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Student Body President Pens Letter On Adding Caucus Seats To Student Government

Student Body President Cody Heaton published a letter on the University Park Undergraduate Association’s social media platforms discussing UPUA’s ad hoc committee.

“The purpose of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Special Interest Seats is to give students a platform through which to relay their concerns related to the UPUA’s governance structure and ask for changes they would like to see implemented,” Heaton wrote.

The committee’s official task is to examine the “effectiveness and fairness” of UPUA’s appointed special interest seats and then make a recommendation to the 13th Assembly on any changes or continuity in the structure. In effect, the committee is supposed to consider designating three special interest seats for the three international/multicultural caucuses at Penn State: Black Caucus, Latino Caucus, and Asian-Pacific American Caucus.

“We are committed to developing a decision that will ideally satisfy all parties while increasing the effectiveness and fairness of UPUA’s structure,” Heaton wrote. “…As student body president, I want each and every student to feel as though they are represented and valued on this campus, and I will continue to do my best to represent the Penn State student body.”

You can read the full letter transcribed below:

Fellow Students:

During UPUA’s 12th Assembly, an Ad-Hoc committee was established to evaluate the effectiveness and fairness of the “Special Interest” Seats. As it stands presently, four voting seats of the UPUA’s governing body are designated to be held by an appointee from four special interest groups: The Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Panhellenic Council. The purpose of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Special Interest Seats is to give students a platform through which to relay their concerns related to the UPUA’s governance structure and ask for changes they would like to see implemented. The overall question that needs to be addressed is: Does this structure allow the current “Special Interest” representatives to be effective in their roles, regardless of the organization represented?

Evaluating the structure and effectiveness of a governing body is never a quick and easy task. However, I want to assure the student body that we are working hard to make changes that are in the best interests of all parties involved. Through research and discussion, the committee is working diligently and with great detail to create a recommendation.

Each person on this campus is an important piece of the puzzle that makes up our whole university. Regardless of the organization they are part of or degree they are seeking, they add to the overall story of the place we all call home. The other Ad-Hoc committee members and myself are doing our best to represent the interests of all students. We are committed to developing a decision that will ideally satisfy all parties while increasing the effectiveness and fairness of UPUA’s structure. If anyone has individual questions or concerns, they are always welcome to stop by our office (314 HUB) or e-mail me directly at [email protected]. We are always willing to sit down with students to hear how we can better their Penn State experience.

As student body president, I want each and every student to feel as though they are represented and valued on this campus, and I will continue to do my best to represent the Penn State student body.

For the Glory,

Cody Heaton

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior 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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