The Stanford Review is pleased to announce our endorsement of Ryan Matsumoto for ASSU Senator. Below are his responses to the questions we asked him about his 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.
Office Hours- At these mandatory office hours, Senators can meet with students one-on-one or in small groups to discuss anything students are concerned about, whether it’s related to academics, social life, etc. These office hours will help Senators stay in touch with the larger student body and their concerns and opinions about key issues.
**Statistical Polling- **The only way we can find out what students think about the critical issues (including Suites, Divestment, 8:30 AM classes) is to ask them directly. Statistical polling will make Senators more informed about their peers’ opinions when making key decisions that affect everyone.
Which two current ASSU initiatives or programs would you push to eliminate? Why?
I went to a Senate meeting a few weeks ago and heard about an initiative that would guarantee that at least five Senate seats would be reserved for upperclassmen. This initiative was brought up because most elected Senators are sophomores. However, I would oppose this measure because it does not tackle the real issue: upperclassmen are not motivated to run in the first place. If we want more upperclassmen representation, we should encourage our upperclassmen friends to run, or pass rules that allow Senators to travel abroad and still serve if they have access to Skype.
In what ways would you seek to work on the following policy areas within the Senate?
Our nation was founded on the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Stanford’s own motto is “The wind of freedom blows.” I believe that freedom of speech is essential to our campus, because we can’t grow and learn as individuals unless we are able to express our opinions about sensitive subjects. Thus, as Senator, I hope to work with the Administration to increase free speech areas from beyond White Plaza (which currently must be reserved) to all of campus. While I realize that this will require diligent work with the administration, I am up for the challenge.
Mental health is a big problem here on campus. Students work very hard in all areas of their lives, and being surrounded by other overachievers can make the stress and pressure to succeed even more challenging. As Senator, I hope to work within the Student Life Committee to work with CAPS and the Bridge to expand mental health resources. Moreover, we should continue hosting the De-Stress Yourself weeks for dead week every quarter. While the Senate has limited control over some advocacy issues, it’s important that we support and promote collaboration among student groups to tackle key issues.
As someone who followed the 2012 election in great detail, I understand the necessity of managing a budget. My dad actually makes me fill out a budget every quarter to keep track of my expenses. These skills will be useful next year, because I hope to work on the Appropriations Committee to better manage and allocate funds. I think we can be more meticulous in requiring student groups to
add more details to their funding requests. In this manner, we can make sure that student groups are fiscally responsible, which can help fund new initiatives for students.
Stanford is the best all -around school in the entire nation academically. We have world-class programs in the humanit
ies, sciences, and engineering. However, as a Senator, one of my duties will be to work with faculty and the administration to make academics even better. We should definitely take another look at Thinking Matters: we can read student and faculty reviews, look at class ratings, and try our best to improve this program for future generations. Also, we should do more research to improve our pre-majo
r advising program so that students have the freedom to choose the best advisors for themselves.