2000-2001 Year-end Committee Reports
reports were presented at Council last spring.
Final reports for Community Relations,
Benefits, Pluralism, Quality
of Student Life, and Safety and Security,
were given to Almanac recently for publication.
Discussed at Council, April 25, 2001
HERE for the reports of the subcommittees of the Community Relations
University Council Committee on Community Relations met eight times
during the academic year 2000-2001. These meetings focused largely
on the Charges, both general and specific, under which the Committee
had been asked to conduct its work. Those charges were:
Charge from the Council Bylaws (amended April 26, 2000):
Committee on Community Relations shall advise on the relationship
of the University to the surrounding community. It shall advise
the Council and help make policy with respect to the community.
It shall work with the Office of Community Relations to assure that
the University develops and maintains a constructive relationship
with the community. The chair of the committee shall have cognizance
of pending real estate activities of concern to the community. The
chair along with the director of community relations shall meet
quarterly or more often, if needed, with the executive vice president
or his or her designee for real estate to be informed of impending
real estate activities that affect the community. They shall, with
discretion, discuss relevant cases with the Committee, and may inform
the community as the need arises. The Committee shall consist of
eight faculty members, four A-1 staff members, two A-3 staff members,
two graduate/professional students, and two undergraduates. At least
three members shall reside in West Philadelphia. The executive vice
president or his or her designee, the directors of recreation, community
relations, the Annenberg Center, and the African-American Resource
Center, the manager of WXPN-FM, and the directors of the Center
for Community Partnerships, Civic House, and Community Housing shall
be non-voting ex officio members of the Committee.
Charges for 2000-2001 (June 20, 2000):
more formal relationships between this committee and Penn Faculty
and Staff for Neighborhood Issues (PFSNI), making use of the PFSNI
making a joint effort with the Office of Vice President for Government,
Community, and Public Affairs to share information and resources.
to maintain oversight of the University's impact on the community,
giving special attention to real estate developments and transactions,
and the planned preK-8 school at the former Divinity School site.
formal contacts with the Center for Community Partnerships and
the Office of City and Community Relations.
agreed that the broadness of the charges and the lack of direction
about what constitutes "Community" seriously hamper the
Committee. Over the year, we gained considerable clarity about what
this Committee can and cannot reasonably do. We also determined
that a number of the charges have been, or are being, addressed
by other organizations on campus, thus making our attention to them
a duplication of effort. The Committee was, however, able to identify
a core problem that none of the existing mechanisms on campus is
able to address adequately. That problem is communication, broadly
speaking. From the first meeting, when many members raised concerns
about this issue, until the last general discussion, in which we
proposed scenarios for prompting actual solutions, we became ever
clearer about our role as a recommending and coordinating body that
can intervene best in advisory fashion, rather than a body that
takes on the work of orchestrating and assessing the University's
many relations with and impacts upon the Community. We believe that
the Committee needs either to have a much more limited focus in
subsequent years, with a new and reduced charge as suggested below,
or needs to be eliminated, as per the suggestions in the Subcommittee
on Charges report here appended.
year the committee struggles with the question of its own make-up
and mission (see annual reports for 1995-96, 1997-98, and recommendation
#6, 1998-99) and this year was no different. A Subcommittee on Charges,
established in December with Chair Daniel Bogen and members Jeanne
Arnold and Richard Womer, attempted to craft new charges, but concluded
that specific charges would not alleviate the underlying problem
of the standing charge. The Subcommittee recommended elimination
of the Committee with such conviction that we urge due attention
be given to this matter.
the first meeting, Committee members discussed the state of affairs
with respect to community relations. Special attention was drawn
to student, particularly undergraduate, perceptions of the West
Philadelphia Community. Students may hold stereotypes about the
neighborhood and its residents, which need to be countered both
by better dissemination of information and by increased student
involvement in community-based academics and service. At later meetings,
we noted the fact that the University is not necessarily even successful
at apprising the faculty of the range of community relations activities
in which it is engaged. Multiple activities of academically-based
community service, traditional direct service programs, and community
development, including the disposition of real estate, all go on,
but when an individual has a concrete question about who is providing
which services, or where specific links to the Community are located,
the answer is often hard to find.
its earliest meeting, the Committee also raised the question of
how the activities of the University are perceived by various Communities.
