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ASCSU debates nominee for director of diversity & inclusion

ascsu meets in the senate chambers
Members of the senate for the Associated Students of Colorado State University hold the first senate meeting of the Fall semester on Sept. 1. (Cat Blouch | The Collegian)

Colorado State University’s student government, the Associated Students of Colorado State University, convened for their second session on Wednesday, Sept. 1, to ratify students into several leadership positions within the executive and judicial branches of their organization. 

Tensions began to rise with the ratification of the student director of diversity & inclusion within the executive branch once lack of due process was pointed out by Senator Ariadne Athey of the Student Disability Center.

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“So I want you all to be aware that we ratified (a) director of diversity & inclusion during our session last semester, and then they dropped off the face of the planet,” Athey said. “It took more than two months of no contact before the office of the president decided to do anything about it.”

Student body President Christian Dykson confirmed during the meeting that a director of diversity & inclusion was ratified with the initial formation of his cabinet last spring, but this member lost communication over the summer and did not formally — other than their ratification — step into that role. A letter of termination was issued in July, and the decision to nominate the runner-up candidate, Joslyn Orji, was decided in early August, according to Dykson. 

“I am extremely frustrated on behalf of students and their wasted fees and their wasted time,” Athey said. “The director of diversity & inclusion is one of the most important positions that we have; we cannot just make hiring decisions within the pool of people that you want.”

Senator Athey’s questioning of the process used to fill this position sent ripples of uncertainty and questions of morality through the senate chambers. The question ultimately came down to whether it was ethical to appoint the No. 2 candidate from the initial pool of applicants, or to have opened up a new round of applications and given more people a chance after the failure of the first elected. 

“The rationale behind it is simply the urgency of this position and the fact that it failed the entire summer,” Dykson said. “Trust me, I’m frustrated. … I wish that position was filled; I wish that individual showed up for us and represented.”

Jess Dyrdahl, the faculty advisor to ASCSU, said that the process taken in this appointment adhered to the typical University guidelines. 

“We do typically recommend that, if you do have qualified candidates, to keep some in holding for this very purpose: if they, in fact, are not able to fulfill or even accept the job offer,” Dyrdahl said. “So President Dykson is correct in that this person was ratified but did not fill out any prior paperwork, so they aren’t in the University system, in our HR paperwork, or anything like that.” 

Eventually, after the debate, the senate agreed to nominate Orji with an unanimous vote but called on more communication from the executive branch whenever desperate measures like these are taken. 

Some senators were still apprehensive about holding ratification on grounds that the nomination was illegitimate, specifically Senator Lizzy Osterhoudt from the Native American Cultural Center. 

“It just doesn’t feel right to me personally, that it was a kind of behind-the-scenes hiring,” Osterhoudt said. “It’s just not inclusive.” 

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Other senators, like University Affairs Committee Chairman Evan Welch, saw no problem with the process to nominate Orji and viewed the process as efficient and necessary to complete projects after losing a whole summer. 

“If we communicated with the executive office about this, it could have been cleared up,” Welch said. “I do think that we should ratify this person because I think no matter what, they will be confirmed again, but I do think if something like this happens again, please contact us.”

Eventually, after the debate, the senate agreed to nominate Orji with an unanimous vote but called on more communication from the executive branch whenever desperate measures like these are taken. 

The senate then proceeded to ratify students into the supreme court positions. All nominees were passed with unanimous consent with no other contentions of the nomination process. 

“I just want to speak on the legitimacy of this process,” Dykson said. “It is the role of the president along with the chief justice to select the deputy chief justices and associate justices, and I trust the process. I trust our chief justice, and I trust our senate to ratify the best people for the job.” 

Isaiah Dennings can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @isaiah_dennings.

Piper Russell can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PiperRussell10.

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About the Contributors
Piper Russell, News Editor
Piper Russell is one of The Collegian’s news editors this year and is thrilled to be working in the role. She started as a news reporter her sophomore year, covering news happening around the Colorado State University campus and the Fort Collins community. She continued to cover CSU and Fort Collins news as well as the Associated Students of CSU during her junior year. Russell is now a senior double majoring in journalism and media communication and Spanish. Although she began college undeclared, she quickly discovered her passion for journalism through the classes she took at CSU and her work at The Collegian. She’s always loved all things involving reading and writing, so working at The Collegian ended up being the perfect fit. As news editor, Russell ensures The Collegian covers important CSU and Fort Collins news accurately, truthfully and thoroughly. The Collegian has already given her many opportunities to hone her writing and reporting skills. She is very grateful and excited to have a leadership position at The Collegian, which will allow her to continue to grow as a reporter and editor. As well as writing, Russell can be found skiing, hiking, rafting and doing pretty much anything else outdoors, as she’s from the mountains. She loves traveling and hopes to do more of it in the future. She will also read any book she can get her hands on.
Cat Blouch, Social Media Editor
Cat Blouch is the social media editor at The Collegian. They are a fourth-year student at Colorado State University studying business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in statistics from Delta, Colorado. They have been on The Collegian's team since the summer of 2020, starting on the opinion desk and later joining the photo team. Blouch began their social media interest by working on the @colostatememes page on Instagram and looked at the social media editor position as a way to further engage with the CSU community. They are excited to find new ways to hear the voice of the student body and engage more with readers through their positions at The Collegian. Blouch enjoys the flexibility of being able to pursue creativity in multiple mediums at The Collegian. When Blouch is off the clock, you can find them engaging in other creative areas such as creating music, writing poetry or filming a video. They hope to continue their creative pursuits after college through work in marketing analytics and content creation.

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