ASSU Senate discusses elections bill, work with University administration

Jan. 5, 2016, 11:46 p.m.
(TARA BALAKRISHNAN/The Stanford Daily)
(TARA BALAKRISHNAN/The Stanford Daily)

On Tuesday night’s first meeting of the quarter, the ASSU Undergraduate Senate heard updates from ASSU Vice President Brandon Hill ’16 on how the Executive Cabinet has been working with the University administration on sexual assault reforms and the search for a new University president. The Senate also discussed a bill to appoint a new Elections Commission and approved funding for Challah for Hunger and Sigma Nu for Snowchella.

Hill’s opening remarks provided updates on the activities of the Executive Cabinet and the University administration.

“This quarter John [Lancaster-Finley ’16, ASSU President] and I are really looking at moving forward on and continuing progress on some of the initiatives that we have going,” Hill said.

“The only way to do that is to leave a structural or sustainable mark on campus,” he added.

Hill discussed the new sexual assault reforms and Student Title IX process, which will replace the old Alternate Review Process this quarter. The new policy was released to the Stanford community for review and is open to critique.

“I encourage you guys as student leaders to really push and to make it better,” Hill told the senators.

Hill also discussed the search for a new University president. There will be a town hall this quarter where students and community members can voice their opinions on the subject.

There will also be a town hall in a few weeks on the topic of mental health. Hill noted that students attending last quarter’s town hall on sexual assault with Provost John Etchemendy raised issues of gender and violence. Some of the discussion at the upcoming town hall will focus on a new curriculum for students in these subjects.

Hill also plans to bring the topic of strengthening diversity awareness when dealing with sexual assault issues to the faculty senate.


The Senate also discussed a bill to appoint the 2015-16 Elections Commission. The bill, authored by Eric Wilson ’16, would appoint Wilson as Elections Commissioner and Habib Olapade ’17 and Elise Kostial ’18 as Assistant Commissioners.

Hill discussed the process by which they chose Wilson to be the new Commissioner.

“We need someone to oversee democracy at Stanford — somebody who is meticulous, who is accountable, who knows the rules inside and out and will stand firmly on them, and who is punctual,” he said.

Senators then discussed the possibility of holding special elections to fill the three open seats on the Senate. However, the Senate is not required to fill the seats unless five or more are open, so the senators dismissed the idea.


Appropriations Committee chair Justice Tention ’18 discussed some of the changes that are being made to the ASSU funding system. The Appropriations Committee will offer office hours instead of scheduled appointments to discuss funding requests, which they believe will make themselves more accessible to student groups.

The Senate unanimously approved a funding request from Sigma Nu for Snowchella, an event co-hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma, which will raise money for the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that seeks to end sexual assault and provide support for survivors. The funds will cover staging, a canopy, security, porta-potties and other items, according to Will Sternlicht ’17, financial chair for the fraternity. An additional $600 will cover plane tickets and meals for two representatives from the Joyful Heart Foundation. Sigma Nu plans to host a dinner with the representatives that will be open to all.

The Senate also approved a funding request from Challah for Hunger, which Tention submitted on the behalf of the organization’s financial officer, who is currently abroad.


Contact Sarah Ortlip-Sommers at sortlip ‘at’

Sarah Ortlip-Sommers '18 is a senior staff writer and former Student Groups desk editor. A senior studying political science, she grew up on the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard (yes, people really live there; no, she hasn't met Obama). Catch her ordering her fifth cup of coffee from Starbucks, singing with Everyday People, or watching Grey's Anatomy. Contact her at sortlip 'at'

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