Letter to the Editor: Transparency Whenever Possible

And here’s how:

There is now a direct line of communication between every UCR undergraduate student and the President of your student government to get feedback. I want there to be a whole new level of transparency, unseen on this campus since UCR opened in 1954. I promised the incoming first-year class during my convocation speech that I would be your “servant-in-chief”, and this is one way I am serving you.

Something I have come to understand since taking office is that a reality exists alongside my ideals of ASUCR. My beliefs in transparency are tempered with not giving you, the students, a false sense of reality that full disclosure on all of our actions is practical or even possible. Don’t get me wrong, to say most operations in our student government cannot be transparent is misguided and unfounded – it can and ought to be.

The few circumstances where we cannot release the complete admission of processes have been mandated in our constitution for the protection of students, namely personnel matters. These are not released to the public for the same reason you would not want your job history or private information posted on your Facebook timeline. At times, I am entrusted with confidential information, which comes with the understanding that breaking that trust risks worse consequences for our student body. Such an understanding requires a tempering of actions and decision, a tempering I do in the best interest of the

student body collective.

Often in pursuit of wanting to live up to our constitution, we interpret the laws and precedent laid down for us in ways that do not always have unanimous consent. Our student government is not immune to such honest mistakes.

Just last Wednesday, I presented my nominations for the Judicial Branch to be approved by Senate, where they were able to question the nominees on their qualifications. As the public saw, there was dissent as to how that process should have gone. My decision was informed by precedent: since the inception of the ASUCR Judicial Branch, it has been the President who made the nominations.  My interpretation of the constitution and bylaws, as guided by set precedent*, was such that my office conducted the nomination process and presented the finalists for Senate, Executive Cabinet, and Directors to ask the nominees any

inquiries before senate confirmation. What was made clear, and as I have come to agree with, the level of collaboration on those appointments could have been more extensive. This was a perfect example of my constitutional interpretation and desire to work as a team contradicting one another. The trade-off resulting in a presentation that was perceived as lacking transparency. It will be improved upon for the final Justice nomination, and we will work collaboratively to clarify the inconsistencies within our bylaws and constitution.

To put into context, this hiccup in our meeting will in no way impact the value ASUCR strives to provide you with everyday. Our projects, our outreach, and our Senate are tools for you to use to make your college experience the best in can be. To promise you perfection would be foolish. It is very likely that we will all make mistakes somewhere. To promise you excellence though, is a goal above all others. Our mission, serving you, is the holy grail.

Sincerely,

Nafi Karim

ASUCR President

 

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