The last two months have drastically changed our world as we know it — and this is only the beginning.
This has been a tumultuous few months and none of us know when we will be on campus or when things will go back to normal. We do now though that right now is a moment where the most powerful advocacy is possible and we are adjusting every aspect of our platform to reflect the changes that have occured. The most important thing on our timeline is the June budget cuts — we are currently making plans to advocate for what the university should not cut funding for and how we should go about it — and the Fall Planning.
The pandemic has drastically shifted the biggest priorities that we have as a community.
The pandemic has drastically shifted the biggest priorities that we have as a community and needs the incoming ASSU Executives to be ready to work on several pressing issues over the next few months. If we’re elected, here are the first five things we commit to working on as soon as our term begins:
1) Working with the Provost, the Budget Group and the various university units on the impending budget cuts. The economic recession we are in will impact the budget for FY 2019-2020 - Provost Drell has indicated in university communications that there will be a 10-15% cut for most of the university units. These budget cuts are being decided over the next few weeks and representing the community at this time is one of the most important things we can do as Exec. We plan to work with the Provost and the Budget Group to try to protect the resources that are most important to us as a community and push Stanford to protect its most vulnerable community members.
2) Addressing our community’s affordability concerns: As mentioned earlier, the economic recession has drastic impacts on all our community members - for FLI undergraduates, graduate students and staff particularly. Stanford has ensured certain protections for undergraduate students - by removing next year’s student contribution for FLI students and providing stipends for off-campus students - but hasn’t ensured the same level of support for graduate students, many of whom were already living paycheck to paycheck. Stanford has not guaranteed summer funding for graduate students or addressed their concerns about affording housing next year - as the summer approaches, this is incredibly important. As ASSU Executives, we plan to advocate these needs to administrators and ensure that our most vulnerable students are financially supported.
3) Supporting students who are still on campus and will likely need to remain on campus: Most undergraduates and many graduates were able to leave Stanford when Santa Clara County issued the stay-at-home orders - but many students and their families were unable to leave. These members of our community are experiencing a very different Stanford than we are used to- undergraduates who were employed no longer have their jobs, graduate students fear moving out and losing their housing priority, students report more aggressive encounters with police officers and social distancing protocols have shut down dorm common spaces, impacting students’ mental health and wellbeing. As ASSU Executives, we want to represent the concerns of every student and will work to ensure that these voices are heard and represented on the university agenda.
As ASSU Executives, we want to represent the concerns of every student.
4) Addressing mental health and wellbeing concerns: The pandemic has disrupted our lives as we know it and has caused many of us much emotional turmoil - whether it is dealing with the losses brought on by COVID-19 or by the economic recession; trying to balance school and personal obligations; or losing the many support systems that being at Stanford allowed us to have. As ASSU Executives, we want to continue the important work of providing the resources that are important for everyone’s well-being. We plan to collaborate with Stanford Well-Being to make the Red Folder available to all students on their Canvas landing page and to work with professors to address the importance of wellness in their classrooms.
5) Fighting for our campus workers. The most vulnerable members of our community are our service workers, who are experiencing some of the worst impacts of the economic recession. The organizing and fundraising that Stanford Students for Workers’ Rights have been able to do is historic - but ensuring our workers are paid and provided the basic resources they need to do their jobs’ well should not be the responsibility of the students; but of Stanford. As ASSU Executives, we plan to continue the work of the current administration and fight to provide our workers’ pay continuance, personal protective equipment, hazard pay and paid sick leave, regardless of their contracting status.
We give you our word that on the day we take office, we will strive to make your wishes known, your communities protected, and your voices heard. We understand that advocacy is labor and for us, it is a labor of love. We want nothing more than to be able to promote change on our campus and leave Stanford a better place than when we found it.