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Homecoming revives alumni's memories

(10/29/90 10:00am)

Sixty-two years and 11 United States presidents later, 1928 College graduate Richard Samson said that the University's homecoming celebration hasn't changed all that much. While Quaker fans were evading Spectaguards and sneaking mixed drinks into the football game this weekend, Samson remembers students secretly violating the U.S. Constitution to drink on campus during the Prohibition years. He said that the sea of red-and-blue-attired fans and the festive atmosphere this weekend reminded him of homecoming celebrations during his undergraduate days. Samson added that school spirit in 1990 is still "pretty darned good." But other alumni noted some dramatic changes in homecoming festivities, held this weekend, at the University since their graduations. Noting all the blue jeans and "PENN" sweatshirts around campus Saturday, 1964 Wharton graduate Ira Meiselman said that students appear to be more casual and relaxed than during his undergraduate days when homecoming celebrations were marked by male students in coat and tie and female students in semi-formal dresses. Several alumni said that the relatively new tradition of toast throwing during "Drink a Highball," at football games was clever, adding that it contributed to a sense of comradery among the undergraduates. But one alumnus fondly recalled the days when "students would actually drink a highball after the song." Recent graduates said that they were impressed with the turnout at the football game and the number of students who attended other homecoming events. 1989 graduate Monica Savage, returning to campus in her first homecoming as an alumnus, said that she missed the collegiate atmosphere, adding that "I just came to see people and to drink." The Social Planning and Events Committee kicked off homecoming activities with several new events including a 22-float parade, a pep rally and bonfire, a spirit brunch, and a concert. Alumni who attended the events said that they were pleased that undergraduates were more involved in a traditionally alumni-oriented weekend. The Saturday-evening concert capped off the weekend of activities as about 5500 students and alumni enthusiastically jammed to the sounds of the Hooters and to dee-jayed music in the Palestra. But after the Hooters performance, nearly everyone filed out of the Palestra before the following two acts finished. The Four Tops were originally scheduled to play but canceled at the last minute. Several students said they were "thrilled" by the Hooters' show and by the deejayed music, but added that the ensuing performances were a "let-down." Before the show, administrators, alumni and students packed Hutchinson Gymnasium for an extensive buffet dinner with entertainment supplied by both campus and area musical groups. College for Women 1958 graduate Irene Moy, who said she attends Homecoming functions each year, said the festivities this year were more lavish than usual. Helen Jung contributed to this story.

UA discusses expanding Penn Watch

(10/26/90 9:00am)

Kevin Vaughan, representing the Spruce Hill Town Watch organization, attended the meeting and urged students to "open their eyes and ears" and increase communication with area residents. Students need to ignore "artificial delineations" and look beyond the campus community, he added. Vaughan, who is the 27th Ward Democratic Leader, said that he supports the current Penn Watch structure, adding that he is uncertain what type of program could be implemented to involve both area residents and students. Vaughan called for an open forum between students, faculty, staff and local residents to coordinate ideas about security issues. He said that he expects students to be interested in working with local residents, because security is an issue that affects everyone in the West Philadelphia area. In other business, the UA discussed a letter sent earlier this week by the UA Judicial Committee to Steve Burbank, chairperson of the Provost's Committee to Review the Judicial Charter. The letter calls for the Provost's Committee to reconvene and reconsider its recommendation against splitting the role of the Judicial Inquiry Officer. The Provost's Committee rejected the idea of splitting the position into a "settlement" JIO and a "prosecutor" JIO. All students on the Provost's committee supported the split, however. The UA supports the split. Judicial Committee chairperson Ken Terciak said last night that it makes sense for the Provost's Committee to reconvene because "they already know the ins and outs of the issue."

Student will win jeep

(10/23/90 9:00am)

Most undergraduates will come to Friday's Homecoming festivities on foot, but one lucky student may ride back home in a new Jeep. Undergraduates can enter to win the Jeep by filling out a raffle ticket outside the Book Store. The winner will be announced at the Homecoming picnic on Hill Field Friday afternoon. Social Planning and Events Committee Chairperson Varsha Rao said this week that the giveaway is the "icing on the cake" that will draw students to homecoming events, which include a 22-float parade, a picnic and performances by campus groups. Scott said that he expects students to be excited about the Jeep, which he estimated costs about $11,600. "No question that this is a young person's vehicle," Scott said last night. "It is the kind of vehicle that you can have a lot of fun with."

