|1234 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
September 3, 2002
University of Pittsburgh
President Cassing called the meeting to order at 3:04 PM.
The minutes of the Faculty Assembly meeting on June 4, 2002 were approved as written.
President Cassing asked for new items of business for the meeting. There were none.
Remarks of the President
President James Cassing introduced himself and the other officers. The secretary is Josephine Olson. The election for vice president resulted in a tie between Thomas A. Metzger and Nicholas G. Bircher. A runoff between the two is in process and votes will be counted the week of September 23.
Professor Cassing announced there was another tie between Kathleen M. Allen and Lisa D. Brush in social sciences. A runoff for them is also in process.
Professor Cassing discussed the agenda for the academic year. The Expanded Executive Committee, which includes chairs of standing Senate committees, met on August 28 to discuss issues and the agenda for the year. Issues on the agenda are likely to include:
Same sex benefits;
A review of the University Planning and Budgeting System. There is a University Planning and Budgeting Committee (UPBC) which includes approximately 20 faculty, staff and students that reviews budgetary matters. A committee chaired by Professor James Holland is reviewing the process. The members of the review committee mirror members of the UPBC. Professor Holland reported that the committee review is underway. In the Senate ballot for vice president is a questionnaire to all faculty regarding the planning and budgeting process. He hoped that everyone would respond to the survey, regardless of his or her knowledge of UPBC.
The Universitys health care plan will be renegotiated in the coming year. Cassing said Human Resources has formed a Medical Advisory Committee headed by Ron Frisch and Jim Edgerton. Herb Chesler, Jim Holland and Kathleen DeWalt will serve as faculty representatives on this committee.
The University Senate has a new website with the URL www.pitt.edu/univsenate.
Plenary sessions must be held once a year and can be twice a year. President Cassing thinks there should be one session in the spring. However, there also could be one on October 23. He would like a group of volunteers to consider an agenda for the fall or spring.
A new faculty handbook is now on line. The Faculty Handbook was last reviewed by the Faculty Assembly in 1999. Andrew R. Blair, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, said that the handbook is on line as a PDF file dated July 2002. It includes changes in policies since the 1999 Senate review. He suggested that the Benefits and Welfare Committee might want to review it.
Reports by and Announcements of Special and Standing Committees of the Senate
Anti-discriminatory Policies Committee
Richard Tobias, Chair of ADPC, presented the following preamble and resolution regarding the report on domestic partner benefits released last year.
The Senate Anti-discriminatory Policies Committee (hereafter ADPC) welcomes the report of the Special Committee on Domestic Partner Health Insurance Benefits. We are please thatwhile recognizing difficultiesthe recommendation is to overcome the obstacles and to grant the benefit. ADPC offers to assist the Chancellors office in way to implement the reports proposals.
Therefore, be it resolved that
(1) Faculty Assembly asks the Chancellor to take steps to implement the recommendation [from the Special Committee on Domestic Partner Health Insurance Benefits] by consulting with the administrations of the other State-Related institutions.
(2) Faculty Assembly requests the Chancellor to report on progress by the November 26, 2002 meeting of the Assembly (the last meeting of the fall term).
Questions and Comments
Professor Friedman asked why the resolution gets involved with administrative procedures. Professor Tobias replied that if the four state-related universities were in agreement on the need for this benefit, it would be harder for the state legislature to be against it. Various sources suggested that Penn State and Temple seem to be sympathetic to same sex medical benefits.
Professor Balaban asked why the committee did not just ask for the report.
Professor Cain offered an amendment to reduce the resolution to only item 2. Professors Savoia, Holland and Baker responded that the committee wants to remind the Chancellor that it wants him to consult with the other state-related universities.
The proposed amendment to the resolution was not approved.
Professor Chesler commented that preambles often disappear, and by itself the first item of the resolution might not be clear. He recommended the addition of the name of the committee that issued the report. Professor Tobias accepted this amendment and it is shown in the above resolution in brackets.
Professor Ansell asked whether the report discussed consulting with other state-related universities and Professor Tobias replied that it did.
Professor Constantine asked exactly what is meant by domestic partners and whether the University understands this terminology. Professor Tobias said the University already provides some benefits to domestic partners such as library privileges, athletic facilities and educational benefits, but it does not provide health benefits. Professor Hershey answered that to the University domestic partners means same sex partners and a set of criteria have to be met to qualify for the benefits currently offered.
There was further discussion about whether a formal resolution was necessary or whether an invitation to the Chancellor from the Senate President to provide a report would be better. Professor Jones noted that a resolution is not a request but a public statement. Professor Tobias replied that his committee wants a public statement.
Professor Bircher said he favored the amendment and that it was fair to ask the administration to move ahead with more than glacial speed.
The committees resolution was approved as amended.
Joint Committee Report
Community Relations Committee and Plant Utilization and Planning Committee
Professor Soska, Chair of the Community Relations Committee, and Professor Favorini, Chair of the Plant and Utilization Planning Committee, reported that over the summer their committees held a joint meeting to discuss various issues of development in and around Oakland and the relation these developments may have on the University and surrounding community. These included the report of the Allegheny Conference that Oakland be made a show piece for the city, plans for Schenley Plaza, plans for redesign of the Carnegie Museum, and the Mon-Fayette Expressway.
