President shuts down redaction resolution

USG members vote to uphold proposed resolution veto

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Co-News Editor

The United Student Government (USG) met on Monday, April 1 in the JVH Auditorium. The legislative body met to vote on a veto to Resolution 3182019.1, brought forward by President Kaylee Kearns. Also present at the meeting were two guest speakers, Library Director Liz Evans and Director of Student Life Amanda Anderson.

“This Resolution is incomplete in its explanation of the entire process regarding how redactions are to be handled,” Kearns wrote in a letter to all USG members, explaining the veto. “It needs time guidelines regarding privacy rights of an individual. I am recommending a time limit of five years before information can become unredacted in regards to an individual’s rights. I want to ensure honest discussion among the organization and its members to protect a student from having sensitive information become public.”

Vice President Brittany Arp stated that the executive cabinet is currently working with Senator Hattie Charney to construct a new resolution, using the already standing Sunshine Act to ensure transparency.

“Going forward, we want to eliminate having to redact things, because of the issues that we had,” Charney said. “So by setting up this process, it will be us trying to do something now, rather than looking ahead and making things better for the upcoming years.”

According to Charney, her proposed resolution specifically outlines seven reasons for why a meeting may need to be closed.

Senator Jake Berlin expressed concern with moving to veto the Resolution, seeing as the legislative body had previously voted unanimously to approve it.

“I am absolutely not going to take heed to one presidential student over that of the entire public and the entire unanimous rules committee and senate who pushed these forward,” Berlin said. “And as someone who is a current presidential candidate, I don’t even want to give myself that much power and set that dangerous of a precedent going forward.”

Berlin also requested that the present members of the executive cabinet express their opinion regarding the veto. Kearns was absent from the meeting.

Senator Alexa Lake also expressed concern regarding the executive cabinet’s involvement in the veto.

“I just want to say that we knew Kaylee [Kearns] was going to veto this,” Treasurer Kortney Lampel said. “She told us at the last executive cabinet meeting. But we did not in any way help her write it. I actually did not see the letter that she wrote until the same exact time that you did.”

Senator Jess Wrzosek reminded the legislative body that this semester, time to resolve issues of transparency is running out.

“I would like to point out that this school year, these students are the ones that asked us for transparency,” Wrzosek said. “We have three weeks left. This is the Resolution that we have. We don’t have time to give them anything else. We don’t have time to craft another Resolution. We don’t have time, even with this information, to show them that we hear them and that we represent them.”

Following the discussion regarding the veto, the legislative body moved to vote on the veto. In order for the Resolution to be enacted, two-thirds of the body needed to vote in its favor. However, the with eight votes in favor, six against and one abstention, the motion to vote down the veto failed.

Also during the legislative body meeting, Evans and Anderson discussed concerns with the senators.

Evans attended the meeting in order to hear concerns regarding the library. Evans reminded USG that at all times during the library’s operation, there is a librarian on duty to assist students. Evans also encouraged students to utilize the online module on the library’s website to reserve study rooms.

In addition, Evans discussed the costs associated with leasing databases, as well as the importance of the utilization of the library’s reserved textbooks. Evans then reminded students to complete the survey that had been sent to the entire student body earlier that day so that the library may make necessary improvements.

Anderson then also took student concerns, many of which had to do with commuter resources and parking. Senator Kelly Saal suggested to Anderson that negotiating with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority for lower parking prices for students may be worthwhile.

“One of the things you have to think about, and it’s something for us to look at, is from a Parking Authority concept, they want as much money as they can get,” Dean of Student Life Michael Gieseke said. “There’s X number of dollars a week that they can get. So anything less than that, they have no incentive as a Parking Authority to do. So arguably, could the university speak to them and say, ‘hey, could we make a deal with you?,’ the answer to that could be yes, but it would be at the university’s expense.”

Anderson also discussed matters such as online resources for commuters. It was resolved that there would be more efforts going forward to remind students of available resources.

It was announced during the meeting Charney’s resolution, along with four others pertaining to separate matters, were to be sent to Rules Committee for consideration and revision. Parliamentarian Matthew Spadaccia warned that because of this, next week’s legislative body meeting could run for an extended period of time.

At the end of the meeting, Gieseke stated that voter turnout in this year’s election far exceeded previous years. According to Gieseke, 540 votes were received. Gieseke stated that first, he must determine that all voters were eligible to do so. Then, the Elections Board will be assembled to count the votes. Following this process, the winning candidates will be announced.