By Victor Xu
The ASSU Constitutional Council released the majority opinion for “The Stanford Review v. Stanford Students of Color Coalition (SOCC)” on Wednesday morning, explaining its four to none decision in favor of SOCC that was announced on April 29.
The opinion was held and written by Geo Saba ’15, Stephen Richards J.D. ’15, Jelani Munroe ’16 and Sona Sulakian ’16.
“We find that SOCC does not fall into the category of an Association entity and is therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information provision,” the opinion stated.
Article I, Section 7 of the ASSU Constitution, the Freedom of Information (FOI) provision in question, states, “All records of any Association entity must be available for scrutiny by the public with the exception of proprietary business information of Association businesses, financial records for non-funded accounts of organizations banking with the Association, Legal Counseling records, and personnel records of employees.”
The Council stated that, for the purpose of the case, they assumed, “without deciding,” that SOCC is a voluntary student organization (VSO). However, they determined that VSOs are not subject to the FOI clause.
The opinion stated that the context of the FOI clause suggests that “entities” refers to groups like Stanford Student Enterprises and ASSU governing bodies that have filed paid-employee and business records with the ASSU. This, combined with considerations of the intent of the Constitution’s framers and interpretations by prior ASSU leaders via by-laws, was enough evidence for the Constitutional Council to determine that “Association entities” and VSOs are not synonymous.
In a concurring statement, Richards wrote, “I wanted to briefly write to add that nothing in the Council’s opinion should be interpreted to mean that VSOs should not be subject to a FOI provision—only that they currently are not.”
Contact Victor Xu at vxu ‘at’ stanford.edu.