Penn students turned out in record-breaking numbers for the 2018 midterm elections.
On Nov. 6, 2018, a total of 2,762 ballots were cast on campus, more than double the count from the 2014 midterms, and more than the number from any midterm election in the previous 12 years.
Incumbent Governor Tom Wolf (D-Pa.) and incumbent Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) won by large margins among Penn voters.
In February 2019, former Penn Law professor and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) officially announced her candidacy for the 2020 presidential race. In April 2019, former Penn Presidential Professor of Practice Joe Biden (D-Del.) followed suit. The former Penn professors joined a crowded Democratic field that included figures such as U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
In September 2018, Penn announced that all sophomores would be required to live in on-campus housing beginning with the Class of 2024. The decision was part of an initiative to create a "Second Year Experience Program" for sophomore students.
Former UA President and College 2019 graduate Michael Krone told the DP that Greek leaders from the Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council met with administrators prior to the announcement to discuss the implications the decision would have on Greek life at Penn.
Greek life leaders voiced opposition to the new policy, noting that chapter houses are mostly filled by sophomores and that unfilled rooms would likely increase dues.
On Dec. 3, 2018, Penn broke ground on the construction of its record-breaking $163 million dorm, New College House West, on the corner of 40th and Walnut streets. NCHW is set to open on time in fall 2021.
Former Penn men’s basketball coach Jerome Allen pleaded guilty in October 2018 to accepting $74,000 in bribes in exchange for the recruitment of a player. In March 2019, Allen testified in a federal trial that Penn parent and Miami businessman Philip Esformes paid him to facilitate his son’s recruitment in 2015. Esformes was indicted for allegedly defrauding the federal government of $1 billion in a Medicaid money laundering scheme.
Days after Allen's testimony, court documents unsealed by the United States Department of Justice charged 50 people for partaking in a bribery scam to get prospective students into elite schools. The crimes included bribing college officials to falsify identities of students as recruited athletes and cheating on entrance exams.
Although Penn was not one of the universities named in the national admissions scandal, former Dean of Admissions Eric Furda told The Daily Pennsylvanian that Penn would consider revising their recruitment and admissions processes.
On April 5, Esformes was found guilty on 20 charges, including bribery, in Miami federal court, and later sentenced to 20 years in prison. Allen was sentenced to four years of probation, 600 hours of community service, and a fine of $202,000 on July 1. The next day, Penn Athletics removed Allen from its Hall of Fame.
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