Emperor Palpatine loses Senate seat to Salazar after duel

April 23, 2018, 12:14 a.m.

Emperor Palpatine’s most recent bid to seize control of the ASSU Undergraduate Senate was thwarted last Friday by Senator Rodolfo Salazar ’21, who defeated Palpatine in a lightsaber duel.

Sam Weyen ’18 — the student who ran in this year’s ASSU elections under the name Emperor Palpatine — first issued his challenge to Salazar on Monday in a public post in the Facebook page Stanford Memes for Edgy Trees. Weyen also interrupted last Tuesday’s Undergraduate Senate meeting in character to challenge Salazar in person and hand out Senate bingo cards.

Prior to the duel, Salazar said that facing the Dark Lord of the Sith was “not at all what [he] expected” doing in his campaign for senator.

“I’m excited, and I’m ready to take him down,” Salazar said.

The duel commenced shortly after noon on Friday, when Weyen led the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band through White Plaza to the stage outside Dinkelspiel Auditorium. Before a crowd of onlookers, Weyen recalled his defeat at the hands of Senator Gabe Rosen ’19 two years earlier and declared his challenge to Salazar, whom he referred to as Rosen’s “apprentice.”

“If you can defeat me in battle, I will abstain from my Senate year and give you the seat,” Weyen said. “However, if I defeat you, you must die.”

Salazar accepted Weyen’s challenge, but before he could defend himself, the Emperor lunged at him. Rosen attempted to defend his Jedi apprentice but was quickly overpowered by Weyen, after which Salazar took up his master’s lightsaber and continued the fight.

Weyen spent more time dancing to tunes of the Band and rolling around the battlefield on his Heelys than actually engaging his opponent. In the end, his showmanship would prove to be his undoing; Salazar caught Weyen off-guard in the middle of a trick and dealt him an ending blow.

Despite his upcoming graduation in June, Weyen swore that he would gain vengeance one day.

“Much like a 56-year old man who’s just taken Viagra, I will come back stronger!” Weyen bellowed to the audience’s amusement.

He then handed Salazar his Order 69, requesting that it be introduced to the Senate for consideration. If passed by the Senate, Order 69 would implement a Western Campus Civilization requirement and command Stanford Review personnel and ASSU senators to attend weekly couples therapy sessions.

As with Weyen’s duel against Rosen two years ago, members of the audience were thoroughly entertained by the spectacle.

“It was a very fun event,” said Anthony Mayfield ’19. “Emperor Palpatine kept us engaged the entire time with improvised dance moves and Heely glides.”

Daniel Cryan ’18 called the duel “a fine embodiment of Stanford’s chaotic spirit.”

“I didn’t quite know what to expect of the duel, but needless to say, I was impressed,” Cryan added.

Reached by commlink after the duel, Weyen reflected on his tenure as Palpatine and expressed his hope that someone else would assume the Emperor’s mantle, which has been taken up by subversive students since 2009.

“It’s been an honor to champion the people’s voices, if only to remind all involved not to take student politics so seriously,” Weyen said. “I mean, Berkeley elected a squirrel.”


Erin Woo contributed to this report.

Contact Jacob Nierenberg at jhn2017 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Jacob Nierenberg '17 is a coterm pursuing an M.A. in Communication on the Journalism track. The program is very busy and often precludes him from writing for The Daily, but he enjoys contributing stories and music reviews when he is able to. Prior to beginning the program, he completed a B.A. in American Studies. His hobbies include spending time with friends and listening to music, and he is always delighted to meet people as enthusiastic about music as he is.

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