ASSU council drops senator-elect Ivy Chen’s case

May 1, 2023, 10:10 p.m.

The ASSU Constitutional Council, a body of five undergraduate and graduate students, dismissed the case Elections Commissioner v. Chen on Monday evening. Ivy Chen ’26, who was elected to the 25th Undergraduate Senate (UGS), will be able to keep her position as an ASSU senator in the 2023-2024 academic year.

The lawsuit pertained to Chen’s violations of campaign expenditure laws located in the Joint Bylaws of the ASSU. Specifically, Chen was accused of turning her campaign expense form late and exceeding the $100 limit for undergraduate senate races.

On April 18, ASSU Election Commissioner Whit Froehlich J.D. ’24, submitted a petition to the Council. In the petition, Froehlich alleged that Chen committed two violations of campaign expenditure laws. On April 25, the Council unanimously voted to hear the case on May 1. 

Before Monday’s hearing, Froehlich, Chen and Chen’s representative Eli Tannenwald J.D. ’25 agreed on a joint resolution which would allow Chen to “remain in the Undergraduate Senate with her full vote” but deem her ineligible for any reimbursement for her campaign expenses, which exceeded the limit by $22.75.

“We feel that this is appropriate because the violation represents a relatively minor infraction and is unlikely to have significantly impacted the vote total,” wrote the two parties in their resolution. 

At Monday’s hearing, Councillor Avi Gupta ’23 was recognized to offer a motion to adopt the resolution. The resolution was unanimously approved by the ASSU Constitutional Council and the case was dismissed.

Froehlich wrote in a statement to The Daily that he was glad that all parties were able to reach an “mutually agreeable resolution,” and that he intends to recommend improvements to the legislative bodies. “I continue to look forward to improving the Joint Bylaws’ treatment of elections regulations,” Froehlich wrote.

Chen said that this case has taken an emotional toll on her. “I’m just relieved that it’s all over,” Chen said. 

“I’m very grateful for my legal counsel who offered to help me for free. This situation has made me more passionate about public service and giving a voice to those who don’t have one,” Chen said. “I’m ready to serve and get to work as a Senator.” 

Mark Allen Cu ’26 is the Staff Development & Data Director for The Daily. He is currently studying Education and Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. Contact him at mallencu ‘at’ stanford.edu

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