‘Hilarious’: Senators deny harassment and misconduct allegations

May 21, 2024, 3:37 a.m.

Newly-elected Undergraduate Senate (UGS) co-chairs Ivy Chen ’26 and Gordon Allen ’26 responded tonight to a complaint filed last Tuesday by senator Carmen Kang ’26. They filed a response to the Constitutional Council case, initiated by Kang’s complaint, and circulated it to nearly 8,000 undergraduate students through the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) mailing list.

Over 20 pages, Chen and Allen denied Kang’s allegations, which ranged from collusion to harassment as well as campaign violations in the recent ASSU elections. Kang’s complaint implicated Chen, Allen and four other ASSU senators, alongside the elections commission and a student sponsor of the ASSU divestment petition. 

The first four sections address Kang’s complaints, but the last section delves into what Chen and Allen characterized as “Kang’s Insurgency.” 

According to emails obtained by The Daily, Kang asked senators to delay internal elections for chair last week. She wrote that she would preside over meetings until investigations concluded. Two hours before Tuesday’s meeting, Kang sent senators — except Chen and Allen — an email with a Google Form to express support with her efforts to delay the elections. 

Allen responded to the first email, where he wrote that her emails were “misinformation” and apologized for Kang’s “untoward behavior.”

According to Chen and Allen, Kang attempted to “disrupt the transition of power from the 25th Senate to the 26th Senate and lead a coup and insurgency on the 26th Senate.”

An insurrection involved efforts to  “unlawfully” overthrow a “democratically elected institution,” Chen and Allen told The Daily. 

Allen added “there was no way to completely rule out she wouldn’t be violent.” There is currently “no substantiated information of a threat to any individual,” wrote University spokesperson Luisa Rapport.

Undergraduate senator Mandla Msipa ’26 said irrespective of whether or not Kang’s actions qualified as an insurrection, “I definitely think it was inappropriate behavior that’s worthy of expulsion from the Senate.” 

Kang declined to comment and speak with The Daily, due to concerns about reporters’ bias toward other senators, as well as to prioritize her personal well-being as she recovers from stress-induced health concerns.

Chen and Allen cited extensive evidence for the claims, like screenshotted text correspondence, testimonials from other students and UGS resolutions. They also emphasized that they were friends with Kang, including with a photo from Allen’s birthday party this year.

“I will say in real life court that doesn’t really count as evidence,” Chen said. “But this has no merit.” 

Chen and Allen closed the written response with “Hilarious!” to emphasize that they believed Kang’s complaint was unsubstantiated. The response, which was distributed on the ASSU mailing list, received several hundred views.

Some students criticized that the response was circulated on the list, which is dedicated to ASSU and student initiatives, from social updates like “In The Cards” and efforts by Columbae student leaders to drive pre-assignment.

One Fizz post, which received over 2,000 upvotes, read, “there’s no fucking way assu just emailed every single undergrad an update about the CK lawsuit.. WE DONT CARE PLEASE STOP.” 

“I don’t think I would have said what they said and in the manner they said it, using the undergraduate mailing list,” Msipa said. “But obviously, I’m not the one accused.”

Chen said they used the list since they believed the complaint decreases trust in the ASSU and attacked the institution’s credibility and reputation.

“We’re not people who want drama, like we’re pretty much anti-drama,” Chen said. 

Allen and Chen said they wanted to be transparent with students, amid growing attention to the lawsuit on campus. 

But some current and former senators expressed disapproval with the initial complaint and the senators’ response. 

“It’s less egregious the fact that they used the mailing list and more unfortunate that they gave airtime to the issue at large,” said former ASSU senator Isaac Nehring ’26, who is a prospective Daily opinions writer. 

Msipa expressed hope that Tuesday’s Senate meeting would revive attention to more substantive issues. “I think it’s really regrettable how little the Undergraduate Senate was able to do this week, in terms of advocating on behalf of Columbae,” Msipa said. 

Columbae, an “anti-war” co-op, saw its theme and co-op status threatened, but following a push by student leaders, the University reinstated its co-op status and theme this week.

“Honestly, we deserve the negative commentary, it’s been a really embarrassing week for us, who are trying really hard to serve you,” Msipa said. 

Echoing Msipa, Nehring said, “I’m no longer a senator, this is not my circus, but it’s very unfortunate to see that with the limited time, resources and power that the ASSU already has, this is what they use it on.”

While Chen and Allen stressed that they dedicated time to other ASSU initiatives, like support for Columbae, they told The Daily they spent around nine hours on the response.

They had been shocked to receive the complaint last week as they fried an egg in Wilbur Dining: “I was like, ‘Oh my god, forget the egg,’” Allen said.

Allen and Chen did not call for Kang’s expulsion, a suggestion raised by the Elections Commission in its response from last week. However, they affirmed that senators hold the authority to call for impeachment  and that Kang should be “held accountable.”  

The deadline to submit responses is tomorrow at 5 p.m. The Constitutional Council meets on May 24 to decide how to move forward.

Ananya Udaygiri is the Vol. 265 Video Managing Editor. A sophomore from Houston, TX, she sometimes writes for News -- and on bad days, for Humor.

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