SGB reveals updated finals week policy

Board member Nihita Manem speaks about this week’s Women’s Empowerment events at Tuesday night’s SGB meeting. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Visual Editor)

Student Government Board announced changes to finals scheduling at Tuesday’s public meeting that the board hopes will reduce the stress of finals week.

Currently, if a student is scheduled to take three exams on the same calendar day, that student can move one of those exams. But starting next year, a student could reschedule an exam if they have three occurring within 24 hours of each other, even on two different days.

Josh Hanley, the chair of SGB’s Academic Affairs committee, announced the change after it was approved at a meeting with the Provost Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Programs earlier Tuesday.

“It alleviates the stress of stacked finals,” Hanley said. “If a student has a final at 2 [p.m.], a final at 6 [p.m.] for an evening class and another final at 8 a.m. the next morning, we all know what’s going to happen there. They’re gonna stay up all night studying for that final.”

SGB President Max Kneis spoke to Joe McCarthy, the vice provost for undergraduate studies, in December about the change. The change will begin next academic year.

“Really it just adds flexibility for students, which we think is always a good option,” Hanley said. “If it helps students with less stress during final exam week, it’s a net positive for students.”

SGB also discussed TEDx Pitt, which is taking place March 31 in the William Pitt Union. The event, headed by board member Ian Callahan and co-hosted by SGB and Graduate and Professional Student Government, will have five speakers.

The first session is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with speakers Jasiri X, Konstantinos Pelechrinis and Andrew Schwartz. The intermission will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. with musicians in the WPU ballroom and the second session will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. with Satvika Neti and Dan Lockton.

“I think [the speakers] are all really exciting,” Callahan said. “Otherwise we wouldn’t have chosen them.”

This year’s TEDx, the fourth straight year Pitt has organized the TED-affiliated event, will have a theme of “Rethink,” which urges students to talk about issues ranging from racism to smart cities. Tickets are on sale at Eventbrite for $10, but students will be refunded the full cost when they arrive at the event.

“I hope students get to learn all the different facets that are going on in the community because are all local, Pittsburgh native or from the University, so they all have their own area of focus in the community,” Callahan said.

Board member Nihita Manem announced that before TEDx begins, Gal-a — free to students — will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in Alumni Hall’s Connolly Ballroom. It is a culmination of Women’s Empowerment Week, and will continue discussions on the topic and honor Provost Patricia Beeson, who is stepping down after this academic year.

“We want to honor Provost Beeson for everything and we think this is the perfect time to do it,” Manem said. “She’s a woman in power and has done so much for Pitt.”

Among the other issues discussed, SGB Chair James Oosten of facilities, technology and transportation brought up campus Wi-Fi connectivity. He had a meeting with Computing Services and Systems Development about issue.

Oosten has heard complaints about the Wi-Fi through word of mouth, personal experience and Fix It Pitt — a complaint link on SGB’s website. He said students can send a formal request for Wi-Fi complaints from the University Store on Fifth or online at techforms.pitt.edu and someone from the Student Wireless Access Team will assess the issue.

“It’s the era we live in and we just need to be connected at all times, especially if you’re running late, need to submit an assignment, need to download something,” Oosten said.

Executive Vice President Zuri Kent-Smith, board member Ciara Barry, wellness chair Maggie Kennedy and communications director Sana Mahmood took excused absences Tuesday. Board member Alex Spenceley and Student Office of Sustainability Director Chelsea Huddleston were absent, unexcused.

Allocations:

Circle K International requested $1,794.10 for their International Conference for registration, ground transportation and lodging. The board approved $1,294.10 and denied $500.

Pitt Unmuted requested $1,060 for a program expense. The board approved in full.

The Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian Club requested $230 for a program expense. The board approved $62.50 and denied $167.50.

Rainbow Alliance asked to modify their budget, requesting $32,000 for their Lance Bass Speaker event for honorarium. The board approved in full.

Pittsburgh Women’s Volleyball Club requested $200 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.

Panther Team Handball Club requested $250 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.

Pittsburgh Women’s Volleyball Club requested $330.56 for a purchase, rental and service. The board approved in full.

South Asian Student Association requested $2,026.63 for their SASA show for purchases and services. The board approved in full.

Engineers Without Borders requested $1,084.03 for a conference request. The board approved $986.70 and denied $97.33.

Panther Airsoft Club Team requested $431.21 for a purchase, rental and service. The board approved in full.

Free the Planet requested $4,250 for their Sustainability Week Speaker for honorarium. The board approved in full.

ENACTUS requested $1,034.06 for a conference request. The board approved in full.

Pittsburgh Fencing Association requested $730.49 for a purchase, rental and service. The board approved $327.49 and denied $403.

Coalition of Pre-Health Students $12,303.66 for a program expense. The board approved in full.

Akshaya Patra Foundation requested $1,101.27 for a program expense. The board approved in full.

University of Pittsburgh Television requested $9,323 for new equipment. The board approved $8,855 and denied $468.

Robotics and Automation Society requested $2,032.70 for their Sailbot Competition. The board denied in full.

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