ASCSU’s executive order for a veteran’s task force creates conflict

Dallas Head

President of the Associated Students of Colorado State University Jason Sydoriak made an executive order over the summer that upset some students who are part of the campus Adult Learners and Veteran Services office. Sydoriak has since rescinded the order.

The order would have formed a task force in ASCSU focused specifically on the ALVS office and its veteran students. It would “determine if there are inherent failings within the office, whether within staff conduct or initiatives, and provide a spectrum of recommendations to overcome them,” according to the order.

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“The order was to call ASCSU to action,” Sydoriak said. “(It was created) to determine what we can do for veterans and what we can do to make this notion that we’re one of the most veteran friendly universities reflect in real life.”

The task force was supposed to help students involved with ALVS that felt they weren’t getting the help they needed and felt they were dissatisfied with the office’s services, according to students Sydoriak spoke to over the summer.

However, many in the ALVS office see the executive order as unprofessional on the Sydoriak’s part. Duane Hansen, a student staff member for ALVS, submitted an internal complaint against Sydoriak over the order.

“The issue that we took with the executive order is that there was a lot of rhetoric and inflammatory language that was included,” Hansen said.

Hansen submitted the complaint representing some students associated with the ALVS office Aug. 18.

“When you include language in there that says we have already failed our mission before this task force is even created, we take issue with that,” Hansen said. “It was almost like an insult. Everyone that works in this office works very hard to serve all of these people and that’s part of what was missed in the president’s thinking in the executive order.”

Sydoriak said that the language used had a different purpose, although he has since rescinded the order.

“The language I used I don’t think is unprofessional,” Sydoriak said. “I was using it to perk ears of the administration but it did come off a little bit abrasive and I apologize for that. The biggest issue is that I didn’t talk to everyone. I just want to explain my reasoning to everyone in the (ALVS) office.”

Hansen said many students, including veteran students from the office, felt that ALVS was being split into two different groups — veterans and adult learners. But the office aims to treat every student with the same respect.

“There’s a lot of emotion behind it,” Hansen said. “Just because both the students and student staff and veterans felt left out of the declarations that were made saying that this office had failed and required reorientation. We go out of our way to make sure we serve (the veterans) just as well as we would serve any adult learner.”

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Some students associated with the ALVS office felt underrepresented by the order and felt their opinions weren’t being heard.

“It was a very hush hush thing,” said Patrick Byers, a veteran student at CSU, when asked about the executive order. “I had heard about it through fellow students, almost as a kind of gossip. It wasn’t brought to us at all.”

Byers disagrees with the need for a task force in the first place, since he feels that ALVS has helped him with a lot in his education.

“Their resources help me out so much,” Byers said. “They’ve given me so many options to further my education. They don’t need a task force to see if (the office) is helping students or not. I feel (Sydoriak) never utilized his resources.”

ALVS students and staff said they want to speak with Sydoriak to tell him what they want for the office.

“The president never came in here and spoke to any of the students,” Hansen said. “We would like the president to have some dialogue with the students.”

ASCSU is now planning a veteran’s town hall at the end of September so the voices of the veterans can be heard.

Collegian Reporter Dallas Head can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @water4rams