ASUCR President Executive Order

Executive Orders:

Given the competing interpretations and confusion in regards to the ASUCR Constitution, Bylaws, and Judicial Rules of Procedure and questions over the fairness of the actions taken by the ASUCR Senate and members of the Executive Branch during last night’s senate meeting, I have issued and am issuing again an Executive Order (relayed earlier this morning to the ASUCR Executive Director) to suspend and temporarily nullify the expulsion of Chief Justice Melina Reyes and Justice Daniel Ojo, and ordering their reinstatement as ASUCR Justices to serve in normal constitutional capacity in order to meet quorum and to evaluate the constitutionality of the actions (in question per the discussion attached below) taken by members of ASUCR during last night’s meeting. I am also issuing an executive order for the ruling on the constitutionality the actions in question (see below) and interpretation of the ASUCR Constitution, Bylaws and Judicial Rules of Procedure.
These executive orders are given for the following reasons:

Judicial Council is the only body with the authority to give a final ruling in regards to this and similar conflicts of interpretation and conflict within the branches as constituted in the ASUCR Constitution (f) Shall have the responsibilities of knowing the ASUCR Constitution and By Laws, and granted sole authority to resolve conflicts between the Legislative or Executive Branches and/or within the branches themselves;

ASUCR Judicial Rules of Procedure, Section 11  (b) All questions of interpretation of the ASUCR Constitution;

Section 12 Jurisdiction: Authority (a) The Judicial Council shall have the ultimate authority to interpret the wording of the ASUCR Constitution; and that of legislation enacted in accordance to the ASUCR Constitution (granted the power through the  ASUCR Constitution Article VI, section C); and

ASUCR Constitution ARTICLE VI: Judiciary Branch SECTION E. Powers of the Judicial Branch

  1. The Judiciary Branch shall have the expressed explicit authority to:
    (a)    Review conflict of interest cases within the ASUCR;

(c)    Verify the legality of all approved legislation and any extraneous cases which are brought before the Judicial Council as needed;

These rulings granted the powers through these executive orders shall be final as prescribed in ASUCR constitution:
ARTICLE VI SECTION F. Finality

All decisions from the Judicial Council shall be final unless reversed by subsequent council action.
Addendum: These Executive Orders are open to the public.

Addendum: Further, these Executive Orders are issued due to matters that are urgent and necessary to maintain the functioning of the ASUCR, such as the functioning of the ASUCR Judicial Branch and the verification process of the ASUCR elections results.

Sincerely,
Nafi Karim

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R’Gear Press Release

My Fellow Highlanders:

I made a campaign promise to the student body to increase campus pride, and a convocation promise to the Class of 2018 in return for your promise to do good, make a positive difference, and to be a proud Highlander. I am doing my part to introduce the R’Gear initiative — your turn.

Impact: The essence behind R’Gear is to instill the Highlander Pride by empowering each incoming class (starting with the Class of 2018) with symbolic regalia that they all can identify with as Highlanders. R’Gear is not merely a Free UCR hoodie, it is something that every member of a class will share; it represents the Tartan Soul, Highlander pride, and a united identity. It symbolizes something that will last years, something that students can wear over their hearts and be connected by touch.

While the various initiatives and successes of ASUCR make an invaluable difference to many students, this is one of the first ASUCR initiatives to directly serve such a large portion of the student population (nearly a 3rd of the undergraduate student body), while also giving indirect cultural value to the whole campus. Within 4 years, every Highlander shall have an R’Gear, changing the outlook – both literally and figuratively – of what it means to be Highlanders.

Background: Something that has pushed me since my first year was the lack of campus pride among many students at the time here on campus. As UCR students, many students felt little identity with being a Highlander. Things are changing quickly and for the better. I originally had the idea of R’Gear when I first ran for Senate, although I didn’t make it a campaign promise at the time because I didn’t know how to execute an initiative of this scope. So it was put on hold last year as I focused on other initiatives that came up, but R’Gear was something in the back of my mind, and I researched alternative possibilities behind the scenes. It then became one of my primary platform initiatives that I made a campaign promise to the student body during elections, and received positive feedback from many students. Given the support of the student body during the elections, I met with various respective campus administrations and shared it as an idea of pursuit, and it was well received by the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors. It was only reinforced by the overwhelming support from students during freshmen convocation and feedback throughout the start of the year (“get us free ucr hoodies!”) (“…so we can represent. Not everyone can afford it”).

Process: After the initial research last year, I looked at further alternatives with the help of Vice President of Finance, Iris Jiang. I then negotiated with local vendors, who quoted us the standard price, but our goal was to get the most value at the lowest cost for our students. So I explored over 15 international manufacturers, negotiated among them and created competition between them to yield the lowest possible cost. However, as one of the authors of last year’s ASUCR resolution in support of humane working conditions for garment workers, I also had the moral responsibility of ensuring that we followed such measures. So when dealing with international vendors, I also made a conscious effort to have them agree to upholding such fire and safety measures. Still, we wanted to try and see if we could get it made locally. Thus, with the help of our VP of Finance, we researched the cost of shipping, import tariffs and custom fees, etc. to calculate the total cost of buying from international vendors. We set that price as the best alternative to any negotiated agreement, and then leveraged the cheaper international rates to bring down the initial price by 48% to be made locally in Riverside. ASUCR leveraged its resources for students to get R’Gear of the same quality as other alternatives, but at a bulk price that is 5 times less than any alternatives available to students. We collaborated to gather design ideas from members of Senate, VP of Finance, and the Marketing Director to create a design that we believe students will really appreciate, and with the formal support of the Executive Cabinet and passage of Senate review, ASUCR now brings the R’Gear initiative to life. It was first distributed to the Class of 2018, who were encouraged to showcase their Highlander Pride and get connected to various campus social media pages as part of the process of this holistic approach. We came to the conclusion to start with the Class of 2018 as a practical means to implement such an initiative to reach all Highlanders within a 4 year cycle. However, the opportunity to receive a hoodie is also extended to upperclassmen on a first-come, first-served basis.

