ASCSU kicks off senate with special session

Senior+biomedical+sciences+student+Alex+Silverhart+particpates+in+the+first+senate+meeting+of+the+semester+of+the+Associated+Students+of+Colorado+State+University+Aug.+31.

Collegian | Cat Blouch

Senior biomedical sciences student Alex Silverhart particpates in the first senate meeting of the semester of the Associated Students of Colorado State University Aug. 31.

Piper Russell and Allie Seibel

The Associated Students of Colorado State University held their first senate meeting of the fall semester Aug. 31. 

Considered a special session because the bylaws were not reviewed and no legislature was ratified, the meeting was for the purpose of swearing in many new senators and representatives from various colleges and the Student Diversity Programs and Services offices, as well as approving a new deputy chief justice.

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After the swearing in of new senators, ASCSU moved on to gallery input, wherein they heard from Chief of Staff Haydyn Deason. Jasen Wahler, chief of state, and Alex Silverhart, director of health and wellness, also introduced themselves and briefly spoke about projects they’re working on.

Ariadne Athey, internal affairs chair, said it seemed the intention behind the meeting was to ratify someone without a quorum requirement, “meaning the minority gets to make the decision” and drew attention to the fact that the senate wouldn’t be going over the bylaws. The special session had no formal membership requirement, meaning a full senate was not present, and therefore bylaws were not able to be reviewed. 

Athey also spoke about how the agenda for the meeting was decided without a vote of the legislative cabinet and because of that, the agenda for the meeting is “null and void.”

“I can’t for the life of me understand any good intentions about the way this session has been set up,” Athey said.

Athey went on to say she will “fight this every time from here on out if the rules aren’t followed. Explicitly not following rules is a slippery slope to corruption.”

Speaker of the Senate Nick DeSalvo responded to Athey’s comments by citing a constitutional amendment stating bylaws must be passed on the senate’s first regularly scheduled session, complete with normal attendance.

“We talk a lot about hearing everyone’s voice in this organization,” DeSalvo said. “So in my mind, it would be detrimental to the students we represent, the offices we represent and the university if we ran through these bylaws without all eyes on the bylaws. That was the justification. … I take big issue with the major decisions that steer the direction of this senate being made by a small minority of the student population.”

Later, ASCSU moved into their confidence business, which included the swearing in of Noah Burge as parliamentarian.

Kelley Dungan, sponsored and presented by Chief Justice Marcus Zacarias, responded to questions from the senate and was unanimously ratified and sworn in as deputy chief justice. 

Dungan has held positions with ASCSU in the past as an associate justice and is confident in her ability to balance ASCSU work and her substitute teaching job in the Fort Collins School District. She was asked questions regarding both the professional and personal skills she will bring to ASCSU.

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“I think my biggest strength as an individual is my ability to empathize very well,” Dungan said. “I think that is something that is very important for this role. I view myself as a very effective communicator and strong leader.”

When asked how she plans to incorporate diverse viewpoints in her job at ASCSU, Dungan said, “To me, inclusion is having a seat at the table and having your voice be heard.” 

After adjournment, ASCSU held an informational session for new senators, in which DeSalvo presented on writing bills and Robert’s Rules of Order, which included definitions and information on parliamentary procedure. DeSalvo also spoke about his goals for the school year ahead.

“Last year, the environment was incredibly dysfunctional,” DeSalvo said. “Not a whole lot got done. So that’s when I decided to run. I decided to kind of shift the culture within the senate, and that’s one of my main goals now, to where we maintain our focus and we don’t have tunnel vision on maybe being a loud symbol of division or a political figure or scoring political points in this environment.”

DeSalvo went on to say he’d rather the senate focus on “legislation that is beneficial to the students.”

Regular senate sessions will resume Sept. 7.

Reach Allie Seibel and Piper Russell at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @csucollegian.