UPUA Stokes The Fire With More Internal Elections

The University Park Undergraduate Association wasted no time before getting heated Wednesday night, as internal elections for the 14th Assembly once again dominated the meeting.

Before diving into the elections, however, President Laura McKinney kicked off the meeting with a brief report. She thanked members of the Assembly for their hard work helping out with Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Week, which continues Thursday and Friday with a gala benefiting Centre Safe and Stand For State.

McKinney also addressed an incident that was recently brought to her attention, involving individuals standing outside the LGBTQA Resource Center saying extremely offensive things. McKinney noted that she is working alongside Vice President Griggs and GPSA President Claire Kelly to address the issue, and they’ve already been in contact with Penn State’s vice president of student affairs, Damon Sims.

Now, onto the next order of business: elections.

The Assembly held elections for various liaison positions Wednesday night, including:

  • Association of Big Ten Students (ABTS) Liaison
  • Borough Liaison
  • Community Diversity Liaison
  • Movin’ On Liaison
  • Pennsylvania Association of State-Related Schools (PASS) Liaison

Most of these elections were uncontested, with the exception being Borough Liaison. But that didn’t seem to stop the 14th Assembly from engaging in heated discussion before voting for each candidate by secret ballot.

Freshman Danny Muldowney was elected ABTS Liaison, hoping to connect with delegations from other schools and forging relationships he can bring back with him to Happy Valley. Although he’s a new member of UPUA, Muldowney said he plans to keep an ear to the ground so he’s better equipped to represent the intentions of the 14th Assembly when communicating with other schools.

“I would like to see the entire collection of Big Ten schools and Big Ten students advocating for student interests as opposed to the interests of the university,” Muldowney said.

In the only contested election of the night, Representative Genevieve Miller was elected as Borough Liaison, defeating Steven Zhang. Miller, who said she nearly dropped out of the race, changed her mind after witnessing demonstrators stage a lie-in at the most recent Borough Council meeting. Miller said she’s devoted to advocating for inclusivity on Penn State’s campus, using her own voice to bring others into the room and into the conversation.

Here’s where things get interesting. Representative Percy Motley was nominated for Community Diversity Liaison, and in a short speech expressed his passion for making people feel welcome and creating more inclusive environments around campus.

During a heated back and forth discussion, representatives pointed out Motley’s lack of experience. Consensus seemed to emerge that he wasn’t ready to take on this position because he didn’t seem to know what his role would be, or what duties that role would entail. Motley ultimately did not receive enough votes to be elected to the position.

College of Ag Representative Quinn Logush was elected as Movin’ On Liaison after yet another long and heated discussion by the Assembly. Having been involved with theatre clubs and choirs on campus, Logush said he looks forward to providing the necessary “bridge of support to the Movin’ On festival.”

Meanwhile, At-Large Representative Tyler Ladzinski was elected as the Pennsylvania Association of State-Related Schools Liaison. As a current executive board member of PASS, Ladzinski plans to use this experience to streamline the communication process between schools within the PASS organization.

The Assembly also passed its first piece of legislation, Resolution 01-14, outlining plans for the fifth annual Penn State Night of Remembrance. The event will be held Thursday, April 25 at Old Main to honor all of the Penn State students who passed away this year.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 p.m., a pleasant surprise after last week’s five-hour meeting.

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About the Author

Rory Pelella

Rory is a senior from Binghamton, New York majoring in Spanish and journalism. She's been bleeding blue and white ever since her older siblings decided to create a family dynasty in Happy Valley in 2006. So, as you can imagine, she loves absolutely everything Penn State (especially the Cheese Shoppe downtown). She's also a die-hard Yankees, Knicks, and Giants fan (it's brutal), and would do anything for a good old fashioned New York slice. Feel free to email her at [email protected] or follow her on twitter @rorypelella.

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