Current ASSU Vice President Michael Cruz’s campaign for ASSU Executive with Senator Stewart Macgregor-Dennis ’13 is focusing on central themes of experience and engagement. The extensive, 16-plank Cruz & Macgregor-Dennis for Executive platform states that the candidates intend to continue the work of current ASSU President Angelina Cardona ’11, in addition to placing a priority on entrepreneurship and integrating technology with the ASSU and the greater student body—an initiative they call “Stanford 2.0.”
“It’s bringing Silicon Valley into Stanford,” said Macgregor-Dennis. “There are things that we feel need to get done, and then there are things that we’re really passionate about.
The Daily spoke with both Cruz and his peers to evaluate his prior experience and the feasibility of these goals if elected. Certain traits became themes: hard work, attention to detail, a cover-to-cover understanding of the body’s constitution. But when pushed deeper, a division of views occurred: those in the 11th Senate saw the younger Cruz as dedicated, yet meek; those in the l2th Senate encountered a mature and dynamic leader.
“My first term was very much a learning experience, the second term was an implementation of what I had learned,” Cruz said.
In the 11th Senate, which current senators described as more fractured than the current one, Cruz served as the deputy chair of the Appropriations Committee, which handles the funding of student groups. The group became known for its conservative approach to money allocation, and Cruz was often a dissenting voice.
“I understood that we were in a budget crisis, but that it affected the ASSU different than it affected Stanford, and we had to respond in a different way,” he said. “Our policies were perhaps a mixed bag.”
Shelley Gao ’11, who served with him in the general body, described Cruz as a quieter type who tended to remain neutral on specific issues.
“I don’t think he did anything striking or controversial that warranted attention,” said Gao, who serves on The Daily’s Board of Directors.
However, Cardona pointed to significant growth between the two years. Cruz was the only senator to be reelected for the 12th session and then assumed role of chair. The 11th Senate had a late departure from office because of continued debate on divestment. As a result, there was a rushed transition for new senators toward the end of the academic year, but current senators said that Cruz was instrumental in ensuring that it was as smooth as possible.
“He took the lead in easing us into our roles,” said Rebecca Sachs ’13.
When the Senate reconvened in the fall, Cruz and others said his focus was mainly on internal reform.
“The ASSU can be unresponsive, uncommunicative and inefficient,” he said. “If we wanted to serve the student body well, we had to know what they wanted us to do, and have the mechanisms in place to do it well.”
Cardona and Senator Daniel Khalessi ‘13 pointed to Cruz’s collaborative mentality as instrumental to the 12th Senate’s success; Cardona pointed specifically to his work in support of a special fees reform bill that originally had little backing and required coalition building to pass. She said that those traits were instrumental in her selection of Cruz as her replacement vice president.
Cardona and Sachs both pointed to a complimentary relationship between Cruz and Macgregor-Dennis. Cardona described the former as detail-oriented and the latter as more focused on the big picture.
“I think it’s synergistic,” Macgregor-Dennis said. “When we’re working together, we can delegate pretty well.”
Members of both the 11th and 12th Senates were intrigued by what shape a potential Cruz administration would take.
“This is his opportunity to be a leader,” Brian Wanyoike ’12, who was on Appropriations in the 11th Senate, said.
“He saw Jonny Dorsey run a team, he saw David Gobaud, he saw me, he saw a number of different styles,” Cardona said. “He could fuse them. He’ll be in a position to execute.”