ASG prepare to spend, spend, spend

Members of the newly elected ASG staff have some ambitious and expensive plans to make on-campus life more enjoyable for students and staff.

One of the biggest investments the ASG will most likely be making is on a new scoreboard for the men’s soccer field. The field, which will soon become home to the women’s softball team, will now serve two purposes and is currently being renovated. The field will soon have seating, fencing and, if all goes according to plan, a scoreboard.

The women’s softball team has been playing their games at Robinswood Park, an unreliable location, and have had many games cancelled after the park has been shut down due to minor weather issues.

“A scoreboard is an opportunity to make a lasting difference on the College. It is something that brings women’s softball here, and is going to be here for 10 to 15 years.” said Joseph Root, ASG President

Under usual circumstances, the Athletic Department would pay for any changes they have in their department. Due to the fact that a scoreboard would be a major investment, and could cost as much as $10,000 before installation, the ASG was approached for financial help.

The scoreboard appeared as an informational item in last week’s Board of Directors meetings and Bill O’Connor, Athletic Director at BC, had suggested that the ASG contributed half of the funds to have a scoreboard installed at the College.

Most people agreed that the scoreboard would be a good use of funds and the item is waiting for a Request for Proposal.

“We nickel and dime everything [at Bellevue College], and the scoreboard is a symbol of our support,” said Root.

Chapman Chung, Vice President of Finance and Communication, is currently in the process of working out a budget for the new ASG staff, but expects to “spend more than last year.” However, this hasn’t stopped staff from coming up with suggestions.

Andres Munt, Clubs and Programs Representative, was integral in proposing a celebration of Oktoberfest here at the College. The event, which is expected to cost in the region of $1,700, has already been approved and will cater for all students that attend.

Jean-Claude Kameni, Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Representative, has also been busy contemplating ways to spend the ASG budget. One suggestion Kameni shared with The Jibsheet, was to bring more TV screens and monitors to the College, to broadcast music videos.

Kameni has also been working to bring practical solutions to the College’s problems. One major development that Kameni is currently working on is to bring a financial institution to campus.

He said that this would mean that ATM’s would be easily accessible to students, and they would not be charged to withdraw cash. Kameni is currently in negotiations with BECU and U.S. Bank.

Carolyn Dewitt, Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative, is hoping to see some of her ideas come to fruition using the Student Environmental Sustainability Fee (SESF). This fee, which students pay into, has not been utilized as yet. The previous Environmental Representative, who resigned shortly into their term, did not use the fee, which now contains two quarters worth of funds.

Dewitt has numerous uses for the surplus, including new lighting, solar panels and a less wasteful cafeteria for the College.

Dewitt said that she hopes to install a new lighting system in the Student Programs building, with the hope of extending it throughout the College. This lighting system will sense how much natural light is in a room, and how much artificial light is necessary for people to work. This, Dewitt hopes, will cut down on electricity costs.

The Environmental Representative hopes that an alternative source of energy— solar panels— will cut the College’s expenses, and that the savings will be given back to students. She was unsure of the cost of solar panels, though.

“We need to think about what benefits students first, and then meshing with being a greener school.” Said Dewitt.

She also highlighted that the cafeteria wastes a lot food, and that composting would be the best way to counteract this. According to Dewitt, the cafeteria does not currently compost at all, something that does not set a good example to the students and employees that work there.

Starting this fall, Dewitt will have to present her ideas to the SESF Committee, a panel that Root put together to govern how environmental fees are used.

While the ideas the new ASG has put together are ambitious and potentially expensive, Root is certain that no frivolous spending will take place as long as committees are put in place to govern funds. In fact, Vice President of Finance Chapman Chung has to be consulted even when an office purchase costs more than $10.

Light rail hits minor problems

The Seattle light rail transit, which carries passengers from Westlake in Seattle to International Blvd. in Tukwila, has been operational for over a week now, but it has not been a completely smooth ride.

For four decades, the project was a subject of controversy to the Washington State Dept. of Transportation. This was, in part, due to the mixed reaction the idea received from the general public.

“We often talk about Seattle’s inability to act – we spend a long time talking, we can’t agree on the best course of action, an infrastructure project in one part of the city often elicits a “what does it do for me?” attitude,” said Ben Schiendelman, a Seattleite, in a blog about the new transportation.

Nevertheless, after six years of development, the light rail service became functional on July 18, 2009.

On the light rail’s opening day, Sound Transit reported that trains carried 45,000 riders- many clapping or taking photos. Trains were running every 7 ½ minutes. An extra two-car train was used at the end of the day though, as Seattle struggled to deal with the 65,000 fans that flocked to Qwest Field to watch The Seattle Sounders F.C. take on Chelsea F.C.

All went to plan during the rail’s debut appearances, and passengers and staff were relieved.

