Widgets Magazine

ASSU Senate passes annual grants package, discusses gender inclusivity bill

On Tuesday night, the 16th Undergraduate ASSU Senate passed an annual grants package and discussed a bill aimed at gender inclusivity, while also giving updates on other behind-the-scenes projects to improve campus services.

The Senate passed an annual grants package sum of $2.23 million after hearing petitions. The annual grants must be approved by the student body in the Spring Election. The Senate’s allotment of Special Fees changed after the student body voted to adopt funding reform in December.

Currently, the Appropriations Committee is reducing grants to groups who have greater than 80 percent of their expected budget left in reserves and have not clearly outlined expected expenditures through appropriate documentation.

Representatives from the Jewish Student Association (JSA), who were affected by the Appropriation’s Committee’s new funding policies, approached the Senate with concerns that their requests for next year were cut too drastically. The group had left the Appropriation Committee feeling confident that they would receive $32,000 in funding, a compromise from their $40,000 request. Only $23,000 was recommended by the appropriations committee.

“We don’t accidentally want to overallocate,” said Senator Eric Theis ’16.

During these discussions, the implementation of funding reform came into question. Matt Anderson B.S. ’14 M.A. ’15, financial manager for Stanford in Government (SIG), said that cutting budgets of groups with over 80 percent of reserves is not consistent with anything discussed in the funding reform town hall meetings.

JSA representatives also expressed concern that they were unaware of the need to provide detailed documentation. One Senator maintained that his email to JSA did make mention that necessary documentation was required, which also gave examples of appropriate types of documentation.

After increasing funds allotted to JSA, the Senate passed the grants package.

Additionally, Senator Rachel Samuels ’17 brought a bill aimed at gender inclusivity to the table. The bill proposed to change ‘she’,’he’, ‘him’, and ‘hers’ to ‘they’ and ‘their’ in the Senate’s bylaws.

“It makes a statement,” said Samuels. “There are a lot of students who do not identify in the gender binary.”

Samuels originally sought to change these references from all governing documents to be more inclusive towards students who don’t identify in those terms. Instead, she realized that given the limited amount of time remaining in her term, it was more feasible for her bill to start by changing the Senate bylaws accordingly.

Senators also touched on last week’s CAPS town hall meeting in which dozens of students participated. Senator Andrew Aude ’16 approached Ron Albucher, director of CAPS, after the meeting to talk about what he called the “big elephant in the room”: CAPS’s lack of funding.

CAPS has requested more funding from the University Budget Committee, according to Aude’s conversation with Albucher, who Aude said thought a student petition might help.

Senators also discussed ways to improve access to food options for students who are staying on campus during spring break, since all dining halls are closed for the break. Ordonez opened up discussion about the possibility of using the buffer fund for Trader Joe’s gift cards to feed students during spring break. With spring break less than one month away, other Senators thought it would be too late to implement a new plan this year.

Other side projects individual Senators and committees are working on included improving transportation options before and after break, printing and packaging services and food access during breaks.

 

Contact Alexis Garduno at agarduno ‘at’ stanford.edu.