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Let’s stop treating compromise as the saving grace of democracy

Forest ecosystems, like American politics, are at their essence, interacting compromises. Whether it is the fact that many forest systems have two tree species that dominate (as we have two political parties), or the vines that grow up those trees, using the massive wooded weight to support themselves (as more radical politicians select a party to advance their interests), it is all political. And when a large tree falls (a key individual, or a party faction), new species jump at the opportunity to fill the void; in politics and forests alike, experts coin this “succession.”

Let’s go green by going brown

It’s time for Stanford to wake up and smell the wild roses and lupen, and get rid of our obsession with green lawns. We urge the university to start xeriscaping campus with drought tolerant native plants, especially at new green spaces on campus like the one to replace Meyer Library. We can keep Stanford a gorgeous campus, preserve vital local ecosystems, and save campus resources during this severe California drought.

Let’s make PHE stipends equitable

But there is a simple solution to this problem: maintain the PHE program exactly as it is, but have contracts through ResEd that are at parity with RAs. Arguably, PHEs might even deserve a greater salary than RAs, given that they essentially perform the duties of an RA, but with a more extensive training and added health responsibilities. But for the time being, multiplying the salary by 10, putting it on the same level as an RA, would be a good first step.

Let’s improve introductory chem and Math 51

Hiring lecturers for these introductory courses with the intention of increasing quality would have no adverse effect other than than increasing the quality and freeing faculty to focus on topics that may interest them more. The CS department already does this. And putting more effort into introductory classes, rather than giving them a feel as weeders might improve participation in higher level classes too.

Why rollouts need to end on campus

If someone were to suggest breaking into houses early in the morning and wake up all the people who live there in order to welcome one of them to a group, we would call that a crime. But under the auspices of tradition, Stanford students do exactly this. Roll-outs are an unnecessary inconvenience on our campus, and we would build a safer, stronger community without them.

Reducing redundancy in engineering courses

Here is a list of courses: CS109, CME106, Math 151, Stats110, EE178, MS&E120 and Stats116. What do all these courses share in common? The answer is that they are all introductory probability courses (well, Math 151 is introductory theory). They also all fulfill the probability requirement of the symbolic systems major, which implies that they cover roughly the same topics; reading the course descriptions for all of these courses also confirms their similarity. Econ102B also covers similar topics, but does not fulfill the statistics requirement for Symbolic Systems.

The Stanford housing bubble

The housing draw can be stressful, but in the end, everyone gets housing. At least, that is what’s supposed to happen. Every year, though, many tier-three students will find “unassigned” written on their draw results. This year, 249 students were unassigned. When unassigned, students must participate in the waiting list. If still unassigned, students go…