Jan 262009
Authors: Stephen Lin

Last week, Collegian editorial columnist Phoenix Mourning-Star was named the new Chief of Staff of student government and steps into a role formerly held by Blake Gibson, who resigned last semester citing “weird interpersonal conflicts” between the president and other leaders.

As a member of the executive staff of the Associated Students of CSU, the Chief of Staff is responsible for maintaining an effective line of communication between the Cabinet as a whole and ensuring that the student leaders have access to all the information and resources available.

“My job is to make sure they’ve got the tools that they need,” Mourning-Star said.

The newly-hired Chief of Staff is an Environmental Health Epidemiology graduate student who, over the last year, made frequent appearances in the Collegian, writing many articles detailing his experiences while traveling abroad.

ASCSU President Taylor Smoot said that in his new position, Mourning-Star will be responsible for keeping every departments’ projects on track throughout the semester.

“Phoenix’s job is to make sure every department has resources and support that they need to succeed,” Smoot said, adding, “Phoenix is a really extraordinary individual.”

Mourning-Star said he brings to ASCSU international experience and the multitude of perspectives that he witnessed while overseas.

He had humble goals for the new semester and said he wants to “make sure that (ASCSU doesn’t) lose the knowledge and progress” that was made last year.

Mourning-Star also said that he is looking forward to his new position but most prominently, “getting to know everyone who works at ASCSU on a personal basis.”

Director of Legislative Affairs Seth Walter, who said he was pleased to meet Mourning-Star, praised the recently hired government leader’s attitude calling him “very excited and energetic.”

Mourning-Star replaced Blake Gibson, a junior Biomedical Science and Spanish major, who was primarily responsible for authoring a textbook transparency bill in 2007 that helped lower textbook prices for students. Gibson resigned last semester amid controversy between himself and other senior executive staff of ASCSU.

Walter said he had some advice to offer to the new Chief of Staff: “Make it your own, make it something you can be proud of.”

Staff writer Stephen Lin can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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