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Katie Jordan Sworn In As UPUA President During 12th Assembly’s First Meeting

UPUA’s 12th Assembly met for the first time last night to swear in elected leaders and elect internal leaders, including committee chairs and the speaker of the assembly.

“No matter what color shirt you wore last Wednesday — none of that matters now,” Katie Jordan said in her first address as president. “This is a very meaningful organization and we can all do good work if we work together.”

Jordan hit the ground running and is already working on developing action steps with the All In programming committee, organizing the It’s On Us/Stand for State football game on Sept. 30, and meeting with representatives from the Borough to discuss how Greek life changes will impact downtown.

Borough Liaison Morgon Goranson reported Borough Council dropped a potential amendment to extend expiration deadlines for Borough Points pending in court. A few weeks ago, UPUA passed a resolution to advocate for the Borough Council to allow development in the “West End district” of downtown by not imposing height limits on new buildings. Council decided to push a vote on this back to May 1.

Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims also presented to the Assembly, thanking members for their commitment to bettering Penn State over the past year. He highlighted CAPS funding and the Student Fee Board as a whole, which have transformed student life and the way students can provide input in financial decisions.

Sims plays a key role in deciding the fate of Greek life at Penn State, so naturally this was another big part of the discussion. Contrary to previous interpretations, Sims said students who have completed 14 Penn State credits and have a GPA of at least 2.5 will be allowed to rush this fall.

“Despite differences of opinion — and strong differences of opinion — about what is the right thing to do and why, I am pleased by the fact that you and others like you are able to engage with me in thoughtful, deliberative conversation about how best to go forward,” Sims said. “We’re really in this together to make Penn State a better university for its students and others.”

He added he expects the results of criminal investigations into Beta Theta Pi may be devastating to the Penn State community. Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said in a statement last week that results of the investigation should be released by mid-April.

“It is going to be a very difficult experience for this university community, so I think the right thing to do is…try to mitigate these problems right now and not wait for additional bad news to come our way,” Sims said.

After a caucus breakout, the Assembly elected its internal leaders, including a speaker and chairs of the four committees. The speaker position was a particularly contested race between former Facilities Chair Brent Rice and former Academic Affairs Chair Andrew Ahr. Rice was ultimately elected by a vote of 17-15.

The following representatives were elected to serve as committee chairs:

  • Academic Affairs Committee Chair: George Samuel, College of Nursing representative
  • Facilities Committee Chair: Cody Heaton, at-large representative
  • Governmental Affairs Committee Chair: Isaac Will, at-large representative (touted as the pioneer of emergency management)
  • Student Life Committee Chair: Kyleigh Higie, at-large representative

Representatives also confirmed former Chief of Staff Jen Heckman and former Director of Records Brooke Novotnak to serve their respective positions again for the 12th Assembly.

Chief Justice Eric Love reported Reilly Ebbs will be the next Chief Justice of the Assembly. He also confirmed no UPUA resources were used to advance BugPAC. A referendum could be coming to the student body about allocating funds to groups who use endangered animals after an elephant on the HUB lawn last week drew concerns about animal cruelty.

Comments for the Good of the Readers: The 12th Assembly has already encountered its first scandal as now-Governmental Affairs Chair Isaac Will was accused of wearing socks with sandals. These are your elected officials and they must be held accountable. Despicable.

About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a junior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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