The fifth ASUCR meeting of the quarter took place on May 1 and began at 6:35 p.m.
During public forum multiple students from the LGBT Resource Center (LGBTRC) approached the podium to express their concerns over the use of Chick-fil-A by ASUCR as an incentive during voting week on Monday, April 22, due to the historical anti-LGBT sentiments demonstrated by the restaurant franchise. Multiple students from Costo Hall also expressed their disappointment that the responsibility of promoting the Highlander Empowerment Student Services Referendum (HESSR) fell on Costo Hall rather than ASUCR.
The first person to approach the podium was student Crescent Rose who spoke on behalf of the LGBTRC. Rose stated that “saving Costo Hall should not have to be on the ballot in the first place, but we all came together as a community and made our voices heard.”
Gabe Pineda, a first-year double major in theater, film, and digital production and gender and sexuality studies, discussed the use of Chick-fil-A as an elections week incentive; “The CEO of Chick-fil-A is openly anti-LGBT … I am here today asking for a public apology from ASUCR, the removal of Chick-fil-A from your pre-approved vendors list and an investigation into the list of all of your pre-approved vendors.”
Pineda also expressed disappointment over the use of student fees to promote Chick-fil-A. In response to student concerns over such use of student fees, Vice President of Internal Affairs Jose Cortez-Hernandez stated that ASUCR has no control over what vendors are on the pre-approved vendors list, responding that “the vendors are set by the university. Senators do not get to vote on who is put on that list.”
In further response CHASS Senator David Melgoza stated, “These dialogues are important; they are how we fix these issues. I and all of ASUCR deeply apologize. We should have made that connection. I along with Elections Director Laura Pullen have started to draft legislation to remove Chick-fil-A from our vendors.”
During committee reports six pieces of legislation were discussed. The first was SB-S19-002 Social Media Password Access. CHASS Senator Avi Idea explained that this senate bill proposes that only the marketing director have access to ASUCR’s social media passwords and control over posting on social media. Idea explained that this is to prevent any confusion over social media posts and to ensure that the marketing director has full discretion over all social media posts.
In response to this bill, CHASS Senator Mehvish Ali stated, “does this mean that the initiative that I recently passed, the Fun Fact Friday Initiative, has to be approved by the marketing director before I post?” In response, Gonzalez stated, “it has always been precedent that any social media posts have to be approved by the marketing director first.” Idea then stated, “to my knowledge this has no interaction with your initiative at all.”
The bill was passed 11-0-2. Gonzalez then addressed Ali and stated, “I understand your concern but I think it is ridiculous to assume that this bill revolved around your initiative. This has nothing to do with your initiative. The marketing director has experienced issues throughout the year with social media posts being posted without her approval.”
SB-19-003 Additions to Election Code was then discussed. This senate bill, according to Idea, was written to clarify that the elections director and the president pro tempore are to be elected during special elections within three weeks after general elections. Senate elect is to also decide on the judicial nominee. The bill was approved 13-0-0.
Afterwards, SB-S19-004 Removal of section four, section five and section six of eligibility standards was brought to the Senate horseshoe. According to Gonzalez, under Chapter 24 of ASUCR bylaws, sections four, five and six do not comply with the ASUCR constitution. These sections, stated Gonzalez, state that if an elected official is ineligible any time during the year, they can leave but may then return if they recover. Gonzalez stated that, “that does not exist anymore. When you are ineligible to be in ASUCR, you cannot come back in.” These sections, stated Gonzalez, should be removed to comply with the constitution. The bill passed 13-0-0.
CHASS Senator Alex Gonzalez spoke on SB-S19-005 Amendments to Chapter XXXI Executive Cabinet Eligibility Act. Gonzalez stated that the vice president of finance used to be approved by the president but that is no longer the case, since they are now elected officials. This bill, according to Gonzalez, is just fixing the language in the constitution to be in accordance with this new change. The bill passed 13-0-0.
SB-S19-006 was not discussed, with Gonzalez stating that this bill discusses the same matters that Idea’s SB-S19-002 did; however, it gives credit to the author.
Gonzalez also spoke about SB-S19-007, “Amendments to Chapter 1 Orders of Business and Regulations for the Meetings of the Student Senate.” He stated that the indigenous acknowledgement reading that the executive vice president reads at the start of every senate meeting was not updated in the ASUCR bylaws. This bill, stated Gonzalez, updates the bylaw to ensure that the next executive vice president is reading the correct acknowledgement. The bill passed 13-0-0.
During senator reports, Melgoza reaffirmed his in-progress resolution to remove Chick-fil-A from the pre-approved vendors list. Ali stated that she is drafting a resolution to increase ASUCR’s efforts to meet with Costo Hall more regularly. She stated, “we should get in touch with the student body.”
After senator reports, the meeting moved on to public comment where President Semi Cole addressed the senate. Cole stated that beginning in Fall 2019, UCR will be experiencing a ten minute time shift in the scheduling of classes. Classes will start ten minutes earlier beginning in fall 2019. All classes will start on the hour or half hour and the academic day ends ten minutes earlier. Cole then discussed the importance of ASUCR meeting with students outside of their communities. He then prompted everyone on the horseshoe to stand up and pledge to visit at least one office in Costo Hall in order to improve their relationship with Costo Hall.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:06 p.m. ASUCR meets every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in HUB 261.