Bill to fund water bottle filling stations across campus vetoed, senate fails to override

Gabriel Go

A bill that would provide access to water refilling stations across campus was vetoed by Associated Students of Colorado State University President Daniela Pineda Soracá, following the bill’s passing by the senate prior to fall break, and senate failed to overturn the veto Wednesday night.

The water refilling stations would have been implemented on campus locations which see high levels of students traffic and use. These areas include the Clark buildings, the Engineering building, Johnson Hall and the Visual Arts building.

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Of particular note were the additions of six water refilling stations in the Clark A and C buildings. The Clark buildings are among the most heavily used buildings on campus, where many all-university core curriculum classes are held.

After Pineda Soracá vetoed the bill, it was put back on the floor, where the senate attempted to override the veto Wednesday night. The senate failed to gain a two-thirds majority required to override the veto, voting 9-14-2.

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Student body president Daniela Pineda Soracá makes her case on the decision to veto the bill to add more water bottle refilling stations around campus. (Kasen Schamaun | Collegian)

The bill had been met with considerable controversy over whether senate should fund the project with discretionary funds after the project had failed to gain full support from the University Facility Fee Advisory Board.

“This has been brought up to UFAB (University Fee Advisory Board) twice and they have turned it down twice,” said senator Justin Pyfrom during a Nov. 9 senate session. “I don’t think we should use our discretionary funds for the purpose of that.”

Initial deliberation on the bill on Nov. 9 lasted for almost an hour. It was initially passed with a tie-breaker vote of 9-8-3 before fall break on Nov. 9, after the first vote resulted in an 8-8-2 tie. The tie-breaker vote was cast by ASCSU senate parliamentarian Zachary Vaishampayan, in accordance with the rules of the senate.

Following consultation with members of the University Facility Fee Advisory Board, Pineda Soracá vetoed the bill.

“Seeing how the (UFFAB) board works … I thought it was most appropriate for a project that has to do with facilities to be funded in that realm. I wanted to honor that process,” Pineda Soracá said.

According to a press release to the Collegian from the ASCSU Executive Office, the project was legitimized within UFFAB. However, it was not prioritized for multiple years. The project was initially rejected by UFFAB in 2014 in order to make way for other priorities, according to UFFAB chair Clayton King.

Tristan Syron, associate senator and author of the bill, made a case to override the presidential veto.

“No matter what happens, I am proud to have echoed the needs of many, and I look forward to working with everyone again … Let’s not end the conversation, let’s begin the next step: which I believe is a ‘yes’ vote,” Syron said prior to the vote.

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Syron said he had received support across campus for the bill, in particular from the Warner College of Natural Resources.

“I had someone walk up to me and say, ‘Can the Warner College please endorse this?’ I did not go to Warner College, they came to me,” Syron said during the first round of discussion two weeks ago. “So, then I went to their college council meeting—probably 30 people in the room—every single person voted yes.”

A statement released on behalf of Pineda Soracá said that while ASCSU’s administration sees the value in sustainability-related initiatives, they have to be conservative with the senate discretionary fund.

“This veto is not to imply water bottle filling stations are not important, nor is it implying that $20,000 in water bottle filling stations is a comfortable financial figure,” Pineda Soracá said in the press release. “(I) am currently working with administrative leadership from university Facilities to come to a compromise.”

Collegian reporter Gabriel Go can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rgabrielgo.