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Pro-partying Group Wins Election at Stanford in Rebuke of Campus Leftists
stanford just overwhelmingly elected two student leaders who ran on a campaign to restore the "organic, wacky, and inclusive spontaneity that made Stanford so special"
Amid a stifled social atmosphere on Stanford’s Campus, a new group of executives is taking charge of the Stanford student government — the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) — after running on a “Fun Strikes Back” platform and winning the election handily. Sophia Danielpour and Kyle Haslett, neither of whom had prior student government experience, campaigned with a focus on reviving campus social life. They won by a margin of 674 votes, or nearly 20 percent of the electorate.
ASSU distributes funding to student organizations, which in turn host the majority of campus events. Its leaders also communicate directly with campus administration in order to advocate for students with respect to the cost of living on campus, the diversity of the student body, and the quality of student social life.
In the runup to the election, Danielpour and Haslett put together an online petition — which amassed 490 signatures — spelling out their case:
STANFORD USED TO BE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL. WHERE DID THE FUN GO?
Stanford today is a completely sanitized version of its former self. Administrators have meddled in every aspect of student life to strip Stanford of its character. In the process, they disrupted the organic, wacky, and inclusive spontaneity that made Stanford so special.
A complex patchwork of policies and unnecessary administrative obstacles make it outrageously difficult for students to plan events. Funding and locations are never made available for the initiatives that students actually care about. Instead, they go towards lifeless and uninspired neighborhood events that make a mockery of what student life used to be.
These changes have so intensely limited the outlets for student life that Stanford feels far less inclusive than ever before. We all feel it. This is not what Stanford should be.
Students have complained, protested, and pleaded, yet they have no voice. ASSU (the Associated Students of Stanford University) does nothing, and administrators blaze forward in their destructive path. It is time for fresh, passionate voices to inspire a new agenda. We will use this platform to tackle the issues students actually care about.
We are not ASSU insiders, just two motivated students that really care about recovering what we have lost. Sophia has served as the Co-President of the Jewish Student Association. Kyle has served on the Black Student Union, as a Club Sports Captain, and as a Greek Life Event Organizer. We have extensive experience working with admin and can make Stanford a more inclusive and vibrant community.
Danielpour was a freshman in 2019, before the rise of COVID, and she says the difference in the vibrancy of social life on campus before and after the pandemic is stark. In campaign speeches, she spoke about Stanford’s “crisis of community.” She noted that she’d never run for student government before, so she wasn’t “doing this to complete some Stanford political career.” She was running, she said, simply because she was “upset at what Stanford had become,” and she “decided to take action to solve it.
She and Haslett have drafted a 10-page plan for solving the problems stifling Stanford’s social life that prior ASSU administrations have failed to address. The plan’s major features include:
Simplify processes for event/party/venue registration and student club funding
Revert to the old “open-door” alcohol policy
Stop litigating against students and fix Stanford Group Accountability Process
Expand Cardinal Nights (a forum for non-alcoholic events)
Open more late-night hangout spaces
Reform the student housing “neighborhood” system to keep campus communities intact
Danielpour and Haslett’s campaign was a backlash to campus policies described in detail by writers for both Palladium Magazine and The Free Press. For example, reforming the student housing policies would help reverse the social fragmentation wrought by the administration's newly enacted "neighborhood system," which robbed incoming freshman of social autonomy by assigning them to artificially created, geographically disconnected housing groups.
Their victory is a testament to an ongoing change in attitude among American students, who have for years pushed for the creation of safe spaces and protection from campus administrators, but who now increasingly seem to crave a freer, more traditional campus experience.
— Nick Russo
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