December 15, 1998
Volume 45
Number 15

Council: Forum Focuses on Women's Safety, Asian/Pacific American Student Needs

At Council on December 9, President Judith Rodin led off with the appointment of Dr. Robert L. Barchi as Provost, and gave the first of several tributes to Dr. Michael Wachter for his service as Interim Provost. Dr. John Keene announced SEC's adoption of a policy on consultation (Almanac December 8), and said it will come before Council in January. Except for Dr. David Brownlee's appearance to take questions on the College House system that had been deferred from October's meeting, and a Facilities Committee report delivered by Dr. Vukan Vuchic (to be summarized in a future issue), the topics of the Open Forum predominated: women's safety, the needs of Asian/Pacific American students, and the naming of University properties.

Before the start of the Forum, Dr. Rodin in her standing report had described a comprehensive review of security in academic buildings that led to a number of new steps she outlined (see OF RECORD, below). Noting that some peer institutions are moving in other directions, with Princeton closing access to any 24-hour-a-day buildings, she added: "We need to remember as a community that the opportunity to keep buildings open 24 hours is an academic privilege, and to share our responsibility."

Dr. Rodin also summarized recent steps that address Asian/Pacific American (A/PA) student issues, and described her visit to Chinese institutions and alumni gatherings.

Women's Safety: In the Forum, Erin Healy appeared for the Penn Women's Alliance and the Penn Chapter of NOW asking that Penn reassess the issue of women's safety on campus. She listed four demands:

  • that functioning, visible and regularly maintained emergency alarms be connected to trained security personnel and be installed in every bathroom and in every stall on campus, in new, old and renovated buildings.
  • multiple victim advocacy resources beyond that which the Penn Police provide, to offer greater sensitivity to the specific needs of female and male victim survivors, with Penn Women's Center to regain its role as an integral component of the victim advocacy system
  • more frequent publication of the step-by-step procedure for reporting crimes, publicizing crime statistics, and a list of campus resources, with procedures in place to "avoid misinformation and support the victim survivor's report of her experience."
  • a mandatory workshop specifically addressing interpersonal violence, violence prevention, and resources for victims of crimes, with sensitivity to women's needs, to be integrated into all new-student orientations for first-year, transfer and graduate students.

Ms. Healy distributed information on a Penn NOW survey of major bathrooms on campus, finding up to 19 inadequate for reasons ranging from lack of any emergency button or rape cord whatsoever, to problematic placement and/or visibility.

Although referrals to multiple committees were discussed - including Safety and Security, Facilities, Libraries - the issue was earmarked for Steering as the next step.

Asian/Pacific Issues: Three speakers addressed this topic, all urging faculty appointments as part of an increased commitment to the students:

  • Dr. Eric Cheyfetz, as chair of Council's Pluralism Committee, identified points in his Committee's report that were not addressed in the APASAC report and the President's response to it (Almanac November 3), including a call for five faculty appointments in the next five years.
  • Andrea Cherng, as chair of the Undergraduate Advisory Board for Asian American Studies, said the number of faculty self-identified as Asian American - 122 - both surprised her and did not match up with student perception based on visibility and interaction; and
  • Seung Lee of the Asian/Pacific Student Coalition, who also noted limitations in having 15 student service administrators for 1700 students, attributed to a lack of faculty mentoring a pattern in which A/P students are involved in culturally relevant activities but not otherwise represented in University activities. He also cited a need for outreach to A/P alumni through campus resources.

Interim Provost Wachter advised of a search for a tenure-track faculty member in history, and of at least one other faculty member potentially elsewhere in SAS. He also urged students to seek out faculty, saying that in most cases faculty will welcome it, and reiterated Penn's commitment to the Asian/Pacific community. Moderator Will Harris noted that the Pluralism Committee has been asked to make status report on an expedited basis, and would include more on this topic. The topic is referred to Steering. Dr. Harris took the sense of Council to refer this also to Steering.

Steering will also be the referral point for the final Forum topic, in which Almanac editor Karen Gaines asked Council to consider recommending checkpoints for naming or renaming properties, suggesting input from historians, archivists and others knowledgeable of names' origins and meaning.

Glee Club: "We Wish You ..."

The Penn Glee Club, led by Bruce Montgomery, will appear on the Christmas day episode of the NBC Today show singing several holiday carols. Last week 22 members of the Glee Club taped their performance in front of Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree. They sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells. The group was invited to perform after sending one of their CDs to the producers of the show.

PNC: Webcasts

The Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community (PNC), as part of its mission to promote "a robust and diverse public culture in which reasoned & reasonable discourse can flourish," will sponsor a live webcast this week through its internet site, www.upenn.edu/pnc. Live video and audio from the Commission's meetings will be at the following times (all EST):

  • December 17: Session One; 12:30 p.m.; The Context of Public Discourse; led by Robert Weibe, with Andrew Kohut, Jonathan Franzen, Edward Rothstein, and Richard Weisberg.
  • December 17: Session Two; 5:30 p.m.; The Role of Institutions in Leading Civil Discourse; Barry Munitz, President, J. Paul Getty Trust.
  • December 18: Session Three; 5:30 p.m.; Creating a National Discourse: Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa; led by Amy Gutmann, with Alex Boraine, Vice Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

A variety of connections will be available to make the webcasts viewable, said PNC's Executive Director, Dr. Stephen Steinberg. Connection speeds of 28.8 kbps, 56 kbps, or ISDN and faster will all be accomodated and optimized. (For an update on the PNC's work, which includes the affiliations of speakers not otherwise identified above, please see Almanac November 24--Ed.)

Ivy Basketball by Satellite

For the first time in its history, Ivy League basketball - both men's and women's - will be broadcast nationally on television. Eleven games will be shown this winter via the DirecTV satellite service's "Ivy League Friday Nights," beginning with the January 8 Brown at Princeton game, and culminating with Penn at Princeton on March 2. In addition, as part of an agreement between the NCAA, CBS and DirecTV, fans throughout the country will be able to watch the Ivy League champion's progress when the NCAA's 'March Madness' begins.

New subscribers can call 1-800-DIRECTV, mentioning the Ivy League package for a discount on monthly fees.


Security Policy for 24-Hour Academic Buildings

Building Usage. Limit the number of buildings being used for 24-hour academic activities. Spaces for after-hours activities within buildings should be limited to specific rooms and floors. Rooms and labs not designated for 24-hour use should be secured to prevent use after hours.

Building Access. Limit after-hours access to one door only; this door should be accessible only by card reader or security staff member who checks IDs or otherwise controls access (sign-in/out, or a card reader as in residential buildings).

Security Officers. Require the presence of an adequate number of security officers during after hours activities-the number and deployment of officers to be determined specifically for each facility.

ID Card Visibility. Require all after-hours building users to prominently display their PENNCards between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Building Exit Control. Limit the number of non-emergency exit doors, and ensure they lead to well-lighted, non-secluded areas. All exit doors will be armed with intrusion- and prop-detection alarm devices monitored by Penn Police. Appropriate signage regarding door alarms will be displayed at these doors.

Security Technology & Maintenance. All security devices will report electronically to the Penn Police. High building-maintenance standards for doors, locks, lighting and other safety related equipment will be observed. All life-safety related maintenance requests will be processed as a high priority.

Awareness. All building users will be provided information describing after-hours policies to ensure awareness and compliance.

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 15, December 15, 1998