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January 8, 2015

Gallagher explains campus message

gallagher“Universities always address the most important issues facing society,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher told Senate Council members in elaborating on his Dec. 4 message to the University community on the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York.

The message can be found at

Gallagher said he sent the message following a dialogue with African-American student leaders. “Upon reflection I felt that it was very important to send a letter to the University community commenting and reflecting on the situation regarding justice and race that this country has been dealing with,” he said.

“I felt it was really important to reaffirm both how proud I was of the community and how we were responding but also reaffirming this commitment that we make to civil discourse and openness that are a key part of being a university,” he said.

“It was certainly my hope that we at Pitt continue to reaffirm that commitment we all made and do all that we can to use our means of communication to advance this discussion.

“It’s good for us as we enhance our own diversity but it’s also really good for the country that we can be a place where these issues can be addressed.”

Senate President Michael Spring commended the chancellor for the action.

“His restatement of the lofty goals we’ve articulated in the Pitt Promise is most appropriate in this time of unrest and public action. I know that I speak for the members of the executive committee and many faculty and students in endorsing the communication and its importance in our various communities of discourse,” Spring said.


Gallagher also commented on the plan to explore library collaborations with Carnegie Mellon University.

He and Subra Suresh, CMU president, announced Dec. 2 that searches for a new University Library System director at Pitt and a director of collections and information access services at CMU had been put on hold while Ronald Larsen, dean of Pitt’s School of Information Sciences, and Keith Webster, dean of CMU’s University Libraries, explore options for collaboration. Their interim report is due in March, with a final report expected in June. (See Dec. 4 University Times.)

“The intention here was to take advantage of new leadership at both Pitt and CMU and the fact that there was a changeover in leadership of the library systems on both campuses,” Gallagher said. In addition, “We’re looking at a rapid change in technology and digital collections, and it struck me that if we were ever going to examine this issue, now is the time to do it.”

Leaders at Pitt’s Health Sciences Library System and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh have expressed interest in being part of the conversation, Gallagher said.

“It’s a sign that there’s a lot happening here and there’s a real appetite for having these discussions.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 9