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Status of the Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Safety in a Diverse Environment

Update on Diversity Initiatives


University Response

Explore ways to use the College Houses more effectively, e.g. create separate break-out discussions on racial issues. These sessions should begin early & continue throughout the academic year. These conversations, when combined with other University initiatives, offer the opportunity to address issues in a more holistic way.

A UPPD detective has been assigned to serve as a liaison between DPS and each of the College House Faculty Masters and Deans. The detectives work to provide information about new DPS initiatives and seek to answer student and/or staff questions or concerns about safety on or around campus. The detectives meet with residents between 8-12 times a month (total) to discuss safety issues and collect feedback.

Each College House has developed multiple programs including “When Words Hurt”; a forum on “Race and Poverty” relevant to Hurricane Katrina; the adoption of a village in Ghana; and numerous other programs throughout this academic year.

Encourage the minority coalitions, class officers, athletic teams, etc, to update the community about relevant issues with DPS, as needed. Encourage the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly to do the same for the graduate and professional student population.

During spring ’05, VPUL met with minority coalition leaders, class officers, cultural center directors, and other student leaders (including UA, GAPSA, and athletes) to encourage candid/consistent communication—this process was repeated in the fall of 2005 and spring 2006.

 VPUL cultural resource centers and minority coalitions also planned and executed events on safety, security and campus climate.  Center directors also worked directly with DPS and the minority coalitions to continue collaborations that contribute towards meaningful and positive relationships between DPS & minority students during the FY2006 academic year.

Develop a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) regarding police procedures and protocols to be shared with the Penn community and published in The Daily Pennsylvanian, and in Almanac, as well as other newspapers and newsletters.  Post the FAQs on minority coalition websites and the DPS website.

DPS is working with the Student Leadership Consultation Group, comprised of approximately 50 student leaders from several student organizations including BGAPSA, GAPSA, UMC, and the UA, to develop an FAQ which will be posted on the DPS website, www.publicsafety.upenn.edu in the spring of 2006.

In the fall of 2005, DPS placed three advertisements in The Daily Pennsylvanian that described DPS departments and safety services.

Work with the graduate and undergraduate Deans to spread the word about DPS/community outreach initiatives through the schools, e.g. Undergraduate Advisory Boards.

The Vice President for Public Safety visited the Council of Undergraduate Deans in fall 2005 and presented the outreach initiatives DPS is undertaking.  The Deans agreed to circulate appropriate materials to the faculty in their schools.  A similar presentation to the Council of Grad Deans is planned for this spring.

Develop a partnership between DPS and Penn resource centers and student organizations to spread the word about DPS/community outreach initiatives.

VPUL cultural center directors and their corresponding student coalitions, beginning in the spring of 2005 and throughout the 2005-2006 academic year, have worked collaboratively to meet with veteran DPS staff and newly-hired officers and to provide training opportunities, as needed. 

Each center has an assigned DPS liaison who has received an orientation to the center and who works to provide information about new DPS initiatives and who seeks to answer student and/or staff questions or concerns about safety on or around campus. 

The cultural centers have also included their advisory boards in these important discussions about communications with and between DPS administration and VPUL staff. Lastly, Makuu now has a DPS staff member on its advisory board.

In order to foster and enhance positive relationships and correct misperceptions that sometimes develop about West Philadelphia (particularly when there is an up tick in crime), solicit the input and aid of The Office of Community Relations, Civic House, the Center for Community Partnerships, and other University entities that are already deeply involved in working with our West Philadelphia neighbors.

The Office of Community Relations hosted two “First Thursday” information sessions on issues of safety and community policing for leaders in the West Philadelphia community. The process for filing complaints and opportunities to increase officer-community interaction were reviewed and discussed. DPS will continue to participate in the First Thursday meetings with the West Philadelphia community and other meetings or conversations with the community.

