UPUA’s Final Assembly Meeting Gets Heated
The University Park Undergraduate Association held their final general assembly meeting of the semester last night, which also just might have been their longest of the year. The meeting featured a packed agenda, with four pieces of legislation, three presentations, and a slew of executive board confirmations.
Before executive board confirmations began, At-Large Representative Elias Warren suggested that they combine the voting process for all four nominations to speed up the process, at one point telling Vice President Katelyn Mullen, “I will entertain you.” He was referring to an amendment, though. This was the first point of confusion of the day regarding parliamentary procedure, as representatives attempted to understand the rules for slating. Grant Brown, Deputy Director of PR, Julia Schrank, Director of the Dept. of Record, Greg Posteraro, Webmaster, and Emily Roth, Historian, were all confirmed for their positions.
And then came the action. The first piece of legislation was Policy 02-07, which aimed to create a UPUA commission to analyze the university budget, assist the university in creating a more understandable and transparent budget, and educate students on how their tuition dollars are being spent. Soon after the discussion began, it was apparent that this wasn’t going to be a quick and easy process.
“I want to see a commission that has a lot of teeth,” said legislation co-sponsor Anthony Christina, but not necessarily teeth that included representatives from the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG) and Graduate Student Association (GSA). CCSG liaison D.J. Ryan made his way to the microphone soon after the debate started, passionately proclaiming that he was offended that other student governments weren’t involved in this process, urging them to table what he called a “rushed piece of legislation.”
But bill co-sponsor Spencer Malloy wanted boots on the ground this summer, and also thought that this commission should be something that UPUA can call their own. Malloy didn’t want to force-fit or jerry-rig people into a commission that was developed and planned by UPUA. At one point, the assembly took a five-minute recess to regroup in which the tension in the room hit a boiling point. A group of UPUA and CCSG representatives were arguing in the back of the room while Courtney Lennartz and CCSG President-Elect Ben Clark had an obviously edgy conversation. After returning from the recess, Christina tried to appease the CCSG representatives that were in attendance, proposing an amendment that would allow them and the GSA to each select one commission member, but the assembly narrowly voted it down. After what took nearly an hour, the bill passed by a vote of 33-3-1.
The second piece of legislation on the agenda was Resolution 02-07: Support of the SAFER Act, an congressional bill that aims to create a sexual assault evidence registry. The resolution, which passed unanimously, will inform students of the act and urge them to contact their congressional representatives to urge them to support it. Following that, a funding resolution for the ninth consecutive end-of-semester Finals Frenzy also passed unanimously, as did a new partnership agreement with the Princeton Review for test preparation courses.
Elias Warren Quote of the Week: During “Comments for the Good of the Order”, Warren had a parting message for his fellow representatives. He said, “Remember, what you do over the summer, no matter where you go–even Tijuana, reflects on the UPUA. So keep it clean, assembly seven.”
John Zang (Bow)Tie of the Week: Per John Zang’s suggestion and thanks to my impeccable fashion taste, T.J. Bard’s replacement for this weekly feature has finally been found. Zang was sporting what he called a “lost art” at last night’s meeting, a bow tie. The marron bow tie with white-accented black stripes went very well with his dark grey cardigan, a great attempt at the business casual, formal-but-not-too-formal look. I score the bow tie a 4 out of 5.
And with that, I look forward to bringing you more UPUA coverage and becoming better acclimated with our student government a few months from now. Have a good summer, “assembly seven.”