Meeting Minutes

Student Life

April 24, 2018

Meeting Facilitator: Kevin Harwell

  1. Call to order
  2. Attendance: Kevin Harwell, Chair, Kevin Reuning, Ira Ropson, Vic-Chair
    Guests:  Linda LaSalle, Tim Balliett
  3. Open issues
    1. University Survey Coordinating Committee – Tim Balliet, Office of Ethics and Compliance, presenter
      The Coordinating Committee was appointed by Provost Jones to address the problem of too many surveys with no effort to manage overlapping studies.  Survey fatigue is common and particularly burdensome on minorities.  Students polling for assignments, organizations, and university offices sometimes gather survey data with little reporting, resulting in a survey graveyard.  The Coordinating Committee seeks to set up policies for large scale surveys within the Penn State community, including timing, questions, breadth, overlap.  The USCC is committed to transparency and feedback.Website:
    2. Alcohol Use Report – LindaLaSalle, Director of Health Promotions and WellnessThis report with presentation was rescheduled for September when more time on the Senate agenda will be available.  Damon Sims was attending a conference on fraternity and sorority life and asked Linda LaSalle, Director of Health and Promotions and Wellness to attend.  Linda, who attended at his request, was instrumental in the creation of the report.The reported incidence of high risk drinking, according to survey responses, has dropped.  However, there are indications that some of the fraternities may have told members to underreport their drinking behavior.

      Penn State uses intervention strategies that are evidence-based, using guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the NIH.  Evidence shows that individual interventions, which are being used here, are effective.

      Environmental changes are less effective because their control is not available to Penn State as they are in the hands of the State Liquor Control Board: shortened happy hours, minimal drink price levels and restricting sales on Sundays.

      Alcohol education is effective only when other elements, some of which are beyond our control, are in place.

    3. Time Management Report – Kevin HarwellDelayed to September with presentation. More exposure.
  4. New Business
    1. Committee Status Report – Kevin Harwell
  5. Announcements: John White Fellowships
  6. Adjournment

March 13, 2018

Meeting Facilitator: Kevin Harwell

  1. Call to order
  2. Attendance: Kevin Harwell, Heunter Debellis, Kevin Reuning, Ling Rothrock, Damon Sims, Sudarshan Nelatus, Ira Ropson, Matthew Kaag
  3. Open issues
    1. Student Time Management Informational Report, rescheduled for April Senate meeting.
      [NOTE:  This report has been postponed until the September 2018 University Faculty Senate meeting.]
    2. Report on Alcohol Use (Damon Sims, Vice President, Office of Student Affairs)
      Scheduled for April Senate meeting.Penn State Student Drinking: Data, Interventions and Impact on the University and Local Community December 2017This is a standardized report.  Standards for reporting were established a while back by the University Faculty Senate.  The Senate may wish to review these standards to determine whether they are still working.Data available for the University Park is better than for other campuses, due to the cooperation of Mount Nittany Medical Center and State College Police Department.

Some notable observations:

  • If anything the problem is getting worse, growing number of students who report that they abstain from drinking, but also growing number of binger drinkers. There are far more bingers than abstainers.
  • PSU is having a difficult time build responsibility. Many parents practice alcohol in home.  A number of students arrive on campus with a well-established drinking practice.
  • Recovery efforts seem to be somewhat successful, but not very many students participate.
  • The Office of Student Affairs BASICS program intervenes with students who have a first-time alcohol violation or who have been treated at the hospital, but HIPPA regulations create an obstacle to getting help to students who it.
  • The most egregious offenders can be repeat offenders.

Suggestion:  a more robust academic experience – make students work harder! Hold classes for a full five day weeks. Classes on Fridays help.  Students who have to devote more time to study and preparation for classes have less time to get in trouble.  There is reluctance to teach classes on Fridays because of SRTEs are lower for faculty with Friday classes or who make students work harder.

The Student Life Committee will provide feedback to Damon.

[NOTE:  This report has been postponed until the September 2018 University Faculty Senate meeting.]

