LGBTQIA+ task force releases petition, ‘live’ report to garner student support

The+LGBTQIA%2B+task+force+has+been+drafting+and+finalizing+a+report+to+present+to+Pitt%E2%80%99s+senior+administration+over+the+past+two+semesters%2C+in+an+effort+to+begin+implementing+the+task+force%E2%80%99s+requests.+While+the+report+is+nearly+finished%2C+the+task+force+is+turning+to+the+Pitt+community+for+support.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Viljaste

The LGBTQIA+ task force has been drafting and finalizing a report to present to Pitt’s senior administration over the past two semesters, in an effort to begin implementing the task force’s requests. While the report is nearly finished, the task force is turning to the Pitt community for support.

By Millicent Watt, Senior Staff Writer

Student Government Board’s LGBTQIA+ task force has been drafting and finalizing a report to present to Pitt’s senior administration, in an effort to begin implementing the task force’s requests. While the report is nearly finished, the task force is turning to its constituents — the Pitt community — for support.

The task force released a petition and “live” report — which has been in the works for the past two semesters — on Friday to garner student support and attention before being presented to senior administration.

Tyler Viljaste, SGB’s outgoing vice president and chief of cabinet and incoming co-chief of staff, established the task force in August to create resources and spread awareness for LGBTQ+ members of the Pitt community, including a physical LGBTQ+ center and improving LGBTQ+ counseling services.

The petition includes an outline and timeline of the task force’s goals and other ways students can show their support, beyond signing the petition. These include urging student organizations to share and sign the petition, sharing the documents on social media and sending a copy-and-paste email to the task force’s key stakeholders, such as Senior Vice Chancellor of Engagement Kathy Humphrey, Director of the University Counseling Center Jay Darr and Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Clyde Wilson Pickett.

Along with the petition, the task force released its “live” report which, according to Viljaste, means it is “subject to continual change and revision” as the task force receives more student feedback and recommendations.

“In fact, the link to the Google Doc is an editable Google Doc on our end, on the task force’s end,” Viljaste said. “So as we sort of get feedback and the petition circulating, we will continue to add parts, edit parts, update parts, if the Pitt community is seeing significant gaps in our proposal, things like that.”

Viljaste said the task force will spend the next four to five weeks collecting signatures, feedback and making edits to the report. At the end of May, Viljaste said the task force plans to meet with senior administration and key stakeholders, including Darr, Pickett, Humphrey, Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner and Associate Dean and Director of Residence Life Steve Anderson.

Viljaste said the petition will help senior administrators know and understand how many members of the Pitt community care about the task force’s requests.

“When we come to that meeting, our goal is to come with a huge public support via the petition to show that people really care about our asks, things like that,” Viljaste said.

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