Widgets Magazine

Senate hears committee updates, grants student group funding

On Tuesday evening, the Undergraduate Senate heard updates on a speaker series and potential PWR minor and discussed the allocation of funds for student groups.

Executive updates

The 19th Undergraduate Senate in session (PAUL SERRATO/The Stanford Daily).

At the start of the meeting, ASSU Executives Justice Tention ’18 and Vicki Niu ’18 confirmed that the first Cardinal Conversations event featuring Peter Thiel ’89 JD ’92 and Reid Hoffman’90 will take place on Jan. 31.

Tention and Niu also reported that they had prepared mock ballots to test the electoral system for the upcoming Senate elections in the spring. Finally, they confirmed that the due date for annual grants was Friday at midnight and that this was a hard deadline for any student organization interested in receiving annual funds.

Committee reports

Academic Affairs Committee Chair Janique Lee ’20 announced plans to meet with Adam Banks, professor in the Graduate School of Education and director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), to discuss a possible PWR minor. Lee also said she had plans to meet William Robertson Coe Professor in English Michele Elam from the Faculty Senate on Thursday.

Appropriations Committee Chair Gabe Rosen ’19 noted that there has been a substantial influx of annual grant applicants and that students must set up appointments with the committee to confirm the annual grants.

Communications Committee Chair Lark Wang ’20 gave updates on an upcoming ASSU history pamphlet, and Student Life Committee Chair Lizzie Ford ’20 noted a healthy response from an ASSU survey on how to improve student life at Stanford. The survey closes on Sunday.

Funding

The Appropriations Committee recommended $9,000 in spending for this week, comfortably below the maximum spending target of between $10,500 and $12,000 per week the Senate has set for itself.

The Senate then turned to voting on some of the recommended appropriations for the week. A cappella group Raagapella received $600 to pay for editing services for one of its upcoming projects, while the Stanford Bicycle Project reallocated a portion of its equipment funds toward towards food.

Some debate arose over the allocation of $200 to buy engraved music folders for O-tone, an a cappella group focusing on East Asian popular music.  As appropriations chair, Rosen recommended the purchase of much cheaper folders.

“There are 30 weeks of funding[…] throughout the school year,” Rosen pointed out. “That can add up over time. Suppose we were to give all the maximum fancy equipment to all the groups that come to us. In the aggregate that will add up.”

The Senate voted to consider overriding the recommendation of the appropriations committee, but the override vote failed, with only senators Doris Rodriguez ’20 and Lark Wang ’20 voting for the full funding of the original $200 request. The majority opted to allocate $48 for the purchase of cheaper folders.

The Senate also voted to subsidize the cost of sending three members of Delta Sigma Theta sorority to a mandatory convention for the organization. Senators discussed the general precedent of providing funds to help Greek organizations meet membership requirements and agreed to stall discussions on the constitutionality of the allocations to later sessions.

 

Contact Michael Whittaker at mwhittak ‘at’ stanford.edu.