Skip to main content

Kathryn Emmert, Board Candidate (Advocate)


The University advertises itself as a champion of progress, innovation, and change. “We are focused on the impact and the relentless pursuit of change for good.” Or “Here, progress is always in progress.” While this sounds great, its actions often suggest otherwise: minuscule student worker wages, union busting, failure to address sexual violence, displacement of student gardens, the housing of a fake abortion clinic at the Pitt Healthy U fair, investment in fossil fuels, lack of office space for clubs, lack of resources for students of color and LGBTQIA students. The list goes on.

When I ran for Board last year, I was fed up. And the above encompasses my frustrations. Since being on Board, I’ve seen the ways student organizing can make progress at this University. This past year, I’ve worked with students and the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Education to host wellness workshops for survivors, advance the hiring of a confidential advocate for survivors, and improve Title IX. I am currently collaborating with the Support Advocacy and Prevention Committee on Student Government to reinstitute a peer survivor support network and create a survivor support toolkit.

As I mentioned before, advocating for student renters is another tenet of why I am rerunning for the Board position. In September, I began chairing the Renters First Ad-Hoc Committee. So far, we’ve published a survey, met with the Pitt Office of Real Estate and the Office of Engagement and Community Affairs to advocate for a grocery store on campus, pushed for rental registration, and aided students who were encountering renting problems. There is so much left to do. We plan on hosting renting workshops and convincing the University to hire a lawyer in the Office of Off-Campus Living to support tenants who encounter renting problems and have issues with their landlords.

Being on board has granted me so many opportunities to express students' concerns and advocate for better. Beyond my main initiatives, I’ve been able to press for more multicultural space and an LGBTQIA center during steering committee meetings for WPU renovations, discourage the University from building anti-homeless architecture in future development sites, call attention to the need for better housing in Oakland, met with student organizations to plan a sex week at Pitt for the spring, and so much more.

I am so appreciative of the connections I’ve made so far and the work I’ve been able to achieve with others. But as I’ve said, there’s so much left to do, and if you elect me, I promise to go even harder next year. I’ll continue working on implementing the peer survivor support network, bring a tenant lawyer to the University, and expand access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services.