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UPUA Finally Passes 2021 Elections Code

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

The meeting began with two special presentations. The first was from student trustee Bryan Culler. The second was from McQuillin Murphy from the Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

Following reports from UPUA President Zach McKay and Vice President Lexy Pathickal, the assembly moved into old business and revisited the election code it began discussing last week.

Old Business

Lots of the evening’s discussion centered around registered student organization endorsements of UPUA candidates. Many representatives argued that allowing RSO endorsements can create a contentious and overly challenging election period for candidates running and struggling to get endorsements.

Other representatives claimed that as members of underrepresented communities, they rely on and feel safest having RSO endorsements to back them. Ultimately, the assembly voted against including RSO endorsements in its election code this year.

Another amendment specified the hours of Election Day and the time period that candidates and their teams can campaign. This amendment prohibits candidates and campaign staff from campaigning between midnight and 4 a.m. on Election Day.

Under this amendment, UPUA also expanded the hours of voting on Election Day to better accommodate international students taking classes remotely in the spring.

Without the moratorium on campaigning in the early hours on election day, international students could technically campaign while students on the East Coast would be sleeping.

Policy 11-15, UPUA’s 2021 Elections Code, passed unanimously following more than six hours of total debate over the past two weeks.

New Business

In new business for the evening, UPUA began by discussing the confirmation of Cathy Zhou, who currently serves in the executive branch, as a new at-large representative. Representatives spent almost an hour discussing Zhou’s confirmation, citing she’d be a part of two branches if confirmed.

Many voiced frustrations with the precedent UPUA was seemingly following and creating where the organization internally promotes or nominates people instead of including students not already in UPUA.

However, after much discussion, Zhou was confirmed 18-10-0.

UPUA later confirmed Kelly Matuszewski as the organization’s executive director of sustainability.

The final piece of business for the evening was Resolution 44-15.

Resolution 44-15 is legislation supporting the continuation of the Mental Health and Wellness Roundtable. The roundtable is created in hopes of addressing stigmas surrounding mental health, empowering the community about this topic, and delivering resources to students.

UPUA’s final meeting of the fall semester adjourned at 11:39 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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