Range of Homecoming events planned

(10/23/90 9:00am)

The University might be able to stop students from biking over the 38th Street bridge, but there will be little it can do when 22 floats cruise over the bridge from Superblock to Hill Field Friday afternoon. The floats are part of the Homecoming Parade -- the first ever -- which will kick off a weekend of festivities for undergraduates. The Quakers will play Yale University on Saturday afternoon. Each of the floats, sponsored by fraternities and sororities, performing arts groups, sports teams and cultural societies, are supposed to depict the group's activity and some aspect of the University's history. Mark Epstein, Homecoming Committee co-chairperson for the Social Planning and Events Committee, said that he expects student interest to be sparked by the number and diversity of the groups participating in the parade. A group of about 15 faculty and administrators will judge the floats and the winning organization will receive a trophy. Following the parade, SPEC wil sponsor a free picnic on Hill Field, featuring several performing arts groups. Black greek organizations will also perform a step show at the picnic. SPEC Homecoming Co-Chairperson Lorie Gleim said that organizers included a wide range of performing arts groups so that the event would appeal to the entire campus. Friday's festivities will culminate in a pep rally and bonfire at Hill Field, following the picnic. Football coach Gary Steele and athletic director Paul Rubincam will speak. On Saturday, there will be a free "spirit" brunch on College Green. Gleim said that she expects many "recent" alumni will attend the brunch, providing an opportunity for students to meet friends who have graduated. The weekends activites will culminate in a dinner and concert in the Palestra following the football game. The Hooters, Mary Wilson and the Supremes, and the Four Tops are scheduled to perform. Tickets for the dinner and concert cost $10, and students can sign up at either the Sweeten Alumni Center or Houston Hall information booth. Gleim said that she expects students to be excited this year because events have been planned for undergraduates. "In the past, homecoming was a time when the administration planted grass for returning alumni," Gleim said. "We planned this year's festivities in hopes that homecoming could be a time for undergraduates to celebrate as well."

3rd constitutional convention held

(10/22/90 9:00am)

Student leaders discussed the need for increased visibility and better accountability in student government at yesterday's constitutional convention meeting. American Association of University Students Director Thomas Goldstein, who moderated the convention, said the meeting was intended "to take inventory to see what is happening and what is not happening with student government on this campus." Goldstein added that proposing alternate government structures now would be premature. "You don't tear down your house if 90 percent of it is sound, you just solidify the foundation and fix what's wrong," he said. Only about 15 of the 33 convention delegates attended the convention, the third such meeting this semester. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris attributed the low turnout to confusion about the location of the meeting. During the meeting, delegates broke down into small groups and addressed the issues of direct representation, accountability, funding and social planning. Several groups proposed publishing the student government budget as well as student leaders' voting and attendance records. They also suggested distributing a pamphlet explaining student government structure to incoming freshmen. Other proposals included gathering more direct feedback from students before planning campus-wide social events and holding elections through PARIS. Several of the delegates said they were pleased that the groups were able to reach a consensus on defining the shortcomings of student government. At-large delegate Dave Anderman said after the meeting that because the delegates agreed on the underlying needs of student government, concrete solutions "will begin to flow, sort of like a domino effect." "Once you get a core group of ideas about how student government should work, the rest of the structure, smaller details and other specifics will fall into place," the College senior said.

UA wants Penn Watch to include area residents

(10/19/90 9:00am)

Penn Watch, which was implemented last year in a joint effort of the UA and the Interfraternity Council, organizes three patrol routes along campus perime - ters and in the surrounding area. UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said this week that she is planning to meet with local residents and Uni - versity minority leaders next week to ask them to get involved. Black Student League President Buzz Thomas said the concept for Penn Watch is "great" but the current structure has alienated local residents. "A lot of times, the people in these predominantly black neighborhoods feel pushed aside by the Univer - sity," Thomas said yesterday. "I think that working side by side with area residents will show that the Penn community and the West Philadelphia commun - ity are trying to make this a safer place and show that not everybody who lives in West Philadelphia is a threat." But Penn Watch founder Chris McLaughlin said that he has received no complaints since Penn Watch be - gan and that he does not think the program exacer - bates racial tensions. McLaughlin said that including non-Greek students in Penn Watch should be the first priority of the UA, but added that he supports expanding Penn Watch to local residents as well. Progressive Student Alliance member Scott Kur - ashige, who has in the past been a vocal critic of Penn Watch, said last night that because Penn Watch found - ers did not consult with area residents when the prog - ram was implemented, it is understandable that the program would cause racial tension. "It's not suprising that the residents I've talked to would feel threatened by white, male fraternity & brothers carrying steel flashlights," he said. Harris said that she expects area residents initially to be hesitant about getting involved in the program because they may feel tension between themselves and University students. But she said she hopes to change the residents' opinions once they understand that Penn Watch can make the area safer. Harris said she is uncertain if the routes will be extended further west if West Philadelphia residents participate. UA Security Committee Chairperson Andrew Tsai said last night that he is currently working with the IFC, the United Minorities Council, the Black Inter - Greek Council and other student groups to form a fourth route around the Hill House and Kings Court/ English House residences.

