Divestment returns to ASUCR senate

 Janine Ybanez/HIGHLANDER
Janine Ybanez/HIGHLANDER

The ASUCR senate confirmed that SR 18, “A Resolution for Neutrality: Dissociation from U.S. Corporations Profiting from Occupation” will be voted upon on April 23. SR 18 was introduced to the senate by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — the same student organization that attempted to bring forth a similar resolution about divestment that failed to pass back in February by a slim margin of 6-7-1. Senators also saw the unanimous passage of “UCR in Solidarity with API Communities,” a resolution to support Asian Pacific Student Programs systemwide.

Due to scheduling conflicts with mandatory elections events, it was rumoured that four senators would be missing the April 23 meeting — the same day that the divestment resolution is going to be presented.

The matter came to light when Elections Director Christopher Sanchez and Senator Andrew Hua spoke about the Elections Day Celebrations (EDC), an event from April 23-25 that must be attended by ASUCR members who are on the elections committee. The event includes participatory student activities to bring awareness of the electoral process. After hearing of the scheduling conflict between the elections event and Wednesday meeting, many ASUCR members made it clear that the cancellation of the meeting was merely a rumor.

As a result, SJP president Amal Ali criticized the senators for prioritizing the elections over next week’s vote.

“Why senators can’t do their jobs because elections are going on or why they are campaigning and might be busy inquiring or who knows what is really embarrassing,” Ali said. “We have followed all the necessary procedures and protocols to have this resolution back on this floor and … our student senators should be held accountable.”

Sanchez clarified that members of ASUCR did not intend for the two events to overlap and it was simply oversight in their planning of the event.

“I think I failed to make one thing clear,” said Sanchez. “The reason why I can guarantee that the senators will be missing the meeting is not because they will be campaigning … they are the four senators that are on the elections committee.”

Sanchez furthered that senators must be absent from the senate meeting because ASUCR is holding three different poll sites on the same night

“Every night, we are at Aberdeen and Inverness and Lothian dining halls doing poll sites,” explained Sanchez. “Then we will have one during EDC at the third floor of the HUB. It is mandated that we have two people from the committee at each polling site.” He also explained past cases where individuals would steal laptops at the polling sites.

Johnson supported the meeting to take place, but held concerns that the senate would be voting on a similar resolution again. The only main differences between the two resolutions, Johnson said, is that the language in SR 18 was “softened” and no longer considers Israel to be an apartheid state.

The next topic on the docket was a resolution sponsored by Senators Shadi Matar and Nafi Karim, who is also an ASUCR presidential candidate, to condemn racially offensive incidents on UC campuses. In one cited case on Feb. 5, the UCLA and USC Asian American Studies departments received a letter containing racial slurs and racial epithets targeting students of color on campus.

Another incident referred to a 2011 viral video, “Asians in the Library,” by a UCLA student, Alexandra Wallace, which the resolution says “illustrates the toxicity present at the UCLA campus.”

“These racial incidents create an unsafe university that reinforces stereotypes and microaggressions to Asian Pacific Islander Students (API),” read the resolution.

The resolution also encourages the next ASUCR president to address this issue to Chancellor Kim Wilcox at an upcoming meeting, in addition to a separate meeting with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Jim Sandoval to address hate speech targeting students of color. Lastly, the resolution stated that ASUCR formally supports the efforts of all cultural, ethnic and gender programs at UCR.


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