Hennessy, Lythcott-Haims respond to advising concerns, ROTC at joint legislative meeting

March 9, 2011, 11:29 a.m.

Tuesday night’s joint legislative meeting surveyed a broad range of campus-wide issues, both in the State of the Association address and in an open dialogue with President John Hennessy and Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising Julie Lythcott-Haims ’89.

ASSU President Angelina Cardona ’11 opened the meeting with the annual State of the Association address, which she split between herself and others. Each speaker described advancements made by different parts of the ASSU.

The Undergraduate Senate highlighted its bike safety, community building and special fees efforts, while the GSC emphasized the benefit to mental well being derived from its programming efforts. The Stanford Student Services Division reported turning a profit for the first time with the ASSU airport shuttle program and Stanford Student Enterprises alluded to future efforts to establish a temp agency for student on-campus jobs.

Cardona also mentioned efforts to establish a “Stanford 101” program as an introduction to life at the University for freshmen and transfers, which Lythcott-Haims addressed in her opening remarks to the meeting.

Lythcott-Haims said an ideal Stanford 101 course would include content “well beyond orientation that helps students understand how to make their way through this place, how to navigate it, where the resources are.”

“There’s so much we can’t back into the summer and the six days of orientation,” she added.

Lythcott-Haims said the project is still in information-gathering phase and added that she felt “pretty confident that in a couple years, we’ll have a Stanford 101.” She tied these efforts to another aim to de-stigmatize the idea of students asking for advice or help, insisting that students work to break down the façade of always being on top of their lives.

Hennessy’s opening remarks touched on plans for a new art building as well as a rebuilding of the undergraduate science labs. With regard to student health, Hennessy addressed high alcohol transport rate issues, saying that a solution needed to be found before “we or our peer institutions have major tragedies on our hands.”

The issue of alcohol education reappeared later in the meeting; Hennessy referred to a consortium between numerous university presidents whose goal is to share best practices with addressing alcohol risk on campus. He praised Stanford’s supportive attitude of helping those in alcohol-related troubles, but noted that some colleges have banned hard alcohol from their campuses to address health risks.

ROTC’s potential return made an appearance in discourse several times over the meeting. Janani Balasubramanian ‘12 asked Hennessy to discuss how the administration was considering the military’s exclusion of transgender individuals in the ROTC discussion.

Hennessy responded that the question was a complex one. He said in both potential outcomes, “some group of students will not be able to participate in a program they would like to participate in.”

“I don’t even know that if we decided to establish ROTC, it would actually happen,” Hennessy added. “The services also have to make a decision about returning.”

After Hennessy and Lythcott-Haims finished the open dialogue, several other issues were brought up before the joint legislative assembly. Election Commissioner Stephen Trusheim ’13 addressed a question about the legitimacy of Cardona’s school-wide question regarding student opinion on ROTC’s return for the spring ballot. Trusheim said that unless Wednesday’s Constitutional Council case on the matter decided otherwise, the question is qualified for the ballot.


Ellen Huet is currently a senior staff writer at The Daily; she joined the staff in fall 2008 and served one volume as managing news editor in fall and early winter of 2010-2011. Reach her at ehuet at stanford dot edu. Fan mail and sternly worded complaints are equally welcome.

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