ASUCR voted last Wednesday to allocate more than $50,000 for free life vests for the student body to prevent drowning while navigating UCR’s waterlogged campus.
UCR has seen 134 drownings in the past year, according to UCR Director of Media Relations Kris Lovefin. These drownings are caused by students swimming while distracted, and are accompanied by hundreds of students dropping out of school every quarter because they cannot balance academic performance and staying afloat.
“Doing well in classes can be a real challenge when your school is constantly trying to drown you,” said third-year biology major Sarah Smith.
ASUCR President Eugene Cangrejo was initially against the R’Vest initiative, but changed his mind. “I definitely feel like as the leader of this student government, it’s my responsibility to spend as much money as possible and then not tell anyone about it,” he said, referencing the fact that documents containing the cost of the initiative have been mysteriously unavailable for public viewing.
The 8-7-0 vote, however, was split, with some members of ASUCR feeling that the money would be better spent on something other than helping students not die.
“I think it would be a lot more fun to buy a giant, floating bounce house for Pierce Canal, but I guess safety is important,” said Senator Pat Estrella, who voted in favor of the project. Senator Schwamm Roberts disagreed. “$50,000 is a lot of money and I think we should make sure we spend it on something like a bounce house.”
Despite the large expenditure, many students are pleased with what the initiative will accomplish.
“I think it’s really important for students not to drown,” said first-year psychology major John Beach. “It would have been egregiously irresponsible for ASUCR to spend that much money on anything less crucial than that.”
Second-year English major Jane Sanders agreed. “I heard that the student government at some other school is giving out free sweatshirts or something. That could be cool,” she said right before she tripped and fell into the water below Sproul Bridge. Between gasps, she noted that several of her friends have dropped out of school due to difficulties weathering Riverside’s waters on their own. “I’m sure — gasp — a sweatshirt — gasp — is what they — gasp — really needed,” she added dryly.
The life jackets will be distributed to students later this month at an event where musicians will be asked to perform for some reason.