The Stanford Daily
The Stanford Daily
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ast Tuesday,the ASSU UndergraduateSenate voted down an election reformbill that would have limited campaignexpenditures to $1,500 per candidate or exec-utive slate.While the Graduate StudentCouncil (GSC) passed a version of the bill onFeb.18 with almost unanimous support,con-cerns over enforcement caused the samemeasure to fail in the Senate by a margin of 9-3.A second elections reform bill fared betterthan the spending limit bill,as undergraduatesenators passed a measure that reimbursesexecutive slate campaign costs up to $750.While the editorial board acknowledgesthat it will be a challenge to reform and en-force campus campaign spending,we dis-agree with the Senate’s decision to reject aspending cap for campaigns.There should bea limit on the amount of money students areallowed to spend on a bid for election.Campaign spending is out of control.Justlast year,ASSU President Jonny Dorsey ‘09and his running mate,Fagan Harris ‘09,spentmore than $3,500 on their campaign—abouttwo dollars for every vote they received.Un-controlled spending on campaigns will favorthe personally wealthy,and makes it difficultfor some highly qualified candidates to run aformidable campaign if they lack the re-sources.ASSU elections should not be a biddingprocess that allows some students to buy a po-sition in student government.Rather,itshould be a process where students can hearfrom all candidates and pick the best onebased on their ideas.The editorial board ap-plauds the efforts of Dorsey and Harris inpushing for legislation to reign in electionspending.Many colleges and universities—includ-ing Claremont McKenna,Yale and Harvard—already have spending caps on electionsthat range from $40 to more than $400 percandidate.Stanford should follow suit in timefor the 2009 election cycle by putting rules inplace to keep students’ campaign pocket-books in check.The spending cap ought to becompatible with ASSU election policies,which place restrictions on the quantity andtiming of fliers,signs and emails disseminatedby candidates during the campaign.It goes without saying that the spendinglimit should not be arbitrary.But what is sig-nificant about the $1,500 mark? $1500 seemsextravagant when students at schools such asClaremont McKenna are running successfulcampaigns on a $40 budget.Stanford mayhave more students and a larger campus,butthe Senate should work closely with theASSU Elections Commission to formulate adollar amount that makes sense and takesinto account the volume of campaign materi-als candidates are allowed to generate.A monetary cap does not represent an at-tempt to stifle candidates’ free speech,butrather an opportunity to exercise fiscal re-sponsibility and creativity.With less money tospend,candidates will be forced to developcreative measures to get their message acrossrather than the traditional fliering of rest-rooms and handing out of T-shirts.The Elec-tions Commission should enforce the spend-ing limit by requiring candidates to submit ex-tensive financial disclosures.Legislative can-didates and executive slates that either ex-ceed the dollar limit or fail to adequately re-port expenditures should be summarily dis-qualified.Finally,the editorial board commends theGSC and Undergraduate Senate for approv-ing a public financing bill.The $750 reim-bursement guarantee marks a solid first steptoward leveling the socioeconomic playingfield when it comes to campus elections.Thatbeing said,the board believes that the GSC,Undergraduate Senate and ASSU Execu-tives owe the student body an explanation forwhy this sum of money was selected.Studentsdeserve to know how their tuition is beingspent.With greater transparency and newspending limits,Stanford’s student govern-ment has a chance to set a good example bypromoting fiscal responsibility throughoutthe University as a whole.
ASSU must reign incampaign spending
ince Fraiche arrived at our campus inlate January,it has been a pleasant sightin an area of campus blighted by the eat-ing travesties known as the Axe and Palmand Tresidder Union.Despite my general ap-proval of Fraiche,however,I refused to eatthere for quite some time.I have never particularly liked frozen yo-gurt.Add that to my general aversion to yup-pie pseudo-environmental consumerism andwe have a recipe for stringent aversion.If Ididn’t jump on the Obama bandwagon untilafter the primaries,I certainly couldn’t sur-render in a month to the admittedly tasty-looking swirled towers of white yogurt cov-ered in strawberries.To me,it seemed like an-other commoditization of what was once alower-end treat into a “yupster”(yuppie +hipster) status symbol.And yet I found myself,on this past Fridaynight,requesting a friend of mine that shetake me to Fraiche (which,to its credit,isopen far more often than anything else oncampus) and “order me something tasty.”Idid not want to sound un-initiated,of course,and did not want to repeat my most recentencounter with eateries of Fraiche’s ilk,likeSprinkles Cupcakes at the Stanford Shop-ping Center.There,I misguidedly ordered astrawberry cupcake,which was awful.