Dean Paylo announces Department of Student Engagement cut to curtail university spending at latest SGA meeting

Written By Sarah Gibson, SGA Beat Writer

At this week’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, it was announced that the Department of Student Engagement was cut in an effort to curb spending at the university as Point Park faces a $9 million deficit.  

Keith Paylo, Dean of Students, opened with a preamble stating that many universities in America, including Harvard University, which gets $4 billion worth in endowment every year, are “taking a second look” at their operations. 

In that same vein, Paylo made the decision last week to eliminate the Office of Student Engagement. With that was the position of Director of Student Engagement, which was held by Annie Cassin. While he acknowledged that this was “unfortunate,” he explained that the services offered by the Office of Student Engagement would not be discontinued, such as Pioneer Experience and co-curricular education.

Dean Paylo also reminded the legislative body that Halloween is this coming Saturday evening. 

“The worst nightmare of a Dean of Students is Halloween on a Saturday night in a regular year,” Paylo said. 

He requested the members attending the meeting speak to their constituents and spread the word to be responsible over the course of this coming weekend both by not drinking too much and also by encouraging people to avoid get-togethers. Paylo noted that he wished they wouldn’t happen, but that he’s a “realist,” and so he knew that they would, so he was talking to SGA to spread the word about being responsible.

Monday’s SGA legislative body meeting initially took a detour once attendance was taken and the legislative body was brought straight to a vote due to a fear of losing quorum. As soon as the meeting began and roll was taken, the floor was given to Treasurer Kasey Newman, who gave a brief overview of the funding bill that they were voting on. Once the motion came to a vote, it passed. Newman did note that if any of the organizations were not granted their whole amount of funding wanted, they could apply for an appeal next week.

With the vote taken, the meeting moved to reports of the executive cabinet, starting with President Dennis McDermott. McDermott noted that most of his week was taken up with meetings for the Provost search as well as meetings with Dr. Jonas Prida to discuss pronouns on campus among other ways they can make campus more accessible for all gender identities. 

During President Pro-Tempore Sophie Burkholder’s report, she gave some details regarding meetings with Prida regarding pronoun availability online for students and how pronouns are just one part of gender diversity. She noted that part of the plan to recognize this is to make a series of posts about the gender binary and how it’s being enforced currently at Point Park. 

Vice President Bryce Hayzlett noted that there was another meeting for the JEDD committee scheduled for this Friday. He also emailed Kurt Kumler to discuss uses for the two vacant rooms in the Student Center. 

Parliamentarian Zachariah Washington shared his plans for bringing BSU members to the Rules Committee to have them share their experiences and how they can brainstorm ideas to make Point Park a more diverse campus. 

During Treasurer Newman’s report, she gave the full Fall I spending report, which had a surplus of $404.59, which went back into the Student Activities budget. She proceeded to give a much more detailed recounting of the Fall II budget, which will be available in the minutes for this week’s meeting. 

Recording Secretary Cole D’Alicandro told the legislative body that after the meeting, the Student Innovations Committee decided that Nov. 5 would be the date for the virtual Come Complain event, and it would take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

After the reports of the executive cabinet, the reports of standing committees were brought to the floor. After there were none, the meeting was brought to the reports of the senate. 

Following new business was the second open floor of the meeting, where Senator Nanina Grund spoke on developments regarding the TItle IX Task Force, including what exactly will be done with the task force. Some examples include bringing back “Not on My Campus, SafeZone training, guest speakers, open mic nights, Green Dot Training, partnerships with the counseling center and Title IX staff training.”

After that, Vice President Hayzlett had to excuse himself from the meeting. When he returned, he added that he had just had a brief meeting with a member of the waste management team, who made him aware of the fact that there were mouse droppings in the storage room for SGA.

During announcements, Recording Secretary D’Alicandro, who is also the General Manager of WPPJ, reminded everyone that Rock-A-Thon, the station’s annual live charity event, was coming up. Rock-A-Thon is a 67-hour charity event which raises money for The Early Learning Institute through sponsorships, raffles and selling merchandise.