Senate clarifies roles, gives elections update

March 2, 2011, 2:30 a.m.

After a postponed start due to the Judicial Affairs town hall Tuesday, the ASSU Undergraduate Senate passed legislation defining the role of the ASSU solicitors general and discussed elections progress.

The Senate also heard from Mikhail Mamonov, head of the International Relations Department for the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs of the Russian Federation. ASSU Executive Angelina Cardona ’11 introduced Mamonov and referred to her experience traveling to Russia in November as part of a conference for international student leaders.

Mamonov presented on Seliger, an international youth camp, and discussed potential areas of collaboration and interest for Stanford students.

Students attending Seliger can focus in four areas: civil and social development, innovation and enterprise, world politics and mass media and public relations.

Mamonov touched on mutual criticisms of Russian and American politics, but stressed the program’s potential to bridge these differences and form bonds between young leaders, especially in terms of innovation and new technology.

The Senate also passed legislation Tuesday that outlined the role of the ASSU solicitors general in advising and representing students in constitutional cases. When the solicitors general previously presented the bill, the Constitutional Council expressed disappointment that the bill commented on the role of the Constitutional Council. The Senate encouraged collaboration between the two bodies, and both returned last night with pieces of legislation reflecting compromise.

After presenting the legislation, Adam Adler ’12 transitioned from his role as a solicitor general to a representative for the Flipside publication, encouraging senators to sign the group’s controversial special fees petition requesting funds for a segway to increase campus presence.

When Daniel Khalessi ’13 jokingly said he would sign it under the condition that Adler run for Senate, Adler responded that he would find continued attendance at all of the meetings difficult.

“Sitting here listening to the requests, people can say some ridiculous things sometimes,” Adler said.

Cardona motioned to end the debate during open forum.

Constitutional Council member Mateo Wilmott ’11 voiced his disappointment in the discussion.

“We’re sitting here spending time talking about segways…[when] it’s an honor to have someone here asking questions about American democracy,” he said, referring to Mamonov.

Elections Commissioner Stephen Trusheim ’13 briefed the Senate on elections progress, reporting that the deadline for candidates’ declarations of intent to run for Graduate Student Council (GSC) members will be pushed to the last day of the quarter, as GSC candidates do not have to petition and only three have declared intent so far.

Trusheim also raised the issue that currently no slate is running for junior class president, the perceived obstacle being the tradition of going abroad during junior year.

Currently, the junior year slate is permitted to be five people, with the requirement that four be active each quarter. Trusheim will present legislation next week to change these requirements, most likely increasing the number of people allowed on a slate.

During committee reports, the Student Life, Education and Housing Committee highlighted their bike safety event tomorrow and Thursday in Lagunita and Stern dining, respectively. The event will include free bike lights, discounted helmets, bike safety tips and free bike servicing on the spot.

At the end of the meeting, Rafael Vazquez ’12 raised his concern that only two upperclassmen are running to serve on the Senate next year.

“I think there’s a really big problem with that,” Vazquez said, hoping to encourage future dialogue about how to encourage older students to engage with the ASSU.

Next week’s Senate meeting, the last of the quarter, will be replaced by the Joint Legislative Meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8. The Senate passed several motions by ASSU Vice President Michael Cruz ’12 yesterday to amend the joint rules of order for the meeting, most notably granting undergraduate students full speaking rights and permitting open dialogue with members of the administration.

Following the changes, the Senate will be able to consider legislation next week and will discuss bills to confirm Nominations Commission representatives, to reform the Nominations Commission by-laws and to amend the rules of order of the Constitutional Council.

The Senate passed all funding bills of the evening.


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