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.
at Council, April 18, 2001
Committee on Safety and Security met three times and held an open
forum on women's safety issues. The Committee also interviewed the
five finalists for the position of Vice President for Public Safety
and submitted a memorandum on the candidates to Executive Vice President
Committee was charged with giving special attention to the safety
concerns of women on campus, monitoring the University's fire safety
policies, and responding to safety issues as they arise on campus.
The Committee placed on its agenda issues associated with the policing
of our diverse community, issues stemming from the Chair's prior
service on the Committee on Pluralism. The activity undertaken by
the Committee with regard to each item in its charge is described
31, 2001, the Committee held an open forum on women's safety issues.
A number of points of concern were raised that the Committee endeavored
to address without definitive resolution. These items should continue
on the Committee's agenda for the coming year.
The safety of academic buildings after normal work hours. The
Committee continued its investigation of the feasibility and efficacy
of bathroom alarms in academic buildings.Before making a recommendation,
the Committee is seeking to acquire more information regarding,
inter alia, the commitments that were made by the University in
the past regarding such alarms, the policies and practices pursued
by similarly-situated academic institutions, and the impact of alarms
on the perception of risk by bathroom users. It was noted that some
users find the lack of uniformity throughout the campus somewhat
The Committee took the interest in bathroom alarms to be an indication
of a larger concern with the safety of academic buildings in general,
particularly as to times other than the normal working hours and
as to buildings housing schools or programs where women predominate.
One of the participants at the forum brought home to the Committee
the problems of women who are engaged in scientific research in
laboratory buildings that are somewhat remote and not heavily used
at night. We were told of female students who arrange their work
schedules so that they will have male companions to walk home with
at the end of the evening. It has also been suggested that some
female researchers prefer to work in isolation so as to avoid harassment
from peers. The Committee agreed that in the coming year it would
investigate the problems of female researchers (whether they be
students, staff or faculty) who engage in late night work. We will
target a few buildings and with Public Safety conduct site visits
and make special inquiries of administrators, faculty and constituent
associations with the hope of insuring a safer environment for female
researchers. This approach will also enable us to investigate the
relationship between gender equity and the allocation of expenditures
for public safety, a subject raised at our first meeting and repeatedly
voiced throughout the year. Furthermore, the Committee is pursuing
with Public Safety the possibility of mounting a "Propper Stoppers"
campaign to curb the propping open of unalarmed doors which decreases
the safety of buildings after normal work hours and of developing
a protocol for the Special Check program by which persons working
in isolated offices and labs after normal working hours can alert
Public Safety to their presence.
Escort service response times. The Committee will receive
next year a full report regarding waiting times and delays, publicity
used to advertise the service, and the extent of its utilization.
Building Lighting and Construction Sites. To address the
public safety problems associated with construction sites, Public
Safety has created a task force that will work with contractors
before construction begins to assure that public safety concerns
(such as access to blue light phones and accommodation of pedestrian
traffic) will be addressed from the outset.
Shopping Shuttles. The students indicated that they had experienced
some anxiety shopping at area convenience stores in the evening.
There was also some concern that the Tuesday and Wednesday night
Shopping Shuttles would cease once the Fresh Grocer opened. The
shuttles have operated for twelve years. Given that the Fresh Grocer
has opened, the Transportation Office indicated that the shuttles
would operate through the end of the semester and cease thereafter.
The Committee will monitor the situation to see if the female students'
shopping transportation needs are being adequately addressed.
Parking Equity. An A-3 representative voiced concern about
the inability of lower paid staff members to acquire relatively
affordable parking spaces that are close to their work sites and
therefore safer. The Committee will investigate their concerns to
the extent that they fall within our jurisdiction.
International Students' Safety. The one international student
in attendance at the open forum brought to the attention of the
committee the fact that programs and services that fulfill the needs
of the majority of our students may not be reaching the University's
international students because of their language and cultural diversity.
Either the Committee or some appropriate body should investigate
Committee was primarily interested in the pace of the installation
of sprinklers, the use of fire-retardant furniture and the adequacy
of the response to noncompliance with fire drills and fire alarms
by occupants of the residence halls. The Committee met with Harry
Cusick and John Cook of the Office of Fire and Occupational Safety
of the Division of Public Safety and Pamela Robinson, Associate
Director of College Houses and Academic Services with regard to
these topics. It also received a written statement from Alan Zuino
concerning the purchase of fire retardant furniture for use in residence
halls. The Committee was fully satisfied with their reports and
commends their efforts. The Committee suggested ways in which compliance
with drills and alarms might be increased. It also suggested changes
in the literature distributed to students regarding the lamps and
furniture residents may bring into the residence halls. Monitoring
fire safety should remain on the Committee's agenda.
Committee was interested in determining whether there were any measures
it might recommend to assure that street-level interactions between
officers of the Penn Police force and members of our diverse university
community are warranted and respectful. To do that we need data
regarding (1) the experiences of members of the community with the
Penn Police, (2) any efforts members of the community might have
made to complain about their treatment, (3) the impact such encounters
have on the quality of community life and (4) suggestions about
measures that might be taken to improve street-level interactions
between the Penn Police and members or our diverse community. We
solicited written comments and opinions on these topics from a diverse
array of constituencies, including student associations, faculty
of color and administrators who work closely with members of our
diverse community at various levels. The effort was not successful.
More direct outreach is required. It was agreed that next year the
Committee should hold an open forum on diversity similar to the
open forum on women's safety.
Committee also focused some attention on the Penn Police complaint
process. It obtained from the Division of Public Safety a description
of the complaint process, the form utilized, statistics on complaints
filed between 1998 and 2000 and statistics regarding contacts between
the Penn Police and the public. Some changes have been made in the
discussion of the complaint process on Public Safety's web page;
more changes are likely as the web page undergoes revision. Moreover,
Public Safety is considering the development of a form that will
be supplied to members of the public after encounters with Penn
Police that will indicate the incident report number and the badge
number of the officer involved as well as specify the various University
offices to which they might address their concerns and complaints
about the encounter. The Committee will continue its discussions
with Public Safety regarding the accessibility and transparency
of the complaint process, as well as its actual mechanics.
The Chair wishes to personally thank Allison Cannady-Smith,
Associate Director of Overseer Affairs in the Secretary's Office,
whose knowledge of the workings of the University and the recent
history of the Committee provided much needed continuity.
Regina Austin, Chair
Council Committee on Safety and Security
(Law). Faculty: Vivian Gadsden (Education), Karen Jehn
(Management), Ponzy Lu (Chemistry), David Pope (Materials Science
& Engineering), Michele Richman (Romance Languages), Margaret
Sovie (Nursing). Graduate/Professional students: Kenyon
Brewer, Daniel Gabriel. Undergraduate students: Katherine
Fillo, Melinda Gordon, Lark Grier. PPSA: Julie Carroll
(Nursing), Trish Dipietrae (Veterinary Medicine). A-3:
Tracy Macklin (Genetics), Katrina Scott (Biology). Ex-officio:
Jeanne Arnold (African American Resource Center), Patricia
Brennan (Special Services), Elena DiLapi (Penn Women's Center),
Mihaela Farcas (Off-campus Living), Robert Furniss (Transportation
& Parking), Juana Lewis (Asociate Vice Provost for University
Life), Scott Reikofski (Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs),
Maureen Rush (Division of Public Safety).
Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 6, October 2, 2001
October 2, 2001
Volume 48 Number 6