UPAC And Ice Cream: Two Things UPUA Takes Very Seriously

If there’s anything I’ve learned about UPUA in the past three months, it’s that meetings never start on time and people rarely show up for the open student forum. After last night’s meeting, I can proudly say that a) the meeting started at 8:01 and b) there was a speaker during the open student forum. Things might be looking up for the 8th Assembly after all.

You can thank Anthony Panichelli and Brenden Dooley for the early start time, as both emphasize structure, agendas, and organization. You can also thank UPAC member Tom Winkler, who was the lone speaker during the open student forum.

After all this happened Tuesday night, some tension between UPUA and UPAC is to be expected. Wrinkler’s speech, however, hurled insult after insult towards UPUA with a touch of fabricated truths sprinkled in. Several current and former UPUA members — specifically Panichelli, Katelyn Mullen, former chief of staff John Zang, and former chair Spencer Malloy — showed up to the UPAC meeting last night to voice their concerns about transparency in UPAC. Rep. Kevin Horne (also an editor at Onward State), Internal Development Chair Katie Esarey, and Rep. Chase Englund were also in attendance, as both serve in UPAC as well as UPUA.

Wrinkler was furious after what happened during the UPAC meeting Tuesday night.

“For UPUA to act as such a bully towards another student organization is quite simply a disgrace and should be treated as such. I am not here to call for an apology — I wouldn’t expect one to be issued anyways — but to question the approach taken by UPUA members to attempt to get other student organizations to change their ways,” he said. “The behavior I observed last night is not acceptable and should not occur again, and I am here to stand in support of UPAC and their right to choose their own prerogative in how they run their meetings and voting procedures.”

Obviously, UPUA was quite surprised with these strong accusations. Panichelli kept making the point that the current representatives who attended the meeting said nothing that could be considered “egregious or evil.”

I’m guessing UPUA won’t be inviting UPAC to a picnic any time soon.

UPUA would not have a chance to adequately respond to Winkler until the comments for the good of the order section (found at the end of this recap).

After all the drama of the open student forum, UPUA decided to table the CATA Maps bill indefinitely from old business and moved into the new business. Here’s what happened:

Confirmation of Ali Fogarty as Deputy Director of Social Media

Fogarty has been involved in UPUA in one way or another for the past three years, so she definitely has the student government experience. She is also a staff writer for Onward State, so you know she has the social media skills to handle the highly prestigious UPUA Facebook and Twitter pages.

She was confirmed with a vote of 31-3-1.

Confirmation of Mia Rendar as Director of Student Conduct Advisors

As Director of Student Conduct Advisors, Rendar will collaborate with UPUA in dealing with the matters that happen within the Office of Student Conduct, which is basically where students go for consultation if they get into trouble. On Rendar, Esarey said that “she knows what she’s doing and will be a great asset to UPUA.”

She was confirmed unanimously.

Policy 01-08: Budget for 2013-2014

The proposed UPUA budget had already been discussed and hashed out prior to this meeting, so it passed unanimously with little resistance. The organization took a different approach this year and chose to not use excessive line item categorization like in the past to allow for new ideas and creativity. In all, UPUA gets $135,100 from the Student Activity Fee.

Bill 01-08: Movin’ On Promotional Ice Cream Social

At first glance, this bill seemed harmless enough. The plan was to set aside $1,165.00 from the UPUA’s 7th assembly budget and have an ice cream social the day before Movin’ On. However, Student Life Chair Caleb Fernandez was not happy with the bill as he felt there wasn’t enough time to promote another student life initiative with the ice cream social and asked to recommit the bill. Representative Horne agreed with Fernandez, stating “This is quite simple. We’re a student government, not an ice cream distributor.”

After much debate — especially from UPUA Movin’ On liaison Rishi Mittal — the bill was recommitted and the ice cream social was canceled.

Comments for the Good of the Order

Even after the assembly discussed legislation for an hour, representative Horne was still visibly fuming about the comments Wrinkler made during the open student forum.

“After working with Mr. Wrinkler all year in UPAC, I can say with some authority that he is one of the many who are part of the problem that has infected UPAC in recent history,” Horne said. “The UPAC culture is an ugly one — allocating $4 million with no sense of responsibility to the student body.”

“The integrity of our student activity fee is in grave danger,” Horne continued. “While Chair Jesse Scott and the UPAC advisors are highly qualified and do an excellent job, the committee, on the whole, is a different story. I can say with absolute certainty that Mr. Wrinkler was out of line and the comments he made were completely fabricated and that all UPUA members represented this organization and the student body with intelligence and dignity at the meeting last night.”

Horne then went on to urge every member of UPUA to become familiar with UPAC policies over the summer so that UPUA can advocate for positive change on behalf of the student body next legislative session. It’s an ambitious plan (especially for UPUA), but any transparency is good transparency, right?

Other Notes

  • Spirit jerseys are apparently going to be available to assembly members during the next UPUA apparel order. Can you imagine the whole assembly wearing something like this?
  • Former chair Spencer Malloy spoke at today’s meeting in favor of UPUA’s presence at the UPAC meeting. He was also wearing an Onward State t-shirt.
  • UPUA is still planning to put together a puppy room for students who could use a puppy break. It’s not clear when the room will be ready, however.

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About the Author

Greg Schlosser

Greg is a senior majoring in energy engineering at Penn State. He is a big fan of Pittsburgh sports and sandwiches with coleslaw and french fries. You can email him at [email protected] or find him at the Phyrst drunkenly requesting the band to play "One Headlight."

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