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about 2 years ago
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Defense Files a Response to the UPUA iPad Fiasco, Board Votes for a Hearing

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The wheels of justice continue to turn as new developments this afternoon come out about the recent UPUA iPad fiasco. The defense – Spencer Malloy, Chair of the Assembly, John Zang, Chief of Staff, and Courtney Lennartz, President — has submitted responses to the Board of Arbitration for both of the complaints. The Board of Arbitration has reviewed the petitions and is in process of scheduling a hearing which should occur over the next few days.

The first complaint, referred to as Dray Krishnan et. alalleges that Zang ordered two iPads using UPUA discretionary spending under the permission of Malloy and Lennartz and that the purchase violated multiple budgetary and ethical policies.

The defense’s response document, which requests that all charges be thrown out, is posted below and can be summarized as:

  • The funds from UPUA’s Association of Student Activities account have not yet been released to Apple. The defense claims that the complaint’s petition is untimely because the transaction has yet to be completed and UPUA has not yet spent any money.
  • The iPads do not constitute “personal gain” because the defendants are not keeping the iPads as personal property. Instead, they will be passed on to future UPUA assemblies and will remain UPUA property.
  • The cost of the iPads does not exceed $1,000. Budgetary policy states that all purchases made over $1,000 must be voted on and approved by UPUA’s general assembly. The complaint states that the iPads cost $1,070, however the defendants maintain that the total cost will be $998 after the tax exemption is processed by ASA. This would make the purchase dangerously close to the limit but technically legal.
  • The iPads were purchased using two separate discretionary accounts and thus should be treated as separate purchases anyway.
  • The iPads have not yet been officially reported because the purchase order has not gone through the Association of Student Activities and no funds have been released yet.
  • The defendants didn’t violate the code of practical standards because the code is essentially unenforceable and not with in the Board of Arbitration’s purview.
  • The complaint did not cite the manner in which the code was violated and is thus too vague.

The second complaint, am Emergency Writ of Mandamus filed by representative Anthony Christina (who is also part of the first complaint), requests that the Board of Arbitration confiscate the iPads until the case is litigated.

The defense’s response, also posted below, can be summarized as:

  • There is no precedent for a non-board entity to file a Write of Mandamus. The Board of Arbitration bylaws do not specify any procedure for an non-board individual to file a Write of Mandamus.
  • The Board of Arbitration can only seize “items within a class of “record, file, transcript, report, or persons.”  iPads do not fall under any of those categories.
  • Seizure of materials at the very suggestion of personal gain would set dangerous precedent.
  • There is no flight risk of the defendants as they are all students at University Park and thus there is minimal risk of the iPads being lost or the defendants fleeing with the iPads. Calls to the Canadian and Mexican border patrols by Onward State were not immediately returned to see if the defendants had attempted to flee the country with the iPads.
  • The existence of the iPads is already well known and such a seizure provides no benefit to the case at hand.
  • The Board’s acquisition of the iPads would provide a dangerous amount of personal information (such as the defendants social media accounts, email profiles, etc) which is unnecessary and potentially illegal.
  • Seizure of the iPads would reduce the functionality and benefit to the organization in the short term.

If the defendants are found guilty, the Board of Arbitration can restrict some of UPUA’s discretionary spending and refer the matter to the assembly for internal discipline.

This should be one for the ages. The rogue internal development committee challenging three of the most prominent and tenured members of the UPUA. It’s the pseudo-legal drama that only our student government can provide.

We’ll provide another update when the Board of Arbitration schedules a hearing, which we could know by the end of the weekend.

Seizure Petition Response

Response Petition

The initial two complaints can be  found below:

Petition for Review

WritofMandmus

image Dave Cole
Student Life - Student Life represents all the elements of the college experience at Penn State University. Creepy professors, drink specials, the location of the secret Coca-Cola machine, tomfoolery, chicanery, and bedlam. All these and more. Read more