ASSU talks Ike’s, group funding and political unions

SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily

SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily

The second meeting of the 16th Undergraduate Senate focused on recent problems associated with group funding and the possibility of forming political unions at Stanford, as well as a resolution supporting the continued presence of popular eatery Ike’s Place on campus.

In recent weeks, a number of student organizations have expressed discontent about not receiving promised general fees funding, in a continuation of issues the 15th Senate faced in its last few weeks. Some groups have even spent money nominally allocated to them by the ASSU but have yet to receive reimbursement.

The current Senate has approximately $10,000 in outstanding funding that it can allocate but must meet the $13,000 in funds approved for students. Furthermore, a couple of student groups have expressed discontent over certain takebacks, which lowered the amount of money available for spring-quarter funding.

Senators discussed possible solutions to spring quarter general fees funding issues, including whether money should be taken from the buffer fund reserves.

However, newly elected Stanford Student Enterprise Capital Group (SSE) assistant financial managers Olivia Moore ’16 and Justine Moore ’16, strongly advised against using the money from the buffer funds.

“We are concerned about the viability of ASSU’s future, so anything that the 16th Senate does we want to make sure it is possible to do in the next four or five years,” Olivia Moore said. “We are uncomfortable with spending money on programs [general fees funding] that aren’t for those [purposes].”

However, some senators argued that SSE should give the Senate recommendations—and not orders—on financial matters.

Subsequently, Senator Anthony Ghosn ’16 asked other Senators their opinions on creating a political union at Stanford, in an effort to encourage the development of debate forums.

“I genuinely believe we don’t have a vibrant enough open forum debate society like Oxford or Yale University,” Ghosn said. “Working with Stanford in Government (SIG) and Stanford Democrats, under the auspices of [a] Political Union, we may create events for students to get more involved, informed and debate about politics.”

The final item on the agenda was a discussion about the Resolution in Support of Ike’s Place.

Authored by Senators Andrew Aude ’16 and John-Lancaster Finley ’16, the bill urges the bidding criteria and process of selecting the future occupant of the space currently occupied by Ike’s Place in Huang Engineering Center to be more transparent and public.

“There is lots of blame shifting revolving around the committee [which conducted the bidding] and R&DE [Residential & Dining Enterprises] and there’s lots of indirection and ambiguity,” Aude said. “Ike’s didn’t even know they lost the bid although R&DE was notified that they tentatively won the bid in March.”

Aude and other senators argued that students couldn’t have voiced their opinion earlier in the year, given that there was no knowledge of R&DE having placed a bid for the location currently occupied by Ike’s Place until recently.

Although the bill expresses support for Ike’s and posits that there should be no ambiguity in future lease-bids of restaurants or cafes at the University, it does not officially seek to compel R&DE to change their decision about establishing an outlet in Huang.

Contact Peter Moon at pmoon ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

About Peter Samuel Moon

Peter is currently a deputy desk editor and a freshman majoring in economics (anticipated). He enjoys soccer, basketball, and fitness.
  • Andrew T Aude

    I think I was misunderstood here:
    “Aude and other senators argued that students couldn’t have voiced their opinion earlier in the year, given that there was no knowledge of R&DE having placed a bid for the location currently occupied by Ike’s Place until recently.”

    Clarification: We could have emailed our opinions to Ms. Akin since December, when she first notified the SEQ that the space was up for re-bid. The general assumption of the students I talked to was that the lease would be renewed in favor of Ike’s. However, we didn’t know who the vendor options were until very recently. And R&DE would not provide a clear answer as to whether or not they were bidding when Senator Ilya M. asked on my behalf in March.

    Also this:
    “Ike’s didn’t even know they lost the bid”

    Clarification: They didn’t know until Ms. Akin’s email came out on 4/25. I showed the Stanford Ike’s employees her email a few hours after it came out — they didn’t even know they had lost until that point.

    Note that R&DE tentatively won the bid mid-march March, and was involved in negotiations until late April. I think Ike’s and the student body could have used more advanced notice.

    This article mentions that “it does not officially seek to compel R&DE to change their decision about establishing an outlet in Huang.”
    However, the bill does support Ike’s staying in multiple clauses. E.g. “the ASSU Undergraduate Senate supports efforts currently being undertaken to preserve the current format of Ike’s Place and its operation in the Forbes Family Cafe in Huang Engineering Center.”

    The bill’s co-author and I didn’t intend to compel R&DE to do something we can’t force it to do. (Maybe we should have tried, though…) R&DE is quick to argue that they technically didn’t make decision: Ms. Akin’s committee did.

    However, R&DE still made the decision to bid on the space, despite them having no obligation to bid.

    It’s true that R&DE has every right to bid, but I believe it’s fair to the community to know which retail locations are on R&DE’s radar for purposes of full transparency

    A copy of the full text of the bill is here: http://pastebin.com/BQeGQhtn

  • Andrew T Aude

    Furthermore – the ASSU’s handling of the Ike’s bill was not just a “discussion” we had.

    The bill passed unanimously.

  • Danny W

    I am in full support of “events for students to get more involved, informed and debate about politics,” but in addition to Stanford in Government and Stanford Democrats, the Stanford College Republicans and Stanford Conservative Society should be involved as well. It is absolutely crucial to have balance — not one-sidedness.

  • Anonymous

    Anthony has reached out to every political group on campus. Stanford Dems and SIG are the two that were the most responsive with the largest following of students. His efforts were everything but one sided.

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