Ed. Note: Below and elsewhere in this issue are four reports released last week by the University Council Steering Committee. Three are on the agenda for April 28: the year-end report on Safety and Security, below; an interim proposal of the Communications Committee, [here]; and the year-end report on International Programs, [here]. Click here for the year-end report of the Library Committee, which was presented in part at the March 24 Council meeting.

COUNCIL A Year-End Report on the April 28 Agenda

Report of the Safety and Security Committee, 1998-99

The Safety and Security Committee (SSC) met six times during the 1998-99 year and has one scheduled meeting remaining. Topics addressed during the year included the following:

After much work both within the Committee and in conjunction with the Committee on Open Expression, SSC completed the formulation of a University video monitoring policy, which was subsequently presented to, and approved by Council.

SSC charged the education subcommittee with developing a safety curriculum appropriate to undergraduates over their four-year university experience. The subcommittee worked with the Student Affairs Committee. Final recommendations are still being formulated, including forming a student/peer advisory group in charge of ongoing education. The extent of interest among students is not clear.

A subcommittee was formed to review the situation of graduate student safety and security. They sent questionnaires to 3000 graduate and professional students asking their perceptions of campus safety.

    425 students (14.2%) responded.
    97.4% felt somewhat to very safe in residences
    94.8% felt somewhat to very safe walking on campus
    95.3% felt somewhat to very safe in campus facilities

The survey also elicited over 250 detailed, free-text, wide-ranging comments addressing various issues including transportation, parking, and bicycles.

This subcommittee will continue to address graduate student safety issues as they arise.

There were several discussions of the Wharton incident (November 8, 1998) and related matters. The incident resulted in several women's groups presenting to Council a number of demands and concerns. One of these was specifically referred to the SSC. The SSC supported the idea of including issues of interpersonal violence and violence prevention into the safety orientation program. However, the concept of "mandatory" orientation was felt to be a difficult concept to enforce. SSC also supported facilitating access to information for victims, including web page links and a reassessment of current resource materials. Members of the women's groups who petitioned Council were invited to attend SSC meetings and contributed to discussions of these issues, as well as the issues referred to other committees. These issues included installation of panic alarms in bathrooms, improved awareness of and access to support services, and modifications of crime reporting. These demands and concerns were thoroughly discussed. In some cases they were ultimately referred to other units. For example, the ex-officio members from Public Safety arranged for testing of current alarms and surveying of bathrooms to determine feasibility of installing panic alarms. Committee members from VPUL integrated the issues into the work of the sexual and relationship violence task force.

The committee continued to evaluate the progress of the bicycle safety subcommittee's work. The committee concluded that the current policy of "no bikes on Locust Walk [and certain other walkways]" should continue as is and the University should urge the city to install bicycle lanes on Walnut and Spruce Streets as previously planned. Once there is a safe alternative for cyclists, the University and the SSC should reevaluate the bicycle policies and their level of enforcement.

Other action items, agenda topics, and areas of recommendations to ex-officio members of the committee included: Alcohol education honors course, University City circulator (bus service), Hamilton House portal (access) system, mandatory wearing of Penncards at various hours in various buildings, reduction of number of transit system stops, and certain incidents reported to public safety.

--Sean Kennedy, Chair

Membership of the 1998-1999 Safety and Security Committee

Chair: Sean Kennedy; Faculty: Sean Kennedy , anesthesia/med; John Lepore, civil systems; Ponzy Lu, chemistry; Jerry Prince, Romance languages;Margaret D. Sovie, nursing; Margaret Spencer, education; William Tyson, legal studies; Karen Winey, materials sci; Students: Jennifer Bible, Angelos Keromytis, Garrett Gleim, Jay Krishnan, Brett Weinheimer; PPSA: Valerie Pena, Health Science Library; David Valentine , Treasurer's Office; Ex officio: Jeanne Arnold, director, African American resource center; Doug Berger, director, residential living; Omar Blaik, vice president, facilities ser-vices; Harry Cusick, director, fire & occupational safety; Elena DiLapi, director, Penn women's center), Robert Furniss, director, transportation & parking; Scott Reikofski, director, fraternity/ sorority affairs; Maureen Rush, director, police operations; Thomas Seamon, vice president, public safety; Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, vice provost, University life.


Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 29, April 20, 1999