SGB polls open today: What you need to know

By Dale Shoemaker / News Editor

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The polls are officially open for the 2016 Student Government Board election.

It’s the first SGB election since the fall of 2014, when the Board passed a referendum to align its terms with the academic year rather than the calendar year. Students elected today will serve from the end of this school year until the end of April 2017.

Students can vote for three Board candidates and one presidential candidate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at My Pitt. The elections committee chair will  announce the votes in Nordy’s Place in the William Pitt Union once the polls close. Here are three things to keep in mind as you vote in this year’s election:

The candidates

This election, there are eight candidates running for eight board seats and two candidates running for the presidency.

The 10 candidates are split up among three slates, or groups of candidates running on the same platform: The Incline Slate, the Keystone Slate and the Health, Awareness, Transportation and Safety (H.A.T.S.) Slate.

Presidential candidate Matthew Sykes and Board candidates Samantha Jankowitz, Max Kneis and Joseph Kannarkat are running on the Incline Slate, which will work to improve mental health services on campus, release the results of the OMETs and increase SGB transparency. Sykes currently serves as a Board member and chief of finance and Kneis currently serves on SGB’s Allocations Committee.

Presidential candidate Natalie Dall and Board candidates Justin Horowitz, Arlind Karpuzi and Sydney Harper are running on the Keystone Slate. The Keystone Slate seeks to improve services for victims of sexual assault, encourage professors to offer free PDF versions of textbooks to students and create a database of Pitt alumni so current students can network. Dall currently serves as a Board member and Karpuzi serves as SGB’s chief of staff.

Board candidates Rohit Anand and Alyssa Laguerta are running on the H.A.T.S. Slate, which is not affiliated with a presidential candidate. Anand and Laguerta seek to make SGB more accessible to students and to create more study spaces on campus. Anand currently serves as the the chair of SGB’s transportation committee.

See our complete election guide here.

Slim competition

Keeping with the trend of the past two elections, there are very few candidates running for Board seats and the presidency. Because all eight Board candidates are guaranteed their seats, the votes will determine who serves as executive vice president, a title that falls to the candidate with the highest number of votes.

See our full report on low SGB competition here.

Constitutional referendum

In addition to voting for Board and presidential candidates, students can also vote on a referendum, which would allow the Board to amend SGB’s constitution to include gender neutral language. In order to pass the referendum, at least 3 percent of the student body must vote, and a simple majority must vote in favor of it.

The referendum will amend instances of gendered language, such as “he/she” and “his/her,” to gender neutral language using a singular “they” pronoun.

Read more about the referendum here.

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