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The Pitt News

Peduto’s housing orders Page 2

The independent student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh | | february 16,2017 | Volume 107 | Issue 124

SGB candidates push platforms before elections Las Palmas

closes today, protests Trump

James Evan Bowen-Gaddy Assistant News Editor

The three candidates for SGB President, (from left) Justin Horowitz, Arlind Karpuzi and Max Knesis, debate in Nordy’s Place. Thomas Yang STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Grant Burgman Staff Writer

In the cutthroat political sphere, competing for votes can — and does — bring out the worst in people. After all, it was during the final presidential debate that now-President Donald Trump infamously referred to Hillary Clinton as a “nasty woman,” offering her an unofficial campaign slogan. But in Pitt’s student government debate Wednesday night — the first three-person showdown in three years — junior Justin Horowitz steered clear of mudslinging.

“These are amazing individuals, whom I love dearly,” Horowitz, a marketing and business information systems major, said. Horowitz was referring to his two competitors: Max Kneis, a junior majoring in finance and accounting, and Arlind Karpuzi, another junior also majoring in finance. All three of the presidential candidates, as well as all 16 candidates for Student Government Board, were in Nordy’s Place Wednesday night at 5 p.m. for the SGB presidential debate. Most of the night’s substance came from the candidate’s opening statements, each of which ad-

dressed a key issue that would become a theme for candidates throughout the night: increasing student involvement in SGB. Slates, which each include three to four people, are groups of candidates running on a similar platform. The message of increased student participation isn’t new to Pitt’s SGB, which has struggled to inspire voter turnout at previous elections. Last year’s election had a 14.1 percent voter turnout. After the openers, each presidential candidates took the stage alone. All three candidates emphasized their current positions on SGB, with See SGB on page 3

Las Palmas Restaurante will close up shop today, along with Mexican restaurants across the country as part of the “Day Without Immigrants” national protest against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. The restaurant posted a handwritten sign at its Beechview location Wednesday informing customers the restaurant as well as their other grocery markets will not open their doors the following day. A printed-out version of the sign, in Spanish and English, hung on the door of the Oakland Las Palmas. The sign read: “The stores and Restaurant Las Palmas will close its doors all day for the first time since the last eight years [when] we opened the first store, in support for our Hispanic Community and [to] let know all that we are in disagreement with the measures and laws being implemented by President Donald Trump.” A manager of the Oakland location, Andres Ramirez, 20, said the store plans to act in accordance with the other Las Palmas locations. “It’s to protest Donald Trump,” Ramirez said. “For Latinos.” The “Day Without Immigrants,” or “Un Dia Sin Immigrante,” is a nationwide protest where Latinx and Hispanic-American See Las Palmas on page 3


The Pitt News

Peduto issues 5 executive orders to promote affordable housing



Mayor Bill Peduto spoke Jan. 31, about the water advisory, and this week signed five executive orders for affordable housing. James Evan BowenGaddy CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Ashwini Sivaganesh News Editor

Mayor Bill Peduto signed five executive orders Tuesday and Wednesday to improve affordable housing options and conditions in Pittsburgh. After nine months of consideration, Peduto’s Affordable Housing Task Force came up with a final set of recommendations Thursday, which formed the basis for Peduto’s orders. “My administration is committed to creating a livable city for all,” Peduto said in a letter attached to the orders, which include the following: Order 1: To provide and expand resources, policies and programs to increase housing security for existing city residents. Order 2: To increase and improve the opportunities for public housing and residents. Order 3: To increase mixed-income and affordable housing opportunities across Pittsburgh. Order 4: To preserve and protect the public interest in existing mixed-income and affordable housing across Pittsburgh. Order 5: To improve real estate tax incentives, abatements and assessments to

advance the public interest. Tim McNulty, a spokesperson for the mayor, said the administration plans to implement these orders within the next three to six months. The Pittsburgh City Council voted in December 2016 to establish a trust fund for affordable housing in Pittsburgh and established a $10 million goal for annual funding. This estimate came from the task force’s findings on affordable housing in the city. The mayor did not specifically say where the funding for this will come from. The leading option is to increase the city’s realty transfer tax — a tax imposed by the city for buying and selling real estate — by 1 to 5 percent. Other options include increasing wage taxes or mileage rates. As of now, Peduto said the executive orders offer more of a general guideline for the city to follow. The orders will mainly affect five regions in the Pittsburgh area: Morningside, Downtown, Larimer, East Liberty and North Side. The task force compiled over 40 options in May 2016 on how to improve affordable housing in the city. Low-income housing has been an ongoing issue in Pittsburgh, especially for the







