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49th ASCSU senate concludes, 50th ratifies executive cabinet

Updated 10/1

The 49th senate meeting of the Associated Students of Colorado State University ended Wednesday night before transitioning into the first meeting of the 50th senate.

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The meeting began with parting words from the former president, Ben Amundson. 

Amundson said he’s excited to see the new administration take over and that it’s been an honor to serve as the ASCSU president.

“I want you to know that your voice matters.” -Christian Dykson, speaker of the senate

“You have really encouraged and inspired me and pushed me to be better every single day,” Amundson said. 

Amundson also thanked the senate for holding him accountable as president, for allowing him to lead and for making him a better person.

He encouraged the new administration to leave ASCSU as a better place than where they found it, and he said he hopes he has done the same. Amundson said he plans on continuing to serve in the senate.

The 49th senate then went over updated job descriptions for the senators. These updates include requiring the speaker of the senate to attend all committee meetings that require their attendance, and senators are now required to hold three office hours and two outreach hours.

A motion seeking unanimous consent to accept the changes was approved.

The 49th senate meeting ended with some final remarks from ASCSU senate members who planned on leaving.

“I have had a really fun time being your speaker for the past two weeks and a lot of fun with ASCSU these past four years,” Alissa Threatt, speaker pro tempore, said. “It’s been one of my favorite things I’ve done here at CSU, and I think it’s because of all of you.”

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Jasper Sloss, who transitioned from senate to the cabinet, also left remarks.

“This was my first introduction to ASCSU, and I can’t say enough how grateful I am to have been a part of it,” Sloss said.  

The senate then took part in singing the CSU Fight Song together.

The new president and vice president-elect, as well as the new speaker, were then sworn in before the 49th senate session adjourned.

The 50th ASCSU senate meeting began with remarks from the new speaker of the senate, Christian Dykson.

“I want you to know that your voice matters,” Dykson said.  

New senators and associates were then sworn in for the new school year. 

Election of officers

Newly-elected President Hannah Taylor and Vice President Noah Schindler presented their new cabinet members for the upcoming school year. 

The senators voted to not elect the cabinet members by slate but called for each candidate to introduce themselves, and candidates were questioned individually. 

Taylor also faced criticism from senators over the short application period for executive cabinet positions, which lasted only a week, when she said that in the past they have had three weeks to review applications and interview candidates.

Taylor said they received more applications and conducted more interviews this year than any other year, despite the short application period. 

Senators were concerned that the application may have not been sent out to each of the Student Diversity Programs and Services like Taylor said because they did not receive notifications themselves.

“I think my goal is to make sure all students feel welcome here. … Other students might not feel as smart as students in (a STEM) degree. … I will be the advocate for a culture change here on campus.”-Mitchell Ballew, director of academics  

Senators said they were worried good candidates might have been missed and the executive cabinet could have been more diverse. 

Sloss, a candidate chosen by Taylor and Schindler for chief of staff, said he is a good leader through experience working as a camp counselor. 

“That speaks to my ability to work with individuals and help them accomplish their goals,” Sloss said.

Sloss also said he wants to provide more outreach to diversity offices on campus to learn how to better offer opportunities and listen to the voices of their students. 

Taylor and Schindler then selected for director of campus engagement Taylor Millson, who said she hopes to help students learn about ASCSU and make it more accessible.

Millson also talked about starting a mentor program for those who are interested in getting involved with ASCSU, as she said it can be confusing when just getting started. 

Mitchell Ballew, chosen for director of academics, worked as the deputy director last year and wants to continue on with that work. 

Ballew said he has merit based on his past experiences in the honors program at CSU and has experience as the ASCSU deputy director of academics.

Ballew also talked about combating elitism on campus and diversifying science, technology, engineering and math programs at CSU.

“There’s that disconnect between STEM majors and others,” Ballew said. “But a degree is a degree. … It doesn’t matter; you worked hard for it. How can I help to combat that? I think my goal is to make sure all students feel welcome here. … Other students might not feel as smart as students in (a STEM) degree. … I will be the advocate for a culture change here on campus.”  

Taylor chose Merry Gebretsadik as director of diversity and inclusion. Gebretsadik has been involved in ASCSU for multiple years, worked as a resident assistant on campus and served as a presidential ambassador.

Gebretsadik said she hopes to work on an initiative for prospective First Generation students that will better connect them with the University and show them the options they have for higher education.

The 50th senate had 16 voting members present.

Sloss was ratified with a vote of 12-1-1; Millson was ratified with a vote of 13-0; Ballew was ratified with a vote of 8-2-3; and Gebretsadik was ratified with a vote of 13-0.

