Winter quarter’s second state of the association meeting took place on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the senate chambers, with the call to order being made at 6:17 p.m with nine senators present.
Senate resolution W17-010 was read aloud by Interim Acting President Arturo Gomez. The resolution stated ASUCR’s call for the city of Riverside to become a safe haven for its residents and families. The resolution passed with a standing vote of 12-0-0.
Elections Director Marcy Kuo then introduced senate bill W17-028, which struck out the 2.0 quarterly and cumulative GPA requirements for all ASUCR representatives and replaced it with a 2.5 cumulative GPA requirement. Additionally, the bill would automatically dismiss representatives found to drop below this requirement, without the option of submitting a grade waiver. ASUCR is the only student government in the UC system to allow for a waiver of this type.
“How would you accommodate for majors that have ridiculously hard classes where most people fail?” asked CNAS Senator Beau Young. To that Kuo responded that while waivers would be removed entirely, in special circumstances the dean of their respective college would be called upon as an objective determinant of the validity of a student representative’s request to continue serving their term. “The reasoning behind no waiver is that, in the past, we’ve had many controversial waivers happen,” Kuo explained. “I don’t need to name names, I also don’t need to rehash the past. But we all know that that has resulted in much wasted time.”
Following Young, President Pro Tempore Johnathan Li commented that, “Regardless of whatever the GPA is, my standpoint is I want to get rid of the waiver (…) year after year, when there is a waiver, even last year, changing bylaws, this year just things happening.”
CHASS Senator Aram Ayrapetyan also spoke in favor of the grade waiver citing a different reason. “Previously I was kind of still in favor of the waiver, but looking back I think (…) UCR is the only UC who still does it (…) it does seem kind of archaic, like we’re lagging behind,” Ayrapetyan described.
CHASS Senator Jose Cortez-Hernandez spoke against the change in GPA and omission of the waiver explaining that the deans of UCR’s colleges are busy and asked whether they have been notified that they may be called upon to waive student representatives. Kuo replied saying that this was an issue that would still need to be worked out. Additionally, Kuo stated her belief that even for more difficult majors, representatives should be putting their future over student government. To that, Cortez-Hernandez argued that housing staff were required to maintain a 2.0 GPA quarterly and cumulative and that a free pass was automatically granted for the first quarter that the GPA requirement was not met.
Executive Vice President Wen-Yu Chou expressed her support for the amendments saying, “I believe it is so important for every single person, regardless of how difficult your major is, you knew how difficult when you were getting into that major. So you should be working as hard as you can to make sure your grades are what they need to be,” Chou explained. “I think it’s very important that as student leaders, that we set that tone, that we are gonna move up to that 2.5 so that we can represent our students in the best knowledgeable way by being the students that we were called to be.”
The bill passed through the senate with a vote of 9-3-0. During elections week, the student body will need to vote in favor of it by a majority before the changes can be implemented come fall quarter 2017 and to those running in the spring 2018 elections cycle.
Amendments to the 2017 elections timeline, which included moving the deadline for 2017 elections candidates to submit their candidacy from Friday, March 10 to Monday, March 6, were also approved with a vote of 13-0-0.