This is the eighteenth annual report of the Steering Committee of University Council, prepared in accordance with a requirement in the Council bylaws that the Steering Committee shall 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."
The moderator announced that the Steering Committee had decided to allow UTV to videotape Council meetings on a temporary and experimental basis for the semester. The decision would be reconsidered at the end of the semester.
Council discussed the implementation of the Provost's Council on Undergraduate Education Report by the Council of Undergraduate Deans. Items to be addressed over the academic year included collegiate models, curricular development through cross-school programs, improved student advising, and international experiences "at home."
After hearing reports from the Bookstore, International Programs, Library, and Research Committees, members of Council suggested additional items for the committees to consider over the next year.
Council engaged in a detailed and lengthy discussion on the draft revised Judicial Charter which appeared in the September 19, 1995 Almanac.
Council discussed and approved a motion to distribute agendas and minutes via e-mail for the Fall semester on a trial basis.
In accordance with Council bylaws, Council reflected upon the 1995-96 agenda; suggested additions to the agenda included discussions of graduate and professional education, space allocations in the Perelman Quadrangle, providing UTV with Philadelphia-wide cable access, a proposed volunteer ambulance system, and improving the screening process for teaching assistants' command of English.
Council members suggested additions and revisions to the charges of the following Council Committees: Admissions and Financial Aid, Bookstore, Facilities, International Programs, Personnel Benefits, Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, and Safety and Security.
The executive vice president reported on the administrative restructuring process.
The moderator noted that the 1994-95 year-end report of the Personnel Benefits Committee was made available in the October 31, 1995 Almanac.
The president presented her extended annual report to Council which highlighted areas in which the University faces major challenges. During the report, Council heard from the vice president for government, community, and public affairs; the managing director of public safety; and the vice president and secretary of the university.
The provost presented his extended annual report to Council during which he discussed the Perelman Quadrangle and the 21st Century Report. In addition, he called on the dean of admissions for an update on the year's admissions process and the deputy provost for his comments on improving Penn's academic planning and budgeting function.
December Meeting (held November 29, 1995)
Council held its second "Open Forum" which included presentations and discussions of student involvement in the faculty tenure process, pro-rated benefits for part-time staff members, UTV's possible affiliation with Wade Cablevision, ROTC, a United Minorities Council (UMC) seat on University Council, the Interfaith Council, the Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ (GPCC), the student judicial system, Penn police issues and semi-automatic weapons, the sexual harassment policy, and affirmative action.
Council continued its discussion of the Perelman Quadrangle which was precluded by time constraints at the November meeting.
Council also discussed graduate/professional education at Penn.
Discussion of the Committee on Communications Draft Policy on Privacy of Electronic Information was postponed until the March meeting of Council.
Following the Provost's Report which focused on the February 13, 1996 draft of the Judicial Charter, Council engaged in an extensive discussion of the open hearing and confidentiality elements of the draft Charter. The moderator added time to the Judicial Charter discussion and asked the Steering Committee to consider rescheduling the discussion of representation on University Council at a later meeting. A motion was made and passed to schedule further discussion of the Judicial Charter during the March meeting of Council.
The executive vice president provided Council with an update on Penn's administrative restructuring process.
Council held a discussion of UMC representation on University Council which had been postponed from the February 21, 1996 meeting. Council approved a motion to refer the issue of Council representation to the joint deliberation of the Committees on Pluralism and Student Affairs.
Council considered follow-up questions to the February 21, 1996 presentation on administrative restructuring, discussed the Committee on Communication Draft Policy on Privacy of Electronic Communication, and continued discussion of the Judicial Charter revision.
The provost presented a brief history of the ROTC issue and reported that extended discussions with the Army and the Navy determined that neither body wants to alter its arrangement with Penn as a host ROTC institution. As such, discussions regarding changes to Penn's ROTC programs have concluded with retaining the status quo. Council commented on and asked the provost numerous questions about retaining Penn's current relationship with ROTC.
Council also heard year-end reports from the Committees on Personnel Benefits and Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics.
The managing director of public safety presented the Public Safety Strategic Plan, and Council suggested additional areas for consideration within the Plan.
In accordance with the bylaws, Council held a preliminary discussion of possible 1996-97 focus issues.
Constance C. Goodman, Secretary to University Council
Summary of 1995-96 University Council Resolutions and Recommendations and Administrative Actions Taken on Them
"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)
Resolutions from the 1995-96 Academic Year
Action: Distribution via e-mail was implemented and continued throughout the academic year; hard copies of agendas and minutes were provided to members of Council not having e-mail access and to those who requested a copy.
