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SENATE From the Senate Office

Senate Executive Committee Actions

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

1. Chair's Report. Senate Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans reported that he had, as agreed upon by SEC last month, sent a letter to the Daily Pennsylvanian (published October 24) on behalf of SEC. The letter called for an in-depth and impartial review of the events of October 11 involving Rui DaSilva, and expressed support of Ann Farnsworth-Alvear and Rui DaSilva's request that the police department's policy regarding profiling and race-based stops be made public. In response to this letter, President Judith Rodin has asked that the Public Safety Advisory Board, chaired by Professor Dennis Culhane, convene a subcommittee to consider these issues. The subcommittee includes, along with several students and administrators, five members of the faculty (Drs.  Culhane, Elijiah Anderson, William Baxt, Sean Kennedy, and David Mandell).

2. Past Chair's Report on Academic Planning and Budget and Capital Council. Past Chair Mitchell Marcus reported that since the last SEC meeting Capital Council had met once, though he was unable to attend; and that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee had met twice.  The Trustees Budget and Finance Committee had reviewed the financial status of the Health System. Recent years have shown improving financial conditions, although concerns remain (e.g., uncertainties about future income from Medicare/Medicaid and Blue Cross/Blue Shield).

3. Campus Security Update from Maureen Rush, Vice President for Public Safety. Vice President Rush provided an overview of recent trends in security on campus and in adjoining areas. She reported a slight decrease in overall crime from 2001 to 2002, with a larger decrease from January to October 2003. 2003 YTD figures reveal an increase in some types of crimes (notably, robberies and thefts from autos), and decreases in others (e.g., aggravated assaults and other thefts). Meanwhile, calls to Penn Public Safety have taken a large jump, as have walking escorts provided free to callers of 8-WALK. Following the presentation, SEC members discussed a number of topics with the Vice President, including which aspects of Penn's crime-prevention programs seem most effective and the work to be undertaken by the newly formed subcommittee of the Public Safety Advisory Board examining issues surrounding events of October 11. Assurances were made that the subcommittee would be given full access to information in carrying out its study.

4. Senate Committee on the Faculty Report on School of Medicine proposal for Academic Clinicians. SEC discussed a report of the Senate Committee on the Faculty reviewing and recommending approval of the SOM's request for a new Academic Clinician (AC) track within the Associated Faculty. Joining SEC for this discussion were Dr. Arthur Rubenstein, Dean of the School of Medicine, and Dr. Alan Wasserstein, chair of the SOM Faculty Track Review Committee, which had developed the proposal.  Discussion focused on of a number of aspects of the proposal, including the proposed cap on AC at 20% of the standing faculty in the SOM; likely numbers of tenure-track, Clinician-Educator, and Academic Clinician faculty in the coming years; functional impact upon Clinician Educators; possible impact on tenured faculty in the School; conditions of employment for ACs, and both short- and long-term effects envisioned on research, teaching, and clinical care. Following discussion, SEC unanimously voted its approval of the proposal.

5. Election of Faculty Representatives to the Penn Social Responsibility Advisory Committee. Elections were held for faculty representatives to the Penn SRAC, which is to advise the University Trustees and make recommendations to the Trustee Proxy Voting Subcommittee of the Executive Committee concerning decisions on proxy voting.  Professors Betsy Bailey (Wharton), Art Caplan (Medicine), Helen Davies (Medicine), and Jerry Porter (SAS) were elected to one-year terms.

6. New Business. SEC discussed the November 5, 2003 letter to the faculty from James Riepe, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and of the Consultative Committee for the Selection of a President, providing an update on the presidential search and outlining characteristics sought in a new president. Discussion focused on whether the Consultative Committee's outline, in not highlighting the need for a president who would consult the faculty and pay close attention to its concerns, adequately conveyed the importance placed by many faculty on consultation. It was agreed that the Senate Chair would send a letter to Chairman Riepe on behalf of SEC, underscoring the importance of giving this factor due weight in considering presidential candidates.  



  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 14, November 25, 2003