Stanford student government president steps down

Former VP Vianna Vo ’21 assumes presidency, to appoint new VP

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Former Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) President Munira Alimire ’22 stepped down from the presidency — the top spot in Stanford’s student government — on Monday night. 

Former ASSU Vice President Vianna Vo ’21 assumed the role of president on Tuesday, and will appoint a new vice president. Vo has served as acting president since July. 

Alimire said they made the decision to step down to prioritize their health and wellbeing during the 2020-21 academic year, taking the time to focus on academics, artwork and the Black community’s needs. This year, Alimire plans to work for the Black House, make more art and prepare for their anthropology thesis.

“You can’t give from an empty cup,” Alimire wrote in a statement to The Daily. “During this tumultuous year, disrupted by the pandemic, by police brutality, by the fires, put yourself and your needs first. Self-care is the most radical thing you can do at this moment.”

Alimire and Vo were the first ASSU executive slate to run unopposed at the ballot box since 1999. Competing slate Martin Altenburg ’21 and Jennalei Louie ’21 withdrew on the first day of campaigning. 

Prior to the presidency, Alimire served as the chair of the Undergraduate Senate during the 2019-20 school year, which gave them an opportunity to establish strong ties with the student body. 

“The ASSU provided me many opportunities to change student life for the better and gave me many ways to connect with the student body,” Alimire wrote.

Per the ASSU Constitution, if the ASSU president resigns, the vice president assumes the presidency and appoints a new vice president. This appointment must be approved by “a two-thirds vote of each Association legislative body.”

Vo wrote she plans to create a fair and equitable selection process as she chooses the new vice president. 

“We recognize that the Office of ASSU Exec is normally an elected Office,” Vo wrote. “While we are abiding by the ASSU Constitution and selecting the new VP through appointment, we will strive to select someone who reflects the values that Munira and I shared on our platform when we ran together back in May.”

Vo wrote that she does not have a timeline for the vice presidential appointment, adding that she will prioritize maintaining a cohesive team and the development of the fair process by the current executive committee.

Vo added that she did not plan to select an interim vice president, who would serve until the ASSU’s legislative bodies confirmed a new vice president.

ASSU Director of Communications Cricket Bidleman ’21 wrote that Alimire’s decision won’t impede the functioning of ASSU: “The ASSU will continue to exist and to do our work as effectively as possible,” Bidleman wrote.

She also encouraged understanding for Alimire’s decision from the student body.

“Stanford students, and people in general, often have difficulty turning down opportunities, but no one can do everything,” Bidleman wrote.

The ASSU president and vice president implement initiatives with the help of cabinet members.

As a part of their platform, Alimire and Vo promised to work on mental health, disability advocacy and racial justice. Vo wrote in a statement to The Daily that she plans to uphold this promise, picking a vice president “who has passion for those same issues.”

This article has been updated to reflect that Vo does not plan to select an interim vice president.

Contact Anastasia Malenko at malenk0 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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