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UPUA To Vote Next Week To Censure Ryan Belz

It happened again.

For the third week in a row, College of Communications representative Ryan Belz found a way to dominate UPUA’s weekly assembly meeting.

For the second week in a row, Belz tried to essentially undo every change in legislation that amended the organization’s governing documents, offering a slew of motions that were unilaterally shut down.

But for the first time in three years, the assembly will debate a motion to censure a representative, which was added to next week’s agenda by a vote of 22-12-1. And yes, you guessed it, that representative is the one and only Ryan Belz.

During the last agenda item, Comments for the Good of the Order, Smeal representative Noel Purcell motioned to censure Belz, which is in short a formal declaration condemning the actions of a member of the assembly. Purcell is also an editor with Onward State.

The motion, which will be reviewed at next week’s meeting, comes after weeks of Belz spouting conspiracy theories about the assembly trying to silence his voice and asinine attempts to, among other things, disallow media members from joining UPUA. Purcell clarified during the meeting that his censure motion is unrelated to Belz’s stance on media in student government.

“It is not anything personal in any way, shape, or form, which I want people to understand,” Purcell said after the meeting. “My motion to censure is totally related to conduct within the meetings and conduct detrimental to the organization and those that exist to serve.”

Belz attempted to make four amendments to a bill that amended the organization’s elections code on Wednesday night. When Belz chaired the Internal Development Committee, it passed a redone elections code charging the Judicial Board with overseeing the UPUA elections.

The legislation was sent back to the committee because of issues with sloppiness the first time around. Belz and his committee later sent it back to the floor with no changes. Speaker Tim Rinehart said Wednesday that the Judicial Board made no progress organizing the election and informed assembly leadership that it simply was not capable of doing so. The board was reportedly never informed that it would be charged with running the election.

While the rehashed code sent to the floor Wednesday reestablished an elections committee, Belz tried to amend the bill to force the Judicial Board back in charge and hold it responsible for its inaction.

“I guess this means what we have an incompetent Judicial Board,” Belz said. “I see this as an impeachable offense to not follow through with something they were charged with.”

The motion did not receive a second vote. Belz then attempted to add back in a voter’s bill of rights, which failed 22-15 with the majority arguing that the list was redundant aside the rest of the code.

A motion to strike a clause that allows executive ticket candidates to cross-list as regular representatives on the ballot received no other votes. Two of the most prolific members of the current assembly, at-large representative Melissa McCleery, also an Onward State writer, and Speaker Rinehart were the runner-ups in the 2014 election. Without that clause, they would not be on the current assembly.

A fourth and final motion regarding the review and stamping of election documents failed 29-8. Representative Mike Mancini then motioned to add a clause charging the Judicial Board with running all future elections, but it failed 33-4. The revised elections code went on to pass 33-4.

Immediately after the vote, Belz moved to establish an ad-hoc committee that would review the future of UPUA elections and their potential oversight by the justices, but that failed 26-8-1.

A censure vote is an official slap on the wrist and will need to be passed by a two-thirds vote at next Wednesday’s meeting. The last time a censure came up, it was levied against Student Life Chair Justin Laskowski for attempting to abuse the legislative process. The motion to censure was tabled the following week.

Here’s the rest of the rundown from Wednesday’s meeting.

State of State Funding:

The UPUA unanimously passed a bill that will provide State of State with $1,000 to fund event-specific training for World in Conversation facilitators that will be present at the conference. State of State is set for this Saturday, Feb. 14.

Facilities Committee Chair:

Borough Council representative Jon Garfield was the sole member of the assembly nominated to chair the newly-formed Facilities Committee, which replace Internal Development. Garfield gave a short speech and his confirmation received minimal debate before a 32-3 vote, making him the head of UPUA’s newest committee.

NPHC Representative:

It’s a little late in the game, but the National Panhellenic Council sent in Anthony Mitchell as its representative in UPUA. The assembly swore him in on Wednesday night.

That’s all from another heated UPUA meeting. I would ask you to pray for an uneventful and short meeting next week, but there’s a censure motion forthcoming, so you can just pray for my mental well-being instead.

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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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