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SGB takes pledge to fight sexual assault on campus

By Abbey Reighard & Dale Shoemaker / Pitt News Staff

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The Student Government Board took the “It’s On Us” pledge to raise awareness and help prevent sexual assault on campus. 

All eight Board members and President Mike Nites took the pledge at public meeting Tuesday. The pledge is part of the “It’s On Us” White House campaign to stop sexual assault on college campuses, which President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden launched Sept. 19, according to whitehouse.gov.

The pledge is a “personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault,” according to its website, and it’s a promise to “not be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution.” 

The pledge has four steps: recognizing non-consensual sexual assault, identifying situations where sexual assault may occur, intervening in situations where consent has not been given and creating an environment where survivors are supported and assault is unaccepted. 

Nites and Board member Ben West introduced a resolution explaining the Board’s plans to “Take the Pledge” at last week’s public meeting.  

In the resolution, which the Board approved in a unanimous vote last night, Nites and West laid out their plans to work with the Wellness Committee to accomplish a list of tasks.

The Board hopes to create an “informative” Student Affairs Marketing video, assist other student organizations with campus events related to sexual assault prevention and encourage other Student Government Board members to take the pledge.

The Board also plans to work with student organizations to set “target numbers” of members who have taken the pledge, provide online resources and work with University and city police to raise awareness about reporting policies.

West said he and Nites have not contacted all the student groups they plan to work with on campus events yet. 

Board member Graeme Meyer left during the meeting to attend a meeting with the Campus Women’s Organization to discuss the pledge with the group. 

“It is really important to make a public statement,” Meyer said. “We want to show the student body our commitment and encourage the rest of the student body to join us. We think this is something the whole student body should embrace.”

Allocations:

Pitt club cross country requested $2,379.77 for transportation and lodging for 20 team members to attend the National Collegiate Running Club Association race in Charlottesville, Va. The Board approved $2,291.38 and denied $88.39 because the Board normally funds for four people per room, which would leave the team with five rooms instead of the six they had requested, according to Board member Abby Zurschmit. Zurschmit added after the meeting that the policy of four people per room is found in the allocations manual under conference travels, but the Board applies the policy to sports teams as well. 

Pittsburgh club baseball requested $1,408.26 for 28 players to go the regional fall tournament at Penn State. The Board approved $1, 207.08 and denied $201.18 in line with the allocations recommendation. 

Panther Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness requested $1,441.47 for supplies to conduct kidney screenings. The Board approved $1,003.06 and denied $438.41, but the Allocations Comimittee does not give money for supplies that are not reusable, such as the testing strips that the group requested. Board member Mona Kazour said she wanted the group to have a decent amount of supplies to get started, so the Board approved the $1,003.06.

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SGB takes pledge to fight sexual assault on campus