Committee Report on the April 28 Agenda
Committee on Pluralism shall advise the offices of the
president, the provost, the executive vice president, and
the vice provost for university life on ways to develop
and maintain a supportive atmosphere on campus for the
inclusion and appreciation of pluralism among all members
of the University community. The Committee will also address
specific diversity issues that may arise on campus. The
Committee shall consist of eight faculty members, two representatives
of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly, three representatives
of the Weekly-Paid Professional Staff Assembly, three graduate/professional
students, and three undergraduate students, with due regard
for appropriate diversity. The chaplain, directors of the
Penn Women's Center, the African-American Resource Center,
the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the Lesbian
Gay Bisexual Transgender Center, the Office of Affirmative
Action, and the Greenfield Intercultural Center shall be
non-voting ex officio members of the Committee.
implementation of the 2000-2001 Social Interaction Subcommittee's
recommendations regarding the promotion of interaction
among diverse student groups.
to monitor minority retention.
Committee met four times this year.
Subcommittee on Social Interaction met twice with regard
to the Committee's first charge. The Subcommittee invited
representatives from VPUL, Athletics Department, and the
Office of the Chaplain/Religious Activities Center, to
attend meetings to discuss how to measure the degree of
social interaction among diverse student groups and how
to assess such data on a consistent and periodic basis.
Based on data provided by the VPUL, the Subcommittee concluded
that it was feasible for this and probably many other units
on campus to generate data regarding (1) the number of
programs/events where the promotion of social interaction
is a priority; (2) the amount of funding committed to such
programs/events; and (3) the success of the program (e.g.,
by number of participants).
response to both the first and second charge, the Committee
met with Dr. Bernard Lentz of Institutional Research to
discuss the availability of data on minority application,
admission and retention statistics. We also discussed
the feasibility of an annual survey (possibly an "exit
survey") that would assess, among other institutional information
needs, "campus climate" with respect to diversity and pluralism.
Dr. Lentz said it was feasible to conduct such a survey,
and that a number of methods were available, but that it
would need to be funded. Professor Camille Charles noted
that it was possible that pilot work in this area could
be conducted as part of an undergraduate course.
Committee thus recommends:
An annual survey of students or exiting students should
be conducted to assess a variety of issues including student
experiences with social interaction among student groups
and "campus climate."
An annual report should be published by the Office of Institutional
Research, that would benchmark and track trends in pluralism-related
issues on campus, including data on social interaction
from various units on campus (as was demonstrated by VPUL
this year), admissions/retention data, affirmative action
statistics regarding faculty and staff, and "campus climate" data
from a newly commissioned annual survey. This report would
serve as a basis for priority-setting and the measurement
of progress for the University's strategic planning purposes.
It would also put in a single place the data needed by
a variety of committees who are otherwise making numerous
and possibly duplicative requests for data from various
units on campus. The Office of Institutional Research is
the logical entity for pulling these data into a single,
Committee took up two issues that were brought to the Committee's
attention during the fall 2003 semester.
Housing Opportunities: A complaint was made to the
Committee regarding the current policy of the Office
of College Houses and Academic Services that does not
permit persons of different genders to share a room.
The Committee invited representatives from College Houses,
the UA and GAPSA, together with the two complainants,
to speak to the Committee about the issue. After much
discussion, it was agreed that a recommendation from
the Committee would be presented to the University Council
Steering Committee by the Chair.
Committee thus recommends:
heard the perspectives of several University constituencies,
and having taken into account the practices of selected
other institutions of higher education, the Pluralism Committee
considers the current University policy of prohibiting
undergraduates of different genders from living together
in University housing to be inconsistent with the University's
policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
and gender identity. Therefore, the Committee recommends
that the housing policy be amended to comply with University's
Committee considers it an administrative matter to decide
what the appropriate change in policy will be, and does
not recommend a specific course of action.
Recruitment on Campus: The Committee invited representatives
from the Law School faculty and from the Lambda Law Group
to talk about the situation on campus involving military
recruitment. It is felt that the military recruitment
presence on campus is not in accord with the University's
non-discrimination policy as a result in of the Department
of Defense's discriminatory policy regarding sexual orientation
in the military.
University should take a public stand opposing the Solomon
Amendment, and that the University should support the Law
School faculty and students who are advocating for a change
in the federal policy. The Committee further recommends
that the University's Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
statement be modified by a footnote indicating that the
University understands that the accommodation of military
recruiters and ROTC on campus is not consistent with the
University's non-discrimination policy and that the University
supports changing Department of Defense policy that will
end discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people
in the military. (The Committee suggests that qualifying
language similar to that of the Johns Hopkins University
non-discrimination policy could be adopted.)
Charges for next year:
up on the recommendation for an annual "pluralism report" by
Institutional Research with statistics on student admissions,
retention and graduation rates, faculty and staff hiring,
campus climate, and the promotion of social interaction
by various units on campus engaged in student activities. Such
a document would serve to set performance benchmarks and
to institutionalize goal-setting in this area.
the efforts made to improve the campus climate relating
to pluralism, diversity, or multiculturalism.
to respond to issues as they arrive.
Culhane (Social Work); Faculty: Portonovo Ayyaswamy
(Engineering), Camille Charles (Sociology), Julie Fairman
(Nursing), Oscar Gandy (Annenberg), Sampath Kannan (CIS),
Gino Segre (Physics & Astronomy); Graduate students: Karan
Girotra (Wharton), Lee Humphreys (Annenberg), Kendra Wright
(Design); Undergraduate students: Julia Lee, EAS '03,
Zaid Mohiuddin EAS '04, Dana Nakano EAS '04, Rohini Khanna
Col '05; PPSA: Tammy Stanley (School of Medicine),
Sean Vereen (Greenfield Intercultural Center); WPSA: Nathaniel
Anderson (Cancer/Biology); Ex officio: Valerie Allen
(Director, African American Resource Center), Jeanne Arnold
(Executive Director, Office of Affirmative Action), Valerie
De Cruz (Director, Greenfield Intercultural Center), Elena
DiLapi (Director, Penn Women's Center), William Gipson
(Chaplain), Scott Reikofski (Director, Fraternity/Sorority
Affairs), Bob Schoenberg (Director, Lesbian Gay Bisexual