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This is the twenty-sixth annual report of the Steering Committee of University Council, prepared in accordance with a requirement in the Council Bylaws that the Steering Committee publish an annual report to the University community that reviews the previous year's Council deliberations and highlights "both significant discussions and the formal votes taken on matters of substance."

Annual Report of the Steering Committee for
University Council


September Meeting

Secretary Leslie Kruhly, on behalf of the Consultative Committee for the Selection of a President, invited the Penn Community to attend a series of Town Meetings to solicit input and dialogue from the Penn Community.

The 2002-2003 Committee on Community Relations, which would continue under the newly revitalized Council until the end of the calendar year, presented an interim report.

The 2002-2003 Committee on Pluralism presented its final report.

In accordance with the bylaws, Council called for the selection and ranking of focus issues for the 2003-2004 academic year. Council Steering Committee Chair Lance Donaldson-Evans reminded members that there were no issues raised at the last meeting of the previous academic year and stated that the Steering Committee decided that rather than try to artificially generate focus issues for the year, since it is the first year of the revised Council in which both interim and final reports would be given throughout the year, Council should concentrate its attention on the issues generated by the reports.

October Meeting

In accordance with the bylaws, the president, the provost and other administrators presented extended reports covering the state of the University.

President Judith Rodin's presentation focused on the endowment and development; diversity; continued commitment to the neighborhood and community; and facilities. Chief Investment Officer Landis Zimmerman then reported on the performance of the endowment.

Provost Robert Barchi's presentation focused on academic honors; the Strategic Plan; international students; Strategic Initiatives; and Middle States Accreditation.

The 2002-2003 Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid also presented an interim committee report.

December Meeting

Council held its annual open forum with speakers and discussion on graduate student unionization and co-educational housing. Speakers were either directed to appropriate resources immediately, or assured their issues would be taken up in Steering and/or appropriate Council committees in the near future.

The 2003-2004 Committees on Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics and Libraries presented interim reports.

Senior Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Omar Blaik briefed Council on the issue of vending and the Fresh Air Food Plazas. Council members present unanimously voted "the sense of Council" to recommend to the administration to continue the status quo of relaxing the enforcement of closing hours, such that the food trucks would be able to operate after 6 p.m., until the Committee on Facilities was able to address the issue.

January Meeting

The 2003-2004 Committees on Quality of Student Life and International Programs presented interim reports.

February Meeting

The 2003-2004 Committees on Pluralism and Personnel Benefits presented interim reports.

The 2002-2003 Committees on Communications and Community Relations, which would move to the calendar year schedule, presented final reports.

Mr. Ron Ward, Manager of the Transportation Department, presented on the PennPass Program.

March Meeting

The 2004 Committees on Research and Safety and Security presented interim reports.

In accordance with the bylaws, President Rodin and Provost Barchi presented extended reports on budgets and plans for the next academic year. Ms. Bonnie Gibson, Acting Executive Director of Budget and Management Analysis, presented the budget, followed by Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives Leslie Hudson, who presented on developments within his newly created office.

Vice President for Information Systems and Computing (ISC) Robin Beck presented information about e-mail services and campus-wide mailings. Following her presentation, Council voted to state clearly for the record that it regards the ability of the heads of its member constituencies to communicate with their members to be an essential component in allowing the University Council to fulfill its mission. Further, the University Council voted to request its leadership to secure, through either a fee waiver or the allocation of sufficient funding, the ability of the heads of each constituency represented on University Council to e-mail their members free of charge no fewer than six times per year, with an understanding that such e-mails may be held prior to delivery for up to 48 hours after submission to limit the impact on University computing resources during peak usage times.

Following Mr. Ward's presentation on the PennPass Program at the February meeting, Council voted to advise the administration to work with campus constituencies, other universities, and SEPTA to make transit passes more cost effective, more flexible, and more widely used by Penn students, faculty, and staff. It further voted to call on the Penn Transportation Department to explore various options for improving the PennPass program or a local student pass program with SEPTA and other universities, possibly including, but not limited to, negotiating greater discounts on monthly or semester passes, and using student identification cards as the passes.

Undergraduate Assembly members presented on the Ivy Council and the Ivy Leadership Summit, calling for assistance from the administration in securing funding for the Leadership Summit, and for faculty involvement and participation in the Leadership Summit.

April Meeting

The 2003-2004 Committees on Pluralism and International Programs presented final reports.

Council heard a report on Dialogues on Race, a semester-long program designed to provide members of the Penn community varied opportunities to engage in conversations exploring the challenges in building a diverse, inclusive environment.

The Undergraduate Assembly presented a proposal on coeducational housing.

In accordance with the bylaws, Council held a preliminary discussion of focus issues to be discussed in the 2004-2005 academic year. Three issues identified included Council playing a more active role in helping to promote the University's role in Philadelphia; promoting constituencies' use of the Open Forum available at the end of each Council meeting; and making Penn a more friendly environment for transgender individuals.

— Leslie Laird Kruhly, Secretary to the Steering Committee



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 4, September 21, 2004


September 21, 2004
Volume 51 Number 4


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