University of Pittsburgh
Faculty Assembly Meeting
May 6, 2003
1. President Cassing called the meeting to order at 3:05 PM.
2. The minutes of the Faculty Assembly meeting of April 1, 2003, were
approved as written.
3. President Cassing asked for new items of business for the meeting.
Dr. Pinsky said he had two items that he would add to the end of his TAFC
report. One item is about the School of Medicine’s stand on tobacco
settlement money; the other, about the Dean of the School of Medicine’s
criteria for reappointment of faculty.
4. Remarks of the President, James H. Cassing:
·Congratulations to the newly-elected officers and members of Faculty
Assembly and Standing Committees of the Senate who will begin their terms
on July 1.
·At last month’s meeting, Assembly passed a resolution
introduced by Lewis Jacobson requesting that the Senate Plant
Utilization and Planning Committee or the appropriate administrator report
to Assembly “to ensure that each building that contains research
and/or instructional laboratories has assigned to it a uniquely dedicated
Building Engineer to protect the safety and health of faculty, staff and
students and the integrity of the research enterprise”. Buck Favorini,
Chair of the Plant Utilization and Planning Committee, convened a meeting
on May 5 and invited Ana Guzman, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities
Management to address the issue. At the meeting, Guzman made an extensive
presentation on the history and rationale for the current policy of roving,
cross-trained engineers, which replaced the practice of building-specific
engineers that prevailed until two months ago. Factors determining the
change to roving, cross-trained engineers include: 1. Updating and reduction
of in-building systems;
2) Creation of a database of 5,000 pieces of equipment requiring maintenance;
3) Centralizing equipment in Central Plants; 4) Installation of controls
that send data to roving engineers’ beepers in case of changing
or hazardous conditions; and 5) Custodians on site during off-hours to
monitor problems. Guzman reported that the most qualified individual will
continue to respond to problems, but cross-training will cover situations
of absence, vacation, retirement, etc. In view of the rationale
presented by Guzman, the Committee does not recommend returning to the
system of building-specific engineers.
Prof. Jacobson stated that the complexity of systems in research buildings
is so high that we already know on the basis of long experience that systems
will not work as designed. The consequences of failures of these systems
are very much higher than in non-research buildings. Jacobson and Guzman
differ with regard to where the expense of minimizing damage is borne.
A policy cannot simply be changed with the expectation that the requesting
department can pay for building safety. To Jacobson’s knowledge,
the changes had not been discussed; they were done without even an announcement.
While he can’t argue with the Committee’s recommendation,
some other avenues will have to be pursued to remedy the situation.
Favorini added that the Committee did feel there should be a better way
to get faculty and the PUP Committee involved in decisions as they are
being made. The structure of decision making needs to be addressed.
·Vice Provost Blair reported that the Review of Department Chairs
is moving along. With the exception of Titusville, the Regional Chairpersons
have been reviewed. The Schools of Education, Engineering and Information
Sciences are complete. FAS chairs will probably be reviewed this September.
These are all the Provost-area Schools with departments.
·Susan Newman, faculty representative on the Board of Trustees
Property and Facilities Committee, reported on approved renovations made
by that committee.
·The recipient of the Chancellor’s Affirmative Award will
be announced at the
June 9 Senate Council Meeting. Professors Tobias and McCloskey are representing
the Senate on the Selection Committee.
·Mayor Murphy will be the special guest speaker at the June 3 Faculty
Assembly Meeting. He wants to address members of the faculty about the
5. Reports by and Announcements of Special and Standing Committees of
Benefits and Welfare Committee, Prof. Herbert A. Chesler, Co-chair
The committee has been actively working to persuade the administration
to allow faculty and staff to have access to the recreational and fitness
facilities in the Petersen Center. The likelihood of that happening gets
smaller and smaller especially with the contemplation of adding a major
dormitory complex on the hill. The committee looked at working with the
administration on finding other facilities appropriate for faculty and
staff but realized that the faculty has no input – other than the
Co-chairs occasionally making a plea through Faculty Assembly. The memo
with the motion dated May 6, 2003, from the Benefits
and Welfare Committee reads:
On May 2, 2003 the Benefits and Welfare Committee decided to request that
the Chancellor establish an advisory committee on faculty and staff to
promote recreational services and personal fitness on the U of P campus.
