ASCSU Senate votes on concealed carry, student fee increase

Guns and money were the hot topics at last night’s ASCSU Senate meeting.

Senate agreed in a 19-6-4 vote to support a resolution by the ASCSU Student Fee Sustainability Task Force that would create revenue through a small student fee increase to replenish reserve coffers of student government.

Associate Senator Nicholas Goode talks in senate Wednesday night in the Computer Science building.
Associate Senator Nicholas Goode talks in senate Wednesday night in the Computer Science building.

Senate also ratified a vote on last week’s resolution deciding if ASCSU would oppose a bill currently making its way through the state legislature that would ban concealed carry weapons at public universities.

Two weeks ago, ASCSU conducted a two-day student opinion survey on the Lory Student Center Plaza.

The survey asked students a series of questions on whether or not they support banning concealed weapons on campus. Out of the 579 students who responded, 79 percent said they opposed any ban of concealed weapons on campus.

After last week’s resolution passed on a 14-4-1 vote, ASCSU director of governmental affairs Lindon Belshe delivered a letter Monday evening to the state legislature that had been crafted by ASCSU Vice President Joe Eden, voicing opposition to the concealed carry bill on behalf of the CSU student body.

“I would like to inform this body that the majority of students at Colorado State University oppose any ban placed on the legal possession of a concealed weapon on the CSU-Fort Collins campus,” Eden wrote in the letter.

Two senators walked out before the vote took place the previous Wednesday, placing the total number of senators under the two-thirds quorum needed to ratify any vote and delaying the ratification until last night’s meeting.

Terran Hause, a senator representing the College of Liberal Arts, was one of the two senators who walked out last week.

He felt the student opinion survey wasn’t random and didn’t accurately reflect student opinion. Hause also wanted an amendment added to the resolution that would let lawmakers know the survey was not random.

“We wanted to make that clear to the state legislature how the data was collected and how it could be mis-skewed, so we’re not misrepresenting the whole student body,” Hause said.

Belshe had previously acknowledged the survey was not random, but still felt it accurately reflected student opinion. A random phone survey conducted Tuesday found a similar percentage, although it only polled 30 students.

Belshe had strong words for the senators who walked out on last week’s vote.

“The democratic process and their roles as senators dictates that they cast a dissenting vote and share their concerns, but the manipulation of parliamentary procedure undermines the democratic process and is an act of cowardice,” Belshe said.

Resolution 4207 makes changes to the ASCSU student fee protocol.

The resolution is non-binding and is a “strong recommendation” for a budget blueprint for the next ASCSU administration said Wendy Bowling, the ASCSU director of finance.

The measure would have all full time, on-campus students pay an additional 78 cents to the mandatory $35.92 ASCSU fee they currently pay.

Full time off-campus students, like those enrolled in credit hours but doing an internship out of state or studying abroad, for example, would be exempt from the ASCSU fee.

Part time on-campus students, who currently do not pay an ASCSU fee, would begin paying a $25.38 fee — something that hasn’t happened in the past.

In return, the part time on-campus students would have access to ASCSU services like Transfort and RamRide.

“A lot of part time students wanted to use our services but weren’t paying the fee to do so,” Bowling said. “The task force determined part time students should be paying and have access to these services.”

The next ASCSU administration has the choice to not implement the fee change. If they choose not to, $55,694 would have to be cut from next year’s budget.

“This will make the budget sustainable,” Bowling said. “It should eliminate the need for student fee increases in the near future.”

While every fee-funded area on campus is required to have a 10 to 15 percent cash reserve of their total budget, the ASCSU reserve budget is currently 5 percent.

Bowling said this small fee increase will add an additional $20,000 to the $100,000 ASCSU has in its reserve budget, increasing the total to 6.5 percent.

“The reserve is for situations like under-enrollment or natural disasters like the flood that destroyed our office,” Bowling said.”There’s a good reason the reserves are there.”

Senior Reporter Austin Briggs can be reached at news@collegian.com.