UPUA Prefers Cheese Platters To Ice Cream
After an eventful few months, UPUA concluded its general assembly work for the semester during last night’s meeting.
Just like last meeting, UPUA was once again greeted by the always charming Tom Winkler during open student forum. In case you forgot, Winkler was the guy who verbally attacked the entire assembly last meeting for comments made by UPUA representatives during a UPAC meeting. Fortunately for the assembly, Winkler took a much nicer approach this time around.
His speech was a mixture of saving face from last week’s debacle and pleading for UPUA to be more open about differing opinions. As he noted, “The speech I gave last week was written in a way that would get a strong negative response from UPUA.” It doesn’t really make sense to spew hateful words when you want to make a point, but I guess you can’t fault Winkler for trying.
And even though he did handle last week as poorly as possible, he did leave UPUA with some solid advice going forward: “While I do not expect UPUA members to agree with everything, I ask them to be open and consider all opinions no matter how they are presented.” If only he had taken this approach at last week’s meeting…
After the open student forum, the assembly was treated to a presentation on the UPUA-Princeton Review relationship from representative Anand Ganjam. During the presentation, Ganjam said that UPUA would work to bolster the relationship it already has with The Princeton Review. The plans for next year are two Test Prep Weeks (one each semester) as well as online MCAT, LSAT, GRE, and GMAT test preparation classes. If you just love that classroom feel, MCAT and GRE live classes will be made available as well.
After reports from both Mullen and Dooley, the assembly moved into the new business. Here’s what went down:
Confirmation of Executive Directors & Deputy Directors
Basically, the executive director position exists to help committees carry out the passed legislation. Each committee has an executive director who will work with the committee chair as well as members of the executive board to carry out the legislation that UPUA passes. Here are the new executive directors that UPUA approved last night:
- Diversity: Khadyon Reid (35-2-0)
- Governmental Affairs: Jacob Maruschok (18-16-3)
- Facilities: Julie Koserowski (37-0-0)
- Student Life: Taylor Olson (34-2-1)
- Academic Affairs: Taylor Hall Masiello (37-0-0)
In addition, UPUA approved two more people to executive positions last night:
- Chief Justice of the Board of Arbitration: Garuth Acharya (37-0-0)
- Director of Finance: Rich Beyers (37-0-0)
Resolution 02-08: Stafford Loans
With this resolution, UPUA now has a public opinion on the Stafford Loan interest rates. The interest rates are now at 3.4%, but they have the potential to double if Congress takes no action. UPUA has taken the stance that it wants the interest rate to be capped at 6.8% to avoid the rates from skyrocketing. While it’s clear that the only people who care about what the assembly thinks about interest rates is the assembly itself, this does give UPUA some precedent going forward. If anyone in UPUA wanted to write legislation on these interest rates, they can fall back on this resolution to determine UPUA’s official stance. It seems boring, but it’ll prevent some infighting in the future.
The resolution passed 32-4-2.
Resolution 03-08: Revised Partnership Agreement for Test Preparation with The Princeton Review
Most of the information for this resolution was covered in Ganjam’s presentation, so there’s not too much to discuss with this one. This resolution outlines most of what Ganjam said about the new online classes and continued relationship with The Princeton Review, which seemed to please UPUA about the direction of the program.
This resolution passed 37-1-0.
Resolution 04-08: Diversity Council
This resolution dissolves the Diversity Task Force and replaces it with the Diversity Council. Different selected organizations around campus will select one individual from their organization to serve on the Diversity Council. The Diversity Council will meet once a month, and there are dates and times already set for these meetings. Considering this is more than the Diversity committee did during last assembly, it’s a good start for encouraging more diversity discussion throughout campus.
The resolution passed unanimously.
Bill 02-08: iClicker Expansion
After a successful iClicker program this past semester, UPUA decided to expand the program and buy 70 more. The total cost for the iClickers came out to be $2703.30, but the money was pulled from the tabled CATA bus maps and the failed Movin’ On ice cream social.
The bill passed unanimously.
Resolution 05-08: Sponsorship of Adventure Race Course
The only thing you need to know about this resolution is that UPUA’s name will now be attached the Adventure Race Course “tough mudder” event that will be held on October 6th. As representative Kevin Horne said (also an Onward State editor), “I don’t think this is the type of thing a student government should be voting on — throwing our support behind random events. I’ll be voting no, despite the fact that it seems like a cool event.”
UPUA does need to get away from voting on petty things like this, but I admit that UPUA’s name attached to a “tough mudder” event sounds pretty cool.
The resolution passed 32-5-0.
Bill 03-08: Political Party Funding
Going into this meeting, this was the piece of legislation I was the most interested in. After UPUA didn’t fund the ice cream social last week, I figured that they wouldn’t pay the $163.50 for food (which includes a cheese platter, fruit, and beverages) at the Political Party taking place at the Nittany Lion Inn today.
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I was happy when UPUA took a stand last week and decided not to fund the Movin’ On ice cream social, but it seems hypocritical to not do the same for the upcoming Political Party. For those who don’t know, the Political Party is today at 6:30 p.m. at the Nittany Lion Inn. Students will have the chance to interact with local politicians (like Mayor Goreham and State Representative Scott Conklin) and listen to their ideas on politics.
Several UPUA representatives did provide reasons for supporting the bill, but it’s hard to take them seriously when they refused to buy the ice cream for Movin’ On. If UPUA wants to improve their legitimacy to the students, it’s absolutely critical that they are more consistent with these decisions going forward.
The resolution passed 24-11-3.
(NOTE: Representative Horne stormed out of the meeting after the bill passed — he of course voted no. It was later learned, however, that he was just trying to get to the Aaron Carter concert before it ended.)
Rep. Mike Augustyn
Rep. John Wortman
Winner: Mike Augustyn
I feel bad for Mr. Wortman. I really do. You can tell he really went all out this week. He honestly thought he had Tie Wars in the bag with his hip, yet classy pink tie. But as I’m sure we’ve all learned during our lives, you can’t go wrong with foxes. The foxes on Augustyn’s tie put him over the edge, which is why he is the final Tie War champion of the semester.