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SGB updates on provost search

SGB+President+Max+Kneis+discusses+a+resolution+he+introduced+supporting+the+development+of+an+educational+hub+at+Pitt%E2%80%99s+Titusville+campus+during+Tuesday+night%E2%80%99s+meeting.+%28Photo+by+Sarah+Cutshall+%7C+Staff+Photographer%29
SGB President Max Kneis discusses a resolution he introduced supporting the development of an educational hub at Pitt’s Titusville campus during Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer)

SGB President Max Kneis discusses a resolution he introduced supporting the development of an educational hub at Pitt’s Titusville campus during Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer)

SGB President Max Kneis discusses a resolution he introduced supporting the development of an educational hub at Pitt’s Titusville campus during Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer)

By Madeline Gavatorta | Staff Writer

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At Student Government Board’s weekly meeting Tuesday, Senior Vice Chancellor of Research Rob Rutenbar said the provost search committee involves no smoke or bunkers.

“The search committee I am chairing is not decisional. And what that means is that we don’t all go retreat to the Cathedral, go in the bunker, go in the basement, burn white or black smoke and then come out and anoint the Provost,” Rutenbar said. “We work to get the pool down to something manageable so that [Chancellor Patrick Gallagher] can make the call.”

Provost Patricia Beeson announced her decision step down in November, leaving a vacancy Pitt must fill for the upcoming academic year.

Rutenbar said the committee will evaluate and interview a pool of 20-50 applicants and recruits in the coming months to find the next provost by June. He also attended to hear what SGB and the meeting’s attendees wanted to see in the next provost.

Board member Alex Spenceley said the next provost should be aware that Pitt has diversity and inclusion issues. He went on to say Pitt does not have a diverse student population and that there needs to be increased awareness of the different backgrounds and pronouns students use.

“I believe if you have a deeper understanding … what influences could have played a part in their life that might not have played a part in yours, that’s going to definitely play a positive role in your life,” Spenceley said.

After Rutenbar spoke, SGB introduced a resolution regarding the Pitt Titusville campus, written by SGB President Max Kneis and Academic Affairs Chair Joshua Hanley. Pitt’s Board of Trustees will vote in late Feb. on whether the University should close or repurpose the campus. 

Closure would allow all current students to finish out their degrees and then the campus would close. Repurpose — which SGB is in favor of — would renovate the campus into an education and training hub, which would be owned by a third-party and include Pitt, a community college, a career center and other educational institutions as tenants.

“I think this is a more interesting and exciting option. It allows Pitt to really be an innovator in a field I don’t think many universities are at when it comes to providing associate degrees or job training,” Kneis said. “I think a lot of people would agree, and I certainly agree, that a four-year degree is not for everyone and it’s not the type of education everyone needs.”

SGB will vote on whether or not to pass the resolution next week.

Looking ahead to next week, Vice President and Chief of Finance Maddie Guido spoke on Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week that will start Feb. 12, which is National Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day.

“I had great sexual education in school and I just think that, especially on a college campus, it’s kinda a taboo at this point,” Guido said. “If there’s anything we should really be talking about and promoting it’s the de-stigmatization of sexual health.”

For the week, SGB is partnering with Rainbow Alliance, Panhellenic Association, Wellness Chair Maggie Kennedy and Students Engaging in Conversations about Consent and Sexuality (SECCS). Guido also recruited a doctor at student health, Marni Greenwall, to have a question and answer session with students.

“When I’m having a conversation, especially when I’m engaging in a conversation, which I think is different, I’m actually bringing it to the forefront of my attention and I’m also giving someone my insight about it and hearing what they have to say back,” Guido said.

The night ended with an Allocations requests conflict — Ski and Snowboard club found itself in debt around $5,000 after an audit conducted by the current members, and requested funds to cover those costs. SGB said they could not fund for past events but would help them find a solution.

Board member Ciara Barry, Judicial Chair Marina Sullivan, and SOOS Director Chelsea Huddleston had an excused absence this meeting. Kennedy was absent, unexcused.

Allocations:

Pittsburgh Women’s Volleyball Club requested $3,195 for their National Tournament for airfare. The board denied in full.

Pitt Triathlon requested $5,000 for their Belews Lake International Triathlon for registration and lodging. The board approved in full.

Panther Equestrian Club requested $1,260 for their annual formal team dinner. The board denied in full.

Ski and Snowboard Club requested $2,390 for their Elk Mountain competition for race fees and lift tickets. The board denied in full.

Ski and Snowboard Club requested $2,080 for their Wisp Resort competition for race and lift tickets. The board denied in full.

Ski and Snowboard Club requested $740.50 for a competition expense. The board approved $500 and denied $240.50.

Volunteers Around the World requested $1,145 for a conference request. The board approved in full.

Multiracial Student Association requested $1,750 for their MariNaomi Guest Speaker Event for honorarium. The board approved in full.

Panther Wrestling Club requested $329.72 for a competition expense. The board approved $321.28 and denied $8.44.

Pitt Rugby Football Club requested $199.80 for a purchase, rental and service. The board approved in full.

Pitt Racquetball Club requested $93.70 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.

Korean Student Association requested $5,000 for their AWKWAFINA speaker event for honorarium, airfare and lodging. The board approved in full.

National Student Speech Language Learning requested $340 for a conference request. The board approved in full.

Ptt Ballroom Club requested $960 for a competition request. The board approved in full.

Pitt Dance Ensemble requested $1,057 for a conference request. The board approved in full.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article reported that SGB had passed the resolution regarding Pitt’s Titusville campus. It also reported that The Board of Trustees proposed either closing or repurposing the campus. The article has since been updated to clarify that SGB only proposed the resolution and will be voting on it next week. It also has been changed to reflect that the Board did not propose the two options but will be voting on them in Feb. The Pitt News regrets this error. 

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SGB updates on provost search