Widgets Magazine

Senate fails to agree on end date

The 11th ASSU Undergraduate Senate will not dissolve on May 11, leaving its transition date unclear and some convinced that the reasons behind a delayed transition are not what they seem.

That was the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting, where senators also rounded up remaining bills and discussed how to effectively hand down knowledge about Stanford’s student government to the senators-elect of the 12th incarnation of the group, who will serve through next spring.

Eleven senators were present at last night’s meeting. Three current senators out of 13 reported to the Senate’s transition meeting with incoming senators on Saturday.

According to some senators-elect eager to take their places, much of the transition has not been as helpful as promised.

“I personally feel that I’ve learned very little in the past three weeks,” said Senator-elect Deepa Kannappan ’13.

Some on Tuesday remained concerned about the time left for incoming senators to organize a policy summit, as was done last spring, or at least form committees and select chairs before the year’s end.

The dissolution bill, which would have broken up the Senate on May 11, was defeated 7-4. The current Senate will continue to convene until a new dissolution date is agreed upon.

Green Events Checklist

After seeing the Green Events Checklist on and off the Senate’s agenda since September, the group appears to be moving toward implementing a more effective pilot program to ensure that, through funding controls, student events use sustainable materials.

Appropriations Chair Anton Zietsman ’12 laid out a lengthy set of mechanisms, including the use of “green consultants,” that could help increase sustainability among student groups.

Senator Michael Cruz ‘12, who coauthored the bill, will return as a member of the 12th Senate and could help newcomers move quickly on the checklist.

Questions Surround Transition

Meanwhile, after Senator Alex Katz ’12 time and again repeated a host of seemingly pragmatic reasons for a delayed transition, Senator Mohammad Ali ’10 said Tuesday that these reasons were mere “political theatre” to hide other motives for a late start for the 12th Senate.

The importance of a well-informed transition for the incoming Senate, and members of the Appropriations Committee in particular, along with a need to update the body’s bylaws, have been mainstay justifications for Katz and other senators for extending the process.

Ali said, however, that several senators had told him they would not support a bill he coauthored with Senator Lee Jackson ’12 calling for the dissolution of the Senate next week for fear of the incoming Senate hearing a divestment bill before the end of the quarter.

Fadi Quran ’10, a member of Campaign Restore Hope, appeared on the Senate floor on Tuesday to probe the Senate for answers about why it is continuing to discuss the year’s long-running issues.

“I respect if you have an ideology, Alex Katz, and I know a lot of your friends who have very explicitly told me you are a supporter of Israel — ” Quran said before being sharply reprimanded by both Katz and Senate Chair Varun Sivaram ’11 for what they called inappropriate remarks.

The campaign distributed divestment petitions to some dorms earlier this week.

“For those who think the issue of divestment will not come up if the transition is delayed, you are wrong,” Ali said.

Senator Zachary Warma ’11, who called into the meeting via Skype from Stanford in Washington, fiercely disagreed.

“This has no place in student government — it has no place,” Warma said.

Katz and Zietsman left shortly before the meeting ended.

Other Business

The Senate heard recommendations from Katz before his departure about a new “traditions fund” intended to preserve traditional Stanford events endangered by underfunding. About $14,500 would be allotted to the fund, with Mausoleum Party and Full Moon on the Quad outlined as its top priorities. An undesignated pot of $2,500 would be set aside for additional emergency expenses.

The ASSU political budget and funding bills for the week were approved.

According to the body’s bylaws, the 11th Senate must dissolve at least 14 days before the end of the quarter, leaving its latest transition date to the eighth week of the quarter during the May 18 meeting.

  • May 18th

    is the Day of Reckoning.

  • The Professa

    Wait a second… What does Israel have to do with the ASSU? Warma is on the mark here – it has absolutely no place in student government. Isn’t the ASSU Senate supposed to be concerning itself with Stanford students and life on campus? Are they really wasting time and money on playing Model UN and pretending they have any legitimate reason to argue about foreign policy?

    I’ve always thought the ASSU has been laughable for the fact that some treat it like actual politics that matter outside of the Stanford Bubble. It’s student government, people. Focus on student issues, because that’s your job. Leave discussions about divestment and nuclear disarmament to the real politicians.

  • We have a voice

    This is a great real life issue that stanford students can have a voice in. Stanford’s investments do matter and they do have wide-ranging effects throughout the rest of the world. We as students DO have a say in how Stanford invests its money… after all we are the students who proudly make up Stanford University and we are paying the tuition which helps sustain this amazing university.

    I am proud that my fellow students are taking up an issue which extends outside the Stanford Bubble. We are not just Stanford students, content only with issues that exist within Stanford. We are Stanford students who care about addressing the wide range of issues that exist around the world. That’s why we are at Stanford…not to play student government or bury our heads in books, but to explore, learn and use our knowledge to create change.

  • We have a voice????

    Sorry friend.

    it is simply unconscionable to let our STUDENT GOVERNMENT take up an issue that has singularly no bearing on STANFORD STUDENTS at STANFORD UNIVERSITY. There are other avenues by which to take up this issue. The ASSU should not be one of them.

  • There is a precedent…

    to those saying this issue has no place in the senate, remember that the ASSU senate passed a similar divestment bill many years ago that prompted the university to divest from South Africa during the apartheid. if you say this issue has no relevance, then you must also say that the senate was meddling in things it should not have been meddling in many years ago.

  • We have a voice

    As I know it, the ASSU is made up of elected senators that are suppose to represent the voice of the students at Stanford. Many students including myself are concerned about the investments that Stanford has been making. The ASSU is suppose to represent the students and address the students’ concerns.

    If Stanford is involved, then so are the students that comprise Stanford University, and so is the ASSU. We, the students, have a voice in this university. What we want is a university that isn’t invested in companies that are engaged in human rights violations.
    So yes, this issue has a bearing on all Stanford students…at least all of us who are concerned about people’s basic human rights. That is all. 🙂

  • john

    I have no opinion on the above statements. I would like to ask if there is any way to dissolve the ASSU undergraduate senate. It seems like a total waste of time.

  • Salahodeen

    This is absurd. We all hate hearing about filibustering, and yet our own UNDERGRADUATE SENATE is succeeding in doing so???? Have they gone mad?