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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
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By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024
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SGB discusses referendum questions, student workers’ rights

Members+of+Student+Government+Board+speak+during+Tuesday+night%E2%80%99s+public+meeting+in+Nordy%E2%80%99s+Place.
Liam Sullivan | Staff Photographer
Members of Student Government Board speak during Tuesday night’s public meeting in Nordy’s Place.

Student Government Board discussed the election results, student activity fees, contraception advocacy and student worker’s rights in their March 5 meeting. 

President Ryan Young opened the meeting by introducing the referendum questions on the 2024-25 election ballot. 

The student activity fee referendum asked to raise the student activity fee from $20 to $25 and failed, while the future planning referendum asked to restructure the SGB constitution, and passed. 

“I am working on implementing changes proposed by the Future Planning Task Force, and we’ll be updating the Board of Trustees listed activity question,” Young said. “We will no longer be advocating for a fee increase in that area.”

As a part of the future planning referendum, Vice President of Operations Sarah Siddiqui said the three SGB vice president positions are becoming one position. The tasks will go to the one position, while the former positions will become regular board member positions. 

“Some executive duties that I do as VPO are going to be similar to the role as vice president next year,” Siddiqui said. 

Young and Siddiqui also met with the Graduate and Professional Student Government board to discuss a partnership that would allow graduate students to use free legal services. 

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from students, especially graduate students, that would like to be included in that program,” Siddiqui said. “To ensure that we have availability for both undergraduate and graduate students, we’re planning on expanding that program.”

Several SGB members, including Siddiqui and Board Member Sarah Mayer, also met with the Allegheny County Health Department and Students for Sensible Drug Policy to develop a plan to install naloxone cabinets on campus. 

“I’m going to be following up with some of the individuals who I work with on my initiative to inquire about where we may be able to get these Narcan boxes placed on campus, in addition to a freestanding unit,” Mayer said. 

As the 2024-25 SGB president, Mayer said she is working on opening chair applications for next year’s constitutional cabinet committees. 

“We’re going to give people about a month to do them,” Mayer said. 

Meanwhile, Board Member Katie Emmert said she’s been working on “her battle” with misleading abortion clinic ads that appear along Fifth Avenue. 

“The Pitt News has their name on the boxes, but they don’t control whose ads are on the boxes,” Emmert said. “So I’ll be contacting the organization who does these boxes because it’s a harmful organization with false advertising around their services.”

Emmert also said she’s working with some other student groups to make an emergency contraception pickup form and is working on a food accessibility town hall on March 21. 

“It will be a place for students to talk about their concerns related to food insecurity and food access with grocery stores in Oakland,” Emmert said. 

In addition to the town hall, Emmert said she is working with the Renters First ad hoc committee to table for Fair Housing Month in April. 

“We’re meeting with the Thomas Merton Center to talk about petitions related to the right to legal council meetings,” Emmert said. “I’m also meeting with a lawyer from neighborhood legal services next week.” 

While Emmert is working with the Renters First ad hoc committee, Board Member Olivia Rosati is working with “the mistreatment of student workers and hostile work environments.” She has a meeting scheduled on March 6 with Vice Chancellor of Human Resources James Gallagher to discuss student workers’ rights. 

“We’re hopefully having some conversations about knowing your rights as a student worker dealing with hostile work environments as well as raising the minimum wage,” Rosati said. 

Board Member Matt Jurich said he met with student workers who spoke out against Pitt for its contract with Nike for its apparel. 

“I have a draft resolution that I’ve written based on the meeting I’ve had with them,” Jurich said. “We’re going to be reviewing that in the coming week making edits, so hopefully we can read that sometime shortly.”

Jurich is also working on a new charter for the Pitt Workers United ad hoc committee that “aims to empower and uplift the voices of all workers at the University of Pittsburgh.” The charter will create three vice chair positions for communications, social media and outreach and will allow for co-chairs. 

The board concluded the meeting by approving the Pitt Workers United charter and reminding students to take the HESMA survey. 

Allocations:

The African Student Organization requested funds for an annual fashion show. The board approved the amount of $18,056.83.

About the Contributor
Emma Hannan, Staff Writer