Interview with Ryan Peacock, Candidate for ASSU Exec

Why are you running for ASSU Executive and what experiences qualify you for the job?

Jonathan and I are running for ASSU Executive because we believe our depth and breadth of experience qualifies us to run the most efficient and productive executive office.  Our skill sets complement each other.  As a two term legislative member of the GSC and the current Financial Officer I have experience working with the many groups on campus to accomplish common goals, while Jonathan has worked tirelessly as the Nominations Commission chair to learn how the University operates and build a number of relationships within the administration.  As long time friends and colleagues Jonathan and I have an established working relationship and would quickly create a positive and productive culture with out cabinet and throughout the ASSU.  Additionally, we both come in with an outside perspective having served as executives in student government at our respective undergraduate universities.  Among other positions I served as the President of my residential college at Rice University and Jonathan served as the President of the Engineering Student Council for 2 years at Tulane University.

Which issues affecting the Stanford University do you believe will be at the forefront of voters’ minds as they evaluate your slate?

While every voter will approach the election with their own perspective, we see several common interests emerging on campus.  One of the bigger issues has been special fees reform.  The special fees process effects students in a number of ways and with skyrocketing activity fees and unsustainable refund request rates the student body will be looking for reform in the next year.  Some of the many other topics that we see as important to the various segments of the population are the international student healthcare mandate, fiscal and ethical responsibility of the ASSU, accessibility of the elected student leaders, and reforms to the Judicial Affairs process.

What are your slate’s top three priorities for the coming year?

Our mission will be increasing efficiency of ASSU operations.  To accomplish this we will focus on a number of methods for reducing redundancies.  We will focus on facilitating VSOs rather than competing with them for common goals as students know the issues that are important to them, and it is not the job of the executive to dictate priorities to the student body.  One of the ideas we would like to develop is utilizing exec funds to create a grant program where VSOs can collaborate to address major issues on campus.  It is our hope that by utilizing already engaged student groups, we can focus more effectively on the top priority issues.  These policies will allow us to work with the administration to more quickly effect change. Finally, improved regulation of spending by the ASSU would also allow us to ensure a financially healthy ASSU for years to come.

Given that you are both graduate students, how do you plan to address the concerns of the undergraduate student body?

Issues that impact the University are important to everyone on the campus.  Our job as executive is to be unbiased, comprehensive, and ethical in the way we approach any issues.  In our current positions, we have dealt with issues from all corners of the university.  I work with my counterparts in the Undergraduate Senate on a regular basis addressing political and financial issues.  Jonathan has led the Nominations Commission comprised of mostly undergraduates and has interviewed numerous undergraduates and nominated them to committees throughout the university.  Having served in these positions and having once been undergraduates ourselves, it would be misguided to think we could not understand the perspective of undergraduates.

Can you reflect on the successes and failures of David Gobaud’s administration?

We don’t consider it our place to critique Gobaud’s administration; however, we do commend him for an enthusiastic approach to leading the exec.  We look forward to both continuing reforms begun under his tenure, but also to reevaluating some of the existing policies.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Review’s readers?

We look forward to the elections and appreciate any input during the process.  We would also like to thank the Elections Commission for creating such a smooth elections process this year, as they are often under appreciated for their efforts.

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