LTTE: What is ASCSU really doing to help CSU students?

LTTE%3A+What+is+ASCSU+really+doing+to+help+CSU+students%3F

Collegian | Trin Bonner

Guest Author

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. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval.

I, the author, have made the choice to write this article anonymously for a number of reasons. However, the main reason is because of fear of retaliation. 

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I have seen and know many students who have come forward about the problems within the Associated Students of Colorado State University, and those students have been retaliated against: anywhere from harassment through texting and social media to lies being spread about them and damaging their reputation. I, as a student, should not be afraid to ask questions about these issues, yet I am.

Many of the students of Colorado State University have heard of ASCSU. We walked by the Lory Student Center and have seen the ASCSU letters on the window facing The Plaza.

In the spring, we walk through The Plaza and see tables of students running for the student body president and vice president seats and the speaker of the senate seat. We have heard in our classes that we need to vote on RamWeb for these individuals we know nothing about.

We question what ASCSU is and how they have helped the student body. But what do we know about them and what they do? Why is there so much negativity associated with their name?

According to its website, “The Associated Students of Colorado State University is the student voice on campus! The elected representatives of ASCSU advocate for CSU students on campus and at the local, state and national levels of the government.”

Okay? But how are they showing this? The 52nd Senate had its first meeting in September, and while it started strong, that strength slowly faded, and the Senate became divided.

The first example was on Sept. 28, 2022, during the first Student Fee Review Board ratification. Stephen Laffey took a step forward threateningly while questioned about their past actions, and nobody did anything. The only person that reacted was Vice President Elijah Sandoval, who put their hand on this individual’s shoulder to prevent them from moving closer.

Two senators who felt threatened and unsafe by this movement left the chambers. The voting still happened without those two senators present, and the SFRB members were ratified.

On Nov. 16, 2022, SFRB members were re-ratified, however, without Stephen Laffey.

While it seems that ASCSU, at least from the outside, is a voice for the students and says to have the best interest of the students, that is not the case. The actions that took place on Sept. 28, 2022, were just the beginning of this space that once welcomed everyone’s voice turning into a space that is now a hostile environment.

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“Students can see how ASCSU claims to be a voice for all students. However, when the time comes to put those words into action, it does not happen.”

This hostile environment continued to develop because a few senators acted on their self-interests and bias rather than working in the student body’s interest.

For example, The Collegian posted an article on Oct. 27, 2022, that used a picture from the 51st Senate. This did not sit well with some current members. The senator for the Office of International Programs, Rithik Correa, went as far as to post a comment on the article threatening, “Maybe it’s time to rethink the contract,” referring to the contract between Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation and ASCSU.

Senators do not have a part in negotiating this contract; only the student body president and the secretary of state can renegotiate. This comment caused backlash from ASCSU, with some agreeing with the statement, saying that RMSMC does not do everything they are contracted to do and others saying RMSMC is also students, working and learning. It is not OK to make threats like this.

Correa, who made the initial comment, has been the center of most of the backlash within ASCSU; this brings us to the final example of how ASCSU is not all it claims to be.

On Nov. 30, 2022, a bill was presented on the floor to turn the Diversity and Inclusion Caucus into a committee. This change would allow bills, resolutions and legislation to be sent to this committee to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are upheld throughout all of ASCSU.

Some Senate members and members of the Executive Branch voiced support for this bill, saying that this is a step forward in showing the student body that ASCSU is more than just performative; they would be taking action as well. The Student Diversity Programs and Services senators voiced how important this is to those whose voices are always silenced in this space.

However, Shamsher Sodhi, senator for the College of Natural Sciences, argued that “giving more power to marginalized communities” would not be a good idea regarding DEI and would be a waste of student funds for the caucus to become a committee. 

Many senators were visibly upset and hurt, having to leave the space because of the hostile environment that was being created.

While this bill did get the majority vote, because it would be changing the bylaws, it would need a two-thirds majority vote, per the ASCSU Senate Bylaws, which it did not have. This was pointed out after the votes were counted and the results were announced. 

Many senators were very hurt, angry and disappointed with this. Some say Correa, who pointed out the two-thirds rule, said it proudly. Students can see how ASCSU claims to be a voice for all students. However, when the time comes to put those words into action, it does not happen. 

Many students feel they cannot be in that space because they do not want to subject themselves to the hostility and toxicity that come with that space.

ASCSU, if you claim to support, represent and hear all students, then why do you have members that act in their self-interest? Rather than working in the interest of the student body of Colorado State University?

Every Senate session is available for the public to see. Students and community members can come to these sessions and sit in the gallery; they can join online through Zoom or watch the live stream on YouTube. During gallery input, anyone can share their thoughts about ASCSU, the school, issues they see around campus and anything else.

Anonymous CSU Student

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