Council January 13

Actions on CCTV Monitoring, Consultation, and Charitable Giving

With a quorum present last Wednesday, the University Council voted on three topics including two--a policy on video monitoring and a Handbook entry on consultation--that had been under discussion for a year or more. The third topic, charitable giving, resurfaced this fall on Council's agenda after having last been resolved through in a referendum in 1991

Video Monitoring and Recording

In 1997-98, Council referred to two committees a draft policy eventually to be titled "Closed Circuit Television Monitoring and Recording of Public Areas for Safety and Security Purposes," asking both the Council Committee on Safety and Security and the University Committee on Open Expression to examine issues involving the uses of video recordings made in public spaces. The policy document that came to Wednesday's agenda had been largely signed off by both committees, except for the make-up of a CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) Monitoring Panel and the related issue of what kind of majority would be required to approve the release of such tapes (other than by subpoena). The Safety & Security Committee argued for a five-member panel, and the Open Expression Committee for a seven-member body in order to include student and staff representation. COE also asked that more than a simple majority be required for release of the tapes. (See the statements of the respective chairs, Dr. Sean Kennedy and Dr. Dennis Culhane.)

Dr. Culhane also noted that the COE will separately submit to the President some "interpretative footnotes" to the Guidelines on Open Expression, which as presently cast would not permit release of videotapes; these suggest that a distinction can be made for materials made at posted public locations, but not by mobile monitoring devices.

After extended debate, Council voted to add a student and a staff member to the Monitoring Panel and to require a majority plus one of the membership (as distinct from a majority plus one of filled positions, or of members present) for release of tapes.

For the proposed policy, with the two amendments incorporated, click here. It is followed by appendices that give examples and answer typical questions about the policy.


As chair of the special committee appointed by President Judith Rodin to draft a policy codifying the consultation process, Law School Professor Howard Lesnick again summarized the key points addressed by his committee (Almanac April 14 and June 16), in preparation for voting on the document published in Almanac December 8. The latter is the Senate Executive Committee's recast of the provisions of the Lesnick Committee's report in a form for inclusion in the Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators.

In response to query, Professor Lesnick said the SEC document did not differ substantially from the Committee's, and the proposed Handbook change was adopted unanimously.

Charitable Giving

Distributing a history of the workplace campaign at Penn, Dr. Phoebe Leboy of the Dental School presented the resolution below, introducing as speakers for the motion Law School Senior Fellow David Rudovsky and College of Arts and Sciences Administrative Affairs Director Kristin Davidson.

Whereas the University community recognizes the continuing importance of workplace-based charitable giving campaigns; and

Whereas members of the University community voted, in a campus-wide referendum during the spring of 1991, in support of a combined campaign in which several groups of agencies, including the United Way, would solicit, receive and distribute employee gifts; and

Whereas campus-wide contributions during the 1991-1994 period with Penn's Way campaigns averaged over $386,000/year; and

Whereas disbanding the volunteer coordinating committees in the fall 1995 campaign was associated with a decrease to $304,000/year; and

Whereas the most recent campaigns of 1996 and 1997, which abandoned both volunteer coordinating groups and the combined campaign, have averaged only $227,000/year; therefore,

Be it resolved that by the summer of 1999, the University of Pennsylvania returns to compliance with the 1991 referendum by:

1) granting alternative federated charities a status equal to that of United Way in a combined campaign;

2) making it as easy for donors to contribute to alternative funds as to United Way by providing one set of materials and one pledge card;

3) re-instituting a volunteer structure to support the campaign; and

4) encouraging people in leadership positions at the University to take prominent roles in supporting Penn's Way.

A substitution motion, below, was presented by GSE Dean Susan Fuhrman with Executive Vice President John Fry speaking for it:

Whereas the primary purpose of a work place campaign for charitable giving is as an employee benefit designed to allow employees to make contributions to the charities of their choice through payroll deduction; and

Whereas any charitable campaign should include the widest range of charitable organizations for employees to select for their charitable giving; and

Whereas employees have the right to expect that such giving maximizes the amount of funds that go directly to such charities of choice while minimizing administrative expense; and

Whereas characteristics of successful campaigns include that they are "user friendly" minimizing forms and maximizing clarity as well as employing a colleague based volunteer structure that includes individuals from across the institution; therefore,

Be it resolved that

1) the University ask those organizations interested in managing Penn's campaign to develop a unitary form for giving which keeps administrative complexity and cost to the minimum;

2) University Council request the Pres-ident's Advisory Group to develop a system to enlist volunteers from each school and administrative unit to reinstitute Penn's volunteer structure to support such a campaign, and to assure that the requirements for ease of use, maximizing giving, and minimizing administrative costs are met.

As debate went forward, Council's moderator, Dr. Will Harris, isolated the issue at conflict by establishing with Dr. Leboy and Mr. Fry that (a) the "whereases" of the opposing motions were substantially in agreement; that (b) Dr. Leboy's resolutions #3 and #4 were acceptable to Mr. Fry; and that (c) Dr. Leboy's resolution #2 was accepted in spirit by Mr. Fry--leaving their separate views as expressed in each resolution #1 as the focal point for discussion.

This issue was recast by Dr. Harris as whether or not to place Penn's campaign processing in the hands of a "disinterested" manager of campaigns that has no agencies of its own. (Penn's side-by-side model, used for the past two years, allows faculty and staff to give through United Way or through the Center for Responsible Funding [CRF], which conducts the campus campaign for umbrella groups such as Women's Way, Bread and Roses, and the Black United Fund, and the national United Negro College Fund).

Mr. Rudovsky argued for the all-CRF model used by the City of Philadelphia for its workplace campaign, saying that on that model Penn could have expected to have risen from its 1991 high of $410,000 to about $700,000 by now, instead of declining to less than $200,000 in 1997. Ms. Davidson, speaking as a board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, a United Way agency, supported the Leboy motion as stimulating charitable giving overall.

Mr. Fry spoke to problems of overhead cost, citing lower fees by United Way than by CRF. Figures and projections, as well as theories to account for Penn's declining record of charitable giving, were debated extensively.

In the final voting, the substitute motion failed, leading to a vote on Dr. Leboy's resolution, which passed 27-2.

Afterword by Mr. Fry

The following statement was received too late to allow for the normal right-of-reply process but space has been offered to Dr. Leboy, et al, for response in a future issue.--Ed.

To the Editor:

With regard to my comments made at the January 13th University Council meeting, I wanted to clarify one point. If an organization other than the United Way were the sole manager of the University's workplace charitable campaign, this would place an additional tax on the amount of money many agencies would ultimately receive.

For example, there are over 5,000 agencies for which United Way provides a service. If an individual selected one of the United Way agencies, as over 70% of the University community do, this agency would ultimately be charged an administrative fee by both the 'manager' of the campaign and United Way.

This is additionally why the proposal was presented for having both organizations, the Center for Responsible Funding, as well as United Way, administer next year's campaign. As mentioned, both organizations would have been instructed to develop one pledge book and card. This book would include all of their available agencies and ease the process of giving for the donor and thus increase the amount pledged.

--John A. Fry, Executive Vice President

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 17, January 19, 1999