Student president receives petition attempting to withhold paper funds

At a March 14 student government meeting, President Kyle Maguire talks about a petition asking that Advocate funding be cut. Debate was not brought up at the meeting.

Natasha Bazika

At a March 14 student government meeting, President Kyle Maguire talks about a petition asking that Advocate funding be cut. Debate was not brought up at the meeting.

Peijia Zhang , Editor-in-Chief

During Pitt-Johnstown student government’s Feb. 28 weekly meeting in the Cambria Room, Student Government President Kyle Maguire read a petition asking that the government stops providing funds to the Advocate.

The petition asked funding to be cut if the Advocate’s staff does not stop publishing articles about students’ citations for alleged law violations.

The petition also asks that funding be cut to the newspaper unless the newspaper’s staff removes already published articles providing details of public record criminal-conduct allegations.

Maguire said the petition was handed in to him at 8:55 p.m. before the 9 p.m. meeting, and he refused to reveal the name of the student who handed it in.

Maguire said the reason he refused to disclose the student’s name was because the student wanted to remain anonymous.

He also refused to say whether it was more than one student who handed in the petition.

“I received a petition and will release more information once it’s validated at the March 14 meeting. Until then, I don’t have anything to say about it beyond what was openly read at Feb. 28’s general meeting, which The Advocate (staff) was in attendance for.”

Maguire said he would authenticate the petition by checking the name and email of signers to make sure that they are Pitt students.

At a March 14 meeting, Maguire only read the petition’s description and said the two organizations’ executive board members would meet to discuss an outcome before it came to a vote. That meeting took place Sunday.

Maguire said Sunday that senators don’t want to defund the Advocate but want to find common grounds between the petitioners and the Advocate members.

At the March 14 meeting, Maguire said over 600 signatures had been validated, and he was still receiving more signatures.

According to the petition’s signatures, 33 senators out of al 40 senators signed the petition.

Maguire said the reason Advocate staff members could not see the petition before the March 14 meeting was that the petition was being validated, and the Advocate’s members do not have any privilege to see the petition before the general student body.

“It (the petition)’s not valid yet. Therefore, it’s not anything of importance,” he said March 1.

Student Government President Pro Tempore Madison Nick on March 1 passed around the petition in her Sales Management class.

Nick said she will still vote as a student government member on the petition if a voting is to take place because she was passing around the petition as a member of the general student body, not as a student senator.

She said she does not have a conflict of interest between these two roles because the petition was not written by student government members.

Student Government Parliamentarian Sam Miller said a petition needs to be signed by about one-third of Pitt-Johnstown students to be brought up in the student government’s general meeting.

Student Government Treasurer Joe Evanko said there are about 2,540 students enrolled at Pitt-Johnstown.

A third of the student body would be 846 students.

Evanko said, if what the petition asks is appoved by the student government, it then requires approval from the administrators; if the administrators deny the petition, it goes back to the government to be amended.

Miller said senators were not trying to hide the petition by not letting Advocate members look at it before the March 14 meeting.

Evanko said a petition is not really accepted until the signers’ emails and names were confirmed. He said student government members need to make sure that there are no double signings or forged signatures.