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UPUA Votes To Support Reopening Campus Recreation

The 15th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association met virtually Wednesday for its fifth fall semester meeting.

The night began with a special presentation from the co-chairs of the Student Code of Conduct Task Force, Nyla Holland and professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia.

Last week, the task force shared preliminary recommendations to the student code of conduct. Recommendations made by the task force aim to create a more equitable and inclusive code of conduct.

Holland and Sivaprasad Wadhia said that in the future the task force is exploring ways for the public to provide feedback on implementation.

The second special presentation of the evening came from Dylan Saunders, the partnerships director of Motivote. Motivote, an application that aims to improve civic engagement, is looking to partner with UPUA before the upcoming election.

UPUA President Zach McKay and Vice President Lexy Pathickal emailed their reports out to assembly members earlier, so they did not give formal reports this evening.

New Business

The first piece of new business was the confirmation and swearing-in of a new at-large representative, Siddhi Deshpande.

Next, the assembly moved into discussion regarding Policy 08-15, Improving Transparency, Efficiency, and Accountability on the Part of the Finance Department by Separating the Role of the President’s Chief of Staff from the Executive Director of Finance.

Previously, UPUA voted against Policy 07-15, Expansion of Department of Finance. Policy 07-15 failed because it did not pass by a 3/4 vote of the representatives in UPUA’s assembly. Traditionally, UPUA’s chief of staff also serves as UPUA’s treasurer.

Policy 07-15 and policy 08-15 are similar in the sense that they both aim to separate the two roles, and create a role for an executive director of finance under the department of finance. A major difference between the two policies is that a public application for the new executive director of finance would be open to the public, so any student could apply.

After voting by role call, policy 08-15 passed 33-3-0.

The next piece of legislation for the evening was Bill 03-15, Contract with Motivote through November 2020. Motivote’s goal is to make voting easier, more social, and more fun. This bill would allot $1,125 of UPUA’s budget to a partnership with Motivote.

In discussion for the bill, representatives talked about the urgency for finding virtual ways to increase civic engagement before the upcoming election. Some representatives debated over whether this partnership was necessary given the fact that other free social media outlets are available where UPUA can help increase civic engagement.

Assembly members motioned to reduce the tier that they would be paying for through Motivote. Since the motion passed, the cost of the partnership reduced from $1,125 to $750. Bill 03-15 passed 26-6-1.

Next up was resolution 25-15, Formal Recognition of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. This resolution recognizes the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month, and acknowledges that in order to protect and uplift these communities more must be done. UPUA promises to continue its advocacy efforts and work alongside university officials to better student life for the Hispanic/Latinx population. Resolution 25-15 passed.

Resolution 26-15, Support of the Reopening of Campus Recreation Facilities, was up next for discussion.

This resolution supports the reopening of campus recreation facilities as soon as possible, and urges Penn State to review the protocols that campus rec staff has promised to implement.

UPUA discussed how this would allow not only students to utilize these facilities again, but also club sports and intramural teams. With the closure of on-campus gyms and facilities, these teams have needed to delay their practice and training.

Assembly members shared their support for this bill and shared how they have heard of off-campus gyms facing issues of overcrowding and poor regulations or monitoring of any public health guidelines. If campus rec facilities were to reopen, all patrons would have to wear masks indoors, there would be a significantly limited capacity, and in order to accommodate facility cleaning, building hours would be reduced.

Resolution 26-15 passed 26-8-1.

The final piece of legislation for the night was resolution 27-15, Support of Lauren’s Promise on Course Syllabi.

Lauren’s Promise is a statement utilized by other universities in course syllabi that provides support for students facing relationship harassment and violence. In 2018, University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey lost her life due to relationship violence. As a result McCluskey’s mother, a professor at Washington State University, began advocating that all professors include Lauren’s Promise on their syllabi.

Ohio State and the University of Utah have already implemented the statement and list of university specific resources. Resolution 27-15 passed unanimously.

After executive reports and comments of the committees, the fifth meeting of the fall semester adjourned at 11:12 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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