Changing the ASSU for the better

Feb. 28, 2012, 12:11 a.m.

The ASSU Constitution and the bylaws governing the Association’s legislative bodies affect the lives of every Stanford student. They underpin the structures and mechanisms of our student government, providing the capacity for the ASSU to work toward improving the experience of the student body. The governing documents also serve to provide a framework for ASSU officials, ensuring some measure of consistency and preserving any trace of institutional memory.


In recent years, it has become more and more apparent that the existing set of governing documents is inadequate for today’s ASSU. The length of the constitution and the bylaws makes it difficult to develop a comprehensive understanding of them, as well as allowing for a dizzying host of interpretations to proliferate. Many crucial elements of these documents are vague or unclear, leading to debates about where the actual limits are on ASSU actions. Different parts of the governing documents often conflict; there are even parts of the constitution that directly contradict one another.


Under these circumstances, the ASSU Executive formed the Governing Documents Commission, tasked with rewriting the ASSU Constitution and bylaws to help them better fulfill their intended purpose. The Commission aimed for brevity, clarity and efficiency, replacing the confusing thicket of the present constitution with a document that is clear and easy to understand. Many members of the Association contributed their time and energy to this important project, with input heard from many different groups across campus.


However, the work of the GDC cannot be complete without input from the student body at large. The ASSU Constitution is designed to serve the interests of the students, and a new constitution requires feedback from those who would be affected by the rule changes that will come into force. From student group funding to election of ASSU officials, everything the ASSU does has been subject to review, and it is critical that the Commission receives student input during this important process.


The full text of the new ASSU Constitution and executive report is available at The Commission will be accepting public comment until March 6, at which time we will revise the documents in accordance with the feedback we receive. Every Stanford student has a stake in the ASSU, and a stake in what it will become in the future. Without a robust dialogue between the GDC and the student body, the new set of governing documents will likely function just as poorly as the originals.


ASSU President Michael Cruz ’12 and ASSU Parliamentarian Alex Kindel ’14

Co-Chairs, ASSU Governing Documents Commission

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