Senate votes to increase pay for ETAs, discusses voter registration requirement

Jan. 23, 2019, 12:05 a.m.

At the 18th meeting of the 20th Undergraduate Senate, Senators unanimously approved a resolution supporting increased pay, but not “financial reparations,” for Ethnic Theme Associates (ETA). Additionally, Senator Gabe Rosen ’19 introduced a new resolution that would advocate for a voter registration-based hold on Axess course registration.

Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) Elections Commissioner Jacob Randolph ’19 also introduced a new bill that would lower campaign spending limits for the ASSU Executive and Class President races.

Ethnic Theme Associates’ pay

The resolution to increase ETA pay, introduced at the 16th meeting, was met with protest from senators who disagreed with the resolution’s proposition that the Senate demand “financial reparations for all previous ETAs” in addition to the proposed increase in current ETA pay.

A second version of the resolution was debated at the Senate meeting on Jan. 16. Again, many senators disagreed with the proposition of reparations as well as the proposition that the Senate use its discretionary funding to “actively provide public and financial support to peaceful assemblies, protests or events led by the ETAs to organize for pay equity.”

The resolution that passed at the 18th meeting did not include the controversial propositions for reparations or use of the Senate’s discretionary funds. The resolution includes that the Senate “will sign onto the ETAs’ petition to support their campaign to increase ETA pay” and “will actively provide public support and direct groups towards financial resources to support peaceful assemblies, protests or events led by the ETAs to organize for pay equity.”

Voter registration on Axess

Senator Gabe Rosen ’19 introduced a resolution that would call for Provost Persis Drell to authorize the creation of an Axess course enrollment hold focused on voter registration.  Current holds include the pre-major advisor hold or the Stanford Newcomer Guide (SNG) hold for freshmen.

As part of the hold, a message advocating the University’s expectation that students be “civically engaged” would appear on Axess for all eligible but unregistered voters prior to each enrollment period.

“We ask that if you are eligible, you register to vote and encourage you to cast your ballot during upcoming elections,” a draft of the proposed message states.

The hold would be lifted only after students registered to vote through or declined to register.

By presenting students with a mandatory decision, more students will register to vote, Rosen argued, citing the success of similar programs at the University of Chicago and Harvard as inspiration for the resolution. Only around 17 percent of Stanford students are currently registered to vote, Rosen said. The resolution was debated, and questions pertaining to the impact it would have on international and undocumented students were raised. It will be voted on next week.

Campaign spending

Randolph introduced a bill at the meeting that, if passed, would lower the spending limits for both ASSU executive and class president candidates in order to make running for student government more financially accessible. Currently, slates running for ASSU Executive can spend up to $1,000, and those running for class president can spend up to $400.

Randolph’s bill would amend the joint bylaws of the ASSU to decrease the campaign spending limits to $500 for executives and $100 for class presidents.

The bill will be voted on at the next Senate meeting. It requires at least two-thirds support from both the Undergraduate Senate and the Graduate Student Senate (GSC) to pass.


Contact Zora Ilunga-Reed at zora814 ‘at’

Zora Ilunga-Reed is a columnist and a junior studying Philosophy & Literature. A native New Yorker, she was a Copy Editor, Desk Editor and Staff Writer in volumes past. Read her column if you want to hear her thoughts on the woes of humanities students, tech culture and more.

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