and DAVID BOYER 34th Street Staff Writer "Dan Sacher can quote a lot of impressive shit." -- Paul Abboud, former roommate. At first glance, Sacher is "a really dark character. People who don't know him think he is brooding and are afraid to joke," says girlfriend Becky Creskoff. Unfortunately for Dan, we're not afraid. We're gonna tell the truth about 34th Street's incoming Managing Editor. After extensive investigative reporting -- nudge nudge, wink wink -- the only consensus from his intimates is that Sacher is a horrific dinnertime companion. "He shlurps everything. He is horrifying to watch," says Creskoff. Abboud concurs, "He shlurps everything. He is horrifying to watch." Weird, huh? But there's more to Sacher than food dribbling down his chin. He's Street's resident artiste. "He is really funny, sort of slow and makes you think he is brooding," Creskoff said. "He sees himself as a Scorcese but identifies with T.S. Eliot and William Burroughs." "I don't wear my artistic sensibilities on my sleeve," he claims. Yeah, right Dan, whatever. A resident of New Jersey, breeding ground for the 20th century intellectual elite, Dan has always "had a great sense of aesthetics," according to his mother. "He is very good with color." Par exemple, as a mere artistic sapling, Dan told his mother not to paint their home green, worrying that "we would be living in a frog. But that couldn't be right because frogs move and houses don't." Clever, huh? And so, 15 years later, Dan takes his insightful brilliance to the four windowless walls of 34th Street. The future's so bright, we just gotta wear shades.
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and DAVID BOYER 34th Street Staff Writers A wiseman once said: "Beware of yellow snow." Matt Selman never said that. He is not a wiseman. Selman is, however, 34th Street's new bad-boy. And as his first act as Editor-in-Chief, the spirited upstart pasted a picture of John Cusack from Street's dusty archives on the back of the office door as a pseudo-autobiographical shrine to be worshipped by all those who enter. But the picture wasn't quite ready. A Michael Jackson press photo, a clever scissor job and a bit of ingenuity later, Selman's self-portrait -- complete with five-inch deep Jackson Five "fro" -- was open for viewing. From an outsider's perspective, Matt (affectionately known by friends as Matt) looks like a typical rabbi-in-training with a full head of curly Jewish locks. But if the truth be told, Selman has a bizarre obsession with his hair. In short, it is the sun of the Selman universe. Close confidante and incoming Assistant Managing Editor Roxanne Patel disclosed the Selman secret -- he uses upwards of 25 hair-care products including "a new one called Frizz-reducer." His technique for that perfect coif is to "stand in front of the mirror and do the Buckwheat fondle, but no touch" hair thing . . . patent pending. A-ha, we knew it. But there's more to Selman than his hair. There's also the J. Crew catalogues strategically placed on his nightstand. "It's kinda weird," said Patel. "It's like he just sits around and talks to the J. Crew operators . . . I think it's a sexual thing." And in fact Matt is on the DP fashion counsel -- noting the obvious lack of taste from the incoming DP hierarchy -- and has recommended the colors Midnight, Forest and Huckleberry for spring. So you say, what is all this shit? We want to know the real Matt Selman. Well, here goes. He is an avid sky-diver, award-winning lambada dancer, Franz Kafka scholar and close friend of George McGovern . . . NOT. Actually, Matt spent a relatively unspectacular childhood in Cambridge, Mass. He was an obsessive comic book collector and according to his younger brother Jesse, "never got into the social scene too much. He was sorta like above that 'crazy' high school partying." But oh how times have changed. Matt, obviously not above "crazy" college partying, is infamous among friends for his magnificent liquor consumption and repulsive day-long vomiting extravaganzas. According to one of Matt's friends, "Every story about Matt is a drunken one." And former roommate Tom Yannone recalls the time Matt stumbled home, mistook a can of white spray paint for a can of hair spray (of course) and sprayed four streaks of white paint onto his all-too-perfect mane. How did the night end, you ask? He passed out in the shower with his clothes on, emotionally distraught by the affront to his identity. And with his biting wit, quirky personality and extensive insight into American pop-culture, Selman has "big plans for Street . . I want to make it the highlight of every student's week, a bigger institution on this campus than the DP." Keep the faith. Ya dig?
