Senate considers bill supporting ‘intellectual dialogue’ in speaker events

Nov. 13, 2019, 12:02 a.m.

At the 13th meeting of the 21st Undergraduate Senate, senators discussed bills related to campus speaker events, the Stanford Honor Code and Veterans Day.

After a closed-session portion of the meeting, senators discussed the first bill, which would alter the way voluntary student organizations (VSOs) bring speakers to campus. The bill follows controversy surrounding conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s campus lecture last Thursday.

If passed, it would allow students to recommend “an additional speaker to appear in conversation with the external speaker(s),” along with signatures from an eighth of the undergraduate body, to the chair of the Undergraduate Senate Committee on Appropriations at least two weeks before another speaker invited by a VSO arrives on campus.

If such a recommendation is made, the bill would require the VSO bringing the initial speaker to also feature the petitioned speaker in “mutual intellectual dialogue and [that an] equitable platform will be given to all.” The bill will be voted on at a future Senate meeting.

The second bill would set new guidelines for how Honor Code violations are handled/adjudicated. The bill would make a formal request that the “Committee of 10” — a new committee tasked with reviewing the Judicial Charter and Honor Code — reconsider “the role of intent and the reasonable person standard.”

“Intent is an important consideration that must be taken into account in conjunction with other factors when engaging in a holistic review of possibly prohibited conduct,” the bill states.

The third and final bill discussed during the meeting would create the “Stanford University Outstanding Veteran of The Year Award,” allowing community members to honor veterans on or near Nov. 11.

“The ASSU Undergraduate Senate recognizes the extraordinary example of service over self made by the veterans in our community,” the bill states.

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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