Taken by Lin Chai

Voter registration was a major area of focus in the Oct. 11 ASUCR Senate meeting as an overwhelming number of senators discussed their plans and efforts to register students in the upcoming weeks. Other points of discussion include the revisions of two bylaws, which established a due process procedure for internal stipend increases and greater financial autonomy within individual student organizations. Midway through the meeting, College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) Senator Martin Maduakor abruptly announced his resignation from ASUCR.

“On behalf of the entire administration, I look forward to working with ASUCR and GSA as we proceed in this academic year,” stated Vice Chancellor Jim Sandoval at the onset of the public forum. Also introduced was approval for the ASUCR Chief of Staff, who is mainly tasked with managing the president’s schedule, monitoring the flow of communication among senators and carrying out any other presidential requests.

CHASS Senator Christa Morelos spoke about her involvement in voter registration organizations, including the Student Organized Voter Access Committee (SOVAC), where she is responsible for building a volunteer base as the organization’s community director. Over the summer, Senator Morelos collaborated with non-partisan and non-profit organization “Mi Familia Vota,” where 3,000 Riverside citizens were registered to vote.

“We’ve been having a lot of the senators go ahead and volunteer their time,” stated Morelos. “And we’re also working directly with CALPIRG just to register as many people as possible as we can. Our goal is 5,000. Right now, so far I believe we’ve registered at least 1,400. We are nowhere near our goal so we really encourage our senators to come out and register students,” stated Senator Morelos, along with the ongoing efforts of all senators.

A campus-wide bounty program is also taking place, where student organizations compete to obtain the highest number of registered voters. The philanthropic competition will award cash prizes to the top three winning organizations. Applications are currently available at the ASUCR Senate office.

Senator reports continued with the Legislative Review Committee (LRC), which included the revision of a crucial bylaw. “There were departments or sub-branches of ASUCR that wanted to have their stipend increased so we decided that just rather [using] student fees with their own ability, we’d rather have them go through a due process,” stated Senator Ian Cavasos. Petitions for stipend increases must obtain the sponsorship of two senators, where it is sent to the LRC for constitutionality and grammatical purposes. The process concludes with a brief review by the finance committee to determine viable options and final approval is made by the Senate.

“One of my goals when I came into this position was to make it easier for clubs to get funding and make them actually want to get funded with ASUCR,” stated Vice President of Finance Crystal Kim, who included an additional alteration to a finance bylaw. Student organizations will now have more leeway in terms of budget autonomy, where annual spreadsheets will record how funds are utilized. “I don’t think it’s fair to give them this money and give them these long lists of rules…I think they should be able to use their fundraised money according to how their club wants to use it, within the rules,” stated Senator Kim.

Later in the meeting, CNAS Senator Maduakor delivered a report announcing his departure from ASUCR.

“This is also my fourth and final year and what comes with that is I have to plan out the rest of my life; going to job fairs, careers fairs because I cannot afford to wake up at graduation unemployed. I just can’t do that,” stated Senator Maduakor, who depicted the demanding nature of his position as a resident advisor and the need for future job security. “I thought it might be selfish of me to sit here as senator when I know that I cannot, in my heart, put forth the adequate time commitment toward representing my constituents. So that being said, it’s finished. I’m done as senator.”

Amidst additional revelations, Senator Maduakor requested the reinstatement of his position just the following day. Due to the nature of the resolution that was made during the meeting, the executive cabinet was forced to deny his request. No specific guidelines exist for the voluntary resignation of a student senator, yet the Senate Accountability Act in the ASUCR Constitution hints at the formality of recorded resolutions made by individual senators during official Senate meetings.

Vested in the powers of the Legislative Branch, ASUCR may fill any vacancies by allowing the highest ranking alternative from any college to succeed the position, as long as there is a minimum of two senators who already represent each respective college. A two-thirds consensus among the Senate must be achieved to approve the replacement in a special election, according to chapter VI of the ASUCR Elections Code, Item 13.

Other projects in the works include expanding supplementary instruction for core curriculum courses, reinstating the Host program for UCR visitors, the organization of a campus-wide Fear Factor competition and the possibility of building a protective fence around Glen Mor fields.

ASUCR is also planning an event for Oct. 18 entitled “Meet the Senate” at the HUB Plaza, where pizza and ASUCR memorabilia will be provided.