To the Editor: In singling out some of Penn's donors for criticism ("Penn donors lack Franklin's moral compass," The Daily Pennsylvanian, 9/22/00), Alan Bell seems unaware of the extraordinary history of philanthropy that has built the educational, cultural, social and civic institutions of this country. Penn's campus is a living testament to the vital role that philanthropy has played in creating one of the world's superb centers of learning. The names, perhaps in the thousands, that grace Penn's buildings, its endowed professorships and scholarships and some of its academic programs, recognize donors who have cared deeply about this University. While their backgrounds and achievements have differed, their desires are similar. They have chosen to give back to an institution that gave them an education and opportunity. They gave back so others might have the same or better opportunity and experience. I hope that Mr. Bell takes to heart this sense of history and his place in it.
Virginia Clark Vice President Development and Alumni Relations
IMF benefits the poorTo the Editor: It is unfortunate, given his tenuous grasp of international economics, that Ronald Kim has taken upon himself the task of "educating" the University regarding the activities of the IMF and the World Bank ("A new victim for the IMF," DP, 9/27/00). His claim that the IMF has pressed developing economies into making structural reforms in order to foster economic domination verges on the ridiculous. Capital flows and investment are the key to allowing upstart countries to leap ahead into developed economies. The huge social welfare systems and publicly owned industries in Eastern European countries are totally unsustainable, and contribute to enormous economic inefficiency. By encouraging a rationalization of governments and economies, the IMF and World Bank are trying to foster improvement in the lives of the very people Mr. Kim feels they are trying to repress. The economic history of the 20th century shows with little doubt that open, free economies (while possibly painful in the short-run) far outperform closed, state-dominated systems. While it may save the energy of having to think very hard, dividing the world into nasty corporate evil-doers and poor, oppressed workers simply does not reflect reality. Although it may not be perfect at its job, the IMF is trying to help people in developing economies. Trying to stop its activities only hurts those that Mr. Kim thinks he is helping.
Nick Stukas Wharton '01 Wharton MBA '02
John Fry not being fairTo the Editor: I am writing in response to Executive Vice President John Fry's letter ("UCD supports community," DP, 9/27/00). In his letter, Mr. Fry explains why the University City District Nominating and Executive Committees elected not to accept the names suggested by the University City Community Council to represent the community on the UCD Board of Directors. My colleagues and I are puzzled by Mr. Fry's reasoning. The UCD request for five names from which its nominating committee would choose two representatives was contrary to the precedent set at the formation of the UCD and reiterated again last year -- that the UCCC choose its own representation. Can the UCD really expect the community to forfeit the right to choose its own representation in matters that affect our everyday lives and our future? Most importantly, Mr. Fry's suggestion that the UCCC does not represent the larger community is blatantly erroneous and disrespectful. The presidents of the six community groups comprising University City are the voting members of the UCCC. They have been empowered by their community associations to represent their community's interests by voting at UCCC meetings. Further, there has been no attempt by Mr. Fry to contact the UCCC to resolve this matter. Instead, he has been gleaning his information from only one faction in the controversy, unmistakably the minority view. It is indeed puzzling that the chairman of the UCD would disregard input from five of six presidents of the established community associations within the University City neighborhood. If he can stand by his words that "all parts of our community are important to us at the UCD," then it behooves him to meet with the leaders of the UCCC before a final vote is taken at the upcoming UCD board meeting or postpone the vote until a fair and reasonable resolution can be forged. The UCD decision to appoint "at large" community representatives is short-sighted. Mr. Fry, the UCD and the University of Pennsylvania are now finding themselves in the increasingly awkward position of listening and responding to only a minority of the surrounding community. After years of building bridges to all of University City and promoting the local institutions' relationship with the community as one built on inclusiveness, one must wonder why Mr. Fry and the UCD would now allow themselves to become a catalyst for divisiveness within the community. After all, isn't the UCD's motto "Working Together, Making it Better?"
Amy Williams Vice President Squirrel Hill Community Association
The wrong questionsTo the Editor: I read your article on how students from the College make less in financial fields than finance majors from Wharton ("Differing levels of financial success," DP, 9/27/00). Well... duh! How about an article that compares salary and success rates in, say, journalism? Political consulting? Law? The entertainment industry? I wonder what we'd find if we looked in those directions. I also wonder, over and over, why it is that here at Penn we rarely seem to do so.
Peter Struck Classical Studies Professor
No more 'swamis'To the Editor: In response to the recent debate concerning the "DP Swamis," Sangam, the South Asia Society, the Asian Pacific Student Coalition and the United Minorities Council have collaborated in order to state our position regarding this issue. It is primarily important to understand what the term "swami" means. Swami, derived from the Sanskrit word for "master," svamin, refers to a religious ascetic esteemed for his divine knowledge. We find The Daily Pennsylvanian's portrayal and the usage of this term both inappropriate and inaccurate. Furthermore, the DP's depiction of the "Swamis" is a mockery of South Asian culture. Unfortunately, when there is not enough exposure to a certain religion or culture, distorted representations are often misunderstood to be the truth. For this reason, we request that both the portrayal and the use of the term "swami" be removed from The Daily Pennsylvanian, both in print and online.
Signed by officers of:
The Asian Pacific Student Coalition
The South Asia Society
The United Minorities Council
Recycling progressTo the Editor: I would like to commend the DP for drawing attention to the critical issue of recycling on Penn's campus. As a member of the Penn Environmental Group for three years, I have seen our group work continuously to raise University awareness of environmental issues. Recycling has always been one of our top priorities. However, it was not until the end of last year that we saw many of our efforts come to fruition. With the Undergraduate Assembly, the Penn Environmental Group created a recycling proposal to address the much-needed improvements to campus recycling. It was only through a collaborative effort that we were able to make such significant progress in meeting our goals. I encourage all groups on campus with similar visions to support one another and work together to accomplish goals. On behalf of the Penn Environmental Group, we were pleased to see the UA resolution on recycling passed and are anxious to work with the UA and Facilities Services so that you can see tangible improvement in recycling at Penn. However, we cannot do this alone. In order to make recycling a success at Penn, we are counting on your participation. Recycle and do your part to protect our environment.
Kristina Rencic College '01
The writer is the former co-chairwoman of the Penn Environmental Group.
Whose rights?To the Editor: How is it that the head of an organization that defended a religious group in Tufts University that discriminated against gay and lesbian students can be described as fighting for "tolerance" ("Alumnus fights for tolerance, against political correctness", DP, 9/25/00)? Mr. Halvorssen, the head of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, seems to be extremely concerned by the situation of Christian students in American universities. But why does he remain silent in the face of a much graver injustice: the intolerance and discrimination that gay and lesbian students have to endure in and outside of university campuses? Mr. Halvorssen pledges to defend "individual rights in education," but his commitment proves hollow when he fails to struggle for the right of a gay student to be protected from discrimination by his university's administration. His commitment proves hollow when he fails to attack those schools who offer health benefits only to the partners of their heterosexual employees, effectively discriminating against their gay staff. If FIRE really believes in individual rights, it's about time it started fighting for every individual's rights.
Federico Sanchez College '04Comments powered by Disqus
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