UPUA Meets For First Time In 2016, Tackles Two Resolutions

The University Park Undergraduate Association met for the first time in 2016 on Wednesday night in the HUB. For a recap, here’s what happened at the last meeting of the fall semester.

The meeting was called to order at 8 p.m. and after the opening roll call and adoption of the agenda, the assembly heard a special presentation from the chair of the University Faculty Senate, Dr. Mohamad Ansari.

Next up, President Emily McDonald gave her weekly report. She gave an update on the Greek life task force and how to spend the recently uncovered $8 million (which you can read more about in last meeting’s recap). She also told the assembly that this weekend her and a handful of members will be going to Rutgers University for a conference with other Big Ten student governments. She promised to give updates next week.

“We’re always looking for different things to spend that money on and it’d be nice to explore as many options as possible,” she said.

Following President McDonald’s report, Vice President Terry Ford began by saying, “as you can all imagine, I’ll be focusing on student fees this semester.” He said he is working on setting up a number of meetings with the University budget and accounting departments with the ultimate goal of finding “where exactly the dividing line should be between fees and tuition.” He noted there’s a limited timeline, as he hopes to have a timeline by the July Board of Trustees meeting.

There was no old business to discuss as the assembly just got back from break, so they moved to a five minute caucus breakout.

Following the breakout, the assembly tackled two items of new business. First was Resolution 27-10, Support of Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Week. A full schedule of events can be found here. The resolution passed unanimously, however it doesn’t involve the assembly doing anything other than pledging its support. The fact remains, UPUA did not plan next week’s events and MLK Commemoration week will happen with or without the support of the assembly. It’s legislation like this that is plaguing the tenth assembly, as it does nothing to better student life at Penn State.

Thankfully, this week at least, that fluff resolution was balanced out with an interesting and pertinent piece of legislation, Resolution 28-10, Support for Language Diagnostics. The resolution began, “As of spring of 2015, students have approached the University Park Undergraduate Association with complaints regarding the language placement system at Penn State. Currently, students are placed into courses based on the number of Carnegie Units they have, which are the number of years credited from high school language classes that are transferred to placement in University language programs.”

The resolution went on to point out that advisors in various colleges are also looking to address this problem, as they are seeing a greater number of students looking to change courses during the drop/add period. After meeting with the University Measurement Council, it was determined that a diagnostic exam will allow advisers to address the issue of placement before or during New Student Orientation.The resolution passed unanimously.

The most notable thing to come from the committee reports was in Alex Shockley’s Facilities report. He updated the assembly on the next step for the infamous ice cream truck from the McDonald/Ford platform. They’ve paired with a business class to create a business model, which they will review in the coming weeks.

Closing roll call was taken at 8:57 in the quickest meeting of the tenth assembly’s tenure. UPUA will be back next week for another full assembly meeting.

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