At the University Park Undergraduate Association Commission meeting on Wednesday night, the UPUA commission on the University Budget was dissolved.
The commission, originally created to research the university budget in order to see where the student and taxpayer money was being spent, was led by UPUA At-Large Representative Elias Warren as chairman of the commission and Off-Campus Representative Anthony Christina as vice-chairman.
At the meeting, it was decided that the commission will be dissolved and will now be overseen by the executive board.
To get a report of the budget in its entirety, Warren (junior-management) said that he sent a Right-to-Know request to the Penn State budget office.
By Pennsylvania law, an answer must be given within five business days following a request.
Since Penn State did not give an answer to the request, the commission continued to search more in-depth to find the verified budget.
“We kept going to Harrisburg to get verified information,” Warren said. “When you start an investigation you have to finish it thoroughly and without fear.”
The commission was dissolved after disagreements between Warren and Christina (junior-history and political science) and UPUA’s executive board about communication issues dealing with the Right-to-Know requests.
“We started getting negative feedback when the executive board heard from administration about our Right-to-Know requests that were made for validation,” Warren said.
UPUA Chairman of the Assembly Spencer Malloy said that he, UPUA President Courtney Lennartz and UPUA Vice President Katelyn Mullen (junior-marketing and public relations) had told Warren to communicate before he sent the Right-to Know requests.
“Courtney, Katelyn and I spoke with Elias that we wanted him to double-check the requests with us before the requests be sent to other parties,” Malloy (senior-philosophy and agroecology) said. “They had subsided to not inform us about that.”
Lennartz (senior-health policy and administration) said the reason that the executive board will handle the commission now will be for more oversight in the leadership and a more direct means of communication.
“By having it in the executive board, the reports will go directly to the executive board,” Lennartz said. “There’s no gray area or questions asked.”
Warren said that his issue with the motion was that there were no plans or protocols in how the commission is now going to be run.
“Nothing that any commission member did was contrary to legislation or the constitution,” Warren said. “We hope that it takes the mission of the commission, but if so, then why change it?”
Currently, Warren has no intentions of returning to serve or help in the reconstruction of the commission, though Lennartz said she wants him to be involved.
“We would love to have Anthony and Elias still involved, things just got out of hand with people not communicating effectively,” Lennartz said.
Lennartz also said plans are in place to have Mullen directly oversee the new budget commission in the future.