UPUA Approves LionCash+ Vouchers, Creates PSU Votes & Women’s Empowerment Roundtables
The University Park Undergraduate Association met virtually for the third and likely final time this summer Wednesday night to pass numerous pieces of legislation.
The assembly didn’t hear any executive reports at the beginning of the meeting. Instead, members pre-wrote these reports and attached them to the general assembly’s agenda.
After making a few motions to the agenda and adding new pieces of legislation, the assembly moved into new business.
The first piece of legislation for the evening was Resolution 05-15, Implementation of Structured Support for Academic Representatives Engagement with Student Councils. Under this resolution, UPUA’s Academic Affairs Committee Representatives will work to build stronger relationships with their respective colleges student council members.
Building these working relationships will likely allow for better communication between UPUA representatives and student council members, which, in turn, will allow for greater representation and advocacy of student needs. The resolution passed unanimously.
Policy 06-15, Addition of the Justice and Equity Committee Chair to the Committee that Recommends the First-Year Representative, was up next. This policy creates a seat for a Justice and Equity Committee member in a group of students that meets in the fall to recommend individuals to vacant First-Year-Representative seats. This policy also passed unanimously.
The next piece of legislation, Bill 01-15, Financial Support for LionCash+ Food Vouchers, was the first bill of the 15th Assembly. This bill would finance 500 $20 LionCash+ gift cards for students in need. This would help students receive assistance in paying for meals, shopping downtown, and anything else that they may be able to spend LionCash on.
Although most assembly members were supportive of the bill, many were concerned 500 vouchers weren’t enough to meaningfully support the student body. They also suggested $20 wasn’t enough to truly help someone in need.
Members also discussed whether it was the appropriate time to pass the bill since the fate of the fall semester is still unsure. Ultimately, Bill 01-15 passed 19-17-1.
The second resolution of the night was Resolution 09-15, Condemning the SECURE Campus Act and Anti-Chinese Bigotry. This resolution condemns the SECURE Campus Act, introduced by Arkansas and Tennessee Senators Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn.
This legislation requires universities that receive federal funding from the United States to refuse to knowingly employ participants in China’s foreign talent recruitment programs. Resolution 09-15 condemns this act and calls for Pennsylvania State Representatives to do the same in addition to any other xenophobic legislation that may come up in the future. Resolution 09-15 passed 33-1-1.
Resolution 10-15, Package Resolution for Financial Aid Toward Native American Students during Covid-19, was up next. This resolution supports legislation such as the America’s College Promise Act, The Native American Indian Education Act, and Senate and House Bill S. 3608 and H.R. 6836. By supporting these pieces of legislation, the 15th Assembly hopes to continue advocating for underrepresented students. Resolution 10-15 also passed 33-1-1.
Next, the assembly passed Resolution 11-15, Establishment of the 15th Assembly ‘PSU Votes’ Roundtable. After running a brief election, Noah Robertson will serve as the ‘PSU Votes’ Roundtable co-chair.
Resolution 12-15, Call on Penn State University Police Department and State College Mayor Ronald L. Filippeli to Adopt Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait” Solutions, was up next for discussion. This resolution supports the implementation of Campaign Zero’s eight possible policy solutions to decrease police violence. Resolution 12-15 also passed.
Resolution 13-15, Establishment of Women’s Empowerment Roundtable, was the next piece of legislation discussed and passed. By passing this resolution, UPUA plans to assist with creating a women’s empowerment roundtable to discuss issues, share resources, and create university wide events and initiatives.
Next up for discussion was Resolution 14-15, Creation of an Ad Hoc Committee on Organizational Study. This resolution also passed, creates a committee to review the internal structure of UPUA across all three of its branches.
The final piece of legislation for the night was Resolution 15-15, A Word of Thanks to Penn State Administration for COVID-19 Response. This resolution thanked administrators, including President Eric Barron, for helping students through “unprecedented times.”
The resolution ultimately failed. Members voiced their issues with thanking administrators, especially considering the current pandemic is not yet over. They also cited the uncertain fall semester while discussing the piece.
Throughout the meeting, Vice President Lexy Pathickal needed to remind members to be professional and civil. The folks got pretty heated!
Even though the assembly initially had hopes for a shorter evening, the meeting finally adjourned at 12:23 a.m.
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This marks the first time the Nittany Lions are left out of the preseason poll since 2016.