Last Wednesday’s ASUCR meeting happened in the wake of an ASUCR elections season mired by low voter turnout. Here are some highlights:


  • Keep the 20 percent … In light of the 2018 ASUCR elections where referenda failed because of very low voter turnout, ASUCR Judicial Council Chief Justice Jo Gbujama addressed comments made during last week’s ASUCR meeting that suggested lowering the minimum threshold of 20 percent turnout, perhaps to 15 percent. “I would recommend against that,” stated Gbujama, stating that the threshold should actually be higher. He explained that referenda asking for an increase in fees serve as a tax on students and should have a large body in agreement for such tax.


    • “Save the Bees” … Miguel Ramirez, the chapter chair for CALPIRG, announced CALPIRG’s new statewide initiative to raise awareness on the plight of bees in California. “Bees are dying at alarming rates … we get 70 percent of our food from bees,” stated Ramirez, “It’s a really profound issue.” The campaign will begin next quarter.
    • ASUCR grant for Black Grad … Vice President of Internal Affairs Semi Cole shared some news from his office. Cole and Vice President of Finance Jose Cortez-Hernandez established a grant for Black Graduation, covering $1,500 of their expenses. They are working to establish a grant for Raza Graduation as well. These events are held by the African Student Programs and Chicano Student Programs, respectively, and are held to recognize the accomplishments of students in their communities. “We hope to be more visible leaders in the community and be more conscientious of the needs of Costo Hall folk,” said Cole in an email sent Friday. Additionally, Cole is also working on a UCPD Text Alert System to notify students of emergencies on campus. With outreach primarily centered in the residence halls, Cole said that 250 students have registered for the system so far. “We hope our efforts will help empower students will vital information about threats of safety in the community,” wrote Cole.


  • During Senate Reports…


    • CNAS Senator Priyanka Garg announced that the Research Expo will be postponed until May 22. Garg expressed issues with setting up the event as well as a lack of cooperation from faculty. The Research Expo is an event that began last year and is intended to connect students with research opportunities in CNAS and BCOE.
    • CNAS Senator Matthew Shashaty elaborated more on the $800 purchase of 200 journals intended to promote sobriety pride. Shashaty said the notebooks will be emblazoned with a “really nice” design produced by the marketing and promotion committee and consist of a lightbulb with “ideas” written below it. “The marketing committee and I wanted something fairly simple and minimalistic for the design and we hope everyone likes it,” wrote Marketing and Promotion Director Connie Wi, while also expressing her excitement for the project. Shashaty did not respond before time of print regarding the project’s specifics.
    • CHASS Senator Marco Ornelas provided specifics on the commuter meal plan, the brainchild of CHASS Senator Roy Tongilava. Ornelas, speaking on Tongilava’s behalf since he was absent from the meeting, said that those who subscribe to the plan will be charged $75 on their Banner account and receive 86.25 dining dollars allowing access to all campus retail locations, food trucks and convenience stores. Also included in the cost is access to the dining halls at leasts seven times, per an email from Tongilava.

The next ASUCR meeting will be held Wednesday, May 16 in the senate chambers, HUB 221.