New Location, Same UPUA
Last night’s meeting signaled a change of pace for UPUA. Much to the chagrin of the folks trying to use the comfy chairs, our student government moved its General Assembly meeting to the first floor of the HUB instead of its normal home in 314 HUB.
The meeting opened with an in-person apology from Ashley Lytle (#thehubisnotaplayground girl) during open student forum. Lytle expressed remorse over her tweet and said that “this whole thing has been a really big learning experience and I hope others are able to learn from my mistake.” UPUA was receptive to her apology and it appears everyone is ready to move on from the incident. Props to her for having the courage to speak out at the meeting.
Mayoral candidates Elizabeth Goreham and Ron Madrid also came in to give their pitch to the assembly. With the election coming up on November 5, both candidates wanted to speak to UPUA about the student-borough relationship.
The question that generated the most attention was focused on State Patty’s Day — specifically if the candidates agreed with paying bars to shut down.
Goreham said that although she agreed more conversation was needed between students and borough residents about the pseudo-holiday, she would support paying the bars to close again.
Madrid wouldn’t answer the question directly, even when asked twice. He did admit, however, that paying the bars to close is a “bandaid solution” and blamed the stigma surrounding State Patty’s Day on the original edition.
“Why should you be accountable for actions people did 2-3 years ago?” he asked.
He also mentioned that he would allow UPUA to present its case regarding State Patty’s Day before the council. If UPUA put together a decent case that demonstrated State Patty’s Day was no longer a big deal, Madrid and the council would consider other options beside shutting down the bars.
After reports from both President Mullen and Vice President Dooley, the assembly jumped into the new legislation for the week. Here’s a breakdown of what happened:
Confirmation of Michael Kramer as Director of Internal Development
During his presentation, Kramer made it clear that his main goal was to make UPUA more of a social organization. He pointed out that there had been failed UPUA events in the past (R.I.P. UPUA hayride), and that the key to a strong student government was organizational unity.
There were concerns from the assembly that Kramer wasn’t exactly qualified for the position, but Mullen’s comments on Kramer’s work ethic and determination was enough to push him over the edge.
Kramer was confirmed with a contentious 21-15 vote.
Swearing in of Malcom Jenkins as On-Campus Representative
Jenkins will be making the switch from ARHS liaison to On-Campus Representative. While I’ll surely miss Jenkins announcing the HUB movie of the week every meeting, he’ll do just fine as a representative.
Resolution 07-08: What to Fix PSU (WTF PSU)
WTF — UPUA is so witty!
This resolution will enact the What to Fix campaign, which was a major component of the Mullen/Dooley platform. Basically, the What to Fix campaign will allow students to let UPUA know via social media (Gmail/Facebook/Twitter) what they want to see fixed at Penn State. This is especially convenient if you don’t feel like going to an assembly meeting or, you know, talking to your neighborhood UPUA representative. If the suggestion is feasible, UPUA will look into the problem and hopefully write legislation to fix it.
The resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 08-08: UPUA/University Libraries Student Financial Education Center (SFEC)
After last week’s special presentation on the financial literacy counseling, legislation finally came through this week regarding UPUA’s partnership with University Libraries. As a partner, UPUA will assist in marketing the program and create a website in order to promote the SFEC. Students will be able to walk in to the office in the Paterno library and talk to peers on debt counseling and other financial topics.
The Assembly rushed to vote on the matter, but Rep. Kevin Horne, also an Onward State editor, took objection with a line in the bill that said “(UPUA will) provide all necessary funds for the SFEC office that can not be provided by the University Libraries.”
Horne said he was concerned that the language acted like a “blank check” and committed UPUA to an unreasonable financial burden and set poor precedent for future legislation. A 30 minute debate ensued after Horne made a motion to strike the line from the bill. Ultimately, the language was altered to require a vote before any future funds be allocated to the SFEC — a directive that Horne called “already inherent” in UPUA and redundant to include in the resolution.
The resolution passed 37-1-0, with Horne the only dissenter.
Policy 02-08: Roll Call Voting Transparency
As it is now, roll-call voting records aren’t published after they happen during the public general assembly meetings. With this policy, you’ll now be able to see how your favorite UPUA representative voted on a certain policy/bill/resolution. It’s kind of pointless because most representatives vote ‘yes’ on everything anyways, but it makes the organization more transparent (which is more than UPAC can say).
It passed 37-1-0, with Evan Riddick as the only dissenter.
vs. Steffen Blanco
Unfortunately for Steffen, Kevin’s bow tie is too much to overcome. While I like the patterns featured on Steffen’s tie, it’s an unfair competition because there’s nothing cooler than bow ties. Bonus points to Kevin for actually knowing how to tie a bow tie and not resorting to one of those clip-on bow ties that everyone wore to prom.
Winner: Kevin Horne