Students raised concerns for the Penn Association for Gender Equality, Muslim Student Association, and more at the University Council's most recent meeting.

Credit: Luke Chen , Luke Chen

On Wednesday afternoon, administrators, faculty and students met in Houston Hall for the University Council’s second meeting of the year. The meeting was attended by University leaders, including Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price, as well as representatives from a wide variety of student groups.

The group discussed the state of open expression at Penn, which included an update from a panel of administrators: Penn Law professor Anita Allen, Associate Vice Provost for Equity and Access William Gipson, Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Hikaru Kozuma and Senior Vice President and General Counsel Wendy White.

The panel discussed the history of open expression at Penn and national issues that have brought open expression in higher education into the spotlight. Penn’s current efforts to protect free speech include initiatives such as the Open Expression Guidelines, the Committee on Open Expression and Open Expression observers.

Following the update, the meeting was opened for discussion, and the panel addressed concerns raised by student representatives of several groups, including College Republicans, Penn Association for Gender Equity and the Muslim Student Association.

Gutmann also discussed the President’s Innovation Prize, which was formally announced Wednesday morning. The prize, which is the commercial analogue of the President’s Engagement Prize, rewards student entrepreneurs whose ideas are innovative and carry a social impact.

Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations John Zeller proceeded to update the University Council about the state of Penn’s fundraising, focusing on the progress that has been made in supporting student aid and faculty.

The meeting concluded with the status of the Task Force on Student Psychological Health and Welfare, provided by Counseling and Psychological Services Director William Alexander, Graduate Student Center and Family Resource Center Director Anita Mastroieni and Vice Provost for Education Beth Winkelstein.

So far, the Task Force has addressed mental health through its forthcoming wellness app, the HELP line, the Thrive at Penn pre-orientation module, I-CARE training, the Faculty Wellness Ambassador Program and expansion of CAPS services.

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