Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Community Messages

November 16, 2017

Dear University community:

In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) published a regulation deferring men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood for one year after their most recent sexual encounter.  While this new regulation demonstrated progress from an earlier lifetime ban, it remains concerning. 

This regulation appears to discriminate against healthy MSM donors, who are otherwise eligible to donate, based on their sexual orientation.  Regulations which appear to be discriminatory are not consistent with the University’s Non-Discrimination Policy and are troubling.  The Office of Diversity and Inclusion joins other organizations around the country and urges the FDA to reexamine and update its current regulation based upon an individualized risk assessment and to develop and implement scientifically validated tools for assessing such risk to ensure the safety of the blood supply with the aid of the most up-to-date HIV testing technology. 

The University remains committed to diversity, inclusion, non-discrimination, and equal protection under the law. 

Respectfully,

Pamela W. Connelly
Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion

 

September 29, 2017

The University is aware of Westboro Baptist Church members’ plans to meet on public property near our campus. This group, which originated in Topeka, Kansas, has a history of rhetoric that aggressively targets LGBTQIA individuals, as well as members of the Catholic Church and the U.S. military, among other groups. WBC has staged demonstrations at funerals of veterans, high schools, and on campuses. Both the methods and message of WBC are at odds with our core values of inclusion and respect for all members of our university community. Despite our disagreement with the group’s tactics and messages, the University will respect the First Amendment rights of those who peacefully and legally protest. However, we also will take seriously our role in protecting the safety of our students, staff and faculty and we expect all demonstrators to do the same.

 

September 18, 2017

Dear University community:

During the Obama administration, a policy directive was issued to the military that would have allowed for the recruitment of transgender individuals.  The Trump administration reversed this directive in an August 25, 2017 Presidential Memorandum and ordered the military to maintain a policy of prohibiting the recruitment of transgender individuals, pending further study. 

The University is required by several federal laws, including the Solomon Amendment, to permit the military to recruit on-campus, despite the fact that its recruitment policy directly conflicts with the University of Pittsburgh's Non-Discrimination Policy.   Compliance with these laws should not be construed as agreement with the ban against the recruitment of transgender individuals. To the contrary, the University remains committed to diversity, inclusion, non-discrimination, and equal protection under the law. 

If you have any questions regarding our policies and our practices in this area,  I encourage you to contact our office by calling 412-648-7860 or email at diversity@pitt.edu.

Respectfully,

Pamela W. Connelly
Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion

 

September 7, 2017

A message from the Title IX Coordinator:

The Title IX Office at Pitt wants to remind the community that our commitment to the letter and the spirit of Title IX remains unchanged.  We will continue to work every day to improve our efforts to serve both complainants and respondents. Politics won’t change the reality that 1 in 4 college age women, and 1 in 11 college age men will experience sexual misconduct.  These numbers are unacceptable to all reasonable people.  

Beyond the guidance and policy we implement are the people whose experiences are improved by the effective application of Title IX. We are seeing a generation of students who better understand prevention, consent, and safety as essential parts of the educational experience.  And we have more work to do. We are committed to providing an educational and employment environment free from discrimination or harassment. This has been the intent of Title IX since its passage in 1972.  

Since 2011, debate has gone on about governmental guidance and the meaning of Title IX. What is not debatable, however, is the value of the change brought about by our increased focus on sexual misconduct in the educational environment. The awareness, education, and services brought forth to address sexual misconduct in education have started to improve a long time problem: how does someone continue studying, working, and being productive when exposed to sexual misconduct?  While we can analyze and seek to continuously improve our current systems, those systems are significantly improved from just 6 years ago. We will continue to support and serve the entire University community, including all the men and women who come forward to seek relief from sexual misconduct, and all those working to improve the climate at Pitt.

I encourage you to contact our office and explore our website to learn more. There are numerous events planned for this year to bring awareness to these issues.  Please visit on our events page for ongoing updates.

The Title IX Office remains here to serve the Pitt community.

Sincerely, 

Katie Pope

 

February 23, 2017

Dear University community:

Last night, the federal government announced changes to guidance from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education under Title IX regarding transgender students accessing facilities that correspond with their gender identity.   

In the wake of this announcement, I want to clarify that our current policies and practices regarding protection from discrimination based on gender and gender identity, including specific policies and practices regarding access to university facilities, remain unchanged. The University developed these policies and practices with broad input from the community and based on many forms of guidance, and these policies and practices support our commitment to a diverse and inclusive learning environment.   

If you have any questions regarding our policies and our practices in this area,  I encourage you to contact our office by calling 412-648-7860 or email at diversity@pitt.edu.

Respectfully,

Pamela W. Connelly
Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion