A discussion of ASUCR’s “Taking a Stand” agenda and an apology regarding December’s protest guidelines dominated the content of ASUCR’s first senate meeting of the quarter.Jim Sandoval, vice chancellor for student affairs, began the meeting by issuing a formal apology and taking full responsibility for the protest guidelines that were published and subsequently removed after gaining widespread criticism. The major source of controversy stemmed from a requirement that students consult with the university prior to implementing a protest—thereby imposing a prior restraint on speech while virtually banning spontaneous protests.
“I deeply regret that the draft guidelines were published and I would like to issue a formal apology to our students, faculty and staff-especially to our students. I am sorry,” stated Sandoval during the meeting. The apology reflected the sentiment of an announcement made by Chancellor White, who ceded that the administration was in error for publishing the guidelines.
ASUCR President Stephen Lee praised Sandoval’s decision to issue the formal apology, noting that “[the apology] was something that the students really deserve.” Sandoval’s identification of the group behind the document’s creation—the Division of Student Affairs—also represented a new development in the guideline controversy; Chancellor White’s previous announcements had failed to identify the creators, thereby prompting claims of transparency deficiencies within the administration.
“Please trust that the Division of Student Affairs continues to work in earnest to advocate for the rights and interests of our students,” concluded Sandoval.
Meeting reports occupied the remaining portion of the ASUCR meeting. Senator Derek Roberts provided an update on UC Riverside’s first annual dance marathon and called upon his peers to register for the dance on the event’s official website. Roberts elaborated on the project, explaining that all funds would be used to support UC Riverside’s Guardian Scholars Program to aid college-aspiring individuals who will soon be emancipated from foster care.
ASUCR President Stephen Lee’s report regarding plans for the UC regents meeting took on a heated tone as Lee urged the senators to step up their involvement in preparation for the “Taking a Stand” movement. The week-long movement is aimed at increasing awareness about the university’s budget crisis while promoting the active involvement of students in their education. Activities will include a presentation by the UC Student Regent and Student Regent-designate, an advocacy write-in, open mic sessions, organization presentations and a public demonstration.
“There is no better opportunity than the regents meeting for us to make a move. The actions that we make today are going to influence UC students in the future…The student body here at UC Riverside is calling on [ASCUR] to take a stand,” stated Lee during his officer report. Lee insisted that his senator peers demonstrate their commitment to the week’s events. At one point, Lee called upon the senators to re-evaluate whether they are doing enough to warrant their positions. “We need to focus on what’s important. The students are expecting us…[to] let the regents, and not only the regents but everyone—the UC community—to know where we stand as students,” concluded Lee.