By DONOVAN HARRELL
In addition to discussing a possible vaccine mandate (see related story) at the Oct. 14 Senate Council meeting, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher also commented on the annual budget process. He said that even though “we’re not anywhere near the state budget cycle,” he predicts that it will be difficult.
“I think all the signals are pointing to this being a rough budget cycle,” Gallagher said. “There's a lot of dynamics that are making it that way. Some are budgetary, some are other issues unrelated to the budget that are playing out but that touch higher education. Some of that has to do with the political cycle where things are at.”
Gallagher added that he anticipates that this budgetary cycle will require Pitt and other state-related universities to advocate for strong state support.
“This will be a year where support for the state-related universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, will be something we're going to have to work hard to remind folks about why that support is important and how it works at the University of Pittsburgh,” Gallagher said.
Earlier this month, members of two state House subcommittees discussed ways to modify how the state-related universities — Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln — receive funding and how much. Hari Sastry, Pitt’s chief financial officer, testified at the hearing about how Pitt uses the state money, which is all applied to reducing tuition for Pennsylvania students.
Dependent care committee
Following Gallagher’s remarks, Senate Council President Robin Kear reiterated some of the topics outlined in her report to Faculty Assembly on Oct. 6.
She then brought the proposal for the formation of an ad hoc committee on dependent care, which Faculty Assembly unanimously approved, to members of Senate Council.
This committee would investigate issues and policies related to dependent care, including child care and elder care. The committee, Kear said, could produce several benefits for the Pitt community, she said.
“I believe that policy change can help us promote retention, our scholarly productivity, diversity and inclusion, it can support those efforts,” Kear said. “I think that focusing this committee with the purpose to act and benchmark and review and recommend would be beneficial for these issues.”
She tapped Anna Wang-Erickson, an assistant professor of pediatrics and associate director of the Institute for Infection, Inflammation & Immunity in Children, to chair the committee.
Alexandros Labrinidis, chair of the Department of Computer Science at the School of Computing and Information, praised the proposal.
“As Chancellor Gallagher said earlier, the pandemic is accelerating things,” Labrinidis said. “This area is something that is rapidly becoming more important as people realize that there needs to be good support.”
Senate Council members unanimously voted to approve the formation of this committee.
Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at email@example.com or 412-383-9905.
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