The Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) held a virtual town hall on Monday Nov. 16, 2020.
The event allowed students to ask leadership questions regarding the impeachment process, the impeachment trial and to provide feedback on how the organization can best serve all students.
Other topics discussed at the town hall were the Boise Police Department (BPD) contract with Boise State, the Big City Coffee contract that recently ended, the role ASBSU plays at Boise State, the differing views among students on campus and in ASBSU, as well as the different ways students can get involved with student government.
A big topic of discussion had to do with the recent articles of impeachment filed against now former President Angel Cantu.
Kenneth Huston, ASBSU ethics officer, believes the impeachment received a lot of interest from students because of some misunderstandings and misinformation that was being spread surrounding the articles filed and the video posted by Cantu after he was put on administrative leave.
“ASBSU had planned to publicize the trial on Nov. 1, but due to a social media campaign that violated sanctions, the tone was set in a way that did not present the whole truth of the impeachment [and] made the complaints one of a political silencing rather than a neglect of the position as president and unethical behavior that abused power while in office,” Huston wrote.
Students were able to submit questions prior and during the event in a Q&A section of the Zoom meeting. Many students wrote in questions regarding the process of the impeachment and whether or not it was done in a fair manner. People also had questions surrounding who will replace the impeached president and when another election will be held.
Cambree Kanala, ASBSU vice president, assured the town hall that a special election will be held sometime during the spring semester. Kanala emphasized that the entire ASBSU team is working hard to fill the gaps until a new president is elected.
“This is fully a group effort. It is our first priority to get the role of president filled and then we will move on to the other ASBSU official vacancies,” Kanala said.
Questions surrounding the ongoing BPD contract with Boise State were brought up by numerous students. Canala currently sits as a student representative on the Law Enforcement Service Advisory Committee, and has encouraged students to attend the joint meetings or to review the ASBSU meetings located on the ASBSU website.
Kanala cleared up some confusion on ASBSU’s involvement with Big City Coffee’s departure from Boise State campus.
“ASBSU did not release an official statement or take a stance on Big City Coffee. Individual members shared their own perspective on Big City’s campus location, but we never played a role in pushing them out,” Kanala said.
Huston feels that the timing of the impeachment and the Big City withdrawal made it seem that ASBSU was doing away with voices that didn’t agree with them.
“The timing of this impeachment with Big City Coffee’s request to withdraw from their contract has created a perception that ASBSU is cleansing the university of differing beliefs and of its diversity,” Huston wrote.
Students wrote in asking about ASBSU and what role they play on campus and in making major university decisions. Huston hopes that students will engage more with ASBSU especially with the large student population on campus.
“I would argue a good number of students know about student government, but don’t know specifics of what we do, how we do it, or the extent of involvement we have in university decisions,” Huston wrote.
Another big topic that was discussed at the town hall was transparency within ASBSU. Huston understands there have been barriers lately with the information that can be shared to students and the public.
“I think that in the past months of this semester, there have been definite barriers to what information [Executive Council] was able to disseminate to the student representatives in the Assembly and Senate,” Hustons wrote. “In this new culture we find ourselves in, there will be a definite emphasis to fulfill the responsibilities of each position that is to go out into the community and gather student opinion on the issues we as a student body face.”
Kanala wants more information to be publicized and for students to hold ASBSU members accountable for their roles.
“We plan to publicize more ASBSU related information on social media, share any and all Executive Council updates at our public joint meetings, and create a feedback form for ASBSU members to let us know, as paid officials, how we can all improve. These are just a few things we are implementing now, to begin increasing communication,” Canala said. “This will be a marathon, not a sprint. At the end of the day, we are here to serve students and we must do whatever we can to best serve all Boise State students.”
To learn more about the five branches of ASBSU, attend meetings, or to review bills or minutes click go to their website.