Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Bayler Shubert’s name.
As election day approaches for the Associated Students of Colorado State University, taking place April 3-5, a new position will accompany the president and vice president on the ballot. The position, speaker of the senate, will be an unbiased leadership role intended to lead Wednesday night legislative senate sessions. The candidates running for the position are Isabel Brown, Jennifer Murray and Bayler Shubert.
Discussion to create the speaker of the senate position began last year, said ASCSU vice president Mike Lensky. Traditionally, the vice president was required to direct senate sessions and be in charge of the Student Fee Review Board. This has resulted in a hefty workload and there was confusion about whose role it was to speak on behalf of the ASCSU Senate to the CSU administration.
After meeting with the past two ASCSU Vice Presidents, Phoenix Dugger and Lance C. Li Puma, current speaker pro tempore and ASCSU presidential candidate Edward Kendell drafted bill #4603. The bill amended the ASCSU constitution to create the speaker of the senate position as well as amend the job requirements of the vice president. The vice president will no longer be required to preside over the weekly senate sessions or speak on behalf of the senate. These duties will be given to the elected speaker of the senate.
In essence, the speaker of the senate will represent and serve as a leader for the legislative branch, the senate, Lensky said.
“The speaker of the senate will chair senate,” Lensky said. “They will hold leadership meetings with senate officers and they will be the voice of the senate body to administration.”
Brown is a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences and Spanish. Brown is currently a senator for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and holds the position of acting senate outreach officer.
“As a regular senator, I’ve been a little frustrated and disappointed throughout the year because of the political culture we’re experiencing as an ASCSU student body,” Brown said. “It’s been frustrating because, at the basic level, I believe our roles as senators is simply to represent the student body that has elected us into those positions.”
Brown said she hopes to change the political culture of ASCSU.
“If elected into the position I would not have the ability to vote on any legislation,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t be able to debate on any legislation when it comes to the floor, but instead I would use the parliamentary procedure process, which is how a senate session is run, to create an unbiased open venue for all the senators and students who wish to come to senate sessions.”
One characteristic Brown said sets her apart is her experience with parliamentary procedure, the system that the elected speaker of the senate will use to conduct senate sessions.
In high school Brown competed on the national circuit for speech and debate and her event was student senate. Brown said she has received awards for parliamentary procedure and was placed in the top 60 student senators in the U.S.
Murray is a sophomore transfer student majoring in theater and political science. She is currently serving as a senator for the College of Liberal Arts.
“I think with my experience of being in senate all year, I know how senate works and I know the internal culture, which is very toxic,” Murray said. “There are a lot of problems and some of it starts with senate leadership.”
Part of Murray’s plan to improve senate culture is to provide training for incoming senators on how senate works, including parliamentary procedure.
New senators get sworn in, but are not trained on parliamentary procedures, Murray said.
“I definitely want senators to know what they’re doing before they hit the floor,” Murray said.
Another part of her platform is getting ASCSU to direct their focus outward and focus less on internal legislation. By doing this, she said she hopes to improve ASCSU’s internal environment and redirect their focus to the students.
“I think externally focusing instead of working on issues that are so internally focused will help that toxic environment, because if we’re actually representing our students there is not much room for personal opinions,” Murray said.
In terms of inclusivity, Murray wants to make sure the voices of senators from the student diversity programs and services offices such as the Pride Resource Center have their voices heard. Specifically, she wants to make sure CSU keeps its promise to non-binary students.
“I want to make sure the school keeps their promise of keeping the (gender neutral) bathrooms across the campus,” Murray said.
Shubert is a junior double majoring in natural resource tourism and business management. He has served as an associate senator this past semester. Shubert is the only speaker of the senate candidate that is involved in Greek life. He is a founding father of the recently founded fraternity, Delta Chi.
Shubert, like Brown and Murray, wants to make sure that ASCSU does not get caught up in politics, but instead focuses on the needs of the students.
Shubert said he would like to start working on making the senate more inclusive and reflect the university rather than the beliefs of specific individuals within ASCSU.
“I believe that I have the ability to run (senate) and make this position as non-political as possible,” Shubert said. “That’s the whole point of this position. We don’t have a vote. We shouldn’t have an agenda that’s other than the best interest of the university.”
Part of Shubert’s platform is to be more visible on campus to students and encourage them to get involved.
Shubert said he wants to create an inclusive environment and get more students involved in senate sessions.
“The number of students I see on campus who don’t know what ASCSU is surprising to me considering how much ASCSU does,” Shubert said.
Collegian reporter Nicole Towne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nicole_towne21.