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Undergraduate Senate approves $11,000 in first on-campus meeting of the year

The ASSU Undergraduate Senate appropriated more than $11,000 to student organizations in its first on-campus meeting of the academic year. The money will go toward various student groups’ early quarter programming, including $2,071 for Sigma Nu’s upcoming Sept. 29 all-campus day party, Endless Summer.

The senior class presidents requested an additional $500 from the Senate for their schoolwide tailgate scheduled for Sept. 27. Although they had not yet written a bill with their proposal, a few senators, including Appropriations Chair Nancy Pham ’14, Senate Chair Branden Crouch ’14, and Co-Chair Garima Sharma ’15, assured the senior class president representatives that they would retroactively be granted $500 next week from the traditions fund, which is appropriated at the discretion of the Senate.

In an interview after the meeting, Pham said the Senate had discussed approving the $500 and that she anticipates the bill will pass.

The Senate also granted $3,500 of the $12,000 traditions fund to the sophomore class presidents for Full Moon on the Quad (FMOTQ) programming.

They had previously held an emergency meeting over email on the weekend of Aug. 11 to approve FMOTQ funding, though the email announcing the meeting did not include a link to the bill, a budget for the event or the exact amount being requested. The “motion” was approved unanimously.

The virtual vote was invalid because “the bill wasn’t actually officially written,” according to Pham.

Instead, Pham presented a re-drafted bill to the senators at Tuesday’s meeting and the proposal again passed unanimously. Because such a bill would generally require earlier notice so that senators have a week to more thoroughly consider the request, the senators suspended their bylaws so they could vote before the event on Oct. 1.

Though student groups received the funding they asked for, not all attendees were satisfied by the Senate’s conduct. Stephen Trusheim ’13, a past elections commissioner now working as an assistant to the CEO of Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE), expressed frustration about the senators’ lack of familiarity with ASSU policies and perceived empty promises of reform.

“I’ve heard hundreds of people talk about fixing the ASSU and never really heard what we’re trying to fix it into becoming,” Trusheim said, after delivering an update on behalf of SSE. He encouraged senators to consider the mission of ASSU and continue to educate themselves on its regulations.

The senators spent the remainder of the meeting delivering committee updates, which mostly concerned internal initiatives. They summarized the 60-page ASSU Constitution, approved general fees bills and discussed coordinating outreach to freshmen, which includes rebranding the ASSU image and revising the Senate’s website.

  • Stephen Trusheim

    I’d like to firmly disagree with the casting of my statements in a negative light – I’m not “frustrated with empty promises of reform” by any stretch of the imagination, and that misses the point of my diatribe. I was also not frustrated by the Senate’s lack of understanding of its own bylaws – I distinctly remember spending about 5 minutes talking about how it is not the Senate’s fault they can’t rectify all the random sources of information about their organization, because I’ve spent 3 years deep in the ASSU trenches and I can’t either.

    That’s the point I was trying to hammer home, not any criticism of the current Senate.
    I’m hopeful that intentionally considering the “goals” of the ASSU as a whole (those “things we’re trying to fix the ASSU into becoming”) will lead all of its divisions – including SSE, the Senate, the GSC, and the Execs – to work together and promote a multi-year plan that can make the ASSU a more effective, mission-driven organization that doesn’t lose a ton of knowledge every year it turns over. I’m also hopeful that a role like mine will allow us all to make procedural changes that allow the entire organization to work better together.
    That said, thanks for your hard work reporting on the ASSU, and please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or clarifications about my state of mind: trusheim @ (our fine institution).