The Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) is looking forward to returning back to work amid campus reopening and has laid out their vision for the upcoming academic year.
Cambree Kanala, Vice President of ASBSU is ready to get to work amid all the circumstances.
“Although this year has been faced with a lot of different challenges for people as individuals, ASBSU and the university, there is so much space for leadership among the challenges that we are all facing,” Kanala said.
Among ASBSU’s top priorities for the year are basic student needs, inclusivity, transparency, integrating the new senate chamber to ASBSU and successfully reintegrating students on campus for the fall semester.
“We’ve been in a lot of meetings with the administration about reintegration and how we are going to be able to go back to school and in what capacity, and how student organizations will be able to build community virtually,” Kanala said.
ASBSU plays a crucial role in important decision making by the university’s administration. ASBSU’s job is to advocate on behalf of the students and to make sure that the students’ voices are heard when big decisions are being made.
ASBSU’s goal is to promote safety and physical distancing while on campus. Making sure that students are wearing masks and staying healthy as well as making the food pantry accessible for every student on campus to tackle food insecurity on campus.
“I know there’s a lot of questions and concerns with the university, COVID-19, tuition and student fees,” Kanala said. “We want to be that student voice to help address those questions and support what the university ultimately decides and explain it in a more student-centric voice,” Kanala said.
ASBSU understands that many students are upset with having to pay full tuition and fees and are actively having conversations with the university regarding these issues. While there is no promise on what can come from it, it is important to advocate for those things with the administration.
“We’ve definitely advocated for that. We’ve let them know that virtual classes are not as valuable as in-person classes, but unfortunately, the university has to do what they have to do to stay afloat,” Kanala said.
Transparency and inclusivity are among other concerns that ASBSU hopes they can address and help create initiatives on in the upcoming academic year.
“I am confident that when transparency and inclusivity are the root of all matters, people are more apt to unite under a common cause,” wrote Kenny Huston, ASBSU’s ethics officer in an email.
Huston understands that the circumstances around the fiscal year for the university are challenging, but says he would like to see more campus resources be made available to everyone.
He hopes that even though the university and the students are facing tough challenges we will not forget about social justice issues.
“I am concerned with a general gap in Boise State’s curriculum that does not address social justice issues,” Huston wrote. “While there are some courses that cover these topics, concepts of white supremacy, historical oppression and microaggressions are not included.”
ASBSU has started discussions around those topics and their training included exercises and discussions on white supremacy and how it shows up in their organization, how to eliminate it and hold each other accountable.
“We’ve started those conversations as an organization and would like to expand the conversation as well as those actions into what we do, our assembly and in our policy, because systemic racism is a big problem in our country,” Kanala said.
The academic senate is a new body of ASBSU this year and the purpose of the legislative body is to hold members of the executive council, Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC) and funding board more accountable.
Emily White, communications officer for ASBSU believes adding the senate will add an additional layer of checks and balances.
“Adding an academic senate will aid in the separation of powers for ASBSU as a whole between the executive council, academic senate, IESC and student assembly,” White said.
With the new branch of ASBSU, all branches of student government will be held more accountable to their elected positions and the process of passing legislation will be tougher, according to White. There will be more representation and less executive influence and allow for more student voice in all academic decisions.
“The student representatives serving in the senate will have the same voting power as those in the general assembly. To pass legislation it must pass both the senate and assembly with an appeal process through the IESC,” Huston said.
Other initiatives include expanding the food pantry, a no-tolerance policy on hate speech and hate symbols in housing as well as expanding sustainability efforts on campus.
“I would like to create a no-tolerance policy on hate speech and symbols within housing, I feel like something happens every year and students aren’t really aware of the consequences of those actions,” Kanala said. “We also have a lot of environmental and sustainability concerns that we’d like to address.”