Nate Kohler | Staff Videographer
At its second public meeting of the year Tuesday night, Student Government Board provided an update on a recently announced student task force, as well as several new upcoming initiatives.
SGB President Zechariah Brown announced Friday that SGB will form a task force with student organization leaders to address new naming guidelines that will affect many student groups at Pitt. He added Tuesday that SGB Executive Vice President Anaïs Peterson, SGB member Eric Macadangdang, SGB’s Judicial Committee and its chair, Grace Nelson, will all serve on the task force. Brown said he reached out on Tuesday to 13 of the hundreds of clubs that could be affected by the change and is in the process of scheduling the task force’s first meeting.
SORC announced two weeks ago that beginning fall 2020, its registration guidelines would prohibit the names of independent student organizations from including University trademarks or wordmarks like “Pitt” and “Panther,” instead encouraging clubs to use phrases such as “at Pitt” or “at the University of Pittsburgh.”
At the time the guideline changes were announced, University spokesperson Meg Ringler said the changes followed a summer audit of current SORC guidelines and student organization names that determined many student organizations were not in compliance with existing University policy.
Brown, Peterson and Macadangdang met Friday with Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Life Linda Williams-Moore and SORC Coordinator Lynne Miller to discuss how enforcement of the policy will affect student organizations. Both parties described the meeting as “open” and “productive.”
Brown said the focus of the task force’s first meeting is to discuss proposed solutions to the guideline changes, including his own to create a third tier of student organizations, lying somewhere in between independent and sponsored.
“At this first initial meeting, what we’re trying to do is kind of understand more or less how responsive these organizations would be to a tiered system,” Brown said, “as well as some of the solutions we came up with in terms of changing registration information and kind of getting a gauge of where they are in terms of what they would be willing and unwilling to do.”
Brown said once they’ve discussed the tiered system with student organizations, their next goal would be to research how other universities currently use tiered systems in practice with student groups.
“If organizations are on board for this part of the plan, the best thing would be to work with our judicial committee and kind of get a gauge for how other universities are doing it and how that can be more directly applied to the University of Pittsburgh,” Brown said.
Brown said once the task force decides on a solution to move forward with, it will prepare and submit a report to Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner.
“Once all of that is set in place it’s just about writing the proposal, which if we have all the research and we have student support on that, it should be the easy part of the process, but it is just going through these steps that we are predicting might take more time and that’s why we’re working as fast as possible,” Brown said.
Later in the meeting, several SGB committee chairs provided updates on their initiatives. Tyler Viljaste, the chair of SGB’s Community and Governmental Relations Committee, provided an update about upcoming Civic Engagement Week events occurring in late September. Viljaste said at SGB’s first public meeting last Tuesday that the CGR Committee will assign a specific theme to each month and plan events accordingly.
Viljaste added that the CGR Committee plans to hold the following events as part of Civic Engagement Week:
“All the issues” fair in the WPU Ballroom on Sept. 23 from 1-4 p.m.
Women in politics panel in WPU Dining Room B on Sept. 24 from 12-1:30 p.m.
Voting 101 in the WPU Ballroom on Sept. 24 from 4-6 p.m.
Get involved with the community in WPU 538 on Sept. 25 from noon-2 p.m.
Get involved with City government in WPU 527 on Sept. 25 from 4-5:30 p.m.
Activism fair in WPU 527 on Sept. 26 from 5-7 p.m.
Meet political organizers in WPU 548 on Sept. 27 from 7-10 p.m.
The Pitt Russian Club requested $2,536.90 for the Sept. 29 Eastern European Festival. The board approved $2,360 and denied $176.90.