The fourth Senate Meeting of the Winter Quarter called to order at 7:03 P.M. CHASS Senator Andrew Bui, CHASS Senator Alex Lu, CNAS Senator Shukan Shah, CNAS Senator Kyle Cheng were late to the meeting. Excluding BCOE Senator Chloe Au, all were present for the meeting. With a friendly amendment to move New Business before Committee Reports and adding Finance Hearing Minutes #4 onto the agenda, the agenda was passed 13-0-0.
The VP of External Affairs Government Relations Director Angel Renteria expressed solidarity with “all of the women and female identifying people” in the Senate, urging everyone to reconsider what ASUCR means. In addition, a concern was brought up about the ~$10,500 allocated for a musical event by ASUCR. Chief Justice of Judicial Council Alexandria Arias announced that an elections director candidate would be introduced later in the meeting for ratification, among other updates.
Marketing and Promotions Director Phanxico Hoang presented the HEAT proposal to provide clarifications about the event, and present its logistics. Hoang claims the event is not a concert rather it is a showcase for student DJ’s without a platform.
Vice President of External Affairs Amina Hearns asked for clarification about Hoang’s plans to address the sensory overload concern for HEAT. Director Hoang reported he has consulted Programs Coordinator Mayan Gutierrez with logistics, addressed the concerns about sensory issues, and plans to resolve the matter by providing a decompression room. VPEA Hearns believes Indigenous students, Black students, and other POC students are the ones who are greatly underrepresented and needs exposure. Hearns suggests prioritizing their voices in the HEAT event. In terms of her personal opinion, she voiced that she still does not fully support ASUCR hosting the HEAT event.
In response to SOE Sen. Leyan Elkatat’s question about the difference between HEAT as an event hosted by ASUCR rather than ASPB, Director Hoang argued HEAT would be the centerpiece of ASUCR: a tradition for students to know what ASUCR has to offer and showcase student DJs. CNAS Sen. Brenden Cano reiterated multiple times that ASPB would be more suitable hosts for this event. ASPB has 4 times as much funding, based on what they attain from tuition. ASUCR would have to scale down on some of the budget to save for elections. Hoang commented that the idea for the event was unprecedented and ambitious, but sees it as a great opportunity for ASUCR. Sen. Cano was concerned that the event will blur the line between ASUCR and ASPB, commenting that they would have to be clear it is an ASUCR event. Despite these concerns, Director Hoang expressed that he remains hard set on the HEAT event.
President Pro-Tempore Aalani Richardson requested a better outline of the event. Since the event is using ASUCR funds, PPT Richardson commented that the event planning should include ASUCR in the conversation and selection as well. In agreement with Hearns, PPT Richardson pushed for placing priority on representing BIPOC communities. President Mufida Assaf stated that this should not be an event that ASUCR hosts and suggested a collaboration with ASPB. President Assaf urged Director Hoang to not use the existing budget considering ASUCR can not pull funds from contingency and reserve accounts to host other programs like women’s safety programs.
Director Hoang has reached out to ASPB. While the conversation between ASUCR and ASPB has reached a halt, Hoang decided to proceed with HEAT in the meantime. President Assaf reached out to ASPB and found that ASPB has some animosity against the event which is why they have not been responding. According to President Assaf, ASPB does not believe money should be allocated until everything has been properly planned. Director Hoang was not aware of the rift between ASUCR and ASPB: he plans on contacting them. SPP Sen. Sean Nguyen suggested contacting VP of Finance Christian Martinez to see how the current ASUCR financial situation is before making a decision.
In response to the questions of ensuring the representation of BIPOC communities, the Marketing & Promo Director responded that a soft revival of HEAT and new ideas would allow students to share their cultures through art. President Assaf restates that ASUCR is not responsible for showcasing events which should be done under ASPB. President Assaf states that what was presented to ASUCR compared to what was discussed between Marketing & Promo Director and President Assaf in private was not correlating. President Assaf requested a meeting to rediscuss HEAT with ASPB included. The Marketing & Promo Director suggested open applications for 2 weeks to select a DJ. Afterwards, the marketing team would choose 5 candidates to perform at HEAT. Director Hoang states that he would be more than happy to open the selection process to the rest of ASUCR to counter possible biases. A motion to table conversation to the next Senate Meeting passed 16-0-0.
