The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) Undergraduate Senate unanimously voted to appoint third-year law student Chris Middleton ’16 as ASSU Vice President at their weekly meeting on Thursday.
Middleton visited the meeting and fielded questions from senators before they voted on his nomination. When asked by Senator Jonathan Lipman ’21 what his priorities for the year were, Middleton cited serving Stanford’s Black community and helping the University respond to the mental health and social isolation challenges that students are facing during the pandemic.
“I think there’s a lot of conversation around Blackness at Stanford that I want to be the point person for,” Middleton said. “In my time at Stanford, I’ve navigated what it means to be Black and have a lot of persepctives being an undergraduate who grew up in South, being a Black graduate student, being queer and Black, and being first-generation and Black, so I want to be able to connect to these communities and make sure we’re inclusive of all of these different facets of being Black.”
Middleton also articulated how he envisioned his role as ASSU Vice President.
“Part of my Stanford experience in undergrad was learning how to be an engaged member of a community, learning to be a leader and learning to voice my opinion, so I want to make sure students always have those opportunities,” Middleton said.
After hearing from Middleton, the Senators unanimously voted to confirm his nomination, and congratulated him on his new position.
“How are you so qualified?” Lipman asked Middleton jokingly.
The rest of the meeting centered around the ASSU’s efforts to facilitate open communication with the student body.
ASSU President Vianna Vo ’21 updated the Senate on key takeaways from ASSU’s latest Listening Session, during which students had the opportunity to voice their needs to a panel of ASSU members and university administrators.
“I think there is a lot of hurt in this community, so it’s going to take a lot to rebuild the trust,” Vo said.
The senate also discussed a bill to establish an ASSU senate aide program and another to encourage efficiency and productivity within the onboarding and training processes of the ASSU. Senate Chair Michael Brown’s discussion of the latter, which centered around his stated goal to “address Senatorial inaction,” was a call to action to his fellow senators.
“Being a senator is what you make of it. I wouldn’t tell you how to be a senator because your strengths aren’t my strengths, and your weaknesses aren’t my weaknesses,” Brown said.