(Thechocolate cupcake I also had,though,was de-licious.)The “natural”yogurt I had with blueber-ries and wildflower was quite unlike anyfrozen yogurt I have had before,tangy andlighter.It was,against my better instincts,quitedelicious.There go the rest of my CardinalPoints for the quarter.But the real reason whyI like Fraiche is not due to its very scrumptiousblueberries and cutesy aesthetic.Fraiche is the great campus unifier that wehave never had before.I have walked by theplace often,and the lines were always im-pressive not only for their length,but for thevariation in the people.Nowhere else atStanford do you see Ugg-booted sororitygirls,sweatshirted athletes,V-necked hip-sters,bleary-eyed graduate students andStanford-T-shirted freshmen all in line to-gether for something.Every other campus hangout,it seems,caters only to certain demographics at Stan-ford.The be-sweatered humanities majorspeople-watch at Moonbean’s and pretend towork on their black MacBooks.The fresh-men eat at the Axe and Palm.The techiestudy groups along with the empty-fridgedMirrielees residents are at the CoHo.The all-male packs of sports fans consume their bur-ritos and pizza slices at the Treehouse.Provost Etchemendy,for his part,seems to bean Olive’s loyalist.The clientele at CantorArts Center cafe seems to be exclusivelymiddle-aged intellectuals from central andeastern Europe.But Fraiche is different.Everyone goesthere,and I hope that trend continues.This,unfortunately,is a campus where studentscan self-select into a certain demographic,live in certain residences (not only Greekhouses) and go days without being near any-one unlike them.Maybe Fraiche will lead toa deeper common basis for students to relatenow that the Obama campaign is over.Wecan talk about whether we prefer strawber-ries or blueberries,whether we prefer thewildflower or the agave honey.Maybe,justmaybe,this discussion will lead to more sub-stantive discussion among different groupsof students on issues that are rarely dis-cussed.And maybe I can go somewhere for mysnacks and avoid the people-watching killzone that is the space between Green andMeyer.
Stuart Baimel is open to being taken to Fraicheand having something ordered for him at anytime.Contact him with a time and date at email@example.com.
Unsigned editorials in the space above represent the views of The Stanford Daily's editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Daily staff.The editorial board is comprised of two former Daily staffers,three at-large student members and the two editorial board co-chairs.Any signed columns and contributionsare the views of their respective writers and do not necessarily represent the views of the entire editorial board.To contact the editorial board for an issue to be considered,or to submit an op-ed,please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contort your way toenlightenment
’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately,and I’vegot to say,it’s been glorious.Specifically,I’ve been doing Vinyasa yoga,which Gregor Maehle defines as:“Sequentialmovement that interlinks postures to form acontinuous flow.It creates a movement med-itation that reveals all forms as being imper-manent and for this reason are not held onto.”Gregor Maehle,in addition to being soenlightened that he gets to end a sentencewith a preposition,can literally say anythinghe wants,and we interpret it as brilliant justbecause he can hold all three kinds of splitsfor hours and can probably also do tonguepushups.In Vinyasa,the heat is cranked to around110 degrees Fahrenheit.You’re pouring outsweat and toxins and spiritual impurities be-fore the instructor even runs through her firstseries of animal poses.That’s a word they tossaround a lot—“purity,”as in
purify your body,purify your mind,purify your soul
—so much,in fact,that by the time class is over,you’re probably expected to be a virgin again(except for the Menlo Mom with the Chinesecharacter lower-back tattoo who’s wearingher daughter’s spandex—absolutely no oneexpects this of her).Now believe me,I know that yoga,with itshilarious chants,obnoxious lingo and dubi-ously spiritual WASP clientele,is a prettyeasy target for a smart aleck kid with a news-paper column that reaches five to six readersa week.What I’m really doing here is what allgood Stanford students do when they aren’tgood at something:mocking it in public to de-flect the sting of my own failure.The sad truthabout me is that I am an awful,awful yogapractitioner.Just terrible.My typical 90-minute class goes something like this:
For the first 10 minutes,my eyes dart nerv-ously around the room as I try to rememberwhat each of the animal pose names corre-spond to,and I then proceed to desecratethem so badly that poor Gregor Maehle,if hewere dead,would roll over in his grave.
The next 20 minutes or so are dominated bya false sense of security—the poses herearen’t too difficult,and while I know I’m notmatching up to the golden-boy Stretch Arm-strong in front of me in any aspect of mas-culinity,I feel like I’m holding my own.Thisconfidence,of course,will be shattered by...
The next 20 minutes,also known as the WetSeason,are when I become acutely aware of how ungodly hot the room is.At some pointshe begins a sentence with,“If your hand-stand practice here is strong...“ and imme-diately every pair of legs in the room shootsinto the air,splits open and looks like heli-copter blades.It’s horrifying.Meanwhile,Icease sweating,and my clothes,which arenow saturated,begin sweating themselves.
From minutes 50-75,I simply black out.
