ASSU senators may urge Etchemendy to support Fadi Quran

Feb. 27, 2012, 2:02 a.m.

Correction: The original version of this article misspelled the name of ASSU Senator Samar Alqatari ’14.


ASSU Undergraduate Senators drafted a resolution Sunday calling for Provost and Acting President John Etchemendy Ph.D. ’82 to issue a public statement in support of fair legal treatment and the immediate release of Fadi Quran ’10.


Quran, a Stanford alumnus, was arrested by Israeli authorities last Friday while demonstrating in Hebron, West Bank.


In addition to two other students, four ASSU officials attended the meeting: the co-authors of the resolution, Senators Samar Alqatari ’14 and Janani Ramachandran ’14, were joined by ASSU President Michael Cruz ’12 and Senator Alon Elhanan ’14.


The representatives discussed the importance of ensuring the bill’s accordance with Article 1. Section 5.B of the ASSU Constitution, which requires that all ASSU bills only concern matters that directly affect Stanford students.


“We should make it very clear that this is not a statement on anything more broadly,” Cruz said of the resolution’s scope. “This is a statement on this case, this situation…The narrowing of this bill has to be very clear.”


The senators argued that the issue directly affects Stanford students because of the “emotionally distressing” footage of Quran’s arrest and his close associations with many current students. They cited the outpouring of support and outrage following Quran’s incarceration – including multiple petitions, one of which gained more than 1,000 signatures by the time of the meeting – as evidence of the importance of the issue to students and faculty.


Still, both Cruz and Elhanan were concerned about the bill being “a stretch” and encouraged the authors to use narrow and specific wording.


“Since he’s no longer a Stanford student, that clause doesn’t affect him,” Cruz said. “The clause…applies to current Stanford students who are experiencing emotional distress, pain, etc.”


There was also some debate about whether the bill should urge Etchemendy to support Quran’s “immediate release” versus his “fair trial.” While Elhanan said that he thought the recommendation was making an overreaching assumption that Quran will have an unfair trial, Alqatari said she thought that calling for his release would show absolute solidarity and reflect what she sees as the majority campus opinion that, regardless of the result of his trial, Quran was detained unjustly.


“I think it is a lot better than it could have been,” Elhanan said about the bill. “I’m not saying I’ll vote for it, but I’m really glad to be part of the discussion, and I appreciate the opportunity to raise my concerns.”


According to Israeli law, Quran’s trial must occur within 48 hours of his arrest because he is being tried in military court. Ramachandran said the senators will present the re-worded bill at Tuesday’s Senate meeting regardless of whether Quran has been tried or released.


— Julia Enthoven


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