SGB members disagree over PPC funding request

By Carla Trinca-Conley

In their first controversial meeting of the year, Student Government Board members disagreed… In their first controversial meeting of the year, Student Government Board members disagreed over a proposal to give Pitt Program Council extra money for Bigelow Bash.

Board President Charlie Shull proposed a potential budget modification of $4,500 for PPC, but the rest of the Board denied the allocations request in a 7-to-1 vote, with David Gau abstaining from the vote.

While Shull proposed the extra money would go to Pitt Program Council and help fund Bigelow Bash, other members said the money would be better used back in the Student Activities Fund.

PPC is a formula group, meaning it has a specific amount of funding for each year. The group may only work with a set amount of money for the entire school year, Shull said.

Shull argued the allocated money would be “very much in line” with other events the Board has supported in previous years.

He proposed allocated funds — left over from decisions to remove diversity committee and not to fund $2,000 for PPC’s bonfire last year — would be used to help fund this weekend’s upcoming carnival hosted by the PPC.

Shull said he wanted to see the carnival, which PPC extended from one to three days this year, become “a new tradition” for Pitt students.

Board member Ali Noorbaksh did not support the proposed budget modification.

Noorbaksh said the allocated funds appeared to be a sponsorship, where PPC could use the funds for anything it wanted. Shull said the situation was more like “co-sponsorship.” Noorbaksh said he thought there was no way SGB could find out that the money went to the carnival company hired by PPC.

Noorbaksh said PPC receives 38 percent of the Student Activities Fee — $813,800 annually — and he “doesn’t think SGB should pick up the extra slack.”

Board member Phil LaRue said he has seen “frowning, sad or even crying faces” leaving SGB meetings because the Board had to deny groups money.

Instead of giving the money to PPC and allowing it to roll back into the Student Activites Fund, it would “benefit students in an infinite number of ways,” LaRue said.

He said the carnival would come to Pitt, whether PPC received the $4,500 or not.

Advertising for the event on the PPC website states student fees for an all-day wristband as $5 and $2 for individual rides.

Shull said he had previously talked with members of the PPC about the funding for the event and “told them the money was coming.”

Kyle Miller, executive board director of Pitt Program Council, said the denial of the budget modification will not affect the student cost during Bigelow Bash.

Miller was “not at liberty” to say where the other sources of funding came from.

Shull, who said he originally thought he had the Board’s support on the pending vote three weeks ago, said he became aware of an actual lack of support last week.

Noorbaksh, the Board’s business manager, did not submit the request last week.

Shull said it was Board member Noorbaksh’s “personal decision.”

Shull said he was “disappointed, but respects the Board members of their principles.”

He said he supports the Board members and thought they had sound judgment.

SGB Notes

—Board member Molly Stieber announced that her campaign to bring electronic books to Pitt was successful. She said she met with Associate Vice Chancellor Eli Shorak, Dean of Students Kathy Humphrey and two managers from the University Book Store.

The system, CafeScribe, would allow students to buy an electronic form of their textbook, identical to the print version, Stieber said.

—The Board also formally passed a resolution that will create the Pitt Green Fund, introduced by LaRue last week. The initiative would promote sustainability on campus.