Faculty members said last night they are uncertain what will happen next in the Middle East, but said that they are certain students will not sit idly by watching the events unfold. Several history and political science professors, many of whom specialize in Middle Eastern politics, said that they expect the invasion to intensify political debate on campus. And these projections proved to be fairly accurate. As the professors made their predictions last night at their off-campus homes, more than 200 students were rallying on campus against the war. Assistant Political Science Professor Graham Walker said that although many students may not fully understand all the issues prompting military action in the Persian Gulf, they will begin to air their feelings in the coming days. "No doubt, some students will become more vocal," Walker said last night, hours after fighting broke out. "Very few students will think they have mastered the complexities of the issue, but those who do think they have will probably be very dogmatic and very intolerant of those who have doubts on either point of view." History Professor Michael Katz said that student opinion will be polarized about the "legitimacy of this war." "I don't think there will be much apathy," he said. "I think students will be actively engaged and involved whatever their position is." Nearly all the professors made comparisons to the Vietnam era, a time of unprecedented student protest and activism. Political Science Professor Donald Smith said that he does not think students will become involved to the degree of their late 1960's counterparts because of a significantly different political atmosphere. "First, in Vietnam, the draft played a very visible role because it was a personal threat to students," he said last night. "Second, Vietnam dragged on. Student reaction to Vietnam is not likely to be repeated. The degree of international support for the war really makes the Vietnam analogy very shaky. I am not saying, however, that there may not be a huge outcry." Penn Israel Exchange Program Director Norman Oler, who said that he vividly remembers the turmoil of the Vietnam conflict, noted a discrepancy between student reaction to the current crisis and Vietnam. Oler said that the issues are more clearly defined, adding that the widespread support from the world community makes the situation far different from that in Southeast Asia. "When the whole current crisis began to unfold, I hoped and prayed the world could and would not be torn like it was in the Vietnam tragedy," he said. History Professor Drew Faust, who noted that her college career was colored by the Vietnam conflict, said she did not believe the United States would attack as soon as yesterday. "I thought it would not happen for another day," she said. "It was a real shock. Somehow you can't believe something this horrible would happen. You keep hoping something would avert this." "What troubles me is the tremendous confidence of people who undertake war," she added. "They are seldom right and that scares me. I was in college during the Vietnam War and it is so poignant in my mind." Faust, however, said there is a possibility of racial and religious tension on campus because of the war. She said she thinks there may be a division between Jewish and Arab students, something that was not prevalent during the Vietnam War because there were not many Vietnamese students at American Universities. "I think the identity of different groups may lead to a division and there wasn't that identification during the Vietnam War," she said. Although war may occupy students' thoughts outside of the classroom, professors said that they do not want to let the issue dominate their lectures. Adam Garfinkle, who specializes in the Middle East in the political science department, said that he will not ignore other topics in his course to concentrate on the conflict. "The syllabus was created long before the invasion of Kuwait and I'm not going to change it now," he said yesterday. "I'm not going to allow the crisis to devour the course." Faust, who is teaching the history of the American South this semester, said that she is somewhat uneasy keeping her lecture schedule because the crisis is dominating students' thoughts. "How can I give a lesson on secession?" she said. But, she said she would still go ahead with her plans and just try to incorporate the war into the course.
With no questions or debate, the Student Activities Council voted overwhelmingly to re-recognize The Red and Blue last night, more than a year after SAC's rejection of the paper stirred campus-wide controversy. After SAC Vice Chairperson Greg Shufro presented SAC Steering Committee's recommendation that the paper be recognized last night, 75 SAC representatives voted for recognition, 10 voted against it and 21 representatives abstained. Last night was the paper's first success in four bids for re-recognition, and the second time it has come before the body with a positive steering recommendation. Before last night's vote, Red and Blue Editor-in-Chief Chris Matton delivered a one-minute speech, asking SAC representatives not to judge the conservative student publication on content. He emphasized that the paper had met all the requirements for SAC membership. Matton said the lack of debate signifies that students are no longer interested in debating over Red and Blue and that the decision gives the paper "legitimacy." "I think people have become tired of the whole issue, myself included," he said. Almost all the SAC representatives who voted last night were not on the body last spring. Shufro said last night that Red and Blue deserved the positive recommendation from steering, but added that he does not agree with the paper's content. "Though the ignorance of the publication and the editorial staff disgusts me personally, as a member of SAC steering, because they met the criteria for recognition, I had the responsibility to give them a positive recommendation," he said. "I am saddened to find such close-mindedness at an institution that promotes diversity." The newspaper, which lost recognition because it failed to register with the Office of Student Life in the fall of 1989, did not get a positive SAC Steering recommendation on its first attempt to be resanctioned because committee members said the editors had attacked other SAC groups in print, including the LGBA. In its October 1989 issue, Red and Blue labeled the LGBA as one of the four biggest "wastes of money" on campus and derided the group's name change to include bisexuals. Editors of the newspaper maintained that SAC Steering's recommendation was unfair because it violated the Open Expression Guidelines. Last April, the University's Open Expression Committee made a non-binding ruling that SAC violated Open Expression Guidelines when it denied the paper recognition, saying that SAC based the decision on the paper's content. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance SAC representative Doreva Belfiore, who voted against re-recognition last night, said she was not surprised that the paper was re-recognized. "I don't think that the student body thinks that it is as big an issue on campus as the student body last year did," Belfiore said. Red and Blue Executive Editor Bob Mannino said that he was "pleasantly surprised " by the lack of debate at the meeting, adding that he thought last night's re-recognition was "finally a just outcome." Shufro said that he was puzzled that the SAC body voted without questioning the newspaper. "I was surprised that considering the controversy surrounding Red and Blue and the fact that they have a longstanding debt to SAC, that representatives would have so simply recognized a group which will have a say in SAC policies and allocations," the College senior said. The newspaper, which has published one issue so far this year, did not request SAC funding. They are currently being funded solely by alumni donations. In other business, SAC recognized the Circle K Club, which focuses on community service, the Bio-Chemistry Club, the Biological Basis of Behavior Club, the Black Pre-Health Society, Real Estate Club, Italian Society, and the Hong Kong Club. Staff writer Laura Santini contributed to this story. 'I don't think that the student body thinks that it is as big an issue on campus as the student body last year.' Doreva Belfiore SAC representative