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See Executive Orders on page 3

February 16, 2017

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Executive Orders, pg. 2 SGB, pg. 1 past few months. The now-PPG Paints Arena’s construction relocated locals who were living in the low-income houses in the area in 2008. Since then, East Liberty has been the focus of affordable housing activists, for controversy over the Penn Plaza complex. The city denied a petition to build a Whole Foods in the area — which would displace residents from about 200 households — last month. Since then, the heart of the issue has evolved to consider how low-income housing can exist in a city that is trying to grow innovation and modern development. Several protests have broken out across the city — most recently one in East Liberty on Inauguration Day as an underlying theme during the “Our Feminism Must be Intersection Rally/March” in January. The protesters who attend these events called for an increase in quality of affordable homes as well as more low-income homes in developments across the city. Numerous individuals also requested these changes at one of five public meetings the mayor’s administration held for this issue since May. While the executive orders will not affect Pitt students directly — unless they live in areas of low-income housing — Kyle Chintalapalli, the deputy chief development officer for the mayor, said that the first two orders address tenant rights in general which benefits renters at large. Peduto, who is running for re-election this May, said the fight to preserve affordable housing in Pittsburgh is just beginning. “These executive orders are the first step in a long process to solve not only the challenges of today but to lay the foundation for an equitable Pittsburgh in the future,” Peduto said in the letter.

Karpuzi starting out by pointing to both his time as chief of staff for previous SGB presidents as well as his time as a Board member. He said he planned to make SGB an asset students more frequently use. “I think we can bring [SGB] into the classroom and show these are different resources for students on campus,” he said. “This is where we act as a catalyst for this spark of inspiration for students to get involved on campus.” Karpuzi is part of the “Allies” slate, which also includes Ciara Barry, Zuri Kent-Smith and Nihita Manem. Among its initiatives are increasing diversity on campus, reforming the sexual assault reporting system — which was a key platform in current SGB President Natalie Dall’s campaign — and improving first-year programming on campus. Kneis, running against Karpuzi with the “42 Stories” slate, also made student involvement in SGB a key part of his opening statement. “I really think the best way Student Government Board can work for you, the students, is by getting as much feedback and input as possible,” Kneis said. “At a lot of schools around the country, there is a student that sits on the Board of Trustees.” He referenced the University of California as a model for student involvement in the Board of Trustees. At California, a student regent is appointed by the Board of Regents during a summer meeting each year. “Pitt really likes to move forward and ask how can we make the student voice bigger, I think this is a great way to do it,” Kneis said. The “42 Stories” slate, which also includes Ian Callahan, Ami Fall and Maddie Guido, is also focusing on improving sexual assault reporting, as well as increasing transparency in SGB. Horowitz echoed Kneis’ desire to increase student involvement in SGB. However, Horowitz’s plan is specifically focused on getting more

student organizations involved with SGB, as opposed to just a singular student representative. “Right now, SGB has a lower legislative branch called the assembly, and less than 20 organizations are currently represented on there,” said Horowitz. “What I want to do is open this up to every student organization on campus, so it would be more of a town hall.” Horowitz suggested having a monthly meeting between SGB and a member from every student organization. “I want to be held accountable,” said Horowitz, “I want the students to be able to say, ‘You said you were going to do this, and it hasn’t happened yet.’” As president, Horowitz also plans to increase allocations spending on student organizations. “We’ve seen a decrease in requests, which means that student organizations aren’t utilizing us to our full potential,” he said after the debate’s close. “I want all of that to be allocated so we can have the most programming, attend the most conferences and the most competitions as possible.” Horowitz is running with the “Vote Summit” slate, along with Emily North, Krishani Patel and Alex Spenceley. The slate’s platform advocates for a more inclusive SGB and the student organization meetings. The two other slates in the running — “Union” and “The Point” — do not have presidential candidates in their memberships. For the closing statements, sach candidate gave two-minute speeches, wrapping up their main ideas, in what is likely their last big chance to address a crowd of voters before the election. Students will be able to vote next Tuesday, Feb. 21, by logging onto or following information on Each student will be able to vote for one of the three presidential candidates and three of the 16 Board member candidates.

