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UPUA Hears New Penn State Values, Talks Second Amendment At Meeting

Every Wednesday evening, I walk into 302 HUB and take a seat at the media table at the back of the room. UPUA Speaker John Wortman walks towards me shortly after, agendas in hand, passing me a freshly-printed packet as we near the assembly meeting’s 8 p.m. start time.

I immediately glance down at that agenda, scouring the New Business section for any legislation that will be voted on in the coming hours. When I feel a thick packet and I see a long list of bills and resolutions, I die a little inside and shed a tear for the grueling hours of student government debate, discussion, and bureaucracy that lies ahead.

When I see an empty New Business section, I am similarly distraught as I lament that fact that I can’t provide my readership with tasty morsels of UPUA minutiae for your viewing pleasure along with a morning cup of coffee.

That was the case last night as a swearing-in of a UPUA clerk and a bill on the Blue & White Brigade were both struck from the agenda. What that means is that the lone newsworthy item to share today comes in the form of Smeal representative Noel Purcell’s confirmation as the assembly’s Movin’ On Liaison. Purcell is also an Onward State staff writer.

But first, an interesting titbit of information came from Tim Balliett, a specialist at the university’s new Office of Ethics and Compliance, who gave a presentation to the UPUA assembly.

While it won’t be officially announced until next Friday at the Board of Trustees meeting, the university is officially doing away with its Penn State Principles, which have existed since 2001. According to Balliett, the administration has been working on revamping the school’s core values since the Freeh Report was released as it included a recommendation to reevaluate the Penn State culture.

After a couple years of work, studies, and a survey of Penn State employees and students, the new set of Penn State Values has been settled upon: Community, Discovery, Excellence, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility.

Each individual value comes with a definition on how it relates to the university. The entirety of the data from the survey will be released to the community along with those finalized definitions next week. Balliett said that the administration is working on ways to integrate the values into Penn State life, working with Strategic Planning in that area.

But enough about those. You want to hear about Noel Purcell.

When it came time for assembly members to nominate potential suitors for the position, Purcell arose as the lone nominee. At-large representative Melissa McCleery proposed his name be thrown into the hat. Purcell addressed the assembly, citing a laundry list of qualifications including two years working for Governor’s Ball, and working with a record company he founded for three years.

“Our relationship with Movin’ On has been a little bit strained,” Purcell said, “but I think having somebody who is supportive of the organization is important. Having clear lines of communications will be key so that everyone knows what’s going on. As long as we keep them informed, they see it as a productive relationship going forward.”

Purcell was confirmed by the assembly with a 31-1 vote.

When the usual assembly meeting business came to a close, the UPUA adjourned a short Committee of the Whole meeting, which acts as a discussion forum of sorts on upcoming legislation, initiatives, and so on. There was nothing groundbreaking brought up at this time, but one quote from representative Ted Ritsick stood out among the pack.

“For any in favor of the Second Amendment, I will be working on legislation regarding concealed carry on campus, so let me know if you’re interested in that,” he said.

Many assembly members were visibly awed by the sentiment, with some opining to me after the meeting that the idea of UPUA trying to push for firearms on campus is shocking.

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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