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SPEC debate centers on role of minorities in event planning

(09/11/90 9:00am)

The Social Planning and Events Committee last night debated a proposal which members hope would increase both minority planning and attendance at events - including Spring Fling - sponsored by the group. The heated discussion centered around a proposal which recommended forming a committee of representatives from various minority groups who would attend all SPEC meetings and serve as liaisons between SPEC and the groups they represent. The representatives would report to the UMC ex-officio member on the SPEC steering committee. But SPEC committee chairpeople were divided on what role the minority representatives should have on SPEC committees. Connaissance Chairperson Emily Nichols, who is not a member of SPEC, said that minority representatives should have the same say in committee decisions as the chairpeople. "Unless the representative has some power, it will be just lip service," Nichols said. "Meeting minority needs has to be built into the system. It can't depend upon the people working within the system." But Spring Fling Chairperson Robert Cohen vehemently disagreed, saying that the minority representative should be considered a "consultant." Cohen insisted that affirmative action was not necessary to ensure that SPEC activities would appeal to the entire community. "The proposals that were prescribed tonight were unsatisfactory and will ultimately be unsuccessful," Cohen said. Both sides agreed that a minority representative in some capacity is needed to make sure that SPEC events will appeal to minority undergraduates. SPEC Chairperson Varsha Rao said that the group is trying to plan events that will appeal especially to minorities and students whose social options are limited because they are not yet 21. SPEC members did not vote last night.

Rosengarten, Wharton to be open all night

(09/11/90 9:00am)

Students wanting an excuse to postpone studying will be dealt a serious blow today when administrators announce that Steinberg-Dietrich Hall and the Rosengarten Reserve Room will remain open for all-night study this year. Over the summer of 1989, Wharton officials closed Steinberg-Dietrich to 24-hour access, leaving students without a round-the-clock place to study. After protests which turned normally conservative students into activists during the opening month of school last year, the administration agreed to keep the facility open all night. Administrators and students worked together last year and over the summer to come up with alternative 24-hour study areas. Student leaders said the agreement reached exceeded their original expectations. According to Undergraduate Assembly Vice Chairperson Mike Feinberg, a compromise was reached early this summer under which Steinberg-Dietrich would have closed at 2:00 a.m. and only Rosengarten would have remained open all night. But Feinberg said the four undergraduate deans decided over the summer to contribute money to insure that Wharton would stay open around the clock as well. "They [the undergraduate deans] went beyond the call of duty," Feinberg said. "Our compromise would have been adequate for student needs, but now that the undergraduate deans have given the financial resources to keep Steinberg-Dietrich open all night, students have more options than ever for late night study." But Feinberg said the arrangement is "not set in stone" and one of the facilities could be closed if students do not use it. Rosengarten will implement the new hours September 24th. In addition to its extended schedule, Rosengarten will also house a new computer facility equiped with 20 Apple Macintosh computers and 10 IBM personal computers. Another 24-hour computer facility has been added to High Rise South. Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson said last night that the decision allowing Steinberg-Dietrich to stay open all the time ultimately rested with Wharton Dean Thomas Gerrity. She said the decision was made to meet the needs of the entire University community. The vice provost added that a UA report completed last spring prompted the opening of Rosengarten for all-night study and the addition of the computer labs. Library Associate Director Patricia Renfro said that library officials and the Provost's Office began preliminary discussions about keeping Rosengarten open all night during last year's student protests. Renfro said she expects heavy use of the new computer lab all semester. The facilities will cost approximately $178,000.

SPEC to discuss minority involvement

(09/10/90 9:00am)

Discussing a proposal submitted last year by the United Minorities Council, the Social Planning and Events Committee will meet tonight to debate the role of minority involvement in planning this year's social events. The UMC proposed last year that a UMC representative be given permanent voting position on the SPEC executive board. During its first two semesters of operation last year, SPEC's executive committee included non-voting, ex-officio members of the UMC, Student Activities Council and the Nominations and Elections Committee. But these positions on the executive committee will be abolished at the end of the semester. Tonight's meeting between SPEC's 35-member steering committee and the group's executive board will also include debate over whether to establish permanent positions for SAC and the NEC on the committee. UMC Chairperson Nalini Samuel said last night that the UMC wants a permanent place on SPEC as a "check" to protect minority concerns because members of the social planning committee are not elected. "The sole purpose of the UMC member would be to make sure that SPEC would have events that would encompass the whole University," Samuel said. SPEC chairperson Varsha Rao said that tonight's meeting will focus on how to increase minority involvement in planning events and increasing minority attendance at University-wide functions. Rao said that the group will discuss several options including intensifying minority recruitment for SPEC. Rao said she hopes to attract between 500 and 1000 freshman to work for SPEC this year. She said she wants the organization to plan events that will attract the entire undergraduate community. Tonight's meeting's agenda also allots time for budget discussion and debate about the group's by-laws.

