By DONOVAN HARRELL
The last Senate Council meeting of the fall 2018 semester was filled with holiday cheer as various University leaders updated the Pitt community on investments, faculty/staff events and more.
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, in his report, detailed Pitt’s agreement to purchase hydroelectric power from the Allegheny River project.
Other topics Gallagher mentioned include:
- An ongoing effort by Ellen Moran, vice chancellor for strategic communications and marketing, in evaluating the University’s branding.
- Panthers Forward has selected its first class of 150 students to participate in the program, which helps Pitt graduates with student loan payments. The selected also make pledges to replenish the fund at a later date.
- An IT assessment report was released under the leadership of Jinx Walton, chief information officer, who looked at the state of Pitt’s IT infrastructure.
- Pitt recognized 17 staff members for 40 years of service and two for 50 years.
Gallagher said Pitt is analyzing the proposed changes by the Department of Education to Title IX rules. The proposal would narrow the definition of sexual harassment, change the choices of evidentiary standards that would apply, narrow the standards by which someone would have to investigate an allegation and other changes. A comment period is open from Nov. 28 to Jan 28.
“One of the things we really have to understand is that a regulation can be the floor. It can be the base requirement, but it may not change what you can do,” Gallagher said. “In other cases, though, a regulation can materially affect and constrain what we can do. We have to understand the difference between those because our principles have not changed.”
Senate Council President Chris Bonneau delivered his entire report, in between chuckles from meeting attendees, in the form of poem inspired by “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore.
“Twas the meeting before Christmas, and all through the room, people were listening, not hoping for gloom,” Bonneau said.
“The chancellor’s report was thorough, even funny, as we approach the budget season and request some more money. The Faculty Senate president thinks he's so witty, but most of his jokes are, well kind of …”
As the poem continued, Bonneau reviewed several events during the semester, including talks surrounding faculty unionization, the open forums on ethical investment and intellectual property and smoking policy discussions.
“That was the sum total of my writing output of this semester,” Bonneau said to applause after finishing his poem.
Following the report, Provost Ann Cudd praised Bonneau’s involvement with the national Inside Out prison exchange program. Bonneau, a co-founder of the Pitt Prison Education Project, taught a joint class of Pitt undergraduates and incarcerated students.
“It was an incredibly moving experience to see these 16 Pitt students working with the 16 Inside students and giving presentations,” Cudd said. “It was beautifully done. ... What was so moving was that there was a clear rapport developed between the two groups and they had learned so much from each other.”
Andy Stephany, Staff Council president, said the group’s members reviewed the recently proposed smoke and tobacco-use free policy and feel certain aspects of it need more clarification before moving forward.
Stephany also announced that Nichole Radulovich, senior administrator with the Department of Medicine, is the recipient of the 2018 Staff Council Staff Mentor award.
Staff Council also awarded four $500 scholarships to children of Pitt staff currently studying at Pitt.
Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at email@example.com or 412-383-9905.