ASUCR appoints new elections director

Lydia Tsou/HIGHLANDER
Lydia Tsou/HIGHLANDER

This week’s ASUCR senate meeting saw the appointment of Melina Reyes as the new ASUCR elections director for the 2015-2016 school year.

Mahera Khan, a fourth-year sociology major, was also selected as the first director of transfer and nontraditional students for the first time in ASUCR history. This position was created after the student body voted to include the position as an amendment to the ASUCR constitution during spring 2015.

ASUCR President Ashley Harano met with Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and discussed three office goals. The first would work to further establish the Legacy Path, which originated from concern of first-year political science major, Julia Schemmer, regarding the colloquial naming of the area as the “rape trail”, which refers to the walkways near the A-I dormitory, and its possible contribution in normalizing rape in campus culture. Another goal would create the Meet the Chancellor Series, a Q-and-A series that would allow students to submit questions for the chancellor to answer. The last would establish a long-term committee for developing transparency within ASUCR.

Shafi Karim, ASUCR vice president of finance, discussed the R’Gear launch which is scheduled for first-year students at the Student Recreation Center (SRC) Arena on Jan. 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. For all classes, sweaters will be handed out at the Bear’s Den Jan. 13- Jan. 15 between the hours 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The campus organizer for CALPIRG, Tess Geyer, reported three campaigns that the organization would be working on throughout winter quarter, including banning plastic bags from Riverside County, attempting to have a pesticide banned due to its causation of bee colony collapses and moving toward enforcing stricter water regulations on Nestle’s bottling practices of which they deem to be illegal.

Reyes was the only nomination made by the ASUCR judicial council seen as fit for the position of elections director. Near the close of the meeting she was given three minutes to talk about herself and her goals as elections director. “There are definitely key points that I know need to be changed. One of those being … really just the violations reports in general and it tends to bring out a lot of nastiness in people and that’s something I think needs to be cut down ‘cause it’s making the student views on elections and ASUCR itself very negative and that is completely unnecessary.”

Reyes previously served as chief justice of ASUCR during spring 2015. During that time, the prior ASUCR senate attempted to remove her from that position, claiming that she was unfairly elected into the position and failed to perform the position’s duties. The senate’s decision was eventually overturned after administration had intervened at the close of spring quarter.

“One of the other ones I would say that I would like to work on is making sure that independent students actually have a chance to make it onto the horseshoe,” Reyes explained. She also asserted how she felt that she had proven her ability to remove herself from situations of conflict of interest throughout her last two years of service with ASUCR.

The senate voted Reyes as the new elections director with a vote of 11-2-1, exceeding the two-thirds vote required.

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