Cecile Diroll / The Highlander

The fourteenth Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR) Senate meeting took place on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. All senators were present except for senators Ray Khan, Teesha Sreeram, Alex Lu, Leila Haidar, Natalie Trutalli, Grace Su, Anjana Narasimhan and President Pro Tempore (PPT) Abby Choy who were all excused. PPT Choy joined the meeting at 7:40 p.m. The meeting was called to order at 7:11 p.m.

The meeting agenda was approved unanimously.

First on the meeting agenda was approval of the previous week’s meeting minutes. Senate Meeting Minutes #13 was approved 10-0-0.

Next for the meeting was public forum. During public forum, two Dean’s Brand Ambassadors from the School of Public Policy (SPP) came to announce some of the events that they were hosting. One will take place on Mar. 4 regarding a student spotlight, with the earliest one being Feb. 28 with an alumni speaker who is a local organizer for labor unions.

Next on the agenda was approving ECAB Meeting Minutes #2. The details of the meeting was presented by President Ankita Ahluwalia who shared that she, along with Executive Vice President Victoria Nguyen and Vice President of External Affairs Ángel Rentería, attended a protest for the undocumented students community. She also advertised the Global Fair, which occurred on Feb. 23, and that ECAB has been continuing their Ethnic & Gender Center conversations. For more information on the event, check out page 12 for “Celebrating diversity and talent at the Global Fair” by Features Editor, Natalie Dahl. The minutes were approved 10-0-0.

There was nothing on the agenda for new business.

For committee reports, the first thing to be reviewed was Finance Meeting Minutes #6. The information from the meeting was presented by CNAS Senator Kaden Ho. He explained how the committee has approved organization allocations, a grant request by Mujeres Unides de UCR, funding for R’Gear, new microphones for the Senate Chamber, budget for the elections platform and a budget for Hill Day at Washington D.C. EVP Nguyen then elaborated that the Senate microphones initiative has been worked on by PPT Choy as well as Executive Director Asha Nettles and included working microphones for the senators, a new master control and a mic for the podium, and will be an investment for many years in the future. The minutes were approved 10-0-0.

Four senate bills were proposed by the Legislative Review Committee (LRC). The first one was SB-W24-004: Amendment of Chapter VII, Item 6, Section C: Reference of ASUCR in Campaign which Senator Roshan Kannan explained wrapped up loose ends brought up by ASUCR Judicial Cabinet regarding candidates using the ASUCR name and school mascot in their platform. This bill would prevent candidates from using the mascot or ASUCR name in their campaigns and platforms. The Senate discussed and agreed that they would have to clearly define what “a mascot” is referring to. The Senate then moved to closed session as some of the Senate had to abstain from the vote due to their status as a possible candidate. The bill was approved 5-0-5.

The next senate bill was SB-W24-005: Chapter 57 Bylaw Amendment. This amendment proposed changing the position of First-Time College Student Director to a nine-month position. EVP Nguyen then proposed that they change it to a twelve month position. She shared her former experience as First-Time College Student Director and said it would be helpful for the Director to serve throughout the year, especially since many freshmen are eager to interact during orientation and the First-Time College Student Director typically does not work at that time. The bill was tabled 10-0-1.

The next bill was SB-W24-006: Chapter 4 Re: ASUCR Reserve Policy. Vice President of Finance (VPF) Brandon Huang explained that they have been working on restructuring the reserves and organizing them based on their uses. This would allow for ASUCR to use their funds throughout the year rather than letting it accumulate over time. At the end of the year, the Executive Director and VPF will rebudget the leftovers. The bill was passed 10-0-1.

The final bill presented for the night was SB-W24-007: President Bylaw Changes in Accommodation of new Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Role. According to Senator Kannan, Judicial Council noticed that some of the responsibilities under the President interfered with the duties of the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (VPDEI). This legislation would remove these responsibilities from the President and solely assign them to VPDEI. The bill was passed 11-0-0.

No one came up to the podium for Public Comment. 

During Senator Reports, Senator Nadia Colon announced that she has been attending meetings with the Executive committee, attending LRC and Public Safety Committee meetings, and will be doing a debate on homelessness with the SPP. Senator Juan Campos announced that he has worked with first-year fellows on the Campus Safety Initiative and Textbook Initiative to increase textbook accessibility and will now work with the Academic Senate on this matter. He also will be tabling with Campus Safety on Wednesday.

During Roundtable and Announcements, Senator Amariah Peedikayil reiterated that the Global Fair will be happening, and that the BCOE Town Hall will take place Feb. 28 from 5-7 p.m. at the Senate Chambers. EVP Nguyen announced that Thursday, Feb. 29, is the ASUCR Open House and that all elected official student representatives will be at HUB 302 with stations regarding their achievements and their plans for the rest of their term. The Open House will happen Feb. 29 from 1-3 p.m. and free tote bags will be given to the first 150 students who go to engage with them.

The meeting adjourned at 7:54 p.m.