SGB discusses upcoming election, approves task force charters


Zoom screenshot

Student Government Board at its weekly meeting on Zoom.

By Kiera Ledermann, Senior Staff Writer

President Harshitha Ramanan started off the spring semester by encouraging students to attend Student Government Board’s public meetings and to reach out to her with suggestions for guest speakers.

“We’ll have a lot of interesting speakers whether we’re in person or virtual,” Ramanan said. “Last semester we had Dean [Carla] Panzella and Vice Provost [Joe] McCarthy and if you’re interested in speakers like them or bringing them back, please let us know.”

SGB members approved two task force charters and outlined the board’s plans for the semester on Tuesday night at its first spring meeting.

Marcus Edelstein, the chair of the elections committee, said there are currently 12 board candidates and two presidential candidates running in this year’s election. According to Edelstein, students still have until next Monday to get on the ballot. The elections committee will host an information session this Thursday at 7 p.m. for interested students.

“This is a time for anyone who’s interested in running or just has any questions about the process to ask me and my committee questions. We’re going to give you anything you want with responses and help you succeed,” Edelstein said.

Bhuvitha Chagantipati, the chair of the diversity and inclusion committee, said her committee is still accepting rolling applications for Diversity and Inclusion grants. She also said applications to join the committee for the spring semester close Jan. 28 at 5 p.m.

Chagantipati also announced that the Butterfly Effect & Reflecting on White Supremacy workshop has been rescheduled to this Sunday from 1-2 pm.

Mike Zangus, the chair of the academic affairs committee, said the committee is looking for liaisons for the College of Business Administration, School of Education, School of Health and Rehabilitation Services, School of Pharmacy and School of Social Work.

“If you or anyone you know would be interested in representing those colleges within the academic affairs committee, please let me know and we’ll set something up,” Zangus said.

SGB approved new charters for the Students of Color in Solidarity task force and PittVotes task force. The board appointed Danielle Floyd, the board’s vice president for initiatives, and Chagantipati as co-chairs of the SOCS task force, and Ryan Murphy, the board’s vice president for governance, as the PittVotes task force chair.

Annalise Abraham, Student Office of Sustainability liaison, encouraged students to attend the Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit this weekend on Zoom.

“There’s a lot of great panels and workshops led by really cool people,” Abraham said. “I would highly recommend attending.”

Dominic Victoria, the chair of the community and governmental relations committee, said he wanted to “direct attention” to Pitt’s spending to Ballard Spahr, a Philadelphia-based “union avoidance” law firm. The bills, which are nearing $3 million, come amid several unionization pushes on campus. Pitt faculty voted to unionize in October, and Pitt staff recently began their own campaign, while Pitt graduate students narrowly voted against unionizing in spring 2019.

“I think it’s pretty deplorable at this point and I thought the comment given by the University was kind of disrespectful,” Victoria said. “I’d just like a little bit more of an answer on why that money keeps being spent where it could go maybe somewhere better.”

To conclude the meeting, Ramanan reminded Pitt students that they have free access to New York Times subscriptions. Instructions on how to retrieve the subscription can be found on the SGB instagram.


The allocations committee reviewed three requests over winter break, approving a total of $4,569. The committee also reviewed seven requests last week for a total of $44,987.41. Of these seven requests, the committee approved a total of $5,071. Of the seven requests, three required board approval. The board approved a total of $16,361.41.

The Chinese American Student Association requested $8,000 for an on-campus program aiming to provide a space for students to celebrate their culture and educate Pitt about Chinese culture and traditions. The board approved in full.

The Interfraternity Council requested $26,000 to fund lighting and sound equipment for an on-campus Greek Sing event which aims to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The board approved $5,000 to cap.

Club Powerlifting requested $3,361.41 to fund lodging at and travel to the powerlifting national competition in Illinois. The board approved in full.