Members of the Committee who reside locally are well aware that
suspicion of the University's motives, however unfounded, continues
to exist in the broader Community. The Subcommittee on Perceptions,
instituted last year with members Karlene Burrell-McRae, Jody Kolodzey,
Klaus Krippendorff, and Brian Spooner, was empowered to continue
its efforts (see the appended Subcommittee
on Perceptions report).
on, the Committee determined that it would not attempt to arrange
briefings on various programs and projects in which the University
is involved, as has been done in the past. While a series of briefings
would leave the Committee better informed, it would not of itself
produce any improvement in the basic issue of how faculty and students
at large become aware either of what is happening with respect to
various community initiatives, or the perceptions of different constituencies.
after consideration of the possibility of inviting community representatives
to this Committee to air their concerns, it was decided that such
invitations would potentially raise more problems than they could
solve. First, such hearings would never be more than partial introductions
to community concerns and perceptions. In addition, the representatives
so invited might misconstrue the role of this Committee.
Committee did receive an update on the Five Neighborhood Initiatives
(Clean and Safe; Retail; Community Economic Development; Housing;
Schools and Public Education) from Director Glenn Bryan of the Office
of City and Community Relations, who subsequently kept the Committee
apprised of developing situations in the University-Community relationship.
A briefing on the Partnership for Quality Housing Choices in University
City was given by Managing Director for Institutional Real Estate
Tom Lussenhop, at which members raised the question of whether Section
Eight residents would be able to reside in rental units acquired
by the Partnership. The answer was positive. The Chair attended
monthly First Thursday Community meetings hosted by the Office of
Vice President for Government, Community, and Public Affairs. We
agreed to review the new Community Service Directory being produced
by the Center for Community Partnerships. The third meeting of spring
was held in conjunction with the Center for Community Partnership's
International Conference on Higher Education Civic Engagement.
major theme of deliberations in the Committee was the process and
protocol of University-Community relations. The Committee is extremely
interested in the question of how things are done at the University:
who is consulted when a new Community-based initiative is proposed,
how the needs and interests of the Community are gauged, how the
University ensures positive engagement, and how the impact on the
Community is finally assessed. Similar questions have been raised
in 1995-96 and 1996-97. The fact that this Committee itself is not
always consulted when appropriate was raised in the 1997-98 report.
A suggestion that we investigate any recent engagement that has
run into bumpy patches, such as the Neighborhood PreK-8 Penn-assisted
School, never got off the ground. A proposal was made instead to
focus on successful engagements, with an eye toward discovering
what participants did right, resulting in the passage of this motion,
offered by Professor Lois Evans:
move that the Community Relations Committee identify, describe,
analyze and publicize for possible emulation successful models
of community-academic partnerships' from among the schools, institutes,
centers and other organizational units at Penn.
Subcommittee on Successful Models of University-Community Initiatives,
authorized upon passage of the motion, gathered information and
met to determine procedures for this review. Their focus was on
establishing principles for community-academic partnerships and
university-community initiatives. This effort led to an understanding
that the Committee itself is not able to accomplish such a task,
nor is its proper role to do so. The groundwork this Subcommittee
laid can be the basis for work that we will recommend. (Similar
recommendations were made in 1996-97 and 1997-98). Subcommittee
members were Lisa Lord (Chair), Glenn Bryan, Lois Evans, David Grossman,
Michael Rose, Joann Weeks, and Stefany Williams-Jones.
Progress on Last Year's Recommendations
year's Committee report suggested that ties with Penn Faculty and
Staff for Neighborhood Issues be strengthened. We planned to bring
in a representative of the PFSNI group, but this did not occur.
PFSNI is undergoing its own restructuring at present.
report suggested that the role of WXPN in conveying information
about Community Relations initiatives be explored. The Chair had
a meeting with WXPN Manager Vinnie Curren and Al Fireis, Chair of
the WXPN Policy Board, and learned of the constitutional constraints
that make it inappropriate and counterproductive for WXPN to do
more in this area than it presently is.
on all other recommendations--several of which in essence have been
recommended before, and which come up again in this report--was
hindered by the need to discuss the charges.
important issues for future attention that the Committee identified
are the flow of communication (comprehensibility), the flow of consultation
(protocol), and the principles of interaction that govern Community-University
relations. We urge that next year's charges be limited in a manner
that will allow action.
