Senators discuss challenging new alcohol policy, changes to University honor code

Sept. 22, 2021, 12:47 a.m.

Senators discussed a bill that would allow student groups and representatives to schedule conflict resolution meetings with senators and contemplated challenging the University’s new alcohol policy during the first Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) Undergraduate Senate meeting of fall quarter. 

Senator Joshua Jankelow ’24 proposed the Ubuntu Bill — Ubuntu meaning “humanness” in South African languages isiZulu and isiXhosa — to establish a streamlined process for student groups and representatives to request meetings with members of the Undergraduate Senate. The meetings would allow student leaders to voice their concerns about other organizations and resolve conflicts between student groups, Jankelow said. The senators discussed the procedural elements of the bill, including the duration of conflict resolution sessions, though they plan to revisit the bill next week for further discussion and a vote. 

Senator Darryl Thompson ’23 said that a formalized procedure for resolving conflicts between student groups is necessary. Thompson referenced ASSU meetings earlier this year in which members of the student groups Students for Justice in Palestine and the Jewish Students Association discussed whether the ASSU should take a stance on the Israeli occupation. 

Senators also expressed concerns about the new alcohol policy, which mandates the reporting of underage drinking and has since faced backlash from Resident Assistants (RAs) and sexual violence prevention advocates, including in the form of a protest led by Sexual Violence Free Stanford (SV Free) at Sunday’s Sophomore Convocation ceremony. Senator Cayla Withers ’24 said that she plans to develop a resolution challenging the new policy. 

Also motivated by the SV Free demonstration, Senator Emily Geigh Nichols ’23 said that she is working to establish a Senate and Community Center liaison program for individual senators to serve as liaisons to student communities and facilitate outreach to members of the administration. 

Next week, the Undergraduate Senate will vote on the Committee of 10 (C-10) amendments to the Honor Code and Fundamental Standard, which passed in the Graduate Student Council earlier this month. C-10, a group of four students, four faculty members and two staff members, was charged with reevaluating and updating Stanford’s judicial process in January, amid an uptick in cheating during virtual learning. If the amendment passes in the Undergraduate Senate and the Faculty Senate, it will reach the desk of University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne for consideration. 

If implemented, the amendments to the Honor Code would allow professors to proctor exams — a departure from the current policy, which allows students to take unmonitored exams. This would mark the first change to the Honor Code since it was created in 1977. 

“If adopted, this will change Stanford’s culture and Honor Code for years and years to come,” said Senator Alain Pérez ’23. “It’s one of the most important votes that we will have.”

Marli Bosler ’24 is a beat reporter for the Daily from Kirkland, WA. In her free time she enjoys making Spotify playlists and daydreaming about Seattle coffee.

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