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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Collegian Catching on, System is Flawed!

The Daily Collegian is catching on, the systems here at Penn State are not perfect!  A student government can not function without proper funding.  As a member of the University Park Undergraduate Association, and a former chairman of the Internal Development Committee, I can attest to how antiquated the process UPAC adheres to is.  

No more then six months ago I prepared a budget, for operating expenses for my committee.  I received not even 10% of what my entire committee of diverse representatives requested.  Finally there is some vindication for UPUA.

UPAC chairwoman Kendra Carr said UPUA came before her board strictly for operational funding, and some of UPUA’s requests did not fall under UPAC’s definition of operational funding. Therefore, those requests were denied, she said.

According to the UPAC handbook, operational funding can include advertising, office supplies, postage, copying, staffing expenses and phone service.

The UPAC handbook defines programming as “any event (i.e. speaker, concert, conference, theater performance, cultural affair) that enhances the out-of-class experience provided by members of the Penn State community for students at Penn State – University Park.”

Ralph Crivello, UPUA chairman of the assembly, said there was confusion within UPUA as the group assembled an operational budget last spring for UPAC.

“A budget was submitted to [UPAC] that had what they would consider programming, but UPUA would consider operations,” he said.

Carr added UPAC classifies UPUA as a type A organization, alongside the Graduate Student Association, the Association of Residence Hall Students and the four greek councils. Type A organizations are the only groups on campus allowed to receive more than $50 in operational funds.

UPAC mandated the money it allocated UPUA be spent mainly on a copy machine. The copy machine and associated costs were $8,867.

“It’s not up to us to choose what the money is used for. They choose to fund a copier, because we needed one,” Keirans said. “If we could’ve had it differently, I wouldn’t want a copier.”

This article from the Daily Collegian, typifies the need for change, and gives some much needed plaudits for the UPUA for doing so much already, while having next to nothing.

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UPAC “mandating” that the allocating funds be used towards a copy machine makes it sound like the committee arbitrarily decided to provide UPUA with a copy machine because they didn’t have one. This is not the case. Any item that UPAC funds had to have been specifically requested by the organization. All UPAC allocations get put into an organization’s restricted account so that funds may only be used for the items that the committee (based on policy) was able to fund. This is not something special for UPUA.

As Chairwoman, I hear many complaints about what UPAC provides funds for and what it doesn’t provide funds for, but no one seems to be willing to request a change or clarification to UPAC policies. Any student at Penn State is able to request policy changes to the UPAC handbook to make policies better suit the needs of the students.

We really do welcome these policy change proposals. It allows students to have a say in where their money goes each year, and allows students to express the needs of the current University Park students.

Many students try, but there is no one that can say that policy changes will not pass within UPAC. We have a very diverse student committee, they come from many different backgrounds, remain viewpoint neutral, and are both elected by the student body at large and appointed by myself and UPUA/GSA. They are the voters, and they do a great job at figuring out how policy changes will affect all students at the University. You can never know if a policy change will pass unless it is submitted.

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