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UPUA Confirms New Smeal Rep, Recommends System To Replace Blue Lights

UPUA met Wednesday night in the HUB to confirm its new Smeal College of Business representative and pass a report with recommendations for a system to replace the Blue Lights across campus.

Without much fuss, the assembly unanimously confirmed Thomas Sarabok as the new representative for the Smeal College of Business. Though only in his second year on campus, Sarabok has been involved in UPUA’s PSU Votes Week since his first semester on campus through his experience with College Democrats. He’s also a part of the Penn State Investment Association (the organization that feeds into the Nittany Lion Fund), Phroth, and PSNtv’s After Hours show.

The most substantial piece of legislation this week — and frankly, in the past month or so — was Resolution 17-12, Support for the Recommendations of the Blue Light Emergency Telephone System Report. If Blue Light rings a bell but you can’t quite place it, the system is quite literally the blue lights you see on campus at night.

The Blue Lights were first installed in the 1990s before cell phones were common to deter crime on campus. Penn State installed security cameras on the posts in 2015 that record at all times; campus police can also see realtime footage if someone presses the emergency button on one of the Blue Lights, so police can see what’s happening before they arrive at the location.

UPUA prepared a report with benchmarking and recommendations to install a new, multi-purpose emergency telephone system to help deter crime on campus and allow people to contact the police in emergencies. Basically, UPUA recommends the new systems include the capability to contact campus police, display campus maps, and provide information on LED panels like emergency management, mental health resources, disability resources, Title IX resources, and campus updates. Ideally, these panels could be updated with messages in case of emergency or any other reason information needs to be quickly disseminated to everyone on campus.

Recommendations also include new locations to install new emergency telephone systems, mostly in heavily traveled paths and in locations that are not well-lit or are in secluded parts of campus. Over the next 15-20 years (the average shelf life of a Blue Light), the Blue Light systems would be phased out and replaced with a new emergency telephone system; UPUA recommends the InLink interactive kiosk system. The resolution passed unanimously.

The assembly also unanimously passed a bill to fund $5,226.20 in booklets for Test Prep Week, which will be held November 27-30. You can pick up prep books for the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, and Fundamentals of Engineering exams from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside the Paul Robeson Cultural Center in the HUB. The Princeton Review will hold practice exams on campus the following week.

Chief Justice Reilly Ebbs discussed in her report two things that the judicial board would like to see change within the assembly. First, UPUA should be more prompt in making meeting minutes, agendas, and past legislation available to the public, including publicizing agendas on social media. Second, the UPUA bylaws should be more specific about where and how vacant positions must be publicized. We all know where that one comes from.


Ebbs said the assembly will review the election code on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving break. Yes, really. It’s already happening again.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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