The second ASUCR meeting of spring quarter took place on April 8 via Zoom.
During Committee Reports, ASUCR Elections Director Dyanna Castaneda proposed changes to the ASUCR 2020 Elections. Voting week, which was originally scheduled to begin April 20 and end April 24, would be pushed back to begin on April 27 and end on May 1. This would also result in the election results announcement being pushed back from April 29 to May 4.
Castaneda stated that this change, “Allows candidates to switch to an online campaign platform. It also gives the Elections Committee more time to work on partnerships and incentives for the student body.” She stated that the Elections Committee will be able to provide better incentives if voting week is pushed back one week. Typically, incentives to increase student voter turnout included free food given away at Pierce Lawn. Castaneda stated that now that these kinds of incentives are no longer an option, the Elections Committee is looking to give out incentives virtually such as online gift cards. She stated that this will require more turnaround time for the Elections Committee.
Castaneda also stated that pushing elections week back one week will allow the Elections Committee to work on the security of the online ballots. The Elections Committee will be using Qualtrics, an online survey tool that allows one to build surveys, distribute surveys and analyze responses. Castaneda stated that since the ballot will be available on student’s phones, the Elections Committee wants to ensure that the proper security measures are in place. She added that the announcement of election results will also be pushed back to May 4 but, if everything works out well, the Elections Committee may be able to announce them earlier than May 4.
While campaigning has officially started, Castaneda stated that she is hesitant to upload all of the candidates’ names, photos, the position they are running for and begin advertising them on social media or on the ASUCR website. She stated that there are a lot of moving parts and that she wants to level the playing field for all candidates as best as she can. She added that they will be eventually advertising all candidates via their website and their social media.
The election timeline update was approved 14-0-0.
During Ex-Officio Reports, ASUCR President Julian Gonzalez provided updates about the Commencement Working Group. On April 1, Riverside County extended the school closure order through at least June 19, 2020 which will preclude any of UCR’s commencement exercises from taking place as currently scheduled and configured. The working group will convene to review the current situation, discuss options and submit recommendations to Chancellor Kim Wilcox by April 15, 2020. The working group requests input from students, faculty and staff to inform its discussions through an online survey. Gonzalez, who sits on the working group, stated that the working group met that day, April 8.
He stated that based on the discussions at that meeting, “It looks like commencement will not be canceled … In June, they are looking to hold a virtual commencement … In addition to that, there will still be a physical commencement but it is all dependent on when it is safe to do so.” Gonzalez stated that from what they discussed, the earliest date possible for a physical commencement would be at the end of September because they need three months in advance to start planning. “Postponement of commencement will all be in correlation with guidelines set by the state of California and Riverside public health officials,” stated Gonzalez.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:23 p.m.