The final design is simple, yet elegant and meaningful. It seamlessly incorporates different symbolic elements of our Highlander identity, including Scotty the Bear, the birth year of our rising university, and bears “Highlander” on the back of the shoulder as would usually one’s family name. The “18” within the Highlander plays a dual role that both unite the Class of 2018 while serving as the “IG” of the Highlander for upperclassmen. I truly believe that we were able reach our goal of delivering the most value per dollar and making an impact to improve our campus culture.

Sincerely,
NAFI KARIM
Student Body President
Associated Students of UCR, 2014 – 2015

51 Years Since “I Have a Dream”

Greetings Highlanders,

I hope you enjoyed a much appreciated day off. Let us take a moment in remembrance of the great person this holiday is attributed to.

So much has been said and written about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – and his “I Have a Dream” speech is so monumental in its sweep that to summarize it here would not provide a true appreciation. Rather, I want to give attention to an issue that he and the civil rights movement fought to overcome. It is an issue of institutional racial equality and reconciliation that we have seen flare-up this past year, and its reach has been felt by many at UCR.

Currently, CHASS Senator Akeem Brown is welcoming input on a campaign to set forth best practices for students when dealing with law enforcement. We invite your input on those practices as well as best practices for law enforcement when dealing with students and civilians. As Dr. King so rightfully pointed out, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” So please speak up… let us hear your voice! You may not yet know the difference it can make.

Regents’ Vote on UC Tuition Increase

My Fellow Highlanders:

As many of you may know, UC President Janet Napolitano has proposed to increase tuition up to 5% for 5 years. It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that the Board of Regents have approved the plan. Attached below are the details to the plan for your review as well as my stance on it.

I fundamentally reject UC President Janet Napolitano’s tuition plan. Like countless other UC students, I know firsthand the burden such tuition increases can put on students. Having worked throughout college to support myself for much of my college career, I will still graduate with $62,984 in debt. Our education system’s failure to invest has passed the burden onto us.

And yet, with the insistence that tuition increases are inevitable, we have still managed to gain ground. The proposal includes plans to prevent the tuition spikes that occur every few years, sometimes as high as 40%. The UC has set a goal to enroll 5,000 more California students, increase student support for services such as mental health, improve student-faculty ratio & increase class availability to decrease the time to graduation. Given nearly 2/3 UCR students don’t graduate in 4 years, that additional year can be far more expensive than graduating in 4 with the tuition increase.

The UC has also guaranteed to increase the coverage of the “Blue & Gold Plan” & financial aid program to match the tuition increase, which currently covers the full tuition of 55% of UC students (65% at UCR) & partially covers another 14%. This, in essence, is a progressive taxation leaving a little less than a third of students who make the middle to upper income brackets to bear most of the burden.

While I agree that many of these services are badly needed & increase the quality of the UC, I fundamentally reject the idea that such benefits come out of students’ pockets. Instead of resorting to this tax system on just students, we need to go to the legislature & governor for the additional 5% increase for 5 years from state funding, as we were led to believe that higher education would receive sufficient funding from the passage of Proposition 30. The more we rely on a tuition-based system for sustainability, the more it implies our acceptance of the status quo, that it is “okay” for the state to not fund our university.

Currently, we are in a “monkey in the middle” situation between the UC & state. The state calls for the UC to enact cuts to increase efficiency, while the UC blames the decrease of state funding & rising costs as the cause of tuition increases. We can’t continue this blame game & diffusion of responsibility. In the end, the students are losing out in the middle.

The Governor & the state need to better prioritize higher education in its budget. It is a fact that state funding has decreased 27% while UC enrollment has gone up by 43% since 2008 & that state funding is still $460 million less than what it was in 2007/08. Since 2011, student fees now exceed funding from the State of California.

While I am deeply disappointed the Board of Regents did not reject this proposal, we must not stop here. Here’s my call to action to my fellow students, but also to the UC administration, the Board of Regents & the people of California: actually make the commitment to work together & lobby the legislatures & Governor Brown before he proposes the budget in January & persist until the May Revised Budget to remind our governor & state the need to better prioritize higher education. Our fight is not over — not now, not tomorrow, not until the state commits to fund the UC & the UC commits to accessibility, affordability, and a quality education.

Next Steps: UCR Forum on UC Tuition Plan w/ Chancellor Wilcox, Friday 11/20 from 2:30pm-3:30pm in HUB 302S | Webcast
Next Steps: Call Governor Brown (916) 445-2841 and your local legislatures
Next Steps: Lobby Day in January (Pending proposal by Council of Presidents)

Sincerely,
NAFI KARIM
Student Body President