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Las Palmas, pg. 1 immigrants are not showing up to work. Manager of Bea Taco Town Erick Martinez, 25, of Greentree, said the protest is about more than just not showing up to work, but about “not contributing to the economy.” Martinez, who is from Mexico, will also be closing his restaurant today. “The way I see the protest is, it’s to show we are important,” Martinez said. “To show we contribute.” Martinez said he faced a difficult time deciding whether or not to close. He said many immigrant workers can’t afford to give up a day of work. In the end, he sat down to speak with his staff and decided the protest was worth it. “I didn’t want to get political,” Martinez said. “It could hurt or help ... As an owner, I decided we can make a louder voice than an individual.” Martinez said he heard about the event through other immigrants in Pittsburgh. The idea for the daylong protest spread mostly by word of mouth and through social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. Facebook groups such as Reforma Migratoria — a social justice group with over 99,000 followers, meaning “Immigration Reform” in English — are encouraging immigrants to participate in the protest. On Twitter Wednesday night, the hashtag “#DayWithoutImmigrants” appeared in more than 15,000 tweets. While much of the trending social media posts about the event focus on Hispanic and Latinx immigrants, Martinez said immigrants of all backgrounds should participate in the protest. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from,” Martinez said. “When you protest in numbers, people will notice you.”




from the editorial board

Affordable housing measures Abortion laws wrong move for already need funding With the onslaught of President Donald Trump’s controversial executive orders during his first month in office, it may be easy to forget about local politicians who can likewise implement executive orders. Mayor Bill Peduto signed five into law Tuesday and Wednesday this week in order to take more immediate action on the affordable housing crisis plaguing Pittsburgh. Peduto’s actions are commendable for highlighting his commitment to promoting housing for all Pittsburgh citizens, but there’s more to do. The affordable housing trust fund, created in December 2016 to finance changes in city housing, still lacks viable funding options, meaning the executive orders will see little tangible benefits for Pittsburgh’s communities. For Peduto’s orders to translate into real change, the city and the task force need to find the funds necessary to help people keep and afford their homes. The city council passed the legislation creating an affordable housing trust fund late last year on the recommendation of the Affordable Housing Task Force, a group established in May 2015 to hold meetings and offer solutions for housing issues throughout the city. The legislation set the goal of depositing $10 million annually for the city’s housing but have yet to come up with a way to raise the funds. One option for the funding is an increase in the city’s realty transfer tax, a tax levied by the city for buying and selling real estate, by 1 percent — a controversial choice as Pittsburgh residents already pay the highest transfer tax in Allegheny county at 4 percent. Other potential options include increasing wage taxes or mileage rates. Either way, if the city wants to commit to this important issue, and it should, the city first needs to find the money somewhere. Peduto’s orders come from over 40 recommendations by the task force in May. The choice to use an executive order, instead of legislation passed through the county council, was meant to highlight the need for internal changes in city departments and agencies, Kyle Chintalapalli, deputy chief development officer, and Alex Pazuchanics, policy coordinator for the mayor, told The Pitt News.

The first two orders, issued Tuesday, focus on providing and expanding resources for housing security and increasing opportunities for public housing to residents. The last three orders, issued Wednesday, aim to protect existing and expand future opportunities for mixed-income housing. “A number of the projects can move forward without funding,” said Pazuchanics, referring to internal policy and practice changes departments can make. But, without funding, tangible changes will be hard to come by. Furthermore, the executive orders are unlike legislation because they don’t inherently focus on changing conditions in the community right now. The orders are merely the representation of the task force’s recommendations on how to improve decision and policy-making within city agencies, explained Pazuchanics. We should be wary of what this means. Changing the city’s approach to affordable housing from the inside is surely a crucial step in tackling the root causes of the issue. But we must see the benefits of it in our communities, as well, before the orders are considered a success. And the way to do that is to finance real projects, not just release executive orders. “[The orders] didn’t fully address the real source of Pittsburgh’s and other cities’ housing crises, which is the commodification of housing,” said Jackie Smith, professor of sociology at Pitt and faculty fellow for the 2016 Housing Summit at the University last November, in an email. With the Democratic primary for the next mayoral election coming up in three months, and two opponents to Peduto already declared, it’s important to consider Peduto’s plans in the lens of his re-election bid. Because Pittsburgh is developing quickly, becoming a technological hub and a hot spot for commercial development, affordable housing should be a key issue on any elected official’s platform. “We need to push public officials to make serious financial commitments to prevent more residents from losing their homes,” Smith said. We agree.

