Mar 042004
 
Authors: Chris Kampfe

Every Wednesday evening, the Associated Students of CSU meet in

the Senate Chambers to debate current issues surrounding higher

education.

While the general student body may be aware of ASCSU’s

involvement in current issues such as Academic Bill of Rights or

technology fees, their actual influence over the issues remains

mystery to some.

Much like the federal government’s system of checks and

balances, ASCSU has their power divided into different

factions.

The different factions are the executive brand, the legislative

branch (ASCSU’s senate) and the Student Fee Review Board.

The executive cabinet is the sitting President Jesse Lauchner

and Vice President Katie Clausen, who serve as a public voice for

ASCSU.

The executive cabinet is also made of different departments

appointed by the president and vice president.

The senate is composed of representatives from nine colleges who

are elected by the student body to represent the issues within each

college.

According to the ASCSU Web site, senators are responsible for

“researching, drafting and voting on legislation concerning student

issues.”

The third body of ASCSU government is the Student Fee Review

Board. Its responsibility is to allocate the $418.20 per student

fee to different areas of campus.

ASCSU holds power in two entities: the students’ voices and

students’ fees.

ASCSU is the representative body that speaks on behalf of every

student at CSU as well as the governing board that has unmitigated

control of student fees.

Where the ability to allocate the nearly $1.2 million collected

from students fees per year, ASCSU serves as a primary source of

influence on campus life.

Nearly $900,000 of this money is controlled by the Executive

budget.

The three bodies that receive money from this fund are

Transfort, Association for Student Activity Program (ASAP) and

ASCSU.

The funds from the student fees can only be delegated to these

organizations by the signature of the current ASCSU president,

giving her/him ultimate power over that money.

Joan Ringel, spokeswomen for the Colorado Commission on Higher

Education, said state laws exist, which prohibit institutions of

higher education from raising student fees without the vote of

students.

ASCSU facilitates the approvals and disapprovals in this

regard.

“We have direct control over certain student fee areas,” said

Thomas Glenn, director of finance for ASCSU. “For example we have

direct control over contracting Transfort, whereas our

(legislative) influence is just a representation in the

government.”

Though ASCSU’s formal power stops at its control of student

fees, it is still active in areas beyond its direct realm of

control.

The second source of power is ASCSU’s representation and voice

in committees across the city as well as the state.

One example of this informal power is President Jesse Lauchner

holding a non-voting seat on the Board of Governors of the Colorado

State University System.

Mari Strombom, director of Campus Activities as well as the

primary faculty staff advisor for ASCSU, said what ASCSU passes in

the form of bills and resolutions voices student opinion and is

taken very seriously by CSU administrators.

“Student fees are integral to (CSU),” Strombom said. “But the

voice for the students (ASCSU) provides is equally important, and

it carries even to high levels like the Board of Governors.”

ASCSU considers voicing its opinions important because the

student body at CSU comprises a significant portion of the Fort

Collins population.

Glenn said the ASCSU representative in the Fort Collins City

Council is actively striving to persuade city council to abandon a

city ordinance making it illegal for three unrelated people to

occupy one residence.

Glenn believes the representative has made considerable progress

on this task.

Another example of ASCSU flexing their legislative muscle is

that a portion of the student fees collected is set aside to pay a

lobbyist in the General Assembly in Denver to act as a surrogate

voice for CSU students.

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