General Body Meeting

Date: 9/17/17

9:00PM Benjamin Franklin Room, Houston Hall

  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  3. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Admin Meetings
  1. Vice-President’s Report
  1. UA Steering
  1. UA Report
  1. Legal Services Coordinator
  2. Committee Meetings
  3. Educational Moment -- The Lobbyist
  4. New Members (Elected and Associate)
  5. Member of the Week
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  2. Secretary’s Report
  1. Penn Labs Meeting Update
  2. Attendance Policy
  1. Academic Initiatives
  2. Dining, Sustainability and Facilities
  1. Project Updates
  1. Hurricane Irma and Harvey Food Drive
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Recycling Bins in Huntsman GSRs
  1. Social Justice
  2. Student Life
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Counting CIS as a Language Requirement
  1. External Seats
  2. Communications


President’s Report

  1. Admin Meetings:
  1. This past Tuesday, UA Cabinet met with CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) and discussed issues such as CAPS resources, CAPS onboarding for new students, the CAPS app, and club recruitment.
  2. This past Friday,  UA Cabinet met with the new Provost Pritchett and discussed the goals of the 45th session.  Course fees, except for nursing clinical fees, have been eliminated, mental services on syllabi are still being pushed to faculty, and their office is working on providing pro bono legal services and food and housing for DACA students.

Vice-President’s Report

  1. UA Steering
  1. This past Tuesday, we had our first UA Steering meeting where we discussed each organization's goals and initiatives, expectations for Steering, and attendance policy. The next Steering meeting will be on Tuesday, September 26.

UA Report

  1. Legal Services Coordinator
  1. Elena Hoffman will be stepping into the role of Legal Services Coordinator for this session. I had a transition meeting with Elena on 9/14 and she has many great ideas for improving the role. Please tell any communities that you are a part of about the UA’s free legal services.
  1. Committee Meetings
  1. Congrats to all Committee Directors on running great first meetings! I look forward to new members to round out the committees and to doing great work this year.  
  1. Educational Moment -- The Lobbyist
  1. The Lobbyist is the UA’s internal resource for learning how the UA works, announcements, and keeping updated on logistical information like our calendar, contact information, and projects from across committees. Over the summer, I redesigned the website, and the newest version can be found at I’ll be constantly updating this site during the year with announcements and new resources to check out, so be sure to refer to it often. If you have ideas about how we can engage with The Lobbyist more, please let me know!
  1. New Members (Elected & Associate)
  1. In order to welcome our newly-elected New Student Representatives, Nile Nwogu and Max Grove are planning programming for a “Welcome Week”.
  2. I will be sending out the Associate Membership application the day after election results are announced. This will be sent directly to runners-up in the election, as well as in an all-school email from Michelle. If you have friends who are interested in applying, please send me their information. Any undergraduate student is welcome to apply.
  1. Attendance requirement will be different for AMs this year in that they will have to attend 1 GBM per semester.
  1. Member of the Week. This week’s member of the week is...

Treasurer’s Report

Secretary’s Report

  1. Penn Labs Meeting
  1. We discussed past projects they were working on such as Penn Course Review updates. We also focused on future projects and goals, such as creating a Penn Central platform that contains all of the sites that Penn Labs has created.
  1. Attendance
  1. GBM Attendance
  1. 12 meetings
  1. Must not miss more than 35% of meetings
  2. Cannot miss more than 4 GBM
  1. Half Attendance
  1. Late to meeting
  2. Leave early to meeting
  1. Notified when you are within  1.5 GBM’s of this limit
  1. Committee Attendance
  1. 13 meetings + 1 shuttle shift + 1 education portion
  1. Must not miss more than 25% of committee attendance
  2. Must not miss more than 3.5 attendance points
  1. Notified when you are 1.5 GBM’s of this limit

Academic Initiatives

Dining, Sustainability, and Facilities

Project Updates 

Hurricane Irma and Harvey Food Drive

Authored by: Elena Hoffman

This week we sorted out the logistics related to the food drive that will be occurring next week from September 18th – 22nd. Three additional sponsors were obtained: 1) the Daily Pennsylvanian (who will place an advertisement for the drive on their website); 2) Hillel (who will both advertise the event and place a donation bin in Hillel); and 3) Class Boards 18, 19, and 20 (who will help with outreach). The final bin locations will be Harrison, Harnwell, Rodin, the Quad (both lower and upper gates), and Hillel. The food will be donated to Houston Food Bank and Feeding Florida. Funding for shipping will be addressed once we know the final shipping cost.

