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Council Coverage: Final Meeting of Semester

At the April 20 Council meeting, Interim Provost Peter Conn and Vice President of Public Safety Maureen Rush described the steps that have been taken since the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Safety in a Diverse Environment was published in Almanac March 1, 2005. Dr. Conn stated that he has distributed each of the 19 specific recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Committee to the departments/units responsible for their implementation. Ms. Rush then outlined the department of Public Safety’s progress to date. She mentioned the ten committee meetings per month, the police dialogues at the College Houses, the creation of zones on campus, meetings with GAPSA, UA and other groups, the customer service phone (573-TALK) and website (www.publicsafety.upenn.edu), and diversity education training. She said students have been invited to the UPPD headquarters in March and April and these visits will resume in September. Dr. Conn noted that the response from the President and Provost to the Report appeared in Almanac March 15, 2005 and the response from the Vice President of Public Safety was in the March 22, 2005 issue. He also explained, in response to a question about subsequent follow-up, that the Ad Hoc Committee did its work and is disbanded. These issues will be dealt with by the standing Council committees, such as the Safety and Security Committee.

The United States Cultural Analysis Requirement  (USCAR), which had been discussed previously at Council, and at the March SEC meeting, was presented by Senate Chair Charles Mooney who suggested that Council support the proposal. Nursing School Dean Afaf Meleis spoke in favor of the proposal and said that the schools can interpret it flexibly. When Council moderator James English called for a vote, the proposal passed.

During the Open Forum portion of the meeting, three topics were raised. Sayumi Takahashi of GET-UP, a 5th-year comparative literature student, spoke about the Diversity Report: The (Un)Changing Face of the Ivy League. She compared faculty in the tenure track vs. those who teach as adjunct professors, lecturers, or teaching assistants. Interim Provost Conn noted the progress outlined in the recently-published Third Annual Gender Equity Report (Almanac April 19, 2005). He said that, “the slope of the progress is not as steep as we’d like but the arrow is almost always pointed in the right direction.” President Gutmann thanked the members of SHIAC (Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee) that evaluated the student health program for their efforts.

The second topic raised concerned the possibility of having student chairs of Council Committees. Undergraduate Nominations and Elections Committee Chair Eli Schlam, said that while historically committees have been chaired only by faculty, he thought the time had come for non-faculty to be eligible for such roles. If not, then perhaps a vice-chair position could be created, or a co-chair.

The final topic, lack of staff representation on the Committee on Honorary Degrees was raised by Librarians’ Assembly Representative David Azzolina. He noted that no staff are permitted on this committee, yet it has faculty as well as student members.

Dr. Mooney described the proposed Bylaw changes which will be drafted this summer and presented in the fall for a vote by Council.

There was then discussion of possible topics for Council to deal with next year. Suggestions included: Athletic facilities/recreational space at the Postal Lands; concerns about retirement practices; College House System; Spring Fling; representation of post-docs on Council; dual-degree students; West Philadelphia community concerns about campus development.



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 30, April 26, 2005


April 26, 2005
Volume 51 Number 30


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