UPUA Representative Wants To Put 409 Clocks On Campus
The typical University Park Undergraduate Association meeting opens up by flying through roll call, the adoption of the agenda, and the adoption of the previous meeting’s minutes. On Wednesday night, the first few agenda items were far from the norm as former Internal Development Chair Ryan Belz attempted to make multiple changes to the agenda without much success.
Belz kicked things off with a resolution supporting State Senator Jake Corman’s lawsuit against the NCAA and the potential reinstatement of Joe Paterno’s 111 vacated wins. This type of legislation would usually pass through a committee before hitting the assembly floor, but Belz brought it on his own instead.
“I think this would be a great piece of legislation to consider in committee instead of doing it on the floor,” Governmental Affairs Chair Stephen Payne said. “I don’t think it’s pressing and we need to have a unified and strong voice on this.”
The motion to add the bill to the agenda failed 29-5. Belz next turned to what he saw as a glaring issue on campus: a severe lack of clocks in class buildings. The legislation, titled the John G. Wortman Clock Bill in honor of the assembly’s former Speaker, aimed to add 409 clocks around the campus.
“I don’t think this is a pressing matter and I also don’t think that the number was well thought out, because of…the number of buildings on campus,” said AgSci Representative Ted Hozza, also an Onward State editor. The motion failed 31-3.
Belz next tried to strike an item under New Business, asking the assembly to remove the confirmation of five new Internal Development committee members. Tim Rinehart, the UPUA’s new Speaker, recently moved Belz out of the committee. He asserted that this was in violation of bylaws, but Rinehart and others cited precedent in his actions.
“This is to ensure proper functioning of the organization. We have had a lot of turnover at the end of last semester,” Rinehart said. “That was a decision that I made because it ensures that [new Internal Development Chair Steffen Blanco] can really establish himself.”
Rinehart said that At-Large Representative Melissa McCleery purposely stayed off of the Academic Affairs committee after she chaired it to avoid stepping on the toes of the new chair. He also cited Caleb Fernandez, a former Student Life chair who similarly chose to leave a committee he formerly chaired. The motion failed 31-4.
Here’s the breakdown of the rest of the night:
President Anand Ganjam’s Weekly Report
The most noteworthy point from Ganjam’s lengthy weekly report involved the potential formation of a commission to review student fees. Ganjam said that many of Penn State’s peer institutions provide a means for students to present potential fees, like a mental health fee that would further fund CAPS. Penn State does not currently have a body that would review fee ideas from students.
Confirmation of New Internal Development Committee Members
Alex Shockley, Melissa McCleery, Alex Stough, Ted Hozza, and Alley Lemont were confirmed as members of the Internal Development Committee after a fairly contentious discussion. Most members of the assembly seemed to strongly support all five candidates, but Belz, At-Large Representative John Lombardo, and At-Large Representative Zach Longstreth were vehemently opposed.
“I urge the assembly to vote down the members,” Belz said. “It was pretty much hand-picked so that any piece of legislation would now be passed through the committee. Representative McCleery spoke about there being a lot of the same voices on the committee. Well, thanks for trying to push us all out one step at a time.”
“I feel like their sole reason to be there is just to drown my voice out,” Longstreth added.
But that certainly wasn’t the majority opinion, as the assembly confirmed the five members by a vote of 28-3.
Bill 19-09 – Support of No Increase In The Student Activity Fee
This bill was the sole agenda change by Belz that was approved at the start of the meeting. Even so, he was the only sponsor on the legislation and UPUA by-laws require at least two sponsors on any bill to hit the floor. The assembly voted to commit the bill to the Governmental Affairs Committee to be reworked.
That’s all from the first UPUA meeting of 2015. Tune in next week for more student government fun.