Senate Council approves HIPAA and protection from abuse policies


Senate Council members approved two draft policies while Chancellor Patrick Gallagher updated the Pitt community on the vaccine mandate at the hybrid in-person/zoom meeting on Dec. 9.

Gallagher thanked the Pitt community for their perseverance during the COVID 19 pandemic.

The vaccine mandate officially began on Dec. 6, but the bulk of enforcement will begin at the start of the spring 2022 semester, Gallagher said.

The chancellor didn’t provide the specific number of people who still have not complied with the mandate, but he described the group as “relatively small” and scattered throughout Pitt’s campuses and programs. The University is reaching out to these people, he added.

“We’re at the point where the numbers are low enough, it’s almost case management,” Gallagher said. “Hopefully, by the time we get to the progressive, disciplinary phases or … some of the student disenrollment steps that the policy calls for, we will be dealing with, hopefully, zero, but a very small number. That would be our goal.”

Earlier this month, the University announced that Pitt employees would receive three additional paid vacation days for the upcoming winter break, which begins Dec. 20.

However, members of the Pitt community shouldn’t expect this gift every year.

“This will not be routine,” Gallagher said. “I mean none of us expected this pandemic to drag on like this. I think everyone needs some time to rest and recharge, and so closing the University and providing those days off, I think, is welcomed by everybody.”

Following the reports from other council members, Linda Tashbook introduced the proposed Protection of Children from Abuse and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act policies.

The child abuse policy establishes the programs and centers where employees and students need to obtain background checks to work with children and outlines the process for obtaining the clearances.

The HIPAA policy outlines the implementation responsibilities of the Pitt community as it relates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which offers protection for the privacy of health information.

Senate Council members voted unanimously to approve the draft policies, which will go to the chancellor’s office for final approval.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905.


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