SGB announces resignation of judicial chair Grace Nelson


Romita Das | Staff Photographer

SGB President Zechariah Brown announces the resignation of SGB’s judicial chair Grace Nelson during his opening remarks the first weekly SGB meeting of the year on Tuesday evening.

By Benjamin Nigrosh, Assistant News Editor

Student Government Board kicked off its first meeting of the semester Tuesday night with an announcement from President Zechariah Brown that SGB’s judicial chair Grace Nelson is resigning.

“In her time as SGB’s judicial chair, Grace has energized, inspired and led her committee with the same enthusiasm that she brings to each and every meeting,” Brown said. “Under her leadership, Grace’s committee has increased judicial presence both internally as well as externally, taking on really important issues for SGB.”

Nelson said she is leaving SGB to pursue a full-time position working for City government. Before her resignation becomes effective this Sunday, Nelson said, she and Brown will interview candidates to take the position, which they hope will be filled by the next SGB meeting.

“It’s been a pleasure considering myself a member of your team,” Nelson said at the meeting.

Following Brown’s introductory remarks, board and committee chair members introduced themselves, promoted open positions on their committees and stated their initiatives for the year.

Nick Bibby, the elections committee chair, announced that SGB election petition packets became available to students Monday and can be found at the SGB office in William Pitt Union room 848. Applications are due on Jan. 28, Bibby said. Later this month, inquiring candidates will have the opportunity to meet one another and the current members of SGB at a mixer, the date of which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tyler Viljaste, the chair of the community and governmental relations committee, said his committee will host a “Coffee with Cops” event on Jan. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Kurtzman Room of the WPU. Officers will be present to answer student questions about campus safety concerns. His committee will also host an information session on student rights to privacy in regards to room searches on campus in WPU’s Dining Room B on Jan. 22 and 23, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Nina Duong, the chair of the wellness committee, said her committee will continue working on their initiatives from last semester, including expanding handicap accessibility on campus, adding more vegan, vegetarian and “healthy” options to dining halls, creating free workout classes for students and establishing a peer counseling center.

Clara Weibel, the SGB outreach coordinator and the co-director for the Student Office of Sustainability, announced that SOOS is planning events for the spring semester including educational programing in the Global Hub, meetings of their own first-year council and “RecycleMania,” an eight-week competition between universities to see who can recycle the most trash during that time.

Following board and committee remarks, Brown opened the floor to student organization leaders to introduce themselves and speak about upcoming events on campus.

Daniel Rudy, the president of the Resident Student Association, said every residence hall will be holding talent shows in the coming weeks in order to source students for the “Pitt’s Got Talent” event on Jan. 27.

Sagar Rawal, the president of the Asian Student Association, announced that his organization will be holding a kickoff event for Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month next week. Their spring welcome social will be held on Wednesday, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in WPU room 548, Rawal said. He also said the Vietnamese Student Association will host Susan Lu, who will be performing her one-woman show at the Charity Randall Theater from 7 to 9 p.m.

SGB also provided an update on the naming guidelines SORC said it would be reinforcing for student organizations last semester. SORC had 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 Director of Student Life Linda Williams-Moore and SORC Coordinator Lynne Miller have looked at the proposals, and he anticipates they may suggest some changes.

Brown said after the meeting that he was supposed to meet with Williams-Moore and Miller before winter break, but the meeting was canceled due to scheduling conflicts. Brown said the meeting should be rescheduled before the end of the month.


The Coalition of Pre-Health Students requested $14,828.66 for a speaker for its annual pre-health summit. It plans to bring Dr. BJ Miller to the WPU on March 1. The board approved the request in full.