ASG meetings begin with new plans, elections

During its first two meetings, Allegheny Student Government discussed preliminary plans for the semester and began electing more cabinet members.

With no guest speaker, ASG’s general assembly commenced with the vice president’s report at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, via Zoom. 

Vice President Patricia Gaxiola, ’21, began her report by announcing that she plans on holding training sessions for all the senators within the next week. 

After Gaxiola, President Abdikadir Lugundi, ’21, announced that he and Gaxiola had participated in a meeting on Sept. 22 with President Hilary Link to discuss future plans.

“(We discussed) our future goals, plans and the campus climate,” Lugundi said. “We’re (going to) keep (in) contact with the secretary, Pam (Higham) moving forward to discuss anything.”

Continuing his report, Lugundi reported planning to have a collaboration with the Director of Communication and Press Bree Gray, ’23, on creating a diversity podcast to discuss a variety of topics and issues. 

“(Also) with things being virtual, it’ll be really good to keep the students in the loop on discussions that they might not be able to have when they attend club meetings and such,” Lugundi said. 

Lungundi also announced that he and Gaxiola are in the process of enacting Public Safety initiatives such an informational Instagram page that includes information about the Public Safety office and the officers themselves. 

“It’s a chance for students to get to know the Public Safety officers, so we’re going forward with that,” Lugundi said. “It’s just to better strengthen the relationship between the student and Public Safety since it’s been kind of rocky throughout the years.”

Lugundi concluded his report by proposing to connect ASG with Pittsburgh nonprofits in the future, specifically in postsecondary education youth programs. 

After Lugundi, the class senators were sworn in. Kristen Cadham, ’24, was elected as the president of the class of 2024.

After a discussion about meeting times, the new ASG advisor Matthew Bocchi introduced himself and began his report. 

“I’m a 2013 graduate of Allegheny, triple majored and I now work in alumni affairs and development,” Bocchi said. “So whenever you guys are looking to figure out what alumni you can connect with at home or over break for an internship, just let me know.”

The meeting came to a close at 7:31 p.m. 

ASG’s next general assembly began at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, via Zoom with class reports.

The class of 2024 announced that they created a Group<e to discuss having weekly meetings with the five senators in the class of 2024. 

The class of 2023 reported that they appointed two new senators but are still looking for a third. 

There are currently no senators for the class of 2022 and the class of 2021. 

Following class reports, Gaxiola began her report by announcing that she attempted to contact the Director of Public Safety James Basinger for ASG’s Public Safety initiatives but has yet to receive a response. 

Gaxiola continued, reporting that she and Lugundi attended a panel discussion with the Pittsburgh nonprofit, Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education.

“(Lugundi) and I basically presented to them from a student government perspective and briefly about our stories and where we are now and how we decided to do what we are doing,” Gaxiola said. “We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship with nonprofits in Pittsburgh.”

After Gaxiola, Lugundi began his report by announcing that on the last diversity podcast they hosted Cecil Price III, a student at Morehouse College and class of 2024.

“It was really nice to have him as a guest,” Lugundi said. “We talked about Black activism, being involved in the community and mentorship, especially in public schooling.”

Lugundi said he hoped to host more guests on the podcast and offered the meeting participants to talk to him or Gray if they knew anyone who would be interested in coming on the podcast. 

Lugundi concluded his report by reporting that he and Gaxiola plan to meet with Provost and Dean of the College Ron Cole to discuss president and vice president roles in ASG. 

After Lugundi, Emily Mullen, ’24, was sworn in as a senator for the class of 2024. 

Before ASG moved into unfinished business, Gray reminded the participants that general assembly meetings are recorded and members still must demonstrate the behaviors that are expected in in-person meetings. 

ASG then moved into unfinished business. The senate voted on who would be the president of the class of 2023 between Andi Reiser, ’23, and Lucas Biniewski, ’23. Reiser won the vote. 

ASG then moved into new business. Gaxiola announced that the Campus Life and Community Standards Committee is looking for two new members and that the Major Events Committee is also looking for three new members. Gaxiola asked senate members to tell her if they were interested in participating in either of the committees. 

After Gaxiola’s announcement, Payne Rizzer, ’24, Olivia Brophy, ’23, Kyrie Doniz, ’23, Natalie Davidson, ’22 and Jasmine Ramirez-Soto, ’21 were appointed as senators. 

Following that, Tyler James Znaczko,’24, suggested switching general assembly times from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to take into consideration the schedule shift for athletic practices. The motion was approved by the senate and the meeting time was changed. 

After that India McCruter, ’24, proposed, in light of the recent Breonna Taylor vigil, that ASG work with the administration to better display the rules of assembly and protests on campus so students could better understand what was permitted. 

“Students were upset that a lot of the posters and things related to Breonna Taylor were taken down but the rules (surrounding that) were already in place but students didn’t know about them,” McCruter said. “Maybe ASG could make the rules more (apparent) so this doesn’t happen again.”

Reiser agreed and suggested that ASG make students aware of the actions that are permitted in the college’s policies of assembly and protests. 

Following that, ASG moved into advisor announcements. Bocchi requested that any member who had been on ASG before to send him materials regarding manuals and other documents regarding ASG.

“I have the constitution and that’s about it,” Bocchi said. 

After advisor announcements, Co-Director of Student Affairs Genesis Pena, ’22, reported that she learned that at other colleges such as Duquesne Law School, students were assigned a number when taking exams so they were anonymous, thus eliminating any biases. 

“I think that’s a really awesome thing that Allegheny should adopt,” Pena said. “I’m going to reach out to the Curriculum Committee (about it).”

The discussion about anonymous testing was tabled for the next meeting after some discussion and the meeting came to a close at 7:50 p.m.