Former assistant district attorney Susan Herron will become the next director of Penn's Office of Student Conduct, Provost Ronald Daniels announced last week.
She will assume the post on July 1.
The OSC is in charge of confidentially investigating and resolving student violations of Penn's conduct code, including issues of academic integrity and substance abuse.
Herron will replace current Interim Director Ed Rentezelas, who stepped in to replace former Director Michele Goldfarb when she resigned last summer.
During Goldfarb's 11-year tenure, a racy photograph that showed two Penn students apparently having sex against a high-rise dorm window thrust the OSC into a national spotlight in 2005.
The office charged an undergraduate student with sexual harassment after he posted pictures of the couple on a personal Web site, sparking widespread media coverage.
At the time, some in Penn's administration who spoke on the record anonymously speculated that Goldfarb, who said she was leaving because she wanted to go back to teaching, actually left because of frustration with the position.
Last September, Goldfarb returned to teaching full-time at the Law School. Rentezelas, who served as the initial point man on the high rise incident, took over in the meantime.
Free speech advocates like History professor Alan Charles Kors criticized the way the OSC handled the case, but officials don't expect hiring an outsider to take the office in a new direction.
Goldfarb said that the job has a steep learning curve regardless of its holder's familiarity with Penn as an institution.
"Anybody who enters a job like director of OSC has got to learn a whole new culture regarding student behavior," she said.
Rentezelas said that the office handles over 200 cases each year, and that scrutiny of the high-rise incident should not be universally applied.
"We work under the University policy that has been put together, so I think if you limit it to one or two cases, I don't think you get the full picture," he said.
Goldfarb said that, as director, she was more concerned with serving students fairly than the attention certain cases received in the media.
She added that, during her time as head of the office, she focused on issues of academic integrity, including initiatives to educate students about what constitutes academic dishonesty.
"I think that needs to keep going" when Herron becomes director, Goldfarb said.
Associate Provost Andrew Binns agreed, saying, "I expect Ms. Herron will play a critical role in coordinating Penn's work on issues of academic integrity."
Herron currently teaches at Temple University and the Community College of Philadelphia. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked as a social worker.Comments powered by Disqus
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