Widgets Magazine

Leya Elias ’21 voted Senate chair in uncontested race

In its first official meeting, the 20th Undergraduate Senate elected its officers for the upcoming year.

Incoming chair Leya Elias ’21, deputy chair Jianna So ’21 and appropriations chair Gabe Rosen ’19, the only returning Senator, all ran unopposed.

Elias said she hoped to bring efficiency and productivity to Senate meetings during her term as chair.

“I want to make sure that we’re optimizing our resources as far as each other and what we know and the people that we know,” Elias said. “Also, I want to increase transparency and honesty, so if there’s ever anything I can do to be a better chair, I want that feedback, and vice versa with each other.”

So said she looks forward to running the Senate Associate Program, which she participated in as a freshman this year.

“It was the gateway to a lot of the activism I did on campus this year and learning what it means to be on student government at Stanford,” So said.

Rosen, who ran as the incumbent appropriations chair, plans to continue his work during the 19th Senate by implementing funding reform. He also faced questions on the Senate’s role in funding Greek organizations, given that their selective rush process means that they are not voluntary student organizations.

“Right now, I’m operating under the advisory opinion that the previous Senate received from the Constitutional Council that the authority to fund Greek life is ultimately up to us,” Rosen said. “We can revisit that down the line, and I’m totally open to discussing that going forward. For now, I’m assuming that we’re going to keep funding [Greek life], but we’re starting out fresh, essentially.”

Senators elected Jamie Seney ’21 as treasurer over Michal Skreta ’21 in an 8-5 vote.

“I’m a FLI [first-generation low income] student,” Seney said. “I know money inside and out. I’ve been budgeting for five-plus years. I really look forward to working closely with Gabe [Rosen] on the funding direction of the ASSU.”

During the secret 8 a.m. meeting on Tuesday morning, Seney had said she intended to run for appropriations chair, along with Gabe Rosen. The Senate did not discuss the morning meeting, which appeared to be in violation of ASSU constitutional clauses guaranteeing transparency in student governance.

When asked why she ran for treasurer instead, Seney told The Daily that she was excited to work with Rosen, saying that she “would really like to have him take the lead on this because he’s the mentor figure at this point.”

In terms of her specific initiatives as treasurer, Seney responded that she plans to “learn before [she] reform[s],” noting the question of funding for Greek organizations as one she would like to pursue further.

Faa Diallo ’21, running on a platform of reducing conflicts of interest, won the election for parliamentarian 8-3 against Martin Altenburg.

“I’ve read all of the bylaws, as well as the ASSU Constitution, and I can’t say I know them like the back of my hand but I’ve studied them pretty well,” Diallo said.

Following elections, the Senate approved funding requests from Vox Clara (a student-run Christian journal), the Muslim Student Union, Cardinal Free Clinics and the Asian American Student Association, in addition to quick grants for Veritas and the Stanford Drag Troupe. A funding request from the Stanford Conservative Society was tabled due to controversy over the status of its leadership.

 

Contact Erin Woo at erinkwoo ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Erin Woo

Erin Woo '21 is a writer for The Daily's student groups beat from Atlanta, Georgia. Her favorite words include quintessential, plethora and undecided (about her major and much, much else). Contact her with suggestions, book recommendations and more at erinkwoo 'at' stanford.edu.