ASSU Senate resumes with first meeting of school year

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The Undergraduate Senate had their first meeting of the quarter on Tuesday (RAGHAV MEHROTRA/The Stanford Daily).
The Undergraduate Senate had their first meeting of the quarter on Tuesday (RAGHAV MEHROTRA/The Stanford Daily).

The 17th ASSU Undergraduate Senate met on Tuesday for the first time this academic year. The council members shared summer updates, discussed internal business and introduced new projects for the coming year.

Summer Updates

Appropriations chair Justice Tention ’18 shared information about ASSU funding toward the beginning of the meeting.

“We’re continuing the weekly system, and from a student group perspective, [it is] going to look very, very similar to last year with some clarifications in the actual guidelines themselves,” he said. “We’re going to be adapting the new system to fit that better.”

According to Tention, events like Mausoleum and Full Moon on the Quad will have high priority early in the quarter for funding.

Frederik Groce ’14 M.A. ’15, ASSU financial manager, provided updates about funding regarding a new waiver site and recent progress on club sports, which were not approved for joint special fees last spring.

“The Provost will fund club sports for one year,” Groce said. “It’s not a long term solution, but it is a solution at least for a year.”

Internal Business

The Senate discussed the constitutionality of approving a proxy for Senator Hattie Gawande ’18, who is taking a leave of absence this quarter. There was controversy around the language of the bill since Senate bylaws only address senators leaving for study abroad. The senators will consider amending or overruling the bylaws as a solution, and the bill will be voted on next week.

A proxy was approved last spring for David Wintermeyer ’17, who is currently abroad, but no proxy will be introduced for Malcolm Lizzappi ’17, who is taking a gap year.

There was also a discussion about which senator would replace Gawande’s position as deputy chair.

Leo Bird ’17 initiated a discussion on the Senate attendance policy, which calls for expulsion after three unexcused absences.

“I think we need to do a better job of keeping each other accountable for coming to these [meetings],” Bird said. “I mean, why else run for an elected position if you’re not actually going to represent your voices?”

“Also, we get paid, too, and we represent the students,” said Senate chair Sina Javidan-Nejad ’17. “We should be here.”

Groce offered some advice about Senate rules as a whole.

“Just run your meetings effectively so that nobody comes in here and fact-checks you guys, because you never know what’s going to come, and if you aren’t playing by your rules, you have no ground to stand on,” he said.

Future Plans

Communications chair Eni Asebiomo ’18 reported progress on the restructured ASSU website and Senate intern program, while Cenobio Hernandez ’18 announced plans for an undergraduate-wide event on diversity in the faculty and administration.

Executives John-Lancaster Finley ’16 and Brandon Hill ’16 have two primary focuses: sexual assault and climate change action.

To address sexual assault on college campuses, the executives are collaborating with a coalition of PAC-12 schools to create a statement endorsing or criticizing particular legislations and policies surrounding the issue.

“President Hennessy gave his approval of the project and of the effort to get all university presidents to sign on to it,” Finley said.

Finley and Hill are also working toward addressing climate change with the highest level of University administrators.

“One thing that our administration has long been both in favor of and unapologetic about is that we are pro-fossil-fuel-divestment,” Finley said. “We are writing a statement to the Board of Trustees regarding that.”

Contact Alexandra Bourdillon at aboudil ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Alexandra Bourdillon '18 is a freshman from Cupertino, CA. When she's not eating waffles, she can be found reading tea leaves or quantifying the land-speed velocity of a swallow (African, not European). After Stanford she hopes to explore the world, although the Bay Area will always be her home. To contact Alexandra, email her at abourdil ‘at’ stanford.edu.