Sophia Shepp was selected for director of environmental affairs and said that CSU’s distinction as a top-rated sustainable University gives her a lot of pride. 

Gaby Brown was selected for director of health, a position she served in for the previous ASCSU administration. Brown said that she is very invested in the Rams Against Hunger program, and the ASCSU department of health plans to bring in a food insecurity specialist as well.

“(The department of health) has been a bit overlooked, and we started to change that a bit last year, and I’m extremely excited to continue that momentum,” Brown said.

Taylor chose Kyle Kumjian, a senior studying political science, for director of community affairs. Taylor said she chose Kumjian because of his knowledge of local City government.

“I think there are many opportunities for us to be educated further on other student’s experiences that we might not be able to relate to and to come together as a community.”-McKenna Daly, director of university affairs

Kumjian said his position would be to represent the Taylor-Schindler administration at the Fort Collins City Council and to advocate for their own positions. He said it is not within his job duties to voice his own opinions on issues, such as the U+2 ordinance. 

Taylor presented former ASCSU vice president Alex Farias as the director of finance. Farias said she has finance and business experience from her previous position in ASCSU and a recent summer internship at financial management company Charles Schwab. 

Farias said something challenging she often faced as vice president was talking with students who did not understand where their student fees go on campus.

Farias said she worked with the marketing department to create a flyer that had a QR code so that students could see what their fees are used for and would continue that work of education in her new position.

Shepp was ratified with a vote of 14-0-1; Brown was ratified with a vote of 12-1-1; Kumjian was ratified with a vote of 7-6-2; and Farias was ratified with a vote of 10-3-2. 

As the senate meeting was reaching its third hour, Dykson emphasized how much he appreciated students keeping morale up and doing their due diligence with ratifying the executive cabinet. 

“Keep in mind that what we’re doing now determines what happens between now and June,” Dykson said. 

Miles Pojar was chosen for deputy director of environmental affairs. He reiterated comments made by Shepp about CSU’s sustainability ratings and discussed how he can support students in advocating for small environmental changes that can then have larger impacts. 

Emily Baller was chosen for director of traditions and programs and said that it will be one of her main roles this year to connect students to resources they have available for involvement, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One idea Baller has, she said, is to make CSU traditions more inclusive, like making the land acknowledgment read more widely across campus, especially in the athletics department. 

Andre Bass was chosen for director of graphic Design and multimedia in part because of his work on the ASCSU website, Taylor said. Bass said that, last semester, he was a major advocate for the updating of the ASCSU website, and he wants to continue to work on the accessibility of the website. 

For director of university affairs, Taylor selected McKenna Daly because she said Daly was very passionate about collaborating with the department of health to work on creating mental health resources for students. 

Daly said she is eager to learn about new perspectives around campus and to bring the community together around the idea of kindness and positivity on campus. 

“I think there are many opportunities for us to be educated further on other student’s experiences that we might not be able to relate to and to come together as a community,” Daly said.

Pojar was ratified with a vote of 12-0-1; Baller was ratified with a vote of 12-1-0; Bass was ratified with a vote of 12-1-0; and Daly was ratified with a vote of 12-1-0. 

Will Buffington was chosen for director of marketing because of his dedication to ensuring that CSU students know what ASCSU is and his background in photography and videography, Taylor said. 

Taylor selected Clayton Paull for deputy chief of staff. Paull is a senior political science student and said he has been in ASCSU, holding two different roles. He said as a deputy and as a director he understands the nuances of the relationship between deputies and directors and how those roles interact with the ASCSU system. 

Paull said one of his goals is to increase the efficiency of cabinet meetings by cutting out bureaucracy that could get in the way of the goals cabinet members want to achieve. 

For deputy director of graduate affairs, Taylor selected doctoral journalism student Jesse Scaccia. 

Buffington was ratified with a vote of 13-0-1; Paull was ratified with a vote of 13-0-1; Scaccia was ratified with a vote of 13-0-0. 

For deputy director of academics, Taylor chose Sydney Budke, a second-year transfer student. Budke said that one of her goals is to create mentor programs between incoming freshman and sophomores and upperclassmen and between transfer students and adult learners. 

Fifteen minutes after midnight, Dykson announced that the attendance of voting senators dropped to 12, meaning ASCSU was below quorum. Dykson immediately moved to adjourn the meeting and push all leftover business to next week’s senate meeting.

The remaining executive cabinet members will be presented and voting will commence for ratification at the senate meeting Oct. 7. 

Ceci Taylor and Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @cecelia_twt and @serenaroseb.

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Serena Bettis
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at editor@collegian.com.

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