The 180-member Student Activities Council body will vote tonight whether to re-recognize The Red and Blue, one week after the SAC Steering Committee gave the conservative newspaper a positive recommendation. This is the fourth time the newspaper has applied for re-recognition, and the third time it has received a positive vote from the six-member steering committee. The newspaper, which lost recognition because it failed to register with the Office of Student Life in the fall of 1989, did not get a positive recommendation on its first attempt because SAC steering thought the editors had attacked other SAC groups in print, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance. In its October 1989 issue, the Red and Blue labeled the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance as one of the four biggest "wastes of money" on campus, and derided the group's name change. Editors of the newspaper maintained that SAC steering's decision was unfair because it violated the Open Expression Guidelines. The decision prompted campus-wide debate on the issue. Last April, the University's Open Expression Committee made a non-binding ruling that SAC violated Open Expression Guidelines when it denied the paper recognition, saying that SAC based the decision on the paper's content. Red and Blue Editor-in-Chief Chris Matton said this week that he thinks the newspaper has "a good shot" at receiving re-recognition because the content of the controversial issue has faded from students' memories. "We're getting more and more distant from the incident that led to de-recognition and the time aspect will play a role," he said. Doreva Belfiora, SAC representative for the LGBA, said this week that her organization has not changed its opinion and will not support Red and Blue re-recognition. "The LGBA does not wish to censor the Red and Blue in any way, nor does it approve of censoriship in any form," she said. "The group does not wish to legitimize this paper by voting for its re-recognition, however. Again this is not a question of censorship for us because the Red and Blue can be published without SAC recognition." Several members of the SAC body said yesterday that they are not certain how they will vote on Red and Blue recognition. The newspaper, which has published one issue this year, is only requesting re-recognition and will not ask to be SAC funded. The Red and Blue is currently being funded solely by alumni donations.
Student leaders left the final constitutional convention of the semester yesterday frustrated with the restructuring process and divided over several key issues. Much of the frustration stemmed from what delegates called a lack of direction in the proceedings. The delegates took the entire second half of yesterday's meeting to plan the dates and focus of next semester's sessions. Convention delegate Dave Anderman said he thinks many student leaders are discouraged by recent meetings because they are not long enough to produce concrete results. "I think we neeed to lock ourselves in a few marathon sessions where we will just hash out a final constitution," Anderman said. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris said delegates may be becoming impatient with the restructuring of student government "because they don't realize how the large the task really is." Several student leaders have repeatedly complained that too much time has been spent on discussing the focus of the proceedings, and too little on substantive issues. The first half of the meeting was spent debating a new plan for the future structure of student government. The proposal modifies an earlier structure sponsored by Anderman and fellow convention delegate Jon Wachs, integrating several ideas from other proposals. The new plan calls for a unicameral undergraduate assembly composed of 24 popularly elected representatives. In addition, the assembly would have one representative from each school and 15 representatives from Student Activities Council sponsored groups. The proposal also separates the SAC finance committee from SAC -- both would become separate assembly committees. The Nominations and Elections Committee would also be split into two separate assembly committees. Several key provisions of the new plan drew criticism from convention delegates. SAC Vice Chairperson Greg Shufro said he opposes SAC becoming an assembly committee, saying that it is effective in its current structure. "While I feel that there are grounds for tying SAC more closely to the UA, I am worried that this proposed structure will detract from an organization that already does a relatively good job," Shufro said. The proposal calls for the formation of an executive council to be composed of a popularly elected president and vice president. University Council steering representatives elected by the UA would also serve in the executive council. Currently a United Minority Council representative holds a non-voting position on UA steering, but this position would be eliminated in the new structure. UMC Chairperson Nalini Samuel said minority concerns have been ignored in the new proposal, adding that the proposal is "very inadequate."
Two members of the Social Planning and Events Committee -- both of whom strongly criticized current leaders for lack of unity -- will vie for the group's top spot at elections this Sunday. Spring Fling Chairperson Todd Fructerman and SPEC Treasurer Lisa Nass both said that they would improve communication and foster better relations within SPEC. Fructerman, a College junior, said that the SPEC Steering Committee, composed of committee chairperson, and the SPEC Executive Board have worked like "separate entities" this year, hindering the effectiveness of the organization as a whole. He said coordination between the two SPEC groups and among the committees would allow the group to organize better events. "Executive Board and Steering Committee have been separated and things have not run smoothly as a consequence," Fructerman said. "This relationship could tie the entire organization together and that will allow broader resources when planning all the events." Nass, a College sophomore, also said that the "main problem" with the group this year has been fragmentation between the Executive Board and Steering Committee. "We need to come together when planning events, instead of against each other like we have been in the past year," Nass said. SPEC, which will complete its first full year in January, is responsible for planning campus-wide social events. This semester, SPEC has organized Homecoming festivities, the Jazz Festival, and the Waterboys' concert. Current SPEC Chairperson Varsha Rao said this week that she expects a more unified SPEC next year as members who worked on the committees get involved on the executive level. In addition, she said she expects more interaction between committees next year when planning events." Nass said she would lead SPEC well because of the enthusiasm and long-standing interest in social planning. She was on the Undergraduate Assembly social planning committee which formed SPEC last year. Fructerman said that he has a "hands on" leadership style, adding that a chairperson needs to work more directly with the committees and not serve only as a decision-maker. "Basically, I have a casual leadership style, but can get things done when they need to be done," Fructerman said. "I'm a doer, not a talker."
