The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

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Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Senate Council holds first meeting of academic year, discusses summer updates

The+Cathedral+of+Learning
TPN File Photo
The Cathedral of Learning

Chancellor Joan Gabel announced that the search for a new provost is “getting ready to launch” at the first Senate Council meeting of the academic year. 

“It’s a full national search — on-campus, internal, external will all be considered and I’m very much looking forward to it,” Gabel said.

Senate Council met Thursday afternoon in room 2700 of Posvar Hall and over Zoom. The meeting lasted just under an hour and featured a plethora of reports from representatives of different shared governance organizations such as Student Government Board and Staff Council. After approving the May 18 meeting minutes, Senate Council President Robin Kear gave the floor to Gabel for the Chancellor’s report.

Gabel said the first step of the provost search is forming a “search committee.” This committee will be chaired by Anantha Shekhar, the John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Pitt’s School of Medicine and senior vice chancellor for the health sciences, according to Gabel, but it has not yet been fully formed.

“Once we have the committee in place, then we start the typical process,” Gabel said. “Prepare a position profile, start to identify a first round of candidates, then go from there.”

Gabel also addressed the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action in the college admissions process, saying the decision “fundamentally” changes the way Pitt does its admissions. She said Pitt’s admissions team did “incredible” work in anticipation of the decision. 

“[The admissions team did] a lot of analysis and consternation about where else this may impact the work that we’re doing on campus — the parameters or limitations of that work — while absolutely being committed across the board to continued efforts around diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, et cetera,” Gabel said. 

Gabel announced that Panthers Forward applications are open until Sept. 24 at midnight and the nominations for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards in teaching, research and public service are open until Oct. 15. She also announced that two Pitt Honors College students won the Obama-Chesky scholarship in public service — also known as the Voyager scholarship — and Pitt’s Center for Governance and Markets in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs won the outstanding civic engagement award from the American Political Science Association. 

Ryan Young, Student Government Board president, said SGB launched a new website in hopes of creating a more “sustainable” way to communicate with the student body. He also said SGB plans on renovating their office space to improve accessibility, especially for students in wheelchairs, and that SGB added a new Disability Resources Ad Hoc Committee

“We’re making sure that our own office space is accessible before we start working on the broader campus,” Young said. 

SGB has multiple new committees — conditional and ad hoc — and task forces, according to Young. He said the new conditional committee is the Support, Advocacy and Prevention Committee, which will work to prevent sexual misconduct and support survivors at Pitt. The other new additions include the Renters First Ad Hoc Committee, the Students of Color and Solidarity Ad Hoc Committee, a Single Use Plastics Task Force and the Future Planning Task Force, according to Young. 

Lindsay Rodzwicz, Staff Council president, announced that the Compensation Modernization project is in its “annual increase season,” and said increase letters will go out to staff either this week or next. She said Staff Council is “really enthusiastic” that all staff are now at the $16.50/hour minimum, and that staff were brought up to minimums of their new classifications. 

“It’s great progress that we now have this structure to compare staff salaries to market and equity, and we’re really eagerly anticipating the next stage of career pathways for that mobility of Pitt staffers,” Rodzwicz said. 

Despite this progress, Rodzwicz said the salary compression felt by current employees is a concern for morale and retention of Pitt’s longterm staffers who provide “that really invaluable institutional knowledge.” She also said Staff Council felt disheartened to learn that the Enterprise Research Project will be put on hold until summer 2024. 

“We wanted to reiterate that our current systems and inefficient workflow place that continued burden on staff, so we look forward to that project being reinvigorated,” Rodzwicz said.

About the Contributor
Donata Massimiani, Assistant News Editor