ASCSU shifts strategy as fight against U+2 loses student engagement

ASCSU said that if enough students came to their demonstration last month, U+2 would be put on the ballot. Instead, they issued an apology.


Collegian | Lucy Morantz

The City Council meeting room at Fort Collins City Hall overflows with audience members before the council meeting begins April 4. A council member reportedly made a deal with the Associated Students of Colorado State University that if 200 or more Colorado State University students attended the council meeting, then she would put the city’s controversial U+2 housing policy on the ballot for Fort Collins voters to decide its future.

Dylan Tusinski, Staff Reporter

After several failed attempts at mass student demonstrations against U+2, Associated Students of Colorado State University is changing its approach to abolishing the controversial housing ordinance. Rather than mobilizing students for larger events like the April 4 demonstration at Fort Collins City Council, CSU’s student government is using petitions and legislation as their primary tactics to combat U+2.

The shift in ASCSU’s strategy comes amid a significant drop in student engagement with the anti-U+2 movement. The aforementioned April 4 demonstration was organized by ASCSU in an attempt to put U+2 on the November ballot. But despite the overflow of students in the City Council chambers, council members skirted around their demands, leaving it unclear as to what exactly the protest had accomplished.


“I know there’s not as many students as we hoped tonight, but I know it’s also finals week and that students have to prepare for their future.” -Jorge Garcia, ASCSU director of housing security

A few days after the demonstration, ASCSU shared an Instagram post acknowledging they misunderstood a conversation with a City Council member and that the showing would not have any impact on the U+2 housing ordinance being on the November ballot.

“The deal between us and a City Council member in regards to getting U+2 on the ballot was a miscommunication between our leadership and communication team,” the Instagram post reads. “Council has been incredibly supportive of our work over the past few months, and we jumped the gun after misinterpreting a conversation with them before having all of the facts.”

The post also announced ASCSU began collecting signatures for a petition that, if successful, would place U+2 on the ballot. As of May 2, ASCSU Director of Housing Security Jorge Garcia said the petition has upward of 400 signatures.

ASCSU also announced they were organizing similar student turnouts at every City Council meeting from then on, beginning April 18. Turnout was low for many of those meetings with most of the students in attendance being ASCSU executive officers.

In order to draw more students in, ASCSU promised free pizza and political change for those who came to the May 2 City Council meeting. Fewer than 20 students showed up for the pizza, and only six or seven spoke during the council meeting against U+2. Garcia, who organized both demonstrations, noted the low student turnout at the May 2 meeting, attributing it to end-of-the-semester finals.

“I know there (are) not as many students as we hoped tonight, but I know it’s also finals week and that students have to prepare for their future,” Garcia said at the meeting.

President-elect Nick DeSalvo was among those who spoke before the council May 2, where he said ASCSU relied on state and local legislation rather than student activism to end U+2. He mentioned Senate Bill 213, which would prohibit local governments in Colorado from enforcing occupancy limits like U+2, but hinted toward using the petition as an alternative if the bill doesn’t pass.

“Senate Bill 213 hasn’t necessarily passed yet,” DeSalvo said. “There (has) been a slew of amendments that have been added to it, and so we’re not sure which direction it’s going to go. So on our end, in order to make sure U+2 no longer exists, we’ve created some backup measures to reflect that change. … We really have to address the housing problem if the state doesn’t.”

Reach Dylan Tusinski at or on Twitter @dylantusinski.