Guide to the 2023 ASBSU elections: How to vote and what’s on the ballot

Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

The Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) will hold their 2023 elections from April 3-4. The elections will determine the next ASBSU president and vice president, associate vice president of student organization affairs and whether a new constitution is implemented.

Diego Tapia for associate vice president of inclusive excellence and Kalista Barkley for associate vice president of academic affairs are running unopposed.

Students will be able to vote electronically or at polling stations set up around campus. A mass email will be sent to students on election day with a link to vote. After clicking on the link, students will provide their school ID number and birthday to cast their ballot.

A debate will be hosted by the ASBSU election committee on Friday, March 31, from 2-4 p.m at the Bishop Barnwell room in the Student Union Building. The debate can also be viewed over Zoom.

Elections manager and In-state representative Angel Venegas told The Arbiter the results will be released live on April 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Student Union Building Patio. All candidates will be invited and winning candidates can give victory speeches. Results will also be available in a university-wide email before noon on that same day.

Here’s a look at the candidates, their platforms and the proposed constitution on this year’s ballot.

Constitutional Referendum 

The new constitution, proposed by Honors College Sen. Ethan LaHaug, would dissolve the Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC) and Funding Board into a new three-branch system modeled after the United States government.

[Photo from ASBSU’s first constitutional convention, held in October 2022.]
Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

The new judicial branch would include five justices. According to LaHaug’s proposal, this branch “would be responsible for holding ASBSU members to the Code of Conduct as well as ensuring legislative actions comply with the Constitution and ASBSU code.”

The proposed constitution would add 29 elected positions and move the Funding Board to the executive branch. Under the current constitution, the entire Senate and Assembly are appointed by members of the Executive council. The Senate would instead be elected, as would the ethics officer.  

LaHaug said during a debate with other constitutional delegates that the new constitution will remove positions such as the racial and ethnic minority representative over concerns of violating anti-discrimination laws and Title IX. 

Since the new constitution was first introduced last semester, IESC and Funding Board delegates have opposed it, saying it diminishes their roles in student government. 

You can read LaHaug’s proposal here. The constitution needs at least 500 votes and a majority to pass. 

ASBSU President and Vice President

Abby Smith and Sarah Kazarinoff

Running for ASBSU president, Abby Smith is a junior physics major minoring in math and history. Smith is in her first year at Boise State after transferring from Treasure Valley Community College, where she served as the student body president. Smith is currently serving in the ASBSU executive council as the chief of staff.

ASBSU vice presidential candidate Sarah Kazarinoff is a junior in Boise State’s nursing program, in addition to working toward her bachelor’s in history. Kazarinoff currently serves as the commuter student representative in the ASBSU assembly.

Smith told The Arbiter that their campaign is focused on four main issues: raising club funding, parking infrastructure, meal plan growth and student outreach. 

If elected, her administration plans to raise club maximums to $6,000, bring a new parking garage to campus, expand hours and meal swipes for on-campus dining halls and implement monthly surveys to gauge the general student body’s opinions on university-related issues. Smith said she used surveys at her previous school and found them effective.

“My passion is student voice. I can not wait to make it my entire year’s work next year to bring about change for everyone on this campus,” Smith said

Smith believes her experience as student body president at her previous college, where she said she helped negotiate the construction of a new nursing building, gave her the experience of working with administrators to make these proposals a reality.

She also touted her experience over the past year as chief of staff, as it relates to understanding ASBSU code and knowing how Boise State’s student government works.

Regarding the proposed constitution, Smith said that her ticket is remaining neutral on the subject.

”I think it’s the students right to vote on this,” Smith said. “I don’t need to input my opinion. I think they just need to have their vote, have their say.” 

You can visit their campaign website for more information.

Chey Sheen and Jason Holman 

ASBSU presidential candidate Chey Sheen is a junior studying civil engineering and environmental studies. Sheen previously served as ASBSU chief of staff, government relations officer and as sustainability chair. 

Sheen’s running mate, ASBSU vice presidential candidate Jason Holman, is a junior business administration and business entrepreneurship major with a minor in political science. Holman currently serves as the president of the Black Student Association.

Sheen and Holman told The Arbiter that the main three points of their campaign are addressing the mental health crisis by expanding access to counseling services, simplifying the grant process for students who request funds, as well as increasing transparency. 

“If you can participate in the things that excite you, then we want to help you do that. If you need the extra mental health resources to focus on your education, we want to help you do that,” Sheen said. “We have to make sure that we’re transparent and inclusive throughout all these things that we’re trying to work for.”

They also want to table weekly in the quad and have semester check-ins with each club to address concerns over ASBSU and use student suggestions for possible solutions, which they’d like to see become a standard for ASBSU going forward. 

