UGS debates free speech on campus, Full Moon on the Quad

Following the shutdown of overnight demonstrations at White Plaza over the weekend, the Undergraduate Senate (UGS) debated new free speech policies related to student protest during their meeting Tuesday night. They were joined by Samuel Santos, Associate Vice Provost for Inclusion, Community and Integrative Learning (ICIL), who emphasized the need to balance flexibility, structure and equity of implementation of free speech policies across all campus organizations.

In his discussion with UGS, Santos shared documentation drafted by the office of ICIL related to free speech protocols, including the interim guidelines for future tabling at White Plaza and White Plaza’s official policies and protocol. Santos requested the ASSU’s feedback on the current working draft of guidelines, saying that “we’re driving the car and trying to fix it at the same time.” 

“We want students to have as much flexibility as possible,” said Santos in reference to student protest. “You don’t even have to fill out the form the day before. It could be the morning of. We just need a record of what you’re doing and what you’d like to do.” 

According to Santos, the University reevaluated their enforcement of White Plaza policies following feedback from the fire marshal. After recent storms, adequate protocol is essential to safe organizing at White Plaza, Santos said, as improper structures can become safety hazards. 

He said the University hopes to balance freedom of protest with equal access to campus resources, especially as a wide range of student organizations book White Plaza for events.

Senator Dilan Desir ’26 questioned the optics of the University’s policy changes, and whether they were in any way connected to Stanford’s upcoming Family Weekend. 

“How have you guys been thinking about… the communications strategy around the concern around health and safety of students being the reason why people couldn’t camp overnight as opposed to a lot of students… saying that it feels like the University is more concerned about it’s optics during family weekend, which is upcoming?” Desir asked.

Santos said that in his discussions with University administrators, Family Weekend was not a factor in the recent policy changes, but that the President and Provost’s offices would have more information on this matter. 

Senators later discussed the Joint Resolution on the State of First Amendment Protections, a comprehensive resolution aiming to create an institutionally-backed precedent of free speech, protest, and dissent on campus. The UGS will continue to integrate feedback and workshop the language of the resolution, and they will revisit it in the coming weeks.

Full Moon on the Quad

ASSU Vice President Kyle Haslett ’25 also visited the UGS to discuss the return of Full Moon on the Quad (FMOTQ), which is taking place on Saturday night. According to Haslett, the event will only have six entrances, and that ASSU Executives are collaborating with 5SURE and the SHARE Title IX Office to ensure the safety of the student body. Haslett emphasized the importance of safety and active, verbal consent, which he said is a prerequisite to any kind of engagement during FMOTQ.

“There will be glow sticks for students to indicate their comfort levels, green indicating consent to kiss, yellow indicating consent for hugs and red for simply being an observer.” Haslett said. 

Considered Legislation

The UGS unanimously passed a bill confirming former Senator Amira Dehmani ’24 as Elections Commissioner. They also considered a Joint Bill to Confirm Jas Espinosa as Financial Manager and a Joint Bill to Specify ASSU Elections Sanctions. Both bills will be voted on later in the quarter.