ASCSU senators demand response to ‘blackface incident’

Charlotte Lang

Senators in the Associated Students of Colorado State University called for a direct response to the recent “blackface incident” on campus. 

Chief of Staff Melissa Quesada said that ASCSU had sent a message to the student body emphasizing that ASCSU was not associated with the incident in any way, shape or form.

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This was a clear opportunity to do something.”

Chief of Staff, Melissa Quesada

“We’d like to make sure that we are expressing a culture of taking care of each other and making sure we are very respectful of our community on campus,” Quesada said. “We want to make sure you are taking care of each other.”

Quesada said that ASCSU is looking into what they can do to foster an environment of inclusivity on campus. 

“Our Department of Diversity and Inclusion is already in the works of doing something in response to the event that we can incorporate the larger campus on,” Quesada said. This may take the form of a Diversity Day for the University.

Senator Kyle Hill asked if this incident will result in any future limitations on hate speech. 

Quesada said that the most important thing ASCSU can do is continue to educate the student body on inclusivity and the implications of actions like these.

Senator Jaquikeyah Fields said it would be an injustice to say that ASCSU has been educating people.

“This space is hostile,” Fields said. “A lot of students don’t feel comfortable here because of their identities or others’ opinions on their identities. So I’d be curious to know what actual obligations are we going to be doing.”

Problems like this are causing racial fatigue among the student body, Fields said. 

“We have a new selection of students coming in, and they don’t feel safe on the third week of school,” Fields said. “Is there truly an active plan to make sure that students feel safe?”

Quesada said that she makes educational events mandatory for her team and informs the rest of ASCSU about these events.

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“You’re in a very powerful seat to do something, so do something,” Quesada said. “I hate where we have meetings and nothing’s getting done. There’s nothing on the agenda today — why? This was a clear opportunity to do something.”

Senator Alex Benitez encouraged others to make a change by writing resolutions or bills.

“We can fund whatever you want, but make sure it has meaning behind it,” Benitez said.

Fields said that this incident is deeper than blackface and should be called racism.

“The last thing that I want to see is a student physically get hurt from something like this,” Fields said. “We have all seen in the past, even if you have turned a blind eye to it, that racism can manifest into anything.”

At the end of the meeting, Senator Josh Johnson said that he appreciates the night’s discussion.

“There are many people who do not know what we do in here and that we are having these discussions about people’s lives and how passionate we truly are to make CSU the best place it can be,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said that he hopes that the student body can unite to make sure that no Ram is impacted negatively by these events again.

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.