Senate Endorsement: Abby Dow

The Stanford Review *is pleased to announce our endorsement of Abby Dow for ASSU Senator. Below are her responses to the questions we asked her about her plans, if elected, for the ASSU. *

Name two goals that you will have accomplished by the end of your Senate term. Please be specific with your policy recommendations.

1)     A more strict accountability structure for students appointed to university committees through NomCom.

2)     A reexamination of how the university handles the transition for first-gen/low income students. Among the areas considered would be informative mailings over the summer, more pre-NSO programs such as Leland Scholars, and post-NSO programs with information about work study and other opportunities. I would work with FLIP as well as the office of diversity to identify what effective initiatives would look like, work to implement at least one initiative during my term, and pass on recommendations to the next senate.

Which two current ASSU initiatives or programs would you push to eliminate? Why?

  1. While this is more of a policy change, I would push to alter the attendance rules that the senate currently follows. I would reexamine the policy allowing for one unexcused and two excused absences (which can amount 1/3 of the quarter’s meetings). Also, since there is concern about lack of upperclassmen representation on the senate, it would be worth re-examining the policy that students studying abroad for a quarter cannot serve on senate that year.

2)     The senate must reexamine how to work with SSE to make the funding process easier for student groups. Right now the system to confusing and difficult to navigate.

In what ways would you seek to work on the following policy areas within the Senate?

Free speech
Issues likes ResEd’s handling of the Suites dining controversy and the more recent prevention of nude Columbae students from carrying out their tradition of visiting the library during finals week illustrate the danger of the student voice being quieted. Whether through regular and well-promoted town hall meetings or through the newly implemented feedback mechanism on the ASSU website this year, it is essential that ASSU senators remain aware of these issues. The senate should proactively issue statements outlining the importance of such issues to the student body to ensure the administration listens to the student voice.

The senate began the Duck Dialogues program this year to encourage conversation about mental health and diversity issues on campus. I would work to continue the program and better promote it for the next year. The senate should also work with CAPS to create more accessibility mechanisms for undergraduate students. Finally, I would like to work through the student life committee to assess how the ASSU can help centralize and promote events put on by various VSOs promoting wellness.

Appropriations policy
It is important to continue the conversation that was brought up at the end of this quarter about special fees reserves. While supporters of the bill put forward in the ASSU made very good points, it was clear that many student groups had compelling reasons not support the new ideas about reserves. I would push for the appropriations committee to work with SSE, SAL, and Exec to reconsider this funding issue after ensuring that the student body is aware it is being discussed. Discussions about how the ASSU buffer fund should be used should be handled in a similar way.

Academic life
The dispute this quarter about 8:30 class start times and a reexamination of overlapping classes demonstrated the need for the senate to take a more active rather than reactive roles in academic affairs. I would encourage more structured training as well as accountability mechanisms for the students selected to serve on university committees. I would encourage town hall meetings that allowed students to voice their concerns and the student representatives to hear about student sentiment on various issues.

Restoration of community center funding is an incredibly important issue. A formal assessment was worked on during winter quarter of the benefits of community centers. The senate needs to consider how it can use the report to advocate for the restoration of funding. The senate should also work with the Community Action Board to promote inter-cultural communication and programming. Finally, the senate should consider how it can make a statement to the administration about the student body’s desire for a more diverse faculty.

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