Senate passes resolutions on affordable housing, disability studies

Feb. 28, 2018, 12:25 a.m.

In its 23rd meeting on Tuesday night, the 19th Undergraduate Senate unanimously passed a joint resolution calling for transparency and sensitivity toward low-income communities in the University’s General Use Permit (GUP).

The joint resolution co-authored by Senators Kimiko Hirota ’20 and Doris Rodriguez ’20 claims a link between the University’s GUP land-use proposals and the Bay Area housing crisis. The resolution states that as an employer and educational institution, Stanford attracts “significant population growth” to the Bay Area. As a result, the Bay Area community is “increasingly burdened by housing shortages, severe traffic [and] economic inequality,” according to the resolution.

The resolution urges Stanford to reevaluate the potential impact the GUP will have on surrounding communities, especially ones with low-income residents. The resolution also calls on Stanford to offer transportation benefits to all its workers including subcontracted, temporary and part-time workers and to prioritize housing for lower-income staff members.

The resolution further requested that Stanford collect and readily disclose information about housing demand, rent inflation and community displacement not just for students and staff, but also for local communities. In passing the resolution, Senate advocated for more “formal channels” of accountability regarding Stanford’s development over the next 17 years.

Senate also voted unanimously in favor of a joint resolution supporting an introduction to disability studies course, which was introduced in its 20th meeting but was tabled last week due to “logistical issues.” The final version of the resolution, authored by Senator Katie Hufker ’18, was sponsored by Graduate Student Council members Melanie Malinas, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in biophysics, and Gabby Badica, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Division of Literatures, Culutures, and Language, as well as student groups Kids with Dreams and Power2Act.

In passing the resolution, Senate agreed to support the Stanford Disability Initiative’s efforts to ensure that the Introduction to Disabilities Studies Course continues to be taught every year.

“The Stanford Disability Initiative is a group composed of students, faculty and staff all trying to promote disability awareness on campus,” said Bryce Tuttle ’20, Executive Cabinet disability lead. “That includes academic study [of disability communities].”

In passing the resolution, members of Senate acknowledged their responsibility to act as “active allies of the disability community” at Stanford.

In addition, Senate appointed proxies for Senators Hamzeh Daoud ’20, Kimiko Hirota ’20 and Deputy Chair Remy Gordon ’20, all of whom will be studying abroad during spring quarter. Daoud, Hirota and Gordon nominated Sean Howard ’20, Mariela Pizarro ’20 and Pretom Shome ’20, respectively, to serve in their stead for the quarter.

Senate also heard from Palo Alto High School students, who came to the meeting to urge Senators to support the nationwide school walkout scheduled for March 14. According to the students, the walkout’s purpose is to empower students advocating for gun control in the wake of the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting. Senate agreed to collaborate with the students and exchanged contact information for further planning.

Senate Chair Kojoh Atta ’20 commended his fellow senators for participating in and showing up to various on-campus rallies, such as last Thursday’s anti-racism rally in response to Charles Murray’s Cardinal Conversations talk and last Friday’s speak-out in support of sexual assault victim Emily Doe. Atta said that he was “confused and concerned” by University actions in the last few quarters. According to Atta, the University has been silencing marginalized communities, but he and his fellow Senators will “push so that the University knows what the student body stands for.”

“These things won’t be able to stand,” Atta remarked. “It takes a lot of time and effort…but [we will] keep fighting week in and week out.”


Contact Melissa Santos at melissasantos ‘at’

Melissa Santos is a sophomore from Los Angeles studying comparative literature. She is the Desk Editor for the Daily's campus life beat and chair of the Community Life and Inclusion Program. Ask Melissa about her love for teaching or her Golden Girls obsession at melissasantos ‘at’

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