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UPUA Weighs Revocation Of Greek Life Community Group Seats

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

During the meeting, two of UPUA’s judicial board justices spoke on the board’s recent decision to revoke community group seats from the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, and the Multicultural Greek Council.

UPUA’s Judicial Board shared the ruling on its Twitter account Tuesday. The board ruled the Greek life representative seats were in violation of UPUA’s bylaws and constitution in three ways.

First, the judicial board ruled that IFC, PHC, and MGC, were all serving under the same purview and therefore violating UPUA’s bylaws because they share a similar mission.

The judicial board also ruled that MGC more specifically was violating UPUA’s bylaws. According to the ruling, MGC is made up of eight Greek organizations that fall under the delegacy of either the Latino Caucus or the AIDPA Caucus. Both Latino Caucus and AIDPA Caucus already have community group seats in UPUA.

The second violation claims that since the MGC may include seats under these caucuses, they, therefore, are falling under the same purview of each other and are violating UPUA’s bylaws.

The third violation the UPUA judicial board cited says that community group members must serve on the executive board of their organization. The judicial board stated that according to the IFC/PHC websites and constitutions, none of their community group members serve on the executive board, violating UPUA’s bylaws.

The assembly heard from members of IFC, PHC, and MGC during open student forum. Many voiced concerns and strong disapproval for this decision, saying they felt that the judicial board’s lack of transparency during this process was problematic. Members were not involved in this process and were notified of it after the ruling.

Students in MGC specifically shared their worries about potentially feeling misrepresented or misheard with the removal of these seats.

Judical board members shared news of a complaint made against the board during their special presentation. The decision regarding IFC, PHC, and MGC seats is suspended for the time being. As it currently stands, IFC, PHC, and MGC still hold community group seats in UPUA.

During a special presentation, UPUA President Zach McKay voiced his disapproval of the board’s decision.

“I will not unnecessarily lose members of our organization without a fight,” McKay said.

McKay also said he sat in on a roundtable on Wednesday with White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. McKay said he shared how Penn State students were adapting both in and out of the classroom. Birx, who holds a Penn State degree herself, also spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon.

Following a report from UPUA Vice President Lexy Pathickal and a caucus breakout, the assembly moved into new business for the evening.

New Business

The first piece of legislation for the evening was Policy 09-15, Clarification on the Eligibility for Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Students to Serve in the University Park Undergraduate Association.

The IUG program allows students early access to graduate-level resources and courses while still completing their undergraduate degree. This policy clarifies that students registered under the IUG program can be members of UPUA.

Any rights granted to undergraduate students, such as the right to run and serve in UPUA, now also applies to IUG students as long as they are taking one or more undergraduate credits. Policy 09-15 passed unanimously.

The next piece of legislation for the evening was Resolution 31-15, Support of Bank of America Career Services Resources for Students During Covid-19. This resolution on behalf of UPUA supports the Bank of America Career Services Center offering a mix of in-person and remote resources during the fall 2020 semester.

Career Services is currently offering remote workshop services on diversity, cover letter writing, LinkedIn profiles, and career fair success. The Career Services Center also offers remote rooms for students engaging in virtual career fairs or interviews so that they have access to a quiet area with Internet access.

Resolution 31-15 passed unanimously.

The final piece of legislation for the night was Resolution 32-15, Support of ‘Know Your Rights While Protesting’ Webinar.

This resolution is in supporting of UPUA hosting a webinar to educate and inform students their rights while protesting in the State College area. The webinar will take place at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 22 and will feature UPUA representatives alongside Shelly Stevick, a University Police community oriented policing unit officer.

Resolution 32-15 also passed unanimously.

Following all new business for the evening, the assembly heard executive reports and comments of the committees.

Judicial Board Chief Justice Rachel Schuchman shared in her report that she dissented with other justices on the decision regarding the IFC, PHC, and MGC group seats. She shared that a hearing on the complaint filed against the judicial board will take place within 14 academic days.

After all reports, the eighth meeting of the fall semester adjourned at 10:07 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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