Another week at Penn State means another week of the strong wheels of student government in action. With one last meeting before spring break and only three meetings before the 8th assembly adjourns for good, UPUA had a packed agenda last night as three pieces of legislation hit the floor and a new Chief Justice was up for confirmation.
The first piece of legislation, a bill that aimed to reform the processes regarding UPUA liaisons from other organizations, brought about the most debate of the night. But first, let’s take a look at President Katelyn Mullen’s weekly report.
Mullen mentioned that she will be attending this week’s Board of Trustees meeting along with Vice President Brendan Dooley, where the duo will be supporting their proposal to add a permanent student trustee position to the board.
In Dooley’s report, the highlight was his mention that he waned to rescind UPUA’s support of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 410, a Board of Trustees reform bill, because it id not include a recommendation for a permanent student trustee despite being told previously that such an amendment would be made. UPUA had already officially voiced its concern for the bill before that became clear. A decision to withdraw that support came unanimously by the assembly.
This week’s meeting featured a special presentation from Lion’s List PSU, a new student organization formed in November, which launched its website in January. Lion’s List’s executives were there to discuss the site, which essentially allows students to mark off items on a Penn State bucket list and eventually attend an end-of-year banquet where they will receive a certificate of completion and other fun stuff.
And on to the new business we go:
Confirmation of Michael Perez as Board of Arbitration Chief Justice:
Perez addressed the assembly last night after passing through Internal Development by a vote of 8-0-1 following the resignation of former Chief Justice Garuth Acharya. He said that he wants to “hit the ground running after shadowing the former Chief Justice,” adding that he fees adequately prepared for the role have previously served as the Associate Chief Justice.
Perez passed the assembly by a unanimous vote before taking his shiny new seat at the front of the room.
Policy 15-08 – Organization Liaison Position and Voting Representative Guidelines:
This policy acted as an amendment of sorts to previous by-laws regarding UPUA liaisons and their potential transition to voting positions. Policy 15-08 enacted a set of criteria that liaisons have to meet both to hold that title and to eventually become eligible to become voting members of the UPUA assembly.
Representative Rishi Mittal offered an amendment to the legislation, calling for it to require liaison positions to be in UPUA for three years instead of two before becoming eligible to move to voting representative status.
Panichelli took the microphone to voice his concerns with the legislation, explaining that the section of the policy detailing how liaisons become voting representatives was “not developed enough and should be updated before this is added to the by-laws.” He added that this policy ignores previous liaisons and whether or not it applies to them or not. The entire section regarding that transition was struck from the bill by a vote of 33-2 before the policy as a whole passed unanimously, which included only broad liaison requirements without mention of voting power.
Bill 10-08 – Testimonial Booklets for Capitol Day:
This bill provides funding for UPUA to put together books of testimonials from students on “the impact that state funding has on their ability to afford higher education.” The booklets will also contain testimonials from UPUA, CCSG, GSA, ARHS, and OCSU and will be distributed to Pennsylvania legislators on Capitol Day.
The bill, which cost $524.70, passed unanimously with next to no discussion.
Resolution 19-8 – Student Parking Reform:
The Student Life Committee worked with the PSU University Transportations Services to put together a resolution assisting students with a number of on-campus parking issues. The resolution allows the assembly as a whole to advocate for early morning parking at the Wagner Building for ROTC students, access to on-campus lots for students with permits up to 4 a.m. on finals weeks, the ability to buy passes specifically for finals week, and new student parking information signs on campus. ROTC students have been especially affected by this during their early morning training — more than 1/3 of the ROTC cadets surveyed indicated they had been ticketed this year.
The resolution passed unanimously.