Allocations member contests new SGB campaign revisions

By Danielle Fox / Staff Writer

Ray Ludwig feels that the new rules concerning Student Government Board elections unfairly interfere with the choices he makes outside his role as a member of SGB’s Allocations Committee.

The Board approved four revisions to the Elections Code on Sept. 17, and two of the revisions prevent committee chairs and members from publicly supporting a candidate during the Board’s elections. Ludwig, who is a member of SGB’s Allocations Committee, said these revisions infringe on the committee members’ rights as students. He presented his argument against the revision to the Board’s Judicial Committee on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in front of a group of six people, including members of SGB.

“The opportunity to voice your opinion in any capacity is something that every student should have, and [it] should never be taken from them,” Ludwig said. 

Ludwig believes that the changes were not properly communicated to committee members and said that he would not have accepted his position on the Allocations Committee had this standard been in place at the time.

But Aaron Gish, the chairman of the Elections Committee, who drafted and introduced the revisions, disagreed. Gish was unable to attend the meeting, but provided the committee with a prepared statement defending the revisions.

“This revision process was perhaps the most public [process] that SGB has ever gone through,” Gish said in the statement.

Gish said the changes were read aloud three times at the Board’s public meeting on Sept. 9 in front of all the chairs, and copies of the revisions were available in his office while the Board was considering them.

Gish also noted that the proposed revisions were published in The Pitt News a week before the Board came to a decision.

Ludwig is the president of Pitt’s club soccer team and said he uses his position of leadership to teach underclassmen about the election process and to make them active in campus life. Ludwig said that being unable to publicly support a candidate will prevent him from being able to lead by example.

Audrey Winn, a member of the Judicial Review Committee, questioned Ludwig at the meeting about what he would do if a candidate he was endorsing was caught breaking campaign rules.

Ludwig replied that he is a “normal student” outside of the time he devotes to his committee, and the Board should not have any say over whether or not he supports a specific candidate.

Nahja Martin, also a member of the Judicial Review Committee, disagreed.

“Once you become a part of Student Government Board, you represent something bigger than yourself,” Martin said.