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April 28, 2016

1st state money of FY16 arrives

At long last, the University has received the first installment of its fiscal year 2016 state appropriation.

Arthur G. Ramicone, senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer, told Senate Council last week that the University had received $53.7 million — the first half of its appropriation for the first nine months of the fiscal year that began July 1, 2015.

Legislators in March approved $143.19 million in support for Pitt after a nine-month long budget stalemate. (See March 31 University Times.)

The current state appropriation covers about 7 percent of the University’s $2.07 billion budget.

The governor’s budget plan for FY17, which starts July 1, would raise Pitt’s general appropriation to $150.35 million. Pitt has requested $168 million in FY17 general support. (See Feb. 18 University Times.)

In other business at Council’s April 20 meeting:

• Amid some confusion on campus, the Office of General Counsel is compiling guidelines for students and for faculty and staff on do’s and don’ts surrounding political activity.

“I don’t want anyone to feel inhibited about their ability to participate in the process,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher told Council, adding that engagement is good for the country.

However, while individuals are encouraged to participate, the University, as a nonprofit, can’t be involved in political advocacy. “It’s important if you have any questions that you get the input you need,” he said, urging anyone with questions to contact the counsel’s office.

Geovette Washington, Pitt’s chief legal officer, said, “It’s a little bit complex, but if you have questions just reach out and we’ll try to answer as quickly as possible.”

Paul Supowitz, vice chancellor for Community and Governmental Relations, said common sense is the rule: “When you are engaging in electoral activity make sure you don’t do it in a way that makes it look like it’s the University and not you. That means don’t use the University resources, don’t send around your letters on letterhead; use your gmail or Yahoo account instead of your University account, just simple common sense things like that.”

• Following action in Faculty Assembly earlier this month, Council approved minor revisions to the University’s planning and budgeting system (PBS) document. The Senate budget policies committee instituted the routine review last fall. The document moves next to the Council of Deans for approval.

Senate President Frank Wilson, who was part of the subcommittee that updated the PBS document, said it now is clearer and more accurate. “It reads much better,” he said.

“I would suggest that you do read it,” Wilson told Council. “It’s an interesting document and it lays out the plan for shared governance in the most fundamental ways. I think if we began to practice that more consistently and intentionally than we have in the past, that it will help strengthen the University.”

Gallagher agreed that the document is an important part of the shared governance process. “Policy matters,” he said, commending the committee for its work in clarifying the document. “As beautiful as it is as a document, it’s only as good as it is in practice,” he said, noting that the review served to increase understanding and raise awareness of the planning and budgeting system.

• Council bade farewell to student representatives Nasreen Harun of the Student Government Board, Joseph Kozak of the Graduate and Professional Student Government and Julia Helgert of the College of General Studies Student Government, as their organizations’ presidencies transition to new leaders.

• Proposed revisions to the University’s sexual misconduct policies and procedures are expected to be on the Senate’s agenda next month, Wilson said.

Discussion is planned at Faculty Assembly’s May 10 meeting, set for 3 p.m. in 2700 Posvar Hall. (The proposals can be viewed online: Draft-Sexual-Misconduct-Policy and Draft-Sexual-Misconduct-Procedure)

—Kimberly K. Barlow


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