ASUCR holds special elections for incoming president pro tempore and vice president of external affairs; elections director vote tabled until next week

At the ASUCR meeting held on Wednesday, May 13, two bills were passed regarding the addition of stipends to positions under the Office of Internal Affairs and update of positions under the Vice President of Internal Affairs Committee. 

CHASS Senator Angelica Garcia presented senate bill SB-S20-003 in which she proposed the addition of a stipend of $990 for the positions of commissioner of basic needs, commissioner of diversity and communications director. “We really want to ensure that this position that has put in a lot of work does get the stipend that they deserve,” stated Garcia. SB-S20-003 passed with a vote of 11-0-2. Vice President of Internal Affairs Jocelyn Ortiz presented senate bill SB-S20-004 which further elaborated on the job descriptions and duties of the commissioner of basic needs, commissioner of diversity and communications director. SB-S20-004 passed with a vote of 12-0-01.

A screenshot of the ASUCR Zoom meeting.

During Ex-Officio Reports, Elections Director Dyanna Castaneda addressed concerns that were given last week regarding ASUCR’s elections website. During Public Forum last week, a student stated that there was a lack of updates on the website which accounted for the low voter turnout of 11.14%. Castaneda stated that she did not know there was a tab for voting instructions on the website and mentioned that ASUCR is working on a postelections feedback survey that will be sent out to students next week. She also addressed the comment made about low voter turnout stating, “Typically voter turnout is 10 to 13% … I don’t agree with the fact that that’s low at all.” ASUCR President Julian Gonzalez also gave an update on various meetings he had been involved in, including for commencement 2020. He stated that there has been a proposal to have a virtual celebration where students can send in their photo along with a message that will be broadcast on Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 2 p.m. 

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m. with special elections for the president pro tempore and the vice president of external affairs beginning at 8:30 p.m.

The senate voted to table the elections director vote that was scheduled for this meeting until next Wednesday’s meeting due to misunderstandings surrounding the elections director nomination.

During special elections, the only candidate who ran for the position of incoming president pro tempore was incoming CHASS Senator Orlando Cabalo. Cabalo was given two minutes to give a speech and was then prompted with questions from the senate. 

Cabalo stated that his extensive experience in ASUCR working under former and current president pro tempores Preeti Juturu and Miguel Ramirez, respectively, has made him the ideal candidate for the position. He began to describe his experience with lobbying and passing legislation before being cut off due to connection issues. Incoming CHASS Senator Alyssa Marchan asked Cabalo, “How can you make sure that the senate works together in unity to build projects that will benefit all UCR students?” He stated that by making sure senators are more involved with basic needs groups and Costo Hall, they will be able to focus on the needs of UCR students and will be able to mold upcoming projects around those needs.

After a brief deliberation, the incoming senate voted in favor of making Cabalo the incoming president pro tempore with a vote of 18-0-0.

Vincent Rasso, a third-year political science major, and Julian Brambila, a third-year public policy major, both ran for the position of vice president of external affairs (VPEA). Rasso began his speech by highlighting his extensive experience in ASUCR as a member of Lobby Corps during his first year, assistant director during his second year and then as director of government relations during his third year as well as a board member for the UC Student Association (UCSA), the UC’s system wide student government. “The next vice president of external affairs will be tasked with a massive responsibility to uplift UCR students at the time of an unprecedented crisis … I feel qualified to be that leader for ASUCR,” stated Rasso. He added that he has been proactive in establishing connections at the UC Regents level and even at the UC Office of the President. 

During his speech, Brambila acknowledged the sudden changes students were faced with due to the COVID-19 pandemic stating, “Next year’s VPEA will be tasked with representing our students’ legislative and advocacy priorities in such difficult times … I believe I have the capabilities to lead an external office that can do just that.” Brambila also highlighted his involvement in Lobby Corps, the City Relations Committee and UCSA. Brambila stated that his goals as VPEA would be to repeal Proposition 209, California’s ban on affirmative action, drop the SAT and ACT requirement for college admissions and to put an emphasis on Title IX reform.

After deliberations, the incoming senate elected Vincent Rasso as the incoming VPEA with a two-thirds vote of 12-6-0.

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