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and STEPHANIE DESMON University Trustees took a look at the University's new admissions brochures during a visit to campus yesterday and said they approved of the plainer, more student-centered publications. "Slick is out," Trustee Gordon Bodek told the External Affairs Committee. "Recycled paper is in." "There are one or two things I might change," Trustee Elsie Howard said during the meeting. "But I think as a general new look, [the brochures] look wonderful." The brochures, which began circulating to prospective students this fall, were created after a series of interviews with focus groups of students throughout the country and at the University. Ann Duffield, head of the University Design Group, said she has a pile of glossy brochures from hundreds of universities -- including the Ivy League schools -- that all look the same. "It would be almost impossible for you to pull out Penn's [old brochure] from that pile," Duffield told the Trustees. "[The new brochure] stands out from a group of publications because it's not slick, it's not polished." One feature of the new brochures is a series of conversations between students on subjects ranging from why Philadelphians put cheese whiz on their fries to why University students refer to President Sheldon Hackney as "Sheldon." Duffield said switching to the unconventional brochures involved "some risks," but she added that the response from prospective students so far has been positive. At the meeting, the committee also heard an update on the Mayor's Scholarship dispute from Acting Executive Vice President John Gould, who devoted most of his briefing to the University's strained relations with the community. Gould said the University is now "more deeply engaged" in the community than at any time in the past decade, but he said that the relationship is also the "worst it's been" in that period. "What's missing is communication," he told the committee. Carol Farnsworth, assistant vice president for University relations, said that the University is trying to increase awareness of the University's community involvement by visiting the editorial boards of area newspapers, placing advertisements and increasing "personal contact" with area civic groups. She said that University admissions officials are publicizing the Mayor's Scholarship program with visits to 53 Philadelphia high schools this fall -- a 56 percent increase over last year -- including 32 public high schools. The meeting was one of five Trustee meetings held today. The Trustees are on campus today and yesterday for their annual October meeting. At the Student Life Committee meeting earlier in the day, Trustees discussed the Freshman Reading Project and changes to Escort Service. Associate Dean of the College Norman Adler said that attendance at the this year's reading project seminars dropped drastically from last year, but added that he felt the program should be continued. Gloria Chisum, vice chairperson of the Board of Trustees, supported the program, saying, "Sometimes it takes a little time to get a new program off the ground -- press on." Steven Murray, associate vice president of business services, and University Police Commissioner John Kuprevich discussed the effectiveness of the changes to Escort. Murray said that the changes have addressed the needs of the University by cutting down response time and increasing access for off-campus students. He added that the new system is still being tested and that it may need changes in the future. The Trustee's University Responsibility Committee met to discuss the University's obligations to disabled students and faculty. Vice President of Facilities Management Arthur Gravina explained the steps the University is taking to comply with handicap-access laws in all of its renovations and new construction. And administrators from the Office of Affirmative Action outlined their role in providing services to disabled students, faculty and staff. Joann Mitchell, director of the Office of Affirmative Action, said the University is required by law to meet the special requests of disabled students and employees as long as the requests are not too burdensome. "I think we will, in fact, see an increase in the number of students and faculty with disabilities," Alice Nagle, the coordinator of Programs for People with Disabilities, told the Trustees. The Academic Policy and Internationalization committees also met yesterday. The Budget and Finance Committee and the stated meeting of the full Board will meet today. Staff writers Stephen Glass, Lucy Oh, Dwayne Sye and Cara Tanamachi contributed to this story.

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