Despite Theft Risk, UPUA Funds Hole Punchers and Staplers
Wednesday’s UPUA meeting was delayed at the start–at 8 p.m., plenty of representatives were still downstairs at the Town Hall meeting that UPUA had partially sponsored–but managed to accomplish several initiatives, and in relatively quick fashion.
If not for the efficiency of the General Assembly meeting, perhaps its most uncharacteristic trait was that a piece of legislation was actually defeated, and in overwhelming fashion. The first bill would have changed the legislative process, requiring that any proposed amendment to the bylaws of the UPUA Constitution go through the Internal Development committee–rather than allowing any representative to bring it to the floor by a 2/3 vote.
The proposal was seen as a response to events that occurred a few weeks ago, when a number of UPUA members toyed with the idea of bypassing the Steering Committee in order to quickly push through legislation that would have barred spending money on promotional items–which eventually did go through committee before being passed by the Assembly.
Off-Campus Representative Eli Glazier was the first to speak out against the legislation, reading from prepared remarks which characterized it as “a solution in search of a problem.” He said it attempted to “restrict the power of future assemblies” and “hamstring representatives while showing a lack of trust in their abilities.”
Although Chairwoman of the Assembly Kelly Terefenko and Elias Warren both spoke in support of the proposal–the former indicating that she thought members of Internal Development were more qualified to handle proposed changes to the UPUA bylaws–they were overwhelmed by opposition, notably from Spencer Malloy, Tonia Damiano, and Mallory Reed. When the roll call vote came about, their efforts paid off–a 2-32-2 margin meant that the bill had one fewer “yes” vote than sponsors–John Zang abstained.
The rest of the agenda flowed much more smoothly. There was no opposition, or even discussion, about UPUA’s sponsorship of “Meet Your Legislator Day,” which encouraged students to go home and speak with their representatives in the Pennsylvania state government during the week of December 19. And the only discussion about spending a little over $1,000 on Finals Frenzy–which hands out schools supplies and snacks to students in the HUB during Finals Week–came from Representatives who noted that their constituents were awaiting the event.
The last piece of legislation, however, was the most important to come through the Assembly Wednesday night, despite its mere $273 expenditure. Responding to student concerns, UPUA voted to purchase 25 Swingline Staplers and 20 hole punchers in computer labs across campus.
Although the entirety of the Assembly was on board with the policy, concerns about the safety of the purchased items resonated amongst UPUA. It was Malloy who spoke to the danger of theft most directly, stating that “after speaking with ITS labcoms directly, they specifically mentioned it as a concern.”
According to Malloy, he was informed that even staplers that had been chained to desks had been stolen by students–and John Zang said he was “wary” that those risks might mean that UPUA was “just throwing away money.”
Many of those same points were brought up by followers of @OnwardState on Twitter who had experience in computer labs. Almost unanimously, they all said that unless UPUA put security plans in place, the items would be taken.
But Zang and Malloy were the only members of the Assembly to express serious misgivings, and rather than work out some of the kinks, the legislation passed 37-2. Katie Quinn spoke for the majority when she said that “the majority of our students are honest students, and the majority of labs are going to have assistants right there watching the staplers”–but trusting in the kindness of strangers didn’t work out too well for Blanche DuBois, and nor will it for UPUA.