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ASCSU elections key to strengthen student voice

Sean Kennedy
Sean Kennedy

It’s time to get informed this spring. With student election season in full swing,  we have an unparalleled opportunity to stand in solidarity as a campus community and assert our needs to University administration. It is time for everyone to decide what ASCSU’s role is in holding CSU leadership accountable for their actions. It is time to get informed and involved in student representation.

The reason student government is so important this season is because these elections are taking in place during a critical time of transition and friction for both the University and Fort Collins. The rapid urbanization along the Front Range has caused our region to experience growing pains, evident by struggles with panhandling, conflicts over student housing and transportation concerns. As the CSU administration and city council begin to have these conversations on issues like the U+2 law and public parking, it is essential that we have strong student representation to defend our interests and voice our concerns as one of the fastest-growing populations in the city. Campus government is the place to start.

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ASCSU provides an excellent platform for students to voice their concerns, but it has been sorely underutilized by our campus community. The organization is not very visible on campus, and can appear to some as a homogenous group of overachieving students and Type-A personalities because it is dominated by a very small segment of the CSU community. In reality, ASCSU struggles to attract students and sees a high turnover rate in its representatives, because many across campus are unaware of how it works or what it does. The strength of our student government is only as strong as the community it represents. In other words, our platform for the student voice is only as loud as we are willing to make it. We are foolish to not utilize the opportunity.

ASCSU serves two primary functions that will be critical to students’ influence moving forward. First, they have control over allocation of millions of dollars in student funds, including indirect control over the budget of the Collegian. This can have a large impact on student-run organizations and involvement opportunities on campus. More importantly, the vice president of ASCSU (either Clayton King or Taylor Albaugh or Filipp Dedogryuk after this election) sits on the Student Fee Review Board, which provides a direct outlet to University administration to voice students’ budgetary concerns. As CSU’s largest source of income, we deserve transparency and addressing of our concerns, and this function is essential to getting that respect and legitimate attention from University leadership moving forward. This starts by students getting involved to legitimize our campus representation.

As a student body,we cannot afford to continue as we have and leave ASCSU under-utilized by students and under-respected by administration. Too often with recent student concerns like parking and the on-campus stadium, we have seen Tony Frank and other University administrators turn their noses up at public opinion. While CSU has every right as a business to use its land and resources as it sees fit, we cannot let administration forget that we the students are their primary customers and deserve to be treated as such. Whether you plan to vote for Yearby, Sydoriak or Wester this election season, it’s time to get behind our student representation and demand the accountability and transparency as that we deserve as paying customers.

Collegian Senior Columnist Sean Kennedy can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @seanskenn.

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