Action: The Judicial Charter revision was discussed further at the March 20, 1996 meeting of Council; the subsequently revised Charter was sent to the deans for approval.
Action: The Council Committees on Pluralism and Student Affairs deliberated the issue of Council representation at their late spring meetings.-- C.C.G
Report on the agenda for discussion September 25, 1996
The Bookstore Committee met on a monthly schedule from 2 October 1995 through 22 May 1996, during which time it considered a number of important issues relative to the operation and future of the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore. Invited University officials and others who met with us during the year to discuss such issues included: Mr. Steven D. Murray, Vice President for Business Services; Ms. Maureen S. Rush, Director of Victim Support and Special Services Division of Public Safety; Ms. Marie Witt, Director of Support Services Office of Business Services; Mr. Michael Eleey, Associate Vice Provost Office of Information Systems and Computing, and Mr. Steve Falke, Regional Manager, Barnes and Noble. A Synopsis of the topics considered at our meetings and recommendations pertaining to them follow below.
Committee members met in January with Mr. Steven D. Murray, Vice President for Business Services, and were briefed by him regarding plans presently under consideration pertaining to the future operation and location of the Bookstore. He explained that the University was exploring a possible partnership agreement with Barnes and Noble that would be structured to maintain the academic nature and high standards of the University Bookstore.
On 22 April 1996, the University formally announced that it had signed a letter of intent to enter into a partnership agreement, the first of its type with any academic institution, with Barnes and Noble. As a consequence of this agreement, a new "superstore" (consisting of a two story building with approximately 50,000 square feet of space, well over 100,000 titles, and more than 2000 periodicals) will be constructed on a site located at 36th and Walnut Streets. The cost of constructing this new store will be shared by the University and Barnes and Noble. Although it will retain the "University of Pennsylvania Bookstore" name, it will be operated and managed by Barnes and Noble. The University, however, will own the property. Persons working at the new "superstore," including management, will be employed by Barnes and Noble rather than the University. Barnes and Noble expects to take over operation of the existing store on 1 July 1996, and the new "superstore" is anticipated to be completed and fully operational within a period of two years. At our May meeting Mr. Steve Falke, Regional Manager for Barnes and Noble, discussed at length the nature of the upcoming transition, and he answered a wide variety of questions put to him by committee members concerning the Bookstore's mode of operation once Barnes and Noble takes over management on 1 July 1996.
Upon learning that, as a consequence of the agreement, persons currently working at the Bookstore as University employees would be offered an opportunity for employment with Barnes and Noble, Committee members expressed strong reservations and concern about the possible loss of certain benefits now provided to them by the University, especially those relating to tuition for qualified employees and their children, and the University's pension plan. As a result, the Committee sent a letter to the University Administration outlining its views on this important matter, reiterating its firm position that all University employees must be treated fairly during the transition from University to Barnes and Noble management. Ms. Marie Witt, Director of Support Services Office of Business Services, responded in detail to the Committee's letter, and she briefed us in person at our May meeting regarding the current status of negotiations on certain areas, like tuition benefits, that were still being discussed at the time of our meeting.
When the Bookstore moved to its present quarters in 1968, it was deemed then to be a shortterm temporary location. With the growth and expansion that has taken place over the years, however, the existing store is now very overcrowded, and there is a pressing need for additional space. The new "superstore"" will be designed to meet this immediate need and to allow for future growth as well. In conjunction with the committee, students from the Wharton School have been studying the question: "What constitutes an ideal bookstore?" Their report was delivered to the Committee at its May meeting. It contained a great deal of useful information relating to student perceptions of the store that will be passed on to the 19961997 Committee for further study and action. As a Committee, we express our thanks and appreciation for the time and effort put into this most worthwhile project.
The Committee also discussed the possibility of establishing at least one, and possibly more, "satellite" branches in the future that would feature a limited line of goods and services at selected sites on campus away from the Bookstore's main location. Those goods and services provided would vary depending on the need to be fulfilled at a particular location. The University's medical complex at the Penn Tower Hotel was mentioned a possible initial site for such a venture, but no decisions were reached.
The Bookstore currently has partnership agreements with a number of independent vendors, whereby the University provides them with space and certain support facilities in exchange for a share of the profits generated by their respective operations. Examples include: My Favorite Muffin, Clinique, Revlon, Cash America, the Flower Emporium, Digital Computer Co., etc. Customer response to these ventures has been positive, as measured by customer service surveys, and the revenues generated by these partnerships have contributed significantly to the University. It is our understanding that such relationships will continued by Barnes and Noble.
