Apr 242008
Authors: Taylor Smoot

In the past few days, my 2008-2009 Associated Students of CSU budget proposal has generated a substantial amount of discourse.

The brunt of the discussion has focused on the student fee increase that is necessary to implement the improvements I promised in my campaign — specifically, more RamRide cars, more bike racks, a campus-wide subscription to The Onion and a homecoming concert.

Since my intent has been called into question, I want to take a moment to clarify where I’m coming from with this proposal.

From an individual approach, the question is simple: Are these improvements worth $3.33 a semester to you? This consideration is fundamental to the issue, but we must remember that there are bigger components at play as well.

First, making these changes was my commitment to you; it was the platform on which I ran. To disregard this obligation, to break my promise and allow your demands for change and progress to go unmet would be unbecoming of both my character and the honor of the presidential office to which I have been elected.

Therefore, I cannot in good conscience give anything less than my fullest effort toward these improvements.

I understand that not every component of my proposal will pass (the Finance Board on Monday cut The Onion from the plan).

The increased fee will be a beneficial one, and not excessive. My job is to give the extent of my energy, dedication and talent in ensuring this.

Also, there is another question that is central to this discussion: What do we aspire to? Are we, as a university, committed to improving the quality of student life and making the changes necessary to establish CSU as the flagship institution in the state?

While there will always be a multitude of opinions as to how to best improve our school, the benefit of the students should remain as the primary focus. Let’s make sure that our efforts are rooted in authentic concerns.

I ask that we all keep in mind that change does require some sacrifice and flexibility. I am appealing to our higher aspirations of ambition, progress and greatness; I’m asking everyone to consider what’s possible for CSU.

As president, I am committed to enacting positive change. I am also committed to the belief that this change is something we must undertake as a united and whole university.

We have an opportunity here to create a stronger, more accessible, more ambitious university.

I’ve done my best to reflect these goals and values in my budget. The budget was created with the intent of fulfilling campaign promises and aiming to expand the capacity of ASCSU.

While post-campaign has proven to have opposition and criticism, I feel the difficulty will help to prepare and edify ASCSU as a quality organization.

By demonstrating our perseverance and commitment we will be able to represent student needs beyond the current measures. The concerns brought forth should be considered accordingly, but there is work to be done.

It is my intent to listen and deliver to the best of my ability. It is the student voice that matters most.

Taylor Smoot is a senior political science major and is ASCSU President-elect. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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