Ric Ilgenfritz, Sound Transit’s planning and policy director, told the Seattle Times that it was a “Goldilocks day,” and that his two worst nightmares- too little or too many people showing up- were not realized.

The longest ride between stations is no more than 35 minutes, but no matter how fast a journey may be, the designers and planners at sound transit went out of their way to make the ride as smooth and picturesque as possible.

The Beacon Hill Stop lays sixteen stories underground and passengers take one of four elevators to the train platform where they can pass the time admiring artwork. When the train departs, thin slits of light stretch out at high speed to appear as over sized playing cards at Beacon Hill Tunnel, and the eastward view out of the Tukwila stop will, on clear days, reveal a view of Mt. Rainier.

In the six years it has taken for this project to finalize, there have been setbacks. A large portion of the south end runs parallel to Martin Luther King Blvd. at street level. During train trials there were three incidents involving trains and traffic, and two cars were hit. Also, the display boards at the individual stations don’t say when the next train will be coming, a feature provided at train stops just about everywhere.

On July 23, the light rail faced its biggest setback, making what had been a somewhat smooth ride, a little uncomfortable for some passengers. After an electrical failure in The Pioneer Square station, some travelers on last Thursday’s transit service were forced to wait 90 minutes before power returned to the downtown control system.

While no passengers were injured, the electrical failure, which occurred between 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m, did inconvenience many commuters.

Jehron Thogersen, a traveler during the failure, told KING5 that while he realized that the light rail is still ironing out some wrinkles, “Well it kind of spoiled my day.”

Despite the minor setbacks, the light rail system has been praised by users, especially in relation to the planning that has proceeded the rail’s opening week.

“They’ve really thought about it this time. I mean, it’s not like the monorail- they really want this to be used as a serious form of transportation, and have left room to expand.” Said Joe Lithgan, a Seattleite and recent passenger on the light rail.

The planning behind the light rail accounts for the future, too. The train stations are all twice as long as the number of cars in anticipation of increased demand, leaving the option to add more train cars if needed.

The light rail is destined to alleviate traffic, especially thanks to the international district stop which will be used mainly by people travelling to and from sporting events at Safeco Field and Qwest Stadium.

This is welcomed after so many county officials staked their reputations on the project back in 2001, including Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On the nights when the Sounders play, the whole line is full of Sounders fans, clearly helping the city’s traffic situation and the environment. The congestion that was typically seen on I-90 or I-5 on a game night will now be less of a problem.

It is fair to predict that the average Joe will use the light rail too, or at least the average dude. Last Tuesday, Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, used the transportation after a crowd of fans accompanied him to Tukwila for a game of bowling.

Dowd, who was the inspiration for the Coen brother’s Jeff “The Dude” in “The Big Lebowski,” was in Seattle for a celebration of the film. Dowd, who was once a University of Washington student, told The Seattle Times that bowling offered him the chance to try out the area’s new mass-transit system, something he is a strong supporter of.

The light rail project is all part of what Sound Transit is calling “Sound Transit 2”. Starting with increased express bus routes in early 2009, continuing with the opening of the light rail system, Sound Transit 2 is scheduled to have all its projects completed in 2023.

ASG encounter problems during hiring process

After a controversial ASG election period last quarter, the newly-assigned members of Bellevue College’s student government have had some time to settle into their respective positions. However, while these members have worked eagerly to begin living up to their promises, there are two positions in the ASG still open. During an emergency meeting that was held last week, members of last year’s and this year’s ASG came to blows over who they were to hire as the new Assistant Director and Director of Legislative Affairs.

Both positions were not included in the election process last quarter and were intended to be filled through a hiring process.

Amanda Alva, last year’s ASG President, arranged for a screening committee to be part of this hiring process. However, once the committee had assembled and put forward recommendations, the suggestions were deemed biased. One of the recommendation names was Marcus Sweetser, last year’s Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs, who was recommended for the Director of Legislative Affairs position.

A second committee was assembled in accordance with the allegations that the first was non-partisan.

The second committee, once again, put forward recommendations for the open positions and, once again, Marcus Sweetser emerged as a suggestion. At this point, Alva held the emergency meeting on June 30, at which concerns were voiced about Sweetser’s non-transparency.

It was reported that Alva in particular was not satisfied with the behavior of Sweetser during his time as Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs last year. The former President specifically commented on Sweetser’s non-transparency in relation to filling in time cards.

During the emergency meeting, it was said that Joseph Root, this year’s ASG President, was eager to table the concerns put forward by Alva to be dealt with later by the current ASG. Burke Colquhoun was in agreement with this approach.

After a vote to table the matter ended with last year’s Board of Directors deadlocked, Alva gave the final say to vote down the option of tabling the issue.

The emergency meeting swiftly moved to its primary objective: whether or not to uphold the recommendations of the second screening committee. Again, the vote was tied, and it was down to Alva to sway the vote. She voted against upholding the screening committee, negating their recommendations.

