ASUCR discusses future of UCR food security, moves to reduce meal plan cost

President Semi Cole addresses student homelessness and basic needs with UC President

The sixth ASUCR meeting of the Fall quarter occurred Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 6:36 p.m. to discuss current efforts made by student organizations to increase student voter turnout, approve bylaw resolutions drafted to improve food security for students and address the funds allocated to aid student organizations in the recent Oct. 24 and Oct. 29 budget hearings. Fourteen of the 16 senators were present with the exception of CNAS Senator Abigail Cortes and CHASS Senator Alex Gonzales. CNAS Senator Davis was excused early.

Prior to the approval of the meeting’s agenda, Executive Vice President Andrea Cuevas delivered an acknowledgement of responsibility to the indigenous peoples of the land. Afterwards CHASS Senator Julian Gonzalez moved to add Senate Resolution 004 (SR-F18-004), regarding the STEM high school bylaw, and Senate Bill 001 (SB-F18-001), regarding the GCAP bylaw, to the agenda. Both were unanimously approved to the agenda (14-0-2).

Following agenda approval ASUCR President Semi Cole presented a brief ex-officio foreword, detailing the state of current issues within his jurisdiction. He stated that he is working on speaking with UC Academic Senate representatives to amend the UC calendar to include Nov. 6 as a systemwide holiday in an effort to increase voter turnout. In addition, he says his team is working on the logistics of adapting UCSD’s Lyft “Safe Ride” program partnership to bring its functionality to UCR and developing a relationship with UCR Housing in an attempt to provide housing aid to students at-risk-of or experiencing homelessness.

The topic of homelessness stems from his correspondence with UC President Janet Napolitano, where Cole also addressed food security, “We are the most basic, food insecure UC in the UC system. When they actually gave out money to support our pantries across the UC, they did not factor in need.” Cole reported that when he met with Napolitano, they “were able to talk about that, and … make some firm commitments … to a sustainable model that will be also equitable.”

The final ex-officio report was delivered by a representative from the internal affairs office, regarding the progress made by the Lobby Corps and the Highlander Action Committee in increasing voter registration: “They’ve been doing an exceptional job … we were able to register 278 students in the span of a week.”

The articles passed by the legislative branch began with SB-F18-002 titled “Office of Campus Internal Affairs Bylaw Revisions,” which changes the necessary actions of officers by granting R’Professional Career Closet responsibilities to Internal Affairs instead of a specialized committee, and removing outdated job descriptions. The bill passed unanimously (14-0-2).

Following the second quarterly bill was the resolution, SR-F19-002, titled “Combating Food Insecurity Through Affordable/Accessible Meal Plans.” The resolution declared that meal plans are too expensive considering the food insecurity rate of 62.5 percent, demanding “lower prices by at least 5 percent; having a meal is a student right and should not be treated as a privilege.” The resolution was passed unanimously (13-0-3).

The final pieces on the agenda were 004 STEM High School and 001 GCAP Bylaws. SR-F18-004 requested that further provisions be made to ensure community involvement in the process of building the new STEM High School on the UCR campus and that new recreation areas be made available in place of the Glen Mor fields. SB-F18-001 requests that the UCR Green Action Plan Program committee be increased from 10 to 12 members, in addition to changing funding rules such that resources could be allocated to any project that aids UCR’s sustainability. These two additions to the agenda were passed (13-0-3) prior to the meeting’s conclusion at 7:29 p.m.

ASUCR meetings are open to the public, occurring every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in HUB 221.

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