Wharton Vice Dean Oliver leaves school

(09/06/90 9:00am)

Wharton Undergraduate Vice Dean Marion Oliver, one of the top academic officials in the school, resigned this summer to pursue a career in the private sector with the Mobil Oil Company. Associate Legal Studies and Management Professor Janice Bellace replaced Oliver September 1. Oliver's resignation came just after Wharton Dean Russell Palmer's departure June 30. Several officials said the two resignations were unrelated. "It was truly coincidental," said Associate Dean for External Affairs Virginia Clark. Assistant to the President William Epstein said that Oliver's departure apparently was also unrelated to the arrival of new Wharton Dean Thomas Gerrity. "Oliver's departure was something he had intended to do for a while and when the opportunity presented itself, he took it," Epstein said. "I don't think it had anything to do with the new dean." Bellace declined to comment on her appointment last night. Gerrity was unavailable for comment yesterday. Despite Oliver and Palmer's recent resignations, Assistant Management Professor Diana Day said that she did not expect any gap in administrative leadership in the school, noting that Undergraduate Deputy Dean Edward Bowman will provide continuity. Associate Legal Studies Professor Arnold Rosoff said last night that he cannot speculate on what policies Bellace will implement, but added that the new vice dean has been associated with the University for many years and that he does not expect any "sharp corners to be turned." He also said that because Bellace is a University graduate, he expects her "to have a real feel for the students." "From what I've heard, one of her big plusses when they were looking for a new vice dean is that she would be sympathetic to student concerns," Rosoff said. Rosoff said that he was not surprised by Oliver's resignation because "it is not uncommon when a new dean is appointed for people close to the old dean to submit resignations which gives the new dean the opportunity to appoint his own people." Statistics Professor John De Cani said Oliver was a "super teacher and a bright guy," adding that "he deserves better than vice dean of the Wharton School."

Fraternities protest Hackney stance

(04/18/90 9:00am)

Over 400 fraternity members marched in silent protest to President Sheldon Hackney's house last night to present demands regarding the president's proposal to increase the diversity of students living on Locust Walk. Interfraternity Council President Bret Kinsella read a resolution calling for Hackney to include fraternity members on the committee which will formulate proposals for diversifying Locust Walk. The resolution also called on Hackney to prevent any fraternities from being relocated without "due process" in the University judicial system. Hackney announced his intensions to increase the representation of women and minority students on Locust Walk at a University Council meeting last week. In a separate statement last night, the IFC criticized the administration for what it said is the University's lack of recognition of fraternity contributions. The statement said that the administration has not fulfilled its "self-assumed obligation to advocate the Greek system." In the 40-minute protest, the fraternity members gathered on College Green at 10 p.m. and walked down Locust Walk to Hackney's residence in the 3800 block of Walnut, where they gathered for more than 10 minutes. Hackney came outside to listen to the group's demands, and spoke with several IFC leaders before re-entering his house. According to Kinsella, the IFC unanimously decided to hold the protest at a meeting yesterday evening. IFC Vice President David Hecht called the rally "the greatest thing we've done in the Greek system in 10 years." Hackney said last night that the his proposal to diversify the Walk is "not an attack on fraternities or the fraternity system, but a statement of a goal for diversity on the Walk." The president added that fraternities would be represented on the committee to diversify the Walk, which he said will be appointed in the "next couple of weeks." The committee will be headed by Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson and Mechanical Engineering Chairperson David Pope. According to Hecht, the number of fraternity members who participated in the protest demonstrates the IFC's influence and unity. Kinsella said that he was pleased with Hackney's response to the fraternities' demands, adding that the he expects the administration to continue to be receptive to fraternity input. "We feel that we are in a partnership with the University and I think that the University, with a little encouragement, will cooperate with us in the future," Kinsella said. "We are seeking a commitment from the president and we would like his support in recognizing the progress the fraternity system has made." Hackney said that he was impressed with the manner in which the protesters presented their demands, adding that "I appreciated the decorum of the group."

