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ASSU Senate discusses regulating how VSOs purchase custom products

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The Senate discussed a bill that would require VSOs buying custom products to do so through SSE. (MCKENZIE LYNCH/The Stanford Daily)

In its meeting Tuesday evening, the ASSU Senate debated on the bill requiring Volunteer Student Organizations (VSOs) buying custom products to purchase them through Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) and referred it to the Appropriations Committee.

Stanford Axe Committee Chairmen Saj Sri-Kumar ’16 expressed concerns regarding this proposed bill.

“I understand the motivation for this bill, but I think that it is misguided. I don’t think it should be done without careful consideration and talking to student groups,” Sri-Kumar said. “Just because SSE does not make a profit does not make it the cheapest. There are many reasons to not go through SSE, like time and quality. If it’s just the fact that student groups are overlooking [SSE’s services], then they should market [them] better.”

Sri-Kumar had reservations about the bill’s accordance with the annual grant process.

“The bill violates the spirit and intent of the annual grant process,” Sri-Kumar said. “The Senate shouldn’t be allowed to put any restrictions on funding it is not allowed to reject.”

Rather than pass it as a bill, the Senate will incorporate it into funding guidelines.

Administration & Rules Committee Chair Matthew Cohen ’18 responded to concerns regarding better-priced alternatives to SSE.

“SSE is not trying to rip off students. If you were to find a way to do it cheaper, SSE would price match,” Cohen said. “I think it is in the interests of VSOs to go through with this.”

Luka Fatuesi ’17, proxy for Senator Hattie Gawande ’18, highlighted that the bill would allow money to stay within the ASSU.

“Personally, this [bill] is something that I would really want to see happen because as an organization, we tend to bleed out,” Fatuesi said. “Ensuring that the money stays within ASSU would provide maximum funding for student services.”

The motion to refer this bill to the Appropriations Committee and bring the bill back to the Senate floor if the committee sees fit passed unanimously.

ASSU Vice President Brandon Hill ’16 reemphasized sexual assault prevention as a main priority — the Executives will be organizing a town hall later this month to discuss this topic. In addition, new social programming jazz events will be held in various outdoor locations.

The motion to approve the funding bills that were recommended by the Appropriations Committee passed unanimously. The Senate denied the request of the Stanford University Psychology Association seeking funding for the travel expenses of the director of the Stanford Prison Experiment, which the group had to cover at the last minute.  

“We don’t entertain retroactive requests, just because it is unfair to other student groups who we’ve denied funding for retroactively under current funding guidelines,” said Appropriations Committee chair Justice Tention ’18.

 

Contact Pallavi Krishnarao at pallavik ‘at’ stanford.edu.