SGB announces task force to meet Sunday

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SGB announces task force to meet Sunday

SGB announced that their SORC task force will meet this Sunday.

SGB announced that their SORC task force will meet this Sunday.

Wu Caiyi | Staff Photographer

SGB announced that their SORC task force will meet this Sunday.

Wu Caiyi | Staff Photographer

Wu Caiyi | Staff Photographer

SGB announced that their SORC task force will meet this Sunday.

By Emily Drzymalski, Staff Writer

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After announcing three weeks ago that a Student Government Board task force would be created to preserve current student organization names, President Zechariah Brown said at Tuesday’s public meeting that the task force plans to hold its first meeting this Sunday.

The student task force was formed as a result of the recent changes made to SORC naming guidelines. Among the task force’s members will be SGB Vice President Anaïs Peterson, SGB member Eric Macadangdang, SGB’s Judicial Committee and its chair, Grace Nelson, as well as 13 of the hundreds of clubs that could be affected by the change.

SORC announced in late August 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 has proposed creating a third tier of student organizations, lying somewhere in between independent and sponsored, as a solution to the crisis. He said Sunday’s meeting will discuss the tiered system option and other possibilities student organizations might suggest.

“This preliminary meeting will be to see where everyone’s head is at and how they would respond to a tiered system, and what the steps would look like in terms of reregistration if that’s something they’re okay with,” Brown said.

He added that the task force doesn’t have a set schedule in mind for future meetings, and will determine future meetings after the initial get-together on Sunday.

“I think that we’re going to start with this first meeting,” Brown said. “Based off of that we’ll move forward with determining if we need a second meeting with just SGB and the organizations, or if we want to move to a larger meeting involving those organizations, as well [as] SGB members and SORC.”

Brown will provide an update on the student task force’s meeting during next week’s SGB meeting.

Tuesday’s meeting also saw the first introduction of a resolution for this academic year.

Peterson introduced a resolution calling on Pitt to divest all holdings in the fossil fuel industry by next April. In her resolution, she further called on Pitt to release updates at the beginning of each academic term detailing its progress with divestment.

“Given that the University prides itself on being a leader in higher education and sustainability … it risks falling behind the lead of many universities that have already divested,” Peterson said.

Peterson is a member of the Fossil Free Pitt Coalition, one of the main student activist groups pushing for the University to divest from fossil fuel investments. After pressure from FFPC, and the July release of a report examining several aspects of socially responsible investments, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced in late August that the University is developing socially responsible investing strategies.

Gallagher charged Chief Financial Officer Hari Sastry with working on three SRI strategies — developing criteria to “positively screen” investments, screening and presenting proposed investment exclusions to the full Board of Trustees and leveraging the University’s Sustainability Plan.

Peterson said divesting from fossil fuels is important because their resultant emissions are a leading cause of climate change.

“This crisis is the largest threat to our generation and the ability of Earth’s ecosystems to sustain life as we know it,” Peterson said.

Peterson’s resolution will be available online later this week and will be voted on during SGB’s meeting next Tuesday.

Allocations:

The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association requested $2,000 for costs related to the annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention. The board approved $1,661 and denied $339.

The Panther Swim Club requested $1,500 for costs related to an upcoming meet at Ohio State University. The board approved $1,330 and denied $170.

The Biomedical Engineering Society requested $1,949 for costs related to their annual convention in Philadelphia. The board approved in full.

The Biomedical Engineering Society requested $4,825 for coach bus transportation to their annual convention in Philadelphia. The board denied in full.

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers requested $1,525.81 for costs related to their annual conference in Orlando, Florida. The board approved in full.

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