Senators unanimously passed a bylaw chapter (XXVI) to establish a 12-member diversity council under the oversight of ASUCR to advance UCR’s Principles of Community — guiding campus principles that seek to create a safe and respectful environment that nurture intellectual and personal growth of UCR students. Holding their last meeting of winter quarter, senators also debated over a resolution to lower UC tuition.

Falling under ASUCR’s office of internal affairs, the diversity council will consist of one representative from the African Student Programs, Asian Pacific Student Programs, Chicano Student Programs, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, Middle Eastern Student Center, Native American Student Programs and Women’s Resource Center in Costo Hall. In addition, the council will include two ASUCR senators and the vice president of campus internal affairs, along with one representative from GSA.

The council also seeks to develop action campaigns in the fall quarter to protect the interests of students and review all campus policies pertaining to diversity at UCR. Other council responsibilities include, but are not limited to, holding two town halls per year, facilitating one event among all represented organizations and tabling during the winter and spring academic quarter to engage student interest in fall campaigns.

Even though all Costo Hall departments are already being funded through student service fees, the diversity council may provide additional funding for each respective department. All financial requests must be approved by the ASUCR Finance Committee. The bylaw chapter will go into effect fall quarter of the 2014-15 academic year.

Following the passage of the bylaw chapter, the senate also unanimously passed a resolution which called for the state legislature to allocate its proposed funding increases of 5 percent to the UC for the purposes of lowering systemwide tuition. The resolution further says that Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state allocation will be approximately $12,290 in per-student funding in the 2014-15 academic year, presenting an increase of more than $500 in state funding per student from the previous year.

Authors of the resolution argue that, “The Governor’s proposed budget results in increased state funding, while proposed University of California systemwide tuition levels for academic year 2014-15 are to remain at the current level of $12,192 for undergraduates, rather than signifying a tuition decrease.”

The resolution also notes that 52 percent of graduating university students in California held an average debt of $20,269. According to the American Student Assistance — a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to college students — federal and private student loan debt clocked in at $1.04 trillion in 2012, up from $833 billion in 2010, when it first surpassed the national credit card debt.

“(The) cost of attending the University of California has ballooned to $12,192 per year as of 2011-2012, an 18 (percent) increase from just the academic year prior, nearly double the rate set in 2005, and more than five times the rate of slightly over a decade ago,” reads the bill.

The resolution also acknowledged the ASUCR office of external affairs for carrying out campaigns in tandem with the University of California Student Association, such as “Fund the UC” and “Invest in Graduations, Not Incarceration, Transform Education (IGNITE),” in improving accessibility, affordability and quality to the UC system.

Senators Nafi Karim, Abraham Galvan, Fernando Echeverria and Ranjit Nair were the authors of this resolution.