Trustees groups address five-year plan, gov't money

(10/12/90 9:00am)

CHRISTINE LUTTON and PETER SPIEGEL University Trustee committees met throughout the day yesterday, discussing subjects ranging from the recently released five-year plan to the effect of the federal budget crunch on the University. All of yesterday's committee discussions and endorsements will be reviewed at the full Trustee board meeting today at 2 p.m. in Houston Hall's Bodek Lounge. In the Academic Policy Committee meeting, Trustees discussed the nearly complete five-year plan -- released Tuesday -- with Provost Michael Aiken and other faculty and administrators. Committee Chairperson Donald Langenberg opened the meeting calling the plan "an incredibly important topic," and praised the report for keeping up with changes while maintaining the University's values. Aiken presented the report to the committee, extolling its visionary qualities and stressing that the next decade will be "a period of great challenge" for higher education. "I believe some of the great research universities won't be as great at the end of this decade," Aiken said, adding that he felt the plan will enable the University to surpass other colleges during the 1990s. After brief presentations from faculty and administrators -- all of whom supported the report and praised Aiken for the "grass roots" way the plan was put together -- the Trustees debated the plan, with most backing its content. The only dissent came from Trustee Bruce Grahm, who said the report does not address the University's role in helping Philadelphia resolve social and financial problems. But Aiken said the report was only an academic plan, adding that the administration has other reports dealing with the University's relation to the city. The Budget and Finance Committee reported that the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is continuing to turn a profit, after last year's recovery from an $8 million deficit in fiscal year 1989. The Trustees also heard from Federal Relations official Bob Canavan, who said that although specifics of the federal government's budget have yet to be determined, he anticipates a $2 billion cut in student loans. He also said HUP will be hurt by an expected Medicare funding cut of $50 billion -- less than the previously suggested $60 billion cut. Trustees also said they are concerned that some students do not apply to the University because they cannot afford tuition costs and do not know about available financial aid. "It's simply too expensive to get a college education," Trustee Saul Steinberg said at the meeting. The Trustee's Student Life Committee extensively discussed President Sheldon Hackney's decision to bring a greater diversity of residential students to Locust Walk without relocating fraternities. The Trustees noted that because of the new campus center may shift the focus of campus, any plans for the Walk "need to have a time-span that exceeds three years." Committee Chairperson Gloria Chisum called the Walk diversity issue "one of the most significant things going on here since the planning of Superblock." Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson told the committee that she will solicit ideas on changing the Walk's composition, adding that the Walk committee hopes to finish its work by the spring. Trustees also listened to a report by Greek student leaders about new programs implemented by fraternities and sororities in the past year. At the University Responsibility Committee meeting, Trustees reviewed the University's policy on investing in companies with holdings in South Africa. The University divested from such companies in 1987 after student protests, and said yesterday that they will continue the policy. The Trustees heard a report from William Moses of the Investor Responsibility Research Center. The center investigates political circumstances which surround financial decisions of major institutions. Moses, who recently returned from South Africa, said that despite reforms, it is difficult to see where changes are taking the country. Trustee Stephen Heyman, who chairs the committee, said that when the University divested in July 1987 the Trustees made provisions to review the policy periodically. "Back when we did this we redlined a country," Heyman said. "We owe it morally to ourselves and financially to the University to review it periodically." Heyman said he does not expect another review of the policy for at least a year. Helen Jung contributed to this article.

UA condemns rape pamphlet

(10/11/90 9:00am)

The Undergraduate Assembly unanimously passed a resolution last night demanding that the University recall an acquaintance rape brochure published and distributed this fall. The resolution states that the brochure, published by the Office of the Senior Vice President, uses "victim-blaming language" and does not discuss the issue of acquaintance rape directly. College senior Carla Hutton, who is not a UA member but drafted the resolution, condemned the pamphlet, because it addresses the friend of a rape survivor. Hutton said that this approach buys "into the myth that rape can't happen to them." Hutton, co-chairperson of the Women's Leadership Network, also disputed the use of the "key and keyhole" illustration which dominates the inside page of the pamphlet, saying that it has phallic implications. "As an education tool, it fails in every way, shape and form," Hutton said during the meeting. "Hopefully they will take into account the fact that when dealing with the issue that so much revolves around students, they need to take student input into account," Hutton said last night. Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson said yesterday at a University Council meeting that few students were involved in the the brochure's production because administrators worked on it over the summer to get it out to "vulnerable" first-year women as quickly as possible. She also said rape survivors helped produce the brochure. She added that the brochure is a first step and that the administration is planning to work with STAAR on revising it. In other business, the UA discussed changing the name of the Oriental Studies Department to Asian Studies. United Minority Council Vice Chairperson John Shu proposed the move, and also chastised the department for failing to employ any full-time Asian faculty, adding that a "qualified Asian perspective is needed." Shu called on the UA, the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education and the UMC to join together to address the issue. The UA also unanimously passed a resolution to form a joint committee between the UA and SCUE to study the need for increased classroom space at the University. The resolution says that the availability and condition of classrooms at the University is currently "deteriorating." The UA also discussed students' problems in receiving mail in the Quadrangle. UA member Alexander Lloyd said last night several UA members will go to President Sheldon Hackney's office this morning to bring the issue to his attention. "If delivering mail is essential to the federal government, than it should be essential to the University," College senior Lloyd said.