at-risk women Danielle Pierre For The Pitt News

Not long after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, a woman’s right to choose is under attack once again. Lawmakers in 19 states passed new laws on women’s reproductive rights in 2016. And Pennsylvania is, unfortunately, doing the same. A bill recently passed in the Republicancontrolled state Senate earlier this month would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — instead of 24 — a move that leaves little room for pregnant women who need abortions due to institutionalized economic disenfranchisement. A potential passage of such a bill would only make the lives of disadvantaged women and families harder. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vowed to veto the legislation, calling it “radical and unconstitutional.” Right now, it seems Republicans in the GOP-controlled House and Senate don’t have enough support to override a potential veto — a reassuring thought for women across the state. Strict abortion legislation in other conservative states should offer a lesson for Pennsylvania and further discourage Wolf from signing the bills, should they make it to his desk. In Texas, a bill that caused the closure of many of the state’s abortion-providing clinics — and was

February 16, 2017

ruled unconstitutional in June 2016 — showed how disproportionately women of color and women from low-income backgrounds are affected by abortion legislation. In the 23 Texan counties with clinics, 60 percent of low-income women relied on those clinics before they started shutting down. A 2015 University of Texas study found that 100,000 to 240,000 Texan women tried at-home abortions, revealing a dangerous rise in illegal abortions in areas with more restrictive laws. More restrictive access to abortions doesn’t deter women from getting them — they just do so less safely. Due to poor sex education in low-income schools and the cost of contraception, women from lowincome backgrounds are five times more likely to have unplanned pregnancies than their higher-earning counterparts. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 75 percent of women in the United States who had abortions in 2014 were “economically disadvantaged.” This further substantiates the correlation between income levels and the likelihood of abortion. Additionally, a woman who has to drive farther to get to an abortion provider or women’s health clinic — especially if it’s in a state where she is required to visit the clinic more than once in order to get an abortion — sacrifices time and money she canSee Pierre on page 5


Pierre, pg. 4 not afford. In Indiana, former Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law in March 2016 that dramatically increased the restrictions on the already-tight regulations in the state. The law placed the financial responsibility of cremation or interment of an aborted fetus on the mother and disallowed the abortion procedure on the same visit as the first ultrasound — financial and time constraints that both impact low-income women’s ability to obtain abortions the most. The legislation was, rightfully, blocked by a U.S. District Court Judge in June 2016 before it was set to go into effect in July. Additionally, economic barriers block women from low-income backgrounds from accessing abortions. Financially strapped women are more likely to wait longer for the money needed to pay for an abortion. So when legislators limit the time frame available for receiving abortions, women who don’t have extra savings are forced to scramble for money or not be able to get the procedure in time. Economic differences among races

directly correlate to racial disparities in abortion in Pennsylvania. White women had 49 percent of abortions and Hispanic women had 8.9 percent in 2014, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Although African-Americans comprise less than 14 percent of the population, African-American women accounted for 42.9 percent of abortions

Liz Stahl STAFF ILLUSTRATOR in Pennsylvania. In the Pittsburgh region, 12.3 percent of people live below the federal poverty rate and African-Americans are three times more likely to fall under it than people who are white or Hispanic, presenting double the burden for women of color. If this anti-abortion bill were to become law, women of color in Pittsburgh

would be more heavily impacted than any other demographic group. And when you limit access to abortion for the women who need them, their already burdened financial situations are further exacerbated after the birth of a child. Raising children is expensive for any family, let alone women who already need help paying the bills on a day-today basis. Many women with low earnings simply can’t afford to have children — not without relying heavily on outside financial support from the state or nonprofit organizations. Abortion is not an choice women make lightly. For many, it’s because of severe medical needs. And for others, predominantly women of color living below the poverty level, it’s both a result of their situation and an action they need to take in that’s in their own best interest. If Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to look out for women in the state, they should start by addressing the socioeconomic inequalities that make some of us more likely to need abortion procedures — not by taking away our right to choice. Write to Danielle at

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February 16, 2017


Culture The cast of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is putting on performances through Sunday. Photos courtesy of PItt Stages

