Memes and Extremes: ASSU Judgement Day

Posted by at 1:22AM

This article is a response to Kristi.

Everyone has their quirks, especially here at Stanford, where high achievement is often the result of hyperorganization and highly developed time management and planning skills. Where Stewart MacGregor-Dennis differs from most students is that he posts his thinking online for all of Stanford to see. This can make him a target, but it also means that you know the candidate you are voting for. Spending his personal money on maintaining his social media (if you look through his ODesk account, he has only spent about $50 services related to his campaign) doesn’t seem to be an issue pertinent to his ability to be President.  And in the end, it’s all transparent: everyone can see his likes, twitter followers, and ODesk account. Why is the most controversial issue in this campaign the idea that a candidate might actually try to maximize his social media footprint? Some tactics may have been misguided, but to claim Stewart is unethical or that he was trying to dupe the student body is laughable. We all know how the internet works: things that get liked or followed get more likes or followers. But everyone can still see who is liking and following what.

Stewart MacGregor Dennis and Druthi Ghanta

The current attacks on Stewart aren’t focused on his experience, or his platform. They don’t critique the things he has done working for the ASSU, and they don’t question his plans for the coming year.  Instead, they focus primarily on his personal life. This isn’t problematic in and of itself—politicians open themselves up to scrutiny by the public. Stewart, perhaps more than any other student at Stanford, lives his life with transparency.

Much has been made of the infamous 40 page life plan, his propensity for mind mapping, and his active tweeting. These are all ways in which Stewart has combined the private and public spheres of his life. This is quirky, and it’s easy to look at a 40 page life plan and crack jokes (you have, after all, forty pages of material to work with). However, the things that look eccentric in Stewart’s personal life are the things that make his successful in Stanford student government. Life plans, mind maps—all of these are indicative of a strong vision and a passion for organization.

The ASSU needs a President that can keep track of it’s  its over 650 student groups, the over 40 university committees with student representation, and branches of government like the SSE, SSD, Undergraduate Senate, and Graduate Student Council. And if it takes a thousand mind maps to make it happen, then that’s what it takes. Next year, I want Axess to be improved and upgraded further (a la SimpleEnroll), co-hosting small grants for students groups, and affordable summer storage for students and student groups. These things affect Stanford far more than a few unwanted emails or the number likes on a Facebook status ever will.

Vote for the candidates whose platform you support on April 12 at ballot.stanford.edu.  

Update: This is Rachel Rose. This article was posted to my personal Facebook, but thanks Adam for the reminder to be clear for those not on Facebook.

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5 Responses to “Memes and Extremes: ASSU Judgement Day”

  1. just saying says:

    *its

  2. Stanford ’14 says:

    I do agree. I dont like him personally but I think his eccentric behavior is not in anyway unethical. He just lives his ideal life. Outsourcing is exactly what it is. He thinks it is not worth his time to do those tasks, so he outsourced. Just that.

    I will not vote for him, but that does not mean he should be bullied like he is now.

  3. Full Disclosure says:

    If this is Rachel Rose, it should be noted that (if I recall) she is a member of the SMD-Druthi campaign team. Of course it’s still fair to push this out there, but if she is on the campaign team then she should let that be known. #transparency

  4. Mark says:

    Rachel, it’s nice to see someone defend Stewart.

    But we need a Student Body President who embodies the student body. Stewart MacGregor-Dennis certainly does not. We need someone to represent students, not embarrass them.

  5. _icatten says:

    At the end of the day, we want a president that will represent us and make us proud. A president whose personality, behavior, and public image we can tolerate. Evidenced by the amount of negativity and repulsion surrounding his personal decisions and media presentation, Stewart is NOT what the majority of Stanford students want. I personally would be horrified if he were elected president and another university got a hold of this video: http://socialcam.com/v/V2zHWwXo?autostart=true or his Twitter account…Stanford would surely be the laughing stock of elite universities.

    It’s ASSU, people. It’s above all a popularity contest. How else can we differentiate between candidates without employing some level of ad hominem attacks?? If we were to judge solely on their alleged “political platforms” (which can all be effectively summarized as: increased diversity, transparency, food options, etc.) then there would be very little to compare and critique.

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