September 26, 2006, Volume 53, No. 5
September 20 University Council Meeting Coverage
Last Wednesday at the first University Council meeting of the fall semester, President Amy Gutmann “with the advice of Steering” appointed Dr. Paul Guyer, “a preeminent Emanuel Kant scholar” a professor of philosophy and the Florence R.C. Murray Professor in the Humanities, as moderator of University Council for the 2006-2007 academic year. He was unanimously approved. Dr. Gutmann then announced the reappointment of Mark Frazier Lloyd as Council’s Parliamentarian, now in his 16th year in that role.
To read the Status Reports of the President, Provost, GAPSA and UA from the September 20 meeting, visit the Council website at: www.upenn.edu/secretary/council/StatusReports0920.html.
A non-partisan, student-run voter mobilization drive on campus, Penn Leads the Vote, gave ‘Ask Me Where to Vote’ t-shirts to the president and provost, and offered the shirts to all present.
Dr. Vince Price, chair of the Council Steering Committee, enumerated focus issues for Council for the coming academic year. Steering recommends four topics. The first one, to be discussed later this fall, is interdisciplinary education. Then, a continuation of discussion on the implementation of the Campus Development Plan—Penn Connects; international students and the final topic, student health services, concerns of undergraduate and graduate students. In response to a student’s question about gender-neutral housing options, Dr. Gutmann mentioned that the housing being developed on the 3900 block of Chestnut would be available to any combination of students. In response to a student’s concern about space for religious organizations in the campus development plan, the Provost explained that the plan is still in the overview phase. Another student asked if mental health concerns would be included in the student health topic, and mentioned the concerns of Asian Pacific students. VPUL Val Cade noted the increase of CAPS services. A student who wants to see an improvement in the campus efforts raised the issue of recycling. In response to a student’s question about whether or not financial aid for international students would be addressed, Dr. Gutmann said that will be one of the priorities for the upcoming Five-Year Campaign which will launch next year—financial aid for all students, as well as a new priority especially for international students. Another Council member raised a point about the importance of promoting the arts in interdisciplinary education. That led Dr. Cade to provide an explanation of the Penn @ P.L.A.A.Y. (Penn Lively Arts Academic Year) initiative; a flyer had been distributed prior to the meeting and is also available online at www.vpul.upenn.edu/pennatplaay. It lists upcoming cultural events for this semester. Dr. Gutmann mentioned that the Platt Performing Arts Center would be officially opened in October.
Dr. Price explained the revised Council Committee structure. He mentioned that these changes were approved by Council last May. There are now fewer committees than there had been previously, with each new committee’s charge modified accordingly. The new committee on Academic and Related Affairs has subsumed the charges of the old committees on Bookstore, Library, Athletics, and Research committees, among others. The new Campus and Community Life Committee takes up communications, community relations, student life and public safety. Steering did not constitute the usual Committee on Committees which is charged with appointing members to Council committees, however Steering worked over the summer to fill the slots on the committees. The committees have the flexibility to set up subcommittees to take up charges and can consult with Steering if they wish to add members. This year, Steering will populate the Committee on Committees to evaluate the newly revised structure and the effectiveness of the changes. The individual committee charges were based on the committee reports that were submitted last year. PPSA Chair Adam Sherr said they have a cadre of ‘worker bees’ available to assist with committees.
There were no topics for the Open Forum, but Council members were reminded that to submit an item for the next Open Forum they should submit it to Steering Chair, Vince Price at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 27.
Reminder: Upcoming Meetings
Following are the dates for meetings of the University Council, which are held Wednesdays, 4-5:30 p.m., in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall and are open to observers who register their intention to attend by calling the Office of the University Secretary, (215) 898-7005, in advance.