SGB calls for medical amnesty extension


Thomas J. Yang

Board member Ami Fall discusses SGB’s upcoming Irish-themed “Eat and Greet” at Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Visual Editor)

By Madeline Gavatorta | Staff Writer

Student Government Board returned from spring break and unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night urging the Pennsylvania state government to extend medical amnesty — a pardon on criminal charges for medical reasons — in the case of alcohol incidents to the underage person experiencing the crisis.

“We want to reduce barriers that students may see in getting help in an alcohol emergency, and I think being afraid of some sort of legal charge is definitely a large barrier for calling for help. So anything we can do that makes it easier for people to call for help and stay safe we fully support,” SGB President Max Kneis said.

Medical amnesty, as of right now, covers an individual calling emergency resources for an underage consumer of alcohol who is at risk for death. Stated in the resolution, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware have extended their medical amnesty to the underage individual who is having the crisis.

Kneis said a PDF copy of the resolution would be sent to every representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. According to the resolution, Cornell University saw an increase in on-campus calls for alcohol emergencies after enacting a full medical amnesty policy.

Lehigh University reached out to SGB in November about the idea and a letter in support to change the law was sent out and signed in January. Penn State and Temple University also signed. SGB will lobby for the change during Pitt Day in Harrisburg March 20.

“I think I would bring up the issue, talk about why it’s important to us and ask for their perspective to see where they stand on the issue, if they’ve ever considered the issue,” Kneis said. “And just make it clear to them why this is such an important bill for them to consider.”

SGB also looked ahead to the upcoming Women’s Empowerment Week, which will take place from March 26-30. Former board member Sydney Harper founded the program last year and passed it on to current board member Ciara Barry, who expressed interest in promoting female empowerment.

The week will feature 10 events, but not all event names, descriptions, times and locations have been finalized. The information will be available Wednesday on SGB’s website.

One event happening March 26 will highlight women from different countries who will talk about what other women experience internationally regarding what it’s like to be a woman in another country. Another event will feature Justin Baldoni, a 2017 TEDWomen speaker who wants to end toxic masculinity.

“Women are important because they contribute to society and have incredible contributions that, I feel like are often overlooked or sometimes prohibited, for different reasons,” Barry said.

After WE week ends, board member Ian Callahan’s TEDx Conference — a localized version of TED Talks — will take place March 31. Speakers will give approximately two-hour long talks twice — once at 10 a.m. and at 1 p.m. — with the event expected to conclude at 3 p.m.

“It will be a great opportunity for people to expand their knowledge and understanding of things that are going on within the community. Whether it is research or activism, it will be a great platform for people to get a better understanding,” Callahan said.

Former SGB Vice President and Chief of Cabinet Rohit Anand oversaw last year’s event, which followed the theme of “Reach.” This year’s event is centered on the theme of “Rethink.”

“The more informed you are about anything the better off you are going to be in life. And especially when it’s something local, I find that things that are more local have more personal meaning to an individual,” Callahan said.

Once the TEDx Conference concludes, Executive Vice President Zuri Kent-Smith’s Human Rights Conference will begin April 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Kurtzman Room in the William Pitt Union. This year’s conference is immigration themed and is a signature event for SGB’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

“There are probably a lot of students out there that want to find a way to get involved and want to know the best way to get involved,” Kent-Smith said. “I think that this is gonna be a great way for them to figure out the basics, like the next steps, and to get informed.”

Community and Governmental Relations Chair Jessa Chong and Elections Chair Anastasia Bodea Crisan were absent, unexcused.


American Institute of Chemical Engineers requested $187.56 for general travel. The board approved in full.

Pitt Ping Pong Club requested $2,135 for a competition expense. The board approved $1,977 and denied $158.

Best Buddies requested $1,694.40 for their Spread the Word to End the R-Word Event for purchases and honorarium. The board approved $200 and denied $1,494.40.

Panther Hurling Club requested $2,000 for their 2018 NCGAA National Hurling Championship for lodging for 16 people. The board approved in full.

Panther Relations Student PR Firm requested $140 for a program request. The board denied in full.

Panthers for Animal Welfare requested $399.72 for a program request. The board approved in full.

Reformed University Fellowship requested $1,733.20 for their 2018 Summer Conference for registration and ground transportation for four people. The board approved in full.

Information Security Club requested $541.65 for a competition request. The board approved in full.

Club Cross Country requested $506.04 for a competition request. The board approved in full.

The Pittiful News requested $1,022 for a purchase, rental and service. The board approved $511 and denied $511.

The Pitt Pulse requested $683.18 for a purchase, rental and service. The board approved in full.

Pitt Club Field Hockey requested $719.12 for a competition request. The board approved $693.52 and denied $25.60.

Pittsburgh Fencing Association requested $1,395.96 for their USACFC Nationals for ground transportation and lodging for 20 people. The board approved $1,385.96 and denied $10.

Pitt Ballroom Club requested $985 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.

American Sign Language Club requested $3,085 for general travel. The board approved in full.

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