By DONOVAN HARRELL
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher told attendees of the first Senate Council for the academic year that shared governance will continue tackling a variety of topics surrounding Pitt’s budget, health and wellness programs and international programs.
The Sept. 18 meeting highlighted upcoming issues that Senate Council will face and reviewed events that happened over the summer.
Gallagher began his report announcing that his office will be working on an update for the five-year Plan for Pitt, which was created four years ago. This is a topic that will be brought up at the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 27, he said.
He moved onto general budget issues and said he was surprised by the state’s decision to continue increasing its appropriation for Pitt, continuing a six- to seven-year trend of increases.
Despite this, Pitt still raised tuition. Gallagher said the tuition increase was “more than offset” by the jump in financial aid. He lauded Pitt’s advancements in affordability through programs like Pitt Success. With the cost of these financial aid programs, Pitt did not record any income increase from tuition, Gallagher said.
“I know that’s of high interest by the students.,” Gallagher said. “But I wanted to emphasize to everybody, the last thing we try to do is raise that tuition. It’s the last decision that’s made in the budget process.”
Gallagher also spoke on the charged political rhetoric surrounding immigration and how it has affected Pitt. He said that in spite of shifting attitudes and national tensions, Pitt will continue fostering an inclusive community.
“There’s a lot more headwind today where there has been none,” Gallagher said. “We have to remember that every international member of the community who’s here at Pitt belongs here, and we’re not going to respond in a way that makes distinctions based on ethnicity, country of origin.”
Gallagher also will have his hands full with a number of committees. The Public Safety Advisory Committee has begun gathering feedback on public safety issues to provide to Gallagher. The Advisory Committee on Inclusion and Accessibility will set out to explore both short- and long-term solutions to making the Pitt community more accessible for people with physical disabilities.
The ad hoc committee on Health and Well-Being will continue exploring a possible update to Pitt’s smoking policies.
An updated survey on Sexual Assault on Pitt’s campus will be released mid-October, and Gallagher is hoping to use the momentum from that survey to continue generating awareness for the issue.
Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-383-9905.