SGB brings another November election


Most people think Election Day is held on the first Tuesday in November. However, that day is… Most people think Election Day is held on the first Tuesday in November. However, that day is actually on Nov. 20 this year. That’s when Pitt students will go to the polls to choose the next Student Government Board members and president.

On Wednesday night, there was a forum for the candidates held in the William Pitt Union Ballroom. It was a chance for the candidates to outline their platforms and speak about the issues in front of a student audience.

Some of the issues the candidates discussed included the system by which SGB allocates student funds, something many students think needs to be reformed.

Board candidate K. Chase Patterson, a Pitt sophomore, addressed what he said is the lack of reform by SGB and his willingness to devise a new system of allocation.

“I am really here to serve,” Patterson said.

Lauren Williams, a junior, also addressed the topic, stating that the allocations system needs to be improved, and issued a call for students to come to her with suggestions. Williams is a current SGB member running for re-election.

“Challenge me, contact me and try me,” she said.

A major theme of the night was developing projects designed to make the University more attractive to both current and future students. Matt Hutchinson, a junior, focused on the various athletic programs at Pitt, such as making Midnight Madness a more important event.

Hutchison cited the University of Kansas as a role model for Midnight Madness. Improving the night could make Pitt more attractive to future students, he said.

“I want to make Pitt a better place for students to come to,” he added.

Elizabeth Blasi had ideas to increase school spirit through decorating the William Pitt Union, as well as removing the fee needed to use the downstairs lounge, which contains billiards and ping pong tables. To play billiards, students now have to pay $3 an hour.

Creating an online rating system for Pitt professors, such as, was also brought up during the forum. According to Board candidate Solange-Rishona Clarke, Pitt could avoid paying a high subscription fee for such a system if it created its own program; which could be put into place in a short time period.

Clarke argued against the idea that such a system would not only open the professors up to unwarranted attacks, but that it might violate certain rights to privacy.

“This system does not violate the professors’ rights,” she said.

After each candidate was allowed to make a brief statement about themselves and their platforms, the audience was allowed to submit questions to members of a panel, who decided which questions were appropriate.

Someone asked sophomore and candidate Joseph Salvatore about the issue of a fall break.

Salvatore responded by stating that a fall break would not disrupt the school schedule, as it would only be a few days long when combined with a weekend.

The two presidential candidates, current Board members Jesse Horstmann and Brian Kelly, were asked about their experiences with the allocations system.

Horstmann said he, like other students, thinks the system is complicated and hard to fix because of the difficulty in understanding it.

“If the students can’t understand it, and it is not benefiting them, then what good is it?” he asked.

Kelly added that an activities fee increase would be needed to meet the demands of the many student organizations on campus, both old and new.

“Student organizations are being choked,” he said.

Todd Brandon Morris, who’s running for re-election on the Board, talked about the $700,000 he helped bring to Pitt in federal funding. That money went to help students, he said.

“I believe that results do matter,” he said.

Another Board member running for re-election, Charis Jones, also cited her attempts to bring more money to Pitt, and that a consistent approach will help the matter.

“My actions show that I believe money matters,” Jones said.

Amit Kotz spoke about campus unity and the improvement of the transportation system.

“I would like for the buses to run more regularly,” Kotz said.

Joseph Pasqualichio focused on the creation of a miniature version of the popular E-bay site, where students could buy and sell goods on a campus-run network.

Pasqualichio also expressed the need for Pitt to institute a fall break to reduce strain on the student body.

The SGB Elections Committee hosted this forum to increase voter awareness about the candidates. When asked whether voting should be done online, similar to the recent Homecoming election, SGB Elections Committee Chair Ryan G. Pitman said it was critical.

“We think that the SGB elections are a little more impactful than the homecoming elections,” he said.

All students not in the College of General Studies, which appropriates their activities fees in a different manner, will have the opportunity to vote for the next SGB. Students will also be given an opportunity to hear the two presidential candidates speak at a Nov. 17 debate.