This article was updated on Oct. 27 at 11:24 a.m. to remove mention of a third ASBSU constitutional convention meeting.
Delegates ended the second and last day of the Associated Students of Boise State University’s (ASBSU) constitutional convention by approving a new constitution. The proposed constitution was passed by nine votes, with opposition coming from two Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC) members and two ASBSU Funding Board officers.
If approved by the dean of students and Boise State President Marlene Tromp, the constitution will be put to a general student vote on a date yet to be announced.
Honors College Sen. Ethan LaHaug presented the new constitution, laying out a three-branch system that would mandate all senators be elected, in addition to dissolving IESC and the Funding Board as separate student body branches.
This would integrate the Funding Board into the legislative branch, except for the ethics officer, who would hold an attorney general cabinet position in the executive branch.
The IESC would be removed as separate body and merged into all three branches. The IESC would hold a cabinet position in the executive branch, seats in the general assembly and a seat on the new judicial branch.
All Funding Board responsibilities will be replaced by the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC). JFAC will be composed of the associate vice president of student organization affairs, the attorney general, the chief of staff, two academic senators appointed by the associate vice president of academic affairs and two members of the Student Assembly appointed by the vice president.
The associate vice president for organization affairs serves as the JFAC chair. The proposed constitution also aims to increase first-year student representation by adding three new representatives to the general assembly.
Proponents of the bill said the IESC was an activist branch that held too much influence. Sen. LaHaug cited the council’s role in holding the tie-breaking vote that led to former ASBSU President Angel Cantu’s impeachment.
LaHaug said the IESC supported Cantu’s 2020 removal because of his pro-police stance, to which IESC member Leo Parry refuted, stating that IESC’s decision stemmed from their meeting with concerned Black students who said Cantu had created a hostile environment.
The primary concerns of the opposition echoed sentiments laid out last week, namely how this change would dilute the IESC’s influence by splitting the council between three branches. and removing paid positions for members of the IESC and the ASBSU Funding Board, such as the officer positions within both groups.
The constitution would have no ability to remove paid positions. This and other funding questions would be dependent on the legislative branch, made up of both the Senate and Assembly. The delegates can make suggestions, which will be discussed during day three of the constitutional convention.
“Our goal is just to have as many people at the table as possible and make sure everybody is included and that their voice is included,” IESC member Amelia Jobe said “We’re not trying to push a political ideology; that’s not our goal. We’re just working with students from a variety of backgrounds and trying to get their voices in the student government.”
The day was filled with debate and an overview of the main changes outlined, the proposed constitution was initially going to be tabled to next week for further edits. Then, Racial and Ethnic Rep. Angelo Lopez motioned to pass the proposed constitution.
“It’s baffling that my position is kind of being swept under the rug when we’re talking about being inclusive. The whole point of what we have now at the Assembly and the Senate is to bring people that have various identities. We have that now. We do a darn good job, I’d say, being my first time in ASBSU,” Lopez said. “I move to make this our constitution, final, right now and send it to the dean [of students] so we can get started on making some actual change.”
ASBSU Funding Board officer Amia Guerricabeitia responded by saying the delegates still needed to make changes within the constitution, to which Lopez replied that the delegation was using Robert’s Rules of order.
“This is a simple motion, you vote on it now and we move on,” Lopez said.
The vote was then held, nine in favor and four against.
ASBSU President Adam Jones told The Arbiter over email that the three branch proposal is supposed “to center the IESC within ASBSU as opposed to separating the IESC from the rest of the student government, which is how it currently stands.”
The meeting closed with public testimony, which similar to last week, was largely opposed to the new constitution.
Two public testimonials took direct aim at Rep. Lopez. One student, Mayra de Anda Hernandez, stopped mid-sentence to ask In-State Rep. Sebastian Griffin why he was smirking at her comment of being Mexican-American. She told Lopez that her remark was directed toward him.
“I’m just really sad and confused as to where you stand and what your purpose is really. To me, all of you are here because you want to represent the student body,” Anda Hernandez said. “Since you tied so much to your background and your identity, I just would love to have a conversation and see where you stand on that because I haven’t felt the support from you that I’ve felt from the IESC.”
Another student, Diego Tapia, said he mimicked Anda Hernandez’s point, directing his comment to Rep. Lopez. He said the only reason he knew about the convention was because of the IESC and that he would like to be part of the conversation Anda Hernandez suggested.
A student asked for the recordings of the meetings to be published for public viewing. ASBSU Vice President Ryan Bernard said they had been advised not to share the last recording because it was on a Zoom call that included people’s faces who had not consented to being aired. Delegates said they would find a way to air the recordings to the public in the near future.
Ethics Officer Anahita Zabihi Gilvan highlighted that the ASBSU Funding Board has funded over 60 grants while the legislative branch had only passed a combined 15 bills and resolutions this semester.
“Efficiency is important when it comes to funding organizations, so if we just have a committee within the Senate, I don’t think that would be a very good idea. Obviously the Funding Board is very effective on its own,” Zabihi Gilvan said.
The last public comment was from Christian Garcia, former College of Idaho (C of I) student body president and vice president of student excellence for C of I. He said they modeled their student government after ASBSU with their decision to create C of I’s own body of government modeled after the IESC.
Garcia praised his former school’s inclusive excellence organization’s ability to advocate for and represent historically marginalized groups. He focused on the role of empathetic leadership and affirmed his support for the IESC.
“The IESC is working from a source of love, empowerment and education,” Garcia read from the IESC website. “It’s really weird for me to see how that can become such a big issue and how it’s wrong to have those values embedded in your student government. That’s just my two cents here,” Garcia said, garnering applause from crowd members.
The new constitution passed by the delegation will need to be approved by the Dean of Students and Boise State President Tromp before heading to the student body for a vote.