UGS transitions power, postponing Honor Code action

May 10, 2023, 10:23 p.m.

In its final meeting as the 24th Undergraduate Senate (UGS), senators continued the transition of control to the 25th Senate. The UGS postponed action over senators’ concerns about the Faculty Senate’s recent precedent-breaking sidestep of the UGS Honor Code vote to the next senate.

Funding approvals

UGS Appropriations Committee Chair Mark Huerta ’24 initiated the 24th senate’s final appropriations budget approval request by emphasizing the importance of the committee, which faced student criticism this year after multiple clubs were denied annual grant funding.

“I hope for any new senators in the room right now that you will consider that the appropriations committee is very important in ensuring that every student program gets funded on this campus to its full extent,” Huerta said.

When asked to reflect on his experience leading the appropriations committee, Huerta said that he thinks students view the process as “excessively bureaucratic” and a “money pit” that they can get whatever they want out of.

The discussion comes just over a month after The Daily reported that, under current ASSU funding policies, 80 of the 214 volunteer student organizations (VSOs) that applied for annual grant funding were rejected for the upcoming year.

In response to students’ criticisms, Huerta told the next senators and the meeting’s listeners to consider the committee’s work “a balanced funding process” that funds the “breadth and depth of all student programming” at Stanford.

“This is ASSU putting things back in students’ pockets, putting things back in student leadership,” Huerta said.

In an opinion piece in The Daily in April, Huerta noted that the ASSU was funding a “record number” of student groups and argued that different funding tracks are designed to help student groups receive the level of funding they need.

The senate motioned to approve 23 quick, one standard and two reserve funding approvals and culminated the final budget request for the 2022-23 academic year.

Healthcare and campaign bylaws

The senate unanimously approved a resolution to create a UGS Healthcare Advocacy Committee and passed two linked bills to grant discretion in campaign spending audits and amend the joint bylaws.

The bill to abolish campaign spending limits was put forth before the UGS weeks after the ASSU elections commissioner sued a senator-elect who violated the $100 limit on campaign expenditures (the ASSU council ultimately dropped the case).

Regarding the bill, Senator Kyle Becerra ’24 said that “the spending limit is[n’t] perfect, but it serves as an imperfect safeguard to prevent Pandora’s box from being opened.”

Senator Donya Sarrafian ’23 expressed support for passing the bill, citing a variety of reasons including the current “lack of robust enforcement mechanisms to see how much everyone’s contributing.”

She added that there’s “no way to fully audit every single person who runs.” In response to constitutional issues, several senators expressed concern over the out-of-date policies and perspectives noted by the Constitutional Council.

In the motion to vote on the bill, approvals did not meet the required two-thirds of the senate.

The UGS motioned to pass the Senate Bill of Spring 2023, confirming Hannah Jeoung ’24, Kristen Jackson PhD. ’25, and Amira Dehmani ’23 as student representatives on the Board on Judicial Affairs and the latter two nominees on the Community Board on Public Safety, respectively.

Following motions to vote on the joint bill to amend the Executive Election Turnover Timeline and the UGS Election Turnover Timeline, as well as the bill to re-confirm ASSU Financial Manager, Jas Espinosa, were approved unanimously.

C12 discussions and transitions

During open discussion, Senator Huerta called for discussion on addressing the Committee of 12 (C12) as a last decision for the 24th UGS. On April 27, the Faculty Senate unilaterally approved revisions to Stanford’s Honor Code, bypassing an earlier vote from the UGS rejecting the Committee of 12’s recommendations on changes to the Honor Code.

Co-Chair Aden Beyene ’24 urged the senate to leave the issue for incoming members of the 25th Senate to resolve.

“The Faculty Senate needs to be held accountable for the decisions that they make,” Beyene said. “If you bring this to a vote right now, you’re saying, ‘never mind.’”

Senator Diego Kagurabadza ’25 said that he was concerned about “the fact that faculty has no faith in the undergraduates.”

“What I’m asking for is for you to have faith in the next senate, in that we will try to restore that relationship,” he said.

The senate moved to oppose suspending rules of order to consider the C12 address for the meeting and ultimately opposed making a motion on the offer, pushing the issue to the next senate.

Transition to the 25th UGS

As the final meeting for the 24th Senate came to a close, senators reflected on their experiences in the senate. Senator Becerra offered words of advice for incoming senators. “I urge the next class of senators to really try to restore that faith in the Undergraduate Senate towards the undergraduate population … Stay true to yourselves. Try new things as senators. You never know what you’re going to become passionate about and want to fight for.”

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

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