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Op-Ed: Kimiko and Bryce: Leaders for change

I write this op-ed in support of Kimiko Hirota and Bryce Tuttle for ASSU Exec. As co-director of disability advocacy in this year’s ASSU Executive Cabinet, I have had the honor of serving with both Kimiko and Bryce throughout this academic year. I can think of no better pair to lead change at Stanford as ASSU Exec in the forthcoming year. Their proactive initiative, longstanding record of advocacy for marginalized students on campus and on-the-ground leadership capabilities will ensure their continued success in representing and advocating for all students going forward.

In this op-ed I would like to rely some of my experiences working with Bryce in particular, since we spent this year as co-directors of disability advocacy together.

I do not know anybody with more energy and drive than Bryce. The moment the school year started – actually, well before that – Bryce hit the ground running, coming up with all sorts of ideas as to how we could achieve our many goals and following through with them, drafting emails, rounding up committee members and support and actively pushing forward the creation of Disability Equity Now, a community action network that would become the touchstone for our community center advocacy work. While I thought maybe it was just first-week energy that would taper somewhat as our first quarter progressed, Bryce showed no signs of slowing down. After taking the initiative to draft and spread our petition demanding a permanent Disability Community Center – which achieved over 1,200 signatures in record time – Bryce made use of our momentum and led a student demonstration during Student Affairs office hours and spearheaded our well-attended rally for disability equity shortly after. While Bryce certainly does believe in taking a (coffee) break every once in a while and knows when to take a breather, for him, there is never a moment that goes by without planning – and more importantly, doing – the next advocacy demonstration, administration meeting or committee attendance. 

Bryce’s qualifications for vice president extend beyond his considerable accomplishments. Bryce knows Stanford inside and out, not just in terms of its administrative and bureaucratic structure, but much more pertinently, he knows and respects the Stanford community that we have had the privilege of working with. If I mention I work with Bryce in a conversation with seemingly any community member here, the conversation always turns to how much they respect and appreciate not only his work but also his camaraderie and friendship. Bryce is not just an outstanding leader – he is a wonderful listener and incredible companion who does his work entirely understanding that our advocacy is for the community and about the community.

Finally, I would like to mention a few words about Kimiko. Her work as co-director of community centers and diversity on ASSU Exec frequently intersected with our own work, so I had a number of opportunities to see her on the front lines of advocacy beyond our regular Exec meetings. Kimiko’s own drive, ethical leadership and administrative know-how have positioned her to be the clearest choice for ASSU President. I’ve also seen her work with Bryce before and they make a splendid team.

In short, the experience, passion and leadership of Kimiko and Bryce will continue to help steer Stanford forward towards a more equitable campus for all of our community members, and I look forward to seeing them hit the ground running once again.

-Frank Mondelli

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