G Novytiski / The Highlander

The fourth Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR) Senate meeting took place on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. All senators were present, excluding Senators Alex Lu, Kevin Nguyen, Kaden Ho and Anjana Narasimhan. The meeting began with a land acknowledgment to the local indigenous tribes who had lived in the land before and was called to order at 7:01 p.m.

The meeting also included the presence of the Executive Cabinet, with all members present except for VP of Finance Brandon Huang, Marketing and Promotions Director Uthinh Pham, Transfer Student Director Mahnoor Javed, First Time Student Director Andrew Bui and Elections Director Alexandra Arias.

The agenda was approved 15-0-0.

First on the Public Forum was Vice President of External Affairs Angel Renteria. He explained the importance of Dia de los Muertos, with it being a celebration to commemorate loved ones who passed away and them going to the afterlife. The Senate chamber had been set up with an ofrenda, and marigolds on each senate member’s desk, and they were encouraged to place the marigolds on the table in the back.

Next was Rachel Nguyen, the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) chair for the UCR chapter. She began with their clean energy campaign and how they were working on getting the UCs to all be using clean energy and renewable resources. Last week, CALPIRG finished their pledge drive and signed on 1300 new members. She ended with the events that CALPIRG plans on hosting later on in the quarter, like a smoothie-making event in Week 9, and said she looked forward to collaborating with ASUCR during Thanksgiving Break.

During Ex-Officio Reports, ASUCR’s Executive Cabinet came up to the podium one at a time to present the State of the Association (SOTA). During SOTA, each member would explain the work that each of their sections and committees had accomplished over the last quarter, ranging from training, event planning, bylaw changes, advocacy efforts and others.

After Ex-Officio Reports, ECAB Meeting Minutes #1 was opened and viewed by the Senate.

The meeting minutes were approved 15-0-0.

New Business brought with it Justice Ratifications for the judicial branch. The three candidates were presented by Chief Justice Arnav Kacker. Dean Acosta, who was said to have in-depth experience with elections, displayed eagerness and passion to join judicial, had experience with legal matters and did an internship with the Los Angeles District Attorney during the summer. Kashish Makker, who said to hold aspirations for pre-law, showed eagerness for tabling and lobbying, worked as a fellow and secretary of the court, and knew the expectations for the position. Walter Cho, who was said to have started as a fellow, is now a fellow of judicial and is excited to be part of the judicial making process. 

During the time for questions, the Senate brought up that they would like a moment to discuss, and the meeting was moved to a closed session. The Senate stated it was an important session because judicial appointments would last two years and would have a lasting impact beyond the time of some of the senators present. The meeting was moved to a closed session at 8:00 p.m. in a vote of 15-0-0.

The meeting returned at 8:35 p.m., and each judicial candidate was asked to come up to the podium to give a little speech about their qualifications and goals if they were to be elected as a Justice. After each candidate presented their speech, the Senate moved back to close session to prepare to vote.

After the meeting returned, a vote opened to approve all three judicial nominees. The vote to approve all of them was approved 13-0-0. A motion was made after to enter a 5-minute recess.

The next part of New Business was to approve the Afghan Earthquake Statement. Senator Rayhan Khan read the statement, which extended ASUCR’s unwavering support to the Afghan community on campus. He read a series of statements listed on the document and, in the end, mentioned campus resources for those who are affected by the event. The statement was approved 13-0-0.

Committee Reports began with SB-F23-004 Candidate’s Senate Meeting Requirement. The legislation had been previously tabled to make some amendments. President Pro Tempore Abby Choy explained that it was an amendment to the election bylaw to have candidates attend a Senate meeting before they are allowed to become elected officials. Senator Rashid Shah asked how they would prove that someone attended a meeting, and PPT Choy responded that it might be a picture or electronic record but that it would be up to the Election Director’s discretion. The Senate Bill passed 12-0-1.

Next for Committee Reports was Finance. Finance Meeting Minutes #3 was read by Senator Kaden Ho, outlining the ASUCR Contingency Budget as of now. The minutes were approved 13-0-0.

Finally, on Committee Reports was Green Grant #3 Highlander Space Program, which came with the Green Grant #3 Highlander Space Program Budget Sheet that outlined the budget. Senator Grace Su explained that the grant would allow for the Highlander Space Program (HSP) to build a rocket that uses clean fuel, and when the rocket is launched, it will disperse seeds. Their aim is to develop rockets that are beneficial to the environment and promote safe, efficient transportation. The Green Grant was approved 12-0-1.

No one came to the podium for Public Comment.

For Senator Reports, Senator K. Ho reported that he is sitting on the Legislative Review Committee (LRC)  and working with his fellow CNAS senators. He is also attending finance meetings and working with the Highlander Spirit Committee to plan the Women’s Volleyball tailgate.

Senator Nadia Colon reported that she is attending weekly LRC meetings, meeting once a month with her committees, working with the UC Student Association in installing cameras in the parking lot, and is confirming the date for the Town Hall.

For Roundtable and Announcements, Senator Khan thanked everyone who attended the Breast Cancer Awareness Event and thanked Executive Vice President Victoria Nguyen for her support.

PPT Choy reminded the Senate that LRC legislation would be due the day after the Senate Meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:18 p.m..