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This week in ASCSU: Women’s Caucus, lobbyist employment

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(Graphic Illustration by Christine Moore-Bonbright | The Collegian)

The Associated Students of Colorado State University convened Sept. 13 for the fourth session of the 53rd senate.

The session began with a thorough presentation from Divest CSU, who updated senate on their efforts to promote transparency and accountability from the CSU administration regarding fossil fuel usage and encouraging further investment into renewable energy practices.

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Executive reports followed, with Director of Environmental Affairs Haydyn Deason, President Nick DeSalvo and Vice President Alex Silverhart updating the legislative body on recent and upcoming executive initiatives, including composting in the Lory Student Center, CSU sustainability funding, the parking and transportation board, provost hiring processes, the upcoming Goose concert on the LSC lawn and the Bike 2 School event Sept. 20.

Deputy Chief Justice Jamie Binder also updated senate on supreme court happenings such as conflict resolution training and upcoming court meetings.

Moving into confidence business, the ratification of director of diversity and inclusion took place. 

The director of diversity and inclusion is responsible for ensuring diversity and inclusion is thoroughly considered in all proposed campus initiatives and projects, ideally making campus completely accessible and equitable for all members of the CSU community. 

Leticia Madrigal-Tapia was nominated for the position.

“I think the most important thing is listening to what students want to see on campus with inclusivity, diversity and equity, but also listening to what professionals have to say,” Madrigal-Tapia said.

After a significantly brief period of discussion and debate, Madrigal-Tapia was ratified with unanimous consent.

The election of Women’s Caucus chair then took place, with Senator Olivia Friske being nominated for the position.

The Women’s Caucus chair is responsible for working alongside the Women and Gender Advocacy Center to advocate for women across the CSU community and ensure diverse perspectives are accounted for in all pieces of legislation.

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“Something that I’m really passionate about is bringing intersectionality to the WGAC and to the senate in general,” Friske said. “I’m looking at the Women’s Caucus as an opportunity to help do that and help represent voices that may not always be represented.”

Friske was approved with unanimous consent.

Bill #5307, “Hiring of ASCSU Lobbyist” was then considered.

The legislation seeks ASCSU funding totaling $14,000 to secure the services of a lobbyist within the Colorado General Assembly, ensuring that CSU student perspectives are reflected in future pieces of state legislation, according to the legislative authors.

“(In order to) elevate ASCSU on all levels, especially the state level, a lobbyist is imperative,” DeSalvo said.

The bill’s authors also drew attention to the controversial CSU tuition increase implemented for the 2023-24 academic year, attributing the increase to a lack of student representation in the state legislature, which has some say in the allocation of university funding.

The proposed contract, which will employ current CSU instructor Jennifer Cassell’s public affairs firm Bowditch & Cassell Public Affairs, only pertains to the upcoming 2024 legislative session, meaning additional funding must be secured for future lobbying services. 

The bill will be sent to the university and budgetary affairs committees.

Bill #5308, “Senate Job Descriptions” was also considered to conclude the session.

The bill seeks the confirmation and approval of the 53rd senate’s job descriptions, which must be reviewed annually to ensure full transparency and understanding among ASCSU members. 

The bill notably mandates official grade checks for ASCSU members in an effort to ensure members are considered in good standing by the university.

After the legislation was expedited, it was approved by way of a majority vote.

ASCSU senate will resume Sept. 20.

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

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