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University of Colorado Student Union (UCSU) records

Identifier: COU:3660

Scope and Contents

The University of Colorado Student Union (UCSU) collection contains correspondence, elections, student groups, executive staff info, executive staff projects, correspondence with other universities, and faculty questionnaire for different years. These papers date from 1969 up to 1991. Information in most boxes is organized by date and/or important events that happened during that time. The collection begins with Box 7 because UCSU retrieved the boxes 1-6 for their own records. However, boxes 1-6 were given back to the archives. Due to limitations of time and organization, the collection still starts at box 7 and ends with the additional 6, now being numbered later (88-93).


  • Creation: 1969 - 1991

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

All analog sound recordings and video formats film held by the Archives must be digitized for research access, due to preservation concerns. If these materials have not previously been digitized, the researcher is responsible for the cost of digitization. Researchers may request access to previously-digitized audiovisual materials that are not online on the CU Digital Library by contacting

Copyright statement

The University Libraries may not own the copyright to all materials in this collection. Researchers are responsible for contacting the copyright holder(s) for this material and obtaining permission to publish or broadcast. The University Libraries will not grant permission to publish or broadcast this material and are not responsible for copyright violations resulting from such use.

Biographical / Historical

The University of Colorado Student Union was formed to serve as the liaison between student body and the university administration. Their mission as stated in their by-laws enacted on May 2nd 1974 was to unify the student community by establishing the responsibilities and goals of UCSU: to improve the administration of student affairs, to encourage the greatest level of cooperation, to ensure the optimum of students’ rights, and to provide the best possible excellence in education.

Soon after 1900, student organizations and clubs began to form and proliferate. The “first mention of the Associated Students of the University of Colorado was recorded in the University Catalogue of 1902-1903, “The student body is organized into an association known as the “The Associated Students of the University of Colorado.” Through this association the students acted collectively in all their university relations.” The Associated Students of the University Of Colorado (ASUC) was an organization whose membership included every male student registered at the University. The Combined Student Body, the former student organization was just a medium for conducting mass meetings and had no defined powers and therefore the students required a different organization. This change came after a mass meeting on May 26, 1908 to draw up a constitution. “The constitution was approved and accepted by the Faculty Senate and the Board of Regents, and went into effect September 1909.” The purpose of ASUC as dictated in its preamble was “to form a more efficient government for the conducting and determining of all matters of general student concern.” The constitution provided four legislative bodies for the government of all matters of general student concern: The Commission, the Athletic Board, the Debating Board, and the General Board. The organization of the new student government called for a General Manager or President to supervise and handle the funds of the organization and to be responsible for the overall activities of the organization. A Student Court was established to discipline and suspend students in matters such as hazing, class conflicts, injury to property on campus, etc.

In 1929, following a street fight that occurred at a pre-primary election rally, a new system of government was appointed by President Norlin which became known as the Provisional Student Government. With the abolishment of representative student government by the Faculty Executive Council, the faculty-appointed commission which was recommended by ASUC was adopted with the provision that the commission’s boards and the president of the ASUC be chosen by the commission itself and this later resulted in “Government of the students, for the students, but partly by the faculty.” For the first time in five years, students had a voice in the selection of commissioners for the ASUC and Bryon White, the President in 1938, made it possible for the first all-school election for ASUC officers.

In 1896, Mrs. Baker (the President’s wife), Miss Rippon, some alert women students, several other faculty wives, and alumnae organized the Women’s League, which under two titles in later years as Women’s Self Governing Association and Associated Women Students. The purpose of the league was “to bring together the women of the university in a closer bond of friendship and to supply a side of life essential to the full development of every woman- the social side” The organization’s executive board embarked on two projects which was to start a loan fund and build a new Women’s Building on campus. Miss Rippon the only female on the faculty urged President Baker to appoint a Dean of Women who was to oversee the general welfare of women students. Miss Margaret E. Stratton was appointed as the Dean of Women in 1901; Henrietta J. Meeter came next, followed by Miss Martha McCaulley. Miss Bigelow took over the Dean of Women’s position in 1910 and brought about massive changes to the organization: a major change being the acceptance of the University by the American Association of University Women. In September 1914, a mass meeting was held by the League of Women at which Self Governance for Women was passed; League of Women changed to become Women’s Self Governing Association (WSGA). In the fall of 1925, “some students, male, and female instigated in the ASUC a bill providing for the abolition of WSGA…The bill, however, was shelved, and WSGA moved boldly on the campus, revised some of the rules, became (1926) a member of the national group and had a new name- Associated Women Students.” The Associated Women Students eventually became the Women’s Student Government Association, date unknown.

