Undergraduate Senate calls for clarity on protest policies

Feb. 29, 2024, 12:00 a.m.

During its Tuesday meeting, the Undergraduate Senate continued to develop a resolution on first amendment protections. Alongside the Graduate Student Council, senators called for clarification from University leadership on protected speech and student protest policies.

The meeting followed a protest last weekend by pro-Palestine protestors at a Family Weekend welcome session. 18 student protestors were cited with misdemeanors.

Senators who developed the resolution, like Carmen Kang ’26 focused on how it would protest students who participate in protests — especially international students with visas that could be affected by disciplinary measures.

“It would be helpful for the university to be explicit about free speech as it applies to international students,” Kang said. 

The resolution, which was first introduced on Feb. 20, more broadly urges the University to introduce personalized regulations and policy changes. Senators called on administrators to lift the ban on overnight displays and protest protest in designated free speech zones like White Plaza. 

Diego Kagurabadza ’25, UGS co-chair, emphasized the need for more specific language on “free speech areas,” sanctioned events and disruptive behavior. He proposed more dialogue with the University to clarify policies.

Following requests from undergraduate senators, ASSU Executive Director for Graduate Student Affairs Perry Nielsen M.S. ’24 committed to clarify language used in the resolution before student government representatives meet with administrators.

Nielsen said he would work with administrators like Samuel Santos, an associate vice provost, to receive feedback and seek common ground between students and administrators.  The UGS will vote on the resolution next week. 

Senators also proposed structural reform to the sophomore class cabinet.

Frosh Council Secretary Madhav Prakash ’27 presented a proposal to reform the sophomore class cabinet to allow more participation from sophmores.

Prakash said the current cabinet faced many challenges this academic year, from disengagement from cabinet members and classmates, coupled with limited leadership opportunities.

“By appointing secretaries committees that are Ad Hoc and open standing committees for anyone [involved] in the past, students can get involved with these committees with the founding principles of participation in the highest accountability,” Prakash said. 

Senator Gordon Allen ‘26 raised possible issues from too many stakeholders. He expressed concerns that the restructure would cause confusion over responsibilities and power between the executive positions and committees. 

According to Prakash, the new proposal will “incentivize passionate and responsible class members to participate in specific projects and initiatives.” 

The plan will be piloted in the sophomore class cabinet next fall. Based on the results, it may be implemented in other class councils. 

The Senate unanimously passed a bill to establish standing ex-officio positions to allow at least one ex-officio position for various student communities, including international students and transfer students.

Senators also unanimously passed on a bill that formally appointed Jas Espinosa ’18 M.A. ’19 to Stanford Student Enterprises CEO and ASSU financial manager through June 30, 2025. 

Login or create an account

Apply to The Daily’s High School Summer Program

deadline EXTENDED TO april 28!