Drastic budget cuts and tuition increases may take effect for
the upcoming fall semester at CSU.
In the midst of recent budget cut proposals, like the College
Opportunity Fund, enterprise status and the academic bill of rights
and other bills, students at CSU may be seeing changes in campus
life in the fall.
With the danger of these reforms looming over the state, some
students and professors are concerned that the general student body
is not aware of the state’s current condition and should be more
Currently, John Straayer, a professor of political science, has
24 juniors and seniors working as interns with the state
legislature, and he takes students to the state Capitol every
Tuesday and Thursday. Straayer said although he could not speak for
the entire campus, he felt students enrolled in courses he teaches
actively follow legislature.
Robert Lawrence, a political science professor, said he tries to
incorporate current political issues in his class as much as
possible. Lawrence believes it is important for students to be
knowledgeable about current issues and to keep them interested in
the subject matter.
Citing an excerpt from the First Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution regarding peaceful assembly and petitioning the
government for redress of grievance, Lawrence said it is important
for people to be active in government.
“In a democratic society we expect people to lobby their
legislature,” he said.
Lawrence believes that it is important to finance higher
education to provide for the country’s prosperity. Cutting funding
to education is an undercutting of national security, Lawrence
“A less-educated society is less competitive in the global
community and is less likely to remain a military or economic
superpower” Lawrence said. “(Students) need to go to their parents
and the legislature and say, ‘Look, we’re the future.'”
Two main outlets for students to become knowledgeable and get
involved in politics are through the CSU Young Democrats and the
CSU College Republicans student organizations.
The Young Democrats set up a stand Wednesday on the Lory Student
Center Plaza to sign students up for the organization and to
register students to vote.
“We want to increase voter registration, which is why we’re out
here today,” said Josh Metten, vice president of the Young
Democrats. “We want more young people to vote and make educated
decisions about their lives.”
T he Young Democrats are reorganizing their affairs right now,
according to Metten but concluded by saying, “After Spring Break
you will definitely be seeing more activity from us.”
Promoting the students’ academic bill of rights as well as
creating the “Campus Insanity Project,” which attempts to clean up
graffiti and “liberal propaganda,” have been the main focuses of
the CSU College Republicans this year, said Robert Lee, vice
chairman for the College Republicans of Colorado.
To create a better-informed campus, Lee proposes that the
Associated Students of CSU hand out fliers on the Plaza when
important issues related to higher education arise and that the
information is easy to comprehend.
“ASCSU should be more dedicated to providing digestible
information to the student body as a whole, and not just through
their Web site,” Lee said. “People have at least four or five
things to take care of a day; they just don’t have time to sit and
read a legislative analysis.”
Lee feels that there are organizations on campus to educate
students, but it is the student government’s duty to proactively
provide students with information about state issues.
“The best way to get involved initially is to find a group that
focuses on the university before the state,” Lee said.
ASCSU President Jesse Lauchner said ASCSU is always working to
inform students of issues that concern them, but it has not been
quite as successful as it would like.
“We’re working on measures to blanket the campus with
information,” Lauchner said. “We’ve had a lot of hit-and-miss
experiences with how to inform the student body, but we’re always
open to ideas.”
ASCSU contracts a lobbyist to provide a voice for CSU students
at the Capitol and sends some of its members to the Capitol at
least twice a week to monitor legislative activity.
“We’ve tried lots of different avenues of marketing to get the
word out about things like CSU Day at the Capitol,” said Katie
Clausen, ASCSU’s vice president. ” But I’d still like to see more
In a special session called by the ASCSU Senate in February, the
decision whether to support the House Bill 1315, the academic bill
of rights, was discussed with an opportunity for the public to
address the senators.
“We addressed legislature on 1315 and got a lot of feedback from
students through formal channels,” Clausen said. “We got a strong
response from (the ASCSU Senate) gallery.”
Complications from such bills the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and
Amendment 23 are frequently being referred to as the cause of the
current financial crisis in Colorado’s higher education, and voters
will be asked to make some critical decisions in November. Lawrence
feels it is necessary for communities to assess their values when
voting for different bills and tax restrictions.
“Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes had a quote, ‘With taxes
you buy civilization,'” Lawrence said. “If you want a high-class
society you have to pay for it.”