At the fourth meeting of the 19th Undergraduate Senate, ASSU Executive Vicki Niu ’18 confirmed that a dining hall will be open during spring break of the 2017-2018 school year. Senators also discussed Constitutional Council reforms, approved $500-per-year-higher senatorial salaries and heard an appeal to recruit more student judicial panelists to adjudicate student conduct cases. A speaker invited to campus by Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) also drew controversy.
Spring break meals
Many community members pushed for increased campus meal options during spring break to combat food insecurity that lower-income students may face while staying at school over the vacation. This school year, the University provided qualifying students with stipends to cover food costs over spring break, but all dining halls were closed.
The specifics of next year’s policy – such as which dining hall will be open and at what times – are currently uncertain, according to Niu. Niu’s confirmation comes after her and fellow Executive Justice Tention ’18’s first meeting with Shirley Everett, senior associate vice provost for Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE).
“Justice and I were bringing up issues that were relevant to students,” Niu said. “For everything we said, R&DE had a thoughtful response – concerning sustainable dining, kosher dining, students’ access to dining over spring break and other issues. They’re really thinking about all of those things, and they’re also invested in soliciting student input.”
Constitutional Council reform
Senator and appropriations committee chair Gabe Rosen ’19 has authored a bill to reform the procedures of the Constitutional Council, which acts as the ASSU equivalent of the Supreme Court. According to Rosen, though the Council crafted rules after its LSJUMB/KZSU v. Senate case ruling in March, such procedures were not officially codified in either the ASSU’s constitution or joint bylaws.
“After [the LSJUMB/KZSU v. Senate] case, the main stakeholders involved, including members of the Council, and members of the Senate and the GSC concurred that the Council needs to have very specific, transparent, and properly delineated operating procedures,” Rosen said. “Every portion of the Constitutional Council process, in my opinion, needs some kind of codified process to follow.”
Administration and Rules Committee Chair Chapman Caddell ’20 is cosponsoring the bill. It will be put to a vote at the Senate’s last meeting of the quarter next Tuesday.
Salaries and judicial panelists
A bill confirming Senators’ salaries unanimously passed. Senate Chair Kojoh Atta ’20 and Appropriations Chair Gabe Rosen ’18 will each receive $666.67 per quarter. All other members of the Senate earn $500 per quarter.
Late on Tuesday night, an anonymous senator told The Daily that these salaries mean current senators will be paid $500 more annually than members of the previous Senate were paid. The change comes after The Stanford Review criticized senators’ compensation in a February editorial, arguing that they should not receive salaries. The Daily has reached out to the senator to ask about the reasoning behind the pay raise but had to go to press before receiving a response.
The Senate unanimously selected Khaled Aounallah ’19 as Senate secretary.
In addition, La Familia de Stanford, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Symbolic Systems Society, Stanford Solar Car Project and People for Animal Welfare, among other Volunteer Student Organizations, received funds.
In the Senate’s open forum period, Daily staffer and judicial panelist Caleb Smith ‘17 said that the Office of Community Standards, which adjudicates potential violations of the University’s Honor Code and Fundamental Standard, has a shortage of student panelists. Each Honor Code or Fundamental Standard case that results in a hearing must be adjudicated by a panel that includes four students.
“In our panelist pool, we currently have about 25 students, and we’d like to have closer to 50,” Smith said, saying that a shortage of student panelists results in case delays.
The Senate suggested that Smith consult the Nominations Committee for further help on the matter.
Rosen also expressed concern over a speaker that SJP, in collaboration with other campus organizations, invited to speak Thursday night at Stanford. Palestinian Aarab Barghouthi will deliver what a Facebook event calls “a talk on the current Palestinian political prisoners’ conditions, demands, and current hunger strike.”
A student present at the Senate meeting who wished to remain anonymous said that Barghouthi’s coming to campus is upsetting for many members of Stanford’s Jewish community, as Barghouthi has advocated for the release of his father, a Palestinian political figure jailed for murder.
The Senate voted in favor of funding the event with $450 for an honorarium and $200 for facility use. Three senators abstained.
“In the interest of full transparency, I am personally very deeply concerned with the content of the speech, but I need to make sure that I afford equal access to freedom of speech to groups, even those who I deeply disagree with,” Rosen said. “It’s just something that I find very appalling.”
However, other senators had little reaction to the speaker, and the conversation moved on.
The Daily has reached out to SJP for comment and will update this article.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Senator Gabe Rosen’s class year as 2018 instead of 2019. The Daily regrets this error.