New resolution says Benson unfit to represent CU
UCSU Legislative Council passed a resolution Thursday night opposing sole presidential finalist Bruce Benson.
The resolution was authored by Tri-executive Hadley Brown and Legislative Council president Boyce Postma and lists the qualifications that UCSU feels Benson lacks as a candidate.
“There are a lot of people who are not satisfied with this candidate,” Brown said. “I think it would be damaging to not pass this resolution.”
Check out our 11-part Benson series
During the open hearing period, students presented the reasons why they felt Benson was unfit for the presidency.
“We are seeking to hire a president, not a head fundraiser,” said Alexa Sample, a junior anthropology and English major.
Leah Labovitz, a junior psychology major, presented 97 signatures to the council along with 235 additional signatures addressed to the Regents in favor of the resolution.
“Please take these into consideration tonight,” Labovitz said.
Ryan Biehle, a senior political science major who serves as UCSU chief of staff and Intercampus Student Forum chair, said that the Boulder Faculty Assembly voted against a measure supporting Benson’s candidacy by a vote of 40 to 4.
Biehle also said that the student government from CU-Colorado Springs wrote a letter to the Board of Regents expressing their concern over Benson as a candidate.
“This . speaks loudly that it’s not just Boulder that’s having these problems with Benson,” Biehle said.
While the majority of the council supported a resolution calling for a new candidate, there was some debate over the exact wording of the resolution. Some council members said they felt the original resolution was worded too strongly and amounted to a personal attack on Benson.
“This resolution continually attacks his professional life, his personal life and his political life, and then says we’re not out to attack him,” said Representative-at-large Chance Heath, a junior international affairs major. “I would never put my name on this legislation and have it published.”
Supporters of the original resolution such as Brown, fellow Tri-executive Charles Gilford, and Legislative Council Vice President Dustin Farivar, argued that the resolution needed to be strongly worded in order to accurately reflect how students feel about Benson.
“We are representing the students . the student outcry in this matter has been very evident,” Farivar said.
The resolution was amended twice before eventually being passed by a vote of 9 to 2 with two abstentions.
The amendments significantly changed the wording of several clauses in order to make the resolution seem like less of a personal attack on Benson. In the amended resolution, all of the primary clauses begin with “the students,” shifting the focus of the resolution to student values of what a president should be as opposed to be Benson’s alleged deficiencies.
Furthermore, the bill history section of the resolution was significantly shortened, cutting out a great of deal of Benson’s biographical information as it might pertain to his candidacy.
Supporters of the amendments argued that the original resolution focused too much on Benson and not enough on what qualities a candidate should have.
“The amendments I made were to emphasize what the students valued and find important in a candidate,” said Senator Kathryn Skrocabz, who initially called for the amendments.
Those against the amendments felt it made their objections to Benson less forceful and that it did not accurately reflect student attitudes about Benson.
“(The amendments) dealt with the issue, but did not provide any concrete evidence for why the resolution was originally written,” Gilford said.
Postma said that the stronger language of the original resolution was necessary in order to make it clear to the Board of Regents how students feel about Benson.
“(The resolution) lost all of its teeth,” Postma said after the amendments were enacted. “This amendment does nothing for us, it only weakens what we have.”
Postma added that had he been able to vote on the amended resolution, he would have voted no.
Despite the changes made to it, supporters of the resolution were satisfied that UCSU had taken a stand on Benson’s candidacy.
“I still consider this to be a victory,” Representative-at-large Blaine Pellicore said.
The Board of Regents will vote next Wednesday on whether they want to select Benson as the president of CU. To contact the Regents, click here.
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