Undergraduate Senate launches audit into Band’s finances

March 9, 2023, 11:24 p.m.

At its Thursday meeting, the Undergraduate Senate (UGS) submitted a revised resolution with regards to the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band’s (LSJUMB) funding and discussed a motion to improve healthcare provisions for students relying on Cardinal Care.

LSJUMB funding

UGS Appropriations Committee Chair Mark Huerta ’24 presented an updated resolution, co-authored with Co-Chair Amira Dehmani ’24 and Parliamentarian Diego Kagurabadza ’25, on the 2023-24 Annual Grant status of LSJUMB funding as a Volunteer Student Organization (VSO). The resolution mandates an audit by the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) of the LSJUMB by June 30, 2023 to ascertain the state and purpose of band finances in the previous fiscal year.

According to the resolution, results of the audit should demonstrate that band funds are under the complete control of the student treasurer “without undue pressure or influence from any University administrators.”

Provided the audit produces no discrepancies, the ASSU may fund the band through an annual grant this year. The resolution will require the LSJUMB to re-conform itself to VSO status in order to receive funding in later years. In order to comply with this, the band must hold a democratic election open to all members of the organization. Otherwise, it must seek funding from the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) or elsewhere.

These revised stipulations were included to make funding in particular more student-controlled as well as largely allow the group to focus on “reforming the band to empower students in the process,” Huerta said.

Students in UGS listen and discuss resolutions.
Discussion of a revised LSJUMB Annual Grant resolution included comments from former and current band members. (Photo: ANANYA NAVALE/The Stanford Daily)

According to a tip email read during the meeting that Huerta says he received Wednesday, the modifications were created in response to LSJUMB Director Russ Gavin reportedly “considered[ing] his spending an exception to [the rule that the treasurer has ultimate authority]… encourag[ing] students to spend money that will be reimbursed… without the treasurer’s consent.”

The email stated that the treasurer reached a point where they were “unable to budget ASSU funds, due to the unknown extent of Russ’s expenses file.” In reply, Gavin — who attended the meeting virtually — called the charges “offensive [and] grossly inaccurate,” referring to the band affiliates present in person at the meeting as former members “who just want to hurt the organization and its students.”

Former band members in attendance at the meeting presented personal insights and experiences to help inform Senators’ decision on the resolution. Arjan Walia ’22 M.S. ‘23, former treasurer of LSJUMB, voiced support for the new resolution to avoid possible encroachment on the role of the treasurer by any University employee.

Cardinal care consequences

Senior class Co-President Nicolas Garcia ’23 presented the matter of taking steps to improve Stanford-provided healthcare for students who rely on Cardinal Care. Garcia, who shared his own recent experience with the Vaden Healthcare System and Stanford Hospital, said that “Stanford Healthcare is not working and students are suffering the consequences.”

Nicholas Garcia '23 speaks to UGS.
Nicolas Garcia ’23 describes personal experiences with Cardinal Care and Stanford health services in discussion to take steps to better health care provisions for Cardinal Care and first-generation, low-income (FLI) students. (Photo: ANANYA NAVALE/The Stanford Daily)

Comparing the school’s medical provisions with those across the Bay at University of California, Berkeley, Garcia offered statistics, noting that “not only is their copay less expensive for in network, but they at least cover 50% of places outside of that network,” whereas students in Cardinal Care are left to “choose between waiting at Stanford or what could be unaffordable.”

To address the disproportionate detrimental effects on first-generation, low-income (FLI) students, Garcia suggested finding a better health insurance provider or providing a forum for student feedback for campus medical establishments.

Funding approvals

The senate motioned to approve 15 quick, 4 standard and 5 reserve funding approvals. In addition, the Senate unanimously decided not to change the Stanford Club Sports annual grant.

Police violence, ASSU librarian position and spring general elections

A resolution addressing police violence on campus was revised to remove a statement that created nominations to the public safety committee. The resolution also included a motion to involve Students for the Liberation of All People (SLAP), and encourage reallocation of funds towards mental health resources and other campus student services.

The UGS also moved to approve Jackline Wambua ‘25 as ASSU librarian and push the declaration of intent timeline for Spring General Elections forward to Friday, March 17. Resolutions concerning reducing fees for student groups renting campus spaces and umbrella groups were also introduced.

Correction: A previous version of this article was unclear on whether the annual grant for Stanford Club Sports had been changed. The Daily regrets this error.

Ananya Navale ʼ25 is the Vol. 264 Chief Technology Officer at The Daily. Contact her at anavale ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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