The Undergraduate Senate (UGS), newly inaugurated as the 25th Senate, met on Tuesday with a large debate over possible responses to the Faculty Senate’s historic bypass of the previous UGS vote on changes to the Honor Code proposed by the C12. After the 24th Senate opted to leave this issue to the newest class of senators, the UGS is slated to vote on the C12 proposals for a third time next week.
Revisiting the C12 Honor Code proposal
In early April, the Committee of 12 (C12) proposed a number of changes to the Honor Code and Judicial Charter, including the creation of a tiered disciplinary system and the implementation of a study into the possibility of exam proctoring. These proposals were to be approved by several governing bodies, including the UGS, the Graduate Student Council and the Faculty Senate.
The Academic Integrity Working Group, as it is labeled in the C12’s proposal, would conduct a study on the effects of proctoring in the next two to four years. The study would allow teaching staff to proctor their in-person exams to understand the effects of proctoring on Honor Code violations and student grades.
After the proposed changes to the Honor Code were rejected twice by the UGS, the Faculty Senate —whose approval was required to pass the C12’s proposals — bypassed the student vote to change the Honor Code and allow exam proctoring in the upcoming academic year.
Undergraduate student outreach on proctoring showed that a little under half of respondents were opposed to in-person exam proctoring, with the rest split between “yes” and “maybe.”
Xavier Millan ’26, a student member of the C12, which put forth the proposal, said that students who were in favor of proctoring cited situations in which students’ cheating in curved classes hurt non-cheaters.
He added that students opposed to the proposals said that they “viewed [the lack of proctoring] as a contract of trust between faculty and students,” and expressed concerns over potential proctor biases and test-taking anxiety induced by proctors.
Since the 24th UGS rejected the C12 proposal and the Faculty Senate overrode this rejection, the UGS faces a choice before the end of the academic year: accept the C12 proposal for a small-scale study of proctoring, or default to the full-scale allowance of proctoring as approved by the Faculty Senate for the upcoming academic year.
“This has been a decade-long process of faculty trying to get us to agree to some academic integrity revisions,” Co-Chair Diego Kagurabadza ’25 said. “For as long as they can remember, it seems that the UGS has been the obstructing body, whereas the other stakeholders have agreed.”
Kagurabadza served as the chair of the 24th UGS’s Board on Judicial Affairs (BJA) and C12 committee.
Some senators described this set of options as an ultimatum and a further betrayal of trust between the UGS and the Faculty Senate.
“Has the Faculty Senate reconsidered their statement on lack of faith [in the UGS]?” asked Senator Khandaker Aqib ’25. “That’s one thing.”
“I hope you guys asked them, ‘why are you so freely willing to step on our toes and cross the lines of shared governance and expect us to have respect for it,’” Aqib added.
The C12 proposal states that any proposals found through the working group must be approved by all stakeholders, including the UGS, which some senators said they viewed as a safeguard.
“Next week, when we have the opportunity to vote on the C12 proposal, I encourage us to approve it,” Kagurabadza said. “This is a way to avoid the alternative and restore confidence with the Faculty Senate and reestablish ourselves as committed and equal stakeholders.”
Kagurabadza said that he believes passage of the C12 Proposal will restore trust between the UGS and Faculty Senate, as well as ensure that student opinion is respected in the further remodeling of the Honor Code.
Sophia Danielpour ’24, the new ASSU President, said that student input was necessary for decisions made by the University.
“Maybe this is a bigger opportunity to make a statement beyond the scope of the C12 and say, ‘these are all these decisions that have happened over the past couple of years without student input … for the sake of students, we’ll pass the C12, but on a larger scale, the [UGS] wants a conversation with faculty and admin on what it means to be a student here and what role we can play in governance,’” Danielpour said.
Over the course of the ASSU elections, Danielpour and other candidates voiced opposition to exam proctoring.
Kyle Hasslett ’25, ASSU Executive Vice President, raised concerns that student will may be eroded over the years-long course of the proctoring study, noting that, when the study is complete, the UGS will be populated by a new class of senators that will have less firsthand experience and knowledge of the proctoring debate.
“While I do agree that [passing the C12 proposal] is a better alternative than making any large statement … two years down the line, we’re going to have a completely new group of kids in this room,” he said.
“This is a common trend with student advocacy groups … the way we can combat that is to really insist on having institutional knowledge being passed down,” Co-Chair Ritwik Tati ’25 replied.
“We are involved in writing the charge of the study,” Kagurabadza said. “Having the confidence in us now that we are approving this, will encourage them not to override us in the future.”
The C12 Proposal will potentially be voted on by the UGS next week, for a third time.
Additional resolutions and discussions
As the ASSU’s new president, Danielpour discussed her interest in facilitating collaboration between the ASSU executive cabinet and the UGS on social life policies and reforms to the neighborhood system.
Kagurabadza, one of the four returning senators, said that he is focusing on addressing the costs associated with taking certain courses at Stanford. He said that he has scheduled meetings with representatives from the Spanish Language, Chemistry and Outdoor Education departments to discuss their respective course fees and how such fees affect students.
Senator Joy Molloy ’25, the Deputy UGS chair and another one of the four returning senators, said that she has begun working with the Healthcare Advocacy Committee and scheduled a meeting with the Executive Director of Vaden Health to discuss Cardinal Care reform.
Kagurabadza also put forward a resolution to congratulate the outgoing 2022-23 ASSU executives, Darryl Thompson ’23 and Christian Sanchez ’24, on their achievements during their terms. Two more bills were put forward to confirm the Spring 2023-24 nominees to University committees and the Judicial Panel Pool, which houses students who may be called to review violations of the Honor Code and Fundamental Standard.
The University committees, which require student nominations and confirmations to promote student representation, range from panels on animal use and care to advisory boards for financial aid.
A previous version of this article stated that Kagurabadza was on the C12 and the Board on Judicial Affairs committee of the 24th UGS. This article has been updated for clarity to reflect that Kagurabadza served as the chair of the 24th UGS’s Board on Judicial Affairs and C12 committee, distinct from the C12 and the BJA.