voted against giving MEChA, a Chicano group whose literature the
Review exposed as racist in October, special fees of about $40,000
for the 2004-2005 school year.
The special fee has traditionally
covered a host of Chicano/Latino events on campus beyond just MEChA
activities, including El Dia de los Muertos, the Cinco de Mayo Celebration,
International Women’s Day Panel, Raza Day High School Conference,
and Cesar Chavez Commemoration.
The ASSU voter’s guide lists
the total MEChA budget at over $100,000, with about 60% of the funds
coming from academic departments, El Centro Chicano, and the Stanford
The largest line item of the budget
is honoraria for speakers like Cruz Bustamante and Jesse Jackson.
The MEChA special fee got 1329
votes, but there were 1357 votes against the special fee, making
MEChA the group with the highest percentage of votes below the 50%
The investigative report and editorial
on MEChA by the Review earlier in the year are widely thought to
have swayed the vote.
The Oct. 13 editorial states “Stanford
MEChA currently receives more than $40,000 per year in special fees
from Stanford students through the ASSU. We wonder what percentage
of the student body that voted for MEChA specials fees knew of the
racism embedded within its founding documents.” The offending
documents are still on the MEChA web site in the “about”
section, with no disclaimer.
Neither the editorial nor the
investigative piece accused students in Stanford MEChA of racism,
but rather called on them to reject the racism of their documents
and the national network of MEChA.
As the Review called on MEChA
not to stop its activism or existence, but rather to renounce its
racist links, the rejection of the special fee is seen by many as
a concurrence of the student body that MEChA should rethink its
ties before next year’s elections.
Having received ASSU special fees
for many years, MEChA was expected to easily win approval for its
budget. The unexpected upset has surprised and shocked many MEChA
members. One MEChA member, Alida Garcia, who was arrested by the
police in 2001 for trespassing during a protest against labor subcontracting
by the Stanford Hospital, appeared particularly alarmed at the outcome
of the election.
Currently serving as the Assistant
Elections Commissioner for the ASSU, Alida Garcia was quoted in
the Daily as saying “Ya’ll suck for that [voting against
the MEChA special fee], personally” immediately after she
officially announced the special fees results for MEChA.
However, many students were satisfied
with the vote. Junior Sam Chang said, “I think it’s
a good thing that people are starting to look at where their special
fees are going. I think that if MEChA wants to receive special fee
funding in the future it should rethink the services that it directly
provides to the community.
”MEChA has faced a growing
concern amongst the Stanford student body that it is an organization
linked to racism. The historical document most commonly cited as
evidence of MEChA’s historical ties to racism is “El
Plan de Aztlán.” This organizational blueprint for
MEChA dates back to the late 60’s. Its text outlines organizational
objectives including the “liberation” of the southwestern
United States and its return to the Chicano community. The co-chairs
of MEChA as well as the director of El Centro Chicano failed to
return e-mails from the Review.