In a short meeting Tuesday night, the 15th ASSU Undergraduate Senate voted to remove the restriction banning senators from studying abroad during their term, in an attempt to make the Senate more attractive to upperclassmen and current senators.
“I think this policy creates many avenues for more experienced people to serve on Senate,” said Senator John-Lancaster Finley ’16.
The bill limits the number of senators abroad at any time to three and allows first-time senators to study abroad only during the spring quarter at the end of their term. Returning senators will be allowed to study abroad during any quarter.
“I’m optimistic that [the change] is going to encourage upperclassmen to run,” said Senate Chair Ben Holston ’15.
If a senator wants to study abroad, he or she must submit an application to the Senate chair, who will choose up to three senators whose eligibility to study abroad will be considered by the rest of the Senate. The bill outlined suggestions that seniority be considered when evaluating study abroad requests.
“It’ll be the same as admissions policies—just because you are a senior and you fill out a bad application doesn’t mean they will get [the study abroad] spot because you are a senior,” Finley said. “That might weigh into the decision, but there are a lot of things that go into [the decision].”
Before going abroad, senators must appoint a proxy to represent them. Proxies will be allowed to vote and—with the exception of serving as officers or committee chairs, from which positions senators going abroad must resign—otherwise act as a full representative of senators who are abroad.
“It is encouraged that the proxy be in regular communication with the Senator,” Finley said. “The accountability is still on the senator who is abroad. For things that are done by the proxy, the responsibility ultimately falls on the senator.”
“I think Senate will function well with this proxy system,” Holston said.
The Senate also heard an update from the student leaders of SAFE Reform, with a tentative plan to introduce a bill during week seven of the quarter. Uncertainty remains, however, over the fate of student group reserves that have ballooned under the current system.
Following the precedent set by their funding of the Robber Barons trip to a national comedy festival, the Senate also voted to fund the Quidditch team’s trip to the World Cup in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with fees from the General Fees Reserve.
“It’s a really cool thing for a group of Stanford students to do and I think it helps promote Stanford in new fields nationally,” Holston said.
In addition, the Senate passed $16,107.40 in funding bills.