Posts Tagged ‘ASSU’

The Flipside’s $7,000 Joke

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The Flipside's requested Segway could have many uses, including a quick trip down University Ave for some Pizza My Heart.

How much are you willing to pay for a good laugh? For The Stanford Flipside, seven grand is fair game.

In its latest issue, The Flipside announced that it has requested a Segway in its special fees budget for next year. The Segway appears as a $7,000 “Equipment Purchase” in The Flipside’s actual budget, viewable on the ASSU Elections website. The Flipside staff aren’t making any attempts at subtlety, either; the futuristic electric vehicle comprises just under half of the club’s $14,400 funding request.

The funny thing is, they’re only half-kidding. According to the club’s President, Jeremy Keeshin, “One of our goals with the Segway is to call attention to a lot of the line-items in other groups’ budgets that are easily overlooked. There are groups with $80,000 or $100,000 budgets that may include way more than $10,000 of unnecessary spending but are overlooked because of a large budget. We encourage you to look for the Segways in other people’s budgets.”

Keeshin has a point. KZSU, for instance, is requesting almost $30,000 for their salaries for their officers. The Stanford Daily continuously asks the student body to chip in for their printing costs, for which they last year received $89,500; The Daily claims that the money is meant to serve as a small subscription fee for campus-wide service. Meanwhile, Stanford students happen to be very generous when it comes to the budgets of student groups. They rejected just six special fees requests in 2010, and rejected none of the requests in 2009, in the trough of America’s lingering recession.


Football Exempt from Sustainability?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Meet Sustainable Stanford.

Stanford’s football team was not the biggest loser on Saturday night.

That prize goes to the sponsors of the on-campus viewing party at Angell Field, who purchased several hundred Aquafina water bottles (pictured right) for students despite the abundance of tap water sources near the event. Although Stanford’s bigwigs claim to have embraced sustainability with great fanfare, these kinds of excesses make the university look hypocritical and insincere. In light of the hullabaloo generated over the false use of recycled paper by some of last year’s ASSU Senate candidates, the mass purchase of low-grade, bottled tap water is simply absurd. A more down-to-earth sustainability policy is in order.

In Which I Try to Talk about Divestment and Free Speech (Without Getting Bogged Down in Nuanced Political Issues On Which I am Unqualified to Speak)

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict once again became a heated issue on campus when the possibility of a divestment bill nearly reached the ASSU Undergraduate Senate last week. As that happened, people started writing about Israel, Palestine, and the idea of divestment: (in chronological order–take a deep breath, here goes): op-ed here, op-ed here, op-ed here, an overview here (recommended), a news article here,  an op-ed here, an op-ed here,  a news article here, an op-ed here, and an op-ed here, and this. On top of all this, people actually utilized the comments section of some of these articles–most notably Linda Hess’s piece (op-ed the third)–and went on to add to the dialogue a mix of comments ranging from interesting to hateful to hilarious.

After reading all of the above and talking in-depth with members of the ASSU and students who support (strongly) both sides of the issue, one thing is extraordinarily clear: whatever your view on divestment is, or on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it is absolutely clear that this is not a topic in which the ASSU should have any involvement.

Luckily, and to my cynical-self’s surprise, the leaders of the primary pro-divestment group (Campaign Restore Hope) and anti-divestment group (Invest for Peace)* have come together and agreed that the ASSU should not be the arena for the divestment debate. I have no idea how this occurred, but I cannot commend the leaders in this discussion enough: this is a victory for any hope at actual progress and helps diminish the likelihood of the campus devolving further into an unproductive flame war with heavily negative consequences for many students on campus.

What this last concept–negative consequences of this debate–brings to light is that much of the divestment discussion is intimately linked with free speech. But free speech, like Israeli/Palestinian politics, is a much more nuanced issue than most people want to acknowledge.


It’s Only Been a Week, and 1/5 of the New ASSU Senate is Already in Ethics Trouble

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

GAIA, an environmental group, endorsed candidates for Senate

In politics, as they say, Plus ca change, plus c’est le meme chose. The scandal-plagued, scandal-plagued, scandal-plagued ASSU just got a whole batch of new Senators–and 3 of them are already facing ethical complaints.

First, there’s Ben Jensen, who signed a declaration saying he wouldn’t go abroad and then decided to go abroad. Luckily, this will make his attendance rate similar to every other person on the Senate.

Then, there’s Carolyn Simmons and Rebecca Sachs, who both agreed to run a recycled-paper-only campaign to be endorsed by GAIA (which sounds like an LGBTQ group but is apparently an environmental one) but found themselves short on supplies. Their plan of action? No joke–they allegedly printed off copies of Obama’s new Healthcare bill to create their own recycled paper. It is obvious that though they have limited concern for the environment, they do care about spreading the knowledge about what’s in the new Healthcare bill–which, it turns out, allows young people (that’s us) to stay covered on their parents’ plan until they are 26.

With Sarah Palin only making the occasional ridiculous appearance these days, it’s good to see that the ASSU will ensure that politics will be entertaining for a while longer.

The Real Winners (and Losers) of the ASSU Election

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Just when you thought you had escaped the exhaustion of ASSU Elections, after learning of the election results, we decided to give out our own awards.

Best Slogan

big agenda

Straight to the point. Too bad it wasn’t big enough.

Most Interesting Use of Photoshop

safari‘Nuff said.

Most Campaign Paraphernalia

they suckMeet the winning sophomore slate. We couldn’t cross campus without seeing a neon green Sophs4More t-shirt or a pair of neon sunglasses.


Why the ASSU Senate Might Actually Be Bad for Students

Thursday, April 8th, 2010
The human candidates may be well-intentioned, but I will be voting for Senator Palpatine.

The human candidates may be well-intentioned, but I will be voting for Senator Palpatine.

If there’s a pervasive atmosphere on campus during the ASSU election period, it’s apathy—most people really could not care less except for the people who are running or the people who realize that their group needs special fees to survive. The reason there is so little interest in elections is because the ASSU, particularly the Senate, really has no power. This is problematic in particular because there are so many people running for this relatively useless position—if these students are actually interested in meaningful change at Stanford, their possible contributions will probably be minimized via this form of student government.

The Senate serves one very important role: determining fiscal appropriations for student groups, which is because most student groups try to achieve a lot with very little and need all the funding that they can get. The ASSU Senate is able to allot funding to groups from money paid by the entire student body, allowing for student groups to produce that which is otherwise too expensive, such as put on shows or make publications (I’ve gone through the ASSU for both things as a Financial Officer, and it’s been extremely helpful both for allowing students to create and for allowing other students to experience these creations, free of charge).