The Committee requests that the membership of the committee shall include
faculty and staff representatives from the Benefits
and Welfare Committee.
The Committee requests that the domain of this advisory committee should
encompass such matters as the following: facilities, equipment, site(s)
development and maintenance, scheduling hours of availability, programming
and activities, instruction and staffing, and long-term planning and budgeting.
This listing is illustrative.
The Committee requests that the administrative person(s) responsible for
decision-making in these areas be charged to consult with and to seek
the advice of this advisory committee on a regular basis, and that an
annual report on the status of activities and matters related to recreation
and fitness shall be reported to the Faculty Assembly.
The Committee asks Faculty Assembly to support these requests, and to
authorize the Executive Committee of the University Senate to inform the
Chancellor of Faculty Assembly’s desire for them to be adopted and
implemented with the start of the Fall Term, 2003-2004.
Prof. Hershey commented that just recently faculty and staff lost the
use of an exercise/weight room in Trees Hall.
Prof. Munro asked about the Wellness Program offered to employees. Prof.
Chesler responded that it is a well-ensconced program but serves a relatively
small number of people.
Prof. Belle asked about the structure that already exists within the Benefits
and Welfare Committee that meets many of the requests. Would an advisory
committee take away their role? Chesler responded that a Chancellor’s
committee would open lines of communication with the administration and
a larger constituency of people. It would provide a group that could be
held responsible for what they do or don’t do.
Profs. Ross and Belle recommended the above resolution be amended by adding
the words “faculty and staff” to the first paragraph –
as indicated above in bold.
The motion was approved as amended.
Prof. Nelson asked about the long-term care program that seems to have
fallen on hard times. Prof. Chesler responded that Human Resources has
been informed of faculty and staff concern. HR will report back to the
Budget Policies Committee, Prof. Philip K. Wion, Chair
A copy of the Committee’s Recommendations Concerning Salary Maximums
for Staff was mailed to Faculty Assembly with the agenda for today’s
meeting. (Copy on file in the Senate Office.) A certain number of staff
did not receive raises this year, though they performed satisfactorily,
because they came up against salary maximums for their job classifications.
The Budget Policies Committee is concerned because we do have a policy
that does say that “Each faculty or staff member performing satisfactorily
will receive a percentage increase of the size determined for that year
for maintenance of real salary”. This is in conflict with the staff
classification system which has maximums. The recommendations of the Committee
Because the capping of salaries at maximums not adjusted by the amount
allocated for maintenance of real salary is in violation of the salary
policy, we strongly recommend that
1. The salary of any staff member who performed satisfactorily (or better)
but did not receive an increase for this reason should be raised by at
least l.5%, retroactive to the beginning of this fiscal year; and
2. In subsequent years staff salary ranges should be adjusted upwards
annually by at least the amount allocated under the salary policy for
maintenance of real salary for that year.
The Committee is asking for Faculty Assembly endorsement of these items.
After much discussion, friendly amendments were added. The resolution
was revised to read:
Because the capping of salaries at maximums not adjusted by the amount
allocated for maintenance of real salary is inconsistent with the salary
policy, we strongly recommend that
1. Any staff member who performed satisfactorily (or better) but did not
receive an increase of at least 1.5% this year should receive an increase
of at least 1.5%, retroactive to July 1, 2002; and
2. In subsequent years staff salary maximums should be adjusted upwards
by at least the amount allocated under the salary policy for maintenance
of real salary for that year.
The resolution was passed unanimously.
