Senate Council hears about virus research, approves digital accessibility policy


The ongoing struggle to contain the coronavirus, now called COVID-19, was a primary focus at the Feb. 12 Senate Council meeting. 

“This is not a time for widespread fear, but to get informed,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in his report, calling for the Pitt community to support members of the Chinese community as they struggle against the virus. It was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has now more than 75,000 confirmed cases.

Then Paul Duprex, director of the Center for Vaccine Research, revealed that Pitt would join in the fight against the virus when it receives a sample for the study.

Duprex told council members about the history of the emerging virus, and then walked them through the center’s goals. (See related story)

Later in his report, Gallagher said that Pitt is doing everything in its power to address the death of 20-year-old Pitt student Barbara Como on Jan. 18 after she was struck by a Port Authority bus at the corner of Fifth Avenue and DeSoto Street.

The investigation into the death is ongoing, he said.

“The truth of the matter is, it was really an unnecessary reminder that there are intrinsic risks to the environment that we also enjoy,” Gallagher said. “This is a vibrant dynamic place, which is also dangerous.”

Gallagher said he “shares the sense of urgency” with the Pitt community on addressing this incident and preventing future incidents.

Senate Council also approved the proposed Electronic Information and Technology Accessibility Policy to be sent to the chancellor.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905.  


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