Completion Reports

Recycling Bins in Huntsman GSRs

Authored by: Arjun Swaminathan

Recently, it has come to the UA’s awareness that although Huntsman Hall has introduced recycling bins to certain locations within the building, a number of Group Study Rooms (GSRs) have no recycling bins. From a sustainability standpoint, it would be logical to make sure there are recycling bins in all GSRs. I reached out to David Mazzocco, the Associate Director for Sustainability and Projects for Wharton Operations, regarding the situation. According to Mr. Mazzocco, every GSR is supposed to have dual waste stream containers, but all upper floor rooms do not have them. Now that it had been brought to his attention, he informed me that he has raised the issue with the Housekeeping staff. A complete inventory of the missing bins will be completed and they will be replaced as needed as soon as possible.

Social Justice

Student Life

Discussion Papers

Counting CIS as a Language Requirement

Authored by: Max Grove



Many students at Penn come in and want to minor in CIS. It is an attractive, up-and-coming field for our generation. However, due to the difficulty of the program, many students peter out after CIS110 or CIS120 (the introductory courses).


After hearing inputs from several students, I feel as though there is a desire to have CIS count as a language requirement, so if a student wants to learn how to code, they don’t have to take on the course-load of a minor and a language requirement (6 C.U. for CIS and 4 for language)


Arguments for having CIS count as a language requirement:

·      Will encourage more students to take CIS courses, promoting and advancing need for a basic understanding of computers.

·      Promotes critical thinking in a way many students have not been exposed to.

·      CIS is worldwide; you can connect with people around the globe; many problems can be communicated through code.


Arguments against having CIS count as a language requirement:

·      Foreign language study is for small, discussion-based courses.

·      Expose students to a different culture.

·      Foreign language encourages communication, while CIS is a vocational skill.


The College requires 4 semesters of language instruction. Wharton requires 2 with the new curriculum, and the Nursing School requires 4.


According to the Wharton School: “Foreign language study allows students to deepen their understanding of other cultures, engage in an important form of critical thinking, and experience small, discussion-based classes.”


The College and Nursing have similar descriptions. Having CIS count for the language requirement would completely go against the point of the language requirement.


Discussion Questions:

1.     Should CIS count as a language requirement?

  1. Keep in mind the definition of the language requirement.
  2. Can something be changed about CIS courses to better fit the definition of the language requirements?
  1. Smaller courses, more application to when code is used in real life, more discussion based?
  1. Should CIS110 be counted for something different, like the formal reasoning requirement in the College? (Only 120 is currently counted)

2.     If it would fulfill the language requirement, would students have to take 4 classes still?

  1.  Is CIS at Penn more difficult than a foreign language?
  2. Would students only have to take 2-3 courses (up to 120 or 121)?

