UPUA to Host ‘Meet the Borough Council Candidates Session’ Thursday


Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in room 129AB in the Hub-Robeson Center, the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) is hosting a “Meet the Borough Council Candidates Session.” The Facebook page for the event can be found here.

Borough Council candidates Marina Cotarelo, Dan Murphy, Evan Myers, and Rylie Cooper will be participating in the session. It is unknown whether Theresa Lafer, Steve Mower, or  any of the Republican candidates will be participating.

Former Penn State College Republican and College Democrat Presidents Michael Straw and Veronica Weyhrauch will be presiding over the session as moderators. Light refreshments will be provided.

Prior to the UPUA’s announcement of their choice of moderators, Freshman Rylie Cooper was reluctant to participate in the session. She was unsure whether the UPUA would select unbiased and fair moderators, which stems from the perceived relationship between UPUA and BugPAC.

BugPAC, a recently-launched political action committee that is dedicated to electing student-friendly candidates to the Borough Council, has endorsed three Borough Council candidates: graduate student Marina Cotarelo, Penn State administrator Dan Murphy, and incumbent Council Member Evan Myers, all who are participating in the event. Despite the fact that Cooper was the only undergraduate student running, BugPAC chose to neither endorse her or contact her campaign. The Underground’s coverage of BugPAC’s March 21 launch can be found here.

BugPAC has been accused of having inappropriate ties to UPUA. It was founded by then-UPUA President Terry Ford, as well as former UPUA representative and Press Secretary Kevin Horne. It’s Director of Media Relations Logan Echard also served as the 11th Assembly’s Director of Communications, and was the Communications Director for the campaign of current-President Katie Jordan. At BugPAC’s March 21st announcement, most of the students present were members of UPUA.

Kevin Horne has denied that BugPAC’s relationship with UPUA is in any way substantive.

In a message sent to Cooper announcing the choice of moderators after she expressed her concerns, UPUA Chair of Government Affairs Isaac Will stated that: “It’s absolutely worth reiterating that the UPUA, its Governmental Affairs Committee, and especially myself have absolutely no affiliation with BugPAC. We ultimately decided that having these fully competent, politically active individuals mdoerate would be just as effective while still alleviating your concerns, so it seemed like the best route available. Please keep our unbiased position in mind though as we move forward in the election process.”

The Democratic primary for the Borough Council general elections is being held on May 16; students that will not be in State College on the election date must request an absentee ballot to vote.

Photo Credit: Adriana Lacy

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Ethan Paul http://Thegreatbernanke14

Ethan Paul is a junior Economics & Political Science major. He enjoys writing about current affairs, politics and economics, from a progressive perspective. He conducts research for the political science department, and is currently writing a thesis about the relationship between polarization and political representation. He can be found on Twitter (@sandersforprez) and contacted at ethanpaul@undergroundvoices.co