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Seven non-freshmen seek senatorship following new ASSU rules

Following changes made earlier this year to the ASSU Undergraduate Senate’s rules, seven non-freshmen candidates will seek to become senators on this year’s spring ballot. By comparison, only two non-freshman candidates ran last year.

Last year’s election saw the passage of an amendment to the ASSU Constitution mandating that the Senate reserve some seats for upperclassmen. In January, the Senate passed legislation that officially allocated three seats to upperclassmen, provided the candidates meet certain requirements.

The three “upperclass district” seats will be filled if the three upperclassmen candidates receive at least two-thirds the number of votes that the 13th-place candidate received.

The remaining 12 seats are now considered “at-large” districts and can be filled by students from any class. If three upperclassmen candidates are among the top 15 in votes, the remaining upperclassmen candidates will not be elected by merely receiving two-thirds of the votes the 13th place candidate received. Instead, they will also have to place in the top 15.

“I had hesitations last year about the approval of an upperclassmen quota, but I think this [legislation] is a good compromise of preventing certain upperclassmen of taking advantage of the amendment to make a mockery of the ASSU,” said Senator Zane Hellmann ’16 to The Daily in January.

Some senators expressed concerns that simply allocating three spots to upperclassmen candidates would not sufficiently address one of the underlying causes of the lack of upperclassmen in the Senate—the fact that Senators could not study abroad while serving the ASSU.

“We decided that the abroad restriction tended to preclude the 60 percent or so of students who would be studying abroad at some point from being on Senate,” said Senator John-Lancaster Finley ’16.

As a result, the Senate passed legislation that removed a study-abroad restriction on senators. The legislation allows first-term senators to go abroad during the spring quarter at the end of their term and returning senators to go abroad during any quarter. If more than three senators want to study abroad during any one quarter, the senate chair determines who is allowed to study abroad.

“We believe that removing the abroad restriction for spring quarter for first-time senators, and for any quarter for returning senators, would do [encourage upperclassmen] without gutting the Senate of its knowledge, experience and potential by having a ton of people off campus,” Finley said.

 

Contact Andrew Vogeley at avogeley ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

About Andrew Vogeley

Andrew Vogeley is a desk editor at The Stanford Daily, covering the ASSU and student groups. He is a freshmen from the great state of Texas.