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UPUA Elects New Gov. Affairs Chair, Supports Increased Medical Amnesty

UPUA met last night for its final meeting of the semester and wasted no time electing a new governmental affairs chair and passing some meaningful legislation. All while wearing holiday sweaters!

Vice President Alex Shockley explained in his report the three-pronged way President Eric Barron says the new tax reform plan could affect Penn State. Barron spoke on the subject at faculty senate, explaining if passed it will affect how graduate student income is taxed, how employee benefits are taxed (specifically tuition discounts for the children of Penn State employees), and how philanthropic donations are taxed. Shockley also said Barron has discussed his concerns with PA Senator Pat Toomey, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee.

UPUA President Katie Jordan has signed onto a letter with other student government presidents from the Association of Big Ten Students that’s expected to be released in the next few days addressing the new tax reform plan and its implications on college affordability.


Last Wednesday, then-Governmental Affairs Chair Isaac Will announced his resignation from the position. This week, the assembly was tasked with electing his replacement. Three representatives were nominated and spoke in front of the assembly: Jake Griggs, Fernando Mendez, and Zach Robinson.

After significant discussion and debate over the three candidates, the assembly ultimately elected Zach Robinson to serve as the next UPUA Governmental Affairs Chair. Robinson is a junior studying political science and has been in UPUA since his freshman year; he’s also currently the chairperson of the Pennsylvania Association of State-Related Schools (PASS).

The assembly also passed a bill and two resolutions supporting goals from the Jordan-Shockley platform. Here’s what you should know about each:

Bill 12-12, Emergency Management Poster Campaign for Residence Halls

This provides funding for 1,055 posters for residence halls dealing with PSU Alerts, crime prevention, and medical emergencies. The bill passed unanimously.

Resolution 18-12, Support for Increased Protection through Medical Amnesty

This resolution contributes significantly to the Jordan-Shockley initiative to advocate for increased medical amnesty in Pennsylvania; it allows UPUA to work more with administration to advocate for a change to the law. UPUA would like to see the law include legal protections for both the caller and the individual seeking medical attention regarding alcohol-related incidents.

The resolution also outlined similar policy change recommendations through the Office of Student Conduct so neither the caller or the individual seeking medical attention would be charged through the student conduct system. If the incident occurs at a function of a student organization, the fact that someone called for help will also be taken into consideration in the organization’s conduct review. The resolution passed unanimously.

Resolution 19-12, Support for the Recommendations of the Residence Hall Security Report

This resolution recommends installing security cameras outside of residence halls to deter crime and improve investigations on campus, especially outside of exit-only doors that don’t have swipe-in access from the outside. The resolution passed unanimously.

Sweater of the Year: Grant Flagler

I know, I know. This *technically* isn’t a sweater at all. But how could I not choose a get-up that included a jacket, pants, and kept with UPUA’s business casual protocol? Bravo, Grant.

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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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