UPUA Approves Policy Changes To Add ‘Community Group’ Representative Seats

For the second time this semester, the University Park Undergraduate Association has passed a set of policy changes that effectively add seats for Penn State’s three international/multicultural caucuses: Black Caucus, Latino Caucus, and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Caucus.

The legislation came in three parts: Policy 02-13 Revisions to the UPUA Constitution, Policy 03-13 Revisions to the UPUA Bylaws and Operational Code, and Policy 04-13 Revisions to the UPUA 2018-2019 Elections Code.

Constitution changes passed 36-1, while changes to UPUA’s bylaws and 2018-2019 elections code both passed unanimously.

Though Latino Caucus President Tomas Sanchez said his organization would prefer the legislation be tabled so they can discuss it further, all other students who spoke at the meeting advocated for its immediate passage.

It’s UPUA’s intention that the Community Group representatives will encompass all four Greek councils and all three caucuses, which it further clarified in Resolution 12-13, Resolution in Support of the Addition of Community Group Seats. The resolution passed with a vote of 36-1.

Community Group representatives will speak on behalf of the organization they are elected by, but the organization cannot require the representative to vote for or against any matter on the floor before the Assembly or in committee. They’re also required to sit on the organization’s board as an ex-officio member.

Two major amendments passed during the meeting struck a provision that outlaws Community Group representatives endorsing other candidates in UPUA’s elections. The first amendment passed allows Community Group reps to publicly say who they support for academic, at-large, and executive positions. The second amendment passed allows Community Group reps to simultaneously sit on their organization’s executive board, whether as a voting or non-voting member.

UPUA’s Judicial Board will review applications from RSOs who wish to have representation via Community Group seats each fall. Organizations must reapply every two years to maintain Community Group status, and must elect their representatives in a process similar in spirit to that of UPUA’s general election.

Some representatives expressed concessions about the reapplication process, including Representative Nicole Jara Andrade, who said these policy changes required the caucuses to “settle.” Others, like Outreach Chair Beryl Bannerman, emphasized how easy the reapplication process is — so easy, in fact, that organizations can use literally the same application, just resubmitted every two years.

The Judicial Board will now review these policy changes for fairness and equity.

Switching gears a bit, the Assembly considered a resolution to commemorate Wally Triplett, who passed away last week. Triplett was Penn State football’s first African-American starter, the first African American to earn a varsity letter at Penn State, and the first African American Penn Stater to be drafted into the NFL.

The resolution commemorates Triplett for his impact on the Penn State community and recognizes him as a major trailblazer for diversity and inclusion at Penn State and throughout the nation. It also encourages UPUA members “to advocate for a permanent, physical commemoration of Triplett and the 1948 Penn State Football Team to be placed at University Park through all necessary University entities.” With UPUA’s approval, a memorial for Wally Triplett once again has student support.

Representatives also unanimously passed a resolution supporting expanded campus building hours during finals week for students studying late at night.

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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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