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UPUA Passes Legislation Supporting Eviction Moratorium, Creates Coronavirus Roundtable

The University Park Undergraduate Association met virtually for the second time this summer to continue with internal appointments and discuss new legislation.

President Zach McKay opened the meeting by asking assembly members to join him in two separate moments of silence. The first was for George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man whose death has sparked nationwide protests. The second was for those who have lost their lives to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’d like to ask that to kind of begin today’s assembly we all take a brief moment of silence and prayer for George Floyd, Ahmed Aubrey, and frankly for all those who in our nation’s long history have lost their lives due to senseless and race-related killing,” McKay said. “That one person in this country in this year could fear for their life based on the color of their skin should be of great concern to every person in this country.”

Following McKay’s report, Vice President Lexy Pathickal encouraged assembly members to share any of their concerns or feelings regarding the UPUA Zoom bombing that happened two weeks ago.

The assembly then moved on to orders of new business for the evening.

New Business

Rising junior and Days For Girls president Jessica Strait was confirmed as another Associate Justice to the Judicial Board in the first order of new business for the evening. Strait spoke about her extensive experience in working with legislative matters and her hopes to gain more insight into the ways UPUA can improve its constitution and runs its committees.

Next, junior Aphrodite Biswas was confirmed as UPUA’s new director of outreach. In her speech, Biswas shared about her experience being involved with UPUA since early in her Penn State career and how she hopes to see UPUA reach more students across campus.

After the swearing-in of new directors and justices, the assembly passed the first piece of legislation for the night, Policy 04-15, Clarification of Executive Directors and Their Confirmation Process. This policy made amendments to the UPUA Constitution and bylaws and attempts to more clearly outline the application and confirmation process of executive directors and the general structure of the executive branch.

The next piece of legislation that passed was Resolution 06-15, Creation of the UPUA Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Disproportionate Effects on Protected Classes and Solutions Roundtable. This resolution creates a roundtable tasked with identifying issues affecting various communities as a result of coronavirus pandemic. Penn State defines protected classes as “race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.”

UPUA will then initiate discussion and conversation with university officials based on what issues were brought up during this roundtable, and assembly members will organize initiatives to try to help solve some of these problems.

Resolution 07-15, Creation of the UPUA Racial Justice Roundtable, also passed. This resolution creates a roundtable in hopes of properly addressing issues related to racial justice and inequality. Then, UPUA is tasked with creating tangible actions to help solve these issues and while also advocating university officials.

Representatives spoke about the deaths of Ahmed Arbery, Osaze Osagie, and George Floyd, and shared how important it is that this roundtable is created when the need for advocacy is increasing rapidly.

Assembly members then passed the final piece of legislation of the night, Resolution 08-15, Support of Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order Suspending Tenant Evictions Through July 10th. This resolution is in support of the executive order made by Governor Wolf on May 7 that prohibits landlords from evicting non-paying tenants until July 10. In doing so, UPUA is hoping to support those who may be struggling economically as a result of the coronavirus.

After executive reports and comments from the committees, the meeting adjourned at 10:18 p.m.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a junior 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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