Frosh share increases in Undergraduate Senate, all incumbents reelected

May 3, 2021, 10:12 p.m.

[ubergrid id=1181986]

After a 21-way race, all five incumbents running for reelection retained their seats in this year’s Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) Undergraduate Senate elections. The newly elected senators were mostly first-year students who now occupy eight of the 15 Senate seats.

The election had a low undergraduate voter turnout of 27.88%, a slight decrease from previous years. There was also a decrease in the number of candidates running for Senate, with 21 this year compared to 31 last year and 34 in 2019.

Darryl Thompson ’23 garnered 735 votes — more than any other Senate candidate. Incumbents Michaela Phan ’23 and Emily Geigh Nichols ’23 received the second- and third-highest number of votes, 695 and 631 respectively, and with Thompson, will comprise the Upperclass District seats in the Senate.

Incumbent Gabby Crooks ’23 ran on a platform of advocating for marginalized students and ensuring equitable access to University resources. She also stressed the importance of increasing the transparency of the Senate and making senators more accessible to the broader student body through an office hours system and strengthening the Senate Associates Program. Nichols wrote that she also hopes to focus on restructuring the Senate during her second term.

The other two incumbents running for reelection — Alain Perez ’23 and Sarah Saboorian ’22 — were also elected. Nichols, Perez, Phan and Saboorian emphasized their previous advocacy for marginalized communities and share a goal of increasing access to mental health and wellbeing resources.

Newly elected senators include the five members of the Student Alliance slate: Thompson, Aden Beyene ’24, Amira Dehmani ’24, Jaden Morgan ’24 and Marion Santo ’23. The slate ran on a platform of six pillar issues, including “greater transparency, equity, inclusion and racial justice, appropriate COVID-19 response, adequate health resources, timely accommodations and new programming.”

Four members of the Five4us slate, Nikhil Lyles ’24, Jordan McElroy ’24, Kamau Kwasi MuseMorris ’24 and Cayla Withers ’24 were also elected. 

Several elected senators expressed support for expanding resources and protections for survivors of sexual assault and harassment. Dehmani, Morgan and Santo advocated for expanding funding and resources for the SHARE Title IX office, and Phan and Saboorian highlighted previous experiences advocating for survivors in the Senate. In her platform, Saboorian wrote that she opposes the Title IX regulations implemented by former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and hopes to increase diversity in the Confidential Support Team to ensure students feel comfortable seeking University resources.

Joshua Jankelow ’24 also proposed the creation of a joint committee to evaluate Title IX policies with representation from outside the Senate. He ran on a platform of building connections between students with different perspectives while engaging in dialogue that addresses the historical roots of division.  

Echoing Saboorian, Beyene, Dehmani, Nichols and Santo advocated for increasing diversity in Counseling and Psychological Services and increasing access to other mental health resources. Common themes in the campaigns were concerns about student mental health and wellbeing, especially during virtual learning and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Currently, several departments allow courses taken for C/NC to be counted towards major and minor requirements, and C/NC units do not count against the 36 unit maximum. Crooks and Dehmani advocated for continuing current C/NC exceptions into the upcoming academic year to facilitate a successful “transition back to campus life” and support students in balancing academics with other concerns.

Several candidates expressed support for increasing the accessibility of accommodations, with Dehmani advocating for the creation of a Disability Community Center. The Stanford Disability Alliance endorsed Dehmani, Jankelow, McElroy, Santo and Withers. 

Another priority among elected senators was improving accommodations and support for First Generation and/or Low Income (FLI) students. Several candidates supported eliminating course fees or providing fee waivers for FLI students, as well as proposals promising to amplify the voices of FLI students. Crooks, Nichols and Thompson were endorsed by the First Generation and/or Low Income Partnership. 

The Daily endorsed Beyene, Crooks, McElroy, Nichols, Phan, Saboorian and Thompson. 

The election results are unofficial until they are confirmed by the Senate.

Kaushikee Nayudu '24 is a staff writer for The Daily. Contact her at knayudu ‘at’

Login or create an account