At the University Park Undergraduate Association's Wednesday meeting, students advocated for more accessible absentee ballots, pushed for full online access to news publications, and announced the likely creation of an LGBTQ community seat.
The Sept. 18 meeting also featured more confirmations to fill vacancies on the Judicial Board and within freshmen representative positions.
Following the confirmation and swearing in of freshmen representatives, Judicial Board associate justices and Freshman Council members, two resolutions were brought to the floor.
Support of Online Absentee Ballot Applications in Pennsylvania was submitted by speaker Tom Sarabok, chair of Governmental Affairs Zachary McKay and at-large representative Tyler Ladzinski.
The legislation is part of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s “21st Century Voting Reform Plan,” which calls for online absentee ballots for college students.
Over 350 letters written by Penn State students advocated for the campaign, as students urged for a more accessible ballot for fall 2019 elections.
The application hopes to increase voter turnout and efficiency. However, voters will still have to physically mail or turn in their absentee ballots by Nov. 1 for their vote to count in the upcoming election.
UPUA adds community representative seats to assembly.
The next piece of legislation, Support of the Expanded Penn State News Readership Program, violated parliamentary procedure and was pushed off of the agenda by point of inquiry by Tyler Akers.
The legislation asks for full online access to publications including The New York Times, USA Today and Centre Daily Times. Students currently have access to free print copies of these publications Mondays through Fridays on campus.
However, free digital access to these publications is currently not provided to students.
Advocates support the legislation with data that says individuals under the age of 35 consume 69 percent of their news through technological devices. The initiative announced expansion to include full digital access of The Wall Street Journal, as well. The development of this initiative started with UPUA's 12th Assembly, and Sarabok hopes it will continue onto later agendas.
Chief Justice of the Judicial Board Rachel Schuhman also announced she has met with the LGBTQA Student Roundtable in the hopes of granting these students a community seat.
She said that the group has met the qualifications thus far, and intends to attend the first of two meetings with the group on Sept. 19 to meet UPUA bylaws.
Last semester, UPUA amended its constitution to grant representative seats to seven student groups on campus, including Black Caucus, Latino Caucus, Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Caucus, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, Multicultural Greek Council and National Panhellenic Council.