ASUCR’s fourth senate meeting of the quarter occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 8 in the senate chambers. The meeting introduced numerous changes to the elections code, such as GPA requirements for officials, and measures to increase senate transparency.
During ex-officio reports, Vice Chief Justice Hayden Jackson arrived at the podium and announced that the five justices sent Justice Kathryn Yip a letter demanding her immediate resignation. This follows the confusion that occurred at the emergency senate meeting held Monday, Jan. 30, in which Yip filed charges against Jackson and Chief Justice Jo Gbujama calling for their impeachment. She was not present to defend her accusations and no actions were taken against the two justices. All five of the justices, not counting Yip, signed the letter that states that Yip “defied orders from the leadership and caused mass confusion in relation to the interim President of ASUCR.” The letter also states that Yip is “unduly influenced by the direction of the political winds of ASUCR.”
During questioning, CHASS Senator Jose Cortez-Hernandez asked what would occur if Yip refused to resign. Jackson replied, “That is her prerogative,” acknowledging that the letter can not force her to resign but strongly encourages her to do so. He also added that while he can’t speak for the rest of the council, he does not plan on filing charges against Yip at the moment.
Next to speak was Elections Director Marcy Kuo, who provided early details on forthcoming changes to the elections code, which will be voted upon by the senate during the Wednesday, Feb. 15 meeting. She informed the senate that there would be a change in the GPA requirements, from a 2.0 to a 2.5 both cumulative and quarterly, for participating in the elections and maintaining an elected position. Kuo added that the elections committee is seeking the omission of a GPA waiver which allows an official to continue duties regardless of grades for that quarter. UCR is the only University of California campus to have the waiver.
Interim Acting President Arturo Gomez followed bringing forth his pick for historian: Second-year political science major Winston Shura Fadeff. Fadeff, who noted his knowledge of ASUCR would benefit him in the position, was approved with a vote of 11-1-0.
During public forum, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs James Sandoval told the horseshoe that the sorority Epsilon Alpha Sigma and the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Omega would be “colonizing” in the 2017 school year. Both are intended to diversify the fraternity community and offer more choices for students of Middle Eastern descent. He clarified by adding that although they are associated with the Middle East, religion and nationality will not be factors for acceptance.
Kuo spoke again during committee reports to further clarify the amendments being made to the elections code. Citing SB W17-025, Kuo acknowledged the elections committee would like to mandate that each party has at least three party platforms, that elections paperwork is submitted to the committee in print and electronic form and that campaign violation reports must be submitted within two days of the violation and include visual or audio evidence. Kuo explained her reasoning behind the requirement for evidence, saying that having the evidence would eliminate the “he-said, she-said” and allow more time to “focus on what the party stands for.”
Following a debate over the necessity for a party to have three platforms, the senators moved to vote on the amendments and passed with a vote of 11-0-0.
CHASS Senator Aram Ayrapetyan’s bill which aims to increase senator transparency passed with a vote of 11-0-0. This mandates that all senators’ voting records be made available to the public and campus media outlets and further enhances transparency by requiring senators to make public brief reports on meetings with campus administration. Additionally, senators will be expected to pass on a handbook to their successor, which will include the projects they were working on before their term ended. This handbook will be turned in prior to elections to ensure that the integrity of the information passed on is not jeopardized. The bill also included tasks for senators in relation to the senate outreach program.
At the end of the meeting, Ayrapetyan announced that Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) will be expanding upon the Point-to-Point shuttle service by replacing the six-person van with a shuttle that can seat 22 people and will now cover a three-mile radius around campus. TAPS will also regularly tweet the estimated departure time from the meeting point (across from the campus bookstore) so students know how long the wait will be. TAPS will also be rolling out a “motorists’ assistance program,” which will provide commuters with emergency fuel-up, tire and lockout services. The American Automobile Association is currently training student employees and TAPS hopes to have a soft opening by spring quarter of this year.