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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Pitt baseball players stand in the dugout during a game against Virginia Tech on March 24 at the Petersen Sports Complex.
Pitt baseball shows promise in weekend series in Texas
By Dylan Grace, Staff Writer • 12:32 am

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Pitt baseball players stand in the dugout during a game against Virginia Tech on March 24 at the Petersen Sports Complex.
Pitt baseball shows promise in weekend series in Texas
By Dylan Grace, Staff Writer • 12:32 am

Board of Trustees discusses shifts on the board, state plans to reduce tuition costs

The+Board+of+Trustees+meeting+in+the+William+Pitt+Union+Assembly+Room+on+Thursday+afternoon.
Adrienne Cahillane | Staff Writer
The Board of Trustees meeting in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room on Thursday afternoon.

Chancellor Joan Gabel began the first Board of Trustees meeting this year with her chancellor report and said community engagement is becoming an “increasingly important measure of University quality.”

“With regard to updates, I am pleased to report that in November, Pitt received the 2023 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award,” Gabel said. “This is the highest honor for community engagement given by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.” 

The Pitt Board of Trustees gathered in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room for the first meeting of 2024. The board discussed Gov. Josh Shapiro’s plan to reduce tuition costs for students and leadership changes on the board.

Before the meeting, there was a group of students protesting inside the William Pitt Union with a banner and speeches right outside the meeting calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The students passed out flyers with their demands and did not interrupt the meeting, but were asked to leave by a police officer.

Pitt has received a 10% increase in research and development expenditures, according to Gabel.

“The National Science Foundation came out with a $1.25 billion announcement for our research,” Gabel said. “That puts Pitt at number 16 out of 900 institutions, thanks to a 10% increase in research expenditures over the previous year and thanks to all of our scholars and leadership.”

Property and Facilities Chair Peter Varischetti said the University renewed its lease at the Bridge on Forbes to start in August of 2025.

“The committee also approved three lease renewals including a lease renewal of the Bridge on Forbes for 230 student housing beds and 50 parking spaces, with the option to add up to 51 beds based on the name,” Varischetti said.

During the meeting, Chairperson Louis Costello announced that Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Hari Sastry will step down and take a position at Georgetown University.

“I’d like to take this time to recognize a dedicated member of the University’s leadership who’s attending his last meeting,” Chairperson of the Board Louis Costello said. “During his tenure at the University of Pittsburgh, Sastry has been a strategic leader and a strong steward of the University’s financial resources, managing a $3 billion operating budget and a $5.5 billion endowment and successfully saved part of the University’s financial strength [during] many uncertainties of COVID-19.” 

Gabel also discussed some new higher education plans that Gov. Shapiro announced last month. These plans intend to cut tuition costs for students.

“Governor Shapiro announced a new framework for higher education in the Commonwealth, which proposed three initiatives,” Gabel said. “The University will continue to aggressively pursue a fair funding formula that benefits our students and allows us to do our very critical work for the entire Commonwealth and beyond.”

The Board of Trustees also elected John Verbanac, a Pitt alumnus and trustee, as the next chairperson. Verbanac will start his position in July.

In light of many recent events, Gabel said she feels Pitt should encourage free speech on campus due to Pitt’s role in advocating for free speech on college campuses.

“I think recent events have shown us that we need to be purposeful and intentional about this to the University of Pittsburgh as one of the founding members of the campus call for free expression,” Gabel said.

Gabel said she hopes students can engage in productive discussions with their peers to encourage the flow of ideas on campus.

“We want to make sure that in the process of learning and engaging on this campus, we can have the free exchange of ideas that we can have diversity of thoughts, that we can have constructive dialogues,” Gabel said. 



About the Contributor
Adrienne Cahillane, Senior Staff Writer