 A UPPD Community Relations Officer (CRO) attends West Philadelphia community meetings on a monthly basis for the following groups: The Garden Court Community Association, the Cedar Park Neighbors Community Association, the Spruce Hill Community Association, the Walnut Hill Community Association, Friends of 40th Street, and the Equal partners in Change Stakeholders Group (dealing with truancy issues) as well as the Outreach Coordination Committee (relative to homeless issues). In addition, the Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Penn Police also attend these meetings throughout the year.

The Office of Community Relations and UPPD are sponsoring a series of special community meetings to discuss the utilization of community town watch and its role in public safety.

A public forum was sponsored by Civic House and the Office of Community Relations on University, Race and Institutional Engagement.

UPPD assigns officers on patrol to specific neighborhoods to increase their knowledge of and interaction with the community via its new Sector Integrity Program.

Police Athletic League (PAL) – UPPD works alongside the Philadelphia Police Department at the Tucker PAL Center to engage youth in positive activities like sports, computing and helping with homework. Additionally, Penn fraternities and sororities are involved in this work and several Penn students now volunteer at the Tucker PAL Center.

Improve continuity in interactions and communications from year to year between the community and DPS. This can be accomplished, in part, through surveys, brochures, and videotapes.

DPS will continue to proactively reach out to student groups on a regular basis and look forward to collaborating with them on a Student Safety Survey already in the works which will gauge students’ behaviors, knowledge, and use of safety information to be housed on the DPS public website, www.publicsafety.upenn.edu. This will be accomplished by the fall of 2006.

In the fall of 2005, DPS began conducting Customer Service surveys as a means of obtaining feedback on services performed by various departments within the division (UPPD, Special Services, PennComm, and Security and Technology Services). As of March, 2006, 96 percent of the respondents rated the services rendered by DPS in the highest three categories possible (very satisfied, slightly satisfied or satisfied.)

Develop a central means to communicate to students, perhaps through the web, which establishes an “electronic community” for information sharing and up-to-date news.

VPUL staff worked with the UA, graduate and professional students, and the minority coalitions, and the Daily Pennsylvanian (DP) to launch such a tool on the VPUL divisional websites.  In the end, undergraduate students did not believe this new initiative would be an effective tool as they already use available websites.  Rather, they suggested additional improvements to current University websites that were implemented in the fall of 2005.  UPPD also enhanced its website so that it, and the Penn web homepage, could both  be used as vehicles to share critical information and, on the DPS website, as detailed above, to report any concerns.

In coordination with VPUL, DPS established the Student Leadership Consultation Group. The group met in October of 2005 and again in February 2006 and will continue to meet regularly.

Continue to introduce police officers to all of the resource centers on campus. Develop useful information about our student population to share with them. Develop and distribute information describing the mission of each of the minority coalition groups to be shared with all members of DPS.

All new Penn officers are being introduced to the staff and advisory boards of Penn Resource Centers.

UPPD supervisors are assigned a specific zone of responsibilities for all Penn buildings, with the goal of enhancing communications & customer service through one-to-one dialogue.

By the fall of 2005, VPUL developed, filmed, and launched on its divisional website, with links to each cultural center, a new video about the cultural centers and minority student coalitions. VPUL worked closely with the cultural center directors and minority student coalitions to meet this objective. DPS can direct new officers to the VPUL website; moreover, they can download the actual content on each new hire’s computer or provide them with the video in DVD format.

Consider posting profiles of DPS employees on the DPS website, and in other venues, to provide “snapshots” of the employees.

DPS is exploring the creation of a DPS staff profiles gallery, including photographs that would provide “snapshots” of all of its employees.  The gallery would be shown on the DPS website.  It would be another way for the Penn community to “meet” DPS employees.It is anticipated that this project will be completed this fall.

Create small group sessions including the Vice President of Public Safety and the Chief of Police, other officers and student groups. Videotape a small group session between students and the police which could then be used for wider dissemination.