With new image, frat emphasizes diversity, service

(04/18/90 9:00am)

After a six-year hiatus, the Delta Upsilon fraternity has returned to the University campus with what members called a "new commitment" to the fraternity's ideals and an emphasis on diversity. The fraternity, which currently has 46 brothers, received its charter from the national organization earlier this month. The recognition comes 18 months after four students appoached the University with the idea of adding another fraternity to campus. A DU chapter existed on campus from 1888 until 1971, when it folded from what alumni called "lack of interest in the fraternity system at that time." In 1980, the fraternity was re-recognized by the University and moved back onto campus. But four years later the fraternity's charter was revoked by its national office for what current DU president Brian Riley called "extensive drug use." "The problem was that the old chapter lost all of the ideals that DU ever stood for," Riley said. "The difference between them and us is that they used drugs and we don't." College junior Bob Hall, one of the founders of the new chapter, said that initially the University administration was wary of encouraging a new fraternity. But he added that after negotiations with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and the DU national office, the administration "supported us 100 percent." Hall said that his fraternity is different from others on campus because of what he called its "real" commitment to philanthropy and diversity. "We wanted a fraternity that is truly diverse and payed more than just lip service to making its members better," Hall said. "We did this through actively recruiting diverse members and by emphasizing philanthropy and membership education." According to Riley, a College junior, DU was founded on "non-discriminatory, non-secretive ideals." He said that DU was the first fraternity in the nation not to discriminate with respect to race, religion or economic backround, and added that it is the only fraternity that has open meetings and no secret rituals. "We openly put ourselves under the scrutiny of others and we are not afraid to have people come and observe what we are doing," Riley said. "Our diversity allows brothers to learn about different perspectives, backgrounds and ways of thinking, and this is what separates us from a lot of other fraternities." The current chapter was recognized as a colony in March 1989. According to Wharton sophomore Walter Littlejohn, a DU member, the fraternity then had to organize an "infrastructure" including an internal judicial system. Littlejohn added that within a year, the fraternity had met all the requirements set by the University and the national organization and had received its charter. The fraternity recently signed a five-year lease for a house at 4035 Walnut Street, which Littlejohn said will house approximately 30 brothers.

Wharton to enact foreign language requirement in '91

(04/17/90 9:00am)

Wharton faculty members overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes in the school's undergraduate curriculum yesterday, including a foreign language requirement, which are designed to integrate business and humanities education. The vote followed an hour-long debate over implementing a language requirement and limiting the number of courses students can take in any one Wharton department. Faculty also voted to create a distributional requirements system similar to the School of Arts and Sciences General Requirement, and to require students to take four courses in a new sector which combines business and social issues. Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Chairperson Arnold Rosoff said yesterday that faculty members insisted that the curriculum changes include the foreign language requirement although that proposal was not included in the committee's original report. The faculty called on curriculum committee members to reconvene in the fall to determine the specifics of the requirement. The proposals will be implemented in the fall of 1991 and will not affect current students. According to Rosoff, the faculty voted to allow students to take up to eight courses in any one department, going against another committee recommendation that would have prohibited students from taking more than six courses. The associate legal studies professor said that by increasing the limit, faculty members were "waiving the banner of student freedom of choice." "The committee's decision to propose a six-course limit was an attempt to force diversity," Rosoff said. "We thought that students would be too narrow if they could take eight courses in one department." The faculty approved most other changes proposed by the committee, which began work in the fall of 1988. The new curriculum will require students to take four classes in a newly created course area focusing on "The Environment of Business." The courses in the new area combine business topics and current societal issues and will be added to Wharton's current business and general studies requirements. The proposal for creating the new business environment area divides the category into three sectors -- the societal environment, the global environment and the organizational environment. Wharton students would take two out of three courses offered in the societal environment sector, one course in the global environment sector and one course in the organizational environmental sector. They also approved the proposal for the distributional system, which will require students to take two courses in a Society sector, two courses in a History and Tradition area, two courses in an Arts and Letters sector, and one course each in the Physical World, the Living World, and the Formal Reasoning and Logic sectors. Further curricular changes will include reducing the number of required business courses from nine to six. Rosoff said that despite calls from some faculty members to increase the number of courses needed for graduation, the requirement will remain at 36. Rosoff said that the changes will broaden undergraduate education and will not allow students to concentrate solely on business courses. "The curriculum was designed in an attempt to recognize that the Wharton undergraduate program is a pre-professional program," Rosoff said. "What we're aiming for is to give students a good, solid, general education with an emphasis on business -- not a business education. Within the constraints of available resources, the proposal does that." Associate Management Professor Charles Perry last night lauded the committee's attempt to broaden and internationalize the curriculum, but added that he has mixed feelings about the foreign language requirement. "The requirement will give an advantage to students who have had some exposure to foreign language in high schools, [but] the requirement may limit some potentially bright applicants," Perry said.