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UPUA Continues Alternative Grading Discussions In Weekly Meeting

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

During the special presentations portion of the evening, UPUA heard from representatives currently working on an initiative to implement alternative grading for the fall semester.

Representatives shared that as of October 19, UPUA’s survey had received 5,270 responses from students. 68.75% of respondents said they would utilize alternative grading this semester, while 50% said having the option of alternative grading for this semester would benefit their mental health.

Student representatives wrote legislation regarding alternative grading for the fall 2020 semester, but a motion made to discuss it immediately on the floor of the October 20 faculty senate meeting failed.

However, due to the time-sensitivity of trying to pass this legislation before the end of the fall semester, a special faculty senate meeting will take place on at 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 29.

Following a few executive and liaison reports, UPUA moved into its caucus breakout. This week, representatives dressed in Halloween costumes and voted on their favorite. The winner, Sophie Pelillo, dressed as a toilet.

New Business

The first piece of legislation for the evening was Bill 05-15. This bill allocates $250.98 of UPUA’s budget to a “Know Your Rights” campaign that aims to clarify Faculty Senate policies that may not be clear to students.

This social-media driven campaign will run from October 26 to November 2. UPUA will be giving away two Amazon Echo Dots through a raffle during a joint town hall with other Penn State student governments, which are offering the same giveaway. Bill 05-15 passed unanimously.

The next piece of legislation was Resolution 33-15. This resolution creates a campaign that condemns the Department of Homeland Security’s policy that restricts H-1B visas for international students.

Under this new policy, the Department of Homeland Security requires employers to pay H-1B visa holders higher wages. As a result, employers are now likely less interested in hiring international employees within the United States.

The organization plans to email government and university officials who could help support the condemnation of this policy. Resolution 33-15 passed unanimously.

The third piece of legislation for the night was Resolution 34-15, Support for the Ecosia Campaign. Ecosia is a search engine that uses ad revenue from user searches to plant trees around the world. This resolution pushes for the implementation of Ecosia as Penn State’s default search engine to promote sustainability. Resolution 34-15 also passed unanimously.

The final piece of legislation for the night was Resolution 35-15. This resolution creates a campaign in support of the House of Representatives bill “George Floyd Justice In Policing Act of 2020.”

This bill would eliminate qualified immunity, ban chokeholds and no-knock search warrants in drug cases, and provide law enforcement training in racial bias among other things.

Members of UPUA plan to write to elected officials advocating for the passage of the legislation. Resolution 35-15 passed 37-0-2.

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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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