At UCR, we have a distinct division of undergraduate students known as the Associated Students of UCR. These individuals make up the student government body and are influential in various campus-wide decisions and issues. ASUCR senators are combined of standing committees, the senate chair, and the executive cabinet. There are 13 senators – the majority of senators stem from the CHASS college on campus, while there are also five who are CNAS affiliated, and two who are from the BCOE.
Cortni Thomas is a fourth year English major that holds the position as outreach director within ASUCR. Cortni has a passion for politics and I was interested in finding out more about her position within ASUCR.
How many years have you been apart of ASUCR?
This is my first year holding a position with ASUCR.
What inspired you to become apart of ASUCR?
I am extremely passionate about politics, student advocacy, and enriching underprivileged students. I am also the oldest of ten grandchildren, and one day I want my younger cousins and siblings to have the ability to access higher education. The decreasing visibility and access to the University more specifically the UC schools, depletes their chance of accessing higher education. As a person of color, college is still a rarity within our community and I wanted to influence change in that realm.
What is your position within ASUCR?
What are your specific duties?
- To be the chair of the Outreach Committee and lead all Outreach Hearings and Outreach Meetings
- Oversee allocations of the state funded SIAP Grant
- Be a liaison to student organizations that wish to hold Outreach programs on campus, maximizing opportunity for Outreach here on campus.
- Hold Quarterly Events according to the mission statement:
The goal of ASUCR Outreach is to build more peer-to-peer interaction through innovative programming. Moreover, influencing and motivating students 7-12th grade to become more passionate about higher education. We plan to do so by holding more frequent programs, innovation, and providing transparency to high school students.
How does ASUCR benefit the student body?
ASUCR benefits the students because we are a transparent student government that works to enrich the undergraduate experience by bringing relevant issues and programs to the student body. The Associated Students of the University of California, Riverside advocates, represents, educates, and empowers the student body as official units of the University.
Provide an example of a dilemma relevant to our campus and how you went about solving this issue.
During elections this year, there was an issue with candidacy packets and students were not allowed to run on a sort of technicality. The students were a part of the dominant party [YOU]CR and went to senate who were once members of [YOU]CR and asked to be allowed to run. Prior to the students showing up in the senate meeting, I had discussions with the other students running independently and on the “under-dog” party to see how they felt. Most students were enraged because they felt as though this was unfair. For the most part the “underdog” students were all first time candidates who had the ability to efficiently fill out their packet, and thought it was unfair that these students who were a part of the dominant party received special treatment. I spoke out at the senate meeting as a student concerned with the validity of the claims of the students from the dominant party as well as questioning the senate’s bias in this issue. I tried to fight for the students who were underrepresented in this issue.
What do you do on your free time to contribute to ASUCR?
I am always making myself available as a resource to students. When student issues and concerns arise, I approach them as a student instead of approaching them as an individual of power. I am a student first, and if another student has an issue than this issue could potentially affect me and the other students I represent. I constantly make sure I am informed on the issues students on our campus are having so that I can research the issue and advocate for the students without bias, as a student with similar concerns.
ASUCR holds senate meetings every week and students, faculty, and guests are welcome to come and learn about relevant projects taking place that affect students on our campus. Students are also welcome to voice their opinion and request support if they are expanding their own projects or endeavors. Special thanks to Cortni Thomas for standing as a model for our students and working to make our campus better!