Undergraduate Assembly member Dan Singer said yesterday that he plans to present a revised version of the UA's five-year plan on Sunday, after student leaders harshly criticized the report earlier this semester. Minority and women leaders said they were dissatisfied with the plan, saying that it is "slanted" toward fraternities and sororities. The report calls for the an expansion of the Greek system and increased self-governance for the Interfraternity, Panhellenic and Black InterGreek councils. It also urges the University to find houses for existing and future fraternities and sororities. UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said last night that she hopes the revisions will be more acceptable to diverse interests on campus. "The original purpose of the report was to set the campus agenda and to have agreement among student leaders as to what the UA should work on for the next five years," Harris said last night. "And hopefully the revisions will successfully address these issues." Singer said that he is in the process of making revisions, but declined to discuss any specific changes. He said that he has tried to get input from other student leaders, but added that they have not been cooperative. "With or without their help, the process will be done by the weekend," he said. Singer said that because former IFC President Garrett Reisman and Panhel President Shari Senzon helped author the report, the section on Greek life was disproportionately biased in favor of fraternities and sororities. Singer criticized the report for its insufficient discussion of the BIG-C. In addition, he said, the report fails to mention two newly formed Greek organizations, Latino sorority Sigma Lambda Upsilon and black sorority Zeta Phi Beta, and does not discuss the diversity on the Walk issue that has stirred recent campus controversy. "The section on Greek life was written by the then presidents of IFC and Panhellenic councils," Singer said last night. "Consequently it reads like a travel brochure for their organizations, while ignoring black and Latino organizations and problems facing the Greeks as a whole." Singer also criticized the report because "it has only three lines" concerning the Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape program or the recently implemented diversity awareness programs. He added that the report concentrates more on the last five years and fails to outline a specific agenda for the future. Social Planning and Events Committee Chairperson Varsha Rao, who chaired the committee that wrote the original plan, was unavailable for comment last night.
Student leaders who expect to have their Sunday nights open for studying next semester will have to change their schedules. The constitutional convention, originally scheduled to last only one semester, will carry over into the spring semester. The convention has met six times already, as student leaders try to come up with plans to restructure student government. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris said that "the six-meeting format was only tentative." Harris said more debate is needed because convention delegates did not understand the complexity of student government. "The convention is not only about UA, but also about the other five government branches who all have 30-page constitutions and handle about $600,000," Harris said. Convention moderator Thomas Goldstein, director of the American Association of University Students, said that it is a "good sign" that the meetings are being extended into next semester because more debate on the proposal changes is needed. "The changes they are proposing could not be decided in 12 hours," he said. Goldstein urged convention leaders to plan campus-wide forums and meetings with student groups and administrators to get more students involved with the convention. Convention delegates are currently debating three separate proposals for restructuring student government, all of which call for significant changes to the current system. All the proposals call for the Nominations and Elections Committee to be eliminated. Nominations to Trustee and University committees would come under the control of an undergraduate congress. Two of the proposals place the Student Activities Council under control of the undergraduate congress. The other proposal calls for SAC to remain autonomous, but for the congress to control the SAC Finance Committee. Harris said that she hopes a new student government structure can be finalized by late February or early March. The proposal must be placed on a referendum and receive 15 percent student support for it go into effect. Harris said that she would like to see the referendum on the ballot for UA elections in early March.
Two new plans for restructuring student government were introduced at the fifth constitutional convention last night -- one of which is significantly different from other proposals debated at earlier meetings. The more radical of the two proposals, sponsored by convention delegates Tex Roper and You-Lee Kim, calls for an assembly composed of popularly elected representatives from approximately 50 residential districts. All the other plans support elections by class. In addition, one member of each undergraduate class would be popularly elected to the existing University Council each semester for one-year terms. These representatives would also serve on the assembly. The plan calls for the Student Activities Council to remain autonomous, but proposes placing the SAC Finance Committee -- which allocates funds to student groups -- under the control of the assembly. Other proposals do not divide SAC Finance from SAC. Another aspect of the plan proposes organizing the assembly into standing committees. And according to Roper, most of the assembly's legislative functions would be performed by these committees. All resolutions would be considered by the committees before being introduced to the entire assembly. The proposal also calls for the assembly to take on the role of the Nominations and Elections Committee, which appoints undergraduates to University and Trustee committees. Other proposals have also called for eliminating the NEC. Convention delegate Ethan Youderian introduced another proposal at the meeting which he said would significantly cut down the bureaucracy and lack of communication that plagues the current student government. The plan calls for a general assembly -- to take the place of the UA -- to be composed of 36 popularly elected representatives, 10 popularly-elected representatives from within SAC and one representative from each undergraduate school. The proposal would divide the NEC, placing nominations under the control of the assembly and making the elections committee autonomous. Both the Social Planning and Events Committee and the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education would be autonomous but would have to report to the assembly. A revised proposal, sponsored by convention delegates Jon Wachs and Dave Anderman, was also discussed at the meeting. Their proposal calls for a student congress to be divided into a senate and assembly. The plan calls for the assembly to be composed of 24 popularly elected members instead of 40 -- which was proposed earlier. Additionally, the revised plan calls for SAC to be divided into 10 groups based on similar functions. Two representatives from each group would be elected into the student senate. UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said after the meeting that she wants to use Youderian's proposal as a "base plan," adding that she supports incorporating elements of the other plans into Youderian's structure. She added that she strongly favors placing SAC Finance under the control of the assembly -- which was part of the Roper/Kim plan.
