This year, The Stanford Daily Editorial Board decided to endorse candidates for the ASSU Senate. We were excited to see so many freshmen and sophomores run, but we understand that voters face a difficult challenge in voting for the 15 seats. Because many candidates are running on similar issues — mental health, funding and transparency — we recognize that this challenge is doubly hard. With this in mind, The Daily invited all candidates to apply for the endorsement and selected some for interviews. The five challengers and two incumbents that follow merit The Daily’s endorsement because they all demonstrate a strong understanding of the Senate, its function and its role in student life.
Class of 2018 | Political Science, Honors
Extracurriculars: Model United Nations, Stanford Democrats, The Stanford Daily*
1. Cohen first seeks to improve access to mental health services on campus, specifically using the Senate to support the Bridge and other student groups.
2. He wants to use his term to promote cross-community discussion and understanding.
While many candidates discuss address mental health on campus, Cohen impressed us with his specific and, more importantly, attainable goal of supporting the Bridge and wellness student groups. This demonstrated a strong awareness of the Senate’s jurisdiction and the complexity of the issue at hand. Likewise, Cohen’s specific proposal to partner with a Muslim senator to develop stronger connection and discussion between his Jewish community and others is valuable.
*Matthew Cohen is a columnist for The Stanford Daily.
Class of 2018 | Undeclared
Extracurriculars: Frosh Council, Stanford Debate Society
1. Gawande wants to address Senate transparency by increasing Senate follow-through and consistency.
2. She also wants to ensure that the funding reform passed in December is enforced in a sustainable way.
In her application, Gawande demonstrated strong understanding of the Senate’s purpose. She cited specific examples of past legislation, highlighting her thorough knowledge of the body. While follow-through is a worthy goal in its own right, Gawande rightfully identifies it as an avenue to improve the Senate’s reputation. Similarly, she is excited about working on the appropriations committee — a nod to the fact that the Senate primarily spends its time on funding issues.
Class of 2017 | Human Biology
Extracurriculars: Health++, high school student government
1. While seeking to increase funding for CAPS, Knight also proposed a diversity committee to brief counselors on contemporaneous issues students might be facing.
2. Knight also wants to use his post as a student representative to work with Residential Education to reform the draw and housing.
Knight has a keen awareness of the Senate’s power and limitations and seems well-equipped to address issues that fall directly into the Senate’s jurisdiction, but also has the drive to work with administrators on other issues affecting student life. Specifically, the proposed CAPS diversity committee is a creative but insightful way to improve the mental health system and is an issue that a senator can work on. This is reflected by his desire to serve on the student life or advocacy Senate committees.
Class of 2017 | African and African American Studies
Extracurriculars: 16th Undergraduate ASSU Senate, Club Swimming, MSAN
1. Having been involved in the passage of funding reform, Lizzappi places importance on the implementation of a new system.
2. Lizzappi is also interested in representing marginalized communities on campus and making sure their voices are heard.
Lizzappi, like David Wintermeyer, has extensive knowledge of the Senate from his previous term as senator. In his interview with us, Lizzappi demonstrated strong knowledge of the Senate’s operations. Moreover, having institutional knowledge from a incumbent is invaluable as funding reform is implemented. Lastly, Lizzappi will seek to be Senate chair; we hope experience will yield sound leadership.
Class of 2018 | Undeclared
Extracurriculars: US Army veteran, Stanford in Government, high school student government
1. Lozano wants to focus on Senate accountability and follow-through. He wants to simplify rules and processes, especially with regard to funding.
2. He also wants to increase students’ commitment to local community service.
Lozano is a strong leader with a proven record of action in the Army; we hope that this is reflected in his Senate term. He reported that he regularly attends Senate meetings, indicating an appropriate understanding of the Senate’s role on campus. This was demonstrated to us by his knowledge of specific details of day-to-day Senate work and excitement about serving on the appropriations committee.
Class of 2018 | Undeclared
Extracurriculars: Senate Associate, high school student government
1. Tention is primarily concerned with student group funding, highlighting the need to roll out funding reform in a sustainable manner while also promoting a diversity of events and activities.
2. He also is invested in advocating for greater mental health resources.
Tention is extremely knowledgeable about funding — in our view, the most important trait for a Senate candidate. Having served as a Senate Associate for the appropriations committee, he will hit the ground running. He takes the initiative — both in our interactions with him and in his aspirations for his term — and wants to serve as appropriations chair.
Class of 2017 | History and Management Science & Engineering
Extracurriculars: 16th Undergraduate ASSU Senate, EPATT, Kappa Sigma fraternity
1. Wintermeyer is seeking to continue a project to reform and improve Stanford’s printing services for students.
2. He likewise wants to continue progress on providing meals for students over spring break.
Wintermeyer, like Malcolm Lizzappi, is an incumbent senator seeking reelection. Given his position over the last year, he knows the ins and outs of the Senate. While his platform may seem more limited and doesn’t touch on this election’s buzzwords, it is clear that Wintermeyer understands the Senate’s power. As he has made progress already on his two — in our view, worthy — initiatives and completed other similar student life projects, we expect Wintermeyer to continue using his leverage as a student leader to improve campus life.
4/11/2015: This article was updated to reflect Malcolm Lizzappi’s current extracurriculars.