Stanford Violates Constitution to Deny Pence Event, Again
The California College Republicans (CCR) formally condemn Stanford University and the university's Undergraduate Senate for once again denying funding for the Stanford College Republicans (SCR) to host Vice President Mike Pence in Winter Quarter. CCR has obtained a copy of the Senate's Bylaws, in which said votes by the Senate prove SCR rightfully earned funding.
Last week, the Stanford Undergraduate Senate denied SCR's Stanford Grant Request of $6,000 to host Vice President Pence on campus. According to the Stanford Daily, "Seven senators voted in favor, seven abstained and one voted against," and "All other Stanford Grant requests were approved." On Tuesday, the Senate once again considered the funding request, for which "Five senators voted in favor ... Eight senators abstained and no one voted against ... [which] constituted a failure."
The results of the publicly announced result differ from parliamentary definitions, in which abstentions do not count as a vote; in this scenario, five votes in favor and eight abstentions would equal unanimous approval of members voting, as abstentions indicate 'present' and not a vote. The caveat is whether the Stanford Associated Students' Constitution and the Bylaws of the Undergraduate Senate further elaborate on voting rules. However, these documents are not publicly accessible. CCR was able to uncover a copy of the documents, in which Article 1 § 7 of the Constitution states: "All records of any Association entity must be available for scrutiny by the public." According to the Undergraduate Student Senate Bylaws, Article 1 § 4(B)(4)(2): "1/2 of all members (eight) voting shall constitute quorum for votes." Thus, the Stanford Student government is in violation of its Constitution and Bylaws. These documents must be publicly accessible, and the first vote on SCR's funding request received eight votes total, with seven in favor; this means that SCR was entitled to its $6,000 allocation last week. Tuesday's vote did not meet a quorum of votes, and thus did not undo the results of last week's allocation.
Senator Alain Pérez said of the vote: "I personally voted to abstain ... because I don't want that blood on my hands," and further cited his "personal, fundamental values." This constitutes potential viewpoint discrimination, as well as violation of Leonard Law and the U.S. Constitution under provisions that bar a private university from explicitly exercising prior restraint and the heckler's veto.
This comes in addition to a comment last week from a senator that they "weighed student safety" when voting, which is the basis of the heckler's veto. SCR responded to this, saying "The student senate cannot hide behind a heckler's veto ... our right to freedom of speech will not be silenced."
"This is a ridiculous and unconstitutional abuse of power by the Stanford Student Government. The results of the vote were clear: abstentions are not a vote, and SC was entitled to its funding last week. Any and all legal action remains on the table," said Will Donahue, Chairman of the California College Republicans.
CCR fully supports our chapter at Stanford and is committed to correcting this decision. Join us and voice your disapproval by contacting the Senate at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you support CCR and SCR, please consider donating at cacollegegop.com.
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