Voters choose divestment, Peterson as executive VP


Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor

Anaïs Peterson (top right) and members of Fossil Free Pitt react to hearing that Peterson won the runoff election for SGB executive vice president.

By Brian Gentry and Emily Wolfe

Anaïs Peterson won big in Tuesday’s runoff SGB election — and so did one of her major initiatives, as more than 2,000 students said Pitt should divest from fossil fuels in a referendum vote.

Of the 2,401 students who voted on the initiative, 91 percent said Pitt should divest. SGB will use that number in future discussions with administration. President Maggie Kennedy said she would talk to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher for his input on the best way to relay those results to the Board of Trustees.

Tuesday’s referendum showed 91 percent of students who voted were in favor of divestment from fossil fuels. Graphic by Gennadi Ryan | Staff Graphic Artist

Peterson, a member of the Fossil Free Pitt Coalition, took in 1,387 votes to win the role of executive vice president, defeating Caroline Unger, the current chair of SGB’s facilities, transportation and technology committee, who won 855 votes. Peterson and Unger were both elected to SGB for the 2019-20 school year in the Feb. 19 election, but tied for the top spot of executive vice president.

[Read: Students face divestment referendum]

Anaïs Peterson won the SGB runoff election for executive vice president on Tuesday with 62 percent of the vote. Graphic by Gennadi Ryan | Staff Graphic Artist

Along with fossil fuel divestment, Peterson’s campaign focused on addressing the issue of lead in Pitt’s water, and increasing the availability and accessibility of gender neutral bathrooms on campus.

As executive vice president, Peterson would be next in line to be president if Zechariah Brown were to step down and will also serve as the speaker of the Assembly, the lower legislative body of student government.

A total of 2,242 students voted in the executive vice president runoff race. The Feb. 19 election, where Peterson and Unger won 1,154 votes apiece, drew 3,394 voters.

[Read: “Grateful, thankful, overwhelmed”: Brown wins SGB presidency]

Peterson said she was “completely shocked” by the results of the executive vice president vote but happy with the result of the divestment vote.

“Throughout today, I was all over social media making sure everyone knew about it,” Peterson said. “I’m just glad all of the hard work to get here paid off.”