SPEC increases minority presence

(10/09/90 9:00am)

After an extensive and often acrimonious debate over the role of minorities in student government, the Social Planning and Events Committee voted last night to put extra emphasis on minority concerns. The SPEC steering committee voted to create a permanent non-voting position for a United Minorities Council representative to the SPEC executive committee. Members also voted to form a SPEC committee to address minority concerns because many campus-wide events in the past have not appealed to minorities. But participants bitterly debated how the minority committee would select its director, and towards the end of the meeting United Minorities Council Vice Chairperson John Shu stormed out of the meeting in anger. Before Shu left, SPEC members voted to allow the committee -- which will be open to all University community members -- to elect its own director. The director must be approved by the UMC special representative to SPEC. Shu, who said that he was not speaking on behalf of the UMC, argued that although the UMC representative can veto the choice of director, such a veto would only leave the minority concerns committee without leadership. He said that since the committee is open to anyone, individuals who do not represent the minority community could be the majority and could render the committee ineffective by choosing directors whom the UMC would not approve. Shu said that if there were a protracted fight between the committee and the UMC, minorities would lose their voice on SPEC. "It is evident that the majority of members in SPEC are either unaware or insensitive to minority issues, whether purposely or not is beyond me," Shu said. "I am only glad that minority concerns are not completely suppressed, God almighty." But most SPEC members said they were pleased that the resolution was accepted and expect that the minority committee will cooperate effectively with the existing SPEC committees. Spring Fling Tri-Chairperson Robert Cohen said last night that the SPEC vote "was a good compromise" and indicates that SPEC members are willing to plan events which will appeal to minorities. UMC Chairperson Nalini Samuel, who sponsored the measures approved last night, said the measure provides a check on SPEC. "I think that it is a positive step so that we don't have all white, male-dominated social events but ones that can reach the whole University," Samuel said.

NEWS ANALYSIS: Newfound unity marks convention

(10/08/90 9:00am)

Apparently putting aside personal agendas, student leaders at the second constitutional convention yesterday displayed a unity unprecedented since talk of restructuring student government began last year. While the delegates did not come up with specific proposals, they formulated guiding principles for the restructuring process. The tone of yesterday's meeting was a sharp contrast from the bickering over semantics which characterized the first convention meeting last month. Most of the delegates called yesterday's session effective, adding that the meeting gave them confidence that a revamped government structure will evolve from the semester-long series of conventions. During the meeting, the 33 delegates divided into smaller groups to brainstorm about the functions and structure of student government. All the groups said student government suffers from a lack of accountability and direct representation, and pulls little weight in administrative decisions. Thomas Goldstein, director of the American Association of University Students, replaced UA Chairperson Duchess Harris as moderator. Goldstein frequently intervened in the discussions, urging groups to remain focused on general debate over government structure and functions. Most of the four groups had similar suggestions, and each underlined the need for a more unified student government. They stressed that the new government must act as a "rallying voice" for students, mobilizing the campus and exerting power over administrative decisions. Delegates also suggested that an umbrella group be created to oversee all governmental groups and to alter the voting structure so that students could vote with a phone system similar to PARIS. In addition, the groups recommended increasing student government representatives' accountability by changing the voting blocks. They proposed that candidates represent either location, major or class. The delegates said that the meeting was effective because it gave a concrete framework for further discussions. College senior Jon Wachs, a former UA member and current convention delegate, said that he is preparing a specific model for an alternate structure and that yesterday's meeting gave him insight into what student leaders want. "We laid a conceptual groundwork for substantial proposals that have been written," Wachs said. "Today's meeting achieved a broad-based consensus of what student government should be The third convention meeting will be held later this month. UA chairperson Duchess Harris said last night she expects many concrete proposals to be debated at the meeting.

UA to hold 2nd convention

(10/05/90 9:00am)

Under the direction of a new moderator, the Undergraduate Assembly will continue to debate student government's functions and structure at its second constitutional convention Sunday. UA Chairperson Duchess Harris moderated last month's meeting, which some student leaders complained was unproductive because it was mired in details. Following last month's meeting, Harris selected Thomas Goldstein, director of the American Association of University Students, to moderate the convention. At Sunday's meeting, the 33 convention delegates will divide into brainstorming groups to propose possible alternatives to the current government system. In addition, the delegates will examine the relationship between student government and the University administration and to identify the actual power that student government wields. Goldstein, who is not a University student, said last night that the current undergraduate government structure needs improvement, but added that he is confident that the convention will result in positive changes. Goldstein said that the convention may encounter difficulties because of the number of student leaders involved, whom he said may all want to pursue their own agendas. "It is like a ship with 40 admirals, and that it is not conducive to good decision-making," he said. But he added that he believes the leaders will work together. Goldstein has been the moderator for several projects similar to the constitutional convention at other universities including Boston University and Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Freshmen get serious for UA elections

