Undergraduate Senate, GSC elections results announced, reveal low turnout

April 13, 2019, 9:44 p.m.

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The Associated Students of Stanford Undergraduate elections commission announced the results of the Undergraduate Senate and Graduate Student Council (GSC) votes, along with approval votes for undergraduate annual grants, graduate special fees and ASSU constitutional amendments. Erica Scott ’20 and Isaiah Drummond ’20 won the ASSU Executive race by a 19-vote margin, according to results released on Saturday.

At only 34.3 percent total voter turnout, the election saw only half of undergraduates participating, and only 21.9 percent of the graduate student population — numbers lower than last year’s 57.4 percent and 34.1 percent, respectively.

Undergraduate Senate

After a 34-way race, both incumbents in this year’s ASSU Undergraduate Senate election retained their seats. Incumbents Martin Altenburg ’21 and Tim Vrakas ’21 were joined by classmates and Senate newcomers Jonathan Lipman ’21 and Jennalei Louie ’21. The other newcomers are all frosh, continuing a long-running trend of low retention of Senate members.

With 1,033 votes, more than any other Undergraduate Senate candidate, Micheal Brown ’22 won his seat handily with endorsements from the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC), the First-Generation and/or Low Income Partnership (FLIP) and The Daily. Brown’s win comes in spite of controversy after he rejected an endorsement from Stanford College Republicans (SCR), writing in an op-ed published in The Daily that SCR is the “antithesis” of his campaign.

“I believe that, ultimately, the SCR controversy helped me to get more votes due to how I responded to it,” Brown wrote in an statement to The Daily. “The op-ed that I wrote was very well-received, especially because it showed that I could not and would not be intimidated. The number of votes that I got is a clear rebuke of SCR’s antics and petty politics.”

Brown’s platform covers increasing participation and diversity in student organizations, improving Senate accountability through updates on a dedicated social media account, expanding nighttime safety measures, decreasing course fees and improving access to mental and sexual health resources.

Sam Schimmel ’22  and Mustafa Khan ’22 received the second- and third-most votes, with 975 and 949, respectively. Schimmel is endorsed by SOCC and FLIP, and both electees are endorsed by The Daily. Both candidates also support expanding opportunities for First-Generation and/or Low Income (FLI) students, with Khan focusing specifically on FLI access to mental health resources. Schimmel also hopes to streamline reports of sexual assault and improve University accountability.

A theme in the platforms of many elected senators is better accomodation for Stanford’s FLI community. Veronica Ayala ’22 works in the FLI office with the Alumni Network and is a FLIP intern. Joshua Pe ’22 was endorsed by FLIP and SOCC, calling for increased diversity programming including a FLI dorm and increased support for ethnic dorms.

As often as students advocated for the FLI community, they called for improved mental health support as well. Lipman — who has served on the Stanford Student Enterprises’ Board of Directors and has worked on the Long-Range Planning initiative to redesign the major and first-year experience — called for increased Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) funding and changing University policies for engaging a partnership between the ASSU and University administration.

Munira Alimire ’22 was endorsed by FLIP, SOCC, Fossil Free Stanford and the Womxn’s Coalition, running on a platform of increased ASSU efficiency, University transparency and accessibility of student resources. Miá Theresa Bahr ’22 and Anthony Duarte ’22 ran on similar platforms and also received endorsements from SOCC. Bahr has called for better inclusion of marginalized students, while Duarte has highlighted menstrual health support and support for students with disabilities.

Another concern among multiple elected senators is the approach to sexual assault on campus. Along with Schimmel, Eva Davis ’22, who garnered 683 votes, hopes to raise awareness of the process of reporting sexual assaults. Sarah Saboorian ’22 focused on bolstering support for and awareness of Callisto, an online reporting system for sexual assault.

Several senators have also surfaced issues of “hostile discourse” on campus, with Ayala specifically pointing to SCR as one of the main culprits. Kobe Hopkins ’22 also said on his platform that SCR has been “targeting, attacking, and vilifying people of color.”

