Vander Graaff: ASCSU shouldn’t have to delegate all student funding

Abby Vander

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Associated Students of Colorado State University had to make some tough decisions during last night’s meeting.


The meeting forced ASCSU senators to reflect upon the values of the students, and deliberate on which bills will be most worthwhile for the student body. Some of the issues brought up included CTV funding, food insecurity and sustainability.

This demonstrates how various issues around campus have fallen unofficially under the responsibility of ASCSU because the university fails to address them sufficiently. ASCSU’s job is to represent the students, but based on last night, the students have more needs than student government can handle.

The sheer amount of bills presented at the senate shows that CSU students care about a wide range of issues. Whether the result of mismanagement or the insufficiency of the $57 million of student fees handled by ASCSU, no amount of money will be enough to solve every issue on campus. 

As we are approaching the end of the year, our student government only has a few meetings left to spend $235,481.12. Current President Tristan Syron will veto bills that the senate passed outside of the budget.

One of the bills proposed solar panels to be added to the roof of the Lory Student Center. While sustainability is an important part of CSU, infrastructure and recruitment tactics should be left to the university, not the students.

Similarly, another bill proposed funding for food pantries on campus. Food insecurity is a major issue on campus, and CSU should be taking more action to counteract it so that ASCSU doesn’t have to.

Along with multiple bills, ASCSU reviewed the plan for the allocation of student fees for the 2019-2020 school year. Presidential-elect Benjamin Amundson presented the budget, which had to be cut 24% from last year. This year ASCSU had more money to spend due to rollover funds, but will have to cut spending for the coming year to avoid a student fee increase.

Areas in which student fees are spent include Athletics, Campus Recreation, CSU Health Center and the Lory Student Center.

One issue with student fee allocation that was not addressed was the disparity between on-campus and off-campus student fees.

In 2019, full-time, on-campus CSU students paid $1,202.56 in student fees individually. Off-campus full-time students paid $477.86.


This disparity doesn’t make sense for many areas of student fees, such as the Rec or the Lory Student Center. On-campus students pay for these areas while off-campus students do not, even though off-campus students can use these facilities as much as students who live on campus.

There was no right answer to which bills should have passed, and which should not have. But we can reflect on how these decisions were made, and whether or not they reflect the students accurately.

The tentative outline of the fee allocation involves cuts to areas that did not use all of their funds— one of these in question was the Student Diversity Offices.

After some confusion, Amundson said that he drafted the outline based on outdated books, and that he would have to revisit the budget to account for changes in the new books, including changes in Student Diversity Offices finances.

This makes it difficult to know how student fees will be allocated until next week, when Amundson said these changes will be made, and reinforces doubt that our current student leadership is equipped to deal with this responsibility.

There were also questions raised about how Amundson plans to fund parking improvements, which were a strong part of his campaign rhetoric.

Amundson stated that most of the funding allocated to these changes would be focused on marketing strategies to reduce the number of parking spots needed by encouraging students to use alternate modes of transportation.

But this advocacy is already taking place, and more of it will not likely make a large difference. Telling students they don’t need a car can also represent a lack of transparency. While students don’t need to drive to campus, with very few grocery stores or pharmacies near campus, bringing a car to college is very helpful.

The utility of bills was a large point of contention throughout the meeting. As ASCSU ran out of funds, the pressure rose to make decisions that would benefit the greatest amount of students.

In the beginning of the meeting, the senate passed every bill. Once funds were exhausted, Senators Connor Cheadle and Josh Lindell reminded the senate of failing funds during the deliberation of each bill. This encouraged senators to vote down bills based on the order in which they were presented, rather than based on their merit.

There was no right answer to which bills should have passed, and which should not have. But we can reflect on how these decisions were made, and whether or not they reflect the students accurately. 

Colorado State University has huge resources, and ASCSU controls only a small portion of these fees. There is pressure to fill in the gaps where the university fails to support its students, and now we can wonder whether out student government has risen to this task.

Abby Vander Graaff can be reached at or Twitter at @abbym_vg