Bylaws and Procedures Committee, Prof. Frank Beatrous, Chair
·Bylaws and Procedures Committee recommends two changes to the
Senate Bylaws. The first has to do with Article III. Senate Council, Section
2. Composition. Senate Council has three staff members but the Bylaws
do not specify who is entitled to appoint those members. The recommendation
is to amend (d) three staff members to (d) three staff members selected
by the Staff Association Council.
The amendment was passed unanimously.
·The other change has to do with the election of members of Standing
The current method is complicated and confusing. Currently a weight of
2, 1 or 0 is assigned and members of Faculty Assembly can vote for as
many candidates as they wish. The proposal is to change this to a system
whereby you select the candidates you wish to vote for up to the number
of positions there are to fill. The proposal is to amend Article V. Committee
for Elections and Method of Elections, Section 7, (c) Standing Committees
– Faculty Members:
Amend to read: (3) Each Faculty Assembly member may vote
for a number of candidates not exceeding the number of vacancies. The
candidates with the most votes shall be declared elected. If necessary,
ties will be resolved by lot.
Discussion: Dr. Baker defended the current policy noting that there is
nothing worse than having a committee where people don’t show up.
Having a weight of 2 increases the chances of putting the weight by the
names of those more likely to attend.
The amendment was passed with one opposed.
Senate Committee for Elections, Prof. Herbert A. Chesler, Chair
Handouts were distributed showing Officers and members of Faculty Assembly
who were elected and also those members of Standing Committees who were
Chesler thanked Alice Kuller of the Health Sciences Library System who
served as Co-chair. Kuller will chair the committee next year. Nicholas
Bircher was elected President, Irene Frieze was elected Vice President,
and Josephine Olson was re-elected to Secretary. The Committee is grateful
to those who agreed to have their names placed on the ballot. Chesler
declared the election officially completed and congratulated those who
Tenure and Academic Freedom Committee, Dr. Michael R. Pinsky,
The TAFC report on the Recommendations to Faculty Assembly Regarding Fast
Track Options for the Faculty Grievance Process was e-mailed to Faculty
Assembly members a week prior to today’s meeting. Several years
ago, Past President of the Senate, Nathan Hershey, asked the Provost’s
Office to suggest a Fast Tract Alternative that faculty could elect to
use to expedite the grievance process. Over the past three months the
TAFC reviewed the Provost’s proposal and found the Fast Tract option
unacceptable on two separate points. First, the TAFC was not sure that
an arbitrator assigned by the Provost’s Office might not be in the
best position to appreciate the faculty member’s perspective. Second,
TAFC was concerned that having only one person in charge of the fact-finding
panel could result in an analysis that would be biased or that could be
portrayed as biased. That risk would be minimized by retaining the three-member
panel process presently mandated.
Recommendations: However, to insure a timely review of
the facts and appropriate due process, three specific items need to be
present and these represent the TAFC proposed solution that we request
to be supported by the University Senate Council and forwarded to the
Provost. These items are:
1. The Provost Office is to notify all School Deans and appropriate Department
Chairmen of the need to provide the TAFC-mandated fact-finding committee
with ready access to all relevant documents in the case of a faculty grievance
action, as mandated by the University. The TAFC is aware of the sensitive
nature of some of these documents and all inquiries will be performed
on a confidential basis.
2. The chairman of the three-member fact-finding committee charged with
the investigation for the grievant will be instructed as to the time-dependent
nature of this investigation, and the need to complete the fact finding
in a timely fashion within three months of organizing the committee. The
chairman and other committee members are to receive reminder notices via
e-mail or campus mail from the Provost’s Office two months after
starting their activity and again at the end of the three-month interval.
The Provost’s Office will be notified at three months if the process
is not complete. If a report is not finalized by this time, the chairman
of the TAFC or his representative is to contact the chairman of the fact-finding
committee to ascertain the reasons for the delay, relay these issues to
the grievant and attempt to expedite the process.