Graduate Student Council

Relative to the Undergraduate Senate, candidates were elected to the GSC with lower vote totals. Of electees, aeronautics and astronautics Ph.D. candidate Ana Tarano B.S. ’13 M.S. ’15 received the most votes, 432, while write-in candidate and Graduate School of Education Ph.D. student David Song came in the back of the pack with only 15.

Two candidates ran unopposed: third-year graduate student in Theater and Performance Studies Kari Barclay and physics Ph.D. student Shangnan Zhou.

Tarano and mechanical engineering student Yiqing Ding secured the two GSC seats in the Engineering District. Sijia Chen secured the vote in the Social Sciences District, Christopher Middleton in the Law District and Lawrence Bai in the Medicine District. Gabby Badica, Abisola Kusimo, Yushi Jasmine Shao, Julia Neusner and Bowen Wang were elected at-large.

There were several write-in candidates who won GSC positions as well. Write-in David Song secured the seat in the Education District, Amina Ly won the seat in the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences and Tyler Maloney won the Business District.

Many of the graduate candidates and winners pledged to address the graduate housing and affordability crisis, an issue the current GSC also focused its attention on.

Grants and amendments

All annual grant and special fee group applications were approved. The Bridge Peer Counseling Center, which provides 24/7 peer counseling services, received the highest percentage of approval votes, 91.4 percent. Mental health issues have been a prominent theme of recent campus discussion and debate.

Three of the five constitutional amendments proposed on the ballot were approved: Measures A, B, and D.

Measure A aims to remove the $150 floor on the Student Activities Fee, “ensure regulatory harmony” between undergraduates and graduate students, and “condense the funding system from three Constitutional Articles into just one.”

Measure B aims to streamline the nominations of students to University committees by “remov[ing] barriers to speedy appointments” to committee positions.

Measure D enumerates the rights of the accused under the ASSU Constitution, which differ from those granted under California state law. The amendment is intended to “mandate that judicial procedures comply with any relevant statutes and further explains notification rights that the accused should have.”

Measures C and E failed to pass, each earning slightly fewer votes than needed to pass. Measure C would have required the addition of an article to the ASSU Constitution, mandating that the Constitution comply with federal, state and local law, and invalidating “any portion of the Constitution that is found to be in violation.”

Measure E would have removed the membership of the GSC’s Financial Officer from the ASSU Executive Committee.

The elected candidates will be sworn in in the upcoming weeks.

A previous version of this post misstated that Measures C and E received less votes for than against. This is incorrect. Measures C and E received more votes for than against, but did not receive enough votes to constitute 15 percent of the student population. The Daily regrets this error.

Zora Ilunga-Reed, Charlie Curnin, Sonja Hansen, Ryane Liao, Udani Satarasinghe and Anushree Thekkedath contributed to this report.

Contact Elena Shao at eshao98 ‘at’ stanford.edu, Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’ stanford.edu and Zora Ilunga-Reed at zora814 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

The Daily wants to know about your experience voting in the 2019 ASSU elections. Please fill out this survey.

Elena Shao '21 is from Suwanee, Georgia. At The Daily, she is a Managing Editor for News. Outside, she's studying political science. She also enjoys learning foreign languages and is hoping to pursue a career as an investigative and data journalist. Contact her at eshao98 'at' stanford.edu.Holden Foreman '21 was the Vol. 258-59 chief technology officer. Holden was president and editor-in-chief in Vol. 257, executive editor (vice president) in Vol. 256, managing editor of news in Vol. 254 and student business director in Vol. 255.Patrick Monreal '22 is the forefather of the satire section. He still kind of hangs around meetings and pretends to contribute to news. A native of Fresno, California, he is majoring in Earth Systems on the oceans track and minoring in chemistry. Contact him at pmonreal 'at' stanford.edu.

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