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Student senate vetoes majority vote

By Kai Vieira da Rosa

In 1988 Whatcom Community College voted on its first mascot, and after the Board of Trustees approved the choice, the Orcas became the official mascot of Whatcom.

Whatcom’s orca mascot was named Willy and remained that way for almost 30 years. In fall quarter of 2017, Whatcom decided to hold a vote for a new mascot name.

Even though Oscar was the No. 1 choice, Whatcom’s Associated Student Senate decided to use the No. 2 name, Finny, which had a 30 percent deference out of Oscar’s 58 votes.

According to one of the student senators who has been in contact with a Horizon reporter, the Student Senate rejected the winning name, Oscar, because Finny “better represents the spirit of Whatcom.”

Finny Dorsallinni is a play on words regarding the top fin on orcas, called the dorsal fin. Although this name is original, it is complicated and vague.

For those students who don’t know what a dorsal fin is, it would just sound like a random name, which is not something that seems to “represents the spirit” of Whatcom.

The name Oscar was created with the intention to use all the same letters of our team name, Orcas. Although it too is complicated, the name better encapsulates our community at Whatcom. After all, we are the Orcas, so it makes sense to have our mascot wear those same letters as part of its name.

During Whatcom’s Welcome Back Fair, a vote was asked regarding ideas for a new mascot name. Oscar received the most votes with 58, beating out 40-vote Finny Dorsallinni.

Finny, the No. 2 name, was chosen despite not being voted for by the majority of the students.

How is it justifiable for the Student Senate to ignore the popular vote and take a name that they preferred? By failing to recognize the correct voting process, the Student Senate has hurt its credibility and wasted time and resources. What is the point of holding an election if you’re just going to throw out the results you don’t like?

In a student poll, like the one used to find the new name, the popular choice from the masses is always the final verdict. Except, during a senate meeting in Oct. the most popular choice was thrown out by those holding the vote itself.

The Associated Students of Whatcom Community College Student Government is meant to represent the minds of the students.

 The ASWCC mission statement is “To serve students by providing diverse opportunities for campus involvement, to build campus community and represent student concerns in college decision-making.”

Student government bridges the gap between Whatcom administrators and the student community. Yet, an act such as discarding the popular vote seems like an enormous step in the wrong direction.

Disregarding student input as the senate has done may not end with the mascot vote.  If the Student Senate can so easily throw out a vote that isn’t theirs, it makes you wonder if they’re doing anything else like this. Acts like this can lead to a mistrust between students and government, which ASWCC is trying to stay away from.

The argument for a correct mascot name seems silly, but the student senate failing to accurate represent student input is no laughing matter. Government officials controlling the choices of the people can lead to mistrust between the masses and our government.


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