This year’s three candidate slates for ASSU Executive participated in a pre-election debate on Monday evening at the CoHo, in an event that touched on topics ranging from how best to restore the ASSU’s credibility on campus to the slates’ contrasting priorities.
The three candidate slates—Elizabeth Woodson ’15 and Logan Richard ’15, Lauren Miller ’15 and Geo Saba ’15, and The Stanford Chaparral’s joke slate of Garrett Taylor ’15 and Colton Dempsey ’16—were asked to give two-minute responses to questions posed by moderators representing The Daily and The Stanford Review.
After introducing themselves, the candidates first addressed how they would work to restore the ASSU’s credibility with the student body. Both credible slates argued that “getting things done” and “doing what we say we’re going to do” would naturally rebuild the ASSU’s reputation. Both serious slates also stated that they would strive to promote awareness of the ASSU’s role among students, and particularly among freshmen.
Running on a platform of “fixing what is broken and connecting what already exists,” Woodson also talked about the structure of the executive cabinet as something they would strive to improve if elected.
The slates were subsequently asked to name pieces of past ASSU legislation they did and did not support.
“The judicial review process was one I heard a lot about and that I support,” Woodson said, adding that in terms of legislation, there was not “something we were actively against.”
While she characterized the current Executives’ early attempts at funding reform as “rushed,” Miller expressed her support of the SAFE Reform bill, a piece of legislation that aims to reform student activities funding and that will be put before the student body for approval via the spring ballot.
She also praised the reestablishment of the Constitutional Council, which Saba chaired this year. Saba reiterated the importance of the council and lauded the Undergraduate Senate’s initiative to reserve seats for upperclassmen within the Senate.
“We’re overwhelmingly supportive because what we’re doing right now just isn’t working,” Miller said, “[Stanford students] are paying the highest student activities fee in the nation.”
The debate then shifted focus to the candidates’ platforms. When asked what plank of their platform they thought was the most feasible, Richard highlighted the “availability and accessibility of resources pertaining to mental health.”
Woodson said that breaking down Stanford’s culture of misperception with regards to mental health issues was their top priority.
“I regret the ways I’ve handled stress and the ways I have sought help or not,” Woodson said, reflecting on her Stanford experience, “I believe that that is the reason that we have now come to want to do this work.
Miller and Saba mentioned the need for more meeting and storage space—particularly for politically oriented student groups—and the implementation of an all-campus “day of action.” They also emphasized the importance of engaging freshmen in ASSU programming and serving student groups through the anticipated passage of the SAFE Reform measure.
Throughout the debate, the Chaparral slate maintained that, if elected, they would ensure students’ safety on campus by—among other humorous proposals—hiring thugs as cabinet members, taxing students, passing compulsory helmet policies and “balancing the budget.”
Taylor and Dempsey also poked fun at the ASSU throughout, arguing that it ultimately “doesn’t do anything.”
Contact Julia Enthoven at jjejje ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.