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COUNCIL 2000-2001 Year-end Committee Reports

The following reports were presented at Council last spring.
Final reports for Community Relations, Facilities, Personnel Benefits, Pluralism, Quality of Student Life, and Safety and Security, were given to
Almanac recently for publication.

Quality of Student Life

July 25, 2001

Interim report discussed at Council, April 25, 2001

The Quality of Student Life (QSL) Committee met nine times throughout the academic year 2000-01 with an average attendance of eight members. Its primary tasks included reviewing the progress of the college house system, assessing the University's efforts to expand off-campus housing, and examining the role of fraternities and sororities at Penn.

College House System

Overall, the college house system is doing extremely well. Governance structures are functioning well, faculty and administrative resources to improve the quality of life in the college houses are expanding, and students seem generally satisfied with the college system. Indicators of positive change include the increased programming of social, cultural and intellectual activities in the colleges; and the growing demand among upperclassmen to remain on campus. Efforts to renovate the dormitories in the Quad are moving forward, as are improvements to the high rises. The committee is duly impressed with the leadership of Professor David Brownlee who has skillfully guided the process of introducing the college house system to Penn. We recommend that additional resources continue to be made available so as to guarantee the continued success of this program.

Off Campus Housing

The QSL Committee was pleased to learn about new efforts underway to purchase housing units off campus through the Partnership for Quality Housing Choices in University City. The Committee also supports efforts to increase the number of beds on campus. Financial aid, especially for graduate students, needs to be re-calculated to include the rising costs of housing near campus. We urge that University Council make this a priority issue for the coming academic year.


The QSL Committee met several times with leaders of the Inter-Fraternity Council and the staff of Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA), as well as with the Director of the Office of Student Conduct and the Alcohol Policy Coordinator. We learned about the changing picture of Greek life at Penn including the growing commitment of these organizations to community service, leadership development and health education. Penn Greek organizations see themselves as more than social clubs, and this is a positive development. On the other hand, there remain serious concerns about rates of excessive drinking (and the behavioral disturbances associated with this) that are also a feature of many Greek organizations. In addition, pledging and hazing practices, the impact of Greek life on student academic performance, and the exclusionary practices of fraternities and sororities in member selection and social activities are concerns for the entire Penn community. Last but not least, the University incurs significant financial costs for overseeing the activities of Greek organizations.


  1. A grading system should be instituted to evaluate the performance of each social organization. This type of system has been instituted in other schools and allows the University to monitor the practices of Greek organizations including pledging practices, leadership training activities, community service activities, registration vs. non-registration of parties, attendance at regular meetings of the Inter-Fraternity Council, minor rule violations, etc.
  2. The grading system should be part of any ongoing accreditation process and should be used to place organizations on probation if they are consistently receiving failing grades. Probationary status could carry with it requirements that the organization demonstrate it is remedying cited deficiencies
  3. Greek organizations at Penn need to have more consistent interactions with their national chapters. While many groups have functional advisor relationships, many do not. Increased interaction with the national chapters will facilitate the monitoring of Greek life at Penn, and will provide added impetus to reform efforts the University is interested in promoting.
  4. The OFSA should separate out its two primary roles: accreditation and program support. The accrediting role is largely one of enforcing rules, and as such, places OFSA staff in a supervisory and evaluative role. Program support is more collaborative in nature and requires a collegial relationship. The conflict between these roles leads to less-than-optimal performance of each set of obligations.
  5. University Council should recommend that the administration carry out a comprehensive review of current policies regarding Greek organizations at Penn. This could be an opportunity to solicit input from key constituencies regarding several proposed reforms including banning alcohol from all parties on campus, insisting that resident advisers be assigned to live in fraternities, requiring all Greek organizations to perform community service, etc. This review should also include cost estimates for the University maintaining its administrative oversight of the Greek system.

-- Anthony L. Rostain, Chair

2000-2001 Council Committee on Quality of Student Life

Chair: Anthony Rostain (Psychiatry). Faculty: Helen Davies (Microbiology/Medicine), Dennis DeTurck (Math), Zoltan Domotor (Philosophy), Daniel Perlmutter (Chemical Engineering), Diane Spatz (Nursing), Michael Zuckerman (History). Graduate/Professional students: Cassandre Creswell, Eric Eisenstein, Chris Leahy. Undergraduate students: Nishchay Maskay, Kristen Miller, Brendon Taga. PPSA: Lisa Felix, Anne Mickle. Ex officio: Michael Bassik (Undergraduate Assembly), David Brownlee (College Houses & Academic Services), Terry Conn (Vice Provost for University Life designee), Kyle Farley (GAPSA), William Gipson (University chaplain).

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 6, October 2, 2001


October 2, 2001
Volume 48 Number 6

Dr. Lerman appointed associate director for Cancer Control and Population Science and director of the Tobacco Research program at the Leonard & Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
$2.1 million grant to introduce advanced security features into standard office PCs.
Dennis DeTurck, Srilata Gangulee and Alton Strange will serve the Colleges Houses this year.
The new director for public serves at the Library is Sandra Kerbel.
Wharton as appointed Steven Oliveira as associate dean for External Affairs.
UCD has announced it's new executive director.
Deadlines are announced for Pilot and Feasibility Grants, Trustees' Council Grants, Robert Bosch Fellowships and Luce Scholars Program
Year-end Council reports: Community Relations; Facilities; Personnel Benefits; Pluralism; Quality of Student Life; and Safety and Security.
A new Temporary Staffing Services has a new vendor; EHRS has Training for October and Annual Tuberculosis Screening is now available.
Steinhardt Hall, the new Hillel Center breaks ground.