ASCSU elections: Speaker of the senate debate


Collegian | Serena Bettis

Associated Students of Colorado State University speaker of the senate candidates Ava Ayala and Hayden Taylor listen to CTV Entertainment Director Naomi Hillmer at the speaker of the senate debate in the Lory Student Center Ballroom A March 28.

Naomi Hillmer

Sam Hutton, Staff Reporter

The Associated Students of Colorado State University speaker of the senate candidates Ava Ayala and Hayden Taylor participated in a live debate March 28.

The debate, taking place in the Lory Student Center Ballroom A and livestreamed by CTV, granted both candidates opportunities to display their qualifications for office, assess the current climate within the senate and the CSU campus and outline their goals and initiatives if elected.


The central points of discussion during the debate and the overarching theme of the ASCSU election cycle included ASCSU’s relationship with the student body, the candidates’ motivations for pursuing the speaker position, ASCSU accountability and transparency, the U+2 residency policy and the management of student funds.

ASCSU/student relationship

Throughout its history as a student organization, ASCSU has struggled with campus outreach and student participation, evidenced by a record-low 6% student voter turnout in the previous election cycle. ASCSU candidates across the legislative and executive branches have made strengthening relationships on campus a fixture of their campaigns, offering different solutions to address the issue.

Both Ayala and Taylor said they believe they can work to further bridge the divide between ASCSU senators and their constituents, promote increased campus outreach and rebuild the reputation of ASCSU if elected as speaker.

“One of the biggest things I would plan to do is have communication with College Councils and Student Diversity Programs and Services offices so that they can get their message out to the constituents they represent,” Taylor said. “Having that communication so that people know what we do would be the biggest goal of mine.”

“I totally agree; I think communication between the offices on campus (is essential),” Ayala said. “Allowing myself to still talk to every person that I’ve talked to this year or the connections I’ve made helps improve the space in senate.”


Both candidates were granted an opportunity to express their motivations for running for speaker of the senate, discussing their previous experience in ASCSU and detailing their primary motivating factors behind seeking elected office.

Ayala and Taylor are current senators and serve on multiple committees within the senate, using their previous experience to provide input on the future of ASCSU.

“We have a lot of times that (senate) becomes not the most welcoming of a place to be, so I think that having someone that can guide us back to a place of community and kindness so we can accomplish goals that actually benefit students is one of the biggest reasons I decided to run,” Taylor said.

“I think looking at the job this year and all my previous years of student government, I chose to run because I felt that I saw the problem in senate, and I could be the person that could help change it,” Ayala said. “I could be the impartial facilitator and make the hard decisions that the speaker has to every Wednesday.”

Accountability and transparency

ASCSU senate has come under scrutiny in recent months regarding the lack of accountability within the senate and limited transparency on campus, which, according to the candidates, assigns a negative connotation to the organization and further limits student outreach.


ASCSU is responsible for the allocation of funds generated from student fees through the Student Fee Review Board, which determines the distribution of over $1.2 million in student funds to campus programs such as RamRide, athletics, student media and campus events.

Both candidates believe they can use their status as speaker to promote increased internal accountability, strengthen the campus perception of ASCSU and help voice the needs of students to SFRB.

“Accountability falls upon the speaker with being able to pull senate back to a kind environment where we can benefit students by passing meaningful legislation,” Taylor said.

“Being transparent with senate and the student body about what’s happening is the biggest role of the speaker,” Ayala said.

U+2 residency policy

The Fort Collins U+2 residency policy, which restricts the number of occupants legally allowed in a residential setting, has been consistently denounced by ASCSU leadership, becoming a fixture of ASCSU business and serving as one of the executive branch’s primary focuses.

While ASCSU has no direct involvement in Fort Collins City Council processes, Ayala and Taylor believe they can work to promote additional involvement in local government and, ideally, influence legislation that makes edits to the policy to better benefit CSU students living off-campus.

“I’ve seen the work that our executive cabinet has been doing for U+2, and I think for me personally, I would want to take steps to first outreach to them and see how I can back them up and how senate can back them up,” Ayala said. “I think that I have the skills to outreach enough to get information out and make sure that students know what’s happening and how to get involved.”

“The only thing we can do is act as the voice of the students and say that ASCSU does not like U+2 and we think it should be changed,” Taylor said. “I think that I can be some of that change in having that communication with students, faculty, CSU administration and Fort Collins City Council to have that dialogue.”

Elections for speaker of the senate take place April 3-5 on RAMweb.

Reach Sam Hutton at or on Twitter @Sam_Hut14.