Two new proposals for restructuring student government will be introduced at this Sunday's constitutional convention, both in reaction to plans debated at earlier meetings. Freshman Undergraduate Assembly member Ethan Youderian said the proposal he will present would reduce bureaucracy, which he said weighs down current student government and would still be a burden under other proposed structures. Youderian's proposal calls for a general assembly that would take the place of the UA. The assembly would be composed of 36 popularly elected representatives from the student body, 10 representatives elected from within the Student Activities Council and one representative from each of the four undergraduate schools. The proposal would divide the Nominations and Elections Committee -- placing nominations under the control the assembly and making the elections committee autonomous. Both the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education and the Social Planning and Events Committee would be autonomous but would have to report to the assembly. Convention delegate Tex Roper, a Wharton junior, is sponsoring a separate proposal which, unlike the other three, calls for representative's jurisdictions to be split up according to where they live. All of the other plans call for popular election from within graduating class. Roper proposes establishing about 100 residential districts, which would make the assembly significantly larger than any of the other restructuring plans. Roper said the structure would be effective because "the preponderance of work will be done by committee." UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said last night that she supports Youderian's proposal over the others, saying that it "promotes effective change without entirely disrupting the current system." Both Youderian and Roper's plans, along with the proposals that have already been introduced, attempt to broaden representation within student government by including SAC members into a legislative assembly. Several of the proposals also call for representatives of special interest umbrella groups to be included in student government restructuring. In addition, all of the proposals call for the NEC to be divided into two separate committees. In each plan, the nominations commission would be under the direct control of the legislative assembly.
In an attempt to revive campus debate over splitting the role of the Judicial Inquiry Officer, the Undergraduate Assembly has sent a letter to Judicial Charter Oversight Committee Chairperson David Pope asking for a campus-wide forum on the issue. The Oversight Committee is currently reviewing recommendations from a provost committee which voted last semester to reject a proposal to split the JIO position. The proposal called for the current position to be divided into a "settlement" JIO and a "prosecutor" JIO. The settlement JIO would investigate and propose sanctions for cases that are resolved before going to a panel hearing. The prosecutor JIO would investigate and prosecute cases that are not resolved by the settlement JIO. The UA voted unanimously earlier this semester to support the split, claiming that the provost committee's majority decision does not represent the undergraduate viewpoint. Currently, JIO Constance Goodman investigates allegations of violations of the codes of conduct and academic integrity and prosecutes any cases which are sent before a judicial panel. Goodman has come under fire from some students who charge that she acts as both a prosecutor and judge in her current role. Pope said earlier this week that the oversight committee will carefully consider the UA's request, but added that he does not want to rehash the debate of the judicial charter committee. "We have every intention of considering the minority report and listening to the concerns of undergraduates," Pope said. "But the decision whether or not to hold an open forum will have to be made by the entire committee." UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said that she expects other student groups with large constituencies, such as the Interfraternity Council, to take up the cause and support the UA. "Hopefully, by getting a large turnout we will show that a wide cross-section of undergraduates are united and concerned about this issue and are not pleased with the way the judicial process works," Harris said.
Student government leaders spoke to the representatives of about 180 student groups last night in an attempt to convince them that their groups have a stake in the restructuring of student goverment. Many of the Student Activities Council members were unfamiliar with recent attempts to restructure student government. Last night's meeting was an attempt to explain what changes are being proposed. SAC Vice Chairperson Greg Shufro said he expects the meeting to prompt increased SAC input and participation in the constitutional convention. He said the representatives now have a better understanding of the role of student government and problems with the current structure. "Because the meeting explained to people what student government is, they can now make judgments about what student gvoernment should be," Shufro said. There was limited discussion of the two specific alternate government structures that have been proposed at the convention. Most of the meeting was spent addressing problems that SAC groups face and ways that student government can help resolve them. Issues included the cost of space for performing arts groups, the need for additional facilities for student groups, and the need for increased security on campus in repsonse to rising crime. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris said after the meeting that she thinks groups began to understand that an effective student government structure is important because it can address issues that affect these groups. "People started to understand that a constitutional convention really does apply to them and their groups and that an effective structure can help the debate club," Harris said.
