UPUA passes legislation, holds special presentations, confirms S-Book director
The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) passed resolution #20-12, listened to special presentations from the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) President Matt Krott and the Dr. MLK, Jr. Commemoration Committee and confirmed Grace Park as the new S-Book director during the assembly’s first meeting of the new year.
Resolution #20-12, Support of an Academic Student Rights web page on LionPATH, would help students know the extent of their rights and what they can do if they are violated. While the effort to educate students will be furthered by tabling and better advertisement, the legislation will push for the tab on LionPATH. The resolution was unanimously passed.
“One of the Academic Affairs’ main goals throughout the past assemblies has been getting our peers to know more about their academic rights because that’s such a huge part of our undergraduate education and knowing that we are within the rules and that our professors are acting within the policies that are in place,” stated Chair of Academic Affairs George Samuel. “We’ve done programming events but we wanted to take it a step further.”
The MLK, Jr. Commemoration Committee held a special presentation to highlight the events taking place during MLK, Jr. Week. The week will begin with the MLK Day of Service. As well, there will be a film screening and an Essence of Joy performance on Monday. On Tuesday, there will be a Thinking Critically about Inclusion event and a presentation from Dr. Ed Jackson Jr.. Art Interrupted: Reconstructing the Dream-A Talent Showcase and Social Justice Reception will occur on Wednesday, and Art Activism in the ’60s on Thursday. The week will be rounded out with an evening celebration on Friday featuring distinguished speaker Amanda Seales.
GPSA President Matt Krott held a presentation to introduce the graduate student body government and discuss the similarities and differences between graduate and undergraduate students. As well, Krott stated his hope for future collaboration.
“It will hopefully make our voices stronger…our door is always open for ideas of collaboration,” said Krott.
Krott also discussed the current attempt at unionization of graduate students, led by the Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE). As previously reported by The Underground, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board is currently deciding on if graduate students can be counted as employees of the university and thus able to unionize. GPSA has not made an official statement on the matter in support or against unionizing, but believes students can make their own decisions.
“We trust students to decide for themselves,” Krott said.
Grace Park was confirmed unanimously as the new S-Book Director. Park hopes to present the S-Book in a more artistic manner than in previous years. Park also discussed the idea of making the S-book into a Penn State bucket list that features many student traditions.
“My goal with the S-book is the provide them with the resources they need to make [a good] experience on their own,” Park added.
UPUA President Katie Jordan also discussed Penn State’s collaboration with other schools to change the medical amnesty law. A letter has been drafted to send out and gain support to change the current legislation regarding medical amnesty. The assembly has also been working with the borough to showcase international students to show that the university and State College is welcoming to current and potential international students.
UPUA Vice President Alex Shockley outlined the agenda of the Association of Big Ten Students (ABTS) conference this weekend in Michigan. They hope to discuss state legislation and what can be done for students. Penn State did not co-sponsor any legislation but will consider all that will be presented at the conference to advocate for when ABTS goes to Washington D.C. later this year.