SGB denounces ‘anti-trans’ events, funds event with trans activist Dylan Mulvaney


Ethan Shulman | Senior Staff Photographer

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

By James Paul, Staff Writer

At Tuesday’s Student Government Board meeting, President Danielle Floyd addressed the wave of student backlash to three upcoming “anti-trans” events hosted by right-wing student organizations on campus. She said she supports the nearly 10,000 students who have signed a petition to cancel the events. 

“Those who currently wish to advance hate and transphobia should not be given a platform at Pitt, and now more than ever it is important to support trans folks and the entire LGBTQ community at Pitt and uplifting their voices as they are the most impacted at this time,” Floyd said.

At the weekly meeting in Nordy’s Place, SGB discussed the repercussions of the three upcoming events from conservative organizations and hosted public interviews for a vacant board position. They also addressed Rainbow Alliance’s event featuring trans actress and activist Dylan Mulvaney and the resignation of Judicial Chair Leonie Finke. 

Pitt’s chapter of Turning Point USA will host Riley Gaines, a 12-time NCAA All-American swimmer and vehement critic of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports on March 27 at 5:45 p.m. in the O’Hara Ballroom. 

Turning Point USA will also host Cabot Phillips, an editor at the right-wing website The Daily Wire, on March 24 at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral of Learning. Later, on April 18, Pitt’s College Republicans and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute invited Michael Knowles to debate “transgenderism and womanhood” in the O’Hara Ballroom. 

“Now is the time to make your voices heard,” Floyd said. “And I encourage anyone who wishes to do so to participate in the protests which are taking place on campus.”

In a media statement released Friday, Pitt said it understands the events are “toxic and harmful” for people in the Pitt community, and is committed to “support” people who might be “negatively affected” by the upcoming events. However, a University spokesperson said registered student organizations have the right to invite “highly provocative” speakers on campus “without University administration deciding what is acceptable and what is not.” 

At the meeting, Rainbow Alliance requested $26,250 to host Mulvaney during the organization’s Pride Week. 

Luna Lindstrom, Rainbow Alliance’s business manager, said this event is being held in light of the “University’s decision” to allow Turning Point and College Republicans to continue with their events. Lindstrom added the event is important to “advance trans rights.”

Lindstrom said Pitt Program Council will cover the remainder of the speaker fee. The board voted unanimously to approve the request in full.

Laura Stravach, the president of Rainbow Alliance, reiterated a statement from the group released Monday, saying, “If the University had truly been committed to supporting the trans, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming community on campus, they would have not allowed these harmful individuals to propagate their harmful ideas.” 

Stravach said the University’s lack of action is “heartbreaking” and raised concerns about how these upcoming events may make students feel “unsafe.” Stravach further suggested these events could result in an increase in anti-trans sentiment on campus that might endanger trans students.

“The rhetoric utilized by these speakers not only has the potential to make trans, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming students feel unsafe, but can directly increase the risk of physical violence and threats towards them,” Stravach said.

Later in the meeting, Finke, the chair of the judicial committee, announced her resignation effective immediately, citing a need to devote more time to school and a secondary reason she didn’t “feel the need to say out loud — I think the pattern speaks for itself.”

Finke previously resigned from the Constitutional Review Task Force in February because she felt like “neither her time nor her expertise had been respected.” 

Finke left the meeting after handing her letter of resignation to Floyd who, along with the rest of the board, appeared shocked. 

The board also publicly interviewed Matt Moore, a senior politics and philosophy and economics double major, and Alicia Peng, a senior marketing and supply chains major, to serve as a board member for the remainder of the semester.

Annika Agarwal previously held the board position but resigned shortly after being appointed. Agarwal was the fourth board member who resigned this academic year. Floyd said in a press release in February that Agarwal resigned due to the “time commitment.”

Moore, who was a board member last year, said he’s “looking to get involved again.”

“This is probably the first year in my whole academic career and professional career that I haven’t been involved in something or serving others in the community, and because of that I’ve been a little bored,” Moore said. “I’m looking to get involved again in the community once more, and what better way to do that and in the last month of my time here.”

Moore said previous experience in SGB makes him well suited for the position because it’s nearly the end of the school year.

“It’s valuable to have former board members step into their position, especially since there’s like six weeks left of school,” Moore said. “Like, I just think it would be really easy for me to go back in and understand everything.”

Peng, who is the current president of the Chinese American Student Association, said though she hasn’t previously served on SGB, she would like to “utilize the soft skills I’ve learned throughout the years and bring them to SGB.”

“I’ve really been able to hone in on my leadership skills,” Peng said. “I’ve been the design chair, the business manager and now the current president for CASA. I’ve also just been able to hone in on my communication skills and working with other people through teamwork and brainstorming and collaborating with one another.”

If appointed, Peng said she would spend the remaining six weeks speaking with minority student associations that are struggling to promote their club events.

“I think diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are super important to SGB and really like the backbone of it because it’s really important for minority students to have the resources that they need in order to succeed well and academically,” Peng said.

According to Ryan Young, the vice president for governance, the board will discuss the appointment privately and will likely announce the selected candidate this weekend.


Rainbow Alliance requested $26,250 to host Mulvaney at a speaker event during the organization’s Pride Week. The board voted unanimously to approve the request in full. 

Pre-Medical Organization for Minority Students requested $5,020 to attend a conference in Hartford, Connecticut. The board voted unanimously to approve $3,000 of the request, the funding cap for all conferences.

The American Nuclear Society requested $1,872 for airfare, lodging, registration and fees to attend a student conference. The board voted unanimously to approve $1,755.91 of the request due to missing documented costs.

Club Gold requested $2,834 for registration fees for a competition in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The board voted to approve the request in full with one abstention. 

Nrityamala, an Indian classical dance team, requested $1,021.50 for costumes to use at competitions and showcases. The board voted unanimously to approve the request in full. 

The Songburghs, an a cappella group, requested $2,835.51 for music production fees and $1,584.72 for lodging costs at a competition in Buffalo, New York. The board voted unanimously to approve the request in full. 

Panther Equity, an organization for students interested in investing, requested $2,250 for venue costs to host a networking event. The board voted unanimously to approve the request in full.