understand that the University is undertaking plans to build a
new Life Science building near the edge of the BioPond Garden.
The plans suggest that the area of the construction will affect
a large part of the garden. The garden just keeps shrinking. It
was last built on in the late 1980s, when the Mudd building was
students, and again as West Philadelphia residents, we have found
the BioPond to be a campus oasis. Can we hope that the construction
plans for the new building could be modified to leave the BioPond
Hunter, Nu 85 G Nu 98
Larry W. Hunter W 84, Asst. Prof.,
The Wharton School
A Campus Oasis
response to the letter from Julie Hunter and Larry W. Hunter,
I can only say that the School of Arts and Sciences agrees that
the BioPond and Garden is and should remain a campus oasis.
That is why the School, assisted by the generosity of the Kaskey
family, has over the past two years made a substantial investment
in improving this invaluable campus resource. Throughout the planning
process for the new building we have emphasized the need to preserve
the garden, including, for example, restricting the height of
the building to maintain an appropriate level of sunlight in the
I have indicated before, the faculty of the Department of Biology,
whose research laboratories will occupy the new building, have
consistently displayed sensitivity to the needs of the garden,
which plays an important role in the departments educational
programs, and have been strong advocates for preservation of essential
elements in it. A research university on an urban campus must
inevitably balance the needs for laboratory and educational spaces
with the need for green space. The plans for the Life Sciences
building have consistently respected this balance and will continue
to do so.
P. Balamuth, Associate Dean,
SAS Chairman, Life Sciences Building Committee
Misuse of Identity Information?
have been subjected to a blizzard of official University warnings
of Identity Fraud. Implausibly[and inexcusably] however, this
year the University has provided or facilitated Caremark, our
prescription drug plan provider, with OUR SOCIAL SECURITY #s
for them to use as our "Participants Penn ID Number,"
emblazoned on our plastic wallet card! Our previous Caremark wallet
IDs had no such identifiable information [the # was a random
one, or at least not a S.S.#]
someone in the University Administration try to explain this egregious
and unacceptable misuse of our identity information?
S. McDevitt, Professor of Anatomy[Development]
School of Veterinary Medicine
you for the opportunity to respond to concerns raised about privacy
and the recently re-issued Caremark prescription drug card. First
and foremost, we want to assure the University community that
the issuance of Caremark cards bearing enrollees Social
Security numbers was the result of an unfortunate error
and one that has been corrected. The University has NOT changed
the Penn ID as the identification number for Caremark, nor has
Caremark sought to do so on its own. Further, we believe that
there has been no interruption in the provision of benefits to
enrollees based on problems with the ID cards. We understand
that over the years an individuals Social Security Number
(SSN) has become an increasingly sensitive piece of personal data
and the University has been engaged in significant efforts to
bolster the privacy and security of individuals SSNs. Caremark
has been Penns prescription drug vendor since July 1, 2000
and has, until several weeks ago, consistently issued ID cards
using the Penn ID number. In fact, Caremark was the first benefits
vendor the University partnered with that agreed to discontinue
using individuals SSNs as an identifier and to instead use
the Penn ID.
Caremarks recent re-issuance of ID cards, unfortunately
a programming error occurred which resulted in SSNs, rather than
Penn IDs, appearing on the face of the new cards. As soon as this
error was brought to our attention, we immediately contacted Caremark.
Caremark apologized for its mistake, emphasized the value of its
relationship with Penn, and moved quickly to correct the problem.
the week of July 1, Caremark sent to all enrollees an apology
letter and new cards bearing the Penn ID number, along with a
message to enrollees urging them to destroy the previously issued
cards bearing SSNs. Also, in connection with this effort, Caremark
assigned a responsible person to thoroughly review the new cards
before they were released to ensure use of the Penn ID.
protection of personal privacy is an important priority at Penn.
This message has been clearly conveyed to all of our vendors,
and we continue to work with them with the objective of having
the SSN removed as an identifier.
Leny Bader, Executive Director
Human Resources, Benefits
Out welcomes reader contributions. Short, timely letters on University
issues will be accepted by Thursday at noon for the following
Tuesdays issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance
notice of intention to submit is appreciated. Eds.