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Senators seek flexibility for candidates, voters in upcoming ASSU elections

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Undergraduate senators revised an eligibility bill to provide greater flexibility for prospective candidates and voters in the upcoming Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) elections at their Monday evening meeting

The working bill would allow students enrolled within the past six months to vote in ASSU elections. Students who run for an elected position should “plan to be an official student in the Registrar” for at least three-quarters of their term, according to the bill. 

The bill, which requires suspending sections of the Constitution regarding ASSU membership “for the years impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” would likely be overturned if contested in the Constitutional Council, according to Senators Tim Vrakas ’21 and Jonathan Lipman ’21.

The Constitution and its bylaws currently require candidates to be members of the ASSU during the election and throughout their term but do not specify whether taking a leave of absence disqualifies a candidate. Vrakas expressed hopes that the bill goes unchallenged, although a Constitution suspension is technically not allowed. 

“Clearly we can’t do this, but everyone would agree that this is the right thing to do, hopefully,” Lipman said. “So woe unto thou who chooses to challenge this and the Constitutional Council or something like that.”

Senator Alain Perez ’23 introduced a resolution against the Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) decision to rehouse students for the spring quarter. The resolution argues that moving is “an incredibly emotional, anxiety-inducing and stressful process” and asks that R&DE allow students currently on campus to stay in their respective residences at the end of the winter quarter. 

Senators raised concerns over the University’s response to student voices and shared plans to bring up delayed communication and the lack of transparency from administration at their upcoming meeting with Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole. 

“I’ve heard frosh who literally got here a little bit more than a quarter ago talk about how it feels like progress is very slow and it feels like how the admin aren’t really serving us,” said Senator Princess Vongchanh ’23. “When I hear that from a freshman who doesn’t think that they can get involved because it doesn’t even matter if they get involved, I’m like, how do we really combat that?”

Senators also planned to ask for a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic in dining halls and to expand funding for the Opportunity Fund, which provides financial assistance to first-generation and low-income (FLI) students.

“[The Opportunity Fund] is dwindling, I think. The FLI office doesn’t really have a lot of money, especially with COVID and the effect that it’s having on the FLI community,” said Senator Emily Nichols ’23. “It’s important for the University to start finding alternatives and not just say ‘go to the office.’”

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Michaela Guo is a staff writer in the News section. She is a freshman and plans to study Human Biology and Asian American studies. Contact her at mguo ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.