Professor Favorini said that Schenley Plaza is likely to change in a couple of years, though in what manner is not yet clear. Their committees were concerned that the university not just react but have a position on the change. Therefore the committee jointly passed the following resolution:
Recommending that the University appoint a special task force to develop a formal University position on the redesign of Schenley Plaza, that this task force include representation from both the Community Relations and Plant Utilization and Planning Committees, and that this task group be appointed quickly so as to offer timely input to the ongoing and emerging redesign planning process for Schenley Plaza.
Questions and Comments
Professor Munro asked who controls Schenley Plaza and was told it is the Park Service.
Professor Jannetta asked if the University had a role in previous changes in Schenley Plaza and the answer was probably no.
The Assembly voted to accept the resolution.
The chairs reported that after broad discussion of this expressway, there were a wide range of opinions and concerns with the Mon-Fayette Expressway. Community opposition for many reasonsfrom added traffic to the taking of houses and businesses to the perceived loss of local developmentwas noted. Where the University might stand on this project was unclear, however. Therefore the committees offer the following resolution:
The joint committees suggest the University appoint a study team to focus on the Mon-Fayette Expressway and on whether there might be a University position on this matter.
Questions and Comments
Professor Hershey asked whether some of their committee members would be included among the members of the study team. Professor Soska said he would accept a friendly amendment that the team include committee members and other relevant faculty.
Professor Holland worries that if the University is required to have a position on the expressway, it will be in favor of it. If not, it is likely to have another problem with the legislature. He thinks the expressway is a politically sensitive issue.
Ms. Rougeux suggested that the University do an impact study on Oakland of the Expressway.
Professor Favorini said the resolution does not ask the university to announce a position, but there are lots of uncertainties regarding the impact of the expressway. The resolution is to establish some consensus on the impact.
Professor Balaban said the expressway is a very polarized issue. Right now the University is not in the fray and it is better to have it stay out. Professor Favorini agreed but said the resolution was only requesting the University to gather facts.
Professor Ansell asked who had raised the issue. Professor Favorini said the potential impacts on Oakland could be considerable because of the impact on Bates Street. Professor Soska answered that the issue came out of a discussion of traffic. The committees wanted some independent and fair thinking on the expressways effect, but the political impact could be large.
President Cassing asked if the administration was considering the effect of the expressway. Vice Provost Blair replied that he was not aware of any study.
Professor Muenzer suggested that the university hold a forum to air views on the expressway. It could be a force for a proper debate.
Professor Root said that, alternatively, the university should explore the impact of the road on admissions, parking, etc. without necessarily making a report.
Professor Hershey noted that the Mon-Fayette Expressway will also affect Schenley Plaza. He proposed a motion that the resolution be tabled and that the committees come up with a revised motion at a later meeting.
The motion to table the resolution was approved.
Housing Situation in Oakland
The chairs of the two committees reported that at their joint meeting committee members discussed issues and concerns from the various planning and development reports, especially regarding the housing situation in Oakland. A range of strategies and resources, including homeownership and revitalization efforts in neighborhoods around such noted universities as Yale (New Haven) and Penn (West Philadelphia) were discussed. Fannie Mae, a national housing development and finance organization, has been pioneering with high education and other institutions Employer Assisted Housing Programs that would encourage and support employee home ownership or renovations in adjoining neighborhoods such as Oakland, where issues of declining home ownership need such a boost.
The joint committees offered the following resolution:
Strongly recommend that the University begin to formally explore an Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) with the local Fannie Mae organization and that members of the committees be involved in such exploration and deliberations. It was further recommended that Fannie Mae be invited to present to a special meeting of these two committees [, the Community Relations Committee and the Plant Utilization and Planning Committee,] and other relevant committees and administration representativesabout such an EAHP.
Questions and Comments
Professor Favorini said such a program had a dramatic turnaround for Yale. Yale began to subsidize housing near the campus. UPMC is already doing this. It could have a major impact on the nature of Oakland.
Professor Holland said he supported the resolution.
Professor Jannetta said she had just moved to Oakland and she thought it was a great idea. She noted that CMU is also thinking about this.
Professor Metzger offered a friendly amendment that the names of the two committees be added to the resolution. This amendment was accepted and is shown in brackets above.
Professor Constantine asked whether there was a conflict of interest since some Faculty Assembly members are Oakland homeowners. Professor Soska replied that the Oakland community would like this kind of university intervention to enhance home ownership.
Professor Muenzer said he assumed that this would not be to enhance high income areas like Schenley Farms. Professor Soska replied that Fannie Mae is focused on lower income homeownership opportunities.
The motion was approved as amended.
There was no new business.
Professor Holland mentioned that the show Designing Oakland was worth seeing, particularly in light of the earlier discussion.
President Cassing thanked the committees for all their work.
Professor Cassing announced the Chancellors Reception on Tuesday, September 10 from 4 to 5:30 in his office. The Senate Council meeting will be on Wednesday, September 11 at 3. Professor Metzger will preside in the absence of Professor Cassing.
Professor Beatrous announced there was a vacancy on the Bylaws and Procedures Committee and asked for a volunteer.
Professor Metzger announced that there would be a ceremony to remember the September 11 tragedy at 8:30 AM on the Cathedral lawn and there would be service at 7 PM in Heinz Chapel.
Professor Metzger announced that there would be a memorial service for Professor Norman Hummon on Tuesday, September 10 at 10 AM in the Heinz Chapel.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 PM.
Josephine E. Olson, Secretary
|Home | Top of Page||Elections | Plenary Sessions | Ad Hoc Committees | Updates | Special Reports|