  1. DACA Contingency Plans –Undergraduate Education may have members interested in working with Student Life on this issue.
  2. John W. White Graduate Fellowship – need two volunteers to review submissions and interview candidates

4. Adjournment

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January 23, 2018

  1. Call to order: Kevin Harwell
  2. Attendance: Kevin Harwell, Hunter Debellis, Ling Rothrock, Andrey Krasilnikov, Brianne Pragg, Kevin Reunig, Sudarshan Nelatury, Ira Ropson, Katie Jordan
  3. Old Business
    1. Time management report in progress, to be submitted for March meeting, due February 2nd. Kevin Harwell is working with UPUA and Intercollegiate Athletics Committee.
    2. Resolution supporting Dreamers and DACA from graduate students is being sent forward to provost. What are we going to do? Contact will be made with Undergraduate Education Committee and Curricular Affairs Committee to consider forming a working group.
  4. New business
    1. International student integration into University. What is being done for them? Some students appear to integrate well, others are struggling. What is being done in Global Programs, International Student Leadership? Apparently, a lot is being done but this committee doesn’t know much about it.
    2. CCSG problem – At Commonwealth Campuses students earn physical education credit for varsity and club sport participation (up to 2 credits), but it is structured so that it does not cover the 3 credit requirement. With curricular affairs?
  5. Announcements
    1. Pres. Barron’s response to Revision to AC-21 Definition of Academic Ranks-Provision of Multi-Year Contracts.
    2. AD02A Supplemental Policy for Speeches, Rallies, and Demonstrations
  6. Adjournment

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December 5, 2017

Attending: Kevin Harwell, Hunter Debellis, Brianne Pragg, Kevin Reuning, Andrey Krasilnikaov, Sudarshan Nelatury, Matthew Kaag, Ling Rothnock, Ira Ropson

Student Life Committee Agenda for December 5, 2017

  • Resolution regarding DACA students affected by potential changes in federal policy
  • Time Management report progress
  • New Policy AD-2A Supplemental Policy for Speeches, Rallies, and Demonstrations
  • Three or more mid-terms in one day Minutes were

New Business

Hunter Debellis – Greek Life sponsoring first aid and CPR training. No action by us needed.

DACA Resolution

Discussed briefly by email. Officers of Faculty Senate does not wish to bring forward a DACA resolution at this time. Concern about bringing attention to the issue at Penn State, that may cause unintended consequences.

Write policies to support students who get caught overseas due to these changes in rules for both undergraduates and graduate students. Different from the current proposal which may increase our visibility.

How do we support students who are being affected by this policy or the ban on immigration from certain countries? Interest in finding a way for students to complete their degree program if they are unable to return to Penn State resident program.

Form sub group to work on this problem. Kevin Harwell to contact. Beth Seymour chair of undergraduate education

Kent Vrana chair of curriculum
Kevin Reuning, Ira Ropson, Brianne Pragg to help out from this committee.

Time Management

Working group meeting earlier in November: George Samuel, Monica Ogrodnik, Richard Duschl and Kevin Harwell.

Working group will put together inventory of Penn State resources available to help students with time management as best practices. Outside resources as well. Wish list for more? Ira will ask what resources at medical school for time management that could be used more widely.

Working group will be meeting in January to work on inventory, recommendations. Before January meeting of Student Life?

3 exams on one day

Always going to be a problem and is always difficult for instructors to manage, especially for high enrollment courses. Need to treat individual cases on an ad hoc basis. Make-up mid-terms are happening already. Encourage faculty to put policies for multiple exams on the same day for illnesses, personal issues and extenuating circumstances in syllabus, and mention at first lecture. Undergraduate Education not very supportive. Time management issue that student has to deal with.

Challenging for students with heavy course load and heavy extracurricular involvement, which Penn State encourages. The idea that similar demands happened in the “real world” was questioned.

Any of these issues discussed during orientation? Does curriculum committee have anything in their recommendations for what is in syllabus for course operations.

Ask appropriate administrator to come and talk about what is in orientation.

Policy AD2-A

Policy rapidly put in place to deal with outside speakers who may put students and/or university personnel and facilities at risk. Support free speech but not violence inducement.
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October 17, 2017

