SGB responds to decision on naming guidelines


Rachhana Baliga | Staff Photographer

SGB President Zechariah Brown discusses the updates to the Student Organization Resource Center’s naming guidelines at Tuesday evening’s weekly meeting.

By Anushay Chaudhry, Staff Writer

President Zechariah Brown opened Student Government Board’s weekly Tuesday meeting by discussing the anticipated response from Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner regarding the Student Organization Resource Center’s naming guidelines.

Bonner announced in a Tuesday letter to Brown that independent student organizations affected by SORC’s updated naming guidelines, which prohibit the names of independent student organizations from including University trademarks or wordmarks like “Pitt” and “Panther,” must sell the remainder of their non-compliant marketing materials before April 30, 2021.

According to the Tuesday letter, independent student organizations that were founded and registered with SORC before August 2005 will have the opportunity to request an exemption from the new naming guidelines. The deadline to apply for an exemption is Sept. 30.

“I’m honestly just happy that students have a decision,” Brown said after the meeting. “This policy works as an example of a healthy compromise.”

When asked if SGB was worried about smaller organizations being more disenfranchised from the naming policy as opposed to larger organizations due to rebranding concerns, Brown said he doesn’t believe the guidelines will have a larger consequence on organizations that operate on a smaller scale.

“I’m happy that there are provisions that allow for students to take their time with this process and to be able to take the time necessary to openly rethink their marketing and branding materials,” Brown said. “I’m also happy that there was special attention paid to student organizations that have been around since before this rule.”

Following the President’s Report, Executive Vice President Anaïs Peterson announced that the Asian Studies Center and Global Health Center are hosting a Coronavirus teach-in on Feb. 12 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in David Lawrence Hall room 120. The purpose of the event is to spread more awareness regarding the global implications of the virus to Pitt students. 

“I think since the coronavirus mainly impacts people of color, most people are jumping on it as a way to discriminate against Asian-American people,” Peterson said after the meeting. “I think it’s really important to have conversations around what it is and how it impacts people, and breaking down that understanding that this isn’t a reason to prejudice against Asian-American students, international students or faculty.” 

Additionally, Peterson said, the Asian Studies Center is accepting donations for N95 face masks, which can be dropped off at a number of locations around campus, including the UCIS Central Offices at Posvar 4400, the Asian Studies Center at Posvar 4104 and the Global Hub.

Nick Bibby, SGB elections chair, announced that the next presidential debate will be held Feb. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Nordy’s Place. The debate will feature presidential candidates Eric Macadangdang (Voices Slate) and Ravi Gandhi (Your Slate) discussing their policies and platforms for the future of SGB. Brown also mentioned that the event will be livestreamed to SGB’s Facebook page in case students are unable to attend.

To celebrate Black History Month, Brown announced that SGB will be hosting an “Eat and Greet” event on Feb. 14 from 2 to 3 p.m. in WPU Dining Room A. The event is capped at 40 people and any students interested in attending must complete a survey that can be found on SGB’s Facebook page. 

“A chef will be here to prepare foods of the diaspora for the Eat and Greet this Friday,” said Brown. 

Clara Weibel, the SGB outreach coordinator and the co-director for the Student Office of Sustainability, announced an adopt-a-bin competition that will allow students to compete in teams to make a creative display about waste on campus. Groups interested in participating will receive a stipend to create their project and the winning team will receive a cash prize for their clubs. Weibel said that more information on this initiative will be provided in the coming week. 

During the meeting, SGB voted to pass bill B.B. 2020.08 titled Updating the Governing Code. The now-passed bill is an amendment to the Governing Code and discusses SGB’s proposal to allocate a new budget in regards to funding for student organizations.

“Student Government Board has recommended that the following student organizations’ budgets be allocated based upon the following percentages of the Student Activities Fee: 1. WPTS-FM Radio: 5.0% 2. Pitt Program Council: 26.9% 3. PittServes: 7.4% 4. Student Office of Sustainability: 0.30% 5. Student Government Board: 1.4% 6. The Pitt News 2.0%,” the document reads.