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Paying attention to community needs

To the Editor:

Despite a witty column by Jim Saksa and objective reporting by Katie Karas, the DP's editorials have regularly supported the Campus Inn project, poo-pooing the concerns of neighborhood associations and immediate residents.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission has shown more sensitivity and understanding of the community. On Nov. 14, it has denied permit to build to the developers, in a seven-to-three vote. The 10-story slab of the extended stay hotel was judged to overwhelm the token trade-off, the alleged restoration of the Victorian mansion on the site, which would look like a barnacle on the side of a whale. It is about time that the DP demanded more responsiveness from Penn to the neighborhood and better conceptual planning from its Design Committee.

Far from reining in Penn's Real Estate Department, the Design Committee helps it sponsor buildings of enormous size and often mediocre quality. The Campus Inn - a 114-foot slab of brick and fiber-cement in a historic residential neighborhood - is one too many.

Magali Sarfatti Larson The author is a member of the Woodland Terrace Homeowners Association Overlooking academic values

To the Editor:

In her column, "Freedom to Disagree," Dani Wexler fails to appreciate that beyond simply conveying information, professors should teach and promote academic values - which means professors were completely justified in openly supporting Obama for president.

Consider: On one ticket, we had a worldly, well-educated scholar of the law who habitually gave nuanced arguments for his policy positions.

This candidate considered the best advice of scientists, economists (who favored him 4:1 over his opponent, according to The Economist) and health care experts (60 percent favor a national health program, which actually goes beyond his plans) in crafting his domestic policy platform.

His knowledge, experiences and powers of analysis exemplify values academics understandably see as essential qualifications for the presidency.

On the other side, we had a candidate whose plans struck out boldly in opposition to so many experts' advice and whose choice of running mate could hardly have set a lower bar for any of the above-mentioned values.

Is it really any surprise that many academics saw this duo unfit to lead intellectually, much less in any other capacity?

By the metric of academic values, one ticket clearly exceeded the other. Professors were entirely justified in pointing out this stunning contrast.

Barry Slaff The author is a College sophomore

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