Paternoville Name Change is Unconstitutional
Not so fast…
When the Sandusky scandal broke, many students were angry because as the days passed we heard nothing from the school’s administration. These were appointed officials who were supposed to represent and support us.
When the Board of Trustees fired Joe Paterno, many students were angry because they felt like they had no say in the decision. These were also appointed officials who were supposed to represent and support us.
Yesterday, when the officers of the Paternoville Coordination Committee announced that they had decided to change the name of the camp city outside Beaver Stadium to “Nittanyville”, many students were angry because they disagreed with the decision. These were appointed officials who were supposed to represent and support us. Only this time something is different.
As an officially recognized student organization, when the Paternoville Coordination Committee (PCC) came into existence they were required, among other things, to create an official constitution which covered basic rules of governance. In this constitution rules for elections, officer responsibility, meeting rules, and amendments to the constitution are laid out so that the organization has a static foundation which ensures the stability and governance of an organization no matter who the officers are.
Specifically, the PCC’s constitution lays out that the group’s purpose is to represent the interests and to organize those members who camp out at Paternoville. As this is a representative group, the PCC’s constitution follows some basic democratic principles. Officers are required to give all members advance notice before any meetings, even emergency ones. If the officers of the PCC wish to amend the constitution (say, hypothetically, to change the name of the group) they must raise the amendment at a meeting, and at the next meeting members may vote on the amendment. The amendment must receive two-thirds of the votes to pass.
This week, the officers of the PCC decided that they knew what was best for the organization, and that they didn’t need to follow the proper protocol to get what they wanted; they would do things their own way. Sound familiar? The officers called a meeting amongst themselves with no notice given to members, and unilaterally made the decision to change the group’s name. They immediately went online, changed their constitution and website, and alerted the media. All this without accepting any input from the students who sleep on the concrete every year for football tickets.
Now I’m not saying one way or the other what the name of the PCC should be in the future. But with all the cries of institutional failure going around, isn’t it time that someone showed that at Penn State we can do things by the book? Isn’t it time that those who are actually impacted have a say?
(Paternoville Coordination Committee constitution: http://www.clubs.psu.edu/up/paternoville/constitution.pdf)