The Red and Blue filed for re-recognition from the Student Activities Council for the fourth time yesterday, after its three tries last year proved fruitless for the conservative campus newspaper. SAC's decision last year to deny the paper recognition prompted campus-wide debate over freedom of expression. The denial came because the paper failed to register with the Office of Student Life, but it was on the heels of a photographic essay in its October 1989 issue which many considered offensive. It labeled the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance as one of the University's four biggest "wastes of money" and derided the group's name change. Members of the SAC steering committee said that the publication was denied recognition because of procedural errors, but editors of the paper maintained that it was because SAC members found the Red and Blue offensive. Last April, the University's Open Expression Committee made a non-binding ruling that SAC violated Open Expression Guidelines when it denied the paper recognition, saying that SAC based its decision on the paper's content. Red and Blue Editor-in-Chief Chris Matton said yesterday he expects the Open Expression Committee's decision to influence SAC's stance this year, adding that he thinks chances of re-recognition are "pretty good." But Matton said that he is concerned that because Red and Blue must submit issues to SAC steering to be reviewed, the newspaper may be judged on content. "It is unfortunate that we will have to turn in copies of Red and Blue because any review of the editorial content by SAC steering or the whole council would appear to once again be in violation of the Open Expression ruling," he said. According to SAC Vice Chairperson Greg Shufro, Red and Blue will be debated by the entire SAC body at its December 6 meeting. He said it is impossible to guage whether or not the newspaper will be rerecognized, and declined further comment. City and Regional Planning Professor William Grigsby, who chaired the Open Expression Committee during the controversy, said yesterday that he does not think SAC will be able to ignore Red and Blue content during its review, but added that he thinks the Open Expression Committee's decision will influence the outcome. Matton said that the newspaper only wants SAC recognition and is not looking for any funding. He added that Red and Blue is currently being funded solely by alumni donations and that it has not recaptured any of the advertisers it lost following the controversy. Despite campus uproar, Matton said that he does not thing the newspaper has toned down its content adding that "we have not gone our way to increase hostilities however." Red and Blue has published one issue this semester and Matton said that he expects another issue to be distributed in early December.
The Undergraduate Assembly is pushing to add an extra three- to five-dollar charge to every undergraduate's bursar bill to create funding earmarked for student activities. Calling the money currently allocated for undergraduate activities "insufficient," the UA unanimously passed a resolution last night to lobby for the added surcharge to the General Fee. According to UA member Jen Strom, who sponsored the resolution, the extra charge will pay for activities like the newly-revived Homecoming festivities and other events. Strom said she will try to garner support from various student groups including the Interfraternity Council, Kite and Key, the Social Planning and Events Committee and Student Activities Council before presenting the resolution to Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson. She said she expects students to fully support the resolution, since it would pay for activities that undergraduates have demanded. The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly passed a similar resolution last year, which resulted in an added surcharge to grad students' General Fee. In other business, the UA passed a resolution opposing a University Council revision of the Racial Harassment Policy. UA members said that the revision unfairly puts the burden of proof of harassment on the person filing charges. The UA statement opposes the revised policy because the policy uses the phrase "fighting words" to determine whether or not a situation falls under harassment policy guidelines. The UA statement, sponsored by Minority Concerns Chairperson Leonard Kim, says that the "fighting words" clause is too ambiguous because if a student does not respond with a fighting response, "the policy fails." The UA statement calls for the administration to reject the new revision, and says that even though the current racial harassment policy is flawed, it is "superior" than the new proposal. Kim said after the meeting that he expects other student groups to oppose the new policy and to pass resolutions similar to the UA's. The UA passed a third resolution last night calling for University faculty and trustees to change the name of the Oriental Studies Department. The resolution says that the word "Oriental" has negative connotations and that no other Ivy League school uses the term in a department name. Wharton junior Tex Roper, who is not a UA member, proposed a resolution at the end of last night's meeting calling for the UA's "unequivocal support" of the University's Greek system. The resolution says that the the UA would oppose "any suggestion or proposal that undergraduate fraternities and sororities be stripped of any recognition, privileges, or property rights." The resolution was tabled until the next UA meeting. At the beginning of last night's meeting, UA Chairperson Duchess Harris taped to the wall a "Steering Shit List" of eight UA members, several of whom are committee chairpeople. These representatives made the list by missing 25 percent of mandatory UA meetings and will have to appear before the UA Steering Committee this week.
