Undergraduate Senate hears updates on campus safety app, passes resolution to support queer students

Jan. 10, 2023, 10:28 p.m.

During their November and December meetings last quarter, the Undergraduate Senate (UGS) passed a flurry of resolutions, including two pertaining to supporting queer students and combating anti-semitism amid recent campus incidents. Senate meetings will resume this week.

During the Nov. 17 meeting, the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) Coordinator Vince Bergado and IT Facilities Infrastructure & Resilience Senior Director Matthew Ricks presented the CriticalArc’s SafeZone Mobile Safety App that they are currently developing.

The app gives students the ability to reach 911 and share their current location with DPS and nearby responders. The app also has map and flashlight features. DPS has been testing this app on the responder side and plans to release it publicly in the near future.

In the same meeting, Corey Lamb ’22, Office of Substance Use Programs Education & Resources Collegiate Recovery Coordinator, discussed collegiate addiction and substance recovery. He requested support from the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) in establishing institutional commitment to supporting the program and encouraging student allyship.

Senator Kyle Becerra ’24 also met with representatives from the Haas Center about a potential public service fellowship with Cardinal Recovery, the student-led substance and addiction recovery program. Co-chair Amira Dehmani ’24 met with Dr. M. Windy McNerney, affiliated clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Dr. Michael Ostacher, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, to discuss the integration of a Cardinal Commitment course that focuses on collegiate addiction recovery.

During the Dec. 1 meeting, the UGS approved funding for the Stanford College Republicans to host an event with right-wing speaker Matt Walsh in March. In that same meeting, they passed a resolution in support of queer students in response to the transphobic implications of Walsh’s new film.

Co-authored by all the Senators and unanimously passed, the resolution detailed efforts the Senators took in support of trans students on Trans Day of Remembrance, including using $1,000 discretionary funds towards supporting programming. It also included commitments to use additional discretionary funding to support the Queer Student Resources and Women’s Community Center.

Following that resolution, the Senate passed a resolution to execute prior resolutions countering anti-semitism. The Senate unanimously passed a resolution in 2019 to recognize and develop plans to oppose anti-semitism on campus. However, no action was taken since then.

The newly adopted resolution states that the Senate will establish a “committee comprised of 3 current Senators and 5 other community representatives, chosen by the Nomination Committee, to investigate current and historical anti-Semitism within the ASSU.” The committee will provide a report no later than May 5, 2023.

During the Dec. 8 meeting, Whit Froelich JD ’24 was appointed as the Election Commissioner for the 2022-2023 term. As the Election Commissioner, Froelich will oversee ASSU elections in the USG and Graduate Student Council (GSC). Froelich previously served on the GSC, though he will step down from that position to serve in his new position. Froelich will work to improve voter turnout and improve communication within the ASSU.

As a part of individual projects, senators Josie Amoo ’25 and Dehmani are currently researching and drafting a resolution on 5150, a statewide law code that allows individuals who present a harm to themselves and others to be temporarily detained for 72 hours in a psychiatric institution. They have met with Karen Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Financial Aid, and professionals from Vaden Health to discuss financial aid for ambulance fees and mental health legislation.

Senators Diego Kagurabadza ’25 and Gurmenjit Bahia ’24 shared updates from their work providing in-demand textbooks for the First-Gen and/or Low-Income office (FLI) to distribute to students. Recent data from a survey on the most in-demand textbooks found that chemistry and world language textbooks were the most needed by students. With this data, they are currently working on collaborating with the FLI office and FLI Library to put in the necessary orders to make more textbooks available to FLI students.

Nicole Benalcazar, Miguel Tejeda, Rebecca Jattan and Aliana Arzola contributed to reporting.

Grace Lee is a University desk editor and was formerly a Magazine editor.

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