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Senate creates special election for funding reform, discusses sexual assault reform

In a meeting Tuesday night that lasted more three hours, the 16th Undergraduate Senate set a special election for funding reform and took a stance on sexual assault reform efforts led by the University and the ASSU’s Executive Branch.

In the meeting, Appropriations Committee Chair Jackson Hart Beard ’17 asked the Senate to reconsider the bill for a special election that failed to pass last week. Funding reform has been the primary focus of the Senate this year.

Beard argued that even without comprehensive funding reform, the potential for increase in general fees justified the special election.

Some Senators expressed concerns that there would not be a proposed funding reform ready in time for the election, but others said that the election needs to happen before Winter Quarter because of the amount of time needed for groups to plan budgets.

The Senate voted in favor of holding a special election at the end of the quarter, passing the bill by a vote of 11 to 2, with 2 abstentions. The special election will be held on Dec. 4 and 5.

In last spring’s election, SAFE reform failed to receive the necessary percentage of votes to pass. SAFE reform sought primarily to decrease Stanford’s student activities fee.

The specifics of the reform to be voted on by the student body in December have yet to be released publicly.

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The other main focus of discussions on Tuesday night centered around the bill that outlined the Senate’s official stance and recommendations on the ongoing sexual assault reform efforts of the University’s Sexual Assault Task Force and the ASSU Executive Branch.

Deputy Chair of the Senate Victoria Kalumbi ’15 proposed a bill regarding the Alternative Review Process. While the bill ultimately passed by a vote of 12 to three, with the Senators using secret ballots, the bill was not without extensive and at times heated discussion.

Most of the debate over this bill centered on the section that declared the Senate “open to a presumptive sanction of expulsion for those found responsible of sexual violence.”

Some Senators felt the clause indicated an endorsement of presumptive expulsion, while others believed it was important to show that the Senate was staying in line with the University, which is considering presumptive expulsion.

Senator Andrew Aude ’16, in an email to The Daily after the meeting, expressed concern that the bill included a “bait-and-switch” regarding the language of presumptive expulsion.

In the bill put on previous notice last week (all bills are required to go on previous notice a week prior to the scheduled vote to allow for discussion among the community), there was not language expressing support for a presumptive sanction of expulsion.

In an email to the public Senate mailing list after the meeting, Kalumbi said that she changed the original bill to clarify something that, in her opinion, was previously unclear. Kalumbi also said that the revised version of the bill was submitted on time.

An amendment to remove the clause failed and the Executive Committee ruled against dividing the bill so that the Senate could vote on the rest of it and continue debate on the sanctions clause.

An amendment passed changing the language to include both expulsion and other sanctions being considered by the University.

Contact Sarah Wishingrad at swishing ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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