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Open Forum

University of Pennsylvania

University Council holds an Open Forum annually to which all members of the University community are invited and during which any member of the University community can direct questions to the Council.

Additional issues of significant concern to the University community should be sent to the Steering Committee. 

Next Open Forum:

December 4, 2019

Registered topics:

1.) Ensuring intellectual diversity on campus.
Submitted by Brandon Mayhew, G’21, L’21

2.) University financial aid policies for veterans.
Submitted by Alexander Norris, C’22

3.) Graduate student stipends and issues with Workday.
Submitted by Sonita Moss, G’16, Gr’23

4.) Timing of graduate student stipends.
Submitted by Sam Samore, Gr’29

5.) Barriers to pursuing individualized majors and taking classes outside of the College.
Submitted by Desiree Izecksohn, C’22

6.) Fraternity life and sexual assault on campus and the implications of recent changes in space allocations in the center of campus.
Being presented by Brennan Burns, C'20, on behalf of the original submitter, Sudeep Bhargava, C’22

7.) Increasing the Meals and Entertainment reimbursement amount for dinners per Policy 2359 – Travel and Entertainment Policy.
Submitted by Lisa Henry, LPS’21 and Penn Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

8.) How the University can serve low-income and vulnerable communities outside of Penn’s campus on a global and regional scale.
Submitted by Nyazia Sajdah-Bey, C’20

9.)  Policies around hiring, inclusivity, tenure, and anti-racism efforts at the University.
Submitted by Haley Pritchard, L’20

10.) How Penn can address climate grief among students.
Submitted by Elliot Bones, C’21

11.) Penn’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2042.
Submitted by Kalyxa Roman, W’20, The Climate Reality Project

12.) Fossil Free Penn’s request for a Climate Town Hall.
Submitted by Claudia Silver, C’20

13.) The responsibility of the University to use its institutional influence to empower student groups.
Submitted by Andrew Nyholm, C’20, EAS’20, Student Eco Reps



Open Forum Format

Any member of the University community who wishes to do so may attend the Council meeting. Individuals who want to be assured of speaking at Open Forum must inform the Office of the University Secretary (ucouncil@pobox.upenn.edu ) indicating briefly the subject of their remarks. Those who have not so informed the Office of the University Secretary will be permitted to speak only at the discretion of the moderator of University Council and in the event that time remains after the scheduled speakers.

Speakers' statements should be framed to present policy issues and be directed to University Council as a body through the moderator. Speakers should expect to be limited to three minutes with the possibility of limited additional time in cases where members of Council engage the speakers with follow-up questions or remarks. The moderator may restrict repetition of views.

Following the deadline for speakers to sign up in the Office of the University Secretary, the chair of the Steering Committee and the moderator of Council will structure the Open Forum session in terms of subject matter themes, speakers, and times. In the event that there is not enough time available at the meeting to provide for all those who have requested to speak, the two officers may make selections which accommodate the broadest array of issues having important implications for Council's work and represent the breadth of Council's constituencies. The resulting order of the Open Forum topics will be made available no later than the Tuesday before the meeting, to be published on the Office of the University Secretary website and, if deadline constraints allow, in Almanac.

The moderator will have discretion to interrupt statements that are directed against persons and otherwise to maintain the decorum of the meeting, as provided for in the bylaws. In cases where questions or positions can be appropriately addressed by members of Council, or where a colloquy would seem to be productive given the time constraints of the meeting, the moderator may recognize members of Council to respond to speakers' statements, with opportunities for follow-up by the speakers.