ASCSU elections: DeSalvo, Silverhart elected president, VP, Ayala elected speaker


Collegian | Reiley Costa

Nick DeSalvo and Alex Silverhart hug each other after they are announced as this year’s president and vice president of the Associated Students of Colorado State University in the senate chambers April 5.

CTV News

Dylan Tusinski, Staff Reporter

Nicholas DeSalvo and Alex Silverhart won the 2022-23 race for President and Vice President of the Associated Students of Colorado State University on April 5 with 35.55% of the vote. Ava Ayala was elected speaker of the senate, and seven students were elected as senators. The ASCSU Constitution was also re-ratified.

“I want to thank the student population, first of all for sharing in our vision, and seeing that we want to bring tangible change for the students that have been lacking for such a long time.” President-elect DeSalvo said.


Voter turnout was significantly higher than last year’s elections, with 14.49% of the student body turning out to vote. Election managers and candidates alike hoped to increase voter turnout and avoid a repeat of the 2022-23 elections, in which only 6.17% of the student body turned in their ballots.

DeSalvo and Silverhart won the presidency with 1,650 votes. The Ritter-Trout campaign came in second place with 1,334 votes, followed by the Correa-Laffey and Duffield-Aschenbrenner campaigns with 1,048 and 288 votes, respectively.

“I am just so proud of all the students, even the students that didn’t vote for us,” Vice President-elect Silverhart said. “We’ve seen that we went from 6% last year to 14% this year. It was amazing.”

Ava Ayala was elected speaker of the senate with 56.47% of the vote, defeating Hayden Taylor for the title.

Multiple candidates also won election to the senate, with Audrey Laffey and Brycen Van Tassel being elected to represent the College of Business, Parker Doyle for the College of Engineering, Jack Barrett and Joseph Ford for the College of Liberal Arts, Ellie Lutz for the College of Natural Resources and Cole Johnson for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The results were announced from the ASCSU Senate Chambers and broadcast live on the CTV YouTube Channel. They were announced by ASCSU Elections Manager Grace Neumann, who touted the relatively high turnout amidst in an election where nearly every candidate raised concerns about low student engagement with ASCSU.

“I want to take a second and congratulate the candidates for their hard work, my elections committee for their hard work and ASCSU for letting students use their voice,” Neumann said during the announcement.

President-elect DeSalvo and Vice President-elect Silverhart ran on a platform that focused on cooperation with local governments, advocating for students’ mental health and increasing participation within student government.

DeSalvo has served as ASCSU’s speaker of the senate since he was elected last year, and Silverhart is currently ASCSU’s Director of Health and Wellness. Their campaign was endorsed by Fort Collins Mayor Jeni Arndt and outgoing president Rob Long.


Their campaign was at the center of controversy towards the end of the election, with outgoing president Rob Long filing a complaint to ASCSU’s elections committee on DeSalvo and Silverhart’s behalf. The complaint alleged that presidential and vice presidential hopefuls Mia Ritter and Sammy Trout, who conceded tonight, were responsible for a series of Instagram posts that disparaged DeSalvo, Silverhart and other candidates for president and vice president.

The posts were shared on Instagram by Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation Board Member Ro Contreras, who has been an active supporter of Ritter and Trout’s campaign. The posts claimed president-elect DeSalvo “has active bias reports against him,” and has threatened ASCSU senators from marginalized communities.

In a separate post, they alleged that vice president-elect Silverhart “has a past of saying and acting in a racist and misogynistic way” and that “he has also made many queer folks feel uncomfortable because he leads queer conversations in a (very) sexualized (manner).”

No direct evidence was immediately provided behind those claims.

The elections committee decided the Ritter-Trout campaign was responsible for Contreras’ comments, which were “slandering” the character of DeSalvo, Silverhart, Contreras and Laffey. They did not rule the posts as defamation, however, due to the university administration’s historically pro-free speech stance.

In order to promote transparency, The Collegian has linked the Elections Code violations records here. The violation forms feature the complaints submitted by Long and Correa, screenshots of Contreras’ posts and documentation of their connection to the Ritter-Trout campaign.

President-elect DeSalvo and Vice President-elect Silverhart also look to restore trust in student government after a handful of separate controversies plagued the beginning of the campaign cycle. Inside sources within ASCSU claimed the senate is a “hostile environment” that has misappropriated student funds in a set of anonymous letters to The Collegian just weeks before the campaign formally began.

“It reminds me of what Michelle Obama said: ‘When they go low, we go high,’ President-elect DeSalvo said. “And even if we did lose this election, and that’s what matters. It’s a pillar of our values.”

The race for speaker of the senate was less contentious, with both Ava Ayala and Hayden Taylor agreeing on many issues during the campaign cycle and their debate last week. Both candidates agreed that ASCSU needs to be a more welcoming community, and that it needs to begin by bridging the divide between student government and its constituents.

Despite the candidates’ similar platforms, Ayala came out victorious with 2,474 votes, or 56.47% of the total vote. Taylor came in second, receiving 1,411 votes for 32.15% of the vote.

Speaker-elect Ayala is a first-year student currently majoring in Zoology. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Diversity and Equity Affairs committee and as an ASCSU senator for the College of Natural Sciences. Her campaign focused on improving ASCSU’s relationship with students and increasing accessibility within the Senate Chambers.

“I’m just ready to work hard and make Senate a safe environment and a safe space for all the new senators and the associates that will be coming in, and hopefully to change the thoughts and ideas of what people think about Senate,” Speaker-elect Ayala said.

President-elect DeSalvo, Vice President-elect Silverhart and Speaker-elect Ayala all shared their hopes to increase accountability, outreach and transparency within student government during their campaigns.

The candidates will be sworn in to their positions later this semester.

Reach Dylan Tusinski at or on Twitter @dylantusinski.