ASUCR: Senators approve changes in Elections Code

Matt Hong/HIGHLANDER

With student government elections only months away, ASUCR unanimously passed revisions to the Elections Code, such as adding gender-inclusive language. In addition, a proposal to extend library hours before finals week was delayed due to bylaw restrictions preventing an allocation of funds required for the extension.

After allowing senators to propose changes during last week’s senate meeting, Elections Director Stephanie Rose offered an update to the Elections Code to the chamber.

Senator Summer Shafer requested changes in the Election Code to make the language more gender-inclusive. This involved changing phrases under the application process that previously stated “he/she” to “the candidate” to be more respectful to those of diverse gender backgrounds.

President Pro Tempore Devin Plazo, continuing with the changes, added a clause in the bylaws stating that candidates must read both the entire constitution and bylaws and should be able to summarize the duties of their position.

Senator Herman Sangha asked Rose whether there would be an enforcement mechanism. Rose said she would create a form that would be signed by candidates to verify that they have read the bylaws.

Senator Akeem Brown said that this clause could only serve as “a nudge,” encouraging candidates to conduct a thorough reading of the bylaws. Plazo further clarified that the additional clause, in conjunction with Rose’s form, will serve as a contract, preventing candidates from using ignorance as an excuse if they were to violate any bylaws during their candidacy.

Senators also approved a bylaw updating their current policy on campaigning in on-campus housing. University housing policy strictly prohibits campaigning — such as flyer distribution and going door-to-door — on campus housing. The changes state that if the Residence Hall Association permits campaigning, then it must abide by both housing policies and the Elections Code.

All Elections Code changes were passed unanimously.

Vice President of Internal Affairs Fernando Echeverria is attempting to approve a contract with the UCR libraries to extend library hours to 24 hours, beginning the Wednesday during week 10 to the Wednesday during finals week. Echeverria needs $3,000 to approve the contract by Feb. 4, the deadline set for its finalization.

To obtain these funds, the finance committee would have to approve the proposal before the next senate meeting. If approved, this would increase ASUCR’s library allocation from $5,000 to $8,000 a quarter for the remainder of the academic year.

The finance committee, however, could not pass the proposal during their Monday meeting as it wasn’t presented; therefore the committee would have to wait until the following Monday to pass the resolution. If the committee approves the allocation, bylaws mandate that the senate wait until Wednesday to approve the funds.

This was problematic as the contract needed to be signed and approved by the following Wednesday by library representatives and ASUCR Executive Director Laurie Sinclair. The senate looked for ways to approve the allocations ahead of time if the proposal was accepted by the finance committee to speed up the process.

Executive Vice President Michael Ervin suggested temporarily suspending the finance bylaws; however, according to Chapter 21, Section 1 of the ASUCR bylaws, suspensions are only allowed if there is a clause in that particular bylaw that explicitly states it can be suspended. As the finance committee bylaws did not include that clause, a suspension was not granted.

Echeverria motioned for a standing vote, asking the senate to display their willingness to accept his proposal in the future. With this vote, he hopes to secure a contract extension by convincing Sinclair and the UCR libraries that he will be able to attain the funding for the contract. The motion was passed unanimously.

 

Full video coverage of ASUCR senate meetings is available online at youtube.com/UCRChannelH.

 

Highlights:

-Vice President of External Affairs Abraham Galvan announced he intends to vote “yes” on the University of California Student Association (UCSA) Israeli Divestment resolution, calling for divestment from corporations that do business with the Israeli government, at the next UCSA meeting at UCLA on Feb. 7.

-Senator Akeem Brown proposed either flyers or a mass email to address classroom etiquette to students, such as not packing up before a professor finishes speaking.

-The new ASUCR website now includes the most recent press releases from senators and contact information to all executive cabinet and senate officials in ASUCR.

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