UPUA Still Can’t Decide On A Textbook Exchange Program
After a Committee of the Whole discussion last Wednesday, UPUA was back in action this week with three pieces of legislation on the table. It was a brief meeting, but I’ve come to prefer these short meetings to those where representatives passionately share their beliefs about balloon animals or ice cream for hours on end.
The meeting started with President Katelyn Mullen’s report, who mentioned that the permanent student trustee initiative is still ongoing. While it’s probably an ubiquitously supported measure, getting anything through the Board of Trustees bureaucracy is a tall task. The discussion between both UPUA and the administration is ongoing.
Vice President Brenden Dooley’s report focused on the State Patty’s Day meeting that took place between the Student Alcohol Advisory Committee and local bar owners earlier yesterday. While Dooley couldn’t go into too much detail about the meeting, he did say that the initial discussions were “promising.”
“The two hour meeting was a very productive meeting, but I can’t give any more details until more results come,” commented Dooley. “We will be meeting a few more times going forward. However, it was a very productive initial meeting, and I was pleased with the results.”
After liaison reports, the assembly tackled the new business for the evening:
Confirmation of Board of Arbitration Justice Alyson Garino
Garino, a cadet in Army ROTC, expressed interest in joining the Board of Arbitration (BOA) because she feels Army ROTC should be represented more in student government. Internal Development Chair Katie Esarey vouched for Garino’s character.
“She showed that she had a willingness to learn and had no issues putting aside personal bias,” noted Esarey.
Garino was confirmed by a 36-3-0 vote and is the ninth justice to join the BOA.
Policy 08-08: Budgetary Policy Updates
This was just the latest internal development project to fine tune and amend UPUA’s governing documents. The budgetary policy is fairly mundane, but some objections arose about the discretionary funding scheme. Rather than tie the presidential and communications discretionary to a percentage based system, Rep. Mike Augustyn fought tooth and nail to amend it to give the two parties a flat sum from year to year “in case UPUA received a drastic budget increase.”
Ultimately, Augustyn was successful in passing through his lump sum idea, with a range of $4,500 to $7,500 annually.
The budgetary policy ended up passing 39-0-1.
Resolution 14-08: Support of TextbookFriend.com
For some reason, UPUA has had trouble solidifying a decent textbook exchange for students to use. Does anyone even remember ‘Textbooks Suck’? Probably not.
In order to finally put this issue to rest, UPUA wrote legislation, co-sponsored by Academic Affairs chair Melissa McCleery and Rep. Lina Montopoli, to express its support of textbookfriend.com — which was, it appears, a website made by some UPenn student who contacted UPUA for some free PR.
It was repudiated by some of the most outspoken members of the assembly, because the inherent risk of endorsing something that required students to meet up with strangers. There’s also no rating system for sellers on the website, so there’s no way to determine which sellers are trustworthy and which sellers aren’t.
“I don’t feel comfortable supporting this without a rating system,” said Rep. Ted Ritsick. “I would be in support of recommitting this because I don’t think the website is fully developed yet.”
Others were concerned that the website wasn’t even the best book exchange out there. Rep. Kevin Horne (also an Onward State editor) rattled off a half dozen other book exchange websites he found that were just as good or better.
“This resolution is just ill-conceived and doesn’t consider what the best option might be,” Horne said. “It seems to me that the guy who made this for-profit website just came to us for some free PR points.”
Ultimately, the resolution ended up being recommitted so that a risk management committee can evaluate the site for potential liability problems. And so the search for the perfect textbook exchange program treks onward…
Resolution 15-08: Revision to Senate Policy 34-81
Anyone who has ever taken an unpaid summer internship for credit at Penn State understands the bullshit that ensues. Students must enroll for summer session and cough up thousands of dollars simply for the ability to take the internship for credit
Currently, Senate Policy 34-81 states that a student can only receive credit from the internship during the semester that the internship is completed. UPUA recommended that the Faculty Senate adopt a policy that would allow students taking summer internship credits to count those credits on the fall tuition bill, like many other Big Ten universities.
The policy passed by unanimous consent.
Tie of the Week: Ryan Belz
There’s something about Belz’s tie that is just so mesmerizing, for lack of a better description. The three stripe pattern against the grey background makes it an intriguing tie to look out. And you have to hand it to Belz; he always finds some way to incorporate the color orange into his outfit. Good work, Mr. Belz.