Widgets Magazine

Student gov’t groups hold final fall meetings

Etchemendy outlines the state of the University

Talks budget, construction; shows support for ROTC return

Provost John Etchemendy Ph.D. ‘82 had an informal discussion on the state of the University with the ASSU Undergraduate Senate and the Graduate Student Council (GSC) at last Wednesday’s Joint Legislative meeting, outlining future construction projects for campus and answering questions from senators and council members about his take on several campus issues.

Focusing first on the University’s reaction to and recovery from the economic recession, Etchemendy emphasized that the school’s quick and bold actions to cut the budget made a significant difference in the health of its recovery.

The Bing Concert Hall is under construction on east campus, above. (ANNA MARIA IRON/The Stanford Daily)

“We cut quickly and are now in very stable shape with all our sources of funds growing at [an] inflationary rate,” he said, noting that peer institutions who made more cautionary cuts are still cutting even though the economy is on its way back up.

“We have no plans to do any more cuts, and no plans to reverse any of the cuts,” he added. Undergraduate financial aid, he said, has still grown, although its funding sources have shifted. Etchemendy also noted that the Bing Overseas Seminars program stands as a notable exception to the rule, as it was cut in 2009 but is planned to be reinstated next year.

Another sign of the campus’ recovery, he said, is its continual growth in new buildings and construction projects. The Bing Concert Hall, which was taken off the University’s capital plan when the recession hit, is back on track and under construction on east campus.

Other construction projects in the works include a new Toyon dining hall, which is already under construction, as well as a new Manzanita dorm, a graduate student residence across the street from the Graduate Community Center, and a recreation center on west campus.

Etchemendy, who has been provost since 2000, said that the constant construction and growth on campus makes him feel “like in Sim City, except it’s real.”

GSC member and graduate student in energy resources engineering Addy Satija asked Etchemendy for his opinion on the possible return of ROTC to campus.

“Frankly, I really am hopeful that the report comes back…and says Stanford needs ROTC back,” Etchemendy said.

Undergraduate Senate to buy more rental projectors

In its last meeting of fall quarter last Tuesday, the ASSU Undergraduate Senate passed a bill to fund projectors for student rental from Meyer Library and approved a transfer of $7,000 from the traditions fund to the junior class for this year’s Mausoleum Party.

Senator Stewart Macgregor-Dennis ‘13 was behind the bill Tuesday to purchase two projectors for student rental with $800 from Senate general discretionary funds and $800 from the ASSU endowment. Meyer Library agreed to match the funds for the projectors, the most popular item for rental, according to Macgregor-Dennis.

The Senate also called on ASSU Vice President Kelsei Wharton ’12 last Tuesday night to break a vote to censure Senator Ben Jensen ’12, who recently resigned as deputy chair of the Appropriations Committee, for his low attendance at Student Life, Housing and Education Committee (SLHE) meetings during fall quarter.

If a senator is absent three times from committee meetings within an academic quarter, the ASSU Constitution outlines three possible responses by the committee: taking no response, presenting a formal censure bill to the Senate or presenting a bill for the senator’s removal from the committee. Each senator must serve on one committee, a detail posing a potential problem had the committee opted for removal, as Jensen currently only serves on SLHE.

Jensen was absent from four out of seven weekly SLHE meetings since the beginning of the school year, with one of his four absences excused in advance.

“He was irresponsible, but in the past three weeks he has shown he can be responsible,” said SLHE committee chair Deepa Kannappan ‘13 said about why the committee chose to opt for censure over removal.

The Senate voted 5-5 on the censure, with Jensen and two others abstaining and two absent. After re-voting twice to break the tie, with no changes to the vote, the Senate followed protocol and called Wharton, who voted in favor of the censure.

“I allowed my peers to pass it or not pass it based on what they felt was right,” Jensen said after the meeting. Citing future projects he is planning, he said he expects his attendance to be “drastically different” going forward and added that he respects the right of his peers to bring the censure before the Senate.

The Senate passed all funding bills of the evening.

About Ellen Huet

Ellen Huet is currently a senior staff writer at The Daily; she joined the staff in fall 2008 and served one volume as managing news editor in fall and early winter of 2010-2011. Reach her at ehuet at stanford dot edu. Fan mail and sternly worded complaints are equally welcome.