Notes from the UPUA: Confirmation Controversy
Last night, the University Park Undergraduate Association held a General Assembly meeting in 302 HUB. President Gavin Keirans opened the meeting with his normal update. He said that the Greek Loop is facing resistance from the Highlands community, as they are still vehemently opposed to a bus route operating on Fairmont Avenue. Keirans also tried to pump up his assembly by explaining to them how little time was left in the year to introduce new issues to the assembly.
It wasn’t until the agenda came to the confirmations of the new At-Large and Off Campus Representatives that tensions in the room rose. In what seemed like a drawn out tribal council convention on an episode of “Survivor”, the assembly held two heated debates over the confirmations of the two newest additions to the UPUA.
Josh Crawford, the sophomore point man for the medical amnesty plan, was confirmed as the new Off Campus Representative in a 22-6-9 vote. Much of the deliberation over Crawford’s confirmation came from members of the UPUA who felt that his appointment was due in part to his “buddy” connections within the assembly. It’s just as well that Crawford, who at age 18 broke a world record for benching 420 pounds, was awarded the position because otherwise, the scene might have taken a frightening turn.
Also confirmed for the At-Large Representative was Andrew Ott, a senior and center on the Penn State basketball team. Standing tall at over 6’10, it would appear that Ott would be a perfect candidate for any position with the word “Large” in it. But even more controversy arose when it was argued that his athletic obligations would get in the way of his responsibilities to the UPUA. However, he was finally confirmed in a 23-9-3 vote.
The most contentious issue discussed last night wasn’t even on the agenda, but rather was a subsidiary of confirmation debates. A number of representatives, notably Dustin Dove and Elly Okkelberg, expressed dissatisfaction with the way the positions were advertised and filled. Dove told the assembly that a friend of his who was applying for the Off Campus Representative position was unable to attend her committee interview because she was only informed of it a day before it was due to happen. A more aggressive public relations campaign and advertising ideas that would attract more applicants to UPUA positions were briefly discussed and will be more thoroughly addressed in assembly meetings to come.
Following the confirmation debates, the assembly approved Resolution 15, which would allow additional funds for the 16th Penn State vs. Michigan State blood drive.