The University Bookstore and the Computer Connection both have home pages that are part of the University of Pennsylvania's overall presentation on the World Wide Web. The home page provides information relating to the Bookstore's various departments, services, business hours, etc. In December 1995, the Bookstore's fullcolor mail order catalog was added to the system, thereby providing persons around the world with an opportunity to view it online, then order from it by calling a tollfree telephone number. At the present time, security problems relating to the use of credit cards online have precluded their use, however, direct online ordering will probably be made available as soon as this issue is resolved. We are pleased to report that the number of persons "visiting" the Bookstore's home page is continuing to increase, especially those from foreign countries. The Bookstore management has also received communications from alumni as far away as Japan expressing their pleasure that they are now able to access the bookstore directly by computer through the World Wide Web. It is anticipated that additional features will be added to the Bookstore's presentation in the near future, since several new areas are currently under development and being readied for use. For example, in the future, we hope to make it possible for customers to view listings of text and trade books, and to order and pay for them online. We anticipate that Barnes and Noble, taking full advantage of their extensive inhouse computer system, will continue the progress being made in the area of electronic marketing.
The main screen of the University's home page, as presently configured, does not have a special "button" or similar feature to readily identify the presence of the Bookstore and the Computer Connection, and this is viewed as a serious shortcoming. In order to find and access Bookstore and Computer Connectionrelated information, visitors to the University's home page must first select and explore one or more submenus before gaining access to their respective home pages. While Committee members are pleased with the progress made to date by the Bookstore and the Computer Connection on their home pages, there is a consensus that they deserve, and require, a much higher level of visibility and greater ease of access. These concerns were conveyed directly to Mr. Michael Eleey, Associate Vice Provost, Office of Information Systems and Computing, when he met with us at our May meeting.
Many, but not all, faculty members place orders for textbooks required for the courses they teach with the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore. Others elect instead to place their orders with private bookstores or street vendors located on or near the campus. It is important to note that when faculty members place their orders with the Bookstore, they are, in fact, directly supporting the University. Although after 1 July 1996 the Bookstore will be operated by Barnes and Noble, its agreement with the University stipulates that a specified percentage of the revenues generated by it will be directed back to the University.
When asked why they do not place their orders for textbooks with the Bookstore, faculty members have provided several reasons. For example, some prefer to direct their business to street vendors, and they view doing so as a direct means of encouraging, promoting, and supporting entrepreneurialtype business activities. Others expressed dissatisfaction with service provided by the Bookstore in years gone by, and they prefer instead to support private vendors with whom they have established relationships based on what they consider good service. In both examples, when contacted personally by the management of the Bookstore, they indicated that they prefer, and intend to continue, their current practice rather than place their orders with the Bookstore. Some have indicated also that they would like to have the Bookstore stock the same textbooks carried by other vendors, without the Bookstore having received a faculty order for them, as a backup just in case their particular favored vendor cannot, for any reason, supply the books needed. They believe the Bookstore should stock these textbooks so students will always have a reliable backup source of supply. It would be most difficult, however, for the Bookstore to implement such a practice, since there would be no way to predict accurately the quantity of books needed, and the costs associated with the return of unsold books would be prohibitive. The Bookstore would be faced also with additional costs because some textbooks, once placed in inventory, cannot be returned to the publisher/distributor. We anticipate that the reservations that some faculty members have had about placing their orders with the University Bookstore will be resolved as a result of the University's new relationship with Barnes and Noble. Mr. Steve Falke, Regional Manager for Barnes and Noble, gave the Committee his assurance, that the Bookstore will be working hard to regain textbook business lost to other vendors in the past, and that it will be doing its best to make the Bookstore's textbook listings/offerings as complete as possible.
The management of the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore welcomes and encourages fair competition. In some areas, however, it found that constraints placed on its operation by certain rules and regulations made it difficult to "level the playing field" in order to complete in a professional manner. Being part of a nonprofit academic institution, the Bookstore has not been permitted to advertise in the same manner as its "for-profit" competitors. For example, it was not allowed to advertise in local "for-profit" newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer that have a wide circulation, nor was it allowed to post and circulate advertising flyers throughout the campus. When information concerning certain of its special promotions was sent out through the University's intramural mail system during the past year, objections were raised to that practice as well. Direct advertising and solicitation of business through the use of Email was also not permitted as far as the Bookstore was concerned. Furthermore, the Bookstore's management sanctioned only the highest level of professional conduct by its employees, and it did not engage purposely in any sort of activity that possibly might be construed by others as negative advertising directed towards its competitors.
