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UPUA Hosts University Leaders, Passes Funding For PSU Votes Debate

The 18th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) met Wednesday night for its weekly meeting. Most of the evening’s meeting was spent engaging in a presentation by university leaders about the First Amendment in regard to controversial speakers.

The meeting opened with a special presentation by Danny Shaha, Penn State’s assistant vice president for student affairs, Tamla Lewis, the school’s associate general counsel, and Stephanie Delaney, Penn State’s executive deputy chief of police.

The presentation focused on First Amendment rights on campus following Riley Gaines’ speech on HUB Lawn and the announcement of Alex Stein’s slated comedy show.

The speakers opened up by sharing a video filmed by President Neeli Bendapudi which emphasized that Penn State is a publicly-funded university bound by the First Amendment. Lewis explained that the First Amendment does protect things like “fighting words” and “true threats,” but these are very ambiguous terms. Based on previous legal precedent, Lewis confirmed that hate speech is a protected form of speech.

Delaney touched on what University Park Police are doing to ensure student safety at Stein’s event and mentioned Pennsylvania State Police would be on standby, along with other local resources.

Old Business

Following reports by UPUA President Nora O’Toole and Vice President Giselle Concepcion, Alexi Om was confirmed and sworn in as an associate justice.

New Business

The first bill of the evening was Bill #14-18: Funding for Fall 2023 What to Fix Day. What to Fix Day is an annual event hosted by UPUA since the 10th Assembly which aims to get in touch with students directly.

UPUA will assemble and distribute a survey to students to better understand things that would improve campus and student life. The proposed $456.94 will provide cookie platters, UPUA stickers, and a pair of AirPods which will serve as an incentive for students to fill out the survey.

Bill #14-18 passed unanimously.

The second and final piece of legislation was Bill #15-18: Funding to Support PSU Votes Debate. The bill would provide $347 for the rental of Freeman Auditorium to host a debate between Penn State’s chapters of College Republicans and College Democrats, focused on the topic of “Guns in America.” UPUA will facilitate the debate and ensure fair moderation.

Bill #15-18 passed unanimously.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a senior studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is fueled by dangerous amounts of caffeine and dreams of smashing the patriarchy. Any questions or discussion about Taylor Swift’s best songs can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter or emailed to [email protected]

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