Review Exclusive: ASSU Exec Candidate Thom Scher’s First Official Interview

I sat down with Thom Scher (11), candidate for ASSU Exec, for his first official interview of the election season on Tuesday afternoon. Scher shares his qualifications, discusses key issues in the race, and reflects on the Gobaud administration in this Stanford Review exclusive*.

**Why are you running for ASSU Executive? What are your slate’s goals at this point? **

“The reason Stephanie and I are running is more about fixing the things that it is the Exec’s responsibility to fix and often times are neglected by the Executive…There is a whole set of loftier, weightier, and denser goals that the Executive has gone for in recent years. We think that it is important to still focus on those things like sustainability and wellness, but more so along the lines of increasing student input in those areas. Bringing more students into more administrative meetings to fix the larger scale things like that and then working with our cabinet to fix the things that people view as the status quo.”

**What experiences do you have that qualify you for the job? **

“I’ve worked with a number of different student groups, but primarily Charity Fashion Show. I’m Executive Director right now of Charity Fashion Show, which means I’ve managed a lot of money and a lot of event logistics… In addition to working as a student leader, I’ve also worked in Student Activities. Having worked in Student Activities has really opened my eyes up to the way that the administration views student groups and student affairs… I think I’m in a different position to a lot of students to understand not only the hardships that a student group feels, but also how those hardships can actually be fixed because of my work in SAL.”

**What was your search for VP like? What made you ultimately pick Stephanie Werner?
“My search for VP was a long one. I decided that I wanted to run in December…. I asked myself what would make the most sense to actually get things done in office and it was to pick somebody who I’ve worked with before (Werner is Director of Development for Charity Fashion Show). Somebody who I am already close with and somebody who I know I can have a year with where we can actually get things done.”

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

“I think that even beyond my slate some of the key issues this year are appropriations. I think everybody feels that appropriations, special fees, and election reform is a huge deal. I think that the typical issues in the last few years are going to stay right there − diversity, sustainability, and wellness. I think all three of those things are really important…When people think about our slate what I want them to think about is approaching the ASSU from a new prospective… That new prospective is students first and thinking about what will actually make a student’s life better and working towards that.”

**What do you think it is going to take to win over voters this election season given the current coverage questioning the credibility of the ASSU? **

“I think that people are going to need to distinguish themselves slightly from the ASSU in a way that is going to allow them to actually have some perspective on what can change the ASSU. I’ve never worked directly within the ASSU. I am not a senator and I am not a class president, and neither is Stephanie. But we both have worked very closely with people, committees, and groups that have been directly related to the ASSU. I think that for us we have an outsider perspective on the ASSU with an insider working knowledge… This election season is going to be about people who want to make changes and it is going to be about the credibility and viability of those changes, which for us means changing the things that often times are simpler and make students’ lives that much more difficult.”

**Can you reflect on the successes and failures of David Gobaud’s administration? **
“I think that the Gobaud administration as a whole has made some huge strides along the lines of technology use… At the same time I think that the Gobaud administration got wrapped up in some issues at the start of the year that slowed down their progress in some of those areas… I think that (wellness and sexual health) would have been better had they been discussed by more students and there had been increased student input…He has done well dealing with (issues that have come up), but I certainly think that there is room for improvement and change next year.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Review’s readers? **

“I’d just like to say that Stephanie and I really believe in a campus culture that is about student government that is for the students. That means conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat. It means somebody endorsed by SOCC and somebody endorsed by the Review. I think that a student is a student at this university, not necessarily a part of a specific coalition.”

*This does not represent the full transcript of the interview.

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