ASUCR approves R’Gear allocation, approves nomination of new judicial council members, Deletion of We Are Highlander Pride Committee bylaw creates confusion

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, ASUCR held their sixth meeting of the quarter.

During New Business, ASUCR President Julian Gonzalez presented his three nominees for the judicial council. The three students are: Cindy Gutierrez, who is a third-year sociology major, Adrian Wong, who is a third-year public policy major and Kylee Sanchez, who is a third-year political science major and global climate change minor. All the nominees presented the reasons why they believed they would be a good addition to the judicial council. The nominees were all approved 16-0-0.

The finance meeting minutes for Nov. 4 and Nov. 6 were both approved 16-0-0 during Committee Reports. Gonzalez and Vice President of Finance Carolyn Chang then presented a slideshow on this year’s R’Gear initiative. This is the sixth annual R’Gear initiative. Chang noted that this year’s admission increased by approximately 2,000 students. In 2017, the finance committee allocated $51,818. In 2018, they allocated $37,799.85 and in 2019, the allocated amount was $40,000. Chang noted that this year she felt as if it would be smarter to purchase more crewnecks versus black hoodies because crewnecks are cheaper.

Based on the invoice she presented, Chang is proposing that ASUCR order 1,300 black hoodies in sizes small, medium, large and extra large, and 2,600 crewnecks. They would be ordering 4,000 sweaters in total. Chang noted that crewnecks are $7.49 while hoodies are $10.29. Including tax, the total for R’Gear would be $37,620.63. Chang also presented an invoice for renting out the SRC, which is where R’Gear would be distributed to students. Renting the SRC from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. would cost $719. With the SRC rent fee, the total amount for R’Gear would be $38,339.63.

Chang noted that the money allocated toward R’Gear would not be coming from student fees and would come from non-student fees. She stated that a portion of the R’Gear allocation would come from the profit ASUCR receives from campus vending machines.

Gonzalez then discussed and presented the design for this year’s R’Gear. Gonzalez stated, “Something that makes R’Gear special is that you can’t find the design anywhere because it is student made.” This year’s design is inspired by astrology. Gonzelez said, “We wanted to keep it trendy and since astrology is a thing right now we decided to do that.” The sweaters will have a slogan on them stating, “University of California Riverside, shining since 1954.”

Gonzalez stated that since they will be using the ramps outside of the SRC for line control, they will be donating R’Gear to the Student Disability Resource Center directly in order to compensate for the inconvenience. The official date for R’Gear distribution will be Wednesday, Jan. 15, and distribution will occur from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The meeting then opened up for discussion from the senate regarding R’Gear. BCOE Senator Maurice Armstrong asked whether any additional organizations or departments besides the Student Disability Resource Center would receive a box of sweaters. Gonzalez responded, “No. What we have seen in the past is that when we do donate R’Gear to other organizations or departments, it does not go to who it was intended to. I know for housing we used to donate a lot but they used to end up in the arms of RA’s versus first years.”

After more discussion from senators, Executive Vice President Abigail Cortes then stated that they would be conducting a closed ballot to vote on whether they would be allocating $38,339.63 for R’Gear. This prompted GSOE Senator Evelin Castaneda to ask why they were doing a closed vote to which Cortes replied, “Because I decided we were doing a closed ballot.” With a vote of 13-0-3, R’Gear was approved.

SB-F19-011: Updating Chapter V, Section 3: The Finance Committee was passed 14-0-1 during the Legislative Review Committee Reports. This bill, according to CHASS Senator Angelica Garcia, will add a 10 minute maximum for organizations to present their budget at finance hearings into the ASUCR bylaws. Garcia stated that this would allow the finance committee to hear from more organizations. Chang also noted that this 10 minute maximum would ensure fairness for other organizations so their time to present is not taken from them.

The meeting then moved on to Public Comment. During Public Comment, Personnel Director Luna Sebastian announced that she encountered an issue with one of her committees. She stated that her committees include Campus Safety, We are Highlander Pride, Women’s Rights and Gender Equity and International Student Voice. She stated that during a meeting with the director for We Are Highlander Pride, they attempted to open the committee’s bylaw (Chapter 52 of the ASUCR bylaws). The bylaw, however, states that it was removed by ASUCR on Mar. 13 2019 due to inactivity. Sebastian claimed that, “I know for a fact that that is not true because I was appointed as personnel director after that date and I was accessing that bylaw over and over again.” Sebastian also noted that she did not appoint the director for the committee until September, during which she continued to access the bylaw.

In an interview with The Highlander, ASUCR Executive Director Laurie Sinclair stated that the LRC made an attempt to clean up the ASUCR bylaws last year, which included placing committee bylaws under an officer or director. She stated in an email, “While these committee descriptions/bylaws were written in good faith, they were not being executed because no one had “ownership” of them.” One of those bylaws was the We Are Highlander Pride bylaw that described a committee to oversee future ASUCR scholarships. It was partnered with an Endowment Procedures bylaw.

Sinclair wrote, “As far as I can tell, the We Are Highlander Pride bylaw was listed under the purview of the Personnel Director (in their bylaw). However, this was not indicated in the scholarship bylaw and since nothing had been done in 2 years to further the effort, the LRC suggested deleting it (along with the endowment bylaw).” According to Sinclair, the senate then voted to eliminate both, but since the scholarship bylaw was not deleted from the personnel director’s bylaw, they assumed they were still in charge of coordinating the committee. However, Sinclair added, with no description, they assumed it was a committee about school pride, and moved forward to create a committee to initiate school pride efforts.

“I was not aware of any school pride committee last year, but I guess they were meeting unbeknownst to me,” stated Sinclar. She added that the personnel director this year has taken on the same committee on school pride although the original bylaw was about scholarships and not school pride “The original name was misleading to say the least,” stated Sinclair.

President Pro Tempore Preeti Juturu stated during Roundtable and Announcements that the LRC has a vacancy. EVP Cortes then announced that the CNAS senator alternate failed to give her a decision in the time frame she provided so she notified the next alternate and will make another announcement next week. She also stated that a special election to appoint a new undergraduate sustainability director will be happening soon to fill the vacant position. The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

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