‘Spelling bee’ takes students back to middle school

Matt Maielli

Senior Staff Writer

You don’t need to know how to spell “dramaturgy” to see the theatre department’s newest play — but it would probably help. While some of the vocabulary may require a college reading level, the actors in Pitt Stages’ current production ask viewers to think back to a time when even the most infinitesimal problems seemed elephantine. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a one-act musical comedy originally written in 2004. The 2005 Broadway production won two Tonys, including one for Best Book of a Musical, and shouldered five other nominations plus a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. Pitt is having its own showcase of the play, at the Henry Heymann Theater in the basement of the Stephen Foster Memorial. The performances are currently showing and run through Sunday Feb. 19, with showtimes every night at 8 p.m., except Sunday’s matinee at 2 p.m. The performance is character-heavy,

and the entire play takes place during a local spelling bee. Nearly every character is middle school-aged, requiring the cast to revert back to that awkward stage of tweenhood to embody the melodrama of middle school. As exceptions to the young age range, former Putnam County Spelling Bee champion Rona — played by Adia Augustin — moderates along with Vice Principal Doug Panch, who is played by Jose Perez IV. Panch has just returned after a five-year break caused by an incident that remains vague. As pressure mounts, one by one the young spellers step up to the microphone until they hear the ill-fated bell signaling a misspelled word. Leaf Coneybear, played by Corey Forman, who also works at The Pitt News, shows his nerves as he spells each word he’s given. He’s at first cautious and unsure, then like a possessed water sprinkler suddenly enunciates each letter as his head scans the theater. One of the cast’s challenges is to take a seemingly insignificant spelling bee — which many school-age children take part

in at some point — and get the audience to understand the competition’s significance for the young spellers. On this front, the cast’s memorable performances flesh out their young but layered characters. The spellers include almost every archetype of middle school angst: there’s the casual talent of jock Chip played by Alex Dittmar or Dustin Butoryak depending on when you see the show, the Catholic schoolgirl Marcy played by Lauryn Morgan Thomas and the pressured-by-herdads-to-do-well Logainne played by Jenn Mikitka. There’s also Leaf, the odd one in the bunch who makes his own clothes, and William Barfee with the deviated septum, played by Rachelmae Pulliam. To express the characters’ young ages, and to complement their disproportionate concern with the outcome of the spelling bee, cast members worked on carrying themselves the way a middle schooler would. Harry Hawkins IV, a recent Pitt graduate and computer engineering major, choreographed the show, taking the characters’ ages into account. He said the choreography

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for this particular type of play was a departure from his usual work, such as his work on the department’s production of “Nine” last April. “A lot of the numbers, the choreography was more getting them around the space in creative manners,” he said. “[For example,] numbers like ‘Pandemonium,’ where you see a little bit of choreography but it’s mostly them just running around the space.” Hawkins also tried to inject a more childlike nature into the show’s choreography by asking the cast members how their emotions would play out differently if they were younger. “There were points where I had them move around the space but I had them more aware of how their body moves and taking that and making it more immature,” he said. “Not necessarily in the choreography itself, but you get a lot with how they sit or how they walk around the space.” To accomplish this childlike behavior,


Forman’s Leaf is played with a boundless energy, as he runs around the auditorium in a cape depicting a haphazard solar system. When Panch asks him to spell “capybara” he coyly replies, “Is that even a word?” In addition to relearning how to walk, talk and dance like sweaty-palmed middle schoolers, the cast members have to stay on their toes and interact with different audience members at each performance. The show is part script reading and part improvisation, according to Robert Frankenberry, lecturer in the musical the-

ater department and the play’s director. “Our first job is don’t screw it up,” Frankenberry said. “Then it’s to let loose and play with it.” To make the competition even more personal for the audience, playgoers can sign up outside the theater to be a “guest speller,” which means sharing the bleachers with the actors on a stage outfitted like a school gym and participating in the bee. “Part of the reason it’s there is to make the audience feel more like they’re at an informal event,” he said. Audience members roamed the flush

stage to play schoolyard classics such as hopscotch and cornhole before the show. By encouraging audience participation, the performance not only takes the cast back to the days of unicorn backpacks and Ninja Turtle lunchboxes, but brings the audience along for the ride, too. The audience participation may even change the performance from night to night, according to Mikitka — a junior media and professional communications major who plays Logainne in the show. “It gives kind of a different vibe,” Mikitka said. “Because sometimes they

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interact and sometimes they are kind of uncomfortable being there and each one is different.” Panch’s interactions with guest spellers are a highlight of the show. When a guest speller receives the laughably easy word “cow” and jokingly asks for it to be used in a sentence, Panch responds with the same dryly sarcastic tone we often pitch at smart-mouth kids: “Please, spell ‘cow.’” “It helps keep the performers on their toes actually,” Frankenberry said. “It’s never the same show twice.”