3. The TAFC will monitor in real time the actions of the fact-finding
committee, but not the content of their study, to identify problems or
potential problems that may delay the completion of the final report.
The TAFC will report on an annual basis to the Faculty Assembly about
any grievance processes that were associated with delays, their root causes
and proposed means to prevent them in the future.
The Committee asked that Faculty Assembly endorse these recommendations.
·Prof. Hershey noted that he asked the Provost’s Office several
years ago to prepare a draft fast-tract option so that a person filing
a grievance could have the option to have a single person to determine
the facts who would serve instead of the panel. The theory behind it was
that one person behind the process could move more quickly than a panel.
The individual filing the grievance would still have all the rights they
would otherwise have. Prof. Hershey said he would propose a resolution
from Faculty Assembly to have the President of the Senate appoint a committee
to negotiate with the Provost’s Office to make some changes in the
optional alternative. There would be no loss to the faculty in having
two avenues to consider in determining how they want to address a grievance
or a denial of promotion or tenure. This is not an either/or situation;
there is no reason to turn down an opportunity to further explore an optional
·Prof. Tobias said TAFC is asking for is some power to make sure
a panel does meet in a timely manner.
·Dr. Baker would support a resolution for the President to appoint
a committee to further explore the fast-tract option.
The three TAFC recommendations passed unanimously.
·Prof. Hershey was asked to delay his resolution until after Dr.
Pinsky finished other items of business under his report.
·Pinsky stated that Dr. Arthur Levine announced to the School of
Medicine that all new hirees to the UPP as MDs may not be given University
of Pittsburgh faculty positions. In private conversation, Levine said
this also occurs with reappointments as well. Carey Balaban and Pinsky
met with Levine on April 30. They were assured by the Dean that there
will be no active effort to deny faculty status to anyone who is already
a faculty member. Levine said he will, submit by the end of June, criteria
for appointment for the positions of clinical, academic and research faculty;
Levine will ask for feedback on his proposal. The new criteria will take
place July 2004. Pinksy will report back to Faculty Assembly when he has
a more definitive statement.
Hershey asked how this would affect people’s fringe benefits. Pinsky
said it would have a great impact. Fringe benefits for the UPP are significantly
less than for the U of P appointments in terms of retirement and health
Bircher stated that Levine should give very serious consideration to stipulating
some form of academic performance that includes teaching of future physicians
and residents as a meaningful activity, rather than placing all the emphasis
on activities funded by the NIH.
·Pinsky also reported that Levine sent out a notice to faculty
stating that anyone who has tobacco industry-supported research must stop
it immediately and return the funds. Harrisburg issued an edict that any
school getting funding from the tobacco industry will not be allowed to
share in the Tobacco Settlement Funds. Pinsky said this is a major statement
of academic freedom infringement. He believes that the Provost and Levine
are discussing this issue.
·Hershey continued on with his resolution.
“The Faculty Assembly is pleased that the Provost, in response
to a request, submitted a plan for expedited review as an optional alternative
to the current review processes. The President should appoint a committee
to enter into negotiations respecting the plan for expedited review submitted
by the Provost to secure some changes in the plan.” The idea
is to see to what extent we can get modified ways to make it more suitable
and more likely to be seriously considered by members of the faculty.
Tobias called for a point of order saying he did not believe there should
be a substitute motion re the Faculty Grievance Process.
Hershey stated that his resolution is not a substitute motion.
Cassing said that even though Faculty Assembly unanimously endorsed TAFC’s
recommendations there was no reason not to have additional discussion
about other options.
Prof. Nelson asked if the resolution should be an item of new business.
A motion was made, seconded and voted on to table Hershey’s
The next Senate Council Meeting will be held on May 12; the next Faculty
Assembly Meeting will be on June 3. Reminder that the Mayor will address
the June 3 Faculty Assembly Meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:56.
Respectfully submitted by Fran Czak
Director of the University Senate Office
for Josephine E. Olson, Secretary