UPUA Chastized for Poor Rally Attendance
Last night’s University Park Undergraduate Associaion meeting started off as any other, with an open student forum. Two students stepped forward, bringing to attention an article in today’s Collegian about the incredibly low turnout of Penn State students at Tuesday’s Rally for Higher Education in Harrisburg.
The contingent from Penn State (University Park) maxed out at a whopping 13, only two of which were in the UPUA: President Christian Ragland and Director of Governmental Affairs Travis Salters. Ragland said that no Assembly members attended. As many argued, of 40,000 Penn State students, and 40 UPUA Assembly members, the showing was pathetic. CCSG President Mohamed Raouda said that about five Commonwealth Campus students went as well, but the event wasn’t really marketed to them.No
“You’re supposed to be representing us,” scolded Luis Caza. “That’s why we elected you. I have worked in the tuition campaign. I sacrificed a year of my education because I couldn’t afford to keep paying student loans.
Black Caucus President Chris Nock described the attendance as “piss poor.” As elected representatives of the students of Penn State, he said, “you all failed the students yesterday. Everyone should be disgusted with UPUA today.”
The Assembly even faced criticism from Salters and Ragland, who also aired their disappointment, though they also lauded the goings-on at the rally itself. “Lincoln, a school that only has 2,000 students, brought over 100 people,” said Salters. “They had no problem passing legislation. They sacrificed class.” The attendance issue also tied into the SHAG event debacle. “If you couldn’t go to the Harrisburg rally,” Salters continued, “why couldn’t you go to SHAG for 10 minutes?” As a side note, it was extremely poor planning to hold these two events on the same day.
Nevertheless, the Assembly didn’t seem too fazed by these remarks, and sought to defend itself, citing class obligations and midterms, but the blasé feeling in the room was unsettling, the Assembly came up with some pretty feeble defenses.
Chair of the Assembly Jess Pelliciotta stated that the Assembly’s, the legislative body’s, job is to debate ideas and legislation on the table, not to execute; she implied that action like the rally was the executive branch’s job. She also saw no problem with the legislators not going because there was no provision in the legislation requiring them to. Some Assembly members also turned the blame on the student body, using the argument that of 40,000 students, more should come.
Yes, the legislature is supposed to debate bills and resolutions, but it’s also supposed to act in our interests. You can bet that managing tuition is one of them. You see U.S. senators at rallies and other events all the time, because Fox News won’t shut the hell up about it. Geoff Halberstadt (@glhpsu) tweeted it best: “Why should they be required to go? They were elected to represent students! It’s intuitive that they should have gone.”