ASSU talks Ike’s, group funding and political unions

May 7, 2014, 1:26 a.m.
SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily
SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily

The second meeting of the 16th Undergraduate Senate focused on recent problems associated with group funding and the possibility of forming political unions at Stanford, as well as a resolution supporting the continued presence of popular eatery Ike’s Place on campus.

In recent weeks, a number of student organizations have expressed discontent about not receiving promised general fees funding, in a continuation of issues the 15th Senate faced in its last few weeks. Some groups have even spent money nominally allocated to them by the ASSU but have yet to receive reimbursement.

The current Senate has approximately $10,000 in outstanding funding that it can allocate but must meet the $13,000 in funds approved for students. Furthermore, a couple of student groups have expressed discontent over certain takebacks, which lowered the amount of money available for spring-quarter funding.

Senators discussed possible solutions to spring quarter general fees funding issues, including whether money should be taken from the buffer fund reserves.

However, newly elected Stanford Student Enterprise Capital Group (SSE) assistant financial managers Olivia Moore ’16 and Justine Moore ’16, strongly advised against using the money from the buffer funds.

“We are concerned about the viability of ASSU’s future, so anything that the 16th Senate does we want to make sure it is possible to do in the next four or five years,” Olivia Moore said. “We are uncomfortable with spending money on programs [general fees funding] that aren’t for those [purposes].”

However, some senators argued that SSE should give the Senate recommendations—and not orders—on financial matters.

Subsequently, Senator Anthony Ghosn ’16 asked other Senators their opinions on creating a political union at Stanford, in an effort to encourage the development of debate forums.

“I genuinely believe we don’t have a vibrant enough open forum debate society like Oxford or Yale University,” Ghosn said. “Working with Stanford in Government (SIG) and Stanford Democrats, under the auspices of [a] Political Union, we may create events for students to get more involved, informed and debate about politics.”

The final item on the agenda was a discussion about the Resolution in Support of Ike’s Place.

Authored by Senators Andrew Aude ’16 and John-Lancaster Finley ’16, the bill urges the bidding criteria and process of selecting the future occupant of the space currently occupied by Ike’s Place in Huang Engineering Center to be more transparent and public.

“There is lots of blame shifting revolving around the committee [which conducted the bidding] and R&DE [Residential & Dining Enterprises] and there’s lots of indirection and ambiguity,” Aude said. “Ike’s didn’t even know they lost the bid although R&DE was notified that they tentatively won the bid in March.”

Aude and other senators argued that students couldn’t have voiced their opinion earlier in the year, given that there was no knowledge of R&DE having placed a bid for the location currently occupied by Ike’s Place until recently.

Although the bill expresses support for Ike’s and posits that there should be no ambiguity in future lease-bids of restaurants or cafes at the University, it does not officially seek to compel R&DE to change their decision about establishing an outlet in Huang.

Contact Peter Moon at pmoon ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

Peter is currently a deputy desk editor and a freshman majoring in economics (anticipated). He enjoys soccer, basketball, and fitness.

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