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Senate will leave CHASS Senator vacancy unfilled

In a discussion over special elections for a vacant College of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) Senator seat, the Associated Students of the University of California, Riverside (ASUCR) Senate voted “no confidence” on the election. The vote will effectively leave the vacant position unfilled for the duration of the school year.

The discussion over vacancies comes in the wake of the resignation of CHASS Senator Alex Lu last week. Senator Lu had several impeachment charges levied against him, but resigned before an impeachment hearing. Because of this resignation, these charges did not lead to any official proceedings.

A majority of the Senate voiced opposition to filling the seat, questioning how a senator elected so close to the end of the school year could be effective. CHASS Senator Rachit Shah reflected on his own experience, having become a senator through a special election. “For me personally, when I joined in the middle of October, it took me 90 days for the full onboarding process to be officially completed,” stated Senator Shah.

Senator Roshan Kannan, who was also elected during special elections, shared his own opinion on the topic, “by doing special elections this late in the quarter, and by electing someone, I don’t believe it’s beneficial for them or for us. We’re putting a lot on their plate and asking them to speed things up and do something that we were taught over a span of a month or longer in one or two weeks.”

The senate voted 9-0-0 on a vote of no confidence, effectively leaving the Senate seat vacant for the remainder of the year.

Special elections are also intended to be held for CNAS Senator, SOE Senator, Nontraditional Student Director, and Elections Director for the upcoming academic year, according to the Elections Director Instagram page.

The Senate also passed multiple pieces of legislation unanimously, 9-0-0, last Wednesday, addressing topics ranging from ASUCR succession to facilities. Senate Bill S24-003, or The Smooth Transition of Power Act outlined new measures for aiding in the transition to new ASUCR members. The bill outlined a new exit survey for ASUCR elected officials and a “Leadership Succession Summit.

Senate Resolution S24-004, also passed on Wednesday, aims to push for “more accessibility in terms of social media and other media,” according to Senator Teesha Sreeram, a primary author of the bill. The bill calls for student organizations to implement photo IDs, or written descriptions of visual posts. It also asks that faculty include closed captions on videos and course materials, and that ASUCR create an “accessibility guide” for student organizations.

Other legislation passed include a resolution on facilities accessibility which “calls for UCR’s Facilities Services to conduct annual accessibility audits” prior to the start of the academic year, and for ASUCR to learn how to report malfunctioning facilities, and two Senate Bills which amended ASUCR bylaws.

Senate Meeting 23 of the school year was called to order at 7:07 p.m. and was adjourned at 7:37 p.m. Senators Ray Khan, Philson Ho, Kevin Nguyen, Grace Su, Kaden Ho, Anjana Narasimhan, Amariah Peedikayil and Crystal Toral were excused. 

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