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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


SOS Rally Scares Admins; Football Lottery Reversed

In a move that was not at all surprising to us here at Safeguard Old State (SOS), the Penn State administration announced that it was reversing its decision on the Football ticket lottery system, and would be moving back to distributing tickets the way it has been done since the 1970s.

Let’s be thankful for the administrations quick reversal on an absolutely mind-boggling decision, and let’s also take note of the power of grassroots activism as harnessed by Safeguard Old State. The administration, more than almost anything else, fears the idea that it’s stepping in mud without its hiking shoes on, and in the case of football tickets, it did exactly that.

When the folks in the Athletic Department, including Greg Myford, as well as higher-ups in Old Main like Vicky Triponey, heard of what students were initially planning through Safeguard Old State tomorrow, they were scared. Students shamed administrators after an absolutely God-awful decision. That’s something to be proud of, both for its rarity and for its importance.

We’re done patting ourselves on the back, because by no means have students gained anything terribly meaningful over the last 24 hours, other than to prove we’re sometimes still scary enough to be listened to when it comes to football. No, the war for students rights’ is still very much in progress.

Tomorrow, as we gather on Old Main’s steps at Noon for the Rally, let’s remember what they did to Paternoville. What they did to food and drinks in class. What they did to kill shared governance at a supposedly ‘student centered’ university. What they did to student legal services, and what they tried to do to student ticket sales.

Judgment day has been postponed for some of these anti-student administrators, but it will still come.

– For the Glory of Old State

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Note: The Safeguard Old State Executive Staff does not moderate the comments posted by the public to blog entries. The comments of Safeguard Old State readers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Safeguard Old State.

Comments

Inherently, the students of Penn State have decided that inequity is best. I do not see how you can fault the administration for their support of the most FAIR and EQUITABLE system possible.

I fault them for ignoring the voice of the students. I will not disagree with you there, but for the love of God, stop catastrophizing a situation that does not require it.

The administration has been proactive on many things — none of which you have given credit for. Instead, you cite a few controversial instances that you have selected as an all-encompassing basis for your loathing of the administration. You villify Ms. Triponey, when the real problem lies in the fact that, in large part, the students of this University are largely happy and content with their lives. While this is frustrating as members of student advocacy, it should also be something to celebrate. In large part, the Penn State community is a wonderful place to spend four years.

In a recent facebook entry, you claimed that the UPUA has “no student voice” yet you sit alone behind your computer and criticize without rhyme or reason, uncontested in your ignorance and oft-unjustifiable malcontent. Where is your student-based backing that somehow supersedes that of an elected body? Your arguments have little basis in truth and wisdom yet you spit out deceitful and inflammatory overgeneralizations that are frankly not worth the cyberspace they consume.

I apologize for my brutal accusations, but I have had enough of your ridiculous rants and I grow tired of your self-righteousness. There is a whole-hell-of-a-lot more to life than this.

Instead of responding directly to your anti-rant rant against Tom Shakely and the folks at PSU STOP, I’d like to hear of all these “proactive” steps that Student Affairs have taken. Then, let’s balance them against what can be conservatively described as an “aggressive” plan to “rearrange” aka consolidate power over student governance and the student activity fee.

Instead of blindly apoligizing for the administration or blindly attacking their detractors, let’s debate the method they’ve used to enact their policy choices, Max.

I’m not going to debate the merits of the lottery ticket proposal, as I’m not all that informed on it. But to the outside observer, it appears that the administration had a plan, they found a couple of student supporters, and chose to listen to them over the cocophony of student leaders who opposed that plan.

Sound familiar? It’s the same M.O as the dissolution of the student organizations appeals board; taking away the USG Supreme Court’s authority to register student organizations; and the implementation of UPUA itself as a replacement for USG.

Regardless of your take on the policies underlying these decisions, most students can agree that if the administration is going to seek student input, they ought to take what they get, not actively seek out syncophants who parrot what they want to hear in exchange for positions of privilege, secret society memberships, and access to the highest levels of Penn State elites.

I had a thought.

http://psu.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2340126961

Now i have to find a sharpie.

