ASUCR senate discusses possible gender studies requirement

ASUCR Senators called representatives in the Academic Senate to show their support for a gender studies requirement.
Martin Lopez/HIGHLANDER

The ASUCR senate’s fourth general meeting of the quarter convened in the senate chambers shortly after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17. The bulk of the brief meeting was given over to fourth-year political science, law and society major and former CHASS senator Summer Shafer, who presented a series of updates on the gender studies requirement currently making its way through committees of UCR’s faculty-run academic senate. In their April 26 meeting, the ASUCR senate declared its unanimous support for the requirement, which would mandate that students take a class centered on gender and sexuality in order to graduate.

Shafer began by informing the gathered senators of her recent communications with the academic senate’s Gender Studies Ad Hoc Committee, members of which are in charge of reviewing the proposed requirement and presenting it to the senate at large for approval. According to Shafer, the committee was supposed to have finalized its proposal for the executive committee two weeks ago; however, its delay — which, Shafer acknowledged, could most likely be chalked up to the committee’s thorough drafting and review process — may threaten the success of pushing the requirement forward.

“Basically, if the ad hoc committee does not send (its) report to the executive committee by this Friday (May 19) in order for them to have it by Monday to review it, then it won’t be able to go to all the necessary committees and then back to the executive committee to be put on the agenda,” she explained.

The requirement “has to be set on the agenda this year,” Shafer insisted. Otherwise, she believes, its chances of implementation will wane during the long process of committee review next year.

Shafer proceeded to enlist the senators to call the ad hoc committee to voice their support for the requirement, passing out a script to aid them in doing so. Green Campus Action Plan Director Bryan Martinez was the first to call; the rest of the senate then followed suit immediately after.

Shafer concluded by taking questions and suggestions from the senate. CHASS Senator and 2017-18 President-elect Aram Ayrapetyan proposed that petitions in support of the requirement be sent out to campus organizations in order to gather signatures in “blocks,” a strategy Shafer herself used while advocating for the requirement two years prior. Shafer approved of this and agreed with Ayrapetyan’s assessment that one of the requirement’s main obstacles was student awareness, rather than resistance from the student body.

Near the end of the meeting, Ayrapetyan invited his fellow senators to help him set up a “summit” between ASUCR and the directors of Costo Hall, the campus’ center of diversity-focused programs. “I think in the past ASUCR has kind of not really been a great support system for Costo Hall,” he said. “They’ve managed to do a lot of amazing things on their own, but it would be awesome if next year we worked together a bit more — you know, (to) share our resources and just (be) a better ally.”

The meeting concluded at 6:39 p.m.

Highlights:

  • CNAS Senator TK Nguyen announced the #NotAskingForIt fashion show that will take place on Tuesday, May 30. The show will highlight issues surrounding sexual assault and victim-blaming.
  • CHASS Senator Jonathan Javier announced that a professional networking dinner will be hosted by the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) on Thursday, May 25 from 6-9 p.m. at the Alumni and Visitors Center.
  • CNAS Senator and 2017-18 Executive Vice President-elect Carisha Moore said she wants to work on a campus housing insecurity initiative; she hopes to reach out to local churches for assistance.

 

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