SGB constitutional revisions will not be on ballot

By Olivia Garber

Delays in constitutional revisions mean that next year, students will continue to vote for only… Delays in constitutional revisions mean that next year, students will continue to vote for only five candidates during the SGB elections.

Although the Board initially planned to have constitutional revisions on Thursday’s ballot, President Charlie Shull said after the meeting that the Board had not finished completing the revisions process.

The delays were not mentioned during last night’s meeting.

The Board established a Constitutional Review Committee in mid-October, but didn’t set an anticipated completion date for revisions. Possible revisions that would have appeared on Thursday’s ballot would have addressed an ambiguity over whether freshmen could run for Board and correct a discrepancy between the Election Code and constitution.

Currently, the Election Code — revised by SGB earlier this year — and the constitution offer conflicting information about how many Board member candidates students can vote for.

The Office of Student Affairs and Office of Student Life, who approve the SGB constitution, must first approve the revisions before students can vote on them during an election, Shull said after last night’s meeting.

He said that Student Affairs and Student Life have yet to approve the revisions.

Although he was hesitant to blame anyone for the delays, he did say a person involved with the approval process was going through “personal problems.”

“We [the Board] were a little slow on our end,” he added.

Shull said that some of the revisions — such as those to improve grammar or eliminate redundancy — could possibly be fixed without students’ vote, but added that those revisions were not very substantial.

Other revisions, like adding the number of candidates students can vote for in an election, must be ratified by students.

Although students normally ratify revisions during November elections, Shull said that it’s possible to pass the revisions in a referendum — where students take a vote separate from the election to pass legislation.

As the current Board’s term comes to a close — its final day is Dec. 31 — there is little time for the Board to finish the revision process and conduct a referendum, Shull said.

But he said this is something for the future Board to address.

“I urge the Board to take care of this during the first or second month of office,” Shull said.

He said he would definitely encourage a referendum next semester, especially to revise the constitution to allow students to vote for eight candidates.

The meeting followed the presidential candidate debate — read more at — but even though the SGB election is fast approaching, business was normal as usual. Students can start voting at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

During the meeting, John Hasley, a current Board member running for a spot on next year’s Board, started to speak about alleged misconduct in elections campaign material.

“I ask that you not speak about elections,” Charlie Shull said.

Lena Wickenden, chair of the Elections Committee, was able to speak about the elections — if only to address possible misconduct.

She announced to the room that anyone who sees election paraphernalia possibly violating the Elections Code should file a complaint to the Elections Committee.

After the meeting, she said that in a complaint, students should include evidence of the infraction — such as a picture — a quoted section from the Election Code that the student believes a candidate is violating, a write-up of why it is an infraction and contact information for a witness.

If the committee decides that the complaint is worth reviewing, they will conduct a meeting with the candidate in question and the person who filed the complaint.

Wickenden said that possible punishments for a candidate found to violate the Election Code include campaigning time-outs.  Candidates could possibly not be allowed to put fliers in certain buildings or campaign during Election Day, she said.

Lighter topics of the meeting included board member David Gau encouraging students to make Pitt No. 1 in student happiness. He said that a current Princeton Review article ranks Pitt as the eighth happiest university in the nation.  His goal is to bring that number all the way to the top.

Alex Zimmerman, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, was appointed to a committee searching for a new dean for the University Honors College.  Alec Stewart, the former dean, died last April.

Zimmerman said he was honored to serve on the committee.


The Board denied $653.66 requested by Delta Sigma Phi fraternity  requested to attend a conference.  The request was amended to allocate $326.84, and the Board approved.