Senate site launch still delayed

Nov. 14, 2011, 2:03 a.m.

Technical and organizational challenges have delayed the launch of the ASSU Undergraduate Senate website, limiting access to the Senate’s proceedings, bills and funding decisions, all of which are required by ASSU bylaws to be publicly available.

In the site’s absence, the Senate is publishing proceedings via online archives of messages sent on the Senate email list. Individuals who wish to access the information must locate the ASSU Undergraduate Senate mailing list through the University’s Information Technology Services website and download the Senate’s proceedings from emails.

Senate site launch still delayed
The ASSU Undergraduate Senate is still updating its website, on which all proceedings and bills are supposed to be publicy available. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

“[All our proceedings] are available publicly,” said Dan Ashton ’14, Deputy Chair of the ASSU Senate. “All [meeting minutes, bills and proceedings] are sent out on the public Senate list which is archived and accessible. So while the website is down, that’s the public way of students getting the information.”

This fulfills the Senate’s obligation to publish any funding decisions within a week of the meeting they were made, although the information is more difficult to access.

“Obviously, the website is much preferred,” Ashton said.

The Senate website has traditionally been a resource for the campus community to see ASSU resolutions and spending decisions.

“Basically, every [Senate] committee uses it as a way of publishing their information and their projects,” Ashton said.

Meanwhile, the site’s Webmaster Daniel Holstein ’13 said he is still finishing development on the site and that it is “coming soon.”

“[The site] will be up hopefully within a week or two,” he said. “There was a lot of work needed to be done to get it functional, and it’s still being done.”

“It’s mainly been touch-up issues and getting access,” he added. “And then once I got access, things kept having to be done. I was like ‘Wow. There’s no database here…It was cleared out from last year. The URL…wasn’t pointing to [the right destination].”

Development of the website was delayed even before the discovery of these technical issues. Confusion between the ASSU and its financial branch, Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE), regarding authorization to access and edit the site, held up the process for over a month at the beginning of the academic year.

When Holstein finally gained access to the site, with the responsibility to code the site and upload budgets, bills, meeting notes and other Senate proceedings throughout the year, he said the ASSU offered him $500 in compensation.

Despite the delays, both Ashton and Holstein said they expect the website to be up and running within the next few weeks.

“[The new site] is in line graphically with the new ASSU website,” Ashton said. “There are many aesthetic upgrades, and there are a lot of ease-of-navigation upgrades that we’re implementing as well.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article attributed the final quote to Daniel Holstein. It is actually Dan Ashton’s, and this version has been changed to reflect this.

Edward Ngai is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously, he has worked as a news desk editor, staff development editor and columnist. He was president and editor-in-chief of The Daily for Vol. 244 (2013-2014). Edward is a junior from Vancouver, Canada studying political science. This summer, he is the Daniel Pearl Memorial Intern at the Wall Street Journal.

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