In its 11th meeting on Tuesday night, the 18th Undergraduate Senate passed the “Full House Fund,” a bill that works to help low income, first generation students overcome economic barriers to entering student organizations with mandatory fees. The Senate also heard a resolution in support of Stanford’s Native American community that proposes a formal celebration of Indigenous People’s Day, as opposed to Columbus Day, on Oct. 10.
“Full House” Bill
The cost of participating in many student organizations on campus proves burdensome and even prohibitive for many low-income, first-generation students. The 18th Undergraduate Senate addressed this problem with their “Full House Fund,” a pilot program that appropriates money from Senate reserves to the Diversity and First-Generation Office (DGen) to collect data and help reduce economic barriers to entry into organizations with dues and fees.
Dereca Blackmon ’91, Associate Dean and Director of Diversity and First-Generation Office, addressed the Undergraduate Senate, emphasizing her goal of making these funds as easily accessible to low-income students as possible. However, she recommended changes to certain provisions of the bill, such as requiring diversity training and sanctioning groups that do not comply.
“We don’t want a stigma about funding set aside for low-income students, that there’s this higher bar,” Blackmon said. “We don’t want to create an environment where people are compelled to training, we want them to be attracted to it.”
After much debate, these changes were incorporated into the finalized bill.
Co-author Senator Gabe Rosen ’19, applauded the Senate’s efforts to improve diversity on campus. Undergraduate Senators like Rosen have been working on this bill since last spring, and its unanimous passing on Tuesday night represents the culmination of months of research and collaboration between the Senate and DGen.
Recognition of Indigenous People’s Day
The Senate also discussed a resolution to formally recognize Indigenous People’s Day in lieu of Columbus Day, an action which follows suit with a national movement of support for indigenous peoples. Senators noted the history of Stanford’s relationship with Native Americans, especially with regard to the retired Indian mascot, and expressed surprise that this holiday had not been changed already.
Senator Kathryn Treder ’18, says that a conscious decision to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day will build upon concerted efforts to support the Native community at Stanford, efforts that include the annual Powwow on campus and the numerous programming events of the Native American Cultural Center.
“This bill is affirmation from the student body that exemplifies support for this community,” Treder said. “It means a lot.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated mistakenly that the Senate voted to approve the resolution to recognize Indigenous People’s Day. In fact, the bill was only introduced and discussed during this meeting. The Daily regrets this error.
Contact Ellie Bowen at ebowen ‘at’ stanford.edu.