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Moving forward

To the Editor:

I would like to address the DPS issue, as many students are likely wondering why I could not comment in Monday's paper.

Regarding the DPS situation, the issue of biased-based profiling and inappropriate use of force began long before I arrived at Penn, and will continue long after I leave.

The last few weeks have been a frustrating period for all outraged by the latest incident. As a coalition, we were trying to preserve and respect the anonymity of the student involved as well as raise larger issues since the UMC maintains that escalation by police was likely inappropriate.

We also maintain that the continual "he-said, she-said" dialogue is ultimately ineffective and we are working diligently with the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, the Lambda Alliance and other students, faculty and alumni to ensure that systems of accountability and measures that preserve the well-being of affected students are in place for the next incident.

Efe Johnson The author is chairwoman of the United Minorities Council and a College sophomore

Defending SOCI 137

To the Editor:

Regarding Adam Goodman's recent column on the needed inclusion of ethics and citizenship-based learning in the Penn curriculum ("Repackaging intellectual gifts," DP, 4/18/07):

As the professor of an academically based community service learning course ("Culture, Arts and Media in Urban Context") in which Penn students volunteer their time in nonprofit community organizations in West Philadelphia, I did not appreciate Adam Goodman's cheap shot aimed at my more popular "Sociology of Media and Popular Culture "(SOCI 137) course.

In fact, a good deal of my class lectures in Sociology 137 are devoted to topics concerning the moral and ethical boundaries in the production of culture, and the question of where cultural producers should draw the line - whether in representations of racial and ethnic minorities in reality television, the exploitation of high-school student athletes, the pervasiveness of advertising aimed at children, the availability of plastic surgery for minors, or the perils of media consolidation.

And yes, we cover the ethics and responsibilities required in editorial journalism as well.

David Grazian The author is a professor of Sociology

Supporting Obama

To the Editor:

"Deconstructing Obamania" (DP, 4/9/07) columnist Arushi Sharma should have considered contacting the members of Penn Students for Barack Obama before writing her article.

Sharma instead interviewed an "anonymous group of students," expecting them to hold the answers.

In view of a recent poll finding that two-thirds of people aged 18-24 couldn't find Iraq on a map, it's not surprising that none of Sharma's targets could tell her Obama's Iraq policy. Incidentally, Sharma failed to mention that the only Iraq plan currently being debated in Congress is one that Barack Obama is cosponsoring.

While Obama isn't a Christ-like savior, he represents the possibility of changing the downward spiral we've been in for the past 6 years. Obama runs his campaign on pragmatic policies and hope for a better tomorrow.

The column did get one thing right: Students must be more involved in electoral politics. Being part of a Facebook group is fine, but actually getting involved in the election is a more effective way to exercise your rights as a citizen to help change the country.

Should Sharma, or anyone else, wish to learn more about Obama's policies or get involved in the local group, e-mail us at

Lauren Burdette The author is deputy statewide director of Students for Barack Obama

Quiet in the library

To the Editor:

I absolutely abhorred Ali Jackson's column ("The best place to find a friend at 2 a.m.," DP, 4/16/07), which outlined the tendency of students to socialize in the Rosengarten study area in Van Pelt.

This area should not, and is not for this purpose. I am not saying that I do not think studying for exams and collaborating for courses in groups is not a good thing; in fact, I believe being able to work with my peers is one of the benefits of attending a selective institution like Penn.

That said, this sort of academic collaboration is accommodated for in the group-study rooms in both Huntsman and Van Pelt, mostly because common areas of Van Pelt are meant for quiet studying. Many students prefer to study quietly but cannot in their rooms because of a hindrance.

What Ms. Jackson fails to mention, however, is that these people "trying to get work done" cannot go to a different part of the library because, when Van Pelt closes, Rosengarten is the only place open for quiet studying.

The most alarming element of Ms. Jackson's presentation is the complete lack of respect that she and her fellow Van Pelt "socializers" have for Penn students trying to do work.

Trying to spin this as "support while you study" is ludicrous and false, and I would hope that students would be more respectful to those who are trying to focus on their studies.

Andy Hines College sophomore

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