New ASUCR vice president of external affairs plans to increase diversity and student advocacy

Vincent Rasso was officially voted into office as the incoming 2020-2021 vice president of external affairs (VPEA) on May 13, 2020 during a special election hosted by ASUCR. Rasso is a third-year majoring in political science.

In an interview with The Highlander, Rasso referred to his previous ASUCR involvement as a great learning experience throughout his college journey thus far. During his time in student government, he served as the assistant to governmental relations director (GRD), and then as GRD himself during this school year. “I have grown so much as a student-advocate through opportunities to lobby in Sacramento and engage in meetings with administrative officials and legislators,” he affirmed. He added that it has been incredible to meet so many passionate students from UCR and every other UC campus who have valuable perspectives to bring to the table.

As the newly elected VPEA for this coming year, Rasso acknowledged the importance of his new responsibilities. He stated, “My role as VPEA will be critical for amplifying statewide student advocacy in response to the COVID-19 crisis and economic impact.” Rasso went on to explain that his position is integral to bringing student concerns to the forefront of large scale campaigns and initiatives that reach the UC Board of Regents as well as the UC Office of the President (UCOP). The VPEA also works with the California State Legislature in order to procure critical budget allocations for all of the University of California campuses, and above all, seeks to uplift the campus community to actively mobilize against institutional oppression.

According to Rasso, he has plenty of goals he will be working toward in his recently acquired position. If UCR’s campus remains closed due to COVID-19, he will be tasked with the difficult transition of student advocacy to an online format. Rasso plans on organizing campus and community partners in the hopes of strengthening solidarity, as well as maximizing student power as a collective and expanding student engagement in system wide opportunities such as student observers to the UC regents and student representatives on UCOP committees. He desires to create more opportunities for students by promoting political and career related events on campus, such as career fairs including nonprofits and legislative offices.

Rasso also emphasized his strong commitment to diversity. He stated that he is highly concerned with passing ACA 5 and advocating for the repeal of Proposition 209 that has been detrimental to supporting diversity across the state. Rasso explained that Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 actuates a ballot initiative to officially repeal Proposition 209, which is currently the state of California’s ban on affirmative action, an act that hinders equal opportunity for all races. 

He went on to say that he is aiming to recruit a more diverse collection of student leaders for the External Office in order to properly reflect the diversity of all Highlanders, from every background. Ultimately, Rasso stated that having a wider array of different backgrounds will encourage students on campus and remind them that external opportunities are always there for everyone.

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