3.     Which school should we reach out to first to discuss this?

4.     Is the language requirement inherently for cultural promotion and not just improving one’s skillset?

5.     Should this simply be put forward as a resolution to the Schools rather than a project?

External Seats


  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  1. Julianne: I want to discuss issue affecting student life on campus. We are all on the same page on this issue, so I want to construct this as an effective narrative. I know we have some representatives from the community. Cami started petition that is going viral. Looking for student efforts and initiatives for solving this issue.
  2. Cami: I wrote this petition on Friday night. It stemmed from campus life issues that I felt the administration was not focusing on important issues. Administration was putting that as a forefront issue. I think the University should handle the mental health issues on campus and focus on that rather than parties on Friday night. From my perspective, I recognize the need to monitor things in Greek life, I am opposed to hazing and I believe it is dangerous. I think grouping off campus life as bad and on campus as good. I think task force showing up on a friday with bulletproof vests is offensive. It seems like a waste of money. Need to determine where we draw the line.
  3. Michelle: Thank you for coming and bringing the issue to the UA. I think the strength stems from our ability to have access to the administrators. We are happy to bring up these issues to the administration and let them know where we are coming from. President and Provost set force a task force to create recommendations. In the summer the administration determined what they want to do to deal with it. I think the administration is trying and open to changing the policy. I think this is a good forum.
  4. Samara: I’d just like to highlight some things that people have been saying this is not a students vs administration issue. The best way to inform is to let them know what is and is not working. There are good intentions, however it is counterintuitive because it is not going very well. It can push people into dangerous situation and it has unforeseen consequences. We should phrase it as let's  fix it and make it productive.
  5. Jordan: I read the petition, and I think we should work with the administration. We should define what the administration is. This is coming from VPUL as in policy and DPS. We have to determine what the communication between the departments are. We should set out what is going well and not going well. The administration is doing well at increasing its manpower and responding to criticism. The negatives could include that they respond too frequently to small groups. We should take it to VPUL and see the options.
  6. Natasha: The director of student affairs described what the policy was and it differed a little with what was happening. We are working on mental health issues and a big issue is publicity with CAPS. I think it is a combination between administrators responding and student initiatives. We need a culture change that can take time.
  7. Maria: I feel like I didn’t even hear any announcements about the task force. I have questions about the events. Is it true that philanthropy events were shut down. Was the task force created as a result of off-campus fraternities.
  8. Michelle: Yes it was changed for that
  9. Maria: Off-campus fraternities, what specific repercussions occurred for a fraternity?
  10. Elena: I have a few questions. I am very concerned. I have spoken with many students concerned about this policy. How is it monitored to ensure  to does not get worse. In Harvard, many students were very annoyed and displeased with the administration. How can we prevent from things getting worse? What are the consequences if police show up? What gives the university the ability to monitor off-campus organizations, if they are off campus? I felt the oz incident was about combatting sexual assault and rape, how does this equate to rules. I think sexual assault is an important issue. I would like to work with administration to better target their efforts.
  11. Michelle: I think those are very good points. In Harvard situation, Penn does not want to follow the Harvard model.
  12. Simon: I’d like to echo what has been said. We have helped to expand health resources on campus. We are trying to ensure mental health resources are spread out as much as possible. We have many resources
  13. Cami: I think the friday nights of not having to worry for a while reduces stress. This new policy increases concern and fear in the students. I think that they’re driving people to sit in a corner and do nothing. There is a financial situation for students that have to go off campus.
  14. Julianne: I think we need to start brainstorming and getting a survey to collect stories. We should get that energy to show to the administration the issues students are having. I would highly urge you guys not to make this an attack, but rather show them the story and the effects that are occurring. My friend was hit by a car, and luckily since he was on campus he could be safe and get to the hospital.
  15. Courtney: On mental health side of things, I think the big problem is that professors are very uncompromising or accommodating to mental health. I have a question regarding students that live off-campus, what is the jurisdiction that the university can come into the house. Why should a group of 21 year olds be concerned in their house? What is the legal grounds to the issue.
  16. Jason: What can we do communication wise? What communication has been developed?
  17. Michelle: We have a VPUL meeting coming up to discuss this. We will also have a DPS meeting for this.
  18. Jacob: I live off campus and this past friday we had a bonfire which was legal. It was 12:30 and there were about 15 people with 5 residents and no alcohol. There was one member in the group under 21. People were shining flashlights. The police entered through the side and told us to disperse. The police told us that we had more than 3 non-residents here and decided to shut down our bonfire. It seems that a certain subset of the community is poisoning the well for the innocent gatherings. I understand the objective, but it seems like there is some blanket targeting. As a member of the greek community, the on campus go off campus to compete with the off campus fraternities. The innocent people are paying the price.
