SENATE From the Senate Office

The following statement is published in accordance with the Senate Rules. Among other purposes, the publication of SEC actions is intended to stimulate discussion among the constituencies and their representatives. Please communicate your comments to Senate Chair Peter Kuriloff or Executive Assistant Carolyn Burdon, Box 12 College Hall/6303, 898-6943 or

Actions Taken by the Senate Executive Committee

Wednesday, November 6, 1996

  1. Update on just cause revision. Faculty Senate Chair Peter Kuriloff recommended that a few key amendments to the Just Cause Procedure and Misconduct Policy be made to clarify and improve the procedure and that it be sent to the faculty for approval. Charles Mooney continued his report on behalf of the subcommittee appointed at the September meeting. At the last meeting SEC had asked whether all faculty-like categories that were included in the combined Misconduct Policy and Just Cause Procedure should be retained in the separated just cause procedure.The subcommittee recommended the document cover standing faculty, standing faculty-clinician educators, and research faculty; SEC approved the recommendation.

    SEC also agreed to retain the sentence from the Misconduct Policy requiring the administration to take steps to repair the reputation of a faculty member when charges are unfounded.

    It was agreed that the subcommittee's revisions based on today's discussion will be circulated to SEC next week. SEC members were instructed to come prepared with questions for discussion at the December meeting. Afterward the amendments along with the full document will be sent to the standing faculty for a vote by mail ballot.

  2. Senate Nominating Committee. SEC voted by paper ballot for eight members from a slate of nominees. One SEC member will be elected to the committee at the next meeting.

  3. Death of Vladimir Sled'. Faculty Senate Chair Peter Kuriloff expressed the outrage and sorrow felt by the faculty on the murder of their colleague research professor Vladimir Sled'. He urged faculty to do everything in their power: to teach about the causes and cures of violence in America; to support the University's efforts to improve the economic status, viability, and environment of West Philadelphia; and to educate our students and colleagues, especially those unfamiliar with urban life, as to appropriate safety measures.

  4. Academic Planning and Budget Committee and Capital Council. Past Senate Chair William Kissick reported that the committee has been meeting weekly since the beginning of September. The first three meetings addressed the priorities in the Agenda for Excellence ( Almanac September 24, 1996). Strategic plans for the School of Social Work, the Law School, the Department of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, the Annenberg School and the Wharton School were presented and discussed. The plans have been referred to the faculties of the schools and will be published in Almanac in January for consideration and comment by the faculties of other the schools. SEC will examine them carefully to determine the implications each school's plan has for other schools.

    A presentation made earlier to the trustees was presented by Thomas Seaman on safety and security, an issue that takes on increasing importance for the faculty given recent developments.

    All initial meetings of Capital Council were cancelled. Matters are being dealt with by mail ballot; a $4 million expenditure for conduits and wiring in the Quadrangle was approved.

  5. Letter from administration regarding benefits review. (The letter was sent to the home addresses of all University employees.) During the extended discussion considerable concern was expressed about potential loss of benefits. Some SEC members believed benefits were part of the employment contract and questioned why the assurance of grandfathering was not mentioned in the letter. SEC was reminded that when the administration met with SEC in September it was clear that cost-savings to the University was the priority and that benefits for everyone are on the table for review. A suggestion was made to create a Faculty Senate benefits review committee to study and compare data and obtain regular reports from the administration's committee. SEC was also reminded that two SEC members are on that committee. There is one legal requirement before the committee, namely that the University's retirement plan must be in compliance with IRS guidelines for all employment classes by July 1, 1997. Currently, the University may not be in compliance and if it is not the retirement plan will be disallowed by the federal government. A SEC member noted that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee should be made aware of the faculty concerns. A majority of SEC members urged that regular, detailed information be provided and that ample time be given for SEC to review and discuss the administration's report. There was consensus that when the report is available, SEC will establish an independent faculty committee, calling on Penn faculty expertise, to review the report.

  6. Faculty Members for Council Committee on Committees. Following additional nominations from the floor SEC voted by paper ballot on a slate of nominees for five faculty to serve on behalf of the Faculty Senate on the University Council Committee on Committees.

  7. New Business.The Chair called for volunteers to review each of the four draft NCAA Review Committee Reports. The reports and SEC reviewers are: Academic Integrity (Frank Goodman, Murray Murphey); Commitment to Equity (Jere Behrman, Denice Stewart); Fiscal Integrity (John Haddad, Ponzy Lu); and Governance and Compliance (Howard Goldfine, Vivian Seltzer). (The reports will be published in a future Almanac). The SEC members were asked to frame questions for discussion at the December meeting.

    SEC member's raised concern about trustees or overseers serving on dean search committees as this is a conflict of interest. The Chair was instructed to discuss this with the president and provost.

    Safety continues to be a concern. SEC members asked whether the University was doing as much as it can. Several SEC members felt they did not have enough information about what was being done. Further concern was expressed about the need for better University support for education in the community's public and independent schools. A SEC member pointed out that other universities own several hundred houses around the campus for faculty and staff to occupy and purchase, resulting in a stabilizing effect on the community. It was recommended that faculty members of Penn Faculty and Staff for Neighborhood Issues (PFSNI) be invited to meet with SEC and University Council to discuss the issues. It was also suggested that Penn increase its visibility beyond University City to farther West Philadelphia.

    The issue of campus space and planning was raised, in particular on how the current Bookstore site should be used after the Bookstore moves. There was consensus that faculty must be fully involved in the planning and decision-making.


Note to Senate Members: Two letters have been sent to the standing faculty and should reach you in about one week. One contains information on the role and jurisdiction of the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility. The other contains a mail ballot on whether to abolish the annual Spring meeting of the Faculty Senate. Please return your ballot by the December 4, 1996, deadline. If you do not receive a ballot, please contact Carolyn Burdon either by email at or by telephone at 898-6943.


Volume 43 Number 12
November 12, 1996

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