unSAFE Reform April 10, 2014 13 Comments Share tweet Op Ed By: Op Ed Incomplete: a term synonymous with the current SAFE Reform Initiative. While some have publicized the bill’s potential to “completely overhaul the current student activities funding system,” they have neglected the holes that exist. Although it is necessary to solve the increasing undergraduate student activities fee, SAFE Reform hastily attempts to do something, overlooking the potential side-effects of its conflicting language. We, the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC), have done our due diligence and identified a number of holes in the discourse surrounding the bill. As such, SOCC does not support SAFE Reform. We applaud the tireless efforts of those working to rectify the current system’s failures. Najla Gomez ’14 and NAACP Presidents Melvin Boone ’14 and Tianay Pulphus ’13 have been meeting with the authors of the SAFE Reform bill, Justine’16 and Olivia Moore ’16, to create a funding solution since the Moore twins were first hired by Stephen Trusheim ’13 M.S. ’14 last year. However, the bill remains unable to answer fundamental concerns relating to student groups. The main issues with the bill revolve around the funding board, its selection process and accountability for its decisions. While a number of bill advocates have stated that the funding board will be comprised of seven students, including three unelected members and four senators, the bill’s language leaves room for other possibilities. Specifically, Article IV, entitled “Appointments,” states: “Four [members of the board] shall be elected representatives of the student body as members of the ASSU Undergraduate Senate, and three shall be appointed by the outgoing Funding Board.” However, Appendix II, Section 2, states: “The Funding Board shall be comprised of at least seven members, at least three of whom shall not hold elected office in the Association.” As such, the final composition of the board could be less representative than publicized, with a larger portion of the board than in previous years being appointed rather than elected members. The bill is unclear on how the board, which decides the allocation of undergraduate activity fees, will be chosen, increasing bureaucracy and reducing democracy in student group funding. This inconsistent language highlights the hasty manner in which this bill was composed, and the dangers of allowing such ambiguity to become part of the ASSU constitution. We believe in our communities and our value on this campus. So often SOCC groups have to remind students and others that our cultural activities matter to the entire Stanford community. That somehow our events do not engage the greater Stanford community is a troubling misconception. With that in mind, it concerns us that this bill currently lacks any metrics on how events will be evaluated for approval. This extends beyond SOCC communities into all other student groups that rely on Stanford for funding. Specifically, the future distribution of the new quick and minor grants is unclear, as the bill does not provide any criteria that will allow the Funding Board to determine which events to fund. Without an explicit framework, the Funding Board’s decisions will depend on its composition and individual subjectivities. This further demonstrates how the SAFE Reform is not yet ready for implementation. As student leaders, we cannot, in good conscience, advocate for a bill that leaves room for error. On several occasions, SOCC leadership reached out directly to the bill co-authors to express our concerns. We requested to postpone the vote on the bill to better educate the student body and resolve the bill’s remaining unpolished components. However, our request was rejected and we have been told that the bill’s current issues can be fixed after approval. This course of action is not in the interest of student groups. As we have stated and will continue to state, we believe in submitting a complete bill to be voted upon by the student body, rather than a vague framework lacking specifics in crucial areas we have questions. SOCC believes in working on SAFE Reform further in order to provide a comprehensive bill for the Stanford student body. Though the current funding system needs to be improved, a hasty fix is not the answer. While some may argue that SOCC’s “No” Campaign against SAFE Reform relies heavily on speculation, we cannot help but speculate about a bill that leaves its most important features to the whim of our successors. Nothing about that scenario seems SAFE at all. The Students of Color Coalition, Nujsaubnusi Vue,’14 and Kevin Sunga,’15 Asian American Students’ Association, Co-Chairs Kaela Farrise ’14 and Wade Morgan’15 Black Student Union, Co-Presidents Ireri Hernandez,’15 and Stephanie Navarro ’15 Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, Co-Chairs Hana Al-Henaid ’14 Muslim Student Awareness Network President Tianay Pulphus ’14 and Melvin Boone’14 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Co-Presidents Maxine Fonua ’14, Maruskha Hirshon’14 and MichaeLynn Kanichy ’14 Stanford American Indian Organization, Co-Chairs Contact the Students of Color Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org. SAFE reform SOCC 2014-04-10 Op Ed April 10, 2014 13 Comments Share tweet Subscribe Click here to subscribe to our daily newsletter of top headlines.