UPUA: Business as Usual
The UPUA meeting held on Wednesday was rather uneventful. The meeting was town hall-style, but compared to the last one it was relatively quiet; not one student spoke up with questions or concerns. A group of students marched through the HUB and chanted about the voter bill that was discussed a few meetings ago, but never showed up to the actual meeting.
Early on, President TJ Bard took to the floor. He said that he hopes to have more town hall meetings in the spring, and then he went on to discuss State Patty’s Day, the Princeton Review contract for subsidizing test prep classes, laundry automation, and code enforcement inspectors, as well as the importance of “Meet Your Legislator Day.” Next on the agenda was a discussion of Resolution 22-06, Endorsement of Sexual Abuse Reform Legislation. In the state legislature, there has been a lot of movement with child abuse issues, many of which were already in the works before the Sandusky scandal broke.
The UPUA resolution dealt with four bills in the Pennsylvania legislature: Senate Bill 549, House Bill 832, House Bill 878, and House Bill 1990. The first of these would lower the threshold for when suspected child abuse must be reported to police for investigation. This bill would also require people to report suspected cases to police in the same way, no matter what their position or employment status.
H.B. 832 would repeal the statute of limitations in civil suits relating to child sexual abuse cases moving forward. Out of the four bills, this one was the most contested in the Assembly, drawing opposition from Academic Affairs Chairman John Zang. He motioned to strike lines 27 and 28 of this resolution, which dealt with H.B. 832. This motion was seconded.
The third bill, H.B. 878, would open up a window of two years for victims who were previously abused to come forward, if they were abused years earlier and the statute of limitations left them unable to file charges against their abuser.
Finally, H.B 1190 would require those who have witnessed sexual abuse to report it to police, rather than following a chain of command system, like the one PSU had in place. With this bill, staff members must notify police immediately of the abuse, as well as their superiors.
A vote was taken, and the policy passed, 35-0-0.
After that, it was business as usual for the UPUA, going through reports from the Executive Directors and individual committees.
Perhaps a bright spot in this fairly uneventful meeting was the Christmas cheer. Chair Adam Boyer and Rep. Brendan Dooley sported some very festive Ugly Christmas Sweaters; Boyer’s came straight out of his mother’s closet. Internal Development Chair Nick Grassetti sported a Christmas tie and matching socks. During For the Good of the Order, Smeal College of Business Rep. Elias Warren attempted to reschedule a UPUA Caroling event from Tuesday, when no one showed up, to Thursday. Taking a poll of the Assembly, he found no interest. Joanna Sobel then took closing roll call, ending the last meeting of the fall semester.