The implementation of recommendations from Penn's Task Force for a Safe and Responsible Campus Community has left many students confused and unsure about how to navigate these new policies.
Among other policies, all student groups, both on and off campus, now have to abide by a series of University-set regulations when organizing social events. Failure to comply could result in Penn Police shutting them down. This has included small non-alcoholic gatherings and even philanthropic events.
To address ongoing student concerns over what kinds of events the University is actually targeting, two administrative departments have begun hosting "office hours," though various student leaders have said that they were not aware of these sessions.
The Division of Public Safety and the Vice Provost for University Life began hosting hourlong sessions every Friday at 11 a.m. this semester to address student concerns about the extended rules on Penn social gatherings.
The newest event regulations, which were expanded as a result of the task force earlier this year, require that all hosts register events with the University and take extra precautions at events with alcohol, which include hiring an approved bartender and security guards.
Event monitors, who are tasked with identifying parties violating the regulations, have also begun patrolling campus on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
These hourlong sessions are meant to address questions about the event registration process and policies. They take place at DPS headquarters, 4040 Chestnut Street, and are open to all students, according to a statement from DPS and VPUL.
Interested groups must RSVP to attend the office hours by emailing DPS in advance with specific questions.
Undergraduate Assembly President and College senior Michelle Xu said the UA has been posting about the information sessions on their social media, and as of Nov. 8, the group had posted two reminders about this on their Facebook page.
Despite this, various student groups have said they were not aware that these sessions existed.
Alpha Chi Rho President and College junior Luis Hernandez Magro said he had never heard of these information sessions. Pi Kappa Alpha President and Wharton senior Nico DeLuna also said that although he attended informational events about the event guidelines from the Interfraternity Council, he was not aware that the University was hosting "office hours."
He also said he would likely not need to attend the sessions. DeLuna, who is the IFC vice president of new member education and recruitment, said that if he had a question about event registration, he would likely reach out to the IFC first.
Captain of West Philly Swingers and College junior Nicholas Cruickshank also said that his group was not aware of the office hours and did not intend to utilize them.
Panhellenic Council President and College senior Caroline Ohlson said, "I'm happy to see that the administration is making themselves available to talk to students, though I think a lot of students aren't aware that these office hours exist or when and where to go for them."
Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Hikaru Kozuma declined an initial request for comment. He directed a second request for comment to a joint statement from VPUL and DPS that had previously been sent to The Daily Pennsylvanian, and declined to comment further.