To the disappointment of student government leaders, the bill giving two students voting rights on the CSU System Board of Governors was postponed indefinitely 2-6 in the state Senate Education Committee Thursday afternoon.
Though House Bill 1206 did not become law this legislative session, Associated Students of CSU and CSU-Pueblo student government leaders are ready to head back to the drawing board and make improvements, said Matt Worthington, director of ASCSU’s Legislative Affairs Department.
“We left the committee thinking, we shall return,” Worthington said of students’ plans for the future.
There was a lot of discussion in support of HB 1206, Worthington said, but senators were concerned that students do not have the lifetime experience current board members bring to the table.
While he understands that students do not have the same level of political and business expertise as someone like CSU Chancellor Joe Blake, who has ran in the “Denver arena for 40 years,” ASCSU President Dan Gearhart said students have a unique and equally important outlook.
â€œWe have student experience,â€ Gearhart said. â€œIs it less than the other? I donâ€™t think so.â€
Students are able to see, personally, how their campus is impacted by the BOGâ€™s decisions, Gearhart said. They can see the construction changing the face of CSU and they feel the burden of tuition increases, he said.
Itâ€™s important that students not lose sight of the importance of voting rights on the board, Gearhart and Worthington said.
â€œI really do urge the students to keep this up â€¦ this is something we need,â€ Gearhart said. He urged members of the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo student governments to rework the bill and present it anew in next yearâ€™s state legislative session.
Last year, the same bill was killed in legislative session. Students should be ecstatic that HB 1206 made it to the Senate floor, Gearhart said.
Just as students from the University of Missouri fought for 16 years to gain voting rights on their governing board, Worthington said both CSU campuses are willing to do the same.
â€œWeâ€™re disappointed, but this isnâ€™t the end,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™re going to come back next year and get what we need for student representation.â€
News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.