Opioid prevention, election code changes among first legislation ASCSU hears

Natalia Sperry

Overdose prevention, election code changes and increased funds to the Board for Student Organization Funding were among the first legislation the Associated Students of Colorado State University senate discussed in their first meeting of the semester on Jan. 24. 

Although the body did go below quorum as the night went on, ASCSU entered a provisional session which did not alter their ability to ratify the legislation of the night. 

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Joint-resolution aimed at opioid overdose prevention passes unanimously 

Speaker of the Senate Isabel Brown and Josh Williams speak to the ASCSU Senate about a joint-resolution aimed at opioid overdose protection. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

Speaker of the Senate Isabel Brown and Sen. Josh Williams introduced a joint resolution between ASCSU and CSU’s Residence Hall Association aimed at the prevention of opioid overdoses on campus.

The senate expedited the resolution to vote Wednesday night, so that the resolution is ready to sign after Monday, Jan. 29, when RHA will vote on the matter. The resolution passed 17-0-0. 

According to Williams, there were almost 480 deaths related to opioids, including heroin, in Colorado during 2015. In 2016, that number fell by six percent, according to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.   

“Behind each of these numbers though is a face, is a family, and each of these people had family members that loved them and are having to deal with this,” Williams said. 

The resolution encourages CSU Administration and the Department of Residence Life to change the existing policy so that Resident Advisors  can administer Narcan, a naloxone prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose, according to the CDC. Under the previous policy, RAs were instructed to contact the police so that an officer could administer the prescription. 

The resolution also encourages the University to include the number of opioid overdoses and deaths in its annual drug and alcohol report, and asks that there be both amnesty and a Good Samaritan clause for students who report overdoses. 

“In many ways, we view this is as the first step,” Williams said. “The first thing that we can do is to get people educated about the problem, and then also start to implement solutions to save people’s lives.”

Election code changes aimed at clarification moves to committee 

Election Manager Tyler Siri introduced a bill intended to update the ASCSU Elections Code, which includes fixing typos and clarification of the role of the Election Committee as a jury, not a police force, according to Siri. 

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The bill also prohibits campaigning in the Lory Student Center and Residence Halls, unless a private meeting was arranged with student organizations beforehand and no campaigning materials are left in the building.

Siri said that the goals for this bill include clarification of current code in order to both streamline the elections process, especially in regard to violations, and increase transparency. 

“Every year we have problems of ambiguity in the document, so just making sure that everything is very clear on what is and isn’t fine was important,” Siri said. “We want to be good stewards of student funds and student opinion.” 

Bill to increase funding for student programming in the spring semester passes 

The senate voted 17-0-0 to allocate $25,000 from the Senate Discretionary Fund and and $5,000 from the Presidential Discretionary Fund to the Board for Student Organization Funding.

Last semester, ASCSU funded 28 groups and 33 events, and the organization expects an increased amount of student programming requests as the office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement is currently gaining two to three new organizations per week, which is an unusual rate at this time of year according to Director of Finance Robert Leonard.

“I think BSOF is one of the best dollar for dollar returns on student fees that students get,” Leonard said. “If you participate in a student (organization), you put money into your student fees and you get that money right back to help your (organization) out.”

Senate ratifies members of Legislative Strategy Advisory Board

The senate body ratified the first members of the new Legislative Strategy Advisory Board, an intra-branch board that seeks to to create a cohesive governmental policy agenda and stances on behalf of ASCSU.

The first members of LSAB include Sen. Liam Aubrey, Sen. Jack Wold, Associate Sen. Edgar Cedillo and Deputy Chief of Staff Baylee Lakey. 

“This is the first time this board has existed in this form,” Aubrey said. “I think we have an opportunity to fight for affordable education. This is a land-grant institution, which was supposed to be in place so that the average person could go and get an education and really invest in themselves.”

Collegian reporter Natalia Sperry can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Natalia_Sperry.