Efforts to compete fairly with street vendors by restructuring the Bookstore's pricing of certain textbooks met with opposition from those who viewed any such activity by the Bookstore as an effort to stifle entrepreneurial endeavors and drive competitors out of business. It should be pointed out, however, that the Bookstore maintains a permanent facility and presence on campus yearround, so it is always there to provide goods and services to its customers, whereas the same cannot be said for all of its competition. It is, after all, the Bookstore's customers who will benefit most from allowing it to engage in fair competition by offering lower prices and better service. Since Barnes and Noble is a commercial firm, and as such not constrained by the restrictive rules and regulations that apply to nonprofit institutions, we anticipate that the new partnership agreement will enable the Bookstore to compete more effectively with other vendors than it has been able to do in the past.
In the past, considerable time and discussion has been devoted to matters relating directly to the operation and policies of the Computer Connection. Consequently, this year a special subcommittee was created to deal primarily with Computer Connectionrelated matters such as sales and service, warranty provisions on the merchandise it sells, the software carried in its inventory, contractual merchandising agreements between the University and selected "hardware" manufacturers, etc. Due to reasons that included scheduling and organizational problems, this subcommittee failed to meet and carry out the goals set for it by the Bookstore Committee.
The Computer Connection is not part of the new partnership agreement with Barnes and Noble, and it will continue to be operated by the University, with its management reporting directly to the Vice President for Business Services.
Persons coming to shop should not fear for their personal safety when traveling on foot to and from the Bookstore, especially after dark. The fact that customers who arrive on campus by automobile often find it necessary to utilize on or offstreet parking that is a considerable distance from the store's present location on Locust Walk is yet another concern, because not everyone feels comfortable while walking alone in an urban campus environment. If store hours are extended into the evening on a regular basis in the future, then the need to provide adequate security in the area surrounding the Bookstore's location will become even more important than it is at present. The concerns expressed above were conveyed to Ms. Maureen S. Rush, Director of Victim Support and Special Services in the Division of Public Safety, when she met in March with the Committee. She explained that additional security measures such as surveillance monitoring of Locust Walk by remotecontrolled television cameras and increased police patrols are planned for the near future. Surveillance monitoring and other security measures employed currently within the Bookstore and enforcement of parking and vending regulations in the vicinity of the Bookstore by the City of Philadelphia were also discussed at length.
Historically, the Bookstore and the University Press have functioned almost completely independent of one another, with minimal cooperation and interaction between them. While books written by faculty members and others, published by the University Press, have been displayed and sold in the Bookstore in the past, it is the understanding of the Committee, that, at least in recent years, the Bookstore has not been able to purchase them at a discount, like other books, for subsequent resale. Consequently, in order to stock, display, and sell these publications, they had to be purchased by the Bookstore at the full retail price, which meant either selling them at or below cost, or adjusting the price upward to cover expenses associated with marketing them as part of the Bookstore's inventory.
Over the years, students serving as members of the University Bookstore Committee have made a number of very valuable suggestions that have been implemented by the Bookstore's management. One good recent example, relates to students being able to use their "Penn Card" to pay for goods and services at the Bookstore. This procedure adds such charges to a student's University account, and they are billed subsequently through the Bursar's Office. We encourage students to volunteer to serve on this Committee, because we value the input and perspective that they provide. While scheduling problems sometimes make attendance difficult for them, increasing the number of students serving would hopefully increase the probability of having at least one or more students present at each meeting.
Now that a partnership agreement has been forged between the University of Pennsylvania and Barnes and Noble concerning the future operation and management of the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore, it is more imperative than ever that the Bookstore Committee continue its work by providing suggestions and constructive criticism (when and if appropriate) to the Barnes and Noble management team regarding the role of the Bookstore on the University of Pennsylvania campus. If the Bookstore is to retain its academic nature and provide the services that have come to be expected from the Bookstore by the University community, then it is most important that this advisory committee, consisting of faculty, staff, administration, Barnes and Noble management, and students meet on a regular basis, preferably monthly, to discuss issues of common interest that relate to the Bookstore.
-- Carl E. Aronson, Chair
The Committee would also like to acknowledge and thank Ms. Velda Williams, Administrative Assistant to Mr. Knezic, for her outstanding service as Recording Secretary for the Committee.
