In response to Provost Patricia Beeson’s announcement that she will be stepping down from her current position, Student Government Board President Max Kneis referred to the Pitt provost as a “champion of student input” at Tuesday’s meeting.
Beeson has spent eight years as provost, following 17 years as a Pitt administrator. Kneis said she had been a great partner for SGB in her years as provost.
“I think the provost has done really great things for the University,” Kneis said. “Whenever we’ve brought an idea to her, she’s always been willing to engage, to listen. Proposals we send to her don’t get ignored [and] she’s able to give great feedback.”
Kneis said he wants SGB to be involved in the search for the new provost. Last year, then-President Natalie Dall contributed to the search for the new Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences dean, Kathleen Blee.
“I imagine we will be involved in some capacity again. I don’t know what that capacity will be, but we will definitely advocate for student input,” Kneis said.
Continuing their efforts from last meeting, SGB passed B.R. 2017.04, “Urging the passage of Pennsylvania Senate bill No. 196 and renaming it ‘Alina’s Law.’” The bill would give judges the option of putting a GPS tracker on a person who has a protection-from-abuse order filed against them. The resolution also included naming the bill “Alina’s Law” after Pitt student Alina Sheykhet, who had a PFA against her ex-boyfriend Matthew Darby, who was later arrested in her homicide.
“And we will continue to lobby for this cause in all of our meetings that we have up in Harrisburg and with our local, federal and state lawmakers,” Kneis said.
At the University level, Vice President and Chief of Finance Maddie Guido also announced plans to bring back “SGB Updates” — a UPTV segment filmed weekly or biweekly where members of SGB can speak about projects or initiatives from the past week, which was last aired during the 2015-2016 school year.
“We represent the undergraduate student body of Pitt so I think it’s extremely important that they understand what’s going on,” Guido said. “If they have a problem with it, if they have a suggestion … we get their feedback and people get to stay informed of what we are doing as SGB.”
Guido said it’s important to get student feedback from these updates, especially as SGB makes an effort to be more transparent with the Pitt community this year.
“I think the worst thing you can have is a governing body, even just for undergraduate students, that kind of keeps to themselves,” Guido said. “The more feedback we can get, whether it be positive or negative, the more we know how to do our jobs better.”
Board member Ami Fall said she is working on a proposal to make additions to the student syllabus. This would include extended information on sexual assault, mental health resources on and off campus and a possible section on protocol for a death in the family. She also wanted to inform students that professors are mandated reporters — people who have to report a crime.
“It’s a part of removing the stigma, talking about these issues and assuring that every student is given the opportunity to find these resources and to reach out to them,” Fall said. “Assuring that students know that they’re not alone, in whatever they’re going through and there are people here that really care about them and are able to help them.”
Pitt Ballroom Club requested $836 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.
Pitt Archery requested $1,494 for their Indoor Nationals Event’s registration and lodging. The board approved in full.
Pitt Racquetball Club requested $1,200 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.