UGS confirms new nominees to the Constitutional Council

The Undergraduate Senate (UGS) unanimously confirmed nominees to the Constitutional Council Wednesday. 

According to the Constitutional Council’s website, the student commission plays a vital role in ensuring the ASSU operates in the students’ best interests and adheres to guidelines outlined in the ASSU Constitution.

UGS confirmed Shannon Chung J.D. ’26, Xavier Millan ’26 and Sebastian Strawser ’24 to the council. Strawser, who is a Daily staffer, subsequently withdrew his nomination due to personal circumstances.

Senators evaluated the nominees on reasons for seeking the position, policies to assess the constitutionality of cases and perspectives on the interaction between free speech principles and campaign spending restrictions.

Chung said the council is “an underutilized resource of the ASSU.” She said she hopes to hear more cases than have been taken on in the past.

“I would show a commitment to the governing documents and a commitment to just outcomes,” Chung said during the meeting before the bill was passed. “So not being completely textualist or relying only on the documents that are written but sometimes having that flexibility and being able to communicate and collaborate with the other members of the constitutional council will be my priorities.” 

The ASSU Executive Branch, led by Sophia Danielpour ’24, presented on meetings with various campus offices. Danielpour met with the Office of Community Standards (OCS) to address increased campus surveillance and presented updates on student life to the Faculty Senate (FacSen), emphasizing the need for better communication channels between students and faculty. 

Diego Kagurabadza ’25, co-chair of UGS, raised questions about the presentation. He expressed concerns that it included issues that did not fall under the Senate’s jurisdiction. He specifically asked for more collaboration between the Executive Branch and other legislative bodies, including UGS, when presenting to the Senate.

Danielpour countered by explaining that the purpose of the presentation was to convey the current state of student life on campus. 

“The presentation is supposed to be on the current state of student life at Stanford, so we thought that it was important to give faculty a full picture of what’s going on,” she said. “Historically, most student presentations from the ASSU have not entirely been within the FacSen jurisdiction.” 

Senators also discussed alcohol policy reform and the roles of resident assistants (RAs). Danielpour called for a balanced approach to enforcement and expressed concern that RAs are treated as mandated reporters even when not required by law. She advocated for the reinstatement of an “open-door policy” alongside a safe, experimental environment for alcohol use. 

Kagurabadza clarified that RAs are mandated to report dangerous instances of underage drinking due to state law. As an RA himself, he emphasized that they focus on resident safety over strict policing. 

“In my experience, our staff’s number one priority is the safety of students,” Kagurabadza said. “We are not here to police. We are not here to look in people’s rooms and things like that, and I think that messaging is lost oftentimes. Our number one concern is safety.”

Senator Ishaan Singh ’24 M.S. ’25, drawing from his experience as a current freshman RA, said incidents are often underreported and added that penalties for alcohol-policy violations are primarily educational rather than disciplinary for the first three offenses. 

Singh also presented funding recommendations for student organizations. The proposal, which was passed during the meeting, included 22 quick grants, three standard grants and four reserve grants. 

Senators also unanimously approved a bill confirming Kimi Monforton ’26 as the proxy for Isaac Nehring ’26, who serves as an Undergraduate Senator. Nehring will be absent during the winter quarter due to participation in Stanford in Washington. Monforton said she was selected because her advocacy interests closely align with those of Nehring.

Originally posted 2023-11-10 11:04:42.