Sports column

Feeling Pitted: Panthers find new way to blow sure thing Steve Rotstein Sports Editor

For almost 28 minutes of game time Tuesday night, the Pitt men’s basketball team appeared on the verge of a much-needed third straight ACC win. Then, the Panthers’ 11-point lead against the Virginia Tech Hokies unraveled in a way some might have deemed impossible — but was all too familiar to longtime Pitt fans. The Panthers held a 40-29 halftime lead over the Hokies at the Petersen Events Center after putting together a masterful first-half performance from beyond the arc. Pitt shot 8-for-11 on 3-point field goals for a whopping 72.7 percent in the opening 20 minutes, and it looked like the team had finally figured out how to win without sixth man Ryan Luther. Virginia Tech stuck around by making five threes in the first half along with its first two 3-point attempts after the break, but the Panthers kept up their hot shooting to maintain their

double-digit lead. After a layup by senior forward Sheldon Jeter, Pitt led 52-41 with 12:28 remaining. While an 11-point lead might be a comfortable margin for another team, Panthers fans in the stands withheld their enthusiasm — and rightly so. Hokies guard Justin Bibbs nailed a 3-pointer to cut it to 52-44 going into the under-12 media timeout. A jumper by VT forward Zach LeDay made it 52-46 — a competitive score, but still a two-possession game. I was naive. Surely it’s impossible to score more than five points on a single possession, right? Wrong. After a steal by LeDay, Hokies guard Ahmed Hill drove the length of the floor for a fastbreak layup. Panthers senior forward Michael Young fouled Hill from behind as he fired up his shot, theoretically giving Hill a chance for an old-fashioned 3-point play. But referees decided to review the play to determine if Young committed a flagrant foul,

which would give Hill an additional two free throws as well as giving VT possession of the ball. To review, there are two types of flagrant fouls: a Flagrant 1 and a Flagrant 2. The NCAA rulebook defines a Flagrant 1 as “excessive and/ or unnecessary, not a legitimate play on the ball, and/or a hold or push from behind.” A Flagrant 2 involves “extreme/vulgar/abusive conduct” and results in an automatic ejection from the game, though the in-game penalties are the same. Young did meet the criteria of the Flagrant 1 by holding Hill from behind as he attempted his layup. The way it’s written in the rulebook, it was the right call. Still, I always thought in order for a foul to be considered flagrant, the contact had to be severe enough to prevent the shot from going in — which is why the offense receives two free throws along with possession of the ball. But maybe I’m just old school. The game has changed, and so has its rulebook. Cameron Johnson misses a potential See Column on page 9 game-tying 3-pointer vs. VT. Donny Falk STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Giordano grabs ACC title, school records fall in Atlanta Steve Rotstein

Lina Rathsack broke the Panthers’ program record in the 200 individual medley at the ACC Championships on Tuesday Courtesy of Jeff Gamza | Pitt Athletics

Sports Editor Dominic Giordano, the defending NCAA champion in the 3-meter dive, is already Pitt’s first-ever national champion in the natatorium. The senior put himself in position to defend that title Wednesday night, taking home first place in the 3M at the 2017 ACC Championships in Atlanta. Giordano tallied a sixdive score of 451.60 in the 3M finals, only 10.63 points shy of his school record. “It was a ton of fun. I love competing against these guys. I have some great friendships with them, so it’s always nice to go head-to-head with them and have fun at the end of the day,” Giordano said Wednesday in a video interview via Pitt Athletics. Giordano’s title-winning performance on the 3M may not have been a personal best, but multiple Pitt records have

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already fallen in Atlanta with one more day to go at the ACC Championships. Panthers junior swimmer Amanda Richey, already Pitt’s school record holder in the 1,000 free and 1,650 free, broke the program record in the 400 individual medley by more than three seconds Wednesday night with a time of 4:11.69. The performance was good for first place in the 400 IM secondary finals, ninth place overall and 20 team points for the Panthers. Junior swimmer Lina Rathsack broke her own school record in the 100 breast Wednesday with a time of 59.80 in the prelims. She finished sixth in the finals with a time of 1:00.21. “We had some really fantastic swims tonight,” Pitt head coach John Hargis said Wednesday in a press release. “Setting two more school records was a great accomplishment. Amanda’s 400 IM was just amazing ... and Lina made the A final in a very competitive event.” See Swimming on page 9