to University Council:
recommend that the presently formulated Committee on Community
Relations, as defined by the Standing Charge to that committee,
Committee wishes to state for the record that the vast number
of projects through which the University works with Communities
is currently beyond the comprehension of anyone. This incomprehensibility
is the basic issue that has to be addressed by any Committee on
is also no adequate means by which the perceptions of the Community
concerning the University can be judged, nor by which any misperceptions
that arise can be countered. Incomprehensibility reigns
here as well. The University should attend seriously to this issue;
before conducting any survey or focus groups, however, we should
explore the perception of these tools, which are themselves sometimes
Committee on Community Relations should be restructured to focus
on communication about community relations between and
among the University, Communities, faculty, and students. It should
deal with the manner in which projects get started, reviewing
them prospectively and monitoring compliance with established
principles. The Committee should no longer be asked to evaluate
large-scale situations, although the Committee should recommend
evaluations be undertaken by groups with appropriate skills and
resources as necessary.
present, it is entirely possible for different organs of the University
to operate on projects that involve Community independently of
each other, without cognizance of other ongoing contacts with
the Community. The Committee should develop protocols for
communication across the University on all projects that involve
outreach from campus or that have an impact on the Community.
These protocols should mandate the avenues of consultation to
be followed by all University representatives, whether administration,
faculty, or students, when interacting with the Community, so
as to ensure mutually beneficial interactions. Said protocols
should also clarify when this Committee is to be consulted in
the course of such endeavors. Council should consider making monitoring
of compliance with these protocols a function of this committee.
Committee recommends the establishment of a group with appropriate
professional skills to continue the work of the Subcommittee on
Successful Models of University-Community Initiatives. Such a
group would establish principles for the conduct of Community-University
partnerships, based on an analysis of past successful efforts.
These principles will be reviewed by the Committee and disseminated
to the University. The group may also wish to recommend the establishment
of an award to recognize excellence in this area.
for Next Year's Committee:
Committee has to be mindful of the difference between suggesting
work and doing the work they suggest. The Committee does not have
to do each thing it asks for, since it is empowered to advise the
Council and the Office of City and Community Relations.
Committee should review the new Community Service Directory being
produced by the Center for Community Partnerships. This should
not require much effort, since it has been done before (1996-1997).
in place and systems of notification regarding Community projects
need to be reviewed by this Committee as part of the development
of protocols. Existing protocols should be collected from relevant
offices. Protocols should be top priority, and every effort should
be made to complete them in 2001-2002. Monitoring compliance with
various standards has been suggested by the Committee in the past,
and should be recommended again.
six-month timeline is suggested for the study of successful models
by a newly created entity. Based on their report to the Committee,
principles should be presented at the end of 2002-2003.
office of the General Counsel of the University should be consulted
as the protocols and principles take shape.
H. Chance, Chair
2000-2001 Council Committee
on Community Relations
(Asian & Middle Eastern Studies). Faculty: Lois Evans
(Nursing), Daniel Bogen (Bioengineering), Ann Farnsworth-Alvear
(History), Lyn Harper-Mozley (Psychiatry), Richard Womer (Pediatrics).
Graduate/Professional Students: Sharon Etenberg, Kyle Farley,
John Barrett. Undergraduate Students: Alexandra Minkovich,
Beth Rapaport. PPSA: Karlene Burrell-McRae (Greenfield
Intercultural Center), Jody Kolodzey (Development and Alumni Relations),
Lisa Lord (Wharton Real Estate). A-3: Karen Pickney (Medical
School Facilities). Ex-officio: Jeanne Arnold (African
American Resource Center), Glenn Bryan (City and Community Relations),
Vincent Curren (WXPN), Michael Diorka (Recreation), David Grossman
(Civic House), Michael Rose (Annenberg Center for Performing Arts),
Stefany Williams-Jones (Office of Community Housing), Tram Nguyen
(Secretary). Leah Glickman. (New) Non-attending members:
Namrata Narain (Biomedical Graduate Studies), Regina Cantave (ISC),
Ira Harkavy (Community Partnerships), Jack Shannon (Economic Development)
HERE for the reports of the subcommittees of the Community
Relations Committee. )
Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 6, October 2, 2001
October 2, 2001
Volume 48 Number 6