SGB appoints new board member, judicial chair


Patrick Cavanagh | Senior Staff Photographer

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

By James Paul, Staff Writer

Following a round of public interviews two weeks ago, Student Government Board appointed Alicia Peng Tuesday evening to serve as a board member for the remainder of the semester. The seat originally opened after Annika Agarwal resigned after serving for less than a month.

“I’ve only met with [the board] a few times so far, but everyone’s been really welcoming and nice, so I don’t think the dynamic or environment is anything to be afraid of,” Peng, a senior marketing and supply chains major, said. “I’m actually really excited to get to know them all better and to work with them moving forward.”

Agarwal was the fourth board member who resigned this academic year. President Danielle Floyd said in a press release in February that Agarwal resigned due to the “time commitment.”

At the weekly meeting in Nordy’s Place, SGB discussed increasing LGBTQ+ student representation in conversations with administration and progress on renovations of the William Pitt Union’s sixth floor. The board also appointed judicial committee member Laura Alcock as the chair of the judicial committee following the resignation of former chair Leonie Finke. 

Peng, the current president of the Chinese American Student Association, touted her experience as a leader of a student cultural organization as her primary qualification for the role. In the remaining four weeks of the semester, Peng said she hopes to work on the Refreshing the Sixth Floor of the William Pitt Union Task Force as well as expand outreach to other communities on campus.

“As the role of president for CASA is dying down, I decided this is the perfect opportunity to jump into a new leadership position and sort of to expand on the communities that I can assist to because I feel like I’ve done a lot within cultural orgs on campus,” Peng said.

Floyd said SGB, along with members from the Graduate and Professional Student Government, recently spoke with senior leaders including Provost Ann Cudd and Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner to discuss the University’s policies regarding canceling student-organized speaker events. 

The discussion with the administration’s leadership came amid widespread student backlash to three “anti-trans” events, including protests on Friday and Monday. More than 11,000 people have signed a petition urging the University to cancel these events, as transgender and queer students raised concerns about their safety on campus. The Pennsylvania House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus also condemned Pitt for hosting the events. 

Floyd said one of the “specific action items” that emerged from the discussion was making sure the University reaches out to Rainbow Alliance and Aquarius, two LGBTQ+ student groups on campus, “to really hear those concerns and to open up a dialogue.”

“We expressed that many voices in those communities feel silenced with Pitt’s recent public statements,” Floyd said. “And so we really wanted to advocate that those that are most impacted are centered in these conversations.”

In the media statement, 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.” However, it 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.” 

Floyd also announced that movers will begin clearing out the sixth floor of the WPU on April 10. Since November, the Refreshing the Sixth Floor of the William Pitt Union Task Force has worked with student organizations to redesign the space. 

“I’m very excited to see this taking place,” Floyd said. “For those who don’t know, this has been an SGB project for quite a long time.”

The board voted to appoint Laura Alcock, a senior political science major, to serve as chair of the judicial committee for the remainder of the semester. Alcock was not present at the meeting.

Finke, the former chair of the judicial committee, announced her resignation two weeks ago at the weekly meeting, 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.” 

Vice president for governance Ryan Young reminded attendees that applications for chairs and members on the standing committee and conditional committee as well as the director of communication position are still open. Anyone interested can apply online, and those appointed will serve for the 2023-24 school year. 


The American Sign Language Club requested $2,700 to commission nine sign language interpreters to interpret at a panel event where four deaf panelists will discuss their experiences in health care settings. The board approved the request in full.

Planned Parenthood Club requested $7,000 to host Schuyler Bailar for a speaker event. In 2015, Bailar became the first openly transgender man to compete on a men’s team at the Division I level. The board approved the request in full. 

Men’s Ultimate Frisbee requested $5,797.09 to cover transportation, lodging and registration for a competition in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The board approved the request in full.