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Board, Committees introduce Governing Code bills

By Abbey Reighard / Assistant News Editor

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It’s what’s on the inside that counts, according to Student Government’s Judicial Committee.

On Tuesday night, the Student Government Board hosted its public meeting at Nordy’s Place at 8:45 p.m., where Judicial Committee Chair Kyle Hoch introduced a bill meant to clarify and reinforce the rules inside the SGB governing code.

“We’re trying to improve SGB from within and help students understand what we do and why we do it,” Hoch said. “It’s not a structural change … we’re improving what we already have.”

Hoch said the current Judicial Committee started working on the changes at the beginning of their terms in February.

The section regarding transparency states that all Judicial Committee hearings shall be open to the public. Hoch said the Judicial Committee has held public hearings for as long as he recalls, and said the amendment in the bill will reinforce that policy.

Last semester, the previous Board merged all of its governing documents into the current Governing Code. Tuesday’s bill would change the code’s wording when referencing the former documents. The bill also proposes syntax and grammatical changes to increase clarity.

The second section of the bill, regarding neutrality, enforces that if a judicial committee member is absent and an alternative member of the Judicial Committee, who normally does not vote, is present during a meeting, the alternate can contribute to discussion and vote on decisions. Hoch said that, prior to this, alternates could not vote.

“We decided that we shouldn’t include someone in discussions and then exclude them from voting,” Hoch said. “We want more insight.”

The neutrality section also establishes who will vote for voting Judicial Committee members.

After the Board passes the bill, the Selection Committee will include the outgoing Judicial Committee chair, the incoming Committee chair, the outgoing president, the incoming president and a member of the incoming Board who received the highest number of votes and was not a member of the incoming president’s slate.

This is different from what the previous Board established in a referendum it the student body voted on in November, which stated that the fifth member nominating Judicial Committee members would be the incoming vice president or the outgoing vice president.

Hoch said the Judicial Committee decided to introduce this change to “maximize neutrality” in the committee selection process.

The fourth section addresses diversity, which the Board will include in its Code of Ethics in the Governing Code.

“We thought that it was important to include in the Code of Ethics,” Hoch said.

The section states the requirement to “refrain from discriminating against others on any basis,” including race, religion, sex or disability, outlined in the University of Pittsburgh’s Nondiscrimination Policy.

After he introduced the bill, Hoch said the changes “are reflective of the current cultural changes of SGB,” referring to the Board’s recent public announcement to change the Student Government Board’s name to the Student Government Association.

Allocations Committee Chair Nick Reslink also introduced two bills at last night’s meeting. The first bill addressed Student Affairs Recognized Club Sports, which currently only includes the rowing team.

Reslink said SARCSs, because they are recognized by Student Affairs, are a liability as they have a closer relationship with the University and therefore incur more fees. Because of this, the Allocations Committee decided that SARCSs should have a higher Club Sports cap. SARCSs will receive $5,000 more at each tier than other club sports.

Reslink introduced another bill, addressing capital expenditures. Reslink described capital expenditures as costs student groups have for items essential for their group to function.

These requests are different from other allocation requests because they will go toward the cost of long-term fixed costs with investment in long-term capital. For example, Reslink said, the Robotics Club might make a capital expenditure request for robotic parts.

Capital expenditures only apply to requests of at least $1,200, and the Board and the group will agree on a payment plan. Groups cannot request an additional capital expenditure until the Board allocates their first request in full.

Other bills SGB President Graeme Meyer introduced during the meeting included the reintroduction of the Green Fund Advisory Board, after the Board accidentally left the Advisory Board’s section out of the Governing Code, and the renewal of the Collegiate Readership Program.

The Board will table all the bills for one week and vote on them at the following public meeting next Tuesday night.

In other action:

The Board voted to appoint Rachel Lauver, a freshman who plans to major in social work, as the Community Outreach Committee chair. As the chair, Lauver and the committee will plan community volunteering opportunities for students.

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Board, Committees introduce Governing Code bills