SGB passes updates to elections code


Hannah Heisler | Senior Staff Photographer

In the last meeting of the semester, SGB unanimously passed a bill updating the SGB elections code.

By Emily Drzymalski, Staff Writer

Student Government Board unanimously passed a bill updating the SGB elections code for the 2020-21 elections at its last meeting of the fall semester Tuesday night.

The passed bill, introduced last week by elections committee chair Nick Bibby, aims to clarify the language on the endorsement processes, posting of campaign materials and definition of a student who is able to run. It expands the ability for students who are not solely enrolled in the College of General Studies to participate in the elections process — they may now vote for candidates and referendums, run for office and sign candidate petition forms. In the past, any students enrolled in CGS were not permitted to participate in SGB activities since the school has its own student government, but the new bill allows students enrolled in both CGS and any other Pitt school to engage in SGB-related activities.

It also clarifies the existing procedure that student organizations not registered with the University’s Student Organization Resource Center may not endorse a candidate or slate. Student organizations will continue to request formal endorsement paperwork through SGB, and candidates and slates are responsible for requesting the removal of endorsements from non-SORC-registered organizations within 24 hours.

The bill will now allow for candidates and slates to “chalk” on the Bigelow Boulevard sidewalk outside the Cathedral of Learning, but prohibit promotional campaign materials that can be hung from door handles or knobs.

SGB also provided updates on several ongoing initiatives.

During his president’s report, SGB President Zechariah Brown said he was unable to meet with University administrators to discuss SGB’s SORC naming guidelines proposals. Brown was supposed to meet with Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Life Linda Williams-Moore and SORC Coordinator Lynne Miller before Thanksgiving break, but the meeting was canceled due to scheduling conflicts. Brown said the meeting should be rescheduled before the end of the fall semester.

SORC announced in late August that beginning in 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.” The changes could affect as many as 393 of the 639 student organizations on campus.

The board released three possible solutions to the problem at its Nov. 6 meeting. Its preferred solution is to utilize SORC to approve names and marketing materials for clubs that want to “co-brand” with the University — allowing the use of University trademarks or wordmarks as long as sponsorship is not implied or stated. This model is currently in use at Boston College, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Miami, according to the board.

Brown said after the meeting that Miller and Williams-Moore have looked at the proposals, and anticipates they may suggest some changes.

“In my understanding of it, we’ll just be making minor tweaks,” Brown said. “Ultimately, the decision to choose one of the options presented in the proposal is up to admin.”

Judicial Committee Chair Grace Nelson also presented an update about her religious absence initiative during the meeting.

She announced the committee will work over winter break to put together educational materials for faculty members about students absences due to religious holidays. Since the beginning of October, the committee has been researching the University’s policy regarding excuses for missed work and absences for religious reasons. The Pitt News has reported on difficulties students face when making up missed work or absences due to religious or cultural observances.

As finals week approaches, Brown also mentioned in his president’s remarks that the William Pitt Union will host extra study hours Dec. 8 to Dec. 10 from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on the main, first, third and sixth floors as well as the lower level. The WPU is usually open from 7 a.m. to midnight during the week and 8 a.m. to midnight on the weekend.

“If you’re a student in desperate need of a space to study, as I know many of us are in this very hectic finals season, please utilize those options,” Brown said.

Brown and other SGB members said that as finals are approaching, students should remember to take care of themselves.

“Please take care of yourselves,” Brown said. “It’s just a week and a half, but it shouldn’t affect your health in any significant ways.”


Pitt Sailing Club requested $4,980 for equipment maintenance and foul weather gear. The board approved $4,973.80 and denied $6.20.

Chinese American Student Association requested $9,802.36 to bring The Fung Brothers to campus on Feb. 15. The board approved in full.

Panther Lacrosse requested $4,000 for conference and national dues. The board approved in full.