Undergraduate Senators face antisemitism, harassment and election misconduct allegations

As the mantle of power passed from the 25th to 26th Undergraduate Senate, the first session devolved into a heated closed session, where senators levied accusations of bias and misconduct.

Outside the room, Daily reporters waited with two Stanford Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) officers.  

At issue was a complaint, filed before the Constitutional Council by incumbent senator Carmen Kang ’26, against 10 other students — including six senators at the meeting. The council convenes on May 24 to decide whether to accept the case.

Concerned by contentious interactions prior to the meeting, two incumbent senators, Gordon Allen ’26 and Ivy Chen ’26, reached out to SUDPS. They believed Kang posed a threat to herself and other senators, Allen said in an interview.

Chen concurred. “I genuinely felt like I was going to get shot today, which is why I decided to go to the DPS because I feel like she is a person who can get armed,” she said. They did not elaborate on where the safety concerns stemmed from, and Kang raised similar concerns about her safety due to the complaint.

SUDPS remained outside the closed session, but interrupted at one point to check on Kang, following a request from her parents. When Kang stepped out, the officer said her father was concerned about her.

Kang said her parents have received several anonymous phone calls with threats to harm and “publicly lynch” her unless she discontinued her campaign.

These disputes over the election have created serious concerns for the senators involved. In text correspondence obtained by The Daily, Kang wrote to senators that “attempts to drag me down” caused medical emergencies with long term consequences, “for which I will hold you accountable.” 

In her petition, she raised concerns about six Senate representatives, three members of the Associate Students of Stanford Union (ASSU) election commission and the student sponsor of the Statement on Divestment. Her complaint also criticized several Daily staffers as biased toward the named senators. 

Three weeks ago, the Senate unanimously certified the recent election results, which are at the crux of this complaint filed to the ASSU Constitutional Council. Kang, who voted in favor, now calls on the University to investigate and reverse the results by disqualifying those named.

Among the senators implicated are incumbents Chen and Allen, as well as recently-elected Lizbeth Hernandez Rios ’25, David Sengthay ’26, Ethan Alfonso ’27 and Vivianna Chuquijajas ’26, who ran on a platform aligned with the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, tied to pro-Palestine activism. They campaigned as the “BDS slate.”

“I am proudly promoting the encampment,” Sengthay said. “Get that on the record.”

The complaint emphasizes that Kang’s criticisms were unrelated to the senators’ political affiliations and activism, and primarily concerned with election misconduct and violations of University policies to support a divestment initiative. 

Kang alleged improper ties between the candidates and the pro-Palestine encampment. “Activities by the encampment inherently doubled as campaign events for them,” Kang wrote in the complaint. 

The candidates’ relationship with the encampment was especially improper given ties between student groups like Students Against Apartheid in Palestine (SAAP) and the communist Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), Kang wrote.

The pressure to disclose stances on a divestment initiative and antisemitic comments toward Jewish candidates constituted “coercion and discrimination,” Kang wrote.

According to Kang, the ASSU Election Commissioners, Amira Dehmani ’24, Leon de Souza ’24 and Viswajeeth Karthikeyan ’27, supported the BDS slate by manipulating results and poorly handling ballot distribution issues. The election results, where candidates with the BDS slate ranked among the top six of 28 candidates, deepened Kang’s suspicions.

The Election Commission previously investigated the six named senators after a violation complaint was filed by Kang on April 26, according to a letter from the named Commission members to the Constitutional Council. A financial audit by Stanford Student Enterprises CEO Jas Espinosa ’18 M.A. ’19 found “zero instances of any ASSU or University funds being used toward encampment activities since April 25,” and the Commission dismissed the complaint after additionally finding “no violations of ASSU governing documents or campaign regulations.”

The vast majority of the complaint, however, is focused not on the BDS slate, but on the two incumbent senators, Chen and Allen.

Kang criticized The Daily as biased toward Chen and Allen, raising concerns over the “impartiality and fairness” of elections coverage. The Daily’s opinions section, which operates independently from the news section, hosted a debate between Undergraduate Senate candidates on April 24. The moderator endorsed candidates who participated in the debate.

She criticized the short notice to participate in the debate and pointed to the endorsement as a violation of Daily policies, like fair reporting and conflict of interest. Editorials in The Daily’s opinions section represent the perspectives of the author, not the institution at large, and follow policies independent to those that guide news coverage.

Kang believes that Daily coverage on Chen’s constitutional case last election cycle was biased, since it was written by a friend. According to published policies, “The Daily strives, as much as possible, for fair and independent coverage untainted by a reporter’s personal motives.”

The alleged media connections persisted past The Daily to Fizz, where Kang argued the candidates spread malicious rumors about her. Kang further alleges that they “verbally attacked” her on April 30.

Chen and Allen characterized the April 30 interaction as a heated conversation. They said they saw the posts on Fizz, which included harsh comments about Kang’s body and ASSU initiatives, but stressed that they were uninvolved. Allen added that he reached out to Kang following the posts to offer support.

Disagreement bubbled to the surface prior to the meeting, as Kang and Allen emailed senators with conflicting information. Kang asked senators to postpone committee elections, while Allen told senators to disregard the previous emails.

In a separate email sent before the Tuesday meeting, Kang reiterated her request and circulated a petition to show support for her complaint. 

The open and closed sessions proceeded as scheduled. In closed session, Chen and Allen were elected co-chairs and Sengthay appropriations chair. 

Multiple senators, including Chen and Allen, confirmed to The Daily that while there were abstentions, no one voted to appoint Kang to a co-chair role.