Undergraduate senators challenge frosh referendum to change ASSU election process

Feb. 22, 2021, 11:01 p.m.

Undergraduate senators spoke out against a referendum proposed by frosh that would allow them to serve as Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) senators at their Monday evening meeting

The working referendum calls for a constitutional amendment to allow a second election period during fall quarter to accommodate frosh, enabling them to run for and serve on the Undergraduate Senate.

Senate chair Micheal Brown ’22 said that while all students deserve representation in the Undergraduate Senate, logistical issues render this plan nearly impossible. He added that there are other ways to facilitate frosh representation outside of reworking the election system and rewriting the constitution, such as providing more representative power to class presidents and members of the Frosh Council. 

Senator Jonathan Lipman ’21 echoed Brown by suggesting that the Frosh Council select two representatives to be involved in the Senate with voting privileges. This would be a more realistic approach and would allow for a smoother transition into the Senate, he said.

The authors of the Freshman Senators Act plan to bypass Senate approval and get the signatures required to put the referendum on the ballot, according to Brown.  

Senator Michaela Phan ’23 said that the referendum is pending revisions. The authors have not yet decided the specifics about how the revised elections should be run or how many frosh should be allowed to serve in the Senate.

“In terms of reworking the election system and rewriting the Constitution, that is something that the group of individuals proposing that should really think through,” Brown said. “And we could help them there.” 

The authors of the referendum will attend the March 1 Undergraduate Senate meeting and will be expected to have a fully developed plan and course of action, according to Phan. 

Malaysia Atwater '23 is a senior staff writer and former Vol. 260/261 managing editor in the News section. She is a political science major from Centennial, Colorado, and she enjoys dancing and re-watching Grey's Anatomy in her free time. Contact her at matwater 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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