As the week-old investigation of alleged racial profiling continues within the Division of Public Safety, minority coalition leaders, DPS officials and representatives from the Office of the Provost sat down yesterday afternoon to touch base and brainstorm ways to improve DPS-student relations.
The meeting is yet another step in the University's ongoing conversation about various forms of alleged profiling and the reportedly excessive force used by Penn Police, concepts that were highlighted last week after a black male College student was temporarily detained by officers outside of Huntsman Hall.
The meeting - which included representatives from the United Minorities Council, the Asian Pacific Student Coalition and Lambda Alliance - focused on improving dialogue between the DPS and Penn students, Associate Provost Andrew Binns said.
"The key point was working on communication and how to do that with each other, . how to respond when things come up," Binns said.
DPS spokeswoman Karima Zedan echoed Binns' sentiments.
"We really focused on devising communication mechanisms that could facilitate a stronger ongoing relationship with students," she said.
One possible mechanism would be working with student leaders to develop material that would be posted on the DPS Web site to help inform students about Penn Police's policies and procedures.
Such education would include informing students that issuing a police complaint does not affect academic or financial records.
Zedan also stressed the need to train the constantly-changing group of student leaders on Penn's campus about how to interact with the Penn Police.
Lambda Alliance chairman and College junior Kevin Rurak said the meeting was productive but indicated that further meetings were in order.
"We talked about what happened last week," he said. "We asked a lot of questions about processes and procedures" within DPS.
Specifically, the students asked about police protocol and the guidelines police are given for instances in which they interact with students.
Zedan said the minority coalitions, the Office of the Provost and DPS will have another meeting before the end of the semester.
Later that evening, at the monthly University Council meeting, in which a wide variety of students, faculty and staff congregate to advise the administration, Penn President Amy Gutmann announced her support for the DPS investigation.
"Racial profiling and discrimination have no place at Penn," she said. "We are all committed to raising awareness and to strengthening mutual respect and trust among the members of our community."
UMC chairwoman and College sophomore Efe Johnson, who was instrumental in bringing Wednesday's incident to the University's attention, would not return repeated calls for comment.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.