An appeal is currently pending to question Alva and the old Board of Director’s decision, which is being dealt with by the Judicial Board.

Root said that the transition that has taken place between the old and new ASG has been tough since they have had to deal with filling the new Assistant Director and Director of Legislative Affairs positions. However, this year’s president said that while the situation is a setback, he has been “talking to the Judicial Board about [reaching a conclusion] judicially, but timely.”

Despite this minor setback, all new members of the ASG are doing their best to keep the promises they made during their campaign period.

Carolyn Dewitt has many plans to make campus a greener place. “Jean-Claude and I are trying to get light sensors [to see] how much light is in the room,” she said when talking about her dedication to cutting the unnecessary use of energy. Dewitt is also investigating what the Student Environmental Sustainability Fund is being used for, and whether the money can go towards more urgent green initiatives on campus. The Student Environmental Sustainability Fund gets its revenue from students, who pay $1.00 per class credit for up to 10 credits.

Another initiative that the ASG have is to bring a bank to the College campus. “I’m planning on bringing a financial institution on campus. We are more focused on BECU because they are willing to create a micro-lending program,” said Jean-Claude Kameni, Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Representative.

While there are still two positions in this year’s ASG to be filled, Root is confident that everything will be resolved soon, giving him time to work on his own initiatives.

“The biggest thing we want to improve on right away is to make the ASG more visible all throughout campus,” he said, “what I’d like to see is an ASG that you know.”

Staff rewarded for excellence

Faculty and staff at Bellevue College have received $1,000 each for their contribution to the institution and its students. In conjunction with the Margin of Excellence Awards, six employees were nominated by students, faculty and staff to be honored for outstanding work.

While the recipients all displayed similar work ethic and dedication to the College, each showed special care and attention to distinct aspects of college life.

The Bellevue College Foundation, which is directed by a board of 27 community volunteers, conferred the awards.

Richele Buoy, Advising Information Specialist at the College, received the Margin of Excellence Award for her work in the Educational Planning Advising Center.

Despite only being a college employee for two years, Buoy has earned a reputation as a dedicated and caring employee. On a daily basis Buoy assists up to 300 students, offering advice and answering questions. Buoy also manages over 19 advisors’ and counselors’ schedules.

“Since advising is one of the first departments with which new students interact, her pleasant demeanor and helpful attitude become the welcoming face of the entire college,” the award citation read.

However, when a first generation student comes to Buoy with a question regarding learning aid, Ron Holland would be an appropriate contact.

Holland, a program specialist in the College’s TRiO program, has developed strategies to enhance the way specific students receive academic and personal support. These include those with disabilities, limited income or first generation students.

Holland developed an English-as-a-Second-Language assistance program after he learned that TRiO students were struggling with studies due to limited English proficiency. He was described in the award citation as, “a dedicated advocate working tirelessly to ensure the success of Bellevue College’s students.”

Two teachers that also demonstrated a dedication to the student body were Louis Watanabe and Mary Thorp, who both received Margin of Excellence Awards.

Thorp, a nursing instructor with the College, has taught behavioral health, gerontological, and medical and surgical nursing. Her experience has helped teach, motivate and give confidence to students at the College.

The award citation said that, “Thorp expects greatness from her students and always gives her time and extra support to any student in need. Nursing students have consistently chosen Thorp to be their faculty speaker at the program’s culminating ceremony- underlining how much of an inspiration she is to them.”

Watanabe, a business instructor with the College, joined Bellevue College 7 years ago after pursuing a successful entrepreneurial career in computer software development. Since joining BC, the Seattle-based instructor has become extremely active in college life, ensuring the success of on-campus events including the American Film Festival and Living Treasures banquet.

Many of the events at the College rely on the revenue provided by international students, as well as their attendance. Weihong Geiger, a Chinese language instructor at the college, has received an award for her outstanding leadership, especially in building upon the College’s international relations.

Geiger, who has worked at the College for four years, was integral in negotiating agreements with two sister colleges in Shanghai and Beijing.

The College said that Geiger “has the ability to encourage her students to become involved and extend themselves. She strives to make sure that each student feels they are the center of the class, no matter where they are sitting.”

One recipient of the Margin of Excellence Award was Carol Ryckman, whose tireless work behind the scenes earned her the honor.

Ryckman, who is Administrative Services Manager, started her career at the College seven years ago as an office assistant. Through hard work Ryckman was promoted to the position she holds now, which entails assisting students, supervising staff, overseeing budgets and building course schedules.

“Since advising is one of the first departments with which new students interact, [Richele Buoy’s] pleasant demeanor and helpful attitude become the welcoming face of the entire college.”

Ryckman was described as “a champion multi-tasker who handles administrators, faculty, staff and students with aplomb, wit and a smile,” in the award citation.

As individuals they represented specific beliefs, but as a group they represented the commitment Bellevue College has to every student, staff and faculty member.