  19. Michelle: Thank you for providing the story. We can ask the administration the topic.
  20. Kanishka: Where does the code of conduct extend to? How relevant is the code of conduct? How much of this is noise-complaints? This is tough to get around. They should make sure it is safe and communicate with the students initially. This moves away from the point of people hiding from the police. If people are complaining about noise, does that mean it gets shut down immediately.
  21. Kyle: To address the question, The university owns all the land around Penn.
  22. Noah: I think there is a huge difference between bonfires and off-campus fraternities. The petition gave off the impression that mental health resources were not being utilized. I think that just because there is an issue with the task force, doesn’t mean off-campus fraternities are okay.
  23. Samara: I agree Noah, I think we should collect stories, and see how this helps and hurts. I don’t think off-campus are more misogynistic. I think there are better ways that there are better ways to combat the issue. I think this means that more things are moving off-campus. Now it is getting worse, more groups are moving off-campus as a result. We should present it as good and bad.
  24. Brittney: I am confused as to what they are trying to accomplish. I think that a more pertinent issue is the socioeconomic boundary. I think one way to get around that is free frat parties. The reality now is to go off-campus or into the city. The culture is shifting to socioeconomic divides.
  25. Elena: It is confusing about the off-campus policy. How much power do they have to break up parties?
  26. Sam: I’d like to recommend that nobody answers any legal questions.
  27. Elena: In regards to regulating off-campus groups, I think Penn should consider what their policy is. What makes it okay for them to regulate these events?
  28. Simon: I liked everything that has been said. I think we should get these stories, and this is a moment where you can make change. We need more stories, so tell people you know to share.
  29. Julianne: I think we should ask for transparency about what these guidelines are.
  30. Jordan: I agree with Julianne’s point. I think the task force was dissolved too early. I think that we should reconvene the task force. I think a problem is that the administration has seen that it is something getting out of control. We need a targeted response. I put in our UA group chat of things that are going on
  31. Elena: I think a good place to start is with a petition itself to share stories. We could show comment section of stories.
  32. George: I feel that most stories have been about fraternities. How does this new regulating effect those groups not a part of greek life
  33. Samara: Jacob’s story highlights issue. The university has identified disruptive houses. I’ve heard of people not affiliated with organizations get shut down. More things are moving off-campus, and it affects everyone in the university.
  34. Julianne: Girl was cooking and her house was shut down by the police.
  1. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Admin Meetings
  1. Michelle: We had two admin meetings this past week. We met with CAPS and brought up issues about mental health. They have an app that students can use. We want to help publicize these resources.
  2. Natasha: There is a very cool wellness check in that we can publicize. I encourage everyone to do it
  3. Maria: I there an event that CAPS has planned to publicize them. We had the NSO ice cream social. CAPS is so far off campus because it preserves anonymity. I think we will move the social more toward.
  4. Michelle: Still working on icare training for UA
  5. Elena: I feel that the distance CAPS has is too far. I don’t think there can ever be a limit to mental health resources
  6. Kyle: I think the CAPS ice cream social should be more proactive.
  7. Jordan: I think that working with what we have, we can do much more with CAPS
  8. Santosh: Does CAPS mobilize resources during more intense times during the year?
  9. Michelle: I am not sure of the answer, but I am sure they have sometimes extended hours.
  10. Michelle: This friday, we had a good meeting with the Provost. We discussed big issue about course fees. Includes lab fees. Not to be confused with course costs, which include mymathlab and online textbooks. We discussed having mental resources on syllabi and having them talk about it further. We talked about questions they about DACA students. They are providing law clinics, housing.
  11. Samara: Clarify course fees
  12. Natasha: Are mental services on syllabi?
  13. Michelle: They include casenet.
  14. Natasha: Casenet is resource you go to if you need to determine it academically. It is for the college only.
  15. Michelle: We should encourage professors to talk more
  16. Natasha: Do we have data on legal services?
  17. Michelle; We are getting it
  18. Jason: Are there any forums for us to reach out to professors to encourage them to talk about mental health.
  19. Michelle: Faculty has a faculty senate and they did encourage professors to send things.
  20. Jason: I feel like having actual students to talk could be very effective
  21. Michelle: I sit on the Council of Undergraduate Deans.
  22. Simon: Should students message these professors and work on an initiative
  23. Michelle: Yes we can do it
  24. Jay: Wellness ambassadors are faculty that have knowledge of all mental health resources. These ambassadors can answer many questions. There is a program going on
  1. Vice-President’s Report
  1. UA Steering
  1. Jay: This past Tuesday we had our first steering meeting. We talked about logistical policy for the upcoming school year.
  2. Natasha: Jay did a good job leading the meeting
  3. Michelle: I highly encourage you to all come to UA steering
  1. UA Report
  1. Legal Services Coordinator
  1. Michael: Congrats to Elena. Elena has many great ideas. We should publicize legal services
  2. Elena: Please tell people about these resources
  3. Kanishka: How long does it take to get a meeting
  4. Elena: It takes 1-3 weeks
  1. Committee Meetings
  1. Michael: Great job committee directors
