Pitt Provost Says Pell Grant Match Program Helps School Cast Wider Net

Sep 6, 2019

On today's program: Provost Ann Cudd says Pitt’s Pell match will make the school more competitive; Pittsburgh remembers Mac Miller one year after his death; local police want to diversify their ranks; an anthology of art that uniquely reflects Pittsburgh; and the Steelers start their regular season against New England. 

Pitt Provost on affordability, diversity and unionization efforts

(00:00 — 12:29)

Ann Cudd has begun her second year as the Provost of the University of Pittsburgh. She took the post a year ago after serving as Boston University's Dean of College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She tells The Confluence that making Pitt more affordable and diversifying the school's faculty remain among her top priorities. 

Cudd says Pitt has begun a multi-year, cluster-hiring initiative to attract more faculty with academic expertise in topics concerning Latinx community. She says the initiative began with a search for a director of Pitt's Latin American studies program and the developing of a committee of faculty members to spearhead the hiring program. Those efforts are ongoing. 

Earlier this year, Pitt announced a financial aid program that would match students' Pell Grant awards on all five of its campuses. That program began this semester and according to Cudd, it's helped make Pitt more attractive to students who previously couldn't afford to attend the school. Pennsylvania's public four-year colleges have been named among the most expensive in the country

Cudd says she's looking forward to directing Pitt in its sixth in a series of themed academic years. The 2019-2020 school year has been deemed, "The Year of Creativity," by administrators. Cudd says the school will host a number of events for students including programming tailored to suit majors across the University's academic fields. 

Fans remember Mac Miller one year after his death
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— 17:38)

Saturday marks one year since Pittsburgh native rapper Mac Miller died of an accidental drug overdose at his home in San Fernando, Calif. In the days after his death, fans in Pittsburgh gathered at Blue Slide Park to mourn Miller —he famously named his debut studio album after the park. 90.5 WESA's Katie Blackley reports fans are expected to gather at the park again with music and memories at a mural scheduled Friday. The vigil was originally scheduled Saturday on the one year anniversary of Miller's death, but city officials say an earlier scheduled event forced planners to hold the gathering Friday

A 28-year-old California man was charged earlier this week in connection with Miller's death. Cameron James Pettit is charged with allegedly supplying Miller with fake oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl, as well as allegedly giving him cocaine and Xanax, two days before his death.

Pittsburgh Police wants more black officers
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— 22:31)

Only 13% of Pittsburgh police officers are black, serving a community where blacks make up roughly one-quarter of the population The city has struggled to make up the difference. In an annual statistical report for its police department released this summer, the city noted that of 84 police recruits last year, only four were black. 90.5 WESA's Ariel Worthy reports this isn't just a local problem and that similar issues are seen nationally. 

The city has boosted recruiting efforts in recent years and police leaders are using training to bridge the gap between officers and the community. In August, leaders in Pittsburgh Police attended Racial Intelligence Training and Engagement training, a program that works to create a bias-free, harassment-free workplace.

A new CMOA exhibit to anthologize Pittsburgh art
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— 30:51)

More than 32,000 pieces of art from around the globe live in The Carnegie Museum of Art. A new exhibit is highlighting works that celebrate Pittsburgh. “A Pittsburgh Anthology” features some two dozen artworks made by artists living here or else inspired by the city, drawn from the museum’s collection. 90.5 WESA's Bill O'Driscoll reports the exhibit is divided into 14 sections, some of which encompass multiple individual works.

Each section includes a “narrative card” written by a different writer, exploring the significance of that section. About half the text is by museum staffers, with the rest by other contributors, including the artists themselves. “A Pittsburgh Anthology” is meant to run into early 2022, when it will make way for the next Carnegie International. 

The Steelers start the season against the Patriots 
(30:54 
— 39:00)

The 2019 NFL season kicked off Thursday night, but Steelers fans will have to wait until Sunday to cheer on the black and gold —against the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Sean Gentille, senior writer for "The Athletic," reports that the Steelers should be happy to get this contest out of the way early in the season.

"They'll [New England] have the early, kind of dud that makes it's way into the September schedule," he says "You look at the Steelers playing New England in December and January and it hasn't worked out all that well." 

Gentille says despite the fanfare over the Cleveland Browns this season, he still expects the Steelers to best the AFC central division. He predicts the Steelers to finish 11-5. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.