The 21st Undergraduate Senate voted to appoint Senator Micheal Brown ’22 to the Judicial Charter Review Committee (C-10) on Tuesday night. The C-10 is charged with determining whether changes are necessary to the Fundamental Standard, Honor Code and Judicial Charter of 1997, according to its official charter.
The Senate also discussed Senator Sam Schimmel’s ’22 bills regarding preemptively rejecting any changes to Stanford’s Judicial Charter and mental health.
Brown appointed to C-10
The C-10 has come under fire from students who worry that the C-10 would recommend a lower standard of evidence in Office of Community Standards cases, which handles Fundamental Standard and Honor Code concerns. Right now, according to Section II Part A of the Judicial Charter, the standard of evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt to be found guilty. Members of the Board of Judicial Affairs (BJA), a body that oversees the University’s judicial process, have countered that the C-10 was not composed to explicitly lower the burden of proof, but rather to analyze the Judicial Charter holistically.
Schimmel, who was previously a member of the C-10, said he would not run to serve on the committee.
“I have no interest in serving on the committee that will try to lower the standard of evidence required,” Schimmel said.
Senator Martin Altenburg ’21 and Brown nominated themselves for the position. Altenburg dropped out of running in favor of Brown soon after.
Brown said he was interested in the position to help underrepresented students.
“Students who are first-generation and low income and students of color are at particular risk when there are lower judicial standards, so ensuring that there are robust checks against that is very important,” Brown said.
In response to a question from Schimmel about whether he would put forward recommendations to reduce the standard of evidence, Brown said he would fight against anything that would “violate or infringe on students’ rights or interests.”
The Senate voted nearly unanimously to appoint Brown to the C-10.
Judicial charter veto resolution fails
In last Tuesday’s meeting, Schimmel introduced a resolution to issue a preemptive veto to any changes to the Judicial Charter. The resolution would also revoke the ASSU’s ratification of the Judicial Charter if the Senate were to receive any recommendations for change.
Schimmel said he had since updated parts of the resolution to reflect feedback he had received on the resolution in the week prior.
“This bill in no way prevents a modification of the charter; it only says we will not accept one that reduces the standard of evidence,” Schimmel said. “It does not mean the old [charter] will be revoked; it just means we’re staying with the status quo.”
Multiple senators expressed concern about whether the bill was too preemptive and how it would apply to the next Undergraduate Senate.
“I think it is incredibly short-sighted for any governing body to make a decision on a document that we haven’t read yet,” Brown said.
Cat Sanchez ’19, a first-year sociology Ph.D. candidate and chair of the BJA, attended the meeting to comment on the bill.
Before Sanchez spoke, Schimmel asked Sanchez to consider any conflicts of interest she would have when commenting on the bill. Schimmel had previously resigned from the BJA after the it voted to remove him from his co-chair position.
“I would ask her to reflect on her potential conflicts of interest before exerting influence over the [Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU)],” Schimmel said.
Sanchez denied having conflicts of interest and said the burden of proof discussion was just one of “many moving parts” in C-10 discussions.
Schimmel’s resolution failed to pass the Senate’s vote.
Senate discusses mental health
The Senate also continued discussion from last week on Schimmel’s bill to reform mental health policies.
Schimmel said he had removed the clause requesting that the Senate allocate $35,000 that would be matched by the University to hire another Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) professional and updated clauses that no longer reflected current mental health policy.
Senators expressed concern that the bill was not as specific as it could be with regards to actionable changes, and Brown said he did not want his forthcoming vote against the bill to be portrayed as a vote against mental health.
“I don’t want people to think we’ve done something when we haven’t,” Brown said.
The Senate ultimately voted to postpone discussion of the bill to the next time Schimmel would like to revisit it.
This article has been corrected to reflect that further discussion of Schimmel’s mental health bill will occur when he brings it up again, not necessarily at the next meeting. The Daily regrets this error.