This week in ASCSU: Student fees, accessibility caucus

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Collegian | Chloe Leline

Sam Hutton, Staff Reporter

The Associated Students of Colorado State University convened April 26 for the 28th and final session of the 52nd senate.

The session began with a thorough presentation from Associate Executive Director for Engagement and Talent Development at the Lory Student Center Pamela Norris, who educated senate on interviewing and hiring practices, management strategies and legal employment information ahead of upcoming ASCSU Executive Cabinet hirings. 

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Senate then heard from Director of Traditions and Programs Reed Vega, Director of Health and Wellness Alex Silverhart and President Rob Long, who updated senate on executive matters such as the upcoming ASCSU Blood Drive May 3 and ongoing Supreme Court hirings. 

Chief Justice Marcus Zacarias also updated senate on judicial happenings, mainly the next U+2 Action Committee at Fort Collins City Hall May 2. 

Senate also heard from several graduating senior senators, Executive Cabinet members and Supreme Court justices, who reflected on their time in ASCSU, thanked colleagues and supporters and provided the incoming senate with pieces of advice and closing remarks.

Bill 5224 “Approval of the FY24 Total Student Fee Package” was then discussed.

The bill seeks to approve the Student Fee Review Board’s proposed student fee figures for the upcoming 2023-24 academic year, which will help fund ASCSU salaries, university programs including the CSU Health Network and the Women and Gender Advocacy Center and Lory Student Center operations.

The proposed package will implement a 2.04% total increase in yearly student fees, equating to an approximately $30 increase per student.

Vice President and SFRB Chair Elijah Sandoval attributed the proposed fee increase to budgetary mismanagement in the 51st senate that resulted in ASCSU overspending.

“It’s not that we ended up in the negative, but if (the new administration) didn’t ask for a fee increase, ASCSU would end up in the negative and would not be able to support and sponsor all the things we support and sponsor,” Sandoval said.

The legislation was tabled after senate consulted ASCSU and SFRB bylaws, concluding that an official piece of legislation is unnecessary for the approval of a new student fee package.

By way of a majority vote, however, senate indicated their confidence in SFRB processes, approving the student fee package.

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Resolution 5207 “Expansion of All Gender Housing” was then considered.

The resolution seeks to lobby CSU Housing and Dining Services to expand All Gender Housing initiatives on campus, citing the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all CSU students. 

“I think calling on the university to expand all-gender housing is really important because trans students are often forced to pick between accessibility or an environment that’s affirming to their gender,” Senator Rory Low said. “Very rarely are those spaces actually overlapping.”

The resolution passed by way of a majority vote.

Lex 5207 “Voting Rights and Senate Associate Senator Membership” was also considered.

The lex aims to clarify the voting rights of associate senators, determining voting rights on pieces of legislation are only granted to associate senators if they are an acting committee chair.

The lex passed by way of a majority vote.

Bill 5221 “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buttons Act” was then discussed.

The bill intends to create an Accessibility Caucus within ASCSU in an effort to continue advocating for CSU students with disabilities in accordance with ASCSU and CSU’s commitment to accessibility and accommodation. The caucus will focus on the investigation and repair of broken door buttons and other accessibility measures on the CSU campus.

“I think it’s important, as student activists, that we’re making sure the university is compliant in diversity, equity and inclusion,” DEI Affairs Committee Chair Adrian Salazar said.

The bill passed by way of a majority vote.

Bill 5222 “Changes to the LSAB Bylaws” was also discussed.

The legislation makes clerical and procedural edits to the Legislative Student Advisory Board’s bylaws, clarifying attendance requirements and discussion and debate procedures.

After the bill was expedited, it passed with unanimous consent.

Bill 5225 “Executive Job Descriptions” was then considered.

The legislation updates existing ASCSU Executive Cabinet positions, adds new positions, including a deputy director of alumni affairs, and eliminates or demotes several other existing positions.

The bill will be sent to all four committees.

ASCSU senate will resume May 3 with the swearing in of the 53rd senate.

Reach Sam Hutton at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Sam_Hut14.