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UPUA’s 15th Assembly Passes Budget, Establishes Summer Meeting Plans

The University Park Undergraduate Association met virtually again via Zoom Wednesday and continued with internal elections for the second week in a row. Last week, the 15th Assembly met for the longest meeting ever on record and ran elections for Speaker of the Assembly and Committee Chair positions.

McKay and Pathickal gave their second reports of the 15th Assembly. The president sent well wishes to all members on their upcoming finals and updated them all on what he has been working on in the past week.

“I know that all of you have been putting your heart into your classes, even though everything in which we’re going through might seem to be trying to drag us down,” Pathickal said. “Keep pushing. We are almost there.”

The assembly also listened to a special presentation from President McKay and Speaker Zhang on UPUA’s budget for the 15th Assembly. Following the presentation, the assembly moved into its legislation and internal elections for the night.

Legislation

The first resolution of the night, and also the first resolution of the 15th Assembly in general, was Resolution 01-15, Support of Law Enforcement Training for Responding to Sexual Violence via the Abby Honold Act.

The Abby Honold Act is a bipartisan federal bill that establishes procedures and programs that would seek to improve better training for investigators and law enforcement officials responding to matters of sexual violence. Resolution 01-15 would be in support of similar programs being implemented on a local level to support Penn State students. Resolution 01-15 passed with two abstentions.

The next piece of legislation for the night was Resolution 02-15, Affirmation to Ensure a Safe and Hospitable Environment for the 15th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association. This legislation was created in hopes of establishing a more safe and welcoming environment within UPUA. It passed unanimously.

The first policy of the 15th Assembly was Policy 01-15, Establishment of the UPUA Legislative Docket. This would consist of any local, state, or federal legislation that the assembly passes resolutions in support of. It would also help consolidate and organize such resolutions. Policy 01-15 passed with one abstention.

The 15th Assembly also passed its budget for the upcoming year, which helps establish spending estimates and allocates funds throughout the assembly.

Resolution 03-15, Establishment of Summer 2020 UPUA Assembly and Committee Meetings, was the final piece of legislation for the night. This resolution will establish bi-weekly meetings over the summer. Resolution 03-15 also passed.

This resolution comes at a time where the university is in unprecedented territory with remote learning coming about so quickly, and it aims to specifically help the 15th Assembly continue to be productive and advocate for students over the next few months. The Assembly typically has three meetings before the conclusion of the spring semester, but the organization has lost some of that time due to the scheduling changes that had to come about as a result of the remote learning period.

Internal Elections

The 15th Assembly heard from Director of Communications nominee Trent Abbate and Director of Sustainability nominee Nora Van Horn. Abbate touted his experience in a communications department and expanded on some of his ideas, which included possibly appointing graphic designers to each of UPUA’s committees. Van Horn discussed her extensive background working on sustainability initiatives at Penn State and how to increase student involvement.

Abbate and Van Horn were both confirmed to their roles. However, concerns over a lack of public applications for these positions were raised. Instead, McKay had appointed them himself. Although both candidates had gone through interviews and vetting processes with UPUA’s Steering Committee, some assembly members felt their appointment was violating UPUA’s Constitution.

At the end of the meeting, in efforts to acknowledge the assembly members’ concerns and remain transparent, McKay rescinded his nominations. He had made them under what he said was his “best intentions” and referenced a different part of the constitution when making the decisions. Abbate and Van Horn will remain as the acting Directors of Communication and Sustainability, respectively, for the time being.

“I sincerely apologize to those who were brought forward tonight on the floor for consideration by the general assembly, and I truly do hope that you’ll forgive me for an honest mistake,” McKay said.

The section of the constitution McKay acted upon when he made his appointments was Section 6.2.2, Clause II, which states, “The President shall recommend all Directors of the Executive Board, all non-staff Members to the Judicial Board and its Subsidiaries, and Advisors., to be first vetted by the Internal Development Standing Committee and then by the Committee affiliated with the project in the Director’s charge should there be a clear relationship.”

Following the confirmations of Abbate and Van Horn, Justin Korman was appointed as the Judicial Board Associate Justice. The assembly moved into internal Liason elections, the first of the night seeing that Representative Jacob Klipstein was elected as the UPUA Liasion to the Association of the Big Ten Students (ABTS).

Following Klipstein’s election, the Community Diversity Liason election began. Representative Tony Shi was nominated and ultimately won the position. This liaison is responsible for facilitating conversations on multicultural issues between UPUA and the State College community.

Next, sophomore Erin Boas was nominated and elected as the Movin’ On liaison. In her role, she will be responsible for representing UPUA on the Movin’ On Committee and assist Movin’ On with facilitating contracts and choosing artists for the annual concert.

The final internal liaison election of the night was the Pennsylvania Association of State-Related Students (PASS). Representative Joshua Reynolds held the only nomination for this position and was elected.

Following a few brief reports, the meeting was adjourned at 12:01 a.m.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a senior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

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