The absence of student leaders from the fourth constitutional convention Sunday is perhaps more notable than the proposals introduced there. Missing from the meeting were the chairpeople of the Social Planning and Events Committee, Student Activities Council and United Minorities Council. Also absent were the convention delegates from the Nominations and Elections Committee; Interfraternity Council; Black InterGreek Council; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance; Asian Alliance; Women's Alliance; Kite and Key; la Asociacion Cultural de Estudiantes Latinos Americanos and Performing Arts Council. Several special interest groups, who last semester demanded representation in the student government restructuring process, seem to be losing interest. But no effective structure can be formulated without their active participation. Despite the absences Sunday, business continued as usual. Convention delegates Jon Wachs, Dave Anderman, and Greg Shufro presented two separate proposals -- the first concrete detailed outlines -- for restructuring student government. The Wachs/Anderson proposal, which would significantly alter student government and is expected to form the basis of the new structure, incorporates most influential student groups -- many of whom are not taking part in the planning -- into the governing bodies. Any student government structure that could include such diverse and influential groups would be enormously powerful, but it will be crucial in upcoming meetings that representatives from groups such as the IFC, Women's Alliance, UMC and the LGBA voice their concerns with the proposal and actively participate in developing a government structure that diverse student groups can accept. The convention is being pushed along by a small handful of student leaders who have spent hours outside the meetings putting together detailed proposals. But before the proposals have even been debated, a rift appears to be forming within student leadership. Active convention delegates are upset by the lack of commitment that group leaders are showing. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris said she is "really aggravated" by the absences, adding that many of the delegates who attend "are only there to criticize and have had nothing to offer." Harris said that she expects that diverse student groups will want to become part of the new government structure because a unified front will better serve the interests of all undergraduates. "In the past, you would be hard-pressed to find the IFC, the Black Student League and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance in the same room working together," Harris said. "But now with the new structure, differing groups will be fighting together. Can you imagine if the BSL and the IFC could get together on something, can you imagine the power?" Wachs said that even if the convention produces an effective structure, student government will not have power until the campus community decides to mobilize and take advantage of the unified front that student government could provide. "Only when people choose to mobilize and say something will undergraduates have power," Wachs said. "When the administration realizes that the government speaks for a large number of people, then the students will be taken seriously." Most student leaders who have been involved in the process favor the plan drafted by Wachs and Anderson. They say they will try to incorporate the best points of the Shufro plan into the Wachs/Anderman bicameral model. Already, leaders of some influential student organizations have said they are concerned that the reorganization of government will not help their groups. IFC President Bret Kinsella said this week that he is skeptical of a framework where student groups will have to place student government interests above the primary concerns of their individual organizations. The proposal calls for a bicameral legislative body to replace the current Undergraduate Assembly, and would dissolve the NEC. The student senate, composed of members from the special interest and student groups, would monitor student elections. The popularly elected student congress would control student activities funding and nominations to standing and ad-hoc committees. Trying to bring together 10 student groups that have such diverse agendas into the student sentate could bog student government down in internal bickering, rendering it powerless. Also, the size of the 65-person student congress, which would perform all legislative functions, could make it unmanageable. The UA, which currently fills this legislative role, is considerably smaller and its meetings are still sometimes chaotic. But the proposed structure, which redraws the lines of the entire student government system, has many merits and gives a springboard for future deliberation. By including a legislative branch composed of members from student groups, the government would encompass a broader constituency and a wider range of views. In addition, the suggested change to biannual elections would allow the government to maintain its momentum and not start from scratch each year.
Less than a year after studying American politics in Stiteler Hall classrooms, Ken Fleuriet will be writing bills in a Texas statehouse. The 21-year-old University graduate won a seat in the Texas state House of Representatives Tuesday, becoming the youngest Republican ever to hold that position in Texas. He defeated Democrat Ken Medders by about 1300 votes for the 38th District seat in his home town of Harbingen, Texas. Fleuriet, a December 1989 College graduate, began his campaign several months before earning his International Relations degree. He took two independent study courses in Texas while on the primary campaign trail. Fleuriet said he has been interested in politics since high school, and political discussions with fellow University students honed his debating and analytical skills. He said he found plenty of students to argue with at the University, because of his conservative views. Fleuriet said last night that he based his campaign around his "youth and energy," adding that he is not part of the "corrupt, sleazy, old-boy system which has dominated south Texas politics for well over the past century." During his campaign, Fleuriet stressed his strong anti-drug views, saying that he will be drug dealers' "public enemy number one." His platform also called for increased funding for education in Texas school districts, and attracting new businesses and jobs to the area. Fleuriet said that he will not raise taxes. Sharon Mulholland, who works in the University Registrar's office, described Fleuriet as "self-effacing, but at the same time confident and wholesome." She said she is not surprised that he entered politics.
Student leaders discussed the first concrete proposals to revamp student government -- one of which would fundamentally alter the system's structure -- at the fourth constitutional convention meeting last night. The more radical of the two proposals calls for the functions of the Student Activities Council and the Nominations and Elections Committee to be under the control of elected representatives. Currently, the two groups are autonomous. The proposal, sponsored by convention delegates Dave Anderman and Jon Wachs, would also establish a bicameral student government association, divided into a student senate and a general assembly, to replace the Undergraduate Assembly. Under the proposal, the NEC would be divided into separate elections and nominations commissions. The senate, composed of representatives from special interest and student groups, would monitor student elections. The popularly elected assembly would control student activities funding and nominations to standing and ad-hoc committees. In addition, the umbrella student government group would oversee the Social Planning and Events Committee and the currently autonomous Student Committee on Undergraduate Education. Wachs said during the sometimes acrimonious meeting that both branches of government would meet once every two weeks and carry out all legislative functions currently performed by the UA. The 10-page proposal would also establish an executive council, to be led by a popularly elected president and vice president, to decide "important questions." Several other representatives to the council, including a communications director to coordinate efforts between student government groups, would be selected by the student government association. Wachs said the system outlined in the proposal would solve the accountability and communication problems that currently plague student government. SAC Vice Chairperson Greg Shufro proposed another structure which he descibed as a "starting point which can stimulate discussion." Shufro's proposal, much less detailed than the other plan, calls for an assembly composed of popularly elected delegates and representatives of SAC-sponsored groups to replace the UA. The plan also calls for the formation of an executive committee, composed of members of the assembly, to oversee student government. Shufro's plan leaves SAC and the NEC intact and autonomous from the other branches of government. Both proposals call for candidates to be elected within their class, instead of the current system in which representatives are elected by school. One feature of the Wachs and Anderman proposal calls for elections for one-year terms to be held both in the fall and in the spring so that there is continuity within the government structure. At the meeting, delegates did not debate the tentative proposals but only asked for clarification. Shufro said after the meeting that the two proposals were intended to make delegates consider concrete changes in the current structure. Delegates discussed the functions and structural problems of the current student government at the first three constitutional conventions. "I think that we focused a lot on theory in the previous meetings and the proposals made clear some of the changes we are trying to implement," Shufro said. UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said last night that although she thinks both proposals were flawed, they presented a springboard for future debate. Other delegates said the proposals were confusing on some points but said that they were optimistic that the group would be able to use the proposals to form a more effective student government.
