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ASCSU discusses lex in favor of diversity committee

The Associated Students of Colorado State University discussed a lex, a body of laws, proposing a new committee focused on diversity and inclusion.

They also discussed a future diversity project for the campus, known as the Statues Project.

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Lex 4901 — Funding and establishment of a new committee chair

Associated Students of Colorado State University Senator Jaquikeyah Fields speaks to the ASCSU Senate body about Senator Alejandro Benitez’s lex requesting the establishment of a new ASCSU committee around diversity and inclusion Oct. 2. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

Senator Alejandro Benitez authored and presented the lex, explaining the necessity of a committee that can hold conversations about diversity and inclusion at length.

Benitez said that, with the recent events occurring on campus, the campus community is hurting. As a result, ASCSU needs a place where these topics can be further addressed.

“This is for us to continue conversations every week, that these problems do exist at CSU and we need to fix and change them,” Benitez said. 

Senator Ryan Kropp said the point of the committee is to be able to bring different ideas and perspectives to the table in a more inclusive space than the Senate can provide. 

“We don’t have the time or ability here to think through new ideas or come up with things or really hear from the voices that we are speaking for,” Kropp said. “In committee, they have the time to do that.”

Senator Savanah Overturf said that this committee is important because everyone is diverse.

“When you talk about diversity, there are so many different avenues you can think of,” Overturf said. “Everyone is diverse. Even if you don’t look at yourself as a marginalized identity, you are still diverse.”

According to the lex, the committee would be housed in the Senate. Benitez said this would allow the committee to reach a variety of colleges.

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This committee would also allow for conversations to reach a deeper level than they would otherwise, Benitez said.

“Things should be talked about at length, and it shouldn’t be just at the quick snap of a finger that we have resolutions,” Benitez said. “It should be going out. It should be more than a conversation.”

Concerns around the lex focused on suggestions of a bystander effect.

Senator Ethan Burshek said it has been noted that when a task or field of tasks is assigned to a specific group, those not involved fall prey to the bystander effect.

“Inclusion and the facilitation of diversity is the responsibility of all of us, not just one committee,” Burshek said. 

Burshek also mentioned a concern of overlap with existing resources.

“We have plenty of ways for students of marginalized identities to reach out to the Senate,” Burshek said. “I feel that creating too many redundant resources reduces the impact of our resources already in place.”

Burshek said the Senate should find new ways to utilize existing resources, rather than create new ones.

After a vote, the lex was sent to every committee in the Senate for further discussion.

Executive diversity project

President Ben Amundson spoke about a diversity project for the campus, known currently as the Statues Project. 

Amundson said the point of the project is to fund and create statues near Yates for people of different identities to look up to.

“What if there was a statue for people of different identities?” Amundson said. “Different diversity offices maybe can choose their statues and have someone who represents their identity a little better.”

Amundson said this would be a good way to give students an opportunity to look up to someone who looks or identifies more like themselves. 

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

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