Lory Student Center
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, my name is Hannah Taylor and I'm the student body president this year, and Peyton Dailey, our Chief Justice, is joining me for our Fireside Chat this month.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE: Hi, I'm Peyton Dailey and I currently serve as the Chief Justice for the Associated Students of Colorado State University for the 2020 - 2021 school year.
THE PRESIDENT: Welcome, so Peyton, would you mind telling all of us what the Judicial Branch does in ASCSU?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE: Absolutely. The Judicial Branch serves in many different capacities, internally we serve as a mitigator between internal conflicts, where we exercise judicial review. Anyone in the organization can submit an opinion request, where we'll interpret parts of the Constitution. Additionally, outside of ASCSU, we serve as student liaisons on boards, such as the Pre-Admissions Hearing Board and The All-University Hearing Board, the Appeals Board, and we also serve on the Student Conduct Process Board. For some information on those. The All-University Hearing Board deals with disputes concerning students with any alleged violations of the student policy for CSU, then Pre-Admissions Board deals with different issues concerning those that are coming in as prospective students for CSU, the Appeals Board(s) are for appeals from any additional, outside, boards or issues. Overall, it's just a wonderful branch because we have the opportunity to serve in so many different roles and capacities.
THE PRESIDENT: Great, thank you so much. I'd like to update you on as far as the U+2 and housing affordability project are proceeding. The City Council is voting this upcoming Tuesday - February 16th, on a new housing affordability plan. We're focusing on making sure that it makes it on a vote or vote on the ballot, which is two parts, one, that is streamlining the U+2 exemption process, and two, transitioning to right-size housing instead of U+2. Right now, the most important way to help is to be writing emails consistently to City Council members, and members of city staff to make sure your voices, the student voices, are heard. If you're interested to see how you can help with this, you can follow the website link that's posted on the screen, and it'll guide you through the steps.
Can we go ahead and pull that up?
Fantastic. If you visit our executive website, taylorschindler.com, go to our Affordable Housing page, under "How you can help," it'll guide you through the process as well as help you find your personal City Council member based on the district that you live in. It further explains what one should cover in an email as well as a template.
I'll pass it over to Peyton now for an update on the elections.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE: Absolutely. This year elections are going to look different. Instead of being just two weeks after spring break as usual, since we have a late spring break this academic year, elections will take place starting March 1st through the end of the month of March. Applications for elections for Speaker of the Senate, Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, and Senators close February 12th at 5 pm. Orientation will then follow in the next couple of weeks, then, elections will start for the entire month. Part of the election will be virtually and part of it will be in person. This year, to make sure that we're addressing a lot of concerns with accessibility regarding whether you're on or off-campus. We are trying to utilize the platforms of CSU, specifically social media such as Instagram, where we are doing takeovers on Instagram stories where that all the candidates get a chance to share their platform with every campaign so you get to know them. We will also be having the brand new format of fireside chats on CSU CTV, letting you get to know every candidate's platform, whether or not you're on campus this semester.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, that's great. I, for one, am glad to see that we're changing up the election process to try what other schools are doing adopting some of those policies. I now want to talk about our Office of Academics, and a new project they are working on. They're working on standardizing the plus-minus system, our Deputy Director of the Office of Academics Sydney Budke and I will be presenting to all the college's deans on February 16th, where we will be covering our suggestions as far as having all the colleges implement a standardized plus-minus system. We want to make sure that there is no difference between the two. Our goal is to try and ensure that minuses do not weigh against your grade since pluses don't. So what we are proposing is that if a student receives an A-minus count as a 4.0 just like an A-plus, so that students stop losing a couple of points off of their GPA when they receive an A-minus. Going to pass it back to Peyton to discuss our Ram Ride program.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE: I serve as an Off-Campus Life Liaison for the Student Fee Review Board or SFRB, and one of the amazing initiatives that are happening this semester is that every student now can access free Lift rides up to $12 per month. This is in place of the traditional Ram Ride that isn't able to be offered due to COVID-19, but you should receive an email every month reminding you that you can sign up through Lyft for these free rides. This is a little bit of a shift from last semester where you would be able to get up to 50% off your first two to four Lift ride. This is really to address the accessibility issues so that students with or without credit cards can sign up for this program and have more accessible transportation.
THE PRESIDENT: Another modern concept that we're working on with Off-Campus Life and Ram Ride is creating a program that's called Ram Ride Secure. Currently, both the Executive Branch and ASCSU as a whole, is providing $15,000 so that 75 students can apply for $200 Lift credits a semester. We ran on a platform of innovative transportation, especially for those who struggle with access to transportation. We're also working on a COVID-19 relief fund that would be open to all students at CSU. Similar to the Cares Act, but through CSU, the funding would come from the Board of Student Organization Funding. Usually, they have $200,000 a semester to allocate to organizations across CSU, yet, we are now in February and their budget still has $190,000 left since now most organizations don't require funding.
In terms of our COVID-19 response, our distribution of thermometers and PP equipment is moving along really well. I'm excited to announce that our Office of Health this week acquired a new shipment of thermometers in the food pantry, so that students who require thermometers, in cases where saving that $12 would make a difference for them, can now directly access them.
Hey Peyton, can we move on to SFRB updates?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE: SFRB is now in its second week, and we're listening to all the cost update proposals from many different departments in CSU, so far, most departments have not proposed any fee increases because they have communicated to us that they are trying to be very cognizant of the fact that they know that students aren't getting all the services that they usually do and they want to be cognizant of student finances. We've listened to budget updates and proposals from the Off-Campus Life, Ram Ride, the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, and SLICE, and we have more coming up each week, they're open to the public. I would encourage everyone to come to them because it's a great way to know where your student fees are being allocated.
THE PRESIDENT: Great, thank you for that Peyton. I think that's all we have today but thanks for joining in and listening to us and what ASCSU has been working on the past month. Thank you, everyone. Thank you.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE: Thank you for having me.