ASUCR Parliamentarian Andrew Leon-Bercovich began the eighth ASUCR meeting of the quarter on Feb. 24 by addressing an issue that arose regarding senators’ ability to vote on current ASUCR legislation while also filing for candidacy in the upcoming ASUCR elections.
Chapter 7 of the Elections Code states, “ASUCR Senators, Directors or Executive Cabinet members who have filed to run in ASUCR Elections or are planning to run, must recuse themselves from voting on any bylaw changes, resolutions, or new bylaw additions, or all affairs regarding elections after candidacy has been filed. Failure to do so may count towards election strikes, the assigning of which shall be determined by the Judicial Council.” This means that any member of ASUCR who has filed for candidacy will be unable to vote on any piece of legislation up until the ASUCR elections on April 23.
Executive Vice President Natalie Hernandez further explained that the issue they are facing is that 9 of 18 members of quorum have filed, leaving only nine members of the senate the opportunity to vote, However since most legislation requires a two-thirds majority vote from the senate, that means that at least 10 people would need to vote in favor of any piece of legislation. In order to rectify this error, EVP Hernandez and Parliamentarian Leon-Bercovich suggested adding a standing rule that would be in place until after the elections on April 23. Per Robert’s Rules of Order, a standing rule is a temporary rule which concerns the administration of the organization and is adopted by a majority vote of the senate.
The standing rule would only allow members of the senate that are running to abstain on any bill, having their vote go towards the majority and dismissing any conflict of interest. Members of the senate agreed that the best way to move forward would be to put the standing rule in order until April 23 and another senator will work on legislation for the upcoming meeting to rectify the issue in the ASUCR Constitution for future years. The standing rule was approved by the senate.
During Public Forum, Chief of Staff for the Office of Internal Affairs Preeti Juturu stated that they are in opposition to members running in the election voting on changes to the elections bylaw. They stated that there is a major conflict of interest involved and they may be self motivated to make certain changes. They also encouraged the senate to vote unanimously to pass SR-W21-009 Condemnation of Violence Against Asian Communities in the United States.
The senate resolution, which was primarily authored by Juturu, President Pro Tempore Orlando Cabalo and Personnel Director Sean Nguyen condemns the violence against Asian communities in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic but even more recently as violent hate crimes against the asian community have been on the rise.
The resolution also addressed transformative justice as a key tenet in addressing violent transgressions against individuals and/or groups in society without the creation of additional harm. The resolution will support collaboration with the City of Riverside and the greater Riverside community to ensure that there are resources available that promote Asian wellbeing and community-engagement. ASUCR will also work with several organization and departments on campus including Asian Pacific Student Programs, the Middle Eastern Student Center, the UCR Sociology Department and the UCR Asian American Studies Program “to discuss ways in which students, faculty and staff can establish an Asian focus group that discusses Asian identities, experiences and hate crimes through a critical race framework.”
“I asked for your wholehearted, genuine and truly supportive ‘I’ vote for this bill,” stated Juturu, urging the senate to take the resolution seriously and mobilize to create real change.
The senate resolution was passed with a vote of 9-0-8 since current candidates were only able to abstain from voting.
During senator reports, CHASS Senator Juan Morales updated the senate on a resolution that was passed through last week in support of a four-year major program for the UCR School of Business. Morales stated that the resolution did not pass through the academic senate.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:33 p.m.