Sheen and Holman said they have both worked with administrators in various projects since they were freshmen, which gives them clear understanding of how state policy and university policy works.

“Because you can’t change parking, but we can help you find the funds to afford parking spaces,” Sheen said. “We can help you find alternative transportation methods or we can help advocate for you.”

Their campaign is opposed to the new constitution for multiple reasons. One reason is because they believe the IESC and Funding Board are effective in their current roles. Sheen said the convention process ignored students who voiced their concerns and felt that the Judicial Branch would be a waste of student fees due to the low amount of complaints filed.

You can learn more from their campaign instagram

Isaac Celedon and Zachary Jorcyk

ASBSU presidential candidate Isaac Celedon is a political science major in his first year at Boise State. Celedon is currently in the ASBSU General Assembly as a commuter representative where he’s sponsored seven bills, all having passed. The bills have appropriated $61,779.60.

ASBSU vice presidential candidate Zachary Jorcyk is a junior studying political science. Jorcyk hasn’t served in ASBSU during his time at Boise State, which is why Celedon said he picked him as his running mate. Celedon told The Arbiter that he wanted a vice president with a student perspective outside of ASBSU.

Celedon said their campaign centers around the acronym IPA, standing for involvement, parking and action.

“We’re not running to make empty promises or big broad statements,” Celedon said.

Celedon told The Arbiter that he’s been meeting with departments across campus to understand how to get students more involved with ASBSU and increase transparency. They want to increase funding for student clubs and utilize ASBSU’s social media to promote student group events.

Their ticket doesn’t see a new parking garage being a financial reality, and Celedon expressed concern over the environmental impact of one. Instead, they want to create more parking scholarships and a parking assistance program through the Office of the Dean of Students. 

He also suggested the university look into partnerships with rideshare companies such as Uber or Lyft, depending on Boise State’s existing contracts, to offer free rides for students.

Regarding action, Celedon wants to create a university-wide mentorship program for students regardless of class standing, expanding BroncoLink. They want the program to allow students to earn credits for working as mentors and offer travel grants.

Their campaign is remaining neutral on the constitution. Celedon expressed some issues with the constitution, such as the need to overhaul ASBSU code or how he heard that when ASBSU had a judicial system, no one was really working. He said he would tell his supporters to read the document and reach out to people who wrote it to make their decision.You can learn more by visiting their campaign website.

Associate Vice President of Student Organizational Affairs

Joe Engstrom 

Joe Engstrom is a junior majoring in political science with an emphasis in American government. Engstrom is serving in ASBSU as a senator for the School of Public Service. He’s also worked for the Frank Church Institute, where he told The Arbiter he worked with budgets while running their model U.N. program.

Engstrom said he wants to enhance club representation, reinforce comfortability in fund-requests and advocate for raising club and individual maximums. 

“Student life and student engagement needs to be funded,” Engstrom said. “Quite frankly Boise State hasn’t adapted to their growing population. This has been the same funding from before COVID.”  

To accomplish this goal without raising tuition or activity fees, Engstrom wants to allocate money from the contingency budget — reforming the cap from $4,000 to $6,000 for clubs and the individual cap from $400 to $700.

Engstrom also wants to create a better working relationship between clubs and student government by consistently reaching out to club leadership.

Ian Peña 

Ian Peña is a sophomore mechanical engineering major who has worked with the NASA Micro-g Research Team. This would be his first time in student government.

Peña told The Arbiter that communication, ease of access and the building of a community are the main focuses of his campaign. 

While speaking with students and club leaders, he’s found a constant theme of a lack of communication. He said if elected, his first task would be to contact every student organization’s leader to help create a better relationship between them and ASBSU.

Peña said he wants to make the online services and forms for submitting budget requests easier to navigate, addressing them from a user standpoint. He also emphasized building more of a community among student organizations and ASBSU. 

“They don’t really talk with student government that much, they don’t really know each other or interact or communicate,” Peña said. “And not only is that just very impersonal and kind of cold, but it also has actual drawbacks where a lot of these leaders seem to be dealing with the same issues from their clubs.”

Paul Massaad 

Paul Massaad is a first year student majoring in computer science. He currently serves in the ASBSU Assembly as a first-year representative.

According to an Instagram post by Massaad, the four points of his campaign are having an open-door policy that allows students to easily reach his office, advocating for students, providing support by reaching out to clubs and increasing funds for student organizations.

Massaad’s statement on ASBSU’s election page said he would manage the budget fairly and effectively, while creating events that give student organizations the opportunity to ask questions about what the Funding Board can offer for their organizations.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Diego Tapia

    Vote against the constitution y’all, people love to say it’s up to the students but don’t understand that students have been giving straight up lies and misleading information relating to the content of the proposed constitution! Please feel free to reach out @tapiiiaa or at for more information on the opposition of this constitution!!!

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