Following this, President Assaf spoke on behalf of 5 of 6 members of the Executive Cabinet: the Executive Vice President, the VP of Campus Internal Affairs, the VPEA, VP of Sustainability, as well as herself, and described the unfair process witnessed during last Senate Meeting’s voting process in regards to the Associate Justice candidate. Assaf pointed out the clear biases of the members of Kappa Sigma, an unsanctioned fraternity. She asserted that, “Numerous individuals have privately expressed feeling threatened and unsafe to speak out against these behaviors out of fear of potential retaliation from certain members.”
The President revealed the vote count for candidate Reem Chamas’ election was 9-5-0, with the reasons for rejection are unknown. Assaf stated that secretive closed door discussions were not fair voting processes, and expressed how “Voting in a closed ballot robs UCR students of a fair, transparent process and can lead to senators making deals or decisions based on personal interests or biases.” She reminded the senate of their responsibility as elected officials that represent the student body: to act in a professional and transparent manner at all times.
She reminded the Senate that those who are especially influenced by affiliations and special interests had no place in the Senate. Those who exhibit these behaviors were asked to remove themselves from the senate. VPEA Hearns expressed gratitude to President Assaf’s speech. Hearns listed all Senators who mentioned “transparency” during their elections campaigns last year.
Two elections took place, beginning with Chief Justice Arias stating the rules and guidelines for the voting process. Arias reminded the Senate that members of ECAB and Judicial may be motioned to join the discussion. A ⅔ vote would be needed for approval of the candidate. The two candidates that were interviewed were Elizabeth Tran for Elections Director and Galilea Reos for Associate Justice. Both were approved 15-1-1 in a closed ballot.
During the committee reports the senate reviewed four new bills. SB-W23-008 Amendments to Chapter 21 Senate Apathy Act was passed 16-0-1. SR-W23-001 Extending HUB Plaza Dining Hours was explained by Exec. Fellow Leila Haidar and would extend hours of operation for the restaurants located at the HUB. With a friendly amendment the motion passed 14-0-3. SR-W23-002 Expanding the Meditation Room on Campus was introduced by PPT. Richardson as a resolution that is in favor of expanding the meditation rooms on campus. According to Sen. Elkatat, the current meditation room is small and located in an unpopular location especially for students with disabilities. The motion passed 15-0-2. SR-W23-003 Scooter Safety Initiative Resolution was created in response to the increased scooter accidents rampant on campus. CNAS Sen. Jules Yang commented that this was for the safety of on-campus students who have been injured by scooter accidents, working with TAPS to create more guidelines and training. According to Sen. Nguyen, this bill would make it so that UCR treats scooters like how UCR treats bikes, in terms of getting vehicles registered. The motion passed 15-0-2.
The Green Grant Application 13 was introduced by VP of Sustainability Alondra Martinez as a grant for R’Cycle Co-op. The grant was approved 17-0-0. In order to build resistance to termites the Green Grant Application 14 uses rice husks, a more sustainable material. According to VP of Sustainability Martinez, rice husks are donated; partially made of recyclable plastic. The grant was approved 17-0-0.
CHASS Sen. Brandon Huang presented Finance Hearing Minutes #4. The Organization Contingency’s opening balance was $12,286 and the Organization Contingency’s closing balance was $2,976. ASUCR Contingency’s opening balance was $64,502 and ASUCR Contingency’s closing balance was $64,502. The minutes were approved 17-0-0.
During Public Comments Aram Ayra discussed her excitement about the extended hub dining hours legislation that was just passed. Although there is no guarantee that it will be in effect this year, there will be an effort to have it be in effect by Feb. 16. Pratika Prasad reminded the Senate about Senate-in-seconds.
With a few announcements from the senators, the meeting was adjourned 11:12 P.M.