Report on the agenda for discussion September 25, 1996
The Safety and Security Committee is constituted to consider issues involving the safety and security of all members of the University of Pennsylvania.
During the present academic year focus was placed on safety and acceptable conduct at athletic events; organization and scope of the escort system; safety and support of programs unique to the welfare and safebeing of women on campus; assisting, and promoting safety education among members of the Penn community, especially those newly joining the University, cooperating via advice and reviews of a new master plan destained to improve safety and security: and review the proposal of providing automatic weapons to Univensity Police.
The issue of maintaining safe conditions at football games in Franklin Field was resolved. Public Safety will be responsible for enforcing safety regulation at these events.
A. Student Volunteer Ambulance Service
Suggestion for the establishment of a student volunteer ambulance core was received from a member of the University Council. Considerable discussion occurred as to need, staffing and liability problems. In general it was concluded that the present system for obtaining medical assistance was adequate, but that future events may require reconsideration.
B. Escort Service
Expansion of escort service boundaries to include areas of the Carlton House (18th and JFK Boulevard), Art Museum, and Broad Street was considered. The Committee requested that the transportation and parking department periodically reevaluate the escort service routes.
C. SEPTA Stations on Campus
Rehabilitation of SEPTA stations on campus as well as improvement of safety conditions by revamping and relocating emergency call boxes was described in presentation to the Committee by SEPTA personnel, Mr. Dennis Depone and police sergeant James Metzger. The Committee strongly endorsed close communication and cooperation between the University police department and SEPTA police as well as the Philadelphia police force.
D. Semiautomatic Weapons for University Police
The Comittee's first discussion of the proposal to equip University police with, semiautomatic weapons (rather than their present use of revolvers) included commentary input from University Council members of the Committee on Pluralism and the Committee on Community Relations. The consensus of attendees at this initial meeting was that all aspects of the issue should be examined and recommendations from experienced experts in this field should be sought.
Subsequent discussion of semiautomatic guns for University police also included input from the Council Committee on Pluralism and Community Relations and from Public Safety. In addition. the Committee heard presentations from F.B.I, Special Agent Joseph Skrzat, the principal firearms instructor for the Philadelphia field office, and Dr Jack Greene, Professor of Public Policy at Temple University. Advantages of semiautomatic pistols were enumerated: carries more ammunition, is more accurate, easier to train in its proper use. and quick reloading. Stress was placed on improving community relations and trust to obviate the use of firearms by University police.
E. Long Range Plan for Public Safety
A strategic plan for public safety for the next three to five years was presented by Mr. Thomas Seamon. The plan was published in Almanac March 26, 1996 for the benefit of all members of the University community. The plan will be evaluated each year, implementation will be partially dependent on the capital budget and the community will be advised as strategies develop.
Sean Kennedy and Marilyn Hess, Co-chairs
The following year-end report is published for the record. Other Council Committee reports will be published in the coming weeks.
The University Council Committee on Community Relations considered the following:
Since the new chair for this committee was not appointed until the academic year had begun, the committee met only five times.
The University's stated goal to strengthen the links between its academic programs and its public service in West Philadelphia is inextricably linked to the quality of life issues that affect the community and to the University's ability to reach out to the neighborhoods early in its planning and decision making processes. There are many constituents whose needs and vested interests must be considered, including faculty, staff, students and community residents, both university affiliated and non-affiliated.
Because so many of its members are actively involved in the community, the University Council Committee on Community Relations is a model and an important mechanism for eliciting broad input on community relations planning, process and issues. However, over the past five years, new structures have evolved that perform many of the functions that were previously within the purview of this Committee. Among the most important of these structures are the Center for Community Partnerships, the Office of Community Relations, and the office of the VP for Government, Community and Public Affairs.
Presently, the Committee on Community Relations seems to have no formal connection to these evolving structures. This is reflected in the lack of any specific charge to the Committee, and raises the question of the necessity of having a Committee on Community Relations whose work is essentially redundant.
To be effective in the future, the Committee will have to have a clear and specific charge that formally links it to other structures that address community relations. The members of the Committee will have to be involved much earlier in the strategizing, planning and decision making process on community initiatives. In addition, with the evolving number of groups and committees dealing with community issues, some rational method of oversight will have to be developed.
Recommendations to University Council
The University Council Committee on Community Relations asks University Council to act on the following recommendations:
-- Margaret Cotroneo, Chair
Volume 43 Number 5
September 24, 1996
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