(10/04/90 9:00am)

Undergraduate Assembly member Dan Singer recalls standing in the freezing rain proclaiming "vote for Dan Singer or rot in the bowels of hell," to win votes for his freshman election campaign three years ago. And UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said that she jokingly offered $1 bribes to convince students to vote for her when she first ran in 1987. Freshmen candidates for UA spots have traditionally relied on colorful or risque campaign tactics. But as freshmen gear up for UA elections this Monday and Tuesday, they may or may not want to follow their leaders. Although tradition would indicate otherwise, Harris said this year's elections will be more serious than in past years and that to be elected, candidates need a strong agenda and platforms, not gimmicks. "This is not a poster campaign and we're not expecting people to hang bedsheets and be elected," she said. Several freshman candidates said last night that they plan to run business-like campaigns in which they will propose concrete ideas for student government. But other candidates said they will use well-known movie titles and catchy phrases to influence voters. One promised to represent the class "most triumphantly," drawing from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Nominations and Elections Chairperson Raffi Balian said last night that approximately 31 candidates will be on this year's ballot. Balian said he is "ecstatic" with the turnout. But the number of candidates this year is the lowest since 1986. Last year, 44 freshmen ran for the UA, in 1988 there were 39 candidates, and in 1987 there were 52. This year's election will be the first in which freshman candidates are placed on the ballot in random order. Before, candidates were placed on the ballot according to the order in which they turned in their applications. The first candidates listed on the ballot tended to garner more votes, and before the random ordering system, candidates raced against one another to get the top spots. Students will have the opportunity to question candidates at an open forum Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Houston Hall. Freshmen will be able to vote at dining halls and other locations across campus Monday and Tuesday. Wharton students will also be able to vote Monday on a Wharton representative to the UA to fill an empty slot.

UA proposal suggests separate activity fee

(09/28/90 9:00am)

The Undergraduate Assembly last night debated a proposal to increase student voice in determining the amount of money allocated to student activities funding. The preliminary proposal, which UA member Dan Singer will formally present to the UA at the next meeting, calls for students to pay an activities fee separately from the general fee. It also calls for increases in activities funding. The division would allow the five branches of student government to decide how to allocate the money to student groups and organizations. The administration currently decides where the money goes. Undergraduates each year pay approximately $11 million for the general fee, five percent of which is allocated for student activities. The general fee funds other services including academic support, recreation facilities and student health. Singer, a College senior, said the current fund allocation system is unfair because students have no input in the decision-making process and that not enough money is spent on student funds. In other business, the UA unanimously passed a resolution calling for an administration investigation of an incident during Peak Week ceremonies last spring in which students say the University's open expression policy was violated. Several University students were ejected from former President Ronald Reagan's speech for carrying placards denouncing him. Administrators have said the open expression guidelines were suspended during the speech. The UA also discussed a provost committee report calling for the University to split the role of the Judicial Inquiry Officer into a "settlement" JIO and a "prosecutor" JIO. The UA is planning to form a committee to examine the proposal. UA chairperson Duchess Harris announced last night that UA Wharton representative Olu Rodney was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident this summer and will not return to the UA this year. An election will be held on October 8 to fill the vacancy. UA Freshman elections are scheduled for October 8 and 9.

SPEC sets bylaws, skips debate on minority committee

(09/25/90 9:00am)

Following lengthy debate last night, the Social Planning and Events Committee voted to accept group's first bylaws, but did not discuss a proposal calling for a permanent SPEC committee to address minority concerns. The proposal, sponsored by United Minority Council Chairperson Nalini Samuel, calls for SPEC to establish a "minority concerns committee" which would serve as a liaison between SPEC and the minority community. The committee would also publicize SPEC events, vacancies and elections to minority students on campus. The report also stipulates that members of the minority committee attend SPEC meetings to "insure minority interests are well represented." Last night was the second meeting at which the vote on minority representation was postponed. Connaissance Chairperson Emily Nichols said last night that she is disappointed that SPEC did not reach a decision on the UMC proposal and that because of the delay, events are being planned without adequate minority representation. "I am frustrated by the fact that minority concerns have not yet been addressed," Nichols said. "I have been assured that the UMC proposal will be voted at the next SPEC meeting next month. But a lot of planning has already occurred for most of the major events during the first semester and these events have been planned without adequate regard for minority concerns." SPEC Chairperson Varsha Rao said last night that although the committee needs to address minority concerns, the bylaws were were the most pressing item on the agenda and that the extensive debate was needed. "I think that all the decisions we make are for the long-term goal of SPEC and we need to accurately and carefully form policy for the long-run," Rao said. "It was crucial to pass the bylaws in order to operate SPEC on a day-to-day basis, but I would like to see the minority issue resolved as soon as possible." Spring Fling Committee Chairperson Todd Fructerman said last night that his committee has suspended some Fling planning until the UMC proposal is discussed so that events can be scheduled that appeal to the entire campus community. "Tabling the UMC proposal has not affected the underlying planning of Spring Fling," Fructerman said. "But we are waiting for SPEC, as an organization, to decide how it will handle the minority issue before we attempt to make any further plans." In other business, the SPEC Concerts Committee reported that they have scheduled saxophone player Branford Marsalis to perform during the Jazz Festival in early November. Later that month, the Waterboys are scheduled to perform in Irvine Auditorium. The Cafe Committee announced that Handel's Mug will start its second year in the Houston Hall Bowl Room Wednesday and will feature a coffeehouse atmosphere and live music.

