ASUCR passes bill to implement proper methods to report discrimination on campus

On Wednesday, Jan. 13, ASUCR held their second meeting of the quarter and passed a resolution detailing the implementation of new protocol meant to make the process of reporting discrimination on campus easier for students. 

Joshua Wang /The Highlander

SR-W21-002 Protocol to Report Discrimination on Campus was submitted in partnership with the Middle Eastern Student Center (MESC), Community Outreach Director Samia Alkam, CHASS Senators Mufida Assad and Sebastian Quinteros, along with former SPP Senator Nava Majlesi. The senate resolution aims to find a more streamlined and efficient process for reporting discrimination on campus and will engage UCR’s Chief Diversity Officer, the campus’ eight ethnic and gender centers, ASUCR’s diversity counsel and UCR Administration. 

Samia Alkam presented SR-W21-002 to the senate and stated that the resolution was especially important after the national reckoning against police brutality that happened over the course of last summer. Alkam talked through the difficult process that students currently need to go through to report an act of discrimination that they have experienced on campus. The current process is difficult to manage, and there is no set way for students to report. One of the main issues, Alkam stated, is that the main function for reporting these acts is through UCPD. “[This] may alienate a lot of Black students who feel uncomfortable going to an institution they might even believe is apparently racist,” she stated. Alkam shared an anecdote about an instance of discrimination she faced on campus from a petitioner who made sexist, racist and Islamophobic comments towards her. After going to Student Conduct, Alkam said she was turned away, and nothing could be done about the situation because the petitioner was not a student at UCR. She acknowledged that the difficult process may discourage students from reporting in the future and will thus affect the data of UCR, making it unknown how many students are actually facing discrimination on campus. 

The model for the senate resolution follows that of the University of California (UC) Santa Cruz, which has a webpage specifically aimed toward providing resources for students who face hate and bias on their campus. Through this webpage, students have access to various report forms such as the Hate/Bias report form, the UCSC Police report form and the UC Systemwide report form. “I believe we should use UC Santa Cruz as a model and work together with the chief diversity officer in order to make filing reports regarding disrimiation a little bit easier on campus,” stated Alkam. 

SR-W21-002 Protocol to Report Discrimination on Campus passed with a vote of 14-0-0. 

During Public Forum, Ori Liwanag, fourth-year business major and campaign coordinator for CALPIRG, updated the senate on the efforts of the organization throughout the winter quarter.

CALPIRG is a statewide, student-run, student-funded organization across the UC system dedicated to bringing awareness to issues such as food insecurity, voter engagement and climate change. This quarter, CALPIRG at UCR is focused on tackling the climate crisis. The state of California currently has a commitment to clean electricity by 2045 but with Riverside having the poorest air quality in the country, the increase of wildfires in the state each year, “we know we can’t wait another 25 years to make that commitment,” stated Liwanag. He said CALPIRG will be pushing on California Gov. Newsom to accelerate this transition and make a commitment to clean electricity statewide by 2030. A recent two-week recruitment guide to engage students in CALPIRGs efforts attracted over 850 students, and they were able to hire 80 new interns to be involved in their campaigns, as well as 93 volunteers. “It’s really exciting to see so many students excited about making a difference,” stated Liwanag. 

Finally, Executive Vice President (EVP) Natalie Hernandez announced the Senator of the Month for December, CHASS Senator Christopher Kent. While acknowledging his highlights, EVP Hernandez stated that Kent is consistent in his work, constantly brings new legislation to the table and never fails to have a positive attitude. 

The meeting was adjourned at 6:58 p.m.

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