Joseph Hanson (Undergraduate Senate candidate)

Candidate statement

Hi everyone! My name is Joseph Hanson and I'm a freshman living in J-Ro. I'm running for ASSU Senate because I want to be a representative beholden to the student body. The policies and goals I have for office are very important to me, but I'm truly passionate about engaging in active conversations with students and bringing their issues and ideas to the Senate agenda. As Frosh Council president this year, I had the opportunity to interact heavily with the Class of 2020, and I want to expand that representation to include the entire undergraduate community at Stanford. To me, it's critical to bring the voices of all students, especially minority and first generation or low income members of the community, to discussions of policy at the Senate level.

Here are some key issues I'd like to address:

1. Transfer vital activities and programs from ASSU Senate discretionary funding to Institutional funding.

Many student might be surprised to learn that many activities and student events rely on appropriations from ASSU to function, rather than depending on a stable source of funding from the University. For example, the program that allows student to receive a stipend to buy food during spring break is sponsored by the Senate instead of through an institutional effort. Other critical diversity programming through organizations in the Students of Color Coalition and other diversity groups is dependent on the Senate discretionary funding, that can vary from year to year. The "Full House" bill, which was passed by the Senate this academic year and provides funding to allow FLI students to participate in activities or groups that require a monetary contribution, relies upon this somewhat unstable Senate funding. I believe such essential programs require institutional funding, and I'm intent on working with the administration to find a method for such funding as a senator.

2. Allocate sufficient funds to support diversity initiatives and student organizations.

As the primary role of the Senate is to distribute funding to student groups, I’d like to make sure that groups that represent the interests of student of color, of varying abilities, religions, sexual orientations and gender identities are able to continue to provide the resources, programs, and events that both help those students and encourage conversations about those issues. I believe groups that provide venues for solidarity and community among underrepresented students and engage in educational efforts and advocacy are integral to the Stanford culture. Through intentional and effective funding planning and implementation, the Senate can provide for these important events and organizations.

3. Examining and reforming Stanford's policy to address Sexual Assault to protect survivors

I also want to examine how the Stanford administration handles sexual assault and survivors. Stanford’s Title IX policies and its dealings with survivors have been less than satisfactory, and I’d like to examine what the Senate can do directly or through funding to increase accountability and decrease the occurrence of sexual violence. Funding educational efforts as well as working with the Executive branch of ASSU to increase resources for legal representation and mental health resources for survivors will be a primary objective of mine on Senate.

4. Increasing Senate transparency and student participation in the legislative process.

By entering the position of senator with the voices of the Stanford undergraduate population as my guiding influence, I hope to involve more students in the workings of the Senate. By making weekly visits to student groups that represent diverse communities at Stanford, both to listen to their issues and to update them on the status of Senate bills and policies, I will involve a greater percentage of students in the legislative processes that actually affect them. From my conversations with peers, I've gathered that students doubt the effectiveness of the Senate because they simply don't see results. I think that actively disseminating updates and progress as well as soliciting feedback will both hold the Senate to a higher standard of efficiency and allow more student to take an a more active role in the Senate process.

I'm always available at if you have any questions, comments, ideas, or just want to chat.

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