Faculty and staff at Bellevue College have received $1,000 each for their contribution to the institution and its students. In conjunction with the Margin of Excellence Awards, six employees were nominated by students, faculty and staff to be honored for outstanding work.
While the recipients all displayed similar work ethic and dedication to the College, each showed special care and attention to distinct aspects of college life.
The Bellevue College Foundation, which is directed by a board of 27 community volunteers, conferred the awards.
Richele Buoy, Advising Information Specialist at the College, received the Margin of Excellence Award for her work in the Educational Planning Advising Center.
Despite only being a college employee for two years, Buoy has earned a reputation as a dedicated and caring employee. On a daily basis Buoy assists up to 300 students, offering advice and answering questions. Buoy also manages over 19 advisors’ and counselors’ schedules.
“Since advising is one of the first departments with which new students interact, her pleasant demeanor and helpful attitude become the welcoming face of the entire college,” the award citation read.
However, when a first generation student comes to Buoy with a question regarding learning aid, Ron Holland would be an appropriate contact.
Holland, a program specialist in the College’s TRiO program, has developed strategies to enhance the way specific students receive academic and personal support. These include those with disabilities, limited income or first generation students.
Holland developed an English-as-a-Second-Language assistance program after he learned that TRiO students were struggling with studies due to limited English proficiency.  He was described in the award citation as, “a dedicated advocate working tirelessly to ensure the success of Bellevue College’s students.”
Two teachers that also demonstrated a dedication to the student body were Louis Watanabe and Mary Thorp, who both received Margin of Excellence Awards.
Thorp, a nursing instructor with the College, has taught behavioral health, gerontological, and medical and surgical nursing. Her experience has helped teach, motivate and give confidence to students at the College.
The award citation said that, “Thorp expects greatness from her students and always gives her time and extra support to any student in need. Nursing students have consistently chosen Thorp to be their faculty speaker at the program’s culminating ceremony- underlining how much of an inspiration she is to them.”
Watanabe, a business instructor with the College, joined Bellevue College 7 years ago after pursuing a successful entrepreneurial career in computer software development. Since joining BC, the Seattle-based instructor has become extremely active in college life, ensuring the success of on-campus events including the American Film Festival and Living Treasures banquet.
Many of the events at the College rely on the revenue provided by international students, as well as their attendance. Weihong Geiger, a Chinese language instructor at the college, has received an award for her outstanding leadership, especially in building upon the College’s international relations.
Geiger, who has worked at the College for four years, was integral in negotiating agreements with two sister colleges in Shanghai and Beijing.
The College said that Geiger “has the ability to encourage her students to become involved and extend themselves. She strives to make sure that each student feels they are the center of the class, no matter where they are sitting.”
One recipient of the Margin of Excellence Award was Carol Ryckman, whose tireless work behind the scenes earned her the honor.
Ryckman, who is Administrative Services Manager, started her career at the College seven years ago as an office assistant. Through hard work Ryckman was promoted to the position she holds now, which entails assisting students, supervising staff, overseeing budgets and building course schedules.
Ryckman was described as “a champion multi-tasker who handles administrators, faculty, staff and students with aplomb, wit and a smile,” in the award citation.
As individuals they represented specific beliefs, but as a group they represented the commitment Bellevue College has to every student, staff and faculty member.

Financial aid reform

The Department of Education and Internal Revenue Service will embark on a joint venture to populate the Free Application for Federal Student Aid with tax data. The news, which was announced on June 23 by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, will radically change the way prospective students apply for federal aid and how schools become involved in the verification process.

“This plan is a huge win for students, and we are delighted that the Department is moving quickly to simplify the FAFSA, which has been a barrier to college access for so long,” said Dr. Philip Day, President and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Admin. “We are very excited about the IRS partnership, which would streamline the process for students even more, and, we hope, remove the federal requirement that our schools collect tax returns to verify applicant data.”

The partnership, which is part of President Obama’s initiative to simplify the FAFSA, has received approval from IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.

During a White House press briefing, Shulman said his agency was glad to partner with the Department of Education, and that the current FAFSA is “an endurance test,” that collects unnecessary data.

The department plans to make the FAFSA more efficient process through simplification.

During this summer, enhanced skip-logic will be used on the new web-based FAFSA. This will reduce user navigation by more than half because specific answers to questions will eliminate the need for others. Secretary Duncan said that there will be a 20% reduction in the number of questions asked and a 50% reduction in the number of web pages it takes to complete the application.

Starting in January 2010, the IRS will work in conjunction with the Education Department to allow students to easily retrieve relevant tax information when applying for aid.  Students applying for spring semester will be part of a pilot project to examine whether tax information should be made available to all students filing their FAFSA.

