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Myford Visits UPUA to Talk Sportsmanship

For the second straight week, the University Park Undergraduate Association’s agenda was better characterized by what was not present on it than what was.

At the organization’s first meeting of the semester, a debate over whether UPUA could–and should–subsidize test prep options offered by the Princeton Review captivated the audience, though it was ultimately tabled for another day. For another week, we’ll have to wonder just when that day will come.

It may, however, be on the horizon. During his report, President T.J. Bard indicated that his Vice President, Courtney Lennartz, had been making headway on the proposed subsidy, and she later confirmed that progress was indeed being made. Lennartz acknowledged that she had talked with representatives from the company and “hashed out a couple of the details,” but that more of the ambiguity rested on the side of the university.  And to that end, Lennartz said she was meeting with the Office of Undergraduate Education to discuss some of the issues on Friday.

According to Lennartz, the Princeton Review has four campus representatives who are undergraduates at Penn State, and she would ask the Office of Risk Management to “see if we can get them to fill the UPUA attendance requirement,” fulfilling the university policy that at least one member of UPUA be present at each meeting. If so, that would greatly reduce the time commitment that was the source of the divide within the student government.

But during Wednesday night’s weekly meeting, talk of the test prep program took only 30 seconds. Much more was made of UPUA’s partnership with PRIDE and other groups to promote sportsmanship and positive fan behavior, especially for Saturday’s football game against Alabama. To speak about that, Associate Athletic Director Greg Myford paid UPUA a visit, and stressed the importance of efforts aiming to promote “respect and responsibility,” the two cornerstones of sportsmanship.

Speaking about high-profile negative incidents in the past few years, especially those which have popped up on Youtube, Myford said that they “[have] the opportunity to tarnish our university,” arguing that while athletics should never be the most important thing on a college campus “it will be the most visible.”

“It only takes a few knuckleheads to ruin it for everyone, and the margin for error is really small,” Myford said. “It’s a matter of saying nothing instead of something we might regret later.”

Instead, he issued a challenge to students.  “I think the greatest opportunity in front of us is to have the greatest student section and the most respected one,” Myford said.

That won’t come at the expense of having a good time, according to Myford. “This isn’t about fun, it’s about responsible and irresponsible, and irresponsible doesn’t become fun for everyone.”

Myford’s comments came right before the UPUA voted to adopt a sportsmanship fan code, which had been passed by the Association of Big Ten Students during their conference this summer at Penn State. Sure enough, on the heels of Myford’s address, that passed unanimously.

As far as new legislation went, Wednesday’s meeting was very light. A proposal that would’ve officially rebuked a bill in the Pennsylvania state government, which requires photo identification in order to vote, was referred back to committee by Adam Boyer, the Governmental Affairs chair, in order to coordinate efforts with CCSG and hammer out other kinks.

And though there was some minor debate about UPUA’s co-sponsorship of a September 11th memorial event along with the College Republicans–mainly questioning whether the event had the potential to appear partisan–that too passed by a near-unanimous margin, but not until Boyer had led amendments striking the words “damages” and “poetically” from the bill, and not until Dave Harrington similarly added an amendment formally invited other political groups on campus. Mallory Reed also expressed disappointment–but more as a member of the College Democrats, whom she said were excluded from helping to plan the event.

That despite a repeated downplaying of any political agenda on the part of the legislation or the event–during his introduction of the legislation, Elias Warren perhaps summed it up best. “That day means something different for all of us, but if it means one thing, it’s togetherness.” And Anthony Christina, Vice-Chair of the College Republicans, was on hand to say that “everyone is welcome to attend the event, we just happen to be the group that filed to the paperwork with Old Main to hold it.”

But perhaps in the absence of a big issue to discuss, UPUA needed to find something to fight over.

About the Author

Devon Edwards

Devon is a 2012 Penn State graduate and current law student at NYU. Devon joined Onward State in January of 2011, after a lengthy stay in the comment section. His likes include sabermetrics, squirrels, and longs walks on the beach, and his dislikes include spelunking, when you put your clothes in the dryer and they come out still kinda damp but also warm, and the religious right.

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