alexander about training they plan to implement for faculty and full-time staff. (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #9: Mandate anti-racism and anti-Blackness training for students


  • April 27, 2021: This demand is complete
  • March 12, 2021: SB 5227 encompasses both the student side and the faculty, staff, and administration side of training.
  • Communicated with Casey Hayden, advisor to the AS Personnel Office, for state of anti-racism training for AS student employees (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Speaking with professional staff to create anti-Racism and anti-Blackness training for student employees as part of the Student Senate (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #11: Develop an African-American Studies program that is taught by Black staff


  • April 27, 2021: Met with Provost Carbajal about this demand alongside Ethnic Studies College progress (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • March 12, 2021: Lobbied Washington State for $3.4 million dollars to develop Ethnic Studies curriculum, the first step for building a College of Ethnic Studies that could house the African-American Studies program.
  • Planning to collaborate with AS VP for Governmental Affairs and AS Director of Legislative Affairs to find funding for more faculty to create an African American Studies major (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #12: Stand by Shred the Contract and end the contract with Aramark


  • April 27, 2021: Advocated for this position to the WWU Board of Trustees, wrote and affirmed resolutions for this position (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Involved as a member of Shred the Contract (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Supporting the ASWWU Board and Senate’s previous actions to endorse Shred the Contract’s work to end WWU’s contract with Aramark and shift to a self-operated dining system (Brock, AS VP for Student Services)
  • Meeting with Shred the Contract student organizers in Fall 2020 to support their work to end WWU’s contract with Aramark (Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #13: Create a cross-cultural education course within each major, and mandate it as a major course requirement - not an elective


  • April 27, 2021: Working on the creation of a new General University Requirement series called PLEJ (Power, Liberation, Equity, and Justice) (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Discussing with the Academic Coordinating Commission and Committee for Undergraduate Education work to create a mandatory cross-cultural education course in each major (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #14: Diversify the authors used in class curricula


  • April 27, 2021: Began this conversation in the Honors Program (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Gathering student testimonials about the need for more Black texts, especially history textbooks, in order to persuade History, English, and Honors Program professors. In the future, these conversations will be campus-wide (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #15: Review the hiring process of all faculty within the College of Science and Engineering, College of Business and Economics, Psychology and Anthropology


  • April 27, 2021: Consistently supported extension of searches to allow for more BIPOC candidates (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Reviewing the hiring process of all faculty within CSE, CBE, Psychology, Anthropology, and the Honors Program (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


WWU Black Student Organizations' WWU Demand #18: Define 'reasonable accommodations' for students observing religious holidays


  • April 27, 2021: This demand is complete
  • April 27, 2021: Prepared clarified language for reasonable accommodations, which were approved by the Academic Coordinating Commission and Faculty Senate. Also, prepared and supported an ASWWU resolution, acknowledging WWU's obligation per state law to accommodate students during the holy month of Ramadan (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)
  • Discussing syllabus requirements with Academic Coordinating Commission and Title IX office to define reasonable accommodations for students observing religious holidays. Mandating at least a 12 hour extension and different exam times with penalty as breaking the anti-Discrimination code if not followed (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)


Other work:


  • UPDATE as of March 12, 2021: Defund the Western Washington University Police and invest the money into recruiting and retaining Black Mental Health counselors. Lobbied Washington State for $3.4 million dollars of equity funding that would go to more BIPOC Mental Health Counselors during Western Lobby Days. Getting student feedback on the Local Lobby Day topics to create an inclusive agenda in the Legislative Affairs Council in hopes that we can lobby for defunding the Bellingham Police Department, since this is done on a local level. 
  • Continued communication with administration and legislators to see if fiscal notes within police reform bills would be going to further funding our own WWU Police Department.
  • Getting student feedback on the Local Lobby Day topics to create an inclusive agenda in the Legislative Affairs Council in hopes that we can lobby for defunding the Bellingham Police Department, since this is done on a local level. 
  • Continued communication with administration and legislators to see if fiscal notes within police reform bills would be going to further funding our own WWU Police Department.
  • Frequent meetings with Viking Union leadership to ensure AS-support for Black student demands is complementary of professional staff’s work (Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs; Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Kaemingk, AS VP for Activities)
  • Creating a charge and charter for the Restructure of the ESC Committee in collaboration with ESC Advocacy and Programming Coordinator (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Meeting with Dr. Melynda Huskey to see where the University is in response to BSO and NASU demands. Additionally, if there are ways the AS and WWU can collaborate to meet these demands (Molina, AS VP for Diversity; Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Meeting with the Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund (SEJF) program team and Greg McBride to discuss how SEJF can meet Black Student Demands (Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)
  • Collaborating with AS Executive Board members to support their work for Black student demands (Harren, AS VP for Sustainability)
  • Meeting with WWU’s Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety to document their work to meet the demands of Black students (Molina, AS VP for Diversity, Brock, AS VP for Student Services, Ballard, AS VP for Governmental Affairs)
  • Serving on hiring committees for the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Collaborating with SJEC (Social Justice and Equity Committee) to create a survey aiming to identify needs of Undocumented Students at WWU during the COVID-19 pandemic (Molina, AS VP for Diversity)
  • Highlighting the fail rates of Introductory math courses at WWU and creating better educational resources. Asking CSE to submit a report on their progress in solving this issue (Students of color, especially Black and Indigenous students, and first-generation students disproportionately receive failing grades at an unacceptable rate) (Handa, AS Senate Pro Tempore)