Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

February 17, 2005

SAC Urged to Focus on Women’s Advancement

Because of the high proportion of women on Pitt’s staff, supporting their advancement should be a focus of the staff’s representative body, Lisa Brush told the Staff Association Council (SAC) last week.
Brush, associate professor of sociology and women’s studies, serves on the ad hoc committee for the support and advancement of women at Pitt. She told SAC members Feb. 9 to consider participating on the committee, which is open to all members of the Pitt community, and to spread the word to fellow staffers.
The committee also includes liaisons and advisers from a number of areas, including the Chancellor’s and Provost’s offices, the Schools of the Health Sciences, the women’s studies program and the undergraduate Campus Women’s Organization. SAC member Ann Ostroski, who chairs the research and information committee, also is an ad hoc committee member.
“The ad hoc committee’s agenda includes discussing what mentoring mechanisms for women are available here, what mechanisms should be available, and addressing issues of sexual harassment,” Brush said.
The last issue includes encouraging faculty and administrators to take the web-based sexual harassment training module, which is mandatory for staff; expanding sexual harassment awareness to training for teaching assistants and fellows as well as for students, particularly undergraduates, and comparing Pitt’s policies on consensual sexual relations with those at other institutions.
The Provost’s office now is recommending formally that all faculty take the web-based sexual harassment training, Brush pointed out. In addition, reference to the training module, which is offered on the Human Resources web site:, is included in information packets disseminated to TAs and TFs. Potential modes of training for students are under review by the committee.
Mentoring issues for women are two-fold, Brush said. “First, there is networking, which provides access to opportunities for women,” she said. “But there’s also the dilemma when the message is: ‘Everything’s okay if women just worked harder to advance.’ We shouldn’t have to expect women to do all the work. There should be other mentoring mechanisms in place.”
Brush said her committee is wrestling with whether it should seek formal institutionalized status by becoming a standing University Senate committee. Under Senate bylaws, standing committees (as opposed to ad hoc committees, which have a designated endpoint) include elected voting members and appointed non-voting members. The women’s ad hoc committee considers all members equal voting partners and has unlimited membership, Brush said.
“We were set up after the [spring 2004] plenary session on women’s concerns to continue the momentum built in those discussions and workshops,” she said. “The ad hoc committee has a two-year lifespan [though 2006]. “The ‘what next’ question is how we can avoid losing the energy, contributions and smarts of the many voices on the committee. If we become an elected committee, we’ll lose our democratic character.”
For more information on the ad hoc committee, access the web site:, or contact committee chair Irene Frieze at


In other Staff Association Council developments:
• SAC will hold a special election March 9 to fill two officer vacancies. Carol Neuner, vice president for steering, and Linda Marts, vice president for marketing and communications, resigned their officer positions last month. Marts is continuing as a member of SAC on the marketing and communications committee.
“I just thought it was time to move on from being an officer,” Marts told the University Times. “I’ll still be involved in SAC, but not with the same time commitment that being an officer requires.”
Neuner did not return a request for information on her decision to resign from SAC.
Candidates to fill the steering position are Joan Neitznick, co-chair of the salary and job classification committee; Kara Richardson, who serves on the program and planning and marketing and communications committees, and Gwen Watkins, chair of program and planning.
Running for the vacant vice president for marketing and communications position are Angie Peskie, who serves on the governance committee, and Rachel Roebuck, a member of the program and planning and marketing and communications committees.
The winners will serve out the officers’ terms, which run through June.
• SAC’s safety and security committee has redesigned its web site ( to include a form for security complaints or suggestions, and a “walkability checklist,” a series of questions to gather feedback on safety problem areas on campus.
The committee also is collaborating with Student Health Services to offer CPR and first aid courses beginning in April.
SAC also heard reports from two regional campuses at its Feb. 9 meeting.
• The Johnstown campus Staff Association elected officers at its January meeting. Elected were: Andrea Leibfreid, president; Jeanne Susko, vice president; Andrea Sadvari, secretary, and Delores Berkey, treasurer.
The UPJ association also held its annual holiday project, which raises money to send “care packages” to dependents or spouses of UPJ employees or students who have been deployed by the military during the past year.
• The Greensburg campus Staff Association started a monthly brown-bag lunch series designed to open more channels of communication and support between departments. UPG staffers Beth Tiedermann and Kathleen Murray co-chair the committee that organizes the series.
Pitt-Greensburg association members also participated in community projects, including: volunteering to do manicures for residents of the Greensburg Care Center; making hospital decorations; cleaning up several hiking and mountain trails in the area, and participating in an informational program for a Murrysville community group.
—Peter Hart

Leave a Reply