Discussed, Debated, Decided; Six Pieces of Legislation Passed

The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) hit the ground running in February at its first assembly meeting of the month. Held on February 4th in 302 HUB-Robeson Center, the UPUA confirmed a new At-Large Representative and passed six pieces of legislation.


Before any official business was attended to, Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims offered a special presentation to the assembly. In it, Sims first commended the UPUA on their service and leadership throughout the duration of the 9th Assembly. Recently, the Sexual Assault Task Force released the sexual assault report, a comprehensive 37-page report with 230 pages of appendixes. In all, the report culminated into eighteen recommendations for the university. Sims explained the impact these recommendations could have on the university following President Barron’s assessment of the report and how the issue of sexual violence impacts all students, not just victims. “We are all responsible, not just for ourselves, but for each other,” Sims said. “It’s a part of building a Penn State community.”


Following his presentation were reports given by President Anand Ganjam and Vice President Emily McDonald. In his report, President Ganjam announced that the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) advisory board is looking for at-large student members to sit on the board. Applications for the seats will be made available in the coming future. Vice President McDonald discussed the student death commemoration that will be held at the end of the semester to commemorate all students that have passed away throughout the academic year.


Moving through the agenda, the first item under new business was the confirmation of At-Large Representative Shawn Bengali. As part of the Freshman Council, Bengali sat on the Governmental Affairs Committee of UPUA. Confirmed with a vote of 32-4, Bengali will continue his work on this committee under the direction of Chair Stephen Payne. In addition, Bengali hopes to raise awareness for the problem of suicide and to inform students of prevention methods and programs available.


Resolution 24-09, UPUA Support of Nuisance Property Ordinance Amendment, was the first piece of legislation to be brought before the assembly. In essence, Section 806.1 of the Nuisance Property Ordinance for the Borough states that any rental-housing permit will be suspended if they receive 10 or more points for offenses. With unanimous consent, the UPUA passed the resolution, supporting the amending of the Centre Region Building Safety & Maintenance to include a section where community service can negate two non-criminal points.


Passed through the Governmental Affairs Committee, Resolution 25-09, Support for Governor Wolf’s Planned Restoration of the Higher Education Budget, passed in the assembly with a vote of 35-3. With this resolution, the UPUA will support Governor Wolf’s “Fresh Start Plan,” which includes reversing previous funding cuts to higher education.


The final two pieces of legislation on the original agenda, Policy 11-09 and Policy 12-09, dealt with Amendments to the UPUA Bylaws and Operational Code and Amendments to the UPUA Constitution, respectively. With over an hour of discussion and discourse, the amendments to the UPUA Bylaws and Operational Code passed with a vote of 33-3. Similarly, Policy 12-09, Amendments to the UPUA Constitution, passed as well, with a vote of 35-3. Some of the most notable new implications that resulted from these pieces of legislation were the immediate dissolution of the Internal Development Committee and the formation of the Facilities Committee.


Two bills, Bill 09-09, Blue & White Brigade, and Bill 10-09, The UPUA Academic Engagement Dinner, were added the agenda through a 2/3rds vote. Bill 10-09, Blue & White Brigade, passed unanimously and will fund two 55-passenger Fullington Coach Buses to travel to the Ohio State University on Saturday, February 28th for the 7:00 p.m. Men’s Hockey Game. Bill 10-09, The UPUA Academic Engagement Dinner, was voted on and passed unanimously as well. This bill funds the entirety of this annual dinner, which brings together 160 distinguished administrators and student leaders from across the Penn State community.


Nearly three hours after the start, the assembly ended its meeting at just before 11:00 p.m. The next assembly meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 11 at 8:00 p.m. in room 302 HUB-Robeson Center.