Jianna So (Undergraduate Senate candidate)

Candidate statement

Endorsed by the Students of Color Coalition!

I am running for Senate because I want to amplify the voices of marginalized communities on campus in order to center initiatives on their needs and keep Stanford accountable. During the past two quarters, I have worked closely with SEIU Local 2007, the workers’ union on campus, the Stanford Coalition for Planning an Equitable 2035, a student group that advocates for sustainable housing at Stanford, and the ASSU Senate as a Senate Associate. Through student activism, my passion for service worker’s rights and the Bay Area housing crisis has only grown stronger. While I will support initiatives that empower all of Stanford's most marginalized communities, my top priorities as a Senator will be to:

1) Advocate for service workers' rights on campus

Dining halls on campus are severely understaffed, resulting in employees being constantly overworked. There are a number of vacant positions available that Stanford’s Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) simply chooses not to fill. Instead, R&DE continues to employ “casual” workers at a little less than the threshold of 20 hours a week that would allow these workers to receive benefits. Many of these workers have been working at Stanford for 15, 20, and even 30 years. In both full-time and casual promotions, R&DE does not respect workers’ seniority properly.

These issues are not new, but the progress that has taken place during this past year is. Through the collaboration of the union that represents service workers on campus, Service Employees International Union Local 2007 (SEIU Local 2007), with student activists, R&DE has finally started to hire casuals to fill empty positions. However, there is still more work to be done. By continuing my work with the workers' union on campus, SEIU Local 2007, I want to further this momentum and facilitate more widespread change in the way service workers’ are treated on campus.

2) Push for Stanford to provide more transportation benefits and affordable housing for parts of the community that need it most

Last year, Stanford applied for a new General Use Permit, a document that governs the way Stanford will develop its land for the next two decades. In that permit, Stanford estimates that it will bring 9,600 people to campus, but will be adding only 3,150 housing units. Currently, it appears that none of this housing is allocated for staff or service workers, the people who will need it most. This means that they will have to look for housing at increasingly far distances from campus. The farther they live from campus, the less eligible they are for transportation benefits from the university, and the more time, money, and gas they will have to spend commuting to work.

The land that Stanford owns is equal to a third of San Francisco, meaning that this university has more than enough developable land to provide more affordable housing than it currently does. I will partner with the Stanford Coalition for Planning an Equitable 2035 in order to push Stanford to use this tool to account for the strain the university places on the housing market. As Stanford says itself, “Every community needs a home”.

3) Improve Stanford’s policies on sexual assault and it's resources for sexual assault survivors

Through the combination of Stanford’s narrow definition of sexual assault and it's requirement of a unanimous vote to find an accused individual guilty, Stanford makes it extremely difficult for perpetrators to be justly found guilty of sexual assault.

In it’s Administrative Guide, Stanford differentiates the meanings of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. Sexual misconduct is defined as a sexual act that “occurs without indication of consent”, while sexual assault has these qualifications but must instead be “accomplished by use of (a) force, violence, duress or menace; or (b) inducement of incapacitation or knowingly taking advantage of an incapacitated person”. When sexual assault or misconduct is reported, a panel of three people must reach a unanimous vote to find the accused guilty.

In regards to both these policies, Stanford is an outlier among other schools. Peer institutions simply define sexual assault as any sexual act that occurs without consent and have panels of four that must reach a ¾ vote. Stanford should follow suit in order to make the Title IX process less daunting for sexual assault survivors.

Furthermore, Stanford's current Confidential Support Team of five people only has one person of color. Sexual assault affects people of diverse identities, and the Confidential Support Team should more accurately reflect that.

Additional policies I will support:

-Stanford becoming a Sanctuary Campus.

-Establishing a FLI community center and increasing funding for existing community centers.

-Continuing and expanding Disabilities Studies.

-Divestment from private prisons and fossil fuels.

-Implementing need-blind financial aid for international students.

Email me at jiannaso@stanford.edu about any questions or concerns.

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