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UPUA Collegian Editorial Misses the Mark

The Daily Collegian’s Board of Opinion published an editorial yesterday, opining that the UPUA would be better served to allocate money to student organizations as opposed to some of the initiatives outlined in their current proposed budget. The General Assembly will vote on the budget tonight. The Collegian argues that the money would reach more students if UPUA simply gave it to clubs. The issue with this assertion is that there is already an organization, the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC), which exists specifically for this purpose.

In fact, UPUA is funded by student activity fees, the same money UPAC draws from. Why would the UPUA then turn around and hand that money out to the very same organizations that the UPAC exists to fund? UPUA is a student government — not a bank as the Collegian seems to believe.

UPAC is in charge of distributing the student activity fee total of all University Park students, which is over $4 million. UPUA receives just shy of $140,000, or somewhere around 3.5% of UPAC’s funding.

The Collegian Board of Opinion went on to point out a few specific initiatives as examples of supposed wasted money, including a “website listing the housing options for students who want to live off-campus” and “televisions at bus stops that would display the location of each bus”.

While I agree that the $6,000 cost of the downtown housing database is a bit high, anyone that has searched for an apartment or house in State College would agree that this would be extremely helpful, and I’m not aware of one website dedicated to this that isn’t just a real estate company or that doesn’t simply link to real estate companies as the Collegian article suggests. As for the CATA stop televisions, that initiative was removed from the budget during last night’s Internal Development committee meeting, but that was not the case at the time that the editorial went up, so I’ll give the Collegian the benefit of the doubt there.

But their suggestion that UPUA “save a portion of the budget to be used by student groups that wish to partner with UPUA” is simply baseless, as they already do partner with a variety of student organizations. For example, UPUA paid for the Movin’ On stage, co-sponsored the ongoing Sexual Assault Awareness Week, and advertised for the NYASA conference earlier this year. Similar initiatives for next year are included in the very same budget that the Collegian’s Board of Opinion is critiquing.

Simply put, it was a thoughtless editorial that lacked necessary research and factual evidence to back up a nonsensical and illogical contention.

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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