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

May 29, 1997

Staff involvement vital, SAC president stresses at Bradford campus meeting

BRADFORD-Even though work and family pressures can make participation in Staff Association Council (SAC) difficult, involvement with the organization is important, SAC President Brian Hart told the Council of Campuses at its meeting here May 20.

The Council of Campuses was formed by SAC about two years ago to periodically bring together staff on the University's five campuses for an exchange of ideas and concerns related to staff.

Noting that very few institutions give staff as much of an opportunity to voice their concerns as Pitt does through SAC, Hart lamented the fact that there often is a lack of participation and more SAC seats available than staff to fill them.

While it is not unusual for a volunteer organization to be short of members, Hart said, it is important for staff on all Pitt campuses who are interested in change to take an active role in SAC.

"Join your Staff Association Council, commit yourself to improving Pitt-Bradford and also commit yourselves to improving the entire University," Hart told his audience. "Whatever small task we can do will have tremendous magnitude for staff overall. Believe me, it's true. The tiniest little things that a staff person can do just ring across campus." Hart urged staff at the regional campuses to explain their concerns to their SAC representatives. They can forward them to SAC on the Pittsburgh campus, according to Hart; members of the Pittsburgh campus SAC regularly meet with senior administrators.

"And if there is something we are doing in Oakland that you disagree with, we want to hear about it and why," Hart added.

Items the Pittsburgh campus SAC currently is working on include compensation and separation issues, Hart said, particularly involuntary separation, release time and training for supervisors.

"It does seem that we have some supervisors at the University who are absolutely clueless," Hart said. "They're not clueless because they are stupid. They're not clueless because they are necessarily unaware, it's usually because they are not trained." Hart said that SAC in the past five years has made greater strides in getting the voice of staff heard than in the previous 20 years. Among its successes, he noted, have been the membership of the regional campuses on the Pittsburgh campus SAC.

Membership on the Pittsburgh campus SAC, Hart said, has given staff on the regional campuses "a direct line into the shared governance of the University, a direct line into shared representation of the University." Because of that membership, Hart said that the Pittsburgh campus SAC would be "grossly remiss" if it tried to take anything to the central administration without recognizing the specific concerns of staff at the regional campuses.

"It is truly the University of Pittsburgh regardless of where our staff or students or faculty are located," he said. "It is vitally important to us to have your input." Another important success has been the membership of SAC representatives on numerous permanent University committees, search committees for upper level administration and Board of Trustees' committees.

Staff lost its vote on trustees' committees this year, but Hart maintained that a single vote is not where the power lies. He said SAC's power comes from simply having a staff member on such committees and making staff's concerns known to the trustees.

"It is only because we do that that we're able to get them to recognize the unique needs of staff, what the main concerns of staff are," Hart said. "And why it is important for the University to address those concerns in a real way."

–Mike Sajna

Leave a Reply