The UPUA general assembly held its second meeting of the semester last night, passing six pieces of legislation as it convened in the HUB. The most significant item on the agenda was Bill 03-09, which proposed a $10,000 allocation to Movin’ On that would fund its middle agent, who is essentially in charge of booking the festival’s acts.
This comes just one year removed from a momentous decision in which the assembly voted to not fund the spring festival as it had in past years. The main concern then was that the UPUA is not an allocation committee or a bank, but a student government. It was a highly contested debate that resulted in an 18-21 vote, allowing the asssembly to move on from Movin’ On.
But a new assembly means new opinions, and this year the same concerns were voiced but did not resonate with as many representatives.
“They were able to do it without us last year,” Internal Development Chair Ryan Belz said. “Don’t base this on historical preference. In no way, even if we were to lower the amount, would I vote for this unless they were able to gate it and card everyone with their Penn State ID.”
That same issue came up last year, with Movin’ On informing the UPUA that risk management would not allow them to fence in the concert due to safety issues, making it nearly impossible to ensure that it would be a student-only festival. Melissa McCleery, an at-large representative, explained that Movin’ On was successful last year without the UPUA’s assistance.
“I will be voting against this because first of all, we are not UPAC and we are not a programming association,” she said. “I see a million other ways we can use this money. We are not an allocation body and we do not exist to dole out funds. Movin’ On was absolutely fine without us last year. They found someone else to fund the booking agent.”
Despite a seemingly even debate during the bill’s discussion, the legislation passed 25-9.
In other news, State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham visited the UPUA last night. She didn’t have anything particularly noteworthy to say, but finished her speech with one good quote.
“I’m old — I know I’m old — but inside I am not old,” she said. “I think I want many of the same changes that you want in our world and in our community. So let’s work together to make the world a better place, starting in State College.”
Here’s the breakdown of the rest of the night’s events:
Policy 04-09 — Establishment of the Change of Campus and Transfer Student Commission:
This was a no-brainer policy for the assembly. It aims to establish a committee to help ease the transition of students coming to University Park from commonwealth campuses or transferring from other colleges. There is not currently an orientation process in effect as extensive as the existing one for incoming freshman.
The policy passed unanimously with little discussion or debate.
Confirmation of Parliamentarian Tyler Schaeffer:
This dude really loves parliamentary procedure, so much so that he wants to work on it for our student government. I guess it’s an added bonus that the position pays $8.25 an hour. Schaeffer gave a quick speech before being confirmed unanimously by the assembly and sworn in by President Anand Ganjam.
Resolution 03-09 — Support of University Health Services and Counseling & Psychological Services:
This is basically the UPUA saying, “Hey, administration. Good move funding UHS and CAPS. Thanks.”
It passed unanimously.
Resolution 04-09 — Support of Pennsylvania House Bill 300 and Pennsylvania Senate Bill 300:
The two aforementioned state bills work to protect those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning from discrimination in areas of employment and housing. Speaker John Wortman expressed how important the issue is and that those in the LGBTQ community should be protected from prejudice by landlords and elsewhere.
Belz gave a shout-out to Joe Paterno when he stood to call the resolution to question, citing that its name includes the famous three numbers four, zero, and nine.
“Hashtag 409,” he said. “You can’t cover up 61 years of success with honor.”
While Belz called for a vote by unanimous consent, Schreyer representative Mike Mancini objected and forced it. The resolution passed unanimously with the exception of Mancini, who abstained.
Resolution 05-09 — Opposition to Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1240 “The Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees Reorganizing Act”
This piece of legislation refers to a bill making its way through the Pennsylvania Senate that would decrease the size of the Board of Trustees to 23 members. This resolution opines that the Board should have the ability to govern itself and that the state should not alter its composition.
It passed 32-2.
Resolution 06-09 — Support for a Codified Student Trustee on the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees:
Basically, the UPUA wants a codified, permanent student trustee position on the Board and so does everybody else and its going to happen and this is the first time the assembly has been able to publicly support the idea.
This was unanimous.
Freedom of Speech Controversy(!!!):
Maybe that header is slightly misleading, but you probably wouldn’t still be reading if it wasn’t. During the debate over the Movin’ On legislation, representative Ted Ritsick moved to call the bill to question just as McCleery stood up to add to the discussion and make a correction to a colleague’s point. Ritsick had the choice to yield and allow her to speak, or to keep his motion on the floor and force a vote requiring two-thirds of the assembly’s approval to allow her to speak. He went with the latter, and McCleery was eventually able to talk.
During the meeting’s final section, Comments for the Good of the Order, representative John Garfield and Academic Affairs Chair Emily Miller both rose to speak against Ritsick’s actions without naming him specifically. The duo each took time to say that every representative should have the chance to speak during legislative discussion. President Ganjam agreed with Miller and Garfield just before the meeting ended.