Senate talks sexual assault policy, Senator accountability

Oct. 23, 2019, 12:11 a.m.

On Tuesday evening, the 21st Undergraduate Senate discussed initiatives to create comprehensive sexual assault policy on campus, particularly following the release of the campus climate survey on sexual assault and harassment, and passed a bill to improve Senator efficiency and accountability. 

Senator Mia Bahr ’22 proposed a bill to consolidate and clarify the specific language used in campus sexual assault policy. The bill also includes suggestions for increased funding and awareness for sexual assault resources. 

“We need to consider beginning a conversation in the student body and in communities disproportionately affected.” Bahr said, “We need to hit the ground running and show people we care.”

Bahr emphasized the pressing nature of the bill, citing the campus climate survey — which found 14.2% of respondents experienced at least one incident of nonconsensual sexual contact since entering Stanford — and recent prevalence of date-rape reports on campus. She further advocated for a town hall meeting, discussion with important groups and organizations and communication with the administration about its insufficient response. 

Senate Chair Munira Alimere ’22 suggested that the first step in this process should be to develop a policy framework to benefit future generations. 

“Advocacy on this campus is not carried over, people don’t know where they can do it, or how can we build a pool that everyone can lean into,” Alimere said. “Particularly in terms of sexual violence there is a lot of misinformation.”

Senator Michael Brown ’22 brought up the issue of standardizing sexual assault policy across departments. He mentioned the possibility of writing a letter directly to the administration in addition to this bill. 

According to Brown, a bill that proposes a unified sexual assault policy, outlines specific action and pushes to advertise and improve campus resources available should be the senate’s top priority. 

Senator Saboorian ’22 updated the Senate on discussions with administration regarding the results of the AAU survey, emphasizing the need for ongoing discussion and action in light of its results.

“The people in the meeting were frustrated that more concrete action was not being taken,” Saboorian said.

The Senate also passed two bills to enhance Senator efficiency and accountability. The first implements minimum engagement standards, such as providing quarterly updates and pursuing personal projects. The second seeks to increase communication between the senate and the student body via social media and university news outlets.  

“[ASSU] is about centering the student experience, hearing what my friends have to say about what’s wrong here and bringing it forward to a larger audience,” Brown said. 

Contact Emilia Diaz-Magaloni at emilia2 ‘at’

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