ASCSU discusses solidarity with Standing Rock

Rachel Telljohn

The phrase “in solidarity with Standing Rock” has encircled campus over the past few months and worked its way into the Wednesday night senate meeting for the Associated Students of Colorado State University.

A resolution, promoting solidarity with the protesters of the North Dakota Access Pipeline after incurred violence, was read for the first time on the senate floor.

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The resolution was authored by two ASCSU senators, Jennifer Murrary, college of Liberal Arts, and Connor Cheadle, college of engineering.

“(The resolution) doesn’t necessarily do anything,” Cheadle said. “It announces our support.”

Murray prefaced her introduction of the bill.

“I know I haven’t updated (the bill) since the ruling on Tuesday. I don’t want to make this political at all. This is not a political issue. This is an environmental, a human rights issue,” Murray said.

Senator Isaiah Martin explained that the bill should involve the Native American Cultural Center before its second reading in the senate, because of some of its language. Martin explained the language was somewhat harmful.

“We can (write) this (bill) in a way that we not only help our the Standing Rock community, but our own community here,” Martin said.

Edward Kendall, speaker protempore, informed the authors they should consult NACC regarding the bill as well.

“I was actively trying to get the NACC office involved (with the writing of the bill), but they never replied,” said Murray.

A gallery member of the NACC, was present in the gallery Wednesday night.

“We have students who are deeply affected by this. It hurts. It’s a constant reminder of the historical trauma, the oppression,” she said.

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“I do believe (it is the job of this body to echo the voice of students),” Murray said.

Many in the general body raised concerns about how a resolution in favor of protesting the pipeline would color ASCSU as biased towards one group or another or involve the group in polarizing political issues on campus.

“It is not the duty of (the ASCSU senate) to take a political stance. It is our duty to announce the feelings of the student body and announce ourselves as part of the community,” Cheadle said.

Murray said she had not considered how the legislation would be received within the student body as a polarizing issue.

“It’s against the treatment of the protesters (not against pipeline itself),” Murray said. “I wrote this more in response to the violence against the protesters. I’m not meaning to have this legislation be politically charged.”

Vice Presient Mike Lensky explained that historically, ASCSU has used resolutions to show support of various political movements, on the local and national levels.

“Resolutions before have dealt with political natures. As a body, that’s what resolutions are for,” Lensky said.

According to the ASCSU bylaws, a resolution will be read once through on the senate floor, then go to a committee hearing. The committee is either the most relevant to the resolution or is a committee that has not yet heard the resolution. The resolution then goes back to senate for another reading and a vote.

“This bill isn’t directly against the pipeline,” Murray reiterated. “It’s against (the pipeline) being routed through native territories … and the violence against the protesters. It’s not outwardly against the pipeline.”

Collegian reporter Rachel Telljohn can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @racheltelljohn.