DPS has conducted the following Town Hall meetings with specific groups to increase accessibility and communications:

Undergraduate Assembly, November 1, 2005

PanHellenic Council, November 14, 2005

Graduate and Professional Student Association, November 16, 2005

Open Community Town Hall at Harrison House, November 17, 2005

IFC on March 20, 2006

DPS will continue to reach out to student groups to schedule periodic town hall meetings throughout 2006.

Each of the constituency groups represented by the minority coalitions will develop programming that will contribute towards a meaningful and positive relationship between DPS and minority students.

VPUL cultural center directors worked actively with the minority coalitions to implement the next phase of this programming during the 2005-2006 academic year. In addition, all VPUL cultural centers and coalitions sponsored initiatives and events in Spring 2005.

Conduct periodic surveys of our students, faculty and staff to measure levels of comfort and frequency of social interactions among diverse groups as well as gauge reaction to DPS. Develop this survey instrument in consultation with the key stakeholders as well as expert survey professionals.

Questions are being added to the annual COFHE Senior Survey which will be administered this spring as a first step in achieving this objective.

Expand opportunities to get to know police officers outside of their work, e.g. in sports settings or informal social gatherings. Reinstate a DPS “open house.”

During the 2005 spring semester DPS hosted a DPS/Student Colloquium on the second Tuesday of each week.  These gatherings were open to all undergraduate and graduate students. The goal of these interactions was to create opportunities for candid and consistent communication, and opportunities to respond to questions about policing issues, policies, etc.

During the fall of 2005, DPS and VPUL hosted a number of student meetings at various resource centers and DPS.

Clarify how diversity training is being conducted for DPS and specifically what “cultural competency” means and make this information available to the broad Penn community (the process for diversity training is described in section III, number 1 of this report).

The training provided by DPS defines cultural competency “as respecting and valuing others backgrounds, beliefs and norms.”  It refers to three distinct behaviors: seeking to understand differences and similarities of others; objectively accepting differences and similarities of other cultures; and incorporating knowledge of cultural differences and similarities into day-to-day activities.  The DPS will illustrate to the community how diversity training is being conducted for its members, and how the focus on improving cultural competency will be achieved, by periodically reporting its efforts through various media such as The Daily Pennsylvanian, Almanac, the DPS website, and through presentations made to the University Council, the Faculty Senate, the Undergraduate Assembly, and other relevant organizations.

DPS has also recently conducted the following training sessions: “The Power of Inclusion: Leveraging Diversity to Create a More Unified Community”.  Instructors: Yvonne Alverio and Scott Davis (of the Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group).  Held: May, 2005.

Utilize the DPS Advisory Board Subcommittee on Training to assess training outcomes and regularly report to the community.

The DPS Advisory Subcommittee on Training is currently working on assessing training outcomes from the spring 2005 training entitled The Power of Inclusion: Leveraging Diversity to Create a More Unified Community and will report its findings and recommendations through various forums such as University Council, the DPS Advisory Board, and Almanac.

The DPS Advisory Board Subcommittee on Training recommended additional training that will focus on building skills in the areas of judgment, discretion, the interpretation of nonverbal behavior and include practical cognitive strategies for recognizing when stereotypes may be influencing one’s judgment.

Bring in and/or organize an interactive group to provide training that deals with sensitive issues such as race and gender.

The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs and the African-American Resource Center have been working to identify an appropriate training organization and design.  It is expected that a training program will be offered in fall 2006.

Review the availability of citizen’s complaint forms to ensure there are adequate locations for the community.

The Citizen’s Complaint process was revamped. As a result, complaint forms are available through several venues. Complaint forms may now be faxed, emailed, mailed, or hand delivered to DPS. Additionally, all resource centers, as well as the Office of Government and Community Relations, and student groups (United Minorities Council, the Undergraduate Assembly, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly) have been informed on how to assist individuals in filing citizen’s complaints.




  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 29, April 11, 2006


April 11, 2006
Volume 52 Number 29


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