Whether a seat on the ASSU Senate will be waiting for Daniel Limón ’12 when he returns to Stanford University remains a “tough issue,” admits ASSU Senate Deputy Chair Kelsei Wharton ’12. In mid-August, Limón notified the Senate that, for personal reasons, he would be taking a leave of absence.
Wharton told the Review that “these reasons pointed to health. People were shocked, worried.” However, it wasn’t until early October that the student body was notified of Limón’s intentions.
The Senate leadership was left wondering exactly how to proceed. Some senators considered the notice to be an official resignation from the Senate. Others believed it implied an intention to return. The one certain thing was that, according to University policy, students on leave “are not registered and therefore do not have the rights and privileges of registered students.” Limón was no longer enrolled as a student, and therefore could no longer be an active member of the ASSU.
Zachary Warma ’11, Chair of the Undergraduate Senate’s Student Life, Housing, and Education Committee, argues that the issue will be a “moot point” if Limón returns to Stanford later than midway through winter quarter. However, Warma believes that if Limón “shows up on day one” of the upcoming quarter, he is “heartily confident that the Senate would accept him on the team.”
Limón, responding to whether he would arrive by such a date, stated that returning by the start of winter quarter was his “tentative plan.” He told the Review he had a “really keen interest” in working again with “a great group of people [who are] very dynamic and passionate about stewardship and service.”
Limón’s sentiments have been reciprocated by the Senate. Wharton said that he “would like to see [Limón] come back because he has good intentions for his position this year.”
Wharton has determined that deciding whether or not to immediately reinstate Limón would be the “Senate’s option one”; the second option would be to hold a special election. Limón said that he would understand if the Senate chose its third option of not pursuing any reinstatement at all.
According to Wharton, the Senate has certain “discretion” in its interpretation of the Constitution’s by-laws. Because its policy for reinstating Senators is unclear, the Senate’s current plan of action will be to “look at the documents, get as much info as possible from Daniel, come to a vote, and decide what to do.” Warma acknowledged that this issue remains a “gray area where we’re all scratching our heads.” He added that the Senate has no intention of holding an election for another candidate.
Not only does this case reveal a stark need for a definition of policy in the Constitution, but Warma also stated that the Senate “must do a better job of addressing the issue when it comes up.”
Wharton admits: “I have my hands full with other issues. Limón’s issue is not a pressing concern.”