Hi all! My name is Gabrielle Crooks and I’m running to serve as one of your Undergraduate Senators with the ASSU. Like most people in this race, I have a number of issues I am passionate about that I hope to address in my tenure as a senator. I am primarily concerned with racial and FLI issues on this campus, as well as increased visibility of the happenings of the Senate.
This university has serious problems with regard to race, and I plan to address issues that generally fall into two categories: active racism on campus and faculty diversity. As you may or may not know, Stanford has an unfortunate, but intimate, history with racism (you can read more about this with SLAP's Disorientation Guide, geared towards incoming freshmen, but very informative). Over this past summer, a noose was found on campus. The Stanford administration responded to this horrifying incident terribly; students were not notified for days, and when made aware, the statement released was bare, unenthusiastic, and dismissive. It is thanks to the work of student activists, as well as senators who were elected just a couple months prior, that the broader Stanford community was made aware of this disgusting act. While a major act, the noose incident was not isolated, and racially motivated attacks have spiked since the school year has begun, against a number of racial, religious, and ethnic groups. Stanford is not a perfect place; far from it, in fact. However, we cannot allow these terrible patterns of racism to continue to emerge. As such, one of my primary goals as Senator is to find ways in which we can combat such racism. As I stated earlier, the Senate has already committed to this goal, and I want to expand this work to fully eradicate this issue. Avenues in which to address these issues can include:
Looking at the offerings in the Engaging Diversity Ways and modifying these classes to more fully address racism on Stanford’s campus, in the United States, and around the world
Providing sensitivity and bias training for police officers and professors teaching WAY-ED classes
Just as we have panels and discussions on sexual assault, as is needed, Stanford should develop a program for all classes, whether as a whole (within year) or in dorms, discussing racial injustices and violence
The university also struggles, whether this is deliberate or accidental, with hiring a diverse set of faculty. According to the 2019-2020 “Stanford Faculty at a Glance,”:
· Five faculty members identify as “American Indian or Alaska Native,” which accounts for around 0.002% of the faculty population
· 26 faculty members, or 1% of the faculty population, identify as multiracial
· There are 50 Black faculty members, which is 2% of the faculty population
· As we break into the triple digits, we find that there are 101 Hispanic or Latina faculty members, which amounts to 4% of the faculty population
· At nearly a fifth of the faculty, 410 faculty identify as Asian or Asian-American, which accounts for 18% of the faculty
· Finally, 67% of the faculty population, there are 1,529 white faculty account
It is infuriating that all faculty that identify as people of color only equal around ½ of all the white faculty. I believe that it is of utmost importance that students are learning from those that look like them, regardless of the subject. You can learn more about faculty demographics here.
Finally, I find it necessary for the Senate to push for the departmentalization of Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity (CSRE) and African and African-American Studies (AAAS). This is a fight that has been going on for a long time, recently championed by Who’s Teaching Us?, an activist student group. AAAS was developed in 1968, following student activism spurred by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. However, for all of the hard work put into this program, it has not been made a department. CSRE has faced a similar plight; the first degree conferred was in 1998. This program helps students examine the world through the lens of race and ethnicity, and contributes to a deeper understanding of these topics, regardless of career field. With department status, both programs would be able to hire their own faculty, thus increasing faculty diversity, which is incredibly important for majors that are directly discussing topics regarding race and ethnicity. Learn more about AAAS here, CSRE here, and the work of Who’s Teaching Us? on their Twitter here. You can also take an amazing class, AFRICAAM 31, to learn more about Black faculty and graduate students on campus.
I am also interested in increasing accessibility to the happenings of the Senate, as well as educating students on how ASSU operates. The Senate currently provides notes on all their meetings on their website, as well as allowing students to attend these meetings. However, many students do not take advantage of these opportunities, due to lack of knowledge, ability, or, quite frankly, care. I want to find ways to include the student body in the decision-making process, because ultimately, what happens in the Senate impacts nearly everyone. As such, I have some ideas:
A monthly newsletter that details what happens in Senate meetings, sent out to the entire undergrad population
· Various boards of students that represent student interests:
· Representatives for each discipline (rotate by quarter)
· Representatives for each class year (rotate by quarter)
· Student suggestion boxes around campus
I would be interested in seeing how to enforce a mandatory service requirement for all undergraduates (in the future). There are so many Cardinal Courses across a breadth of disciplines, as well as a lot of opportunities to pursue service.
Finally, I want to continue and expand ASSU support of the FLI community. Current committees under the ASSU that help the FLI community include:
· Course fees
· Food insecurity
· FLI Advocacy
· Free printing credit
It is important to note that many of these special committees came about from the work of student activism and current FLI office Assistant Dean and Associate Director Jennifer Rolen. Should I be elected, I would continue to amplify the concerns shared by the FLI community and advocate for them to have the best experience on campus.
My knowledge of these issues, while growing, is nowhere near complete. As such, student input and testimonies are going to be the center of the change I hope to implement. Y'all are always free to reach out to me through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Instagram (@/gabby.crooks, @/thepeoplescaucus_). I'm excited to get to know the student body, and your concerns, better, and to make the school year 2020-2021 the best yet. Support my candidacy and your needs will be reflected in my advocacy as though they were my own. I believe that everyone deserves to have the best experience, and I hope, in my tenure as Senator, that I will be able to provide this.