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Why we support ASSU constitutional reform

As members of the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) all undergraduate and graduate students at Stanford play crucial roles in improving student life and supporting student organizations on campus. The legislative bodies of the ASSU — the Undergraduate Senate and Graduate Student Council — are dedicated to being conscientious stewards of student trust and funds. Moreover, all branches of the ASSU are committed to ensuring sound and transparent student government policies and practices. In pursuit of these objectives, ASSU leadership launched a project team last Spring comprised of members of each major ASSU branch. We, the ASSU Constitutional Reform Project Team, have drafted five Constitutional reforms over the past year that will be placed on the 2019 Spring Election ballot that we strongly encourage you to support.

Measure A: Fee Equality for Everyone at Stanford (F.E.E.S.) Reform would remove the arbitrary minimum of $150 set for undergraduate student fees in the current ASSU Constitution. Depending on enrollment numbers, undergraduates could see their student fees decrease. (Graduate student fees are not bound to an arbitrary minimum and are thus not impacted.) F.E.E.S. Reform would also merge the funding processes for undergraduate and graduate student organizations, reducing administrative burden on VSOs, especially those who apply to both legislative bodies for funding. While F.E.E.S. Reform condenses three Articles into one, the only substantial change is merging the graduate system with the undergraduates.

Measure B: Streamline Nominations would reduce constitutional and institutional impediments to ASSU Nominations Committee student representative nominations and appointments to university committees. Streamline Nominations will lead to more flexibility in the nominations processes and reduce wait time for crucial student representatives to be placed on committees. Lastly, this measure trims superfluous language and condenses sections in the ASSU Constitution, making these governing documents more concise and easier for students to understand.

Measure C: House in Order and Measure D: Membership Rights aim to bring the ASSU Constitution explicitly into compliance with federal, state, and local law. House in Order would clarify that the ASSU Constitution is superseded by all legal obligations. This is normal for most student government constitutions and should be added to ours. Membership Rights seeks to bring the membership rights of all students enumerated within the ASSU Constitution into line with state law on evidentiary standards, while also explaining further what rights students have and obligations the ASSU must uphold.

Measure E: Minor Changes to Executive Committee Membership simply removes the compulsory attendance of the GSC financial officers to Executive Committee meetings as this is not a requirement of their Undergraduate Senate counterpart.

We encourage Stanford undergraduate and graduate students to approve these five constitutional reform measures (Measures A – E) to promote clarity, efficiency and transparency in student government policy and practice. If you have additional questions or want further clarification, please contact [email protected], your elected student representatives or visit assu.stanford.edu/reform. Most importantly, remember to vote this April 10th and 11th via your personalized ballot link that you’ll receive via email. Thank you for your continued commitment to improving student government and life at Stanford University through your electoral participation.

Signed,

ASSU Executive President Shanta Katipamula

ASSU Executive Cabinet Treasurer Ryland Pampush

Undergraduate Senator Leya Elias

Undergraduate Senator Gabe Rosen

Graduate Student Councillor Mateo Carrillo

Contact Mateo Carrillo at mateoc ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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