Who are the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU)?

The Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) is the student government for the university.

The advent of events such as the departure of Big City Coffee, the impeachment of former President Angel Cantu and the most recent ASBSU elections have brought newfound attention to the organization.

A common consensus is that most students are unaware of ASBSU. During the 2021 ASBSU Election Debates, candidates expressed that many of the students they were talking to during their campaigns were unaware of ASBSU to begin with.

Election data reported by ASBSU emails support this claim, with only 5.9% of eligible student voters participating in the last election. The 2021 ASBSU Election experienced a small increase in voter turnout at 7%.

Braedon Trujillo, a freshman games, interactive media and mobile major, says he was familiar with ASBSU as a student government organization, but he ultimately didn’t know what their full role was within Boise State.

“The whole incident that went down with Big City Coffee is what I predominantly [know ASBSU] from,” Trujillo said. “I [had] to do some research into [them], because I knew a little bit about them.”

The ASBSU website lists their core purposes as “facilitat[ing] educational, intellectual, social and cultural engagement at the University and advocat[ing] for the interests of students at the University.” With a lack of understanding and awareness of ASBSU, the student-led organization has been working towards more transparency.

[Photo of the Student Involvement and Leadership Center on Boise State campus.]
Photo by Abbey Nimegeers | The Arbiter

Executive Council

The primary branch of ASBSU is the Executive Council. The ASBSU website page for the Executive Council describes this branch’s role as, “manag[ing] the internal and external affairs of ASBSU. This includes anything from spending money to collaborating with university administrators to ensure that the student voice is a part of decisions at Boise State.”

There are nine positions within the Executive Council. Five of the positions are elected, with the remaining four being hired positions.

The elected positions are the ASBSU president, vice president, vice president of Academic Affairs, vice president of Inclusive Excellence and vice president of Student Organizational Affairs. 

All of these positions are elected via a ranked-choice voting method.

The president is ultimately responsible for defining the direction of ASBSU, ensuring that ASBSU is operating effectively and executing any legislation passed by the Academic Senate and Student Assembly.

The hired positions consist of the administrative director, government relations officer, ethics officer and communications officer. Those who are interested in these positions must go through an application and interview process before being appointed by the ASBSU president and vice president.

The ASBSU Executive Code outlines the responsibilities of each position within the Executive Council. The administrative director is in charge of managing ASBSU funds, while the ethics officer handles ASBSU complaints and ensures that the rules of the organization are being followed by those within it. 

The government relations officer advocates for students on a political basis, and the communications officer is responsible for community outreach and social media management.

Student Assembly and Academic Senate

The Student Assembly and the Academic Senate are the primary legislative bodies within ASBSU. This means their tasks include drafting and approving legislation, serving in committees and voting on impeachments, among other responsibilities. These branches are also responsible for disseminating information to the student population.

According to the ASBSU Constitution, the Student Assembly consists of members who represent “concentrated student populations” including athletics, commuter students, veterans, sororities and fraternities and others. The ASBSU vice president leads the Student Assembly.

Student Assembly members are chosen through an application and election process, before eventually being appointed by the Executive Council. Vacancies are filled by a student from one of the populations outlined in the constitution, who is appointed by the vice president and confirmed by the president.

The Academic Senate is composed of two members who represent each academic college. The senators are then selected through either an election or by appointment, with the method being ultimately decided by the academic college. 

Vacancies for the Academic Senate are filled by students who apply by the Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC) and the Ethics Committee. The vice president of Academic Affairs is the chair of the Academic Senate, while also representing Boise State students in all matters pertaining to academic affairs.

Inclusive Excellence Student Council

The IESC is also a legislative body, but their overall role is unique when compared to the two previously mentioned branches. Its primary purpose is to advocate for the interests of communities and identities that have been historically marginalized. 

The ASBSU Constitution describes their responsibility as “hold[ing] the greater Boise State University accountable to its Statement of Shared Values, Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, and the Student Code of Conduct.”

Hailey Opperman, the current vice president of Inclusive Excellence (VPIE), provided a definition for what historically marginalized communities and identities are.

“Historically marginalized identities are folks that have traditionally been systematically ignored or excluded by those with power,” Opperman said.

The IESC is composed of five council members including the VPIE. While the VPIE is an elected position, the council members are hired.

“We seek to ensure that the applicants have the cultural competency and knowledge of systems of oppression and intersectionality to be an inclusive student leader that would best advocate for marginalized communities,” Opperman said.

The IESC is also responsible for appointing five students to members of the Student Assembly who are not also members of the IESC.

Funding Board

The Funding Board exists “to manage the grants that ASBSU provides for Boise State students. This includes anything from funding a student’s conference to granting an organization money to hold an event,” according to the ASBSU website.

The elected vice president of Student Organizational Affairs acts as the chair and leader of the Funding Board. The ASBSU Constitution requires that the ethics officer and the administrative director are to have seats on the Funding Board, along with three officers who are hired and then appointed by the president with approval by the Executive Council.

Getting Involved

There are several ways a student at Boise State can become involved with ASBSU. Running for elected positions and voting in ASBSU elections are some of the most known methods of doing so but not the only ones. 

Emily White, the current ASBSU communications officer, suggested that participating in meetings, reading the meeting minutes and even reaching out to your Academic Senator and Assembly Member are other great ways to get involved or become aware of ASBSU. 

White also recommended that students look into joining a committee within ASBSU that has something to do with their passions. Students are also able to work with ASBSU members to write bills and resolutions.

“Whether you want to run for elections next year, or you want to be on the lighter end and join a committee, depending on the time that you have and what your passions are. There are a lot of different ways to get involved based on what you want to do and what your interests are,“ White said.
Students can follow ASBSU’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get more involved and receive up-to-date information on the student body government.

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