SGB ​​discusses committee plans, debates allocations

The student government council debated the stipend requests for the first time “in a long time”, according to council member Daniel Temmallo.

“I think every public meeting should have this kind of debate,” said Konstantinos Papazekos, a second-year art and architectural history student and participant in the meeting. “It was certainly instructive on the [processes] which are lived apparently in private.

The student government council held its weekly meeting at Nordy’s Place on Tuesday evening. The council discussed plans for several initiatives, including the progress of planned ad hoc committees on meals and the prevention of sexual violence. The Board also discussed two allocation requests.

Board member Ryan Young said a charter for an ad hoc sexual violence prevention committee is in the works. Young also said he joined the Chancellor’s Advisory Council to Prevent Sexual Misconduct.

“There will be other people on this committee who will sit on it as well…that’s definitely something I’m focused on,” Young said.

Alex Hodge, the new chair of the Interfraternity Council, announced that IFC, the Collegiate Panhellenic Association, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council are hosting an event focused on sexual violence on Monday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the seventh floor auditorium of the ‘Alumni Hall. Recently, the former president of the IFC sparked controversy over a statement addressing the reported a sexual assault inside the Cathedral of Learning.

“Due to space constraints, it is Greek life only at the moment. However, if any of the board members wish to stop, you are more than welcome,” Hodge said.

Board member Corbin Makar said the ad hoc catering committee met with Pitt Eats to discuss catering issues, such as the new kiosk and application ordering system as well as to welcome dietary restrictions.

“The current meal plan options have been modeled after 2019, which was pre-pandemic, so obviously people have changed the way they eat, so we’re going to start working with them on how to better support that,” said Makar. “If you have any questions about the ad hoc committee or how to join, please reach volume.”

Keep your feet on the ground, a service organization that teaches children from the Somali-Bantu refugee community, requested $1,755.23 to fund tutors’ Uber trips to the Northview Heights neighborhood for tutoring sessions. The awards committee recommended rejecting the application in its entirety based on reasonable alternatives available for transportation, namely Pittsburgh Regional Transit buses.

Swati Ghosh, a young chemistry student and business manager of Keep It Real, said the organization applied for the funds because it takes nearly an hour by bus to get to the neighborhood. Ghosh said it “gives a bad impression” to the organization and the University if tutors miss tutoring sessions.

“The managers we work with there, they told us not to stay outside the bus stops for a period of time really…it’s not the safest area to be in,” said Ghosh. “Having Ubers that we can schedule in advance to pick us up directly and bring us back would be safer for Pitt students.”

Board member Alison Linares Mendoza agreed that the speed and security of this service activity is “very important.”

“The fact that you heard from people there, people who attend and personally went to the event, not just from our perspective on Google, that you think it’s not the safest…s ‘there is a small chance that something negative could impact not only participation but also your safety, I think it should be SGB’s duty to ensure that we don’t leave that risk’ , said Linares Mendoza.

Derek Dressler, board member and vice president of governance, disagreed.

“I think there’s inherent risk everywhere in the world, no matter where you go,” Dressler said. “I think in the punctuality aspect, which I think is the most crucial part of it, more than the safety aspect… it’s not like you only have two people going to that club day in and day out. day in and day out it’s an organization… So to have the ability to spread that through your ranks, I think that’s strongly in favor of the buses.

After five minutes of debate among council members, the council voted 4-3 to approve the request in its entirety.

Council also received a request for American Sign Language Club for $4,946.31 to send students and faculty to Gallaudet Universitythe largest deaf university in the world, for the immersive practice of ASL.

Dressler said he was against funding the stipend request because the ASL club did not document any attempt to fundraise for the trip, called “shared responsibility” in the stipend handbook.

“I don’t feel comfortable spending $5,000 of student money on the pretext that they have no shared responsibility,” Dressler said.

Board member Temmallo said the board could not approve the request because no representative from the ASL club was present to answer questions from the board.

“We do not have the capacity to make a final decision on the approved amount. We had a question,” Temmallo said. “They said… 40 people present, then in parentheses there were four teachers. We don’t know if these four professors, whom we can’t fund, are part of these 40 or in addition to the 40. So we don’t know if we can fund nine rooms or 10 rooms.

After another five minutes of allotted debate time, council voted 6 to 1 to file the request for review at a later date.

Steve Anderson, associate dean and advisor for SGB, said he “appreciated the conversation” that took place at the meeting.

“I also think it’s important for people to have different viewpoints and appreciate different perspectives, and that’s really the point of being here at a university,” Anderson said. “That’s what we do by bringing together different people from different backgrounds, different places, different thoughts, different ideas, and I think that just enriches our experience.”

James V. Hayes