Undergraduate senator drops complaint against other representatives

Undergraduate senator drops complaint against other representatives

Undergraduate Senator Carmen Kang ’26 withdrew her complaint against nine members of the Association Students of Stanford University (ASSU) and one non-ASSU student sponsor on a petition last Friday. The ASSU Constitutional Council, which met virtually on Friday to deliberate, voted to dismiss the case after approving Kang’s request to withdraw. 

In a petition read out by Constitutional Council Chair Sherwin Lai ’24, Kang wrote that “due to significant health issues,” she cannot proceed with the case, but that she will “refile the complaints” when in “better health.” 

“This withdrawal should not be interpreted as a dismissal of the charges or a reduction in their severity,” Kang wrote. 

“I encourage her to file it again,” said senator David Sengthay ’26, one of the defendants, after the meeting. “I firmly believe that if she had not withdrawn her lawsuit, this lawsuit would have been dead on arrival.”

The council’s decision comes 11 days after Kang’s initial filing, which alleged a variety of ASSU violations, including collusion, harassment and election fraud. Four recently elected senators and a student associated with the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) slate and petition were also targeted by the complaint, facing allegations of election misconduct and violations of University policy.

Three responses, four amicus briefs and one mass email to the undergraduate student population later, the four council members in attendance unanimously voted to accept Kang’s petition to withdraw and dismiss the case in a meeting that lasted less than seven and a half minutes. 

Some defendants expressed frustration with Kang’s withdrawal and the time they spent on their responses. Two senators named frequently in Kang’s complaint — Ivy Chen ’26 and Gordon Allen ’26 — described falling behind in classes. 

“I have chronic health conditions. I had an emergency procedure being done yesterday,” Allen said. “And on top of all of that, I’m behind with my papers.” 

Allen did not elaborate on the procedure, but said recent stresses “escalated” side effects.  

Praising Allen, “Even as there was an IV up his arm and he was at the hospital, he was still doing senate stuff,” said senator and defendant Ivy Chen ’26. 

At the end of the council meeting, Allen motioned to speak, describing the case as “a huge waste of time.” Lai interrupted to say that Allen was “not recognized to make a speech about the merits of the case,” but permitted to ask questions.

He amended his comment to ask if “double jeopardy laws” would apply to a future filing from Kang. 

“The chair is not in a position to answer that question,” Lai said in response. Neither the ASSU Constitution nor the Rules of Order of the Constitutional Council address double jeopardy.

Because of concerns regarding bias towards other senators and her personal well-being, Kang declined to speak with The Daily. 

In text messages sent to the last cohort of undergraduate senators, Kang wrote that she experienced a myriad of health issues, including panic attacks, due to harassment on the anonymous social media platform Fizz and from other members of the ASSU.

In their responses, several defendants, including the ASSU elections commission and senators Allen and Ivy Chen ’26, denied that they were involved with harassment and called for investigations into Kang. The elections commission also called for her expulsion from the senate. 

Kang attended the UGS meeting last week virtually. According to Chen, Kang and other senators have remained “professional” during meetings and have continued working on ASSU initiatives. 

So far, no motions for expulsion have been presented, but a bill on the upcoming Senate agenda discusses Kang’s explusion. Chen, Allen and Sengthay previously said they have no plans to introduce a motion, but “cannot speak for any of the other senators.”

The next UGS meeting, the last of the year, will be held on May 28 in the Nitery.

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