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After weeks of meetings at undisclosed times in undisclosed locations, Penn's presidential search committee will emerge today.

Members of the Consultative Committee charged with finding Penn's next president will solicit community input at three "town hall meetings" today.

The meetings are divided into separate sessions for faculty, students and staff and administrators.

Committee members will take questions and suggestions from each constituency during the hour-long sessions.

According to the University secretary's Web site, the aim is to "enable faculty, students, administrators and staff to share with Consultative Committee members their thoughts about the challenges that Penn will face in the next 10 years, as well as offer suggestions about the specific characteristics needed in presidential candidates."

But College sophomore Anthony Giuliano, a School of Arts and Sciences representative on the Undergraduate Assembly, said that he was under the impression that "topics are going to be approved ahead of time," and that for the most part, "they're not going to let just any random person talk."

University Secretary Leslie Kruhly said that these meetings are unique in Penn's history of presidential searches.

Kruhly noted, "I saw in our records from 1993 that the UA and [Nominations and Elections Committee] held a town hall meeting," when the University was searching for a replacement for former president and current History Professor Sheldon Hackney.

According to Kruhly, "no search committee members seem to have been involved" in that meeting.

Guiliano said that he does not predict a high student turnout, as "it just hasn't been publicized."

However, College sophomore Rachel Fersh -- who also serves as an SAS representative for the UA -- said that students are reasonably cognizant of tomorrow's opportunity to weigh in on the presidential search.

"Most students should be aware, because I believe a school-wide e-mail was sent," she said. "I won't say there's no excuse not to know, but people should know."

However, campus-wide advertising attempts, including mass e-mails, were unsuccessful in reaching some students.

"I haven't really heard people talking about it," Engineering senior Moon Majumdar said. "It seems that an e-mail... is not enough."

College senior Morgan Whitmire agreed.

"We got an e-mail about it, but I feel that a lot of people ignore a lot of e-mails from their houses because we get so many of them," she said.

Hersh urged students to attend the meeting, which will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Houston Hall's Bodek Lounge.

"These meetings hopefully will have a big impact on who's going to be chosen as our next president," she said.

The faculty meeting will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Bodek Lounge, and the meeting for administrators and staff members will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 200 of College Hall.

According to Howard Deck, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees -- which represents Penn's unionized library workers -- the meetings could have been better publicized to the staff.

"I've not heard of it happening, and I talk to people on campus every day," Deck said.

In general, anyone wishing to reach the search committee with comments or suggestions can contact the committee via e-mail or through the committee's chairman, James Riepe.

Some students said they hoped that the search committee would offer additional opportunities for community input.

"It would probably be a better idea to hold more than one meeting," Majumdar said.

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