Moving Toward More Personal Responsibility in the ASSU

As former chair of the ASSU Undergraduate Senate, I have an understanding of how the ASSU operates that few share.  Elected to advocate on behalf of Stanford students and trusted to manage and allocate student funds to student groups, I was committed to serving the student body.

However, I disregarded the gravity of my role in the ASSU and mismanaged student funds.

I write today to publicly apologize to my undergraduate peers for my failure to spend their money ethically.  When approached by Review Staff Writers earlier this week, I was unclear of their reason for concern.

However, after reviewing Senate budgets from the 2008-09 school year it was clear I had made an inappropriate purchase with public funds in the amount of $30.

As former chair and now as a concerned citizen, I have made it clear I expect all University officials and student officials to take great pains to judiciously administer funds provided by and for students, especially in this time of financial hardship.

However, my actions ran directly counter to any sense of fiscal responsibility.  Chosen not only to serve as a Senator, but elected by a majority of the Senate I served on to chair the body, I failed to not only properly represent myself to my peers, but also misrepresented the ASSU to the entire undergraduate body.

I fully accept all responsibility for my actions and have recompensed the amount.  I hope that in sharing my regrettable decision, I can help further the discussion regarding management of student funds by the ASSU.

Our student organization financial system, maintained by Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) and enacted by the ASSU, is much more robust and efficient than those found in other universities’ student governments.  Yet, more can be done.

A 2/3 vote by the Undergraduate Senate and Graduate Student Council is oftentimes necessary for any large expenditure to be made by the ASSU.  But oversight concerning individual officials can be stronger.

Allowing quarterly public disclosure of ASSU expenditures or closer monitoring to insure unrestricted funds are employed to serve students are ideas that can move us forward in the right direction.

Whatever form new changes take, I believe SSE and the ASSU will move forward effectively with your input.  I hope that you can forgive me, and understand that my actions do not represent the majority of students who choose to serve our campus through being a part of the ASSU.

Eutiquio Chapa, a senior majoring in Urban Studies, served as Chair of the Undergraduate Senate in 2008.

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