Now,the last 15 minutes are where themagic happens.In yoga,you get to say andbelieve metaphysical nonsense all the time—end any sentence with
openness,center, purity or completeness
,and a whole room fullof the most heavily muscled and least well-read philosophers you have ever met will allnod in assent.We go through a series of “re-gressions,”where we assume increasinglysubmissive poses.At the end of the regres-sion,I’m curled into the fetal position andweeping for the last shards of my dignity,which I had lost only moments ago when Iyelped like a schoolgirl as the instructor triedto extend my back.Class ends,and I feelburied in shame.As I hear the chatter around me—exec-utives talking about what deals went downtoday,over-caffeinated parents talking aboutthe latest playing time travesty on their kid’straveling soccer team,I start to wonder:Isthis all just another outgrowth of the ever-present upper-middle-class search for mean-ing,manifesting itself as a completely artifi-cial spiritual experience that’s in fact littlemore than paying $18 to a fly-by-night con-tortionist who tells us we’ll find nirvana oncewe can interlock our toes behind our heads?These doubts,though,are soon chasedfrom my mind and replaced by a different re-alization:I feel absolutely unstoppable.It’sescapism for sure,but the hell if it isn’t con-structive escapism.In a world that demandswe strive,achieve and succeed at all costs,what’s wrong with the occasional sweat-drenched awakening of the soul,even if it ispretty embarrassing to perform sacred Bud-dhist chants with complete yuppie strangersbefore we go back out into the world to ruth-lessly dominate all facets of life?Whatever—at least I’m not cheating on atest,skipping an important job interview orshooting heroin.
Matt Gillespie channeled all the energy of theuniverse into his Third Eye to find the illumi-nating words for this column.His inner light re- flects your inner light at email@example.com.
Fraiche, the great campus unifier
e thank the editorial board for itssupport of the Sweat-Free StanfordCampaign (“Sweat-Free Weekshould not be debate-free,”Feb.25,2009).Wewould like to address the board’s concernsregarding the role of sweatshops in providingeconomic opportunities in developing coun-tries,particularly the article they cite byNicholas Kristof.Kristof mistakenly uses the term “sweat-shop”throughout his piece as another way torefer to garment factories.However,a sweat-shop is not the same as a factory,and to be“anti-sweatshop”is not to be against manu-facturing.Rather,to be anti-sweatshop,or“sweat-free,”is to be against poor workingconditions within the garment industry.Sweatshops are defined by abusive condi-tions such as forced overtime,discrimination,sexual harassment,hazardous working envi-ronments,union-busting and poverty wages.Currently most factories are sweatshops,but it is possible for factories to be “sweat-free”by providing a local living wage,theright to unionize,freedom from harassmentand intimidation and a safe working environ-ment.American Apparel,for instance,does-n’t quite meet the standard of “sweat-free”because of its past union-busting activities,but it is better than many other manufactur-ers because it provides a living wage forworkers.Likewise,Knights Apparel is work-ing on building two model sweat-free facto-ries in the Dominican Republic to attract thecollege market.For pundits like Kristof,the attraction of framing everything in terms of “choice”is alltoo irresistible.Kristof’s argument is thatpeople mired in poverty would undoubtedlychoose sweatshops over starvation,and thesweatshop debate should end there.But theunstated premise here is breathtakinglynaive:that extreme destitution is purely one“choice”among many,when in reality it is nochoice at all.The Sweat-Free Stanford Coalition is notagainst manufacturing in the U.S.or in othercountries—we agree that manufacturingcreates jobs—but we believe that the bigcorporations reaping the most profit fromthe industry can and should take more re-sponsibility for working conditions in theirfactories.Where does that leave us,at Stanford?The Designated Suppliers Program (DSP)incorporates the Basic Needs approach intothe global garment industry by requiring fac-tories to be certified sweat-free before theycan tap into the university apparel market.Under the DSP,universities have guaranteedthree-year contracts with these factories,which is good for universities because it en-sures that collegiate apparel is made insweat-free conditions.This benefits workersbecause it protects their right to unionize andcreate better working conditions,and alsobenefits factories because it guarantees themlong-term orders in a notoriously unpre-dictable industry.The Sweat-Free Coalition and Kristof agree that poverty and bad working condi-tions are not good for anyone,but we thinkthat inaction is not a solution.We believe theDSP is a great answer to the issues Kristof raises,and 45 other universities—includingColumbia,Duke and the entire UC system—agree.The goal of Sweat-Free Week is toencourage Stanford to join these prestigiousuniversities in reshaping the garment indus-try to provide a real choice for workers.
NICOLE PEPPERL AND CYNTHIA LIAO
Members of the Stanford Sweat-Free Coalition
Write to us.
We want to hearfrom you.
SENDLETTERS TO THE EDITOR TO
EIC@DAILY.STANFORD.EDUAND SEND OP-EDS TOEDITORIAL@DAILY.STANFORD.EDU
Sweat-free is about creating choices for workers