Alex Lopez / The Highlander

Returning for the second set of presidential debates, various candidates for the upcoming Associated Students of the University of California, Riverside (ASUCR) came together at HUB 269 to debate their platform. Featuring candidates running for Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (VPDEI), Vice President of Campus Internal Affairs (VPCIA) and Executive Vice President (EVP), the debate provided each candidate an opportunity to garner support through their platform.



Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Ahman Greene

“The main goal of my campaign is to continue and build off of all the progress that I’ve made as the current VPDEI.” Being the first person to hold this position, Ahman Greene, has been working on improving accessibility for various student groups on campus. Greene describes diversity as seeing people similar to you reflected in leadership positions on campus, equity as providing a proportionate amount of help needed on a case by case basis, and inclusion as providing “the ability for all students regardless of race, gender, creed, religion and sexual orientation to be allowed to participate in all student programs.” In order to continue motivating and retaining DEI staff members, Greene promised to remind them that while they are staff, they’re also family, and will work to build personal connections outside of meetings and duties with people on campus. Reflecting on his personal experiences on being marginalized and pushed away, Greene vows “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that no UCR student ever has to feel that way on our campus.”

Divya Singh

“Together we can build a community where every resource is at our fingertips and no opportunity is hidden from us.” Divya Singh emphasized the importance of knowing the various resources available on campus. Singh explained how DEI is different for every individual as experiences are heavily dependent on who someone is as a person. She summarizes diversity as acknowledging and celebrating differences, equity as every student needing the support they need regardless of circumstance and inclusion as creating spaces where everyone feels welcome. Singh’s plans to support DEI staff members is by reminding them why they are doing what they do, by “rewarding ourselves by seeing what we want to see happen.” Singh reminds attendees that “my campaign is not what I can do as an individual, but what I can help unite. How I take all of our experiences and streamline that into something that every single student is affected by on campus.”


Vice President of Campus Internal Affairs

Anjana Narasimhan

“My mission is to champion and support students in every facet of their lives, their culture, their careers and their overall experience at UCR.” Delving into creating opportunities, raising student voices to administration and spearheading campus-wide events, Anjana Narasimhan, current Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) Senator, shared how she plans on continuing to be a vocal advocate for students on campus. Narasimhan believes that the most prominent issue facing the undergraduate population is a general lack of awareness of what ASUCR can do, so she is determined to inform them of the abilities of ASUCR so that their issues can be heard and addressed. Over the past year, Narasimhan has been working on various initiatives like Global Fair, going to people in Costo Hall and in classes to hear out their concerns about things like registration and talking to students in BCOE on how they are going to manage their time. Narasimhan maintains, “we have to get the job done; we have to make sure that it’s not just words, it’s action, and that’s what I’ll get done as VPCIA.”

Nadia Aierken

“I aim to address the lack of communication between different departments on campus.” Nadia Aierken, current International Student Director, is eager to bridge the divide between departments on campus operating as individual entities. The most prominent issue Aierken believes needs to be addressed is the “lack of suitable parking spaces,” as she believes that UCR has not met the standards needed to make parking convenient and not hinder academic pursuits. Followed up by the lack of affordable housing and food insecurity issues. In order to hear out student concerns and voices, Aierken promises to go around to Student Life, different clubs and organizations and Costo Hall, since “experiencing for myself, and as student leaders, is also a crucial part of understanding what the undergraduate population is going through.” Aierken resolved, “let’s work together to make our campus even more inclusive, innovative and impactful.”

Leila Haidar

“As an elected official and direct liaison between the undergraduate student body and administration, I make sure that admin knows and does something about the problems we face on a daily basis.” Putting out examples such as working on accessible parking and the bureaucratic work behind the process, Leila Haidar, current College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) senator, explains why she is competent for the position of VPCIA. Haidar explained that one of the biggest challenges right now is accessibility to resources, as there are many available, but students just do not know about them. Furthermore, there are committees representative of each of the resources on campus, but they do not have student reps from those departments, so, for example, she aims to bring in Academic Resource Center (ARC) tutors to the Academic Affairs Committee to expand the knowledge of the committee. Haidar concluded, “I’m going to work on changing things on a systemic level within ASUCR; I want our committees to actually do something.”


Executive Vice President

Naia Pizarro

“Accessibility and accommodations, so it’s making our space more inclusive beyond public comment and office hours because that’s extremely limiting.” Naia Pizarro, current School of Public Policy (SPP) senator, touched on how she will make Senate meetings more accessible and inclusive. In order to effectively lead the Senate, Pizarro vows to streamline the processes and collaborations that senators undergo, as well as collaborate with students outside of the organization so that they know that “these positions are theirs too.” Pizarro justified her capability for the position by sharing her prior experience as director of Senate interns, where she helped direct intern projects, and as SPP senator, where she has worked to build stronger relationships with the college. Pizarro concluded that “promoting advocacy starts within the student body and remember, that at its core, that’s what we are, and really bringing those values to fruition.”

Ray Khan

“I commit to creating a campus where every student feels seen and supported. Together, we will make connections to prioritize your well-being and academic success.” Ray Khan, current College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) senator, promised to build a more diverse and dynamic community. In order to maintain transparency within student government and effectively lead the Senate, Khan stated that he would require senators to submit monthly reports that will be accessible to the student body to ensure accountability. During his time at ASUCR, Khan shared that he has worked on various “impactful” initiatives, from hosting a Walk to Cure Breast Cancer Awareness Event to being vice chair of the Legislative Review Committee, and that his commitment to his work demonstrated his ability to be the next EVP. Rallying support for his campaign, Khan stated, “I implore you to exercise your right to vote and join me in ensuring our voices are heard loud and clear. Together, let’s strive for strength and unity.”

To watch the debate, check out our recording on YouTube!