UPUA Judicial Board Voids New Multicultural Caucus Seats
After meeting to evaluate the changes to UPUA’s bylaws and constitution that were passed almost unanimously by the General Assembly last Wednesday, the student government’s Judicial Board elected to overturn the decision.
With the decision to overturn, the three added appointed seats to its Assembly structure — one for each of Penn State’s international/multicultural caucuses: Black Caucus, Latino Caucus, and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus — have been voided.
The board pinpointed the wording in Policy 02-13, which limits multicultural representative seats to three, and the Steering Committee and Assembly’s role as “arbiters” in adding these Community Representative Seats.
“This Board takes no pleasure in the decision rendered, and its decision was not a question of principle. However, the facts are clear. As written, Policy 02-13 and Policy 03-13 do not meet the standards of fairness and equity,” the Judicial Board wrote in a per curiam.
The appointed seats came following weeks of lobbying by members and supporters of the three caucuses at Open Student Forum. The motion to add the seats and make the changes to the bylaws was passed with little opposition.
Opposition to the changes focused on the quick manner that these changes were brought to the table, as well as the lack of review for a policy change that wouldn’t come into effect until the next Assembly takes office.
“If this were a resolution or a bill, I would not feel the need to speak; it would be an easy yes vote,” said Zach Robinson, a representative who seats on the ad hoc committee.
“But this is a change to the structure of our organization, and it carries with it many outcomes that we have not fully discussed. Again, even if we pass this right now and applaud our work once we have done so, nothing will happen until April. We have to make sure we do this right to ensure we need not have this discussion again in the future.”
UPUA Justice Daniel Zahn also discussed a constitutional violation in the addition of these seats.
“It is the sole power of the Judicial Board to decide the effective date of any and all constitutional Amendments and their attached bylaw,” Zahn wrote. “Any attempt by another branch to decide the effective date of constitutional Amendments violates the Constitution and its governing ideals.”
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