Members of ASUCR unanimously approved the passage of the Food Pantry Planning and Implementation Committee’s bylaws, bringing UCR one step closer to implementing a program that will help feed countless hungry students.
The bylaws state that the committee has the authority to make all decisions involving the creation and implementation of the pantry. The committee must also acquire food donations and educate the community on the impact of hunger on students.
There were some particulars of the bylaws that garnered dispute from members of the student government, such as the initial inclusion of Daniel Lopez, a third-year linguistics and anthropology student who received the grant to initially help start the pantry, as a permanent member of the committee “until his graduation or the completion of the project.”
“Bylaws are supposed to be a set of rules that are supposed to last … over a longer period of time,” said Senator Trelynd Bowles. “That’s why you make them concrete and not detailed with things like names,” he said, saying that the inclusion of a specific person’s name in a set of bylaws is “a little bit unorthodox.”
Vice President of External Affairs Abraham Galvan felt that the inclusion might set a dangerous precedent. “At the end of the day … it should be elected officials that you can hold accountable in these positions,” he said. “At least when somebody’s nominated, they can be removed. But you can’t remove somebody who’s supposed to be there permanently with no stipulations as to their removal.” He added, however, that he did not foresee any issues arising with Lopez specifically.
Vice President of Internal Affairs Fernando Echeverria was in favor of keeping Lopez’s name in the bylaws. “I think that because this was a movement by the community that (the bylaws) recognize the member of the community who started it and that leadership,” he said.
Lopez, however, did not ask for his name to be included, nor did he mind that it was taken out. His concern, he said, was to ensure that non-ASUCR members would be included in the process of creating the pantry.
“(We need) to ensure varied representation from the students who began the Food Pantry Initiative,” he said.
“All I ask is that the students from R’Kids, PODER and Sustainable UCR still have the ability to participate … as they were the first and most involved from the beginning of this initiative whether or not I am a permanent member.”
Lopez’s name was removed from the bylaws, and instead replaced with a stipulation that one of the seven community members appointed to the committee by the Diversity Council be nominated as vice-chairperson. Another must serve as a liaison between on- and off-campus partners, ensuring the involvement of non-ASUCR members.
The Food Pantry Initiative will be holding a canned food drive contest on May 7. Organizations that wish to participate may pick up applications at the ASUCR front office and submit them by May 1.
Feminism Awareness Week, a program to dispel myths about feminism, is officially scheduled for May 4 to May 7.