The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Sarah Mayer runs uncontested in the SGB presidential election, speaks at public candidate event  

Sarah+Mayer+answers+questions+about+her+candidacy+for+Student+Government+Board+president+at+a+public+Q%26A+session+in+the+William+Pitt+Union.
Kelechi Anucha | Staff Photographer
Sarah Mayer answers questions about her candidacy for Student Government Board president at a public Q&A session in the William Pitt Union.

A modified presidential debate for the Student Government Board president took place on Monday evening, with only one candidate onstage. Junior neuroscience and psychology major Sarah Mayer is the sole candidate running for the presidential position.

Mayer is currently the vice president of policy for SGB. With current president Ryan Young set to graduate, the spot will open for a new president. The window to apply for presidential candidates closed at 5 p.m. on Tuesday evening, leaving Mayer as the sole candidate.

All candidates are a part of slates. These are similar to political parties in that each group holds similar views and supports similar initiatives together. Mayer is a part of The Blank Slate. Before Mayer took the hot seat, a representative from each slate briefly explained their positions and initiatives they hope to accomplish if elected. 

The Blank Slate consists of Mayer, junior Ashley White, sophomore Lauren Rubovitz and sophomore Maddie McCann-Colvard. The slate’s goals include, but are not limited to, expanding the students of color solidarity taskforce into a permanent committee and increasing post-grad career center support.

Another slate was the Advocate Slate, composed of junior Katie Emmert and sophomore Sanai Overton. Emmert said her plans include a strong focus on reproductive health and survivor support on campus. Overton’s focuses include enhanced DEI training for professors and addressing the lack of urgency from the Civil Rights Title IX office. 

The final slate on the docket is the Envision Slate, consisting of members of the first-year council. They are first-year Evan Levasseur, first-year Mercy Akanmu and first-year Neal Gupta. Levasseur concentrated on establishing an all-student emergency response team. Akanmu said she hopes to fix the transportation issue on campus, specifically with TransLoc and SafeRider. Gupta said he aims to establish a mentorship program with upperclassmen pairing with first-years.

The event then shifted its focus back to Mayer. The Pitt News Editor-in-Chief Betul Tuncer and WPTS representative Neil Cahill moderated the debate. The pair alternated asking Mayer questions. 

The first question asked about Mayer’s top priority as president. Mayer said the outreach SGB does 

could improve and increase by expanding SGB’s lower legislative reach. 

“SGB can sometimes feel centered around like our office here on the eighth floor,” Mayer said. “So I think really just helping students understand that we’re here for them. We want to meet in the middle instead of having students come to us.”

Mayer added that she hopes to alter the student activities fund to better address what students want. 

“I really want to see that student activities fund that SGB gets as a percentage instead of a fixed rate, so we can see that flow with inflation rates or any other changes we make to student activities,” Mayer said. “So, allowing that to increase just so we can meet the demands of what students want to see here on campus and also what they want to do outside of campus.”

Next, Mayer discussed SGB’s allocations process. Mayer said she hopes to make SGB’s revisions to allocations requests more transparent. 

“I think just having a more detailed annotation of the kinds of stuff we discuss in public meetings, especially regarding allocations, because it can be a little confusing or convoluted,” Mayer said.

Mayer said she also plans to work on an easier way for clubs and student activities to apply for allocations. Currently, groups must apply through the Student Organization Resource Center. Mayer said she wants to streamline the process in a clear and concise manner. 

“The process can be very hard to understand,” Mayer said. “I want to make sure that ahead of time … it’s a simplified, easy process. SGB doesn’t also do the best at communicating with SORC. Historically, SGB has been the ones to allocate the funds … but since that change, I can really see the disconnect.”

The William Pitt Union is currently in the early stages of planning for renovations. Mayer aims to make the Union more geared toward student’s needs. 

“The WPU is a student union and the space should be meant for students to use,” Mayer said. “I think that really should be integrated into this plan and ensuring that students see spaces, feel comfortable going about their daily activities and using it for whatever they feel fit to.”

Through her candidacy, Mayer hopes to give all student voices a platform, regardless of their differences. 

“College is not a linear experience,” Mayer said. “I can’t speak on everyone’s issues and I’m not the expert on the different challenges that people face here at Pitt, so really just continuing to uplift students’ voices and give them a platform to ensure that those needs of students are being addressed and holding administration accountable.”



About the Contributor
Patrick Diana, Staff Writer