Another goal that the IRS and Education Department plan to achieve during their venture involves the elimination of unnecessary financial questions from the FAFSA. The aid calculation formula that is used in the current application uses financial questions that cannot be answered by IRS records. If the introduction of legislation is successful, a total of 26 financial questions, that have little impact on aid awards and can be difficult to complete, will be removed from the application.

The Education Department has published a fact sheet documenting the specifics of their mission, entitled simply, Making College More Affordable By Simplifying The Student Financial Aid Application.

Secretary Duncan gave special thanks to the IRS and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for making the issue a priority, and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for taking a special interest in the project.

“Simplifying the FAFSA is another significant action in our quest to keep a college degree within the reach of every person who aspires to higher education,” Duncan said.

Sex, faith, and unwanted body parts

A girl who hates her right hand, a guy who dies each time he has sex, and a middle-aged man resurrecting his high-school rock band.

Sound familiar? Well, for the twelve students who took the Advanced Screenwriting class at Bellevue College, these were all characters they would get to know very well over the course’s duration.

However, it wasn’t until last Wednesday that these students saw their characters brought to life.

Bellevue College’s Stop Gap Theatre became a home for these characters as professional and student actors portrayed various characters from the screenplays, which were read in front of an audience.

The screenplays were from a variety of genres including comedy, action and psychological thriller.

Laurel Minter, who teaches the Advanced Screenwriting class, orchestrated the event and was eager to be involved, playing characters and narrating.

The reading of Michael Petrucci’s screenplay portrayed two friends about to embark on a road trip.

While one is older, more mature and money-conscious, the other is young, carefree and irresponsible.

Of course, mayhem ensues, and after having their car towed, the unlikely couple is cornered into buying an old, banged-up motorcycle complete with sidecar.

Actors reveled in their characters and the audience descended into fits of laughter as slapstick comedy and quick, witty punch lines were delivered with perfect timing.

Robert Bartlett’s comedy was also well received during the reading.

Entitled “Duderotomy,” Bartlett’s script tells the story of Cal, a middle-aged, married man who reunites his high-school band in an attempt to recapture his youth.

The reading captured the awkward nature of Cal, the complexity of his marriage and the bitter rivalry between his band and “Bob and the Bobadours”, fronted by an ex-boyfriend of Cal’s wife.

Other humorous readings included Nicholas Mirabelli’s story about a man who is too honest to get a date, and Corey Bishop’s “Would be Killers,” the story of two broke friends who contemplate becoming hit men when times are tough.

Mirabelli’s moral tale used slapstick and outrageous characters to get laughs, while Bishop’s story used situational comedy to lighten the tone of his comedic thriller.

Many of the Advanced Screenwriting students set their stories against a modern, relatable backdrop.

However, Taylor Jacobs and Stephen Hanefield set theirs in foreign environments.

Jacobs, whose screenplay is entitled “New Jerusalem,” portrays a utopian setting, free from violence and weapons.

Borrowing heavily from Western themes, the town sees bloodshed once again as a male and female gang are pitted against one another.

While Jacob’s story is set in a sort of parallel dimension, Hanefield’s story is set in the future.

“Soldier Side,” a screen adaptation of the System of A Down song of the same name, follows Sergeant Aaron Helms as he and his fellow soldiers fight against aliens attempting to destroy the human race.

Intense action and dialogue made for a compelling reading, and actors seemed to lose themselves in their complex, psychologically distraught characters.

The psychology of characters was something that Minter emphasized was paramount to a story’s plot.

This was evident in all of the readings, each character being driven by their own fears and passions.

It was the characters in Annelise Rolander and Colin Takasawa’s readings that proved most psychologically complex, though.

Rolander chose to write about Body Identity Integrity Disorder, a psychological condition that causes individuals to want to amputate one of their limbs.

The story portrays the struggle of Dana; a girl who desperately wants her right hand to be amputated.

After her twin sister is killed in a tragic car accident, Dana’s disorder becomes more prevalent and she longs to rid her body of the hand.

In one scene the character wraps her hand in bandages and socks, making a makeshift stump that she admires in a mirror.

Takasawa, writer of “The Worm at the Core,” chose a neurotic protagonist to convey the futility of death.

The story follows Brendan Brecht, an obituary editor, who finds himself talking to a grieving widow for the first time in his career.

Unable to comfort the woman or even resolve her issues with the obituary, Brecht quits his job and becomes obsessed with death, the unknowable manifesting itself as his ill father.

Coleton Seidl’s reading also used death as a theme, along with sex.

The protagonist of Seidl’s story dies during the early scenes of the screenplay after climaxing. What is even more unusual is that the character also dies in subsequent scenes, always after having sex.

This abstract plot depicts the journey of an artist as he struggles to find inspiration to paint, love and even exist.

While some readings were abstract, others were direct.

David Over and Antonio Perez both wrote screenplays that depicted defined characters with clear issues they needed to overcome.