UA to revive debate over splitting roles of the JIO

(09/20/90 9:00am)

Undergraduate Assembly leaders said they will make discussion of splitting the role of the judicial inquiry officer a top agenda item this semester. UA Vice Chairperson Mike Feinberg said earlier this week that he and other UA leaders want the administration to divide the JIO position into two separate roles, a "settlement" JIO and a "prosecutor" JIO. The division was advocated last semester by student members of a provost committee reviewing the judicial system. The committee as a whole voted to reject a proposal to overhaul the JIO position. 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 a judge in her current role. UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said her group's desire to change the JIO position is not a personal attack on Goodman. According to the proposal rejected by the provost committee, a "settlement" JIO would investigate and propose sanctions for violations that are resolved without going to a panel hearing. A "prosecutor" JIO would investigate and prosecute cases that are not resolved by the settlement JIO. Feinberg said that conflicts in the current JIO role have been the cause of many controversies in recent years. "It seems that there have been cases in the past where students have walked out of the JIO office complaining not so much about the decision as the system," Feinberg said. "Students should at least have faith in the system, and the UA just wants to ensure the judicial system is the most effective and fair possible." Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson, who oversees the Office of the JIO, said last night that she would "seriously consider" any suggestions the UA proposed, but declined to make any further comments. Goodman said yesterday her role is complicated and that it often involves "a lot of judgment," but added that splitting the role would be "very cumbersome." The JIO said that if her position were divided, each incident would have to be investigated twice if it could not be resolved. "I couldn't imagine the prosecutor depending on the settlement JIO investigation," Goodman said. "I could never take a case without doing my own investigation so I can't envision how the bifurcation [splitting] of the JIO could work." Judicial Charter Review Committee Chairperson Stephen Burbank said he and the majority of committee members do not think the position should be restructured because it would be inefficient for both the settlement JIO and prosecutor JIO to conduct their own investigations. Burbank also said that having two separate positions could lead students "not to take the settlement process seriously." "This could lead to a [number] greater of cases going to the prosecutor JIO and a panel hearing," the Law professor said. "A panel would probably not have the creativity or flexibility of remedies that the JIO does." College Senior John Hughes, who served on the provost's committee last year, said he thinks the JIO's position should be divided because the current situation is confusing. He said Goodman acts as both a "support system" during the settlement stage and the prosecutor during the panel hearings. "The settlement JIO would be the sympathetic ear that students need, the good cop," Hughes said. "And the prosecuting JIO would be in the position of taking the case to a hearing, the bad cop." Faculty Senate Chairperson-elect Louise Shoemaker, who also served on the provost's committee, said last night that she supports dividing the JIO position despite potential problems. "I think that having two persons may hopefully lessen the conflict of interest and bring objectivity into the process," Shoemaker said. "It will probably add time and expense to the process, but if it helps in the long run, it is probably worth it."

SAC heads say they will fight for more funds

(09/18/90 9:00am)

Angry that funding for the Student Activities Council has not increased relative to inflation and tuition hikes, SAC leaders said they are preparing to fight the administration for more money. SAC Chairperson Sue Moss said yesterday that while tuition increased over 7.2 percent last year, the SAC working budget rose by one percent, which she said could leave many student clubs and organizations underfunded. Moss said SAC, an umbrella organization which allocates money to over 160 student groups, needs substantial increases in funding to meet rising costs in advertising, printing and facilities. She added that SAC is already "slowing down" its funding and clubs are "starting to feel the pinch." "Because funding is not there, student life is being sacrificed," Moss said yesterday. "Activities must be adequately funded to account for increasing cost everywhere." But Student Life Director Francine Walker said last night that total student government funds have kept pace with increases in the general fee, adding that some funds have shifted from SAC to the newly-formed Student Planning and Events Committee. Walker said that the funding shift was approved by student government members, including SAC members. Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson said last night that because of the formation of SPEC, SAC will not receive any more funds. Moss said that SPEC and SAC have a separate purpose, adding that the money allotted to SPEC should not be subtracted from the SAC budget. "Regardless of how much money goes to SPEC, the clubs and organizations funded by SAC have certain needs and those needs have to be adequately funded," Moss said. "Just because SPEC exists does not mean that the funding for those clubs should be affected." VPUL Morrisson said the administration is committed to increasing student activity funding but that the increases must keep pace with hikes in the general fee. "There are limitations in terms of fee increases," Morrisson said. "There is no other money to reallocate." According to Assistant Student Life Director Albert Moore, SAC's working budget last year was $543,000. He said this academic year's budget is $548,000. Moss said she is drafting a proposal critizing the administration's funding policies which she will present to the entire SAC body in October. The SAC chairperson added that if SAC members back her proposal, SAC will implement extensive lobbying efforts to receive more money from the administration. SAC Vice Chairperson Greg Shufro, a College senior, said the administration failed to provide sufficient funds for extracurricular activities and does not listen to student requests for more money. "It seems to me, at least in my experience and many student's experiences, students activities on campus are an extremely valuable part of the college education and it seems narrow-minded of the administration to neglect such a vital part of our education," he said. "It is frustrating to find ourselves without a true voice within the administration to increase funding when we know how much worthwhile student activities are proposed to SAC."

