ASCSU ratifies new senators, associate justices, election manager

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Collegian | Cat Blouch

Masters student Vaishnavi Sonarikar introduces herself at the first senate meeting for the Associated Students of Colorado State Unviersity. “I decided to get involved into ASCSU because I wanted to try something really intense and impactful.”

Piper Russell, Emmalee Krieg, and Allie Seibel

The Associated Students of Colorado State University held their second senate meeting of the semester Wednesday, Sept. 7. ASCSU reviewed bylaws at the meeting and ratified the supreme court associate justices and elections manager.

The session began with the swearing in of 18 new senators, representatives from various colleges and the Student Diversity Programs and Services offices. Deputy Chief Justice Kelley Dungan swore the new senators in. Their positions went into effect immediately.

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Following the introduction of the new members of the senate, guest speaker Jen Johnson, Director of Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement, informed the senate of a new higher education graduate student working their practicum as a SLiCE clerk starting this week.

Following Johnson, Marlis Hazleton and Hunter Ogg, representatives of University Technology Fee Advisory Board, also spoke. Hazleton talked about opportunities for members of ASCSU to get involved with UTFAB and their current projects and research. 

After the guest speakers, President Rob Long and Vice President Elijah Sandoval delivered executive reports on the progress of various projects, including student tailgating for football games, cultural and community involvement and scholarship opportunities for members of the senate. Chief Justice Marcus Zacarias delivered a judicial report on ratifying four new associate justices and an election manager.

The four new supreme court associate justices were unanimously voted in after their qualifications and skills were laid out for a question-and-answer session with the senate.

Chandler Dalton is a second-year political science and journalism major, a cheerleader and is enrolled in the Honors Program. Dalton presented herself as skilled organizationally with a goal of taking initiative.

When asked by Senator Justin Todd Melka what strengths the candidates were going to bring to the table, Dalton said, “I’d really like to bring positive energy into the court.” 

Amber Wright is a first-year political science major who has experience with debate teams and teen court. Wright hopes to be a good representative of ASCSU and wants to bring communication skills to help carry out any duties.

“I feel that I will be an active member at ASCSU,” Wright said.  

Jamie Binder, a third-year political science student, has experience as an intern for ASCSU from 2021 and wants to be a good support system for the chief and deputy chief. She wants to collaborate and considers herself a “go-getter.” 

Isaiah Dennings is a fourth-year political science major who is overall very involved in the community. He said he places importance on local connections and leaving a good legacy for the associates after him. 

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All four were asked numerous questions pertaining to their bias and willingness to work together.

“No personal agendas should be taken into account when making decisions,” Dennings said.

After the new associate justices were unanimously ratified, Grace Neumann, candidate for elections manager, was brought to the Q&A. Neumann spoke to her goal: “raising awareness for ASCSU, what we are.”

“I want to get a diverse student body engagement this year,” Neumann said. 

Recruitment and Retention Officer Faraaz Bukhari reminded the senate that community involvement around voting is a team effort and shouldn’t just fall onto the elections manager.

“You all have a civic duty with your position and representing all the communities you come from,” Bukhari said. 

Neumann was ratified with unanimous consent and took her oath of office.

Following the approval of new candidates, the senate moved into confidence business, which was highlighted by the overview of the new senate bylaws, a requirement for the first senate session of the new term.

Ariadne Athey, Internal Affairs Committee chair, read through changes made to the bylaws for this year. Speaker of the Senate Nick DeSalvo made a motion to make an amendment to remove the word “relevant” from Section I and in other places of the bylaws in which the word has the same context. 

The section defined the legislative cabinet as “the speaker of the senate, speaker pro tempore, parliamentarian, recruitment and retention officer, ASCSU internal committee chairs and relevant ASCSU caucus chairs.” DeSalvo spoke about his concern that the word “relevant” could potentially lead to the exclusion of caucus chairs.

“I still take issue with perhaps some of these fundamental really important caucuses, like the Women’s Caucus and Diversity and Inclusion Caucus being stripped because of the language that exists now,” DeSalvo said.

The motion to remove the word “relevant” passed. After, ASCSU opted to change the section of the bylaws that states there will be no senate meetings during finals week, university closures or nights with extreme circumstances unless there is advance notice to say that there will be no senate during finals or university closures ever.

ASCSU also debated changes including their policies on profanity and dress code. They added a definition of “proper attire” as being “anything that upholds the decorum of senate” to the bylaws. 

The senate then voted to change the section that states “profanity, slurs, disrespectful body language or gestures or direct personal insults shall not be used in the senate chambers” to read “obscene profanity” instead. The bylaws were passed.

After bylaws, ASCSU briefly went over the rest of the legislation for the night. Athey read through the abstracts of Bill 5202, “Judicial Job Descriptions,” Lex 5205, “Amending a Gap in the Constitution,” Resolution 5202, “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion,” Lex 5203, “Rectifying a Failing of ASCSU Accessibility,” Lex 5204, “Institution of Guidance for Special Sessions” and Lex 5202, “Vote of Confidence Clarification.” These pieces of legislation will be sent to relevant committees.

Senate resumes next Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Reach Emmalee Krieg, Piper Russell and Allie Seibel at news@collegian.com or on Twitter  @csucollegian.