The Associated Students of UCR’s 24th meeting was called to order on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 in the ASUCR Senate Chamber. All senators were present, except CNAS Senator Rachel Paredes, CNAS Senator Catelin La, CHASS senator Tammar Akel and CHASS senator Lauren Garcia. Motions were called to add Green Grant 50, ASUCR Statement addressing Roe v Wade opinion and an update from the Judicial Council to the agenda, and a vote passed 14-0-0. Senate Bill SB-S22-002 was removed from the agenda as it required further approval. Motions to approve the agenda were called by CHASS senator Victoria Nguyen, and a vote was passed 14-0-0. Following this, an approval of previous meeting minutes was called by CHASS senator Aalani Richardson, and the vote passed 14-0-0.
Chief Justice Mohamad Almouazzen spoke during the Public Forum to deliver a statement from the judicial council regarding the Supreme Court statement for Roe v Wade. The council overall stands in support of Roe v Wade and stands in opposition of overturning it.
This transitioned into New Business that saw the delivery of ASUCR’s statement regarding the May 2 Supreme Court provisional Roe v. Wade decision. The statement was written by Preeti Juturu, Arshneel Kaur, Amina Hearns, and Hannah O’Brien. Juturu gave a presentation where she stated that they stand in support of students affected by this issue and advocated for various resources. ASUCR should adopt a letter to act in solidarity to support at-risk members of our community and mind the recommendations in the letters while working with administration and Academic Senate to come to a middle ground and ways to support students in general in our community. Courses should be structured to be more accommodating through adjusting S/NC deadlines and removing mandatory attendance. In addition, there will be an increase in contraceptive resources. UCR students, faculty and staff will be affected by protests until it is resolved. A request was made for the senate and ECAB to adopt this letter and send it to the public on behalf of ASUCR.
Ethnic and Gender Program Liaison Jeanine Nassar began Ex-Officio Reports. First, she explained how MESC and ASPB are cosponsoring an event with SJP in which they invited a Palestinian activist. More information is on the MESC instagram. She is currently in the process of trying to meet with the WRC and hopes to send a letter. She also discussed a meeting with Sen Richardson and EVP Assaf to change the E&G liaison’s bylaws.
Chief Justice Mohamad Almouazzen spoke on behalf of Judicial Council to deliver their statement in regards to the 2022-2023 ASUCR general student body election, primarily in regards to the disqualification of VP of Finance Candidate Lina Nguy. They first exposed that last week, the Judicial Council held a meeting with the Elections Director Tricia Sarmiento and Executive Director Laurie Sinclair, speaking of violations, processes and disqualification of Lina Nguy. Almouazzen noted that Nguy’s case was not the only one that they reviewed as 27 total violations occurred requiring almost 10 hours of judicial deliberation. The chief justice also addressed how they are constantly accused of bias, corruption, unfairness and breaking precedent through judicial process, stating that they deliberated the facts and scrutinized precedent and bylaws. Whether a violation was made or a sanction was merited, a primary set of parameters were established by Vice Chief Justice Fadi Zaki and followed.
Almouazzan expressed to the senate that although the Judicial Council is passionately dedicated to its role, the council is still made up of students, with academic and career responsibilities. They stated that even without holding a trial, they spent hours concluding their deliberations and decisions. According to Almouazzen, the precedent was set by the council to not hold a trial and he explained why a trial was not warranted. However, the Chief Justice did take full responsibility for his poor communication as the council did not notify Lina in a timely manner.
The disqualification of Lina Nguy as discussed in the statement was caused by an instance of 5 separate posts being made, with the evidence up for a minimum of seven hours. Elections endorsements were not allowed this year to prevent underground slate and political parties and the Chief Justice explained that this merited a violation. With a review of the evidence and election code, they treated each post as a separate strike.
The senators on the roundtable had many questions and concerns for the Chief Justice. CHASS senator Christopher Kent asked why the judicial council is going against democracy and the lack of transparency for their decision making process and got the response that the council was under a number of protocols that required their review to remain confidential and ensure the safety of the individuals involved. CHASS senator and President Pro Tempore Orlando Cabalo questioned how other situations, such as reposting multiple times, would be handled. The Chief Justice elaborated on how each violation would be handled on a case by case basis. Transparency was also another concern of Cabalo’s and the Chief Justice explained their delays to be the result of the hectic quarter and studying. Senator Vivek Patel simply asked whether or not Lina was given a warning and the Chief Justice explained that she was not given one. She was however given a trial as learned through a question by CNAS senator Myra Usmani.
Executive President William Wang was very vocal about his thoughts regarding the situation and cited the elections as poorly run due to the changes in the rules that occurred as the elections themselves were in progress. “If you change the rules, how is it fair for other candidates?” He voiced his support for a strike system as he noted that there should be a need for consequences for violations, however, there should be a better defined set of rules in the elections code for fair election. Executive Vice President Assaf supported the idea of getting the election rules set in stone prior to the election and ensured that she has spoken with officials to make sure this occurs.
Senator Usmani noted that the students ultimately voted for Lina Nguy to be the victor and questioned why the judicial system did not reach out before she was disqualified and why she was not given a trial. The Chief Justice explained that Lina Nguy appealed Sunday night prior to the conclusion of the election and had reached out to her regarding the decision and appeal. A trial is given based on a precedent, that in this case was not present. An appeal hearing was held but no new information was provided. The Chief Justice has stated that he believes Judicial have done everything they can and will be more transparent and accessible and posting decisions. “Per the laws of the representatives, Lina was in violation and acted in accordance. We made the right decisions, ensuring student interest is protected.”
Committee reports then saw a review of Finance Hearing Minutes #2 for the meeting that took place April 22. In this hearing, President Wang requested $7689 to order merchandise to promote athletic games. Motions to approve Finance Hearing Minutes #2 by senator Cristian Torres and passed 10–0-1.
CHASS senator Christopher Kent motioned to open up Green Grant 50. This included a discussion of an event called Ride Our Side taking place on April 21 that encourages students to ride their bikes. They requested $4000 for this event, and this was approved by the senate, passing 11-0-0.
Senate resolution SR-S22-003 In Support of the Creation of a Transfer & Non-Traditional Center was also on the docket and aims to establish a Transfer-non-Traditional center as described by senator David Kiroloss. TNT Director Roxanna Vasquez discussed the creation of the TNT Center resolution. A visual presentation was delivered to go over the details of the project. The UC’s goal is to produce 200 thousand undergraduate and graduate degrees by 2030. They hope to increase transfer graduation rates and close the graduation gap for first generation students. Motions passed to approve this resolution 12-0-0.
Another resolution, SR-S22-004 UC Divestment from Apartheid, was then read. This piece of legislation called to demand UC Divestment from Israel as they have been committing human rights violations. E&G Liaison Nassar discussed how this resolution serves for students as justice for Palestine. This legislation has been a work in progress worked with students, faculty and administration. It was described as a UC movement happening all across the UC system, exposing how the system takes part in something that is morally wrong such as UCR supporting Israeli-owned Sabra and how that money goes to supporting war crimes. Motions passed to approve the resolution 11-0-1.
The meeting concluded with multiple senator reports and announcements from senators. Reports were delivered by senator Richardson, senator Martinez and senator Alba. Senator Paredes announced that posts for a food drive are up, and she texted marketing and promotions director Wallace Fang to promote it. Senator Victoria Nguyen discussed that she is hosting an event panel with the VP of External Affairs Rasso for the California 100 event. The meeting was then adjourned at 9:17 p.m.