Three student leaders working to revamp student government plan to present separate proposals -- including one which would weaken the Nominations and Elections Committee -- at the fourth constitutional convention Sunday. Delegate Jon Wachs, a College senior, is sponsoring a proposal which calls for the NEC to be divided into a nominations committee, which would be under the "technical jurisdiction" of the elected student body, and an elections committee, which would be independent. During the past three convention meetings, delegates have said that because the NEC is autonomous, there is not enough communication between the committee and other branches of student government. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris said last night that she would like to put even more control over the nominations process, adding that she expects delegates to debate the issue at the convention. Wachs also calls for the Undergraduate Assembly to be split into two branches -- one which would be popularly elected and the other which would be composed of representatives from student groups. Wachs said that although he wants other student government groups to remain autonomous, a "student executive council" -- elected by the two branches -- would oversee all the groups and would set the agenda for the year. He added that there would be a system of checks and balances between student groups and the executive council. Convention delegate Greg Shufro, vice chairperson of the Student Activities Council, is sponsoring a third proposal which calls for the establishment of an executive committee composed of SAC and UA members to replace the current UA. "Right now, we don't have a UA that is representative of a large enough percentage of the University," Shufro said. "This proposal would take advantage of the large percentage of the student body that SAC already represents." Shufro said his proposal would make student government more "focused and effective and. . . open up communication among the different branches." Wachs' proposal also calls for elections to be held each semester. Representatives would serve one-year terms and the rotating elections would ensure continuity within student government, Wachs said. Convention delegate Dan Singer, a UA member, is sponsoring a proposal similar to Wachs'. Singer said that he does not think that any of the proposals will be accepted entirely, adding that a compromise is inevitable. "Everyone has their personal plan for the future of Penn student government and I think that eventually it will come down to us fighting it out and choosing the best parts of each proposal," Singer said. Sunday's meeting will be the first where delegates present concrete alternatives to the present student government. At the last three meetings, the 33 delegates identified trouble spots and debated the purpose of student government.
Undergraduate Assembly representatives said this month that they will step up pressure on the administration and Trustees this year to keep tuition increases to a minimum. Earlier this year, the Trustees hiked tuition and fees by 6.7 percent, the smallest percentage in over a decade. UA Vice Chairperson Mike Feinberg said this month that UA efforts last school year -- including circulating a petition among students and meeting with the Trustees and administrators -- contributed significantly to the decision. In addition to coordinating petitions and meetings earlier this year, the UA is planning to sponsor a letter-writing campaign to Harrisburg to ask for more state funding. Trustees this month said it is too early to predict tuition and fees increases, but said several factors such as increased energy costs and student demands for more security, may force increases. Feinberg, who chaired the UA Tuition Committee last year, said that student unity is students' "biggest ammunition" for influencing administrators and Trustees. He said that this year's UA petition will call for any percentage tuition increase to be smaller than last year's. Feinberg said he expects the relatively small increase last year to be "precedent-setting." But Provost Michael Aiken said after last year's tuition announcement that containing tuition hikes will become more difficult in the coming years because of slowing revenue growth and increased budget demands. Feinberg said that the UA plans to talk with administrators and Trustees throughout the year, adding that if tuition increases at a higher rate than last year, the UA will attempt to mobilize students to protest. UA Tuition Committee Chairperson Mitch Winston said he is uncertain what specific measures the UA will take if the Trustees decide on a large increase. "I want to make sure that Trustees realize that students and their parents will not accept a rise in the rate of tuition from last year and that there will be consequences if they go down that path," Feinberg said. Robert Fox, Trustees' Budget and Finance Committee chairperson, said last week that it is premature to predict whether tuition will follow last year's pattern, saying increasing energy costs may force tuition upward. Fox said that he does not know if last year's decision will set a precedent, but added that "the increased awareness to student concerns is precedent setting." Budget and Finance Committee member Susan Catherwood said earlier this week that recent student demands to increase security on campus may force Trustees to raise tuition costs. "Our priority has always been to keep tuition as low as possible, but when more and more demands are made, tuition must be raised and it is that simple," Catherwood said. "In the last three or four years, security issues have become a major problem and they obviously have to be responded to." Catherwood said the Trustees' other priorities this year include maintaining top-notch faculty and upholding a "need-blind" admissions policy. The University is not the only institution attempting to curb skyrocketing tuition costs. Last year, Stanford University administration and trustees announced a "repositioning " plan to limit annual tuition increases to one percent above the inflation rate. In recent years, Stanford tuition increases averaged about four percent above the inflation rate. According to Stanford University Budget Officer Tim Warner, Stanford officials have been forced to cut $22 million out of their operating budget. Approximately 150 jobs have been cut including physical plant and upper level administrative positions, Warner said this week. Catherwood said University Trustees have not considered such drastic measures.