Staff Council proposes statement in support of reproductive rights


Staff Council’s steering committee has passed and soon will submit to a full membership vote a “Statement in Support of Reproductive Rights,” which in current draft form “ask(s) that the University commit to serving as an active participant in reciprocal, explicit and intentional engagement, including partnerships with community experts and stakeholders, related to reproductive justice and health equity.”

The statement also would “acknowledge and support those staff who are or may be affected by the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade,” allowing that “while Pennsylvania has current state laws that protect legal access to abortion, state governance has the potential to shift.”

The statement concludes that it is based on the call in the organization’s bylaws for the group to “address … philosophical and operational issues affecting the welfare of the staff and the University at all University of Pittsburgh campuses.”

In other Staff Council news from the Sept. 21 meeting, Executive Vice President Kenny Doty announced that Staff Council has tentative plans for reviving Kennywood Day at Pitt next year. The annual picnic had been the group’s main fundraiser and public event for years until being cancelled due to COVID-19, beginning in 2020.

In the meantime, the group is setting up discount tickets for Pitt employees at the Kennywood Fall Fest Day on Oct. 22.

New Staff Council President Lindsay Rodzwicz Burns opened her first meeting at the organization’s head with praise for former president Angie Coldren, who resigned to take a position at Pitt–Greensburg. Burns noted how Coldren had “handled it all in such a calm demeanor” during her tenure as president, while Doty recalled how, when he joined Staff Council more than 15 years ago, she was one of the first people he relied upon for an introduction to the organization’s ways.

The group’s administrator, Lola Suvak, said Coldren had “responded to some of the most politically and emotionally charged topics affecting staff with grace. Not everyone got to see the many meetings you held with senior leaders on staff concerns — without any praise — on top of your extremely busy full-time job. … A university’s problems were not made in a day, but the groundwork you have laid over the last year will help the current officer group keep moving forward.”

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.


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