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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


The Daily Collegian Attacks Lack Of Democracy In UPUA Elections

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the website of “Safeguarding Traditions Of Penn State,” which was the precursor to Safeguard Old State. It appears here for posterity.

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The Daily Collegian’s columnist Andrew Hanelly has penned a scathing piece appearing in today’s newspaper slamming UPUA for “technicality trump[ing] democracy.” I highly encourage students to read the entire column, though I’ll highlight some of its most critical parts below.

If I understand Hanelly’s overarching message, it’s that Jay Bundy’s disqualification on technical grounds after winning – overwhelmingly – the plurality of the vote on October 11 makes UPUA a sham student organization. He points out that, like Bundy’s attitude or not, he did receive hundreds more votes than current UPUA President Jay Chamberlin.

Hanelly was refreshed by Bundy’s outrageous, outspoken and unorthodox approach to typical student body leadership composed of “stiff shirts and stiffer personalities.” He suggests that Bundy was disqualified wrongly and on a trumped up technicality – having been found to have spent roughly $35 more than he was allowed to for his campaign.

Hanelly strongly implied that he believes larger forces were at play behind the inept UPUA Elections Commission who were really pulling the strings. He hammers home this idea as he speaks very bluntly, saying, ” Though he had rightfully won, the UPUA elections commission decided to look out for their fellow students and disqualify Bundy because of vague election violations and put in Lion Ambassador and runner-up Jay Chamberlin.”

Are students really only at the mercy of powerful administrative influence? Did they want to preempt any trouble that might be caused by Jay Bundy, a candidate that, though obviously inappropriate, may still have shaken student advocacy up for the better?

Hanelly himself tries to get students thinking, asking bluntly, “Were they really looking out for the student body or were they looking out for their student buddy – the admin-friendly, less offensive, less rowdy, more manageable Jay?”

One of the only constant truths at Penn State these days is the idea that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Hanelly seems to be convinced of this truth as he asks, “Is it procedural technicalities the UPUA is afraid of? Or is it the fact that Bundy’s a squeaky wheel they don’t want on their ride?”

Most definitely the latter, Mr. Hanelly. Vice President for Student Affairs Vicky Triponey, who was one of the quiet administative facilitators to Galen Foulke and the destruction of USG as the official student government, refused to be a part of UPUA elections, failing to hear any of Bundy’s numerous attempts to dispute elections code violations brought forth to the Commission.

In his excellent column in The Daily Collegian, Andrew Hanelly says what needs to be said: Penn State screwed over the overwhelming will of the students in disqualifying Jay Bundy on technicalities. Like it or not, Bundy was elected by a huge plurality and Chamberlin did lose.

In ignoring the will of the students, the UPUA Elections Commission invites even more student apathy from potential voters by telling the nearly 1,200 students who voted for Jay Bundy that their vote really didn’t matter.

“If I had my choice of Jay’s,” finishes Hanelly, “it certainly wouldn’t be the wrongly appointed one. It’d be the smoking Jay – the one who stood for something and lit a fire under the ass of the status quo.”

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Comments

AMEN.

[…] As an off-campus representative within UPUA, I’ve thus far been displeased with the organizations institutional inability to do what USG could do more broadly, including holding the administration accountable for its rampant, unchecked spending and its usurpation of student autonomy by denying students their traditionally recognized right to decide how their activity fee is spent and govern student organization registration. […]

[…] We all remember how that turned out: after voting irregularities, the replacement of the presidential seat winner Jay Bundy, and numerous other problems, it’s difficult to call the 2006 UPUA elections a resounding success … even if we drop the word “resounding.” […]

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