UPUA Passes Four Pieces Of Legislation, Talks Buttons And Sunglasses In Weekly Meeting
Happy Thursday, the day after Wednesday but also more commonly known as the day after the weekly University Park Undergraduate Association meeting. In yet another room hop, the assembly met in 302 HUB this week and was quick to reminisce on the years UPUA spent holding meetings there (inception through the 9th assembly).
There was no special presentation this week, so after adding a few items to the agenda, President Terry Ford gave his compact but hefty report. Ford updated the assembly on his meeting with the LionPATH Steering Committee, which UPUA passed a resolution on a few weeks ago to create a seat on the committee for a student representative. After meeting with the committee, along with leaders from GPSA and CCSG, Ford said it would be more beneficial to create a sub-committee that includes student representatives and members from the Steering Committee, as much of the Steering Committee’s discussion is technical.
“It will be a more formal and frequent way for students to communicate with those working on LionPATH,” Ford said. “All-in-all I think we have a better deal and I’m looking forward to those conversations in the future.”
Ford also discussed a meeting he had with Athletic Director Sandy Barbour regarding a sportsmanship issue in the student section during the Temple game. There were some explicit, disrespectful chants during the game and Ford said that UPUA hopes to work with athletics going forward to assure that students remain respectful during games for all sports.
During her Vice Presidential report, Katie Jordan talked about a meeting with Penn State Fitness to see how physical fitness could be incorporated into mental health and wellness. The goal would be to help students actively mitigate and handle stress. Jordan also updated on UPUA’s efforts with OPP for construction timeline transparency for students, which has faced a few minor roadblocks (pun not originally intended). She said that UPUA is continuing to work on the transparency and will likely put together future legislation that would promote OPP’s Twitter page and new website.
The assembly went on its caucus breakout and Malachi Burden was sworn in as the new National Panhellenic Council Representative before the meeting turned to the legislation.
This meeting marked one of the first this semester that featured healthy discussion in opposition to part of a piece of legislation brought forward. Bill 10-11, Funding for WhatToFix Week, will help UPUA put on a three-day effort to ask students what problems at Penn State they think need to be addressed. It also includes a lot of “swag” to keep the initiative relevant past its three-day timeline. Scheduled for October 11, 12, and 13, UPUA will set up in the HUB, take suggestions, and give out items including sunglasses, ID holders, and not buttons.
The bill originally suggested giving out sunglasses, buttons, and wristbands during the event, but Facilities Chair Brent Rice moved to replace the wristbands with ID holders when he brought up the legislation, because though more costly, they’ll stick around longer (pun intended this time).
The assembly went on to question then whether or not students would be interested in sunglasses or buttons that said “WhatToFix” or “UPUA” on them. The sunglasses remained well received but the buttons not so much.
“My experience with buttons is that people don’t use them,” said At-Large Representative Jorge Zurita-Coronado. “I don’t see people using buttons or pinning them on things.”
The assembly was split in half over whether or not it believed students would be interested in buttons, and a motion to remove buttons from the bill was passed 19-17, meaning there will be no buttons. It seems the student body is just as split.
.@UPUA is currently debating student interest in buttons. Would you wear a button/pin one on your backpack?
— Onward State (@OnwardState) September 29, 2016
Buttons or no buttons, the assembly hopes the elongated effort will build on last semester’s one day revival of the 8th Assembly WhatToFix initiative. UPUA received numerous suggestions that not only gave them suggestions on what students want to see addressed but also confidence that the assembly’s initiatives are addressing student concerns. The funding for WTF Week passed unanimously.
The remaining legislation was more-or-less straightforward. Policy 01-11, Revision to Judicial Board Powers, passed unanimously and will codify the undergraduate seat on the parking appeals board as a member of the UPUA Judicial Board, whose members are specifically trained in handling such cases.
Resolution 11-11 is support of the “We Are A Culture, Not a Costume” campaign. UPUA already paid for rights to use the campaign indefinitely during the 9th assembly so the resolution is a renewed support and effort to distribute the posters throughout campus and downtown. The campaign sheds light on the inappropriateness of using someone’s race, gender, ethnicity, or other defining feature as a Halloween costume.
“Our university, our student government will not stand for this,” Representative Zurita-Coronado said. “I hope this is a notice for you if you’re thinking about an inappropriate costume this Halloween.” The resolution passed unanimously.
The final item was Resolution 12-11, UPUA Support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is taking place throughout the month of October nationally. UPUA will primarily promote the month of awareness about domestic violence on its social media pages and will participate in National #PurpleThursday on October 20. This resolution too passed unanimously.
Rice commented on the Blue & White Brigade to Michigan last weekend, saying that even though the game itself was far from a success for the Nittany Lions, the trip went off without a hitch. Due to some cancellations the Brigade only ended up needing one bus, but the assembly was able to get a refund for the unused one.
Comments for the Good of the Readers: Academic Affairs Chair Samantha Geisinger said that there are still plenty of LSAT and MCAT prep books left over from UPUA’s Test Prep Week. Anybody interested is invited to stop by the UPUA office in the HUB and pick up a copy. I was not persuaded to write this.