UPUA Supports Michigan Student Body President

At their weekly meeting, the University Park Undergraduate Association passed legislation to officially support Chris Armstrong, the Student Body President of the University of Michigan who is under attack from an Assistant Attorney General of Michigan, Andrew Shirvell.  Armstrong, the first openly gay president of the Michigan Student Assembly is being harshly criticized for his sexuality on Shirvell’s blog, “Chris Armstrong Watch,” and is being asked to step down from his position, to which he was elected by Michigan students last spring.

Tensions were high during this discussion, with many assembly members passionately supporting Armstrong and urging UPUA, as a representative body of Penn State, to take an aggressive stance against Shirvell’s attack.  President Christian Ragland referred to the affair as “disgusting and disturbing.” Ben Pugh, UPUA on-campus representative, was particularly vocal, stating that “[UPUA] should take a stance…[and] get controversial on this one.”

In the end it was decided that the legislation actively and openly supports Chris Armstrong as he continues to lead the Michigan Student Assembly, but does not specifically condemn the actions of Shirvell or the situation as a whole.  UPUA decided not to take a university-wide stance on the issue, recognizing their position as representatives of the entire Penn State student body, which includes many students with varying insights and opinions.

The Assembly expressed an interest in working with other Penn State student groups to support Armstrong, an idea which may come to fruition in the near future.

At the meeting, UPUA also discussed many issues, projects, and upcoming events:

Homecoming 2010–Vice President Colleen Smith spoke on the importance of UPUA involvement, visibility, and commitment during Homecoming Week, which will kick off on Sunday, October 3.

Big Ten on the Hill— Many Big Ten Universities, including Penn State, will visit Washington, D.C. in April 2011 to discuss issues relevant to students, most notably tuition increases.

CATA buses— GPS tracking is underway!

Penn State Student Legal Aid— Currently working on mediating student/landlord disputes and encountering a lot of resistance from landlords.

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