By Zoe Richards
The 11th ASSU Undergraduate Senate will not dissolve on May 11, leaving its transition date unclear and some convinced that the reasons behind a delayed transition are not what they seem.
That was the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting, where senators also rounded up remaining bills and discussed how to effectively hand down knowledge about Stanford’s student government to the senators-elect of the 12th incarnation of the group, who will serve through next spring.
Eleven senators were present at last night’s meeting. Three current senators out of 13 reported to the Senate’s transition meeting with incoming senators on Saturday.
According to some senators-elect eager to take their places, much of the transition has not been as helpful as promised.
“I personally feel that I’ve learned very little in the past three weeks,” said Senator-elect Deepa Kannappan ’13.
Some on Tuesday remained concerned about the time left for incoming senators to organize a policy summit, as was done last spring, or at least form committees and select chairs before the year’s end.
The dissolution bill, which would have broken up the Senate on May 11, was defeated 7-4. The current Senate will continue to convene until a new dissolution date is agreed upon.
Green Events Checklist
After seeing the Green Events Checklist on and off the Senate’s agenda since September, the group appears to be moving toward implementing a more effective pilot program to ensure that, through funding controls, student events use sustainable materials.
Appropriations Chair Anton Zietsman ’12 laid out a lengthy set of mechanisms, including the use of “green consultants,” that could help increase sustainability among student groups.
Senator Michael Cruz ‘12, who coauthored the bill, will return as a member of the 12th Senate and could help newcomers move quickly on the checklist.
Questions Surround Transition
Meanwhile, after Senator Alex Katz ’12 time and again repeated a host of seemingly pragmatic reasons for a delayed transition, Senator Mohammad Ali ’10 said Tuesday that these reasons were mere “political theatre” to hide other motives for a late start for the 12th Senate.
The importance of a well-informed transition for the incoming Senate, and members of the Appropriations Committee in particular, along with a need to update the body’s bylaws, have been mainstay justifications for Katz and other senators for extending the process.
Ali said, however, that several senators had told him they would not support a bill he coauthored with Senator Lee Jackson ’12 calling for the dissolution of the Senate next week for fear of the incoming Senate hearing a divestment bill before the end of the quarter.
Fadi Quran ’10, a member of Campaign Restore Hope, appeared on the Senate floor on Tuesday to probe the Senate for answers about why it is continuing to discuss the year’s long-running issues.
“I respect if you have an ideology, Alex Katz, and I know a lot of your friends who have very explicitly told me you are a supporter of Israel — ” Quran said before being sharply reprimanded by both Katz and Senate Chair Varun Sivaram ’11 for what they called inappropriate remarks.
The campaign distributed divestment petitions to some dorms earlier this week.
“For those who think the issue of divestment will not come up if the transition is delayed, you are wrong,” Ali said.
Senator Zachary Warma ’11, who called into the meeting via Skype from Stanford in Washington, fiercely disagreed.
“This has no place in student government — it has no place,” Warma said.
Katz and Zietsman left shortly before the meeting ended.
The Senate heard recommendations from Katz before his departure about a new “traditions fund” intended to preserve traditional Stanford events endangered by underfunding. About $14,500 would be allotted to the fund, with Mausoleum Party and Full Moon on the Quad outlined as its top priorities. An undesignated pot of $2,500 would be set aside for additional emergency expenses.
The ASSU political budget and funding bills for the week were approved.
According to the body’s bylaws, the 11th Senate must dissolve at least 14 days before the end of the quarter, leaving its latest transition date to the eighth week of the quarter during the May 18 meeting.