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September 26, 2006, Volume 53, No. 5

“RESOLVED, that at the first fall meeting of the Council, the Secretary shall distribute to the Council the actions of Council passed during the previous academic year, including a list of all recommendations and resolutions, the implementation of which would require administrative action.  The president or the provost shall indicate what action they have taken or plan to take with respect to each recommendation and resolution.”  (University Council: May 8, 1974)

Summary of 2005-2006 University Council Resolutions and Recommendations
and Administrative Actions Taken on Them

Resolutions from the 2005-2006 Academic Year

1. During the annual Open Forum, Co-President of Penn’s ACLU Vikas Didwania brought to the attention of Council what he considered to be Council’s failure in ensuring that freedom of speech is fully protected, as resolved in the USA PATRIOT Act resolution passed by Council in 2003. He urged Council to create a committee “to study the possible ramifications of these warrantless wiretappings on academic discourse.”  It was decided that the issue would be forwarded to Steering for possible modification and further conversation, with the expectation that the topic would return to Council at its next meeting. Council held a follow-up discussion of the resolution proposed at Open Forum with Senior Vice President and General Counsel Wendy White about the legal dimensions of the proposed resolution. Council unanimously voted to reaffirm the previous resolution formally adopted by Council in April 2003 in response to the USA PATRIOT Act with the stipulation that Council also refer this issue, as well as any further possible inquiries on the topic, to the University Council Committee on Research. 

Action: The issue was referred to the University Council Committee on Academic and Related Affairs, which subsumes the Committee on Research.

2. Council discussed and voted on proposed changes to the University Council Bylaws as presented by the Council Steering Committee.  The major change that Council approved was to reduce the number of standing committees from 14 to six and the number of independent committees from three to two, with a resulting proportionate decrease in Council committee membership overall.

Action:  The changes were passed and officially will be made in the Bylaws and published in Almanac in fall 2006.

3. Council discussed the report of the Social Responsibility Advisory Committee (SRAC) on University policies on investing in the Sudan and voted the sense of Council. Council voted to endorse the Committee’s recommendation that “the University exclude from its direct investment and require the University’s separate account managers exclude from their direct investment any investment that they may currently have in these oil companies operating in the Sudan, as well as in general obligation to the Sudanese government.” In addition, the Committee asked that the Investment Office share the University’s desire to adhere to this investment philosophy with the investment managers of co-mingled funds in which the University invests.

Action:  President Amy Gutmann forwarded the recommendation to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.  The following resolution was passed by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on June 17, 2006:

“RESOLVED, that the Trustees of the University hereby direct the Office of Investments to:  1) exclude from their direct investments general obligations of the Sudanese government and securities issued by the seven international corporations listed [Bentini (private), Higleig (private), Hi-Tech Petroleum (private), Nam Fatt, ONGC, PetroChina, and Sinopec] and 2) share the University’s desire to adhere to this investment philosophy with the investment managers of commingled or pooled funds in which the University invests.”

Leslie Laird Kruhly,
Secretary to University Council

Almanac - September 26, 2006, Volume 53, No. 5