ASEWU PUB redesign vote a close call

Voting information will be forwarded to Eastern Board of Trustees for approval


Contributed by Perkins+Will

The Pence Union Building rendering, portraying the west side entrance facing Pearce residence hall, will be modeled around students and visitor ease of access.

By Nicole Ruse, Editor-in-Chief

The PUB redesign preliminary numbers are 1,052 students voting for and 983 voting against it, according to Kelsey Lavelle, ASEWU director of elections.

According to Lavelle, 18 ballots were submitted “without either option being selected.” Therefore, an IT specialist for ASEWU is running a data validation to double check it. This puts the total student vote for the redesign at 2,053.

“Matt Brown in IT is verifying everything for us and we should have his report today as well, once everything is compiled,” said Lavelle in an email.

Grace Callahan, secretary for ASEWU, said these 18 votes are unconfirmed because it looks like these voters marked an ‘other’ option when submitting their ballot. This has yet to be confirmed by the IT specialist.

A council meeting will be held next Tuesday in the fireside lounge at 4 p.m. to confirm and officially vote-in the redesign tally. Council members can determine at that point if they want to consider a recount.

This proposal shows an increase from last spring’s votes when the PUB redesign “failed by 10 votes,” according to the official redesign website.

UPDATE: 1:28 p.m., February 25, 2015.

According to Keirstan Hanson, ASEWU director of finance, the ASEWU have to approve the number of votes that went through and submit it to the board of trustees.

“We actually are going to be approving the specific numbers and then we will be making the decision as a council if this should go through or not,” said Hanson.

According to Callahan, the 18 unverified votes were student votes that abstained from voting either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on their ballot. By not pressing either of those options, students could have abstained from voting, yet still be recognized under the number of total students who voted. The total number still stands at 2,053.

The option of not casting a vote on the ballot was explained to students on the voting website, according to Matt Brown of the EWU IT department.

“They did all the stuff that was required, they didn’t vote, it was like an empty ballot. Numbers are still the same,” said Callahan.

Brown said some students who were denied access to vote could not for a couple reasons, such as being registered as a student last quarter, but not for winter quarter. Through the voting system, he was able to calculate those voting differences based off of student’s identification numbers. All these numbers were verified and double-checked against the voting system.

ASEWU Legislative Affairs representative Mikaila Leyva said ASEWU does not have the final say on the PUB redesign; they have to take it to the board of trustees for approval.

“We don’t have that power. We’re just gonna bring [them] that information that we have,” said Leyva.

Hanson said the voting of the council for the verification of the voting numbers could differ from what ASEWU votes and sends to the board.

“If the students were to vote ‘no,’ technically ASEWU could vote ‘yes’ but then going through the board of trustees, seeing that the students would have voted ‘no,’ the board of trustees would probably turn it down,” said Hanson. “Ultimately, we are here to support the students.”

“It’s almost like a checks and balances thing,” said Jorge Garcia, diversity outreach representative for ASEWU. “They check us and we check their information with the statistics that we got from the vote.”

Leyva said the ASEWU needed a more accurate response from the students this year regarding the PUB redesign.

“Last year, [the vote] was only by 10, and although it was a [vote] ‘no’ by 10, it was also an extremely small number. We just needed to double check if it was ‘no’ again, like a confirmation type of thing. It was a much larger sampling and difference between the two votes,” said Leyva.

Hanson said the next step is figuring out what the students want for the new PUB, if approved by the board.

“Whether it’s having a diversity center or having different food options, we want that feedback from the students,” said Hanson.

Garcia said if students are going to be paying that fee they should have what they want, which is what ASEWU wants to achieve.

“I just feel like at the end of the day, we just want our proper representation to present to the board of trustees, which are the people who ultimately make the decision. We just wanted to see what our campus wanted and what they’re in need of.”