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University Council coverage

Last Wednesday, at the first University Council meeting of the spring semester, Provost Robert Barchi emphasized how pleased he is to welcome Dr. Janice Bellace to College Hall and said that she is an "absolutely phenomenal addition to the team" as the new associate provost. She has been named to the post that Dr. Walter Wales had filled for over a year on an interim basis since the death of Dr. Barbara Lowery who had been associate provost for seven years.

In her status report, President Judith Rodin noted that "culminating an efficient four-month search process, the Trustees have named Dr. Amy Gutmann, provost of Princeton, to be the new Penn President .... and that she looks forward to "working with Dr. Gutmann to assure a seamless hand off."

Dr. Rodin congratulated senior David Ferreira on his Rhodes Scholarship and noted the help provided to students by CURF and its director Art Casciato. 

The president's report also noted the quality of programming, the level of engagement, and the involvement of the larger community in the MLK Commemorative Symposium on Social Change.

She also reported that as a result of the student interest expressed at the Open Forum in December, the Office of Facilities and Real Estate Services has provided the food truck vendors the option of amending their leases and extending their hours of operation. Out of the 23 vendors located in the food plazas around campus, seven vendors have opted to stay open until 8 p.m.; the others may extend their hours beyond 6 p.m. by amending their lease consistent with the new policy.

The Undergraduate Assembly has issued a Midyear Report, which summarizes the numerous projects that the UA worked on or discussed in the fall semester.

Dr. David Brownlee, who gave the interim report for the Committee on Quality of Student Life, said that the committee had considered the UA's proposal to ban smoking in student residences and that a no smoking policy will be implemented. He said the committee will  address undergraduate advising and the college house system when it meets this semester.

The issue of co-ed housing which had been proposed last semester, is being evaluated by the Pluralism Committee, chaired by Dr. Dennis Culhane who is expected to give an interim report at next month's Council meeting.

Dr. Joyce Randolph, director of International Programs, gave the interim report on behalf of the Committee on International Programs, in the absence of the committee's chair. One of the topics that the committee has addressed in the past is the need for affordable short-term housing for international scholars and visitors.

Dr. Rodin suggested that the problem could be resolved by furnishing one or two of the affordable units that Penn owns off-campus since they are not currently at 100% occupancy. She offered to speak with Omar Blaik to find a way to achieve this goal.

Dr. Randolph said that the committee had also discussed issues related to Homeland Security and how they impact the University community. The integrity of international students' applications from certain countries such as China has been of concern to many U.S. universities; Penn is conducting person to person interviews via Internet 2 with some applicants to better assess their qualifications. The coordination of services on campus is another topic that they are addressing.

Dr. Lance Donaldson-Evans, chair of Steering, reported that Graduate Student Unionization, a topic raised at the Open Forum in December, was referred to the Steering Committee but after much discussion, a consensus could not be reached.



  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 20, February 3, 2004