Tensions within Student Government rise as election comes to a close

Written By Erin Yudt, SGA Beat Writer

With Vice President Kendra Summers absent, President Pro Temporo Nina Grund ran the Student Government Association’s (SGA) weekly legislative body on Monday, March 28.


At the conclusion of the meeting, Communications Director and Presidential Candidate Drew Simko addressed current “tensions” uncovered throughout the election campaign.


“This is the last time I am going to be nice about it, so I just wanted to address the current threats and harassment from both sides that has been happening,” said Simko. “It is completely unacceptable, childish, and needs to stop immediately. We are much better than this.”


Simko followed by saying that it “hurt” to see his own cards “torn in half throughout the school.”


“We [candidates] have to pay for all our posters, cards, and everything,” said Simko. “To see our money going to waste is just petty drama.”


In the first open floor, Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate Trevor FitzSimmoms read a two-page statement on the current issues within Student Accessibility Services, primarily dealing with the location of quiet testing spaces.


“The current testing accommodations are unacceptable,” said FitzSimmons. “Students who need quiet spaces are taking them on the second floor of the Student Center, where students are shooting pool and playing tennis loudly and being a distraction, which is breaking the federal law that allows these students to have quiet spaces.”


Additionally, with the revised mask mandate beginning this Monday, Grund asked members if they have seen any changes. President Dennis McDermott said that there have been some students “maskless in the hallways,” but for the most part “students are still wearing masks” and “student government will continue to do so at legislative body meetings.”


In Reports of the Cabinet, Chief of Staff Sophie Burkholder announced the final itinerary for Pioneer Community Week (PCW), which will take place from April 3 through April 9, and that it will be sent out to the student body in an email “very soon.” PCW will be a week-long event that students, staff and faculty can participate in to help give back to the greater Pittsburgh area through some small service projects. Some clubs will be in charge of specific events, another avenue for club bonding.


Burkholder continued by stating the resolution to Dance Club’s dilemma about limited access to COVID tests, an issue brought up during last week’s meeting.


“Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG) will be donating their supply of at-home tests,” said Burkholder. “The free testing is still available at the location on Smithfield that they can go to as well.”


In Old Business, senators finally passed the press release and resolution in response to the dispersal of the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI), which has been on the agenda for the past three weeks and will be sent out to the student body soon. The press release asks the university to not go through the changes and to include SGA and the student body before making decisions like this moving forward. It also seeks accountability from administration. The resolution to the group’s constitution outlines how requests should be made to include SGA and the student body on these kinds of issues moving forward and that OEI’s placement should remain where it is currently. 


The group will be hosting a loaded tater tot bar event in the Lawrence Hall Ballroom from 6-8 p.m. on Friday to “show that we (SGA) is united and that we are here for them,” said Reporting Secretary Frankie Bracey.