Over’s “Mystify” depicts Abe, the son of a dead, famous magician.

Abe rejects magic as part of his life and has a phobia of water; both of which are a product of his father’s death during a water-related magic trick.

A love interest makes Abe face his fears, and the adolescent accepts his destiny as one of the great magicians of all time.

Perez’s “Learning to Live” portrays a young, wealthy womanizer overcome his drug problem after falling in love and studying abroad.

During the reading, the character was introduced snorting cocaine, abusing prostitutes and shouting obscenities at the police.

The audience seemed to warm to the character, knowing that underneath there was an intelligent and charming man. Perez’s story depicts a tale of maturity through explicit imagery.

After seeing their stories read by such talented actors from the College and the Seattle film industry, writers in the Advanced Screenwriting class have chance to reflect on their character portrayals, choice of dialogue and overall plot.

After the group gets their final pages in to Minter next week, the writers will get together for a well-earned barbecue where they all plan to bring items related to their screenplays.

New officers not hurt by allegations against former manager

On May 18, an Elections Committee held a meeting to discuss complaints made against the former campaign manager of Students Foremost. The meeting investigated whether third-party activity had contributed to the success of any members of the ASG election group, and if this activity should render elected members as invalidly elected.

It was alleged that during the 2009 campaigning process, the former campaign manager intimidated ASG election candidates that were running against Students Foremost, as well as potential voters.

On May 19, the Elections Committee issued a statement saying that, while the incidents they discussed “were of an alarming nature,” there was “insufficient evidence to link candidates in the ASG elections to the actions addressed in this complaint.”

The statement also recommended that the ASG by-laws be revamped, something that could alter the way candidates run during future election campaigns.

During the recent ASG election, a few groups and individuals were represented by a campaign manager or third party, an approach that was new to this year’s election. The current by-laws do not stipulate that a candidate or group is responsible for the actions of an unofficial affiliate representing them.

One candidate alleged that they became so intimidated by the former campaign manager of Students Foremost, that they were unable to concentrate on their own campaign, spending much of their time searching for refuge. Now thar the appeal process is over, no action will be taken against members of Students Foremost in relation to their former campaign manager.

“These are growing pains,” said Faisal Jaswal, Assistant Dean of Student Programs, who considers the recent complaints an inevitable part of student politics. Jaswal said that, while all concerns were heard and documented, the situation offers a tremendous opportunity: to put stronger by-laws together for a future generation.

Tom Pritchard, Vice President of Student Services, said, “I support Faisal’s notion that this is a learning experience.”

Pritchard also acknowledged that a new by-law may have to be written, and that it would not be impossible to craft a rule that would implicate candidates or groups in the behavior of unofficial affiliates.

Jaswal and Pritchard are confident that new by-laws will be an improvement on the current system, especially with the guidance of Dr. Denise Vaughan, a member of the Elections Committee.

Vaughan, who is a political science instructor at the college, does not have power over any change of election by-law, but can offer advice and help to the ASG when they write them.

Vaughan said, “I certainly hope that students will take the opportunity to revise the by-laws.  They are always an ongoing project. This is the learning opportunity that students have.
“The difficulty in writing any law comes in the balance between preventing specific circumstances and writing law general enough to address the needs of the community.”

While by-laws need to be written for future student elections, Jaswal said he has taken the recent complaints seriously, assessing the accusations in the context of the college, rather than the election. Jaswal’s authority, he said, only extends so far, and he has taken the information to a higher administration and an investigation is in progress now.

However, allegations are no longer being approached in relation to the 2009 ASG election.

The final statement that was issued by the Elections Committee described that the alleged acts were, “several disturbing incidents.”

However, because the committee only has jurisdiction over members of Bellevue College, those who had their campaigns sabotaged can only try to forge some lesson from the situation.

Vaughan said, “Writing and rewriting by-laws is a genuine learning experience and a real opportunity for students to see the implications of real world situations.”

If this experience has simply been, as Jaswal said, “growing pains,” it is the Elections Committee’s paternal obligation to ensure that these problems don’t reoccur.

“I plan to make sure that as the new ASG board takes shape, these deficiencies are corrected,” said Jaswal.

Living in a Dark Globe

In 1993, two 10-year-old boys abducted and murdered a toddler in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

According to the BBC, the toddler was a victim of “brutal and heinous violence”. This horrific crime would incite anger in most, but for Andy Bray, it was an inspiration to write his first novel, Dark Globe.

As a close friend of Andy Bray, I remember his dedication to writing Dark Globe. He would rarely venture outside of his house, consumed by his work.

He later said, “I wanted to keep my work a secret. Writing it took me to a dark, complex world, hence the title.”

It was also revealed that the anti-hero, Joey Carlton, a school teacher, was based on the killers of James Bulger. I received a copy of Dark Globe shortly after it was published, in September 2005.

