Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor
Student Government Board held a moment of silence for the Tree of Life massacre at its Tuesday night meeting, acknowledging the victims who lost their lives at the nearby synagogue two years ago. President Eric Macadangdang said the Pitt community still stands together against hate.
“For those who were on campus during this time, fear and panic was palpable in the air,” Macadangdang said. “Following this act of pure hate and violence, the Pitt community was able to stand up together on the Cathedral lawn and elsewhere to make sure we all knew that we are in fact stronger than hate. Two years later, we stand resolute in that same value.”
SGB created a one-click action website that sends a letter to representatives in Harrisburg and Washington on behalf of a Pitt student. The letter states that Pitt students believe in a future free from gun violence and white supremacy, and that it will take legislative action to help solve these issues.
SGB discussed many other topics at its meeting, including the upcoming board of trustees ad hoc committee open forum, changes to the board’s constitution and improvements to student worker compensation.
Board members encouraged students to attend and comment at the Ad Hoc Committee on Fossil Fuels’ open forum today. Pitt’s board of trustees created the committee to investigate the possibility of divesting Pitt’s $4.3-billion endowment from fossil fuels after pressure from student groups. The forum allows students and Pitt community members to address the committee directly with their thoughts and concerns about the University’s investments in fossil fuels.
SGB member Annalise Abraham said the board is frustrated that the board of trustees even took these steps in the first place.
“It is disappointing that the board of trustees has found it necessary to create this committee to investigate this topic of fossil fuel investments, which as we know is a matter of extreme urgency,” Abraham, a member of the Fossil Free Pitt Coalition, said. “This topic has already been heavily researched, and the University community has been very vocal about the need to divest.”
Besides talking about changes with Pitt’s board, Ben King, vice president and chief of finance, talked about changes within SGB itself. He encouraged students to reach out to him with any suggestions for changes to the SGB constitution. The taskforce responsible for changes to the constitution meets Fridays to suggest new changes and is looking for students to add their input as well.
Board members also discussed their recent meeting with Dave DeJong, acting senior vice chancellor for business and operations and vice chancellor for human resources, about how to implement feedback collected from student employees in on-campus workplaces. SGB wants to focus its efforts specifically on improving wages for student workers.
Board member Kathryn Fleisher also mentioned SGB’s ongoing meetings with Pitt police and Ted Fritz, vice chancellor for public safety, announcing that the meeting will now take place every other Friday. Fleisher said SGB hopes to create an advisory board to address issues of police transparency and accountability that were addressed at last week’s police town hall. She also said board members have been in touch with David Harris, a Pitt law professor, to help them create this advisory board and ensure that it is effective and not just ornamental.
Steven Mitrzyk, chair of SGB’s facilities, technology and transportation committee, said after a meeting with Deputy Chief Information Officer Adam Hobaugh, Pitt IT agreed to pilot test a new feature on Duo Mobile, allowing it to save devices logged in for up to 24 hours. This means students will no longer have to constantly use the Duo Mobile app every time they want to log into a Pitt website. Mitrzyk said he aimed for a 72-hour window, but Pitt IT said it was too large of a window to remain secure.
Macadangdang reminded students to continue following quarantine guidelines over the holiday weekend. Macadangdang said students should have fun, but remain cautious and responsible.
“With Halloween coming up, it is vital that we remain adherent to safe behaviors like mask wearing and physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings that cannot be held safely,” Macadangdang said. “I understand that this weekend will be a time for many to want to relax and have fun, but I implore you to do so safely, so as to not endanger yourself and others.”
The board did not receive any allocations requests this week.