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ASCSU Senate diversity bill postponed indefinitely

At last week’s ASCSU senate meeting, a new bill was presented that could have drastically altered the Student Senate. It proposed that an addition of 14 seats be added. The bill was looking for a way to reach out to diversity groups and give them a voice in the senate.

“Senators shall also be appointed by the Centers of Student Diversity Programs and Services. These Senators are official members of Senate retaining rights of debate, voting and policy-making,” the bill states.

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The bill proposed that two chairs in senate would be represented by each of following: Asian/Pacific American Cultural Center, Black/African American Cultural Center, El Centro, Native American Cultural Center, Resources For Disabled Students, Women and Gender Advocacy Center, and the Gay Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Resource center.

“I see we have a representation problem and we also have a numbers problem,” Senator Kwon Yearby said, while presenting the bill. “We can see new faces and new perspectives in here next week.”

Yearby addressed the fact that the senate meeting had an attendance of only 14 senators.

Out of the 36 seats available, only 16 are currently filled.

“I think our senators have grown too elitist,” said Scott Ricketts, a College of Business Senator.

Yearby believes that adding more seats could fix this issue. Ricketts and Yearby both expressed that the addition of fourteen seats threatened the power of each individual in the senate.

“We could implement something to provide outreach to those groups,” said Senator Taylor Watson. “People are afraid of change.”

One of the most discussed issues brought up about the bill was double representation for the students who are part of these groups. Some senators said that with an addition of 14 seats from the cultural diversity programs, there would be an overrepresentation both culturally and academically — if senators overlap in the areas of campus they speak for, there would be unfair representation for those demographics.

While it was heavily debated, and ultimately debunked, Yearby still argued that the additional perspectives would benefit Senate and those voices would better represent CSU as a whole.

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“It’s allowing us to have a new poll of senators that have a unique cultural experience,” Yearby said.

Another issue brought up by the senate was the fact that there are already open seats available on Senate. They argued that all seats should be filled before there is any new addition. There are 20 unfilled seats currently.

The bill was postponed indefinitely after over an hour of debate and discussion. The senate did not send it to committee where it could be revised and worked with.

“It brought a light to a real important issue in the ASCSU,” said Morgan Smith, executive director of Governmental Affairs for ASCSU. “We are addressing that there is an issue of retention and we can fix it.”

Collegian Reporter Stephanie Mason can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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