Elections chairman backpedals, chooses to take the Judicial Committee’s recommendation

Elections chairman backpedals, chooses to take the Judicial Committees recommendation

By Danielle Fox / Staff Writer

Ray Ludwig, a previously silenced member of the Allocations Committee, has been given his proverbial voice back.

Roughly one month after the Elections Code approval, Aaron Gish, the Elections Committee chairman, has suspended a revision that he created. The revision barred paid Student Government Board members from endorsing candidates for the Nov. 21 election. 

Ludwig argued against this revision before the Judicial Review Committee last Thursday, stating that it infringed upon his rights as a student. The Judicial Review Committee agreed and ruled in Ludwig’s favor.

As a rule, the Elections Code cannot be changed eight weeks befor the election, which is now less than eight weeks away. There is also no precedent outlining the Judicial Review Committee’s ability to make any immediate changes in the language of the already-passed code. Instead, the committee chose to make a recommendation to Gish.

“We didn’t really have anything from the past that says how it should run or this is how you should proceed or anything like that,” Joseph Kozak, chairman of the Judicial Review Committee, said, adding that this was the first time the committee had reviewed a document.

Gish had the ability to make a temporary adjustment to the document under his discretion to “ensure a fair, honest and efficient election,” as the chairman outlined in the code. 

Gish said that he allowed the current Allocations Committee members to endorse candidates because “they didn’t know that this rule would be in place when they took the position.” He added that the code will bar next year’s committee members from endorsing candidates because they will be aware of the regulation when they take their positions.

Under the code, committee members and chairmen are permitted to passively support candidates. This allows them to respond when people ask them personally who they support. This year, they will be able to show their support publicly by participating in activities such as wearing T-shirts or handing out fliers, but still must refrain from directly asking others for support on a candidate’s behalf.

“They just can’t say something like, ‘I’m a member of the Allocations Committee, I support this person,’” Gish said.

Under the code, members of the judicial committee and the Elections Committee are still not permitted to support a candidate because they play a role in reviewing any campaign infractions that arise during the election season.

Board member Thomas Jabro announced his disappointment with the Judicial Review Committee’s finding at the meeting.

“This was just a way to ensure individuals who receive a stipend [from SGB] and, therefore, have a higher responsibility and obligation than those who do not, are not focused on ulterior motives instead of serving the student body,” Jabro said.

Ludwig, also the Pitt soccer club president, said that while riding to away games, the players on his team often do not know the reason why they aren’t held personally responsible for funding the trip.

He said he explains that SGB decides the team’s trip funding and then introduces his teammates to SGB candidates during election season. The players can then meet the future decision makers and hear the candidates’ pitches for office.

Thanks to Tuesday’s meeting, Ludwig is now free to continue bringing the two groups together.

“There are faces behind the decisions that are made,” Ludwig said.

In Other Action

Board members John Cordier and Charles Bonge worked to fundraise for the students affected by the Zelena Street apartments fire last spring. Money raised from the fundraisers will be used to give students who were affected a gift card to the University Store.

Board members Mike Nites and Thomas Jabro said there will be a food committee meeting this Friday in WPU.

Jabro reminded students that there is a petition online for the publication of the OMET surveys.

Board member Nites and Lauren Barney had a meeting with Dean Kathy Humphrey about why there are department finals. They will be meeting with the business school dean.

Board member said a speaker from the New York Times will be coming to campus on April 2nd at 8 pm and reminded students that the off-campus housing seminars will be on November 18 and 19.


Board member Sarah Winston introduced a resolution that advocates the University to facilitate ties between textbookfriend.com, a website that allows students to buy and sell textbooks to other students at his/or her university, and the student body.

Board member Sowmya Sanapala is working with Pitt LGBT to survey students on sexual health.

Erin Worbs, Public Relations chair suffered an allergic reaction to tree nuts at the meeting after she ate a baked good that was brought to the meeting from a PMAD event. The Pitt Police were called to the scene. Five police members responded in addition to one member of the fire department.

Sarah Winston worked with Chairman Farah

Mona Kazour, chairman of the Community Outreach Committee reminded students that PMADD week is currently going on and PMADD will be on Saturday at 9 am. Kazour said it is an opportunity for students to give back to the area they live in.

Board member Joseph Kozak said the Constitution review committee will meet two more times. The meetings are open to the public and are in the William Pitt Union, room 848 on Monday at 2 pm.


The Original Magazine requested $8,814.06 to print its 13th issue and hold a release party. The Board approved $8,542 and denied $272.06, a portion of the costs.

The Some of God’s Children Gospel Choir requested $2,100  to host the group’s annual fall concert. The request was approved in full in line with the Allocations recommendation.

The Women’s Fastpitch Softball Club requested $797.24 to attend the Penn State Conference Series. The request was approved in full in line with the Allocations recommendation.

Pitt Club Cross Country requested $1,362 to transport 20 members to the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association Regional Championship. The request was approved in full in line with the Allocations recommendation.

Alpha Phi Omega requested $671.60 for four members to attend the Region 5 Conference in West Virginia. The request was approved in full.

Women’s Club Volleyball requested $2,262.45 for 24 members to attend a tournament at the University of Virginia. The request was approved in full.

The Board has allocated $118,693.34 this semester.