Column, pg. 8 The NCAA implemented the “Flagrant 1 and Flagrant 2” system in 2011 in an effort to better protect the players and eliminate egregiously physical and dangerous fouls, then added more rule changes in 2013 aimed at preventing physical defenders from disrupting the offensive flow of the game. That being said, nothing about what Young did put Hill in any sort of danger. Rewarding the Hokies with two points, two foul shots and possession of the ball in that situation seems excessive. What happened next may just be what this tumultuous season of Panthers basketball is remembered for — right alongside Steve Vasturia’s game-winning 3-pointer for Notre Dame in overtime of the ACC opener, and that 106-51 loss versus Louisville. Hill made both foul shots, cutting the deficit to 52-50. Bibbs then cut through a screen, received the inbounds pass in the corner and immediately drained a 3-pointer, capping off the unthinkable 7-point play. In one possession and less than two seconds of game time, Pitt’s 52-46 lead had disappeared. VT had the lead, 53-52, and although 9:06 remained in the game, this one might as well have ended right

away. To the Panthers’ credit, they didn’t fold after the unfortunate turn of events. They responded to the adversity, coming right back with a jumper by Jeter and a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Cameron Johnson to retake the lead at 57-53. The teams then traded six-point runs, and Pitt led 63-59 with 1:53 to play. But the Panthers wouldn’t score another point. The Hokies took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by guard Seth Allen with 1:10 to play, then survived three potential game-tying 3-pointers by Pitt in the final 15 seconds to hold on to win, 66-63. Some fans might point to those three missed shots with a chance to tie the game as the definition of “Pitting” — a term used by tortured Panthers fans to describe losing a game in excruciating fashion. Prominent examples include the 2009 Regional Final loss versus Villanova on Scottie Reynolds’ buzzer-beating layup, or the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl against Houston, in which Pitt led 31-6 in the fourth quarter only to lose, 35-34. But for me, the 7-point play was truly the embodiment of “Pitting.” It would be nearly impossible to find another team coughing up a six-point lead in one possession, if it’s ever happened at all. It’s astonishing that this sequence may have just dashed the Panthers’ NCAA Tournament hopes. Only at Pitt.

Swimming, pg. 8 Rathsack also broke her own program record Tuesday in the 200 IM, posting a time of 1:57.66 in the secondary finals to win her heat and place ninth overall. Her record-breaking performance also tallied 20 team points for the Panthers in the competition. “My strategy was to swim hard in the first half of the race and stay close enough to make up ground with my two best strokes in the second half,” Rathsack said Tuesday in a press release. “I could tell after the backstroke that I was within touching distance of the leaders. It physically hurt more than previous times I swam the [individual medley] but that’s what made it such a good race for me.” Rathsack previously set the school record in the 200 IM with a time of 1:59.29 at the 2016 Ohio State Invitational Nov. 18. She also set Pitt records in the 100 breast and 200 breast at the OSU Invite, finishing the 100 breast in 59.97 seconds Nov. 19, and the 200 breast in 2:10.08 Nov. 20. Her performance in Tuesday’s secondary final earned her a qualifier berth to the 2017 NCAA Championships. Also Tuesday, Pitt’s 200 free relay team of Rathsack, Rachel Brown, Emily Murphy and Valerie

February 16, 2017

Daigneault broke the Panthers’ program record with a time of 1:30.81, good for ninth place in the competition and 40 team points. “With two school records, it was a heck of a day for our program,” Hargis said Tuesday in a press release. “We had a decent morning, then came back in the evening and swam faster, which is always nice to do. We attacked races and swam with urgency and purpose, especially Lina in the IM finals and Amanda in the 500 free finals.” On the opening day of competition Monday, Giordano and first-year diver Joe Ference each advanced to the finals in the 1-meter dive. Giordano finished fourth with a six-dive total of 376.7, while Ference placed eighth with a score of 304.05. “It felt amazing to reach the finals,” Ference said Monday in a press release. “I was even surprised with my performance, but I just focused on staying relaxed and hitting my dives. It was awesome to compete alongside Dom in the finals.” After dominating the competition in the 3M, Giordano will have a chance to end his career with back-to-back national titles at the NCAA Championships in March. The ACC Women’s Championships and the men’s diving championships conclude Thursday, Feb. 16, while the men’s swimmers will return to Atlanta for the ACC Men’s Championships Feb. 27 to March 2.


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