UPUA Passes Four Pieces Of Legislation, Talks Student Fee Board
UPUA met last night in 302 HUB to pass three resolutions and one bill before discussing the new Student Fee Board during another Committee of the Whole at the end of the general meeting.
The meeting began with a special presentation from Director of the Grassroots Network Alan Janesch called “The Power of Advocacy.” Janesch outlined the importance of legislative advocacy and advised the assembly on some best practices. He also recommended members of the assembly join the Grassroots Network and take part in events like Penn State Capital Day.
President Terry Ford reported on his “Borough Breakfast” last week with administration and leaders from the State College Borough. The group discussed ways to reduce community members’ concern about student activities, especially on weekends with home football games and night games.
Ford also discussed the Penn State Board of Trustees public meeting Friday, explaining he will give a brief statement on CAPS after a special presentation to the Board from CAPS Director Ben Locke. As for the Student Leader Roundtable, Ford said the group discussed ways to increase tangible student involvement in the All In campaign.
Ford closed his report with an update on a recently proposed initiative to have a transportation loop bringing students back to campus from Frat Row. Director of Transportation Services Rob DeMayo is consulting with University Risk Management officials on the implications of implementing the project.
“There is a possibility of using a 15-person van that could be rented by an organization like [UPUA],” Ford said, explaining that a CATA bus like the white and blue loops use would be too large-scale. Ideally, the program would have an app like Uber or Lyft where students could request to be picked up at a specific location.
Vice President Katie Jordan focused on the We Are Worth Funding campaign during her brief report.
“On Friday, we will be having 111 HUB open from 10-4 so you can come in, fill out your little action alert, and be on your way,” Jordan said. “We really want to use this event to stress the importance of legislative outreach before election day.”
Ford and Jordan both emphasized the importance of the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting and invited members of the assembly to attend.
After a caucus breakout, the assembly addressed new business. Bill 12-11, UPUA Funding for Fall Break Airport Shuttle, funds a shuttle using Zimride between campus and the University Park Airport for students flying home for fall break. The shuttle will leave campus every hour from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 18. This is similar to the Airport Shuttle UPUA provided last year for students going home for the summer but was amended based on what did and didn’t work last time. After numerous “friendly amendments” from the assembly, the bill passed unanimously.
The assembly then discussed Resolution 19-11, Support of Removal of Section 404.9 from the Centre County Property Maintenance Code. If summer made this slip your mind, Section 404.9 of the nuisance property ordinance is about enforcing the maximum occupancy of fenced-in areas; this recommendation from the Highlands Civic Association would affect student rental properties like fraternity houses. Borough staff now recommends the removal of this ordinance and this resolution supports this action. The resolution passed unanimously and the Borough Council will officially vote on the section on Monday night. Governmental Affairs Chair Shawn Bengali encouraged all students to attend to show that students are invested in this section not passing.
Resolution 20-11 is a Call for U.S. Food and Drug Administration to End MSM Blood Ban. The assembly discussed the FDA’s ban on collecting blood from MSM (men who have sex with men) a few weeks ago during discussion of funding a blood drive on campus. For this resolution, UPUA will write letters to the FDA Commissioner and members of Congress calling for an end to the ban and for a Congressional Hearing to address these concerns. UPUA will also sponsor a trip to Washington, D.C. in January for representatives to speak with Congressional and administrative leaders on this issue. The resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 21-11, Support of 2017 Senior Class Gift, was brought to the floor by a two-thirds vote. Last week, the Class Gift Committee announced that the 2017 Class Gift is an endowment for Lion’s Pantry. The resolution supporting this class gift decision passed unanimously.
Following new business, the assembly stayed in session for a Committee of the Whole, which UPUA uses when it wants to have a formal discussion with the entire assembly. In this Committee of the Whole, the assembly discussed details of the Student Fee Board, which will be implemented this semester to govern the Student Initiated Fee each student must pay in addition to tuition costs. You can read more about that here.
The meeting adjourned at 10:16 p.m.
Comments for the Good of the Readers: Representative George Samuels needs two second-string wide receivers to join his IM football team. If you have any experience whatsoever — literally any at all — please inquire within. Onward State is also considering the possibility of live tweeting UPUA’s Nov. 12 football game for those of you who won’t be able to be in attendance. We’re running the idea through our editorial board.