University Council’s December Meeting Coverage
In the status reports that circulated to Council members prior to the December 1 Council meeting, President Amy Gutmann reported on the appointments to the leadership team, including Dr. Rebecca Bushnell, who will become the new dean of SAS; John Zeller, who will join Penn next month as the new vice president for development and alumni relations; and Bonnie Gibson, who has become the vice president for budget and management analysis. Dr. Gutmann’s report also mentioned that the Center for Advanced Medicine—the state-of-the-art facility designed by Rafael Vinoly will be on the former Civic Center site—will provide care and treatment for ambulatory cancer patients.
Interim Provost Peter Conn’s report noted that for the first time since the establishment of the Marshall Scholarships in 1953, two Penn students have been named in the same year. This year’s winners are Harveen Bal and Gabriel Mandujano (see Honors). Dr. Conn also reported on the collaboration between SAS and the Library, known as Information Commons. It will be on the first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center where it will contain the College Tech Center, the Digital Media Center and the Student Learning Laboratory.
The UA reported on its initiatives such as four education-related surveys they sent to students. GAPSA passed a resolution to add a non-discrimination clause mirroring Penn’s to its constitution. GAPSA and the UA are also discussing undergraduate mentorship, student health, and public transportation.
Vice President of Public Safety Maureen Rush reported to Council that the new Chief of Police Mark Dorsey was well suited for his new position given his prior experience. Chief Dorsey was introduced; he said he believes in “community policing” and wants Penn to work with the neighboring communities to make the area safer and more comfortable for everyone. He cited the recent visit to the Penn Museum by children from the city’s 26 Police Athletic League (PAL) Centers as an example of the UPPD’s community outreach. Ms. Rush reported that overall crime is down 18 percent compared to 2003, year to date. She also described the crime mapping launched in April 2004, to use the 52 cameras in place that pan, tilt and zoom, to stop crime before it happens, especially involving juveniles. There is an emergency preparedness plan in place; floor monitors will be trained to provide assistance during emergencies. In response to the recommendations made last spring by the Ad Hoc Committee on Racial Profiling, a pamphlet for the community, The Law and You at Penn, has been prepared and distributed. A 24-hour Public Safety customer service hotline, (215) 573-TALK, has also been established.
Chief Privacy Officer Lauren Steinfeld gave a report on Privacy at Penn, highlighting some of the outcomes of the 17 recommendations of the Task Force on Privacy of Personal Information (Almanac April 17, 2001). She discussed the infrastructure that has been created in the past three years to safeguard sensitive information such as social security numbers. The need for an awareness of ‘Identity Theft’ is addressed in a brochure by Penn’s Student Credit Union, Managing Your Finances, Credit, and Protecting Your Identity. It will also be the focus of a seminar for students next semester. Penn now has guidelines for the destruction of records in an appropriate manner. With the growing importance of confidentiality, a statement appears on the privacy website, www.upenn.edu/privacy. Ms. Steinfeld said that with the new online directory, due out soon, there will be two views of information—a public view and a Penn-only view. A significant compliance effort about the appropriate use of sensitive data was necessitated by HIPPA. She concluded that Penn is a leader in the area of privacy issues but there is still much to be done.
During the Open Forum portion of the meeting, two students, Carlos Rivera-Anaya, chair of the United Minorities Council, and Rohini Khanna, chair of the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, spoke about the United States Culture Analysis Requirement Proposal. The students’ proposal is intended to promote “a commitment to the presence of diversity in the curriculum.” Interim Provost Conn commented that there is considerable interest among the faculty “for the spirit” of the proposal but he also noted that curricula decisions are made at the undergraduate school level. He also said that requirements may not be the best way to motivate students to become more sensitive to cultural awareness.
To place an item on the agenda for the next monthly Open Forum, submit it to the Steering Committee Chair at email@example.com by January 5, 2005.
Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 14, December 7, 2004
December 7, 2004
Volume 51 Number 14