The masses have once again descended upon the Farm, which means that a new Fall Quarter is about to take off. After a tumultuous 2009, with Stanford enduring its largest budget cuts in history and a bevy of voices arguing about the nature of those cuts, it’s anybody’s game determining how this year turns out. To that end, here are some possible stories to keep your eyes on:
**i. Budget Cut Aftershocks: **the powers that be (VPUE/VPSA) gave quiet warning last year that 2010 was not going to be immensely pretty for the University’s finances. How will departments and other official organs of the institution fare in this coming year? Will more individuals be denied undergraduate research grants? Will the Bing Overseas Study Program in places such as Moscow be axed? Can we expect any high level resignations or firings because of this ugly process? Will these cuts deeply (and perhaps permanently) reshape the landscape, financially as well as culturally, of Stanford University?
ii. Campus social scene: Ralph Castro and Co. have tightened and altered alcohol policies in staff training this year, making the well known “Open Door Policy” more like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The Row move in date was pushed up by four days, in large part because of bacchanalian shenanigans from last year’s NSO. Santa Clara County has also also indirectly meddled with the school’s reasonable alcohol policies via a new social host ordinance. To cap it all off, **Student Activities and Leadership (ol “SAL”), **the newly re-minted OSA, will be forced to deal with an ever increasing demand, but with less staff members because of budget cuts. Can we expect tighter restrictions on all-campus parties? Will events such as FMOTQ and Exotic Erotic become more rare, and even more policed? Will more parties be held up by the invisible hands of SAL bureaucracy and Risk Management? Will restrictions previously enforced to the Nth degree be ignored or swiped under the table? And what will happen to our alcohol hospitalization rates?
**iii. Community Center Advocacy: **With the budget cuts leveled against Community Centers last year, a spate of noisy protests and demonstrations overtook campus late in the Spring. Concerned Students for Community Centers, or “CSCC,” emerged as the hub of activity for fighting the cuts, which Jean Paul Blanchard did an exceptional piece on last May. Will new financial developments lead to more bursts of public protest? Or are the highly boisterous demonstrations going to be replaced by far more subtle negotiation within the halls of student government or the bureaucratic morass?
**iv. Stanford Football: **Yes, it is well known on campus that having faith in Stanford Football only produces broken dreams and snide remarks from the Red Zone insulting Arizona State for their stupidity and high level of STDs. However, sitting on a 2 -1 record with a set of must-win home games approaching in short order, is this the year that Stanford finally reaches a bowl game for the first time since 2002? Can we perhaps capture the Axe, with the highly vaunted Bears coming to the Farm for this year’s installation of the Big Game?