The 18th Undergraduate Senate unanimously passed a resolution to “recognize and support the fight against Islamophobia” at its 25th meeting on Tuesday evening.
Authored by Senator Khaled Aounallah ’19 and sponsored by Senator Gabe Rosen ’19, the resolution commits the Senate to “actively fighting Islamophobia locally and nationally.” It also identifies senators as “active allies of the Muslim community” who should strive to expand communication between Muslim-affiliated student groups and University personnel.
Furthermore, the resolution advocates that Stanford administrators “adopt a clear stance condemning Islamophobia and protecting Muslim-identifying students on campus from any targeted microaggressions.”
Broadly condemning numerous other categories of discrimination, the resolution also clarifies that the Senate “supports efforts against any form of hatred based on religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, citizenship status, class, or identity on our campus community.”
The bill was originally submitted on Feb. 26, but its passage was delayed when some senators requested the resolution gather more student signatures. The bill’s tabling at meeting in March led to intense discussion; Aounallah left the session early.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Senator Carson Smith ’19 at first abstained from voting on the resolution but ultimately motioned for a revote and supported the text after voicing her thoughts in an open forum period, thereby allowing the resolution to pass unanimously.
“I really felt that it would have been a stronger bill and would have more of an impact if there had been more student representation, and those recommendations weren’t really received in the way I anticipated them to be,” she said.
“I came into this position promising to speak for underrepresented communities and that’s why I took this job on the Senate,” she added. “Even though I don’t agree with how this proceeded, I still think at the core of that bill, it has powerful words, and it really means a lot to the communities that I care about on campus.”
Additionally, the Senate considered and revised three proposed amendments to its constitution, all of which concern student groups’ petitions for annual grants and all of which were coauthored by Katherine Hufker ’18 and Senator Matthew Cohen ’18. Though the proposed amendments would only apply to undergraduate students, they must pass through the Graduate Student Council before they can appear on the 2017 general election ballot this quarter.
The first proposed amendment prevents accounts funded by student fees from receiving funding for anything prohibited under Stanford University’s policies or under federal or state law – for example, alcoholic beverages. Though senators agreed the policy was already implied, Hufker argued that, “it made sense to blatantly put [the rule] in writing.”
The second amendment prevents Voluntary Student Officers, who head student groups, from receiving salaries from accounts funded by student fees.
The third proposed amendment prevents student groups from expanding their budgets in their annual petitions by adding things they did not initially request.
“In the past, when student groups have known they’ve had to petition, they’ve added in random line items, which caused their budgets to go up and therefore increased the student fee,” Hufker said. “We want to prevent that from happening.”
A bill granting the Appropriations Committee authority to regulate its own funding policies, as well as a bill codifying that student groups receiving ASSU funds should demonstrate a “good faith effort” at sustainability measures, were each tabled.
Contact Courtney Douglas at ccd4 ‘at’ stanford.edu.