During the March 4 ASUCR meeting, debates were heard over the potential liabilities involved with a Lyft initiative that would provide UCR students a Lyft discount code on the day of Spring Splash to get them to and from campus and prevent DUI’s.
During Public Forum, former CHASS Senator Aaron Sanchez addressed the senate. Sanchez expressed his concern with what he stated was unprofessional conduct by Vice President of Finance Carolyn Chang during the March 3 Finance Hearing. Sanchez stated that he wants to appeal the Finance Committee’s decision to not fund the Lyft Initiative. The initiative was asking for $5,000 but was denied by the Finance Committee by a vote of 0-4-0. Sanchez stated, “VP Chang was out of line when she broke procedure by unduly influencing the Finance Committee in a week prior to our meeting … VP Chang misinformed voluntary committee members and therefore biased the vote in favor of not allocating funds to this potentially life saving initiative.” Sanchez went on to state that he believes it is “appalling to see an elected official break procedure to fulfill a personal vendetta against me. When it goes so far to deny the UC students the opportunity to get an alternative to a DUI, that is grounds for removal.”
CHASS Senator Nelson Huerta addressed Executive Vice President Abigail Cortes during Public Forum and asked her why Parliamentarian Avi Idea was not at the horseshoe. Idea was put on leave for two weeks by Cortes. Idea told The Highlander in a past interview that he was put on leave by Cortes due to a difference in the way he and Cortes wanted to run senate meetings. He stated that by putting him on leave, Cortes felt that Idea and herself would be given time to review Robert’s Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure. Idea was expected to be back for the March 4 meeting. Cortes responded to Huerta stating, “That is a personnel matter that has been discussed between the parliamentarian and I.” A temporary parliamentarian took Idea’s place for this meeting.
During Committee Reports, Chang presented the Finance Committee meeting minutes from March 3. $1,000 was allocated for Executive Vice President Cords for First Generation Graduates which would provide cords for first generation students at commencement to “recognize their accomplishments” according to Cortes. $1,000 was allocated for Marketing Director Budgets. This allocation will provide the Marketing Committee with more funds for more marketing supplies. These two allocations were approved 12-0-0.
Chang then went on to explain why the Lyft Initiative was denied by the Finance Committee. Chang stated that the initiative, which would give students a $5 off Lyft coupon code on the day of Spring Splash, presented too many liabilities for ASUCR. She stated that Lyft has been in the media recently due to sexual assaults allegedly committed by their drivers and that it presents too many dangers, especially for female students at UCR. Chang admitted that she did speak to her committee about the initiative before it was voted or presented on. Sinclair provided more explanation and stated that The Risk Management office at UCR has said that as long as the campus counsel can clarify that Lyft is fully insured to cover the event the liabilities would be limited.
The senate then decided to motion to table the discussion of the Lyft Initiative on the basis that Sanchez and CNAS Senator Luv Amin, who is also working on the initiative, return with more information, planning and details regarding the legal logistics of the initiative. The motion to table the discussion was passed 12-0-0.
During Roundtable and Announcements, Huerta addressed ASUCR President Julian Gonzalez and stated, “I want to remind President Gonzalez that under his bylaw (Chapter 9 of the ASUCR Bylaws) it states that the president is to make sure that ASUCR as a whole runs very smoothly and functions properly. There has obviously been some issues in ASUCR that he needs to address … the EVP has been doing a lot of injustices lately such as secret meetings and pushing back meetings without proper notice and not attending certain things. I think it is really important that the president should publicly tell the EVP that she should apologize for those issues.”
Gonzalez acknowledged Huerta’s comments during Roundtable and Announcements. He stated, “My EVP is my EVP for a reason and if I don’t believe she did anything wrong I am not going to reprimand her in public because she explained herself already and I am not going to continue this toxic conversation.” Gonzalez went on to state that he did not appreciate Huerta expressing his concerns publicly. He stated, “We had already decided that if we had any issues with anyone we would do it internally but now you have made it public. I would appreciate it that next time if you had any complaints you would come to me because this is the first time I’m hearing anything from you.” Gonzalez also stated that he will never publicly shame members of ASUCR for any mistakes they make, stating that he believes it is wrong to do so.
EVP Cortes went on to announce that the senator of the month, who she stated is the first female senator of the month, was awarded to CNAS Senator Natalie Hernandez.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.