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COUNCIL 2000-2001 Year-end Committee Reports

The following reports were presented at Council last spring.
Final reports for Community Relations, Facilities, Personnel Benefits, Pluralism, Quality of Student Life, and Safety and Security, were given to
Almanac recently for publication.

Safety and Security

April 19, 2001

Discussed at Council, April 18, 2001


The 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 John Fry.

The 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 below.

Women's Safety

On January 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.

1 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 disconcerting.
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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 the matter.

Fire Safety

The 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.


The 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.

The 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.

Acknowledgment: 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

2000-2001 Council Committee on Safety and Security

Chair: Regina Austin (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

Dr. Lerman appointed associate director for Cancer Control and Population Science and director of the Tobacco Research program at the Leonard & Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
$2.1 million grant to introduce advanced security features into standard office PCs.
Dennis DeTurck, Srilata Gangulee and Alton Strange will serve the Colleges Houses this year.
The new director for public serves at the Library is Sandra Kerbel.
Wharton as appointed Steven Oliveira as associate dean for External Affairs.
UCD has announced it's new executive director.
Deadlines are announced for Pilot and Feasibility Grants, Trustees' Council Grants, Robert Bosch Fellowships and Luce Scholars Program
Year-end Council reports: Community Relations; Facilities; Personnel Benefits; Pluralism; Quality of Student Life; and Safety and Security.
A new Temporary Staffing Services has a new vendor; EHRS has Training for October and Annual Tuberculosis Screening is now available.
Steinhardt Hall, the new Hillel Center breaks ground.