You’ll notice that I prefaced my argument by saying that I disagreed with their failure to consult the student voice about this issue. They did — but not nearly enough to make a decision.

I also have chastised UPUA and myself for not putting out a coherent policy on this over the past year. We had one opinion brought from committee to the floor that was uncategorically rejected and sent back to committee, never to return again in any form. We should have followed up on that with a plan by the students and for the students. Instead, WE ALLOWED this to happen. This is the fault of UPUA and of the student body — we’ve had a year to address these concerns and we FAILED to do so.

I do not blame the admiinistration for taking action — they saw something that needed to be remedied and implemented a FAIR system. It was our job to assert ourselves… and that’s where you and I fundamentally disagree.

The administration does NOT have the job of actively SEEKING our approval for its measures. Rather, it is the role of UPUA as an advocacy group to actively TELL them what we want. Where we fundamentally disagree is on our approach to this — I believe that the students should work together with administration in a coherent fashion. That said, Tom’s claim on the recent facebook group about the student tickets that students had “no voice” in UPUA was uncalled-for, ridiculous, and without real basis. I am a big fan of Shakely’s fire for seeking out wrongs, but I really want him to stay away from misdirecting his attacks at undeserving targets. It is the proper harnessing of his passion that will lead to real changes and for his voice to be heard as one of reason and cultivated logic rather than irritation and immaturity.

In the past, USG (and the now-defunct USG-trust) has taken a stance of combativeness against the administration. In my opinion, this is a feeble attempt to stroke their own egos. Why fight about it when we can work together to solve the problems. We have seen from the recent action taken by former-USG members in renegging their verbal and written agreement with UPUA that they do not support cooperative action, but I’ll reserve full disclosure of my feelings about that —

Hey Max; I feel like debating with you is becoming a hobby, but I do enjoy it and I respect your opinions. In this case however I do feel you are mistaken, and the one part I’d like to look at is your following claim: “The administration does NOT have the job of actively SEEKING our approval for its measures.”

I would beg to differ. Board of Trustees Standing Order IX deals with governance of the University and I’d like to point to a few things contained therein. We’ll start with Order IX, section (2), part (b) entitled “Who Performed By” in reference to internal governance of the University; it reads as follows:

“The Internal Governance of the University shall be performed by the President and his/her administration, by the faculty, and by the student body in accordance with the delegations of authority and advisory roles hereinafter set forth.”

What delegations and authority? On to section (3), part (g) entitled “Consultation with Student Body on Student Affairs” which reads as follows:

“The President shall consult with the student body, as appropriately organized, in the area of student affairs.”

And last but not least, secion (5), part (a) dealing with students entitled “Consultation by the President”:

“The student body shall be consluted by the President concerning the establishment of policy for student affairs.”

Now the definition of STUDENT affairs may be subjective, but I would imagine STUDENT football tickets would fall under that umbrella, and over 6,000 STUDENTS in a facebook group agreed. Say what you will about the lottery and the failure of UPUA. Independent of this situation Max, I submit to you that it IS the job of the administration to SEEK our approval for its measures when student affairs are concerned, and I hope Standing Order IX will help clear this up.

Nice argument, Mike. The written word is powerless unless there is a basis of power by which it is enforced. Because UPUA has no REAL, tangible power to exercise other than to organize students, there is no way that we will force the administration to proactively come to us as per that standing order.

As a result, the only realistic way to make a difference is to be articulate and work the system effectively. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if we give the current sytem a chance, I am positive that the nay-sayers will be impressed with what we can accomplish. It’s more important to focus on that than perceived injustice.

Well I would agree with you that nobody’s forcing the admin to seek our opinion. One would think the Board of Trustees would enforce their own standing order, but apparently that’s not the case. However, that’s why organizations like SOS are important. Someone needs to let administrators know that they can’t just ignore those standing orders without at least having to hear about it.

The real problem here is just that UPUA has no REAL, tangible power. I don’t think accepting that role and just trying to work within it is the answer; this year we tried to move towards shared governance and an external board told us we couldn’t. The debate between governance and advocacy will persist; I know where we stand at SOS, I’ll wait and see where the UPUA goes this year.

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