Undergraduate senators support workers union and climate action before concluding term

May 15, 2022, 11:40 p.m.

The 23rd Undergraduate Senate considered measures related to the UG2 workers union, campus activist groups and on-ramp STEM courses in May during its final two meetings. It also certified the 2022 ASSU election results on May 12, officially concluding the term.

Workers Union

Senators unanimously passed a resolution supporting higher pay for UG2 workers contracted through Stanford during their May 5 meeting. The resolution, written by Senate Co-Chair Alain Perez ’23 and initially presented in April, demanded that Stanford administrators “send public support” to workers as they entered contract negotiations with UG2 on May 6. It also asked that the senate show public support for UG2 workers.

UG2’s janitorial union, with support from Students for Workers’ Rights (SWR) and the larger student body, is looking to increase hourly wages by $2 each year over the next three years. The union also hopes to add four additional vacation days and hazard pay during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The janitorial union is “continuing to negotiate with UG2 for better conditions,” according to a May 15 SWR Instagram story post.

Fossil Free Stanford

Perez’s resolution for the senate to support Fossil Free Stanford’s (FFS) legal complaint filed in February was also unanimously passed at their May 5 meeting. The complaint, which was filed in conjunction with the Climate Defense Project (CDP) and mirrors organizations at Yale, Princeton, Vanderbilt and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called for Stanford to divest from fossil fuels.

Now that the resolution has passed, the Undergraduate Senate will write a letter to the California Attorney General calling for an investigation into the University’s Board of Trustees for failing to divest from fossil fuels. The letter follow one that FFS previously sent to the office, which argues that divestment from fossil fuels should be in compliance with promoting the wellbeing and future of students.

On-Ramp STEM Courses

Senator Cayla Withers ’24 places a resolution on the senate’s agenda, co-sponsored by physics and mechanical engineering professor Paul Mitiguy M.S. ’87, Ph.D. ’95, in support of on-ramp STEM courses during the May 12 meeting. The resolution defines on-ramp STEM courses as courses “intended for students who are considering a STEM major and who have not limited or no training in a course that is naturally part of various STEM majors.”

The resolution argues that Stanford should provide “multi-year initial funding” specifically for on-ramp STEM courses to strengthen the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Various departments would use this funding to design on-ramp STEM courses in the way they see best fit.

These courses would address systemic barriers that students, particularly those who are first-generation and/or low-income, often face in entry-level STEM courses, according to Withers. To help level the playing field, these courses would provide students with the foundational skills and background that they need to succeed in other STEM classes, she added.

The physics department has already seen some success with an on-ramp STEM course of their own, according to the resolution. In winter 2021, the department launched a prototype 2-unit Credit/No Credit calculus-based physics course, as well as an in-person version of the class in autumn 2021. Post-course evaluations and testing metrics showed that, overall, students made good progress in these courses, according to the resolution.

Election Results

The Undergraduate Senate certified the results of the 2022 ASSU elections during their final meeting on May 12. Darryl Thompson ’23 and Christian Sanchez ’24 were unanimously certified to serve as president and vice-president for the next academic year. Results were also certified for the newly elected members of the Undergraduate Senate and for class presidents. 24th Undergraduate Senate elected co-chairs Amira Dehmani ’24 and Aden Beyene ’24. The senate also confirmed representatives of the Association on University committees.

Oriana Riley and Isaac Lozano contributed to this reporting.

Correction: a previous version of this article incorrectly identified a bill that was presented at a previous UGS meeting. The bill was listed on the agenda, but was never actually presented at the meeting. The Daily regrets this error.

Carolyn Stein is a Desk Editor for Campus Life and a co-Audience Engagement Editor. She is double majoring in communications and East Asian studies. Her favorite activity is going on unnecessarily long walks. Contact her at news 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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