Delegates debate role, purpose of student gov't

(09/17/90 9:00am)

Attempting to set the agenda for restructuring student government at yesterday's constitutional convention, delegates instead debated semantics and sought to answer larger questions about the purpose of student government on campus. The two-and-a-half-hour long meeting, the first of six convention sessions, was sidetracked early on when Wharton junior William "Tex" Roper, a former Undergraduate Assembly member, questioned the convention's intentions. Roper said the convention's 24 delegates need to determine student government's function and the amount of influence it has over the administration before an effective structure can be established. "Until we know what powers we have, what powers are shared with the administration and what powers we should have, the carving up of these powers becomes academic," Roper said. Roper proposed that convention delegates draft an "inventory list" of student committees and the power they delegate before the group makes any decisions. Roper's proposal prompted a slew of other proposals and amendments to the proposals. Delegates questioned the convention's purpose and student government's influence over the administration. After extensive debate, the group resolved to prepare a list of the functions of the 40 standing committees appointed by the Nominations and Elections Committee. Additionally, Connaissance Chairperson Emily Nichols agreed to prepare a report outlining the powers delegated to undergraduates in the University Trustee bylaws. College senior Jon Wachs, one of the main organizers of the convention, said that he was disappointed that the meeting became "bogged down in procedural matters," but added that he hopes delegates will work together more effective at the next meeting October 7. "Hopefully, our brainstorming session at the next meeting will generate its own momentum and things will start falling into place once we have preliminary proposals to address," Wachs said. Delegates at the next meeting are expected to approve nine at-large members to be selected by the Nominations and Elections Committee. The delegates will divide into smaller "brainstorming" groups which will propose alternatives to the current government structure. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris said last night that the fact that she had to take over as moderator for Nominations and Elections Committee Chairperson Raffi Balian added to the convention's confusion. "The meeting wasn't everything that I expected because at the last minute I was forced to moderate," Harris said last night. "Therefore, I wasn't able to clarify some of the delegates' concerns because I was trying to be inpartial." Harris said that she expects a greater number of concerned, non-voting students to attend the October 7 meeting. Less than 10 non-voting students came to the meeting. Student Activities Council Chairperson Sue Moss said after the meeting that delegates will need to understand the "domain" and power of every student committee before an effective structure can be established. "I came here to work on structure, but the problem is that power and structure are inseparable," Moss said. "The most important thing that we need to come out of this convention with is unity. Every aspect of student government is connected and when leaders don't take advantage of this connection, students lose their voice."

Constitutional convention to examine student gov't

(09/14/90 9:00am)

After a long summer of planning, representatives from student government and various special interest groups will descend on Houston Hall Sunday to evaluate student government structure at the University. According to a report to be given to the 24 delegates at Sunday's preliminary meeting, the constitutional convention will attempt to isolate "trouble spots" in student government. The participants will examine alternative government structures and the possibility of consolidating student government. The meeting will be the first of six over the next three months. College Senior John Wachs, co-author of the report to delegates, said that he first promoted constitutional reform two years ago, but the past two UA administrators rejected the idea. Wachs said he approached current UA chairperson Duchess Harris last semester, adding that she "enthusiastically received" the notion of constitutional reforms. Wachs said he hopes the convention will bring about a government structure that better addresses student concerns. The report says the current student government structure is not the result of a systematic plan, but rather of an evolution of "complex and illogical processes." It says the power division between the five main government groups the Undergraduate Assembly, the Student Activities Council, the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, the Nominations and Elections Committee and the Social Planning and Events Committee must be reconsidered because the division dilutes the groups' effectiveness. The report also says the lack of accountability in the current student government structure and communication problems between the separate branches must be addressed. Nine more delegates, to be selected by the Nominations and Elections Committee, will join Sunday's 24 representatives by the next meeting. The delegates will meet every other Sunday over the next three months. According to Wachs, the delegates will set the agenda and establish rules of order during this Sunday's meeting. UA Chairperson Harris said last night that she has no specific agenda for the convention. "I would like to see students come together and voice their opinions to formulate a structure for a student government that will suit their own needs," Harris said. "I'm hoping that the delegates will be open-minded enough to unite and to keep in mind what's best for the campus and not just for their constituency." SCUE Treasurer David Kaufman, a Wharton junior, said last night that he hopes any new structure will still allow SCUE to remain "loosely associated" with the other student government groups. "We don't see ourselves as being directly under the UA," Kaufman said. "We hope to continue a good working relation with the UA and the other parts of government, but we are expecting to keep our autonomy because that has been very successful in the past." Several other student government leaders, including United Minorities Council Chairperson Nalini Samuel and Interfraternity Council President Bret Kinsella, declined to comment on the meeting last night.

