UPUA Hosts First-Ever Summer Meeting, Experiences ‘Zoom-Bombing’

The University Park Undergraduate Association met virtually for the first time this summer via Zoom Wednesday but got off to a rough start when the meeting was “Zoom-bombed.”

Due to inappropriate and offensive comments made by someone on the call during the opening role call, the meeting abruptly ended and was delayed for around 15 minutes before restarting.

Following the conclusion of the meeting, UPUA released the following statement condemning the actions of the meeting “hackers.”

During the meeting, however, President Zach McKay was quick to respond to the event. Included in his presidential report was an apology to anyone who was on the call during that time and heard the offensive language.

“First I want to apologize for anybody and everybody who was on the call previously, if you might have been exposed to very hateful rhetoric, which was used as racial slurs,” McKay said. “I want you to know that I will be looking into those with the utmost severity, and will respond to them with the appropriate action, whatever it may be. I do not take these things lightly at all, and very much so take them seriously.”

Next, Vice President Lexy Pathickal spoke and congratulated those in the meeting on completing their semesters despite such challenging and unprecedented times. At the end of her report, the assembly moved into a brief caucus breakout before diving into new business.

New Business

The first two orders of new business were the swearing-in ceremonies of Arts and Architecture Representative Kaleigh Quinnan and Interfraternity Council Representative Jeremy McGovern.

Next, the assembly confirmed Taran Samarth as an associate justice of the Judicial Board and re-confirmed associate justice Jake Lemler.

The assembly spent a decent amount of time debating the confirmations after a motion was made to suspend them from the evening’s agenda. Some representatives felt their confirmation was unfair to others still wishing to apply. The applications are taken on a rolling basis and, as such, some assembly members feel like they are being filled on a first-come, first-serve basis before all are equally considered.

Next, acting director of communications Trent Abbate was confirmed alongside director of sustainability Nora Van Horn. Two weeks ago, both Abbate and Van Horn were confirmed to these positions, but President McKay rescinded his nominations following concerns that an application was not publicized for these positions.

UPUA released public applications for these positions within the past two weeks, but Abbate and Van Horn were the only ones to apply. They were confirmed unanimously.

The first piece of legislation of the night was Policy 03-15, Establishment of the Lion Caucus Affiliate. Lion Caucus is a university-affiliated organization that advocates for official university positions to elected officials from the perspective of a student.

The affiliate position would create better collaboration between Lion Caucus and UPUA. The policy passed unanimously.

Assembly members discussed Policy 04-15, Clarification of Executive Directors and Their Confirmation Process next. This policy clarifies and updates some of the rules regarding the confirmation process of directors, including stating that applications for these positions must be open for at least five academic days. It also states that if fewer than five people apply, all applicants must receive an interview.

This policy explicitly addresses and clarifies some of the issues voiced by representatives two weeks ago where some members felt President McKay was violating parts of the UPUA Constitution by appointing directors instead of opening a public application. McKay stated that in doing so he was acting under Section 6.2.2, Clause II. Although some amendments were made, Policy 04-15 did not pass because the assembly did not make a 3/4 vote from the total number of assembly members.

The first resolution of the night was Resolution 03-15, Establishment of a Retail Beverage Sustainability Commission. This resolution is in support of creating a commission that would help analyze and provide reports on the use of single-use plastics and other wasteful materials at any Penn State Panera, Saxby’s, or Starbucks locations.

In researching and providing these reports the commission is looking into better waste management procedures for these businesses, as well as safe and healthy alternatives to single-use plastics. Resolution 03-15 passed with a vote of 33-1-2.

The final piece of legislation for the night was Resolution 04-15, Support of Faculty Senate Clime Action Resolution. This legislation is in support of a resolution made by faculty senate which calls on senior leadership to create a university-wide climate action and adaption plan. Resolution 04-15 also passed.

After executive reports and comments of the committees, the meeting adjourned at 11:04 p.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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