ASSU executive: Scher and Werner

April 5, 2010, 1:01 a.m.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, The Daily incorrectly reported that Ana Diaz-Hernandez ’11 was endorsed by the Students of Color Coalition last year. The group endorsed Diaz-Hernandez in 2008.

Juniors Thom Scher and Stephanie Werner say they have a simple formula for student government: put students first.

An ASSU led by Scher and Werner would, according to the pair, be tuned to the interests and wishes of students. Instead of coming into office with a strictly predetermined agenda, the pair instead hopes to draw on students for cues as to what projects the ASSU executive should take on.

ASSU executive: Scher and Werner
Stephanie Werner (left) and Thom Scher. (ELIZABETH TITUS/The Stanford Daily)

“We actually want to change the system,” Scher said. “We want to refocus the ASSU on what students want and on helping students do what they wanted to do.”

Scher and Werner highlighted their pair’s experience with campus administrators as part of their qualifications for the job. Scher, who heads Charity Fashion Show, works for Student Activities and Leadership Director Nanci Howe and serves as a Judicial Affairs panelist and counselor.

They first met at the Stanford High School Summer College (HSSC) program in 2006.

Werner runs the business division of the fashion show; she once served on the editorial board of The Daily and has worked for the CoHo since it reopened. (She said she is no longer on the cafe’s payroll, but does receive food discounts for helping plan programming there.)

Their campus experience marks a difference, Scher and Werner said, from the past two executive administrations.

“The last two executives were very much big issue slates that focused on getting the student body to support their agenda as opposed to — we want our agenda to be composed based on the wants and needs of the student body, which is a very different approach,” Werner said.

Two years ago, Jonny Dorsey ’09 and Fagan Harris ’09 were elected after making big promises to tackle issues like mental health and public service. This philosophy was largely continued by current president David Gobaud, a coterminal student in computer science, who served in the Dorsey-Harris cabinet.

But Scher and Werner said they would like to take a different philosophy, and attempt to hew closer to what they think students actually want out of the ASSU.

Still, the two pointed out that Gobaud has garnered a mix of both big-picture accomplishments, like forming the Green Alliance for Innovative Action, and tangible results, like Stanford e-mail addresses for life.

They said that the Gobaud administration has been weaker in wellness — they did not think Wellness Week was a success — and transparency.

Scher and Werner also hope to improve upon the current relationship between the executive and the ASSU’s legislative branches: the Graduate Student Council and Undergraduate Senate.

“I think you don’t let [the Senate] get that far out of control,” Werner said. “I think it’s about forging a working relationship with them.”

Scher and Werner have received an endorsement from the Queer Coalition at this issue’s press deadline. They declined to interview for The Daily’s endorsement at the last minute after objecting to the presence of one editorial board member who they said was affiliated with the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC), an endorsing group.

The member, Ana Diaz-Hernandez ’11, was endorsed by SOCC when she ran for Senate in March 2008.

— Elizabeth Titus contributed to this report.

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