Alumni reject exclusive club

(09/14/90 9:00am)

Baltimore Alumni Chapter officials are searching for a site for their February wine-tasting after deciding not to use the city's L'Hirondelle Country Club because of the club's restrictive membership policy. The club allegedly excludes blacks and Jews. Baltimore chapter officials say they were not aware of any function being planned at the club, but UA member Dan Singer said a member of the chapter's executive board told him that the board was debating using the facility. The University Alumni Association asked the chapter to choose an alternate location for the spring event. Alumni Relations Director Doris Cochran-Fikes said that she was unaware of the planned event until President Sheldon Hackney's office contacted her office. Cochran-Fikes said that she called the Baltimore club president to advise the chapter not to use L'Hirondelle. Fikes said that her office did not contact country club officials and decided not to investigate the matter. Baltimore Alumni Club President Anne Marie Sieber said last night that she was unaware of any event planned at the club, adding that nothing is being planned that would violate University policy. The Alumni Assocation Handbook and University Harrassment Policy prohibit alumni-sponsored events to be held in an "intimidating environment." College senior Singer, who sponsored a UA proposal condemning the Baltimore Alumni Association, said that he was told by a member of the Alumni Executive Board that chapter members this summer hotly debated whether to use the club. "The Baltimore Executive Board was perfectly aware that the club discriminated against minorities in its membership policy and until the Office of Alummi Relations intervened, it was still a possible site for their February wine-tasting," Singer said. Singer said that the Executive Board member told him that several alumni chapters had held events in exclusive clubs with discriminatory policies in the past. But he said that the member said that alumni chapters were becoming more sensitive to the issue and that these clubs are not likely to be used in the future. Cochran-Fikes said that the University attempts to plan events where all alumni are welcome. "We ask that every site where events are held follow University affirmative action guidelines [which do not allow discrimination] against religion, race, gender or handicap," Cochran Fikes said last night. Minority members would have been allowed to attend the event at L'Hirondelle, Singer said.

Hot debate marks first UA meeting

(09/13/90 9:00am)

Prompted by charges that the University suspended Open Expression guidelines during Ronald Reagan's Peak Week speech, the Undergraduate Assembly last night debated demanding guarantees that the guidelines will never again be suspended. The resolution, which was tabled until the next meeting, stemmed from a May 17 incident in which two University students alledgedly scuffled with non-University security guards at former President Reagan's speech. The students were charged with resisting arrest. One still faces charges. Three other students were evicted from the speech for carrying anti-Reagan placards. College senior Sloan Wiesen, who submitted the resolution, said that Open Expression guidelines were suspended immediately prior to Reagan's speech. He said that Sol Goodgal, the acting chairperson of the Open Expression Committee, suspended the guidelines without consulting other members of the committee. Wiesen was one of the three students who carried placards. The UA resolution calls for the University to adopt a policy mandating that any guest speaker and accompanying security forces must abide by University Open Expression guidelines. But in an intense and sometimes confused debate, several UA members rejected the idea that Open Expression should never be suspended. Several amendments were added to the resolution. Wiesen said that he was "upset" with the amendments, since they diluted the intent of his proposal. "The purpose is to ensure that everyone's rights are protected and these rights cannot be suspended," he said. In other business, the UA unanimously passed a resolution "deploring" the actions of a Baltimore Alumni Association which had intended to hold an alumni function at a Baltimore county country club that is said to discriminate against blacks and jews. The event was canceled after the Alumni Relations Office intervened. Both the Alumni Association handbook and the University's Harassment Policy prohibit alumni-sponsored events to be held in an "intimidating environment." College senior Dan Singer, who sponsored the proposal, said that he was not surprised the resolution passed without debate. "I wouldn't expect anyone on UA or at the University to be in favor of racial or religious discrimination," said Singer, a Baltimore resident. And during introductory remarks at the meeting, UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said that one issue at the "top of the UA agenda" is to split the position of Judicial Inquiry Officer. "It is not a personal attack on Constance Goodman," Harris said.