I could discuss Shanta’s body of work in and out of student government at length and talk endlessly of her demonstrated commitment to addressing Stanford’s most pressing issue areas of sexual violence and mental health. But I will allow Shanta’s platform to speak for itself. What I want to contribute to campus dialogue about this upcoming spring election cycle is my experience working with Shanta while I was ASSU Executive and why I believe Shanta is the leader and person Stanford deserves to have as its next student body president.
As Chair of the Undergraduate Senate, Shanta worked closely with me while I served as ASSU Executive. Those who were involved in ASSU governance at the time know that it was an arduous year. On the heels of the Brock Turner sentencing, Shanta and I were in exciting roles during a difficult moment for the Stanford community. Yet, my cabinet and I established a coalition of students and administrators that tackled some of the most complex and controversial issues facing our campus. The results of this work have been featured in news outlets including The New York Times, recognition that underscores how meaningful changes can be made when student leaders encourage administrators to act in the best interest of students.
Shanta was crucial to my cabinet’s agenda during my time as ASSU Executive. Our work would have been less impactful without her strong leadership, vision and knowledge. I will not mince words: Shanta was without question the most effective Undergraduate Senate chair in institutional memory. I remain impressed and inspired by her fearless approach to representing students whose voices need to be heard and by the deliberate way she reached out to the Graduate Student Council (GSC) to pursue joint undergraduate-graduate initiatives. It was through her work with the GSC that Shanta first met Rosie, her running mate. In the time since, Shanta and Rosie have developed the type of trailblazing undergraduate-graduate partnership the ASSU needs to effectively serve the entire Stanford student body. I have no doubt that Shanta and Rosie will continue to represent the interests of Stanford students, assemble and lead a team that will accomplish significant work and confront the most contentious issues facing the Stanford community.
I know from experience that creating change at Stanford requires trust between student leaders and administrators. Shanta and Rosie’s prominent leadership roles on the Undergraduate Senate and GSC mean they already have strong working relationships with administrators, which makes them uniquely well-positioned to achieve their goals. As ASSU leaders, Shanta and Rosie both have experience crafting arguments that address student needs and resonate with administrators. I have personally watched Shanta challenge administrators at the highest levels, thoughtfully pushing back on behalf of students when needed. I am certain that Shanta and Rosie will be able to assume the dual role of diplomatic communicator and fierce advocate as ASSU Executives.
Shanta and Rosie will build on a growing legacy of ASSU Executives who dedicate hundreds of hours behind the scenes to make Stanford a better, safer, more inclusive place. We work out of love for our peers and a belief that we as student leaders have a responsibility to augment the voices of students, all of which deserve to be heard. I trust Shanta and Rosie to carry forward the work of ASSU Executives before them. They have the tact, the knowledge and the poise to succeed.
I want the very best for Stanford, a place I loved like home. And that is why I support Shanta and Rosie for ASSU Executive without hesitation.
Jackson Hart Beard ‘17
ASSU Executive, Student Body President, 2016-17