Feb 252010
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Student government leaders said they are ecstatic that the bill giving CSU students voting rights on the CSU System Board of Governors passed through the House Education committee 7-6 Thursday evening.

After the bill failed in the same committee last year by one vote, members of the Associated
Students of CSU and the state representative, who acted as the house sponsor, are optimistic about getting House Bill 1206 to the Senate but recognize the upcoming challenge of garnering support in the House of Representatives.

“I am confident we can come up with the 33 votes we need to get it to the Senate,” said State Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins.

ASCSU and CSU-Pueblo’s student government will start convincing members of the House to support the bill tomorrow, said Matt Worthington, director of Legislative Affairs at ASCSU.
“Now instead of talking to seven people, we have to talk to 65,” he said.

With higher education funding in crisis –– hundreds of millions have been cut from its budget in the last year –– and students feeling the burden of tuition increases as a result, having a voice on the board will allow students to offer input, “rather than sit on the sidelines,” Worthington said.

“Students have great perspectives to offer how we can bring creative ideas into the university,” Worthington said, explaining that as the CSU system sustains budget cuts, a student vote on the board could “improve the board’s ability to do more with less.”

If passed, HB 1206 would give student government leaders from both the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo campuses the ability to vote on BOG issues. Currently, student government presidents act as non-voting members and provide recommendations to the board –– they have no final say on issues.

While the BOG has been “very good” at listening to student recommendations thus far, ASCSU President Dan Gearhart said, the bill is “institutionalizing the need for student input.”

As students invest more in their education by paying attention to the issues of tuition and funding to higher education and “take more responsibility in all those things. They deserve the right to a real vote,” Fischer said.

Legislative Affairs started the push to get CSU student voting rights on the BOG more than a year ago. Worthington and his department took over the initiative from the former administration in May, making sure to “bring in all the key players” in the Governor’s Office and CSU’s administration, Worthington said.

“I think the student leadership at CSU-Fort Collins and at Pueblo really deserve a large part of the credit for getting this bill through the committee this year … the students are the ones who have really stepped up to get this done,” Fischer said.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

  • The bill gives student government leaders from the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo campuses a vote on the CSU System Board of Governors.
  • Currently, student government presidents act as non-voting members who give recommendations to the board.
  • HB 1206 passed through the House Education committee 7-6 Thursday evening.
  • State Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, and Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins acted as bill sponsors.
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