ASUCR passes feminine hygiene product accessibility, ex-parliamentarian addresses senate accountability

ASUCR’s last meeting of the winter quarter occurred Wednesday, March 6, and began at 6:38 p.m. The legislative assembly featured an ex-officio report by ASUCR President Semi Cole, followed by a public forum expose by ex-parliamentarian Jose Rodriguez on his dismissal by the chair. The senate also gave an election update on vacancies in three ASCUR administrative positions and passed legislation regarding the accessibility of feminine hygiene products at UCR. Senate reports featured new CNAS Senator Christopher Chebat’s intentions as a new member of the legislative branch, reports of positive feedback from various committee efforts and calls for senate involvement in the Friday, March 8 International Women’s Day Rally at UCR.

For the roll call, CHASS Senator Jackie Chang was not present for the ninth consecutive week, CHASS Senator Asia Ou was excused, CNAS Senator Kenneth Thai was absent and CNAS Senator Kenneth Vongdi was missing for the second week in a row.

Taking to the podium for an ex-officio report, Cole gave an update on the projects his office is currently executing. Cole reported that on Tuesday, March 5 he visited the University Office of the President and spoke with UC President Janet Napolitano regarding undocumented students, food and housing insecurity, mental health and measures to combat racial tension system-wide.

Cole said that his office is also working to establish a partnership program with Lyft; however, they have “run into some road blocks because Lyft does not want to engage in a contract with just ASUCR, they want to do a greater campus contract.” Cole closed his statements by moving to make senator attendance mandatory at Friday, March 8’s International Women’s Day Rally, which passed unanimously.

Following the ex-officio reports, the floor was opened for public comment where the recently-discharged ASUCR Senate Parliamentarian Jose Rodriguez addressed the legislative branch: “I will no longer be the parliamentarian because – I’m not resigning – I was dismissed by the chair just today.” Rodriguez said that as parliamentarian, he accomplished his duties by “advising on the rules of parliamentary procedure, specifically the bylaws and constitution,” with the goal to “improve the student senate.” In a message directed at each of the present senators, Rodriguez stated, “I need you all to remember that I wasn’t your enemy here, the director is not your enemy, the chair’s not your enemy … As student representatives we have a social responsibility to the students but also to each other.”

The now-former Parliamentarian Rodriguez closed his public statement by once again speaking directly to the senate: “Just a reminder, do better, do good. As a student, now I am asking that of my student government.” When another individual rose to question on what grounds Rodriguez was dismissed, Executive Vice President Andrea Cuevas stated, “the employment of my personal staff is going to remain in closed session.”

During the main content of the meeting, the senate passed five bills unanimously including: SB-W19-002B, which extended the personnel director’s timeline from nine to 12 months, SB-W19-11, which updates the committee regulations maintained by the personnel director, SB-W19-14, the removal of the inactive Athletics Awareness Committee, and SB-W19-02, which affirms that ASUCR follows the initiative set by the UCSA bylaw revision.

The fifth article, SB-W19-01, is titled “Accessibility of Feminine Hygiene Products at UCR,” and calls for the provision by campus administration to provide said products in all applicable restrooms campus-wide, the maintaining of a sustainable quantity of these items and recommends that feminine hygiene products be available to students free of cost.

Cole once again rose for comment, affirming the necessity of the resolution: “This is something that’s being called the ‘Menstrual Movement,’ at colleges and universities all across the United States and we’re trying to join as a part of that … we’re moving for critical campus adoption and making sure this is on the agenda for our chancellor.”

Following a brief set of senator reports, the ninth weekly meeting was adjourned at 7:29 p.m.

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