The reader is introduced to Joey Carlton, a funny, relatable character. However, as the narrative progresses, the reader is confronted by the true Joey, a man who is sexually perverse, psychologically unstable and guilty of infanticide.

As an angry, vigilante mob pursue the teacher, readers will question where their loyalty lies: pedophile murderer, or justice?

The most disturbing aspect of Bray’s work is that while the answer to this question seems simple, obvious; the reader is left with new-found, conflicting opinions about the ethics of their world. In this sense, the novel possesses the same moral inclination as Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

While the narrative is written in a coherent and stable manner, the tone and backdrop of Dark Globe are erratic. The descriptions of settings by the narrator echo the paranoid delusions of Thompson, while the tone they are delivered in is reminiscent of Dostoyevsky’s cynicism.

What is truly compelling about this erratic but concise narrative is that Joey’s psychological portrayal seems more a work of non-fiction than fiction.

Dark Globe is an honest portrayal of the unhinged human psyche and Joey, presented as a conscious character, must face his subconscious, which manifests itself as the angry mob that pursues him.

Bray’s work offers a new perspective on murder trials such as the Bulger case. Readers who felt uncomfortable with Capote’s In Cold Blood or Ellis’ American Psycho will not enjoy this novel.

Bray challenges and disturbs his readers, delivering profound messages about the most fundamental moral ideology. Dark Globe is available from Amazon.com and other leading booksellers.

Candidates, affiliates accused of breaking election by-laws

On Monday, May 4, a written formal complaint was handed to Tom Pritchard, Vice President of Student Services, accusing some members and affiliates of the candidate team Students Foremost of breaking campaign rules during the 2009 ASG elections. The document [signers names withheld to protect witnesses] claims that on May 1, some, but not all, members of the group used laptops and food incentives to solicit votes, in turn, violating election by-law 1.6.4.1.2.

This by-law stipulates that, “A candidate shall not attempt to coerce or petition a student who is actively submitting a ballot.”

During orientation, all candidates involved in the election were reportedly given a complete copy of the by-laws that constitute an ethical guide to campaigning. One of the accused [name withheld pending investigation] said that they were not given examples of how they could use products during their campaign. Amanda Alva, current ASG President, believes that the copy of the by-laws act as a clear enough manual to use as a reference.

Two of the three accused members of the party [names withheld pending investigation] said they believe that any alleged violation of by-laws on their part result from misunderstandings, saying that a front desk assistant in the student program’s office confirmed when asked that the use of laptops for voting was a legal approach to a campaign.

Alva, who “saw three students who were running for various positions with brownies and a laptop,” said that it is “the front desk’s responsibility to not answer questions they don’t clearly know the answer to, [and to] direct them to their source.”

Interpretation of by-laws aside, it is the responsibility of the Interim Judicial Board to monitor the progress of the campaigning and election process. This board is made up of three members: Burke Colquhoun, Vicki Ma and Dominick Lee.

Colquhoun said that the board has been “watching the campaigns as closely as [they] can,” and that the large number of people running for ASG positions can make observing campaigns hard.

The observation of campaigns has become even harder since candidate teams have formed and individuals and groups have been utilizing non-candidate campaign management, a formation new to this year’s ASG election.

The use of campaign management is something that has called to question the ethical structure of Students Foremost’s campaign, even prior to the recent allegations.

There are currently no by-laws that state a campaign manager promoting an individual or group is officially associated with them. Therefore, campaign managers can violate by-laws and their actions will not be regarded as an official action of the group or individual they represent, only of themselves as unofficial affiliates.

Andres A. Munt, independently running for Clubs and Programs Representative, said that the person formerly referred referred to as the campaign manager of Students Foremost [name withheld pending investigation] was, “going up to people with a laptop and getting them to vote,” an act that may be regarded as unethical, but could potentially have no repercussions on the group.

The person formerly referred to as the group’s campaign manager also allegedly, “gave people food to vote and had laptops in the cafeteria,” said a student [name withheld to protect witness].

This is something that Munt said bastardizes the whole election.

Members of the accused party have told reporters that it has been other candidates and groups that have taken unethical actions.

One member accused other candidates outside their group running of using laptops.

Matt Nolan, referred to as campaign manager for independent Joshua Scott for Emerging Tech and Entrepreneurial Representative, said that a laptop would be “definitely an aid to a campaign.”

David Poulton, a student at BC, added that he had seen numerous candidates, unsure of their group affiliation, using laptops to solicit votes.

The former campaign manager of Students Foremost accused Alva of allegedly influencing votes, saying that she wore a badge promoting the group Voice of Change within the vicinity of a voting booth.

“I’ve never seen such backstabbing and corruption,” said the former campaign manager.

The construction of Students Foremost as a group has also been allegedly construed as unethical by witnesses, specifically for their recruiting process.

