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Ashley Harris to lose place as ASSU Senator

ASSU Senator Ashley Harris ’15 will likely lose her place in the Undergraduate Senate after taking a leave of absence this year.

Harris, who is reportedly being treated for meningitis, informed the Senate via email that she will not be returning to Stanford this academic year.

The ASSU Constitution states that “Senators taking a leave of absence shall automatically be expelled from the Undergraduate Senate if such status is confirmed.” The bill authored by Senator Lauren Miller ’15 confirmed that Senator Harris has indeed taken a leave of absence.

As per the guidelines of the Constitution, the senators introduced the expulsion bill at this week’s Senate meeting before voting occurs at next week’s meeting. Harris gave up her right to address the Senate.

Senators are currently deliberating about whether or not the open position will be filled. Although Miller initially stated that the Senate would not be replacing Harris, she reconsidered when Associate Dean and Director of Student Activities and Leadership Nanci Howe informed her that the Senate has a precedent of replacing absentee senators.

Branden Crouch ’14, chair of the Senate, raised the possibility of contacting the first runner-up Senate candidate, Joshua Eisner ’13.

“I’m not really sure how it works,” Crouch said. “I think he can say yes or no if he wants to be on the Senate.”

Crouch stated the replacement decision will be made at next week’s Senate meeting. If the Senate decides to add another senator, the addition will be made in the next two weeks. However, Crouch believes that the Senate will not have a new member.

“I think we are going to try to keep 14 [senators],” Crouch said. “If we do come into a period when we are in a tie, the vice president will come in and break the tie.”

Other senators, such as Kimberly Bacon ’15, have offered to take Harris’ place on the Advocacy and Student Life committees, according to Crouch.

The Senate is also trying to determine what will be done about Harris’ payment, as each senator receives a salary of $400. According to Assistant Financial Manager for Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) Stephen Trusheim ’13, the money will be directed to the ASSU reserve account if the budget is not adjusted to reflect Harris’ expulsion.