By Kate Abbott
ASSU President Angelina Cardona ’11 recently authored a bill to add “advisory referenda” regarding ROTC to the April ASSU elections ballot. She proposed the bill to be voted on by both the Undergraduate Senate (UGS) and the Graduate Student Council (GSC) next week; it will need majority approval from both bodies in order to be included on the Spring 2011 election ballot.
If passed, the bill would add “Measure A-Advisory Question” to gauge student opinion concerning the potential reinstatement of ROTC. The ad hoc committee currently investigating the issue reported to the ASSU several weeks ago.
“The presentation was extremely informative,” Cardona said.
“It was a two-way conversation during which the committee answered questions that senate had and they received input from senators and other leaders,” she added.
The committee also hosted an open letter campaign, a campus-wide town hall and a meeting with faculty and stuff to continue dialogue and address concerns about the issue. Cardona hopes this measure would provide a representation of the student body’s opinion on the matter.
“The idea of [the bill] came shortly after the town hall that the ASSU co-sponsored, and it was clear that was the beginning of a larger conversation.
“A lot of senators and other leaders are very supportive of asking this question,” Cardona said. “They think it gets at the core of what student government should be doing.”
Cardona said that after listening to the debate at the town hall and seeing the committee’s presentation, she realized that “there are many different opinions on this issue.”
“I see my role as president to synthesize all of these,” she said.
The bill proposes three options from which students can choose: support return of ROTC, do not support or abstain. Cardona said that the current bill is the result of several drafts with “more neutral” language. She said that psychology professor and committee chair Ewart Thomas was consulted and is supportive of the advisory measure.
“The newest version has a more neutral approach and hopefully will yield better responses from the pool,” she said.
Cardona said that she reached out to Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL) president Alok Vaid-Menon ’13 and other leaders in the LGBTQ community when drafting the language of the bill.
“I see it as a concrete platform for both sides to talk to the wider student body about these issues and give the students a deliverable,” she said.
Cardona also mentioned that when the decision was made to remove ROTC from campus, there was a campus wide student vote. She said that the administration takes into account students’ opinions.
She stressed that the results of the vote would be a “piece of the larger conversation and debate,” and the outcome would not be indicative of the committee’s findings.