An anonymous student [name withheld to protect witness] said that he was approached by the former campaign manager of Students Foremost and asked about his race and sexual orientation, in an attempt to recruit the student.

A member of the party, however, said that the former campaign manager of Students Foremost “was trying to recruit a diverse group of people … because this may help in gathering ideas under different cultural backgrounds.”

While members of the accused party have acknowledged the use of a laptop, others were allegedly unaware.

One member of the group [name withheld pending investigation] had no recollection or knowledge that a laptop was used and said “that’s a very big no-no … I know the rules,” while another member said that they “asked a teammate if [they] could use a laptop to get people to vote and [they] said yes.” The latter went on to ask reporters, “Would it be possible to publish [this article] after the election?”

ASG election candidates, members of the accused party, and the Interim Judicial Board are reportedly unclear about what constitutes the violation of by-law 1.6.4.1.2.

Colquhoun said that the issue is “definitely in the realm of a grey area,” specifically in relation to the role of a campaign manager.

The grey area is something that Tom Pritchard, VP of Student Services, wants to avoid.

He said “there’s the spirit of the by-laws and the black and white of the by-laws,” and that there are “always ways to skew reality.”

If the allegations against the accused candidates and affiliates are determined to be valid, it will be up to the Associated Students of Bellevue College Judicial Board and the Elections Review Committee to decide whether the by-laws have been violated.

If the accusations do go to these higher bodies, the situation will be taken far more seriously than one accused candidate who said, “We are not running for president or anything.”

Alva tries to put the extremity of the situation into perspective.

“Not only do we manage student resources that potentially amount to millions of dollars,” she said.

“But we also advocate with legislatures that take us very seriously.”

Apple Cup may come to Qwest Field

The University of Washington and Washington State University are currently discussing the possibility of hosting the annual Apple Cup at Qwest Field, home of the Seahawks. The move could be part of a multi-year deal spanning as long as six years, the plan being that the game would be played on Thanksgiving weekend. While no decisions have been made and both schools are still contemplating the idea, the news has caused controversy in students and sports enthusiasts alike.

WSU have always played an exhibition game at Qwest Field early in their season. The contract that allows the school to play this game expires at the end of 2009, ending the school’s affiliation with Qwest Field’s parent company First & Goal. Jim Sterk, athletic director at WSU said, “We have annual discussions with First & Goal on ways to continue our relationship and enhance our presence statewide. As part of those discussions, I look at all avenues, with my overriding goal being the betterment of Cougar athletics and its student-athletes.”

Many members of WSU were upset that Sterk would even contemplate such a move, accusing both the AD and the school of being motivated by money. Harry Pharmer, a WSU alumni said, “This is a big ploy by both schools to get more money from the taxpayers to upgrade facilities.”

Following budget cuts, both schools are eager to find ways to increase their income, and it seems that moving the big game to Qwest Field would do just that.

The stadium holds 67,000 people and would guarantee each school $2 million each. This sum is substantially more than the $800,000 each the teams received when the game was played at Husky Stadium and the $240,000 they received when they played at Pullman.

Another problem that has hit the schools has been the prospect of sponsorship for the cup game. Boeing has sponsored the event since 2007 and it seems unlikely that major companies will have sufficient revenue to support the event.

Mike Lude, former athletic director at WSU, insists that while the prospect of economic gain through a relocation might seem attractive, negotiating with third parties is a “bad idea.” Lude also said that if he were still athletic director, the move would only happen over his dead body.

Some Husky fans support the proposal of a move though. One avid Husky, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “It would be funny to see the Cougars have to come over here each year. Really funny.”

Rivalries aside, some Huskies support the move on the basis that it would rule out the demolition of Husky Stadium.

Qwest Field would no longer be a neutral arena if the Huskies played their home games at the venue. If the team was contracted to play the Apple Cup at Qwest Field, that would rule out the possibility of UW playing their football at the venue, ultimately making the renovation of Husky Stadium inevitable.

Even if Qwest Field does not become a regular host to the Huskies, WSU fans are adamant that the venue is still not a neutral location for the cup. Former WSU coach Jim Walden said that the Cougar’s win in the last Apple Cup, last November, wouldn’t have happened anywhere but Pullman. The cup has been played at home sites since 1980.

Joe Puckett, a former Husky, supports the idea of a move. “Both schools are impacted by a down economy, so if they can boost that economy by playing here, I think it’s a great idea,” he said.

Conversely, UW student Chris Paschall was opposed to the possibility of relocation for the cup, saying, “It’s all about going from one school to another, visiting your friends.”

While this move presents instant economic gratification, the resounding verdict seems to be that something far more important will be lost if discussions are acted upon: tradition. In a Spokane Spokesman-Review poll, an astounding 87 percent of respondents were opposed to the move.

Rick Neuheisel, former Washington coach, proposed Qwest as a venue for the cup during his time with the school. Perhaps in the near future his proposition will become reality.