On University Citizenship

To the University Community:

Dr. McCoullum shares with the faculty and staff a letter she has sent to all students in response to reports of an incident in Superblock last week. She notes that although this message is addressed to students, she is "keenly aware of the part that faculty and staff play in maintaining the University's commitments to diversity, and to respectful, responsible citizenship. Your continued support for these commitments, and the individual and collective work you do in support of our students and their development as community citizens, is deeply appreciated."--Ed.

Dear Penn Students:

We have devoted a great deal of time and attention to the development of a shared understanding of the essential rights of University of Pennsylvania institutional citizenship. Among the rights of all students, as individual members of our truly diverse community, are the following:

-- the right to freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression;
-- the right to have access to--and to participate in--the academic and co-curricular opportunities afforded by the University; and
-- the right to freedom of assembly.

These are important, and absolutely essential, individual rights. However, I believe that these rights are partnered by individual responsibilities which are equally imperative.

Among the responsibilities that each of us shares is the responsibility not to exhibit behaviors that threaten the health or safety of any individual, or group, on this campus.

A very small number of individuals, over these past days, have exhibited behaviors that are absolutely not responsible. These behaviors will not be tolerated at Penn because they directly threaten the health and safety of members of our community.

I want to remind you that a number of institutional policies including campus residential contractual agreements, as well as many existing federal, state, and local criminal codes, explicitly prohibit behaviors that threaten the health and safety of citizens in our community. As you know, the University of Pennsylvania is absolutely determined to punish, to the full extent prescribed by law and policy, any student who is determined to have violated these statutes.

Because you have a powerful influence on the quality of university life on our campus, I hold you directly responsible for assuring that both rights and responsibilities inform the student behaviors exhibited on this campus, including in our residences. Just as we are delighted that you have joined us at Penn because of your extraordinary intellectual acumen, I expect you to exhibit behaviors that set an exemplary standard in all regards.

-- Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, Vice Provost for University Life


Tuesday, November 7, 1995
Volume 42 Number 11

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