Remarks by the President and Vice President at the November 6th, 2020 Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG) Council Session

8:30 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening friends, it’s great to see you. We hope you’re doing well, and that you and your families are staying safe and healthy. 

THE VICE PRESIDENT: The last few weeks have been busy for the UPUA, with all of its Branches, Departments, and Committees working hard for the student body. First, we want to thank everyone who exercised their right to vote this past Tuesday, and those who helped others exercise that right, too. Special thanks to all of you and your student governments for helping Penn State’s students stay civically engaged. 

THE PRESIDENT: To help in those efforts here at University Park, our administration’s Department of Civic Engagement and the General Assembly’s Committee on Governmental Affairs have worked hard to piece together a voters’ guide for students, facilitate COVID-safe Voter Registration events and an Election Day Celebration outside of our HUB-Robeson Center, and — with help from the Assembly’s Committee on Facilities — get students to and from their on-campus polling center utilizing one of Penn State’s Blue Buses. I’ve also been in contact with the UP student body via email to encourage them to exercise their right to vote on Election Day. I’m very impressed with everyone’s team effort, and would always love to find more ways to collaborate with you for the upcoming primary.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: This past Wednesday night, the General Assembly passed two important and historical pieces of legislation in the efforts of supporting a Land Acknowledgement at Penn State. Chair Rodriguez of the Justice and Equity Committee and I have worked with Tim Benally (President of IPSA) for the past couple of months to support the IPSA’s efforts in land acknowledgement. Resolution 36-15: In Support of the Formal Recognition of Native American Heritage Month and Programming and the Support of the Indigenous Peoples Student Association and Resolution 37-15: In Support of University Land Acknowledgement. The land acknowledgment recognizes the indigenous land that ALL of Penn State sits on. Feel free to reach out to me with more information if CCSG would like to join in these efforts.  

THE PRESIDENT: On October 24th, I joined many of you in releasing a video address in support of the Penn State Climate Action Petition, and the demands it makes therein. For those who aren’t familiar with the occassion, October 24th was the International Day of Climate Action. I believe Penn State has a unique opportunity — and a moral obligation — to take stronger action to combat climate change and the injustices it brings about, whether environmental, social, or otherwise. This past Wednesday, the UPUA’s General Assembly passed Resolution #38-15, officially supporting the petition on behalf of the UP Undergraduate student body. I look forward to advocating to our administration, to our Board of Trustees, and to all those who can make these changes come about alongside you. This is our chance. Let’s take it.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Last Thursday, several UPUA Representatives introduced — and the University’s Faculty Senate voted to support — a Resolution implementing alternative grading. We are deeply grateful for your help, and for the words of support from Vice President Viramgama. We are proud that Penn State has helped to take the lead among Big Ten institutions in showing empathy to our peers who need it the most.

THE PRESIDENT: On Wednesday, I attended the first of several Penn State Student Trustee Selection Committee meetings. I look forward to working with the current Student Trustee, President Akbar, and our fellow student government executives to ensure a transparent, equitable, and fair process, ensuring applicants from the Commonwealth are treated fairly and with respect, and that the process is free from influence from external organizations, as has been alluded to in the past.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Lastly, President McKay and I would like to again extend our support in any endeavor to help increase pride in our Commonwealth campuses. Penn State would not be Penn State without the unique and individual contributions of everyone gathered here tonight and the campuses you represent, and we are grateful to belong to a family as large as this one. As we’ve expressed to the President and Vice President before, WE ARE committed to helping however we can in those efforts. As always, feel free to reach out — we are always happy to chat!

THE PRESIDENT: To keep up with what the UPUA’s been up to, including the legislation of the General Assembly, you can visit our website at www.upua.org. It’s been a pleasure to talk with you tonight. Take care, and please, stay safe.