Widgets Magazine

ASSU Senate: A year in review

The 16th Undergraduate Senate is nearing the conclusion of their term (JOSEE SMITH/The Stanford Daily).

The 16th Undergraduate Senate is nearing the conclusion of their term (JOSEE SMITH/The Stanford Daily).

As the election of the 17th Undergraduate ASSU Senate nears, the 16th Undergraduate ASSU Senate has been discussing their transition out of office as they prepare to train the next round of student representatives.

During the 2014-2015 academic term, the 16th Undergraduate Senate focused on issues pertaining to sexual assault, quality of and access to mental health services on campus, funding reform and divestment in the name of the University.

“It’s been a great honor to serve in this position [and]  I’m really grateful to serve on a Senate with so many intelligent and passionate people,” said Senate Chair Ana Ordoñez ’17. “I hope that future Senates uphold our work ethic and continue to improve student life at Stanford.”

The transition meeting for the 17th Undergraduate ASSU Senate is scheduled for April 25. Individual members of the Senate are currently working on re-orientation guides for newly elected members in the upcoming term. Transitioning smoothly in terms of funding reform efforts is important to this year’s senators.

At the beginning of its term, the 16th Undergraduate Senate unanimously passed a bill, authored by Senator John-Lancaster Finley ’16, to accept the Funding Guide on September 30, which sought to alleviate the shortages created by the old General Fee System. The new reserve system was set up to keep security of the old system, but the Senate still found itself coming up short in funding student groups.

Retroactive funding continued to be a contentious point for Senators and student groups who petitioned the Senate after they had already spent money believing they would receive reimbursement.

Approving funding retroactively generally comes at the cost of funding other groups who had done everything correctly, according to Eric Theis ’16, the Deputy Chair of the Appropriations Committee.

During the Senate’s most recent meeting on Tuesday night, Brian Liu ’16, president of Melody, a music teaching volunteer group that works with children from low-income backgrounds, approached the Senate to seek out retroactive funding.

”We paid a lot of money out of our own money pockets,” Liu said. “We ended up spending $809.”

Miscommunication and incompetency on the part of their financial officer misled the group into thinking they had received funding for the upcoming year. This group was now seeking reimbursement for $800, mostly to reimburse their volunteers for Zipcar costs and to pay janitors, who were working overtime in to unlock school doors for their practice.

Voting on this funding bill was postponed in order for the Senate to help re-connect Melody with other funding sources.

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

  • Student

    Senate was a mess this year. That mess is seemingly absent from this article.