Council Meeting Rescheduled
to a scheduling conflict, the Steering
Committee has rescheduled the Wednesday,
March 26, University Council meeting
for Wednesday, April 9, 4-6 p.m. in
Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall.
Laird Kruhly, Secretary
of University Council
the February 26 University Council meeting, the Committee
on Pluralism, represented by Committee Chair Dr. Dennis
Culhane, reported on the issue of Gender Identity
and Gender Expression. This issue had been raised
in an Open Forum (Almanac December
11, 2001) and the Steering Committee had referred
it to the Committee on Pluralism.
Committee on Pluralism considered the proposal to
include an affirmative statement regarding non-discrimination
for gender identity in the context of the recently
passed City ordinance that essentially addressed the
issue is whether Penn would want to include in its
standard nondiscrimination language a phrase stating
that gender identity is included among those categories
which are protected from discrimination. The City's
bill focuses specifically on housing, employment and
public accommodations. Dr. Culhane noted that Penn
would not be the first university to be taking this
issue up. The University of Michigan and the University
of Iowa confronted a similar situation. The Pluralism
Committee advised that Council should recommend to
the administration that Penn adopt the City's policy
of nondiscrimination concerning gender identity.
motion passed with no opposition and several abstentions.
Additionally, Council recommended that a mechanism
for working out the implementation details be developed
next topic was also in response to an issue brought
up in an Open Forum, namely Investment Responsibility
17, 2002). Dr. Mitch Marcus reported that after
much discussion, Steering Committee fully supports
the creation of the Penn Social Responsibility Advisory
Committee. The Committee would be charged to make
recommendations to the Trustee Proxy Voting Subcommittee
of the Executive Committee concerning decisions on
proxy voting. President Judith Rodin has been working
with the Trustees towards them accepting input from
this committee. In the current draft, the committee
would have a membership of 12 voting members: 4 faculty
members--nominated by the Faculty Senate; 4 students--2
graduate (1 GAPSA, 1 GSAC) and 2 undergraduate (1
appointed by NEC, one appointed by the UA); 2 alumni
representatives appointed by the President, and 2
staff members appointed by the President. This committee
will have access to materials from the leading socially-responsible
investment advisory company in the country and will
be based on the stocks that the University's funds
hold which will be provided by the Office of the Secretary.
The Committee will make recommendations to the Proxy
Subcommittee of the Trustees on when this committee
recommends the Trustees vote their proxies either
for or against certain kinds of motions. This is a
substantial move forward and it looks like the Trustees
are favorably disposed, said Dr. Marcus.
Marcus spoke about the issue of Divestment. Steering
Committee wants to note that it, as a University-wide
body, is actually the appropriate mechanism for hearing
the voices of the community about a formal recommendation
as "extraordinary matters in extraordinary times
that might lead to extraordinary recommendations" such
as divestment. The sense is that a move to divest
as was done with South Africa, is something that is
not impossible but should be held to be extraordinary
and therefore suggestions of that kind should be presented
to Steering and Steering will carefully consider such
Chair of the Council Steering Committee, Dr. Marcus
gave a presentation on Revitalizing Council which
covered the following points and is presented for
Proposal from Steering Committee for Revitalization
of University Council
Make University Council More Effective
majority of Council's time should be focused on:
- Significant issues
for the University community as a whole.
from Council committees for Council feedback
or Council recommendation to the administration.
as a whole should carefully construct charges.
should be focused, strategic, and on issues where
the administration seeks information and/or feedback.
They should be appropriate for the larger University
community to discuss.
work should be done in the committees.
be most effective, committees should work closely
with the administrator(s) whose area is most
should be present when reports are presented.
should report at mid-cycle. After such updates,
Council should provide feedback.
schedules should be staggered; half should be
on a January-January schedule.
fixed meeting time: Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m. Those
with time conflicts should decline membership.
fully Open Forum in fall mandated in bylaws.
that additional Open Forum issues of significant
concern to the University Community should be
funneled through Steering, which will decide
if these additional issues are appropriate for
Council as a whole.
should chair Council committees.
chairs not filled by the end of the first month of
the semester would become the responsibility of Steering
as a whole to fill.
SEC & Council
will act to minimize the duplication of reports to
both SEC and Council.
all existing committees need to continue?
committee chairs be members of Council?
Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 24, March 4, 2003