Mayor Bill Peduto visits USG

Photo by Gracey Evans
Recording Secretary, Davion Heron, listens to what Mayor Bill Peduto has to say during a special Q&A meeting on Monday.

Written By Alex Grubbs, USG Beat Writer

In the midst of his reelection campaign, Pittsburgh’s mayor highlighted the city’s changing landscape while disconnecting it from politics in Washington, D.C. during his visit to the university.

“It doesn’t matter what happens in Washington,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said to over 30 people attending the United Student Government (USG) meeting on Tuesday. “If we pull together as a city, we can see… great things happen.”

The mayor is currently running for re-election after winning the position in 2013, starting his term in 2014.

Senator Daniel Murphy asked him how he will advocate for students in Pittsburgh after referencing his concern with Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos after her confirmation hearing last week left Congress questioning her qualifications.

“I don’t know what the next four years are going to be,” Peduto responded. “I’m not trying to be political or funny about that, I just think it’s different waters we’re in.

“[But] we [have to] figure it out on our own,” he continued. “Any student who goes to a Pittsburgh public school is not only going to be welcomed… their own true self will be honored.”

Peduto went on to ask the crowd how the city can start educating its own students, without Washington’s help, to train them for future jobs.

“What can we do in seventh grade to start training people for these jobs?,” Peduto asked.

He then referenced the start of a new emergency services program put into effect at Westinghouse Academy in September to focusing on students in the city. This program will allow students to be trained as firefighters, paramedics, police officers, etc.

According to Peduto, students enrolled in these programs can graduate high school with certificates and already be qualified for jobs in emergency services across the city. This is one of his solutions for pushing students into the job field.

Back to business, USG allocated $175.88 to Criminal Justice Club after the funding period ended last week.

Treasurer Amedea Baldoni attributed a glitch in PointSync as the reason for the club’s late allocation. President Pro-Tempore Shaniece Lawrence opposed the motion while Sen. Shayna Mendez abstained.

After rejecting $500 for Dance Club’s off-campus venue for an event, USG allocated it after the organization submitted an appeals request.

Representing the organization, Maddy Miller said its members have already paid $500 for the venue deposit and are only asking the governing body an additional $500. It would also help with a plated dinner it would receive. Sen. KacieJo Brown opposed this motion.

It also approved its $20,000 internal budget for the spring and summer 2017 semesters.

According to Vice President Bobby Bertha, this money is not from student activity fees for the semester, but rather a rollback of unspent money from fall semester.

Majority of the budget is for the summer semester. To pay for PointSync, the university’s bike program and free Playhouse tickets, USG proposed $5,500 for it.

An additional $4,000 went to stipends within the executive cabinet and another $4,000 towards Pioneer Community Day (PCD), a volunteer event involving students at the university.

PCD will be held on Saturday, Apr. 22. Lawrence said the committee on the volunteer event are still talking to local organizations that would take the volunteers.

USG’s rules committee will also release its social media code of ethics for the governing body in coming weeks.