SGB discusses allocations expenditures, advising questions

Student+Government+Board+at+its+weekly+meeting+in+Nordy%E2%80%99s+Place+on+Tuesday+evening.

Rachhana Baliga | Staff Photographer

Student Government Board at its weekly meeting in Nordy’s Place on Tuesday evening.

By Kiera Ledermann, Staff Writer

Student Government Board President Harshitha Ramanan opened Tuesday’s public meeting by encouraging students to attend a rally on Friday at 5 p.m. at the City-County Building in honor of Jim Rogers. Rogers died last month about one day after a Pittsburgh police officer struck him with a taser.

“I encourage those of you that can attend to attend in order to prevent injustices like this from repeating,” Ramanan said.

Along with the rally for Rogers, board members discussed academic advising, allocations budgets and other local actions at the meeting.

Isabel Weir, the chair of the allocations committee, said the committee approved $108,298.23 during budgets and appeals over the weekend. Weir said the committee will continue to hear requests until the last week of classes.

Aboli Kesbhat, vice president of operations, gave an update on total allocations expenditures for the past year. Allocations received 21 budgets and funded a total of $187,475.81 in the spring. The committee and board reviewed a total of 79 supplemental requests and approved $138,025.73 between the spring semester and this semester. The total spring budget, supplemental requests and fall budgets was $433,799.77.

Kesbhat said the number was “incredible” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That is almost half of the total budget the allocations has to expend back to student groups, which is pretty incredible considering how little we ended up funding last year during the pandemic,” Kesbhat said.

Dominic Victoria, the chair of the community and governmental relations committee, encouraged students to attend the college climate march on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Woodland Road.

Annalise Abraham, Student Office of Sustainability liaison, said she attended the Equity Technical Advisory Group for the Oakland Plan where attendees discussed community and development team strategies. Abraham said the City extended the deadline for submitting comments on the Oakland Plan Draft Strategies to Nov. 30 and encouraged students to share their thoughts.

“Those ideas will be used to create the Oakland plan, which is a 10-year plan for the shared vision of Oakland, so it’s really going to affect our neighborhood and our space so input your comments,” Abraham said.

Isabel Stash, the chair of the academic affairs committee, said she is resigning from her position as she is moving to Paris to study abroad. Stash said students can apply for the position on the SGB website.
Stash also announced that she, Ramanan and a few other board members will meet with Joe McCarthy, vice provost for undergraduate studies, on Wednesday morning to discuss advising efforts and examine the current resources provided by advisers to students.

During the night’s open floors, Ramanan urged students to bring up any issues they have faced with academic advising for the board to take to the meeting.
Cameron Spooner, president of the National Panhellenic Council, said he believes the College of Business Administration advising department needs more minority representation.

“I can see my classmates that don’t have the same adviser as me, specifically a Black adviser, they may not be put in classes that help them as well, or their advisers may not take them as serious or just show them the level of respect that they should,” Spooner said.

Kara Fulton, president of the Collegiate Panhellenic Association, said she saw a problem with a lack of communication from advisers about the deadline for graduation applications.

“I know a lot of people who have completely missed the deadline for their school,” Fulton said. “I think since graduation applications open so early, that should be consistently emailed about.”

Ramanan thanked the students for sharing their experiences.

Caleb Shook, the vice chair of the community and governmental relations committee, encouraged students to support UPMC workers and attend their Nov. 18 walkout at 3 p.m. in Downtown. Shook said he does not speak on behalf of SGB.

“I’ll remind you of a Pittsburgh wages study that happened earlier in the last few years that found that 64% of UPMC workers struggle paying their mortgages and over 60% have medical debt,” Shook said. “These people need to be paid better by UPMC and UPMC can do better.”

To conclude the meeting, Ramanan reminded students to apply for the academic affairs chair position and recommended that students bring their issues to board members.

“Sometimes it’s hard when you represent such a vast student body with so many different perspectives to decide amongst the nine of us what the best response would be,” Ramanan said. “If you guys came to us without us needing to do a lot of digging, that would make our lives a lot easier and also show the solidarity that we have amongst Pitt students here today.”

Allocations

The allocations committee reviewed five requests for a total of $3,530.02. The committee approved a total of $951.68. Of the five requests, one required board approval. The board approved a total of $1,705.74.

The Hindu Student Council requested $2,578.34 for food, supplies and a custodian for an on-campus Diwali celebration. The board approved $1,705.74 in accordance with the allocations recommendation to fund only the food for the Pitt students attending the event, as well as for all supplies and the custodian.

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