ASBSU delegates adopt new constitution, IESC and Funding Board dissolve into tripartite system – The Arbiter
Delegates ended day two of the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) constitutional convention with the adoption of a new constitution. The proposed constitution passed by a nine-vote vote, with opposition from two members of the Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC) and two ASBSU Funding Board officials.
If the constitution is approved by the Dean of Studies and Boise State President Marlene Tromp, the constitution will go to a general student vote on a future date to be announced Wednesday, October 26.
Honors College Senator Ethan LaHaug introduced the new constitution and established a three-branch system that would mandate the election of all senators, in addition to dissolving the IESC and Funding Board as separate branches of the student body.
This would integrate the Funding Board into the Executive and bring the IESC together in all three branches. The IESC would hold a cabinet position in the executive branch, seats in the General Assembly, and a seat in the new judiciary. The Ethics Officer would be replaced by the position of Attorney General.
All responsibilities of the Funding Board are replaced by the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC). JFAC consists of the Assistant Vice President for Student Organization Affairs, the Attorney General, the Chief of Staff, two Academic Senators appointed by the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, and two Student Assembly members appointed by the Vice President.
The Associate Vice President for organizational affairs serves as the JFAC Chair. The proposed charter also aims to increase freshman representation by adding three new representatives to the General Assembly.
Proponents of the bill said the IESC was an activist branch that wielded too much influence. Sen. LaHaug cited the council’s role in conducting the landmark vote that led to former ASBSU President Angel Cantu impeachment proceedings.
LaHaug said the IESC supported Cantu’s removal in 2020 because of his pro-police stance, which IESC member Leo Parry refuted, explaining that the IESC’s decision was based on their meeting with concerned black students who said Cantu has a hostile environment created.
The main concerns of the opposition reflected the feelings set out last week, namely how this change would dilute the influence of the IESC by splitting the council into three branches. and the removal of paid positions for members of the IESC and ASBSU Funding Board, such as B. the senior positions in both groups.
The constitution would have no way of removing paid positions. These and other funding issues would depend on the Legislature, made up of the Senate and House. Delegates can make proposals that will be discussed on the third day of the Constitutional Convention.
“Our goal is to get as many people around the table as possible and make sure everyone is included and that their voice is heard,” said IESC member Amelia Jobe. “We’re not trying to promote a political ideology; that’s not our goal. We just work with students from different backgrounds and try to get their voice in student government.”
The day was filled with debates and an overview of the main changes that were outlined, with the proposed constitution initially due for further processing next week. Then Racial and Ethnic MP Angelo Lopez moved to pass the proposed constitution.
“It’s confusing that my position is kind of swept under the rug when we talk about being inclusive. The whole point of what we have now in the Assembly and Senate is to bring people with different identities together. We have that now. We’re doing a hell of a job I’d say since it’s my first time at ASBSU,” Lopez said. “I am endeavoring to make this our final charter now and send it to the Dean [of students] so we can start making actual changes.”
ASBSU Funding Board staff member Amia Guerricabeitia responded that delegates had yet to make amendments to the bylaws, to which Lopez responded that the delegation was using Robert’s rules of procedure.
“This is a simple motion, you vote on it now and we move on,” Lopez said.
Then there was a vote, nine for and four against.
ASBSU President Adam Jones emailed The Arbiter that the proposal is intended to “center” the three branches the IESC within ASBSU as opposed to the separation of the IESC from the rest of student government as it currently stands.”
The meeting ended with public statements largely opposed to the new constitution, similar to last week.
Two public testimonials targeted Rep. Lopez directly. One student, Mayra de Anda Hernandez, stopped in mid-sentence to ask State Representative Sebastian Griffin why he was grinning at her comment that she was Mexican. She told Lopez that her comment was directed at him.
“I’m just really sad and confused about where you stand and what your goal really is. To me, you’re all here because you want to represent the student body,” said Anda Hernandez. “Because you are so tied to your background and identity I would like to have a conversation and see where you feel about this because I haven’t felt the support from you that I have felt from the IESC.”
Another student, Diego Tapia, said he mimicked Anda Hernandez’s point of view and directed his comment to Rep. Lopez. He said the only reason he knew about the meeting was because of the IESC and he would like to attend the conversation proposed by Anda Hernandez.
A student asked for the recordings of the sessions to be made publicly available. ASBSU Vice President Ryan Bernard said they were advised not to share the final recording because it was a Zoom call that included the faces of people who had not consented to it being broadcast. Delegates said they would find a way to make the recordings available 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 Legislature collectively passed just 15 bills and resolutions this semester.
“Efficiency is important when it comes to funding organizations. So if we only have one committee in the Senate, I don’t think that’s a very good idea. Obviously the Funding Board is very effective on its own,” said Zabihi Gilvan.
The latest public comment came from Christian Garcia, past president of the College of Idaho (C of I) student body and vice president for student excellence for C of I. He said they modeled their student government on ASBSU when they decided , C of I to establish a governing body modeled on the IESC.
Garcia praised the ability of his former school’s inclusive organization of excellence to advocate for and represent historically marginalized groups. He focused on the role of empathic leadership and reiterated his support for the IESC.
“The IESC operates from a source of love, empowerment and education,” Garcia read on the IESC website. “It’s really strange for me to see how this can become such a big problem and how wrong it is to enshrine these values in your student government. That’s just my two cents here,” Garcia said, earning applause from viewers.
The new constitution passed by the delegation must be approved by the Dean of Studies and Boise State President Tromp before it goes to the student body for a vote.
The third day of the ASBSU Constitutional Assembly will take place on Saturday 29 October. The time and place have not yet been announced. The next meeting will focus on code changes and funding proposals.