Colorado State University’s student government ratified their former vice president, Michael Wells, as president Wednesday night following the recent impeachment of the elected student body president, Josh Silva.
Cole Wise, formerly chief of staff, was ratified as the new vice president.
Wells nominated Wise for the position, who was voted in by the senate body of the Associated Students of CSU with a vote of 26-0-2. A two-thirds vote was required for Wise to be ratified into the position.
Wells and Wise said they understood that many members of ASCSU were impacted by the proceedings and the results of former President Josh Silva’s impeachment.
“The past few weeks (we) have been through trials, roadblocks and tribulations for all of us,” Wise said. “One thing that we can all share in this room tonight is that we were all affected by the impeachment in some way or another the past 12 plus weeks.”
Wells and Wise said they would make an effort to restore relationships that were strained during the impeachment proceedings.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be completed and a lot of rebuilding that needs to begin,” Wise said. “I am dedicated to this organization, the people who serve in it and the people that we serve for. As your vice president, I will make sure that no voice is left unheard and that we all come together for the common good of all students of Colorado State University.”
Wise said current Deputy Chief of Staff Baylee Lakey would not move up to the position of chief of staff. Instead, an application for the position has been added to the ASCSU website for anyone to apply.
Wells said the organization could move past the tensions created during the impeachment proceedings if they remained open-minded to differing viewpoints within ASCSU.
“It’s tough getting mixed up in a situation (where) we’re pitted against each other, and undoubtedly there will be sides and tensions that are strained,” Wells said. “However, this doesn’t have to be the case. We must listen to each other, show empathy towards others and have compassion for new ideas.”
In an interview with the Collegian, Wells said acknowledging the impeachment would help the organization move forward.
“This is definitely a time for ASCSU that is tough, and I don’t think it’s doing good for anybody to not acknowledge that,” Wells said. “This is just a thing that as hard as it is, we’ve got to work to try to push through this. We have to put in the effort to do this.”
Wise said ASCSU needs to rebuild trust within the organization and with the student body.
“A lot of people were affected by the outcome of two weeks ago, and really that rebuilding needs to be done in ASCSU and (by) really making sure that we bring that reliability and trust back to from the students that definitely has been lost in the past two weeks,” Wise said in an interview with the Collegian. “We do that through making sure the student voice is being heard and making sure we are doing everything that our constituents want and need.
According to Wells, changing the culture of ASCSU will take significant effort, but he and Wise intend to remain positive regardless of the issues they will endure.
“As simple as it sounds, culture says a thousand words about an organization,” Wells said in an interview with the Collegian. “Changing the culture is something everyone says they’re going to do, but it’s hard to give a tangible answer to what it looks like. I think what that looks like is coming from the top down … (we) are going to try to maintain an attitude that’s positive and idealistic and ready for the challenges that face us.
Wells said the impeachment process did not negatively impact the Silva-Wells campaign platforms and allowed for the organization to exercise better communication with the student body.
“In a surprising way and in a good way, we have been able to see progress on those initiatives, specifically with more digital access,” Wells said in an interview with the Collegian. “The other big plank of that platform was communication, and … this has given us an ability to start fresh and build that communication instead of trying to add layers to something that already existed.”
Collegian News Director Haley Candelario can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.