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Board adds two student groups to assembly

By Abbey Reighard / Assistant News Editor

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The Student Government Board is increasing student representation behind closed doors.

At Tuesday’s public meeting in Nordy’s Place, the Board introduced Bill 027, inducting to its Student Assembly two additional groups, Rainbow Alliance and Campus Women’s Organization.

Student Government Board President Graeme Meyer said the Student Assembly meetings “will be closed unless noted otherwise.” The meetings will be private, he said, and predominantly “conversational” between the Board members and the student groups. 

Meyer compared the Student Assembly meetings to the private Student Government Board planning sessions. Meyer added that students can request to attend the meeting, however, and any initiatives the students and Board member discuss at the assembly meetings will be introduced at the SGB public meetings before the Board votes on the initiatives. 

A referendum that the student body voted on established the Student Assembly last term. Upon its creation, the Student Assembly included the Student Affairs Affiliated Groups.

The SAAGs include the Resident Student Association, Interfraternity Council, National Panhellenic Conference, Pan-Hellenic Association, Black Action Society, Asian Student Alliance, Engineering Student Cabinet and Nursing Student Association.

Meyer, who was a member of the previous Board, said the Board introduced the Student Assembly as a way to bring more representation, instead of just the Board members, to the student body. 

“We only elect nine students, which is not an adequate number to represent the entire student body,” Meyer said. 

The Assembly Task Force, which Meyer said he created over winter break, includes Executive Vice President Nasreen Harun, Board members Natalie Dall and Jacky Chen and Facilities and Transportation Chair Rohit Anand. 

According to the SGB website, the task force is meant to help the Assembly establish its purpose, expansion and goals.

The Student Assembly will meet the first and third Wednesdays of every month in a location not yet determined. Each group in the Student Assembly will choose one delegate and one alternative, in case the delegate cannot be present for the assembly meeting. The only requirement the Board had was that the delegate cannot be the president of the group. 

Meyer said that, when the previous Board created the rule, the Student Assembly only consisted of SAAGs, and according to Meyer, many SAAG presidents are already involved in Student Government and the SAAG presidents also already hold separate meetings with the Board President.

“We wanted to set [the delegate position] aside for someone else in the organizations,” Meyer said. “We don’t want all the exact same students doing everything on campus.” 

Meyer said because the Student Assembly is still in its beginning stages, he wanted the number of groups in the assembly and the number of delegates to stay small, but added that the Board will be introducing more student groups to the assembly in the future. He also said the Board may change the number of delegates each group in the assembly has to represent the group.

“We have every intention of creating a more structured way of allotting how many delegates they get,” Meyer said. 

In other action: 

The Board appointed the members of the Elections Committee. A Nominating Task Force made up of Elections Committee Chair Celia Millard, former Elections Committee Chair Lauren Barney, Executive Vice President Nasreen Harun, former Student Government Board President Mike Nites and Meyer selected the committee members. 

The members of the Nominating Task Force are listed in Article 4 of the SGB Governing Code, which was one of the changes introduced in a referendum the previous Board held on Nov. 11. 

Allocations:

Men’s Ultimate Frisbee requested $14,580.14 to send 25 people to their Florida warm-up competition. The Board approved $2,649.58 and denied $11,930.56 in line with the allocations recommendation. 

Pittsburgh Women’s Volleyball Club requested $7,864.50 to attend at a national competition in Kansas City, Mo. The Board approved $7,583.80 and denied $280.70 in line with the allocations recommendation. 

American Nuclear Society requested $2,284.80 to attend their national conference. The board approved 1,984.80 and denied $380.22 in line with the allocations recommendation. 

PantheRaas requested $2,563.58  to attend a dance competition at Rutgers University. The Board approved $793.50 and denied $1,770.08 in line with the allocations recommendation. 

Panther Lacrosse requested $4,750 for mandatory conference dues and officiating fees. The Board approved for some of the conference dues and the officiating fees, despite the allocations recommendation to approve none of the request. Allocations Chair Nick Reslink said the committee recommended that none of the request be approved because, according to the Allocations Manual, during the SGB club sports policy transition phase, the committee should not go above the amount of funds allocated to the club sport team the previous year. The Board, however, voted to fund for part of the dues and fees because Panther Lacrosse requested more in the previous year, so they could meet Panther Lacrosse halfway in funding, and because the group does not intend to request any more money this year. 

American Medical Student Association requested $1,868.40 to attend their national conference in Washington, D.C. The Board approved $1,642.41 and denied $225.99 in line with the allocations recommendation.

Pittsburgh Urban Gaming Club requested $1,518 for supplies to send 60 students to play paintball. The Board approved in full in line with the allocations recommendation. 

Vietnamese Student Association and the Chinese American Students Association  requested $2,027.39 costs for their annual Lunar New Year Celebration. The Board approved $1,804.20 and denied $223.19 in line with the allocations recommendation. 

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Board adds two student groups to assembly