Since the establishment of the university in 1876 and until 1969, students were treated as if they were still in high school, hence the term in loco parentis, but this ended when the university students fought for the right to be treated as adults. “…In two formal actions, the Board of Regents buried in loco parentis. The first came at the August 1968 meeting, when a report urging change in the student discipline system was adopted, and the second came at the January 1969 session, when the board changed the Laws of the Regents, the formal rules of the University, to reflect the end of the institution’s role as father and mother to students.”

During 1935 until the election of John Bilorusky as president of ASUC in 1966, the ASUC gained a controversial reputation of non-involvement and lack of any statements towards national issues, one of the largest being McCarthyism. Following Bilorusky’s election, he personally hosted a demonstration on the current “publish or perish” issue against ASUC (an issue that gave the campus a reason already to deny tenure of two English professors), and in the demonstration gave a list of demands from regents to help acquire greater student input. Discussion between regents and ASUC after was positive, and shortly after Bilorusky hosted a teach-in of Vietnam with senate.

In 1967, students wanted more representation and therefore, they voted for a new constitution which was approved by the Regents to replace the former student body with a Student Assembly. It was composed of all students to reflect the current interest in total democracy. Therefore the Associated Students of the University of Colorado (ASUC-men only) and the Associated Women Students merged together to become the Associated Students of the University of Colorado (ASUC). “Student Government was reorganized under tri-executives, and the name was changed from the Associated Students of the University Of Colorado (ASUC) to the University of Colorado Student Union (UCSU).” The group’s reorganization acted as the liaison between the student body and the university administration.

UCSU was changed to University of Colorado Student Government (CUSG) in 2010 as part of a bill to make the union’s presence known on campus. In an interview done by Whitney Bryen on why UCSU was being changed to CUSG, Tri-executive Daniel Ramos said “This is really branding, with strong branding, we can let students know who we are and how we serve them.” CUSG is made up of three branches namely; the legislative, executive and judiciary (appellate court) branches. The Legislative Branch (Legislative Council) is the law-making branch of UCSU. It is responsible for the review of student organizations budgets, giving money to student groups, reviewing student fee budgets, passage of laws, establish priorities for the Joint Boards, initiating policies and referendum and appointing, removing of joint board members, and representative council. It also yields the power to override an executive vote by 2/3 vote of the entire council. The Legislative Council members serve as the liaison between students and other officials within that council representative’s area of concern. The Legislative Council has a president and vice president who preside over the branch. It is also divided into two houses: Representative Council and Council of Colleges. The Representative Council is composed of elected representatives and the Council of Colleges is represented by their colleges’ whiles some are appointed. The Executive Branch is the student spokespeople to the community and the university administration. It is led by a popularly elected president and two vice presidents who see to the day-to-day internal and external affairs. The Judicial Branch (the Appellate Court) constitutes of seven justices, appointed by the Executive Branch and ratified by the Legislative Branch, serving to enforce the CUSG law.


45 linear feet (50 boxes)

Language of Materials



The University of Colorado Student Union (UCSU), formerly Associated Students of the University of Colorado (ASUC), and now University of Colorado Student Government (CUSG), was organized to serve as the liaison between the student body and the university administration. UCSU (now CUSG) is also the student body government for the University of Colorado at Boulder. The organization is made up of three branches: the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. The collection contains minutes, subject files, financial materials, correspondence and the records regarding student groups from 1969 to 1991. Remainder held by UCSG.

Physical Location

Some boxes located at offsite storage (PASCAL). Allow at least 5 days for delivery. Contact for questions and requests.

Custodial History

Gift of: University of Colorado Student Union, 1972-1994

Preliminary Inventory by: Archives Student Assistants; Preliminary Inventory Edited and Reformatted by: Sandra Asante, December 9, 2013; Data entry by Barbara Black, 2023; uploaded to ASpace by Jennifer Sanchez, 2023
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States