ASSU passes DIR, discusses USC travel

Oct. 19, 2011, 3:00 a.m.

The ASSU Undergraduate Senate meeting on Tuesday night started off with unanimous passage of the bill establishing the Division of Internal Review (DIR), a bill that failed at last week’s Senate meeting.

The remainder of the meeting focused on different aspects of facilitating student travel to the Oct. 29 Stanford-USC football game, as well as addressing the resignation of the two co-chairs of entrepreneurship.

The modified bill establishes the DIR as an oversight committee within the ASSU, intended to issue unbiased qualitative and quantitative analyses of financial data for Voluntary Student Organizations (VSOs) and ASSU spending.

Controversial language, which was discussed at last week’s meeting and stated that DIR members had to sign “confidentially agreements” even though all the information they will access comes from publicly available information, was included in the final bill.

The bill clarified that the DIR will keep the names of officers and members of VSOs confidential, but does not specify if this is the only item being kept confidential.

Earlier language in the bill said that the DIR issues “unbiased, non-judgmental” reports about the spending of student groups who receive money from the ASSU by the fifth week of winter quarter. These reports will be available to the public upon request. The DIR is also mandated to provide at least three reports to the ASSU legislative bodies and to the Executive each quarter.

The ASSU Executive will also conduct weekly “reviews” of the DIR’s work.

The senate unanimously confirmed Andrew Aguilar ’14 as the DIR’s executive director.

In addition to passing the bills establishing the DIR, the Undergraduate Senate also unanimously approved a renewal of the Vaden Advisory Committee, which was enacted two years ago in a bill authored by current ASSU president and then-senator Michael Cruz ’12.

Cruz briefly addressed the recent resignation of Dan Thompson ’13 and Jonathan Manzi ’13. After stating that E2.0 would be separated from the ASSU, Cruz fielded questions from Senator Alon Elhanan ’14, who wanted to know how Thompson and Manzi got access to the campus-wide email list.

“For those particular emails, I have no knowledge of how they were able to get those emails or those names,” Cruz said.

He also said that at the ASSU Executive retreat last weekend, they discussed updated measures to ensure that similar incidents would be prevented in the future.

Discussion then turned to the USC-Stanford football game, which Senators Ben Laufer ’12 and Nate Garcia ’14 have been working to organize. Under the advisement of Nanci Howe, director of Student Activities and Leadership (SAL), the ASSU will no longer be sponsoring the event.

Laufer and Garcia informed the Senate of Howe’s advice. The company organizing the event did sign a document indemnifying the University and the ASSU from all liability stemming from the trip. However, Howe still advised members of the ASSU to avoid direct endorsement.

Though they will not officially sponsor the trip, the Senate decided to spend a large amount of their remaining funding to subsidize student tickets. Of their remaining $2,400 in their traditions fund, the Senate approved $1,400, as well as $600 from their general discretionary fund, which is left with $1,400 dollars.

The Senate is hoping that this $2,000 will be matched by the ASSU Executive discretionary fund as well as the Axe Committee’s budget. Laufer estimated 400 students would be interested in tickets and set a goal of raising $8,000 to subsidize tickets by $20.

Election Commissioner Adam Adler ’12 also gave an update near the end of the meeting. Besides setting the date for the election for the Thursday and Friday during the second week of Spring Quarter, Adler also said he is still having trouble filling the position of Assistant Elections Commissioner.

Brendan is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously he was the executive editor, the deputy editor, a news desk editor and a writer for the news section. He's a history major originally from New Orleans.

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