“Fun Fact Friday Initiative” passed despite pushback by ASUCR’s Marketing Committee, CNAS senator vacancy filled

ASUCR held its eighth meeting of the quarter last Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 6:40 p.m. This was a “State of the Association” meeting, where all ASUCR officers attend in order to report on the state of their departments. The meeting began with public forum, where Alyssa Gaw of the UCR California Public Interest Group (CALPIRG) chapter presented updates on the group’s current activities. A representative from the Student Voice Committee (SVC) stepped up afterwards, announcing that their current survey on why students want to transfer out of UCR has been finished; he later said that the raw data of the survey is currently being processed.

The representative also mentioned that while trying to reach out to ASUCR senators on survey topics, he found that none of their email addresses were on the ASUCR website. He discovered that policies of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) restrict the sharing of contact information on the site but told the senators that he would set up a waiver for them to bypass those policies and post their email addresses.

Afterwards the senators discussed Senate Bill (SB) W19-013, which gives control of the R’Closet, UCR’s professional student clothing lending service, from ASUCR to the Career Center. The bill passed unanimously 11-0-0; the full new name is the R’Professional Career Closet, and is no longer under direct jurisdiction of ASUCR.

The next item to be voted on was presented by CHASS Senator Mehvish Ali, titled the “Fun Fact Friday Initiative.” The Initiative is meant to increase student engagement at UCR by posting “fun facts” about UCR on social media, mainly those that highlight the accomplishments of the university and showcase that “UCR is a great place to be,” as Ali said.

Marketing Director Connie Wi found that the Initiative was not something that ASUCR had to carry out; she instead believed that Undergraduate Admissions and Student Life are meant to do what the Initiative entails for both current and prospective students. CHASS Senator Julian Gonzalez Perez thought that the Initiative’s goals could be achieved simply by “going around telling UCR it’s a great school.”

CHASS Senator David Melgoza agreed with Gonzalez Perez on the sentiments that ASUCR ought to interact with students, but argued that “social media is the most successful (modern method)” of doing so, as compared to actively going out to get the UCR community involved.

The senators then began to vote on the initiative, but at the time Perez was not sure of what they were voting on, voicing his confusion by saying “Do we just get to vote on random initiatives? There’s no forum or policy we’re following; it’s just a statement we’re going to vote on.” Vice President of Campus External Affairs Jose-Cortez Hernandez explained that the Senate was voting to override the ASUCR Marketing Committee’s decision to deny the Initiative from taking place. The vote passed 6-3-2.

The meeting then turned its focus to CNAS Senator interviews, in order to fill the vacancy left by former senator Josiah Davis, who was removed in part for not attending ASUCR meetings since the start of the Fall 2018 quarter. The elected will be removed from the position once new senators are elected in the upcoming Spring 2018 elections. Each candidate was given three minutes at the podium to present their qualifications for the position to the Senate, and a portion of time after to be asked questions. Four candidates were present at the meeting, and went up in the order that follows: Christopher Chebat, a second-year mathematics major; Sabrine Hossain, a second-year biochemistry major; Shaiva Patel, a second-year biology major; and Walker Woodard, a second-year biology major.

After each candidate presented themselves, the Senate held a closed deliberation on who would earn the CNAS Senator position. After twenty minutes of deliberation, Chebat was given the position and soon after took a seat at the horseshoe. During his time at the podium Chebat said that he aims to improve voter participation and make the activities of ASUCR more transparent to UCR students. “There is no outreach to the student body, and as a result there’s a disconnect. There’s a sort of ‘we are above you’ mentality going around as a result,” he said. Chebat was unavailable for further comment on his goals as a CNAS senator.

Officer reports followed the selection of the new CNAS senator. Transfer and Non-Traditional Student Director Vanessa Salinas mentioned that she is currently studying if transfer students at UCR that want to transfer out are doing so because of the university’s poor treatment of them, such as in the realm of offered classes; “Transfers are called in two weeks before the fall quarter starts, and they are given a list of electives to enroll in,” as opposed to classes necessary for their major. She is working with the SVC to compile and process data that may reveal such, but was unavailable for further comment on the matter’s current affairs.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m. ASUCR meets every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in HUB 221.

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