  1. Educational Moment -- The Lobbyist
  1. Michael: The lobbyist is an internal site for the UA that teaches how to effectively lobby. I have updated it with articles of the day and minutes. If you have feedback please let me know so that we can use it.
  2. Jason: I know that it is an internal document. Can we share it with other student. Many of the resources should be main website
  3. Natasha: Are the projects directed to us.
  4. Michael: People on exec and cabinet  have access
  1. New Members (Elected and Associate)
  1. Max: Welcome week starts this Friday. We will be doing a BYO. We will be taking them to high rise field so that they can get to know each other. On saturday we will get together to hang out. I will discuss plan b. Next Monday through Friday will be everyday from 5-8 new members will doe events. As far as events, that will not be funded. Gear to do free stuff
  2. Julianne: Who will pay for stuff
  3. Arjun: Do you have a google sheet?
  4. Max: Yes we have a google sheet, and a sheet of where to meet
  5. Elena: I think this idea is great
  6. Jason: I want to make sure the AMs are good
  7. Michael: AM application will be sent to everyone on September 21st, and application will be out for a week. I want to strike a balance between too few and too many. If you know anyone who wants to be an AM tell them to reach out. AMs will have an attendance requirement of one GBM per semester
  8. Samara: I think an email should be sent out for a while
  9. Maria: I think it is very odd to have the election results broadcasted to
  10. Michelle: our ambition for the project is to have a tier structure. We know how far it can go.
  11. Natasha: Can the NEC live stream
  12. Max: World alliance and Penn Dems does good job with a model club
  13. Samara: Reach out to people if you were an AM
  1. Member of the Week is Arjun
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  2. Secretary’s Report
  1. Penn Labs Meeting Update
  1. We had a Penn Labs meeting with the admins to discuss projects. ONe of the big projects is to consolidate all of their websites they have made. Also we talked about NGSS system services which will be rolled out in a few years. If you have any questions or suggestions for Penn Labs please give me suggestions.
  1. Attendance Policy
  1. We have 12 GBMs so you can’t miss more than 4 meetings. If you are an hour late, that is half attendance. We have 15 committee points in total, and you can't miss more than 3.5 points. You also can’t miss the education portion of the retreat.
  1. Academic Initiatives
  2. Dining, Sustainability and Facilities
  1. Project Updates
  1. Hurricane Irma and Harvey Food Drive
  1. Elena: Open up Slack. We will be changing our cover photo. We have added many drop off locations. The drive will run from tomorrow through Friday. Half will be sent to Houston Food bank, and Florida Food bank. Jordan has created a cover photo so that we can advertise photo
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Recycling Bins in Huntsman GSRs
  1. Arjun: Recycling bins were not in most GSRs, and I reached out to Wharton Ops to fix the issue. He told me that every room should have recycling bins and they were added.
  1. Social Justice
  2. Student Life
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Counting CIS as a Language Requirement
  1. Max: Most people weed out of CIS. It is 10 credits to minor in CIS. CIS fulfills critical thinking requirement.
  2. Michelle: I like the creativity behind this project. Based off why there is a language requirement I don’t think CIS fulfills this. I think we should find some medium ground.
  3. Max: Do we have statistic about people who took CIS105
  4. Michelle: We can ask Shaun
  5. Samara: I think in my first two year my language class knew me.There might be something to be done on having smaller classes for more personal classes
  6. Max: In the long term to have recitations for the class so you can be close
  7. Ariela: I think it is a creative approach to solve a problem. I think it inspires you to study abroad. We could create a certificate for this potentially
  8. Arjun: CIS 120 is excessively difficult as a time commitment. It is ridiculous to make it too difficult for coding
  9. Max: i will follow up
  10. Kanishka: I think we addressed how language requirement is wrong avenue. I do not understand why you need to certify that you know cis. CIS110 is a joke in the beginning, but it gets difficult. You need to practice to learn how to do it. It is not something that functions as well for something you dabble as in a minor. I like the idea of a certificate that is geared toward education. CIS department is highly understaffed in terms of getting talent and most CIS professors will not come to Penn. Other schools are a lot more intense and educated about CIS. CIS is nice, but I will never become a software developer because most time is spent on debugging it.
  11. Max: If we were to have a certificate program, would there be a better language to teach
  12. Kanishka: Python is best bet
  13. Max: Would certificate be better specific track
  14. Kanishka: For CIS roles all you need is CIS 121. It teaches you basics of CIS. Make sure you understand what people’s motivations are. You can gain a lot of going through a few courses. You should talk to chair of minor. Weirich is chair of CIS minor.
  15. Natasha: Econ has non-calculus based courses. Potentially structure cis courses like that. To restructure CIS courses not for majors.
  16. Julianne: I think it is good to frame it as separate requirement
  17. Samara: There are other ways to make this a language requirement. Is it possible to make CIS and not worry about grades.
  18. Max: I don’t think it is possible because you need to put the work in
  19. Jay: How many students are interested in this? If there are only a handful it would be difficult to persuade administrators.
  20. Michelle: We can talk to SCUE or do a survey
  21. Kanishka: Jay captured what is the interest. To start new track would make unviersity invest in CIS professors.i don’t think it fulfills the same thing. You have to put in the time to get the full credit. If there is another requirement we should put it in.
  22. Kyle: For every person who struggles with problem sets it is ok.
  23. Max: Great discussion, and thank you.
  1. External Seats
  2. Communications