  1. Call to Order – Kevin HarwellMeeting called to order at 9:05 AM. Minutes from September approved after minor change to improve language about inspections.
  2. Major projects
    1. Student Life Committee Report on Rush:  passed at Senate Council on October 3rd and is on this afternoon’s Senate agenda.Student Committee Report of Rush: Approved for presentation today at Faculty Senate. Vote to approve occurred by email poll of members.
    2. Status report:  Report on dangerous drinking on college campuses.Report on dangerous drinking on campus. Damon Sims, Ling Rothrock and Hunter Debellis will work on written report based on past presentations by Damon Sims. Damon will send us a copy of previous report to committee. Mt Nittany ER was remodeled to address excess drinking and drug overdose issues for students. Plan to look back at several previous reports to examine trends. Plan for report in March meeting. Will be discussed at December and January meetings.
    3. Status report (Harwell) Time Management reportTime management report. Begun last year but was not completed. Task Force eager to get back to it. What time management resources are available for all students, not just athletes. Sudarshan Nelatury will join group. Data available from Big Ten and other sources to address question.
    4. Status report:  Report re: students who have three or more midterm exams in a single day.This issue will be addressed jointly with the Undergraduate Education Committee.  Kevin Harwell will initiate contact.
  3. New Business
    1. DACA statementIra Ropson requested consideration by SL Committee of a resolution statement relating to support for DACA students who may be facing immigration challenges, which had been drafted for the Commonwealth Caucus.  President Barron, CCSG, GPSA and UPUA had were preparing or had already issued statements.  Unfortunately, time for consideration was short.  It was decided to discuss this issue by email following the meeting.
  4. Adjournment
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    September 12, 2017

    1. Call to Order – Kevin Harwell
    2. Welcome and Introductions

    Attendance: Andrey Krasilnikov, Ling Rothrock, Kevin Reuning, Sudarshan Nelatury, Kevin Harwell, Hunter Debellis, Matthew Kurian, Damon Sims

    1. Recruit members to work on major projects
      1. Consider drafting an advisory/consultative report recommending that the administration delay rush for a sorority or fraternity until students achieve sophomore standing.Committee has been asked to write report as soon as practical. Information on academic performance shows that there is a significant decline in predicted GPA performance by male student participation in rush their first semester in College. New policy 14 credit hours before rush for those who are not transferring in or adult learners. Essentially means defer rush until Spring of first year. Concerns about filling houses for financial reasons. Have more data before deciding on full year deferment. Semester was a compromise. We have been asked to consider it. Impact of decisions on fraternities and sororities goes well beyond just their members, social gathering places beyond members.Data on graduation, graduate school admittance, etc. available, ask for anything we feel is appropriate. Exclude university sponsored activities (athletics, music, drama groups, etc.). Hazing issues across all organizations, especially Greeks. Safe harbor for underage alcohol consumption, making rush and other negative influences worse. Are statistics available for other Big 10 schools available? Deferment for semester is true for only in effect at 4 Big ten schools, none for a year. President of University would like Penn State to lead US in addressing negative Greek issues. Student leadership does not associate themselves with Greek life. Negative perception of Greeks by student body. Party school perception problem. Social life seems to revolve too much around fraternity houses. Is Greek Life council effective? Autonomous independent organizations chartered from national groups, discipline poorly managed, St. Moritz security force, we only have advisory role, security was farce and managed by council to not find problems. University Staff now monitoring Greek behaviors, unknown if it will be successful.Call the question: Do we want to recommend a year before rush? Disadvantage: Housing crush is significant to fill spaces for second semester freshmen and sophomores. Could close off the good that can come out of Greek groups. Administration has declared one semester for next 2 years, would like one semester deferment support from Faculty Senate. Then consider lengthening deferment after collecting data. New university office to monitor Greek behavior, unannounced inspections all the time, all violations will be noted and recorded. Not university housing, so no RA. How frequent are random checks? Past inspections from IFC were wink, wink, nudge, nudge. 9 new employees to be hired to monitor situations. Selling alcohol for tailgating, should not be allowed to sell it or sell it to minors. Arrests for this behavior by city police. More detailed statistics for fraternities for non-fraternities available. Greek Life Response Team Advisory Board is working on these issues.
      2. Draft an informational report outlining the nation-wide epidemic of dangerous drinking on college campuses. Consulting with the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), and other nation-wide academic organizations, provide recommendations for how colleges and universities can work together to combat drug use and dangerous drinking.Address issue of drinking and drug use by students, dangerous and underage behaviors. Hunter will contact Damon to collect data. Where and when do people drink?
      3. In collaboration with the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, draft an informational “Time Management” report that could form the basis of an online guide to time management for undergraduate students. The report would mirror similar time-management materials provided to students involved in intercollegiate athletics.Kevin Harwell in charge. Has past history. Effective self-time management is goal.
      4. Jointly with Undergraduate Education, draft an informational report on best practices for aiding students who have three or more midterm exams in a single day. Consider making this a student-led report.Student led report? Elizabeth Seymour from Undergraduate Education, Mathew Kurian and Hunter Debellis will work on this.
    2. Ideas for Invited Guests: Invite THON people to talk.
    3. New Business
    4. Adjournment