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SCUE program aims to enhance education

(10/30/95 10:00am)

and Tammy Polonsky In order to help students enhance their undergraduate experience, the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education will kick off "Design Your Own Education Week" today. Coinciding with advanced registration, the program will designate one day each for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. "The week is designed as an opportunity for students to learn about their academic options and how to consolidate all of these options into a coherent academic experience," said SCUE Chair Satya Patel, a College and Wharton senior. For freshmen, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Kent Peterman will conduct a workshop "Thinking Through the General Requirement" today from 1:30 p.m. until 2 p.m. and from 2 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. in McClelland Hall. Throughout the day, SCUE will provide free food and music in the Quadrangle. Students can also explore the University's Internet resources on computers stationed in McClelland Hall. In order to assist sophomores in making informed decisions about their education, each department will have a representative stationed on Locust Walk for the annual Majors Fair tomorrow. The Office of International Programs will have a booth on College Green from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. to provide information about studying abroad, and Career Planning and Placement Services staff members will be available to discuss their services and give students resume writing tips. For juniors, several organizations and offices will station representatives on Locust Walk from noon until 4 p.m. Wednesday. Students can discuss graduate school exams with Stanley Kaplan employees, spring break ideas with travel agencies and summer job opportunities with CPPS staff members. SCUE will also sponsor a workshop about summer employment from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. in Houston Hall's Smith-Penniman room. Seniors interested in post-graduate recruiting, alumni clubs and travelling after graduation can peruse the many tables stationed on Locust Walk from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Representatives from the Senior Class Boards and the College of Arts and Sciences will also be on hand to answer questions about graduation festivities. Students will also have the chance to describe their vision of what they think an education at the University should mean. SCUE will staff tents on College Green during the week in which students can draw their ideal dorm or create their own class. Patel said SCUE might use the suggestions for future projects. English Professor Robert Lucid, who heads the 21st Century Project, said the programs should help students enrich their undergraduate experience. "This week should help students get off the obvious roads and into some of the byroads and less known available options," Lucid said.


UA resignation sparks controversy

(10/27/95 9:00am)

About a month ago, College senior Shannon Richardson decided she no longer wanted to be a member of the Undergraduate Assembly. And although she has not attended a UA meeting in weeks, her name remains on the roll call. Several sources said she has not been officially removed from the roll call because members of the UA Steering Committee do not want her replacement, College sophomore Josh Rockoff, to join the body. When Richardson realized she no longer wanted to be a UA representative, she brought up the issue with UA Chairperson and College senior Lance Rogers. The two came to an agreement, according to UA Vice Chairperson and Wharton senior Gil Beverly. "I told them both that if they had some sort of arrangement or deal that I didn't want to know about it," he said. Beverly said there is a history of animosity between several members of the UA and Rockoff, who came in behind Richardson in last year's election. "People were hesitant about letting Josh join the UA," College senior and former UA member Eric Tienou said. Rockoff said last night that he has not been informed of the situation, adding that he would be very interested in being a UA member. He said that he has "very cordial" relationships with several members of the UA, and that he thinks the UA would be happy to receive him. "I think my attitude will help get the UA on a good footing and help them in the future," Rockoff said. Tienou said he spoke with Richardson a few weeks ago, at which time she said that she did not have time for the UA in her schedule. "She voiced an opinion that she was thinking about resigning," he said. "Later on I heard that various people on Steering were not willing to accept her resignation for various reasons." Richardson said last night that she assumed she was removed from the UA rolls. "I thought that if I wasn't going to the meetings that I wasn't on the UA anymore," Richardson said. She said she assumed she had been replaced. Rogers refused to comment on the issue.


Audit of IAA reveals $1,500 in fund misuse

(10/27/95 9:00am)

Money used for taxi rides, hotel stays and car rentals The International Affairs Association spent $1,500 inappropriately during the 1994-95 school year, the Undergraduate Assembly Budget Committee has concluded. Audit findings obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian reveal that the IAA used money from the Student Activities Council for expenses such as taxi rides, extra hotel rooms and car rentals. Members of the IAA did not respond to multiple calls placed to their homes last night. The UA Budget Committee has isolated seven instances of IAA fund misuse over the last fiscal year, according to UA Treasurer and College sophomore Steve Schorr. In the most blatant example of inappropriate spending, the Budget Committee is charging that the IAA rented more hotel rooms than necessary on several occasions when members travelled to attend conferences. In some cases, the rooms were in luxurious hotels. The committee also charges that the group ran up $300 in rental car and taxi bills at their conference in the midwest in April. According to Schorr, SAC only pays for transportation related to conferences. He said the Budget Committee discovered that there was no need for the IAA to spend money on transportation because the conference took place in the hotel which was located in the airport. Financial Administrator of Student Activities Lynn Moller said SAC has not yet paid for these expenses. SAC Finance is in the process of reviewing the budget of all SAC financed organizations -- as they do every fall. Part of this review includes investigating expenses that are not covered by SAC, Moller said. The misused expenditures will be subtracted from the group's profits. The IAA has an estimated $80,000 profit. Similar charges allege that the IAA used $70 for taxis at its Georgetown University conference last October, of which they are expecting SAC to cover half. That conference was also held in the hotel in which IAA members were staying. The UA Budget Committee also found that the IAA used more than $100 allocated for office supplies toward their phone bill instead. Schorr, who is a DP sports writer, said SAC expects groups to use the money for the purpose for which it is allocated. As a result of the audit findings, UA Chairperson and College senior Lance Rogers said he hopes IAA members reconsider who their leaders are. "If they stole $1,500 in one year, how much have they stolen in total?" he asked. "Students have a right to know about this -- it's their money." Rogers added that the audit result proves that the IAA had a lot to hide. IAA leaders claimed the UA had ulterior motives in its decision to audit the group. The two organizations have debated the constitutionality of the audit since the UA Budget Committee announced that it would investigate the IAA's budget earlier this month. According to the UA constitution, the committee is entitled to audit its constituent parts. And last night, the SAC Steering Committee said in a statement that the UA broke its promise to the committee and the IAA by releasing the audit to the public. "This breach of this agreement violates the integrity of the UA audit as well as the agreement made by Lance Rogers to both SAC Steering and the IAA board," members said in a statement. The results will now be presented to SAC Finance, which will decide what action to take, if any. Possible consequences for wrongdoing range from freezing funds to revoking recognition.


NEWS ANALYSIS: IAA audit spurs heated debate between groups

(10/24/95 9:00am)

The Undergraduate Assembly Budget Committee's audit of the International Affairs Association has been plagued by personal attacks and group mudslinging. Since the audit's announcement earlier this month, there have been countless meetings between members of the IAA, the UA Budget Committee and Student Activities Council. Members of the IAA and the UA have turned to various media -- including UTV13, the "upenn.talk" newsgroup and The Daily Pennsylvanian -- to get their messages across. And even though the audit was the hot topic of discussion at Sunday night's UA meeting, it seems as if the issue has taken a back seat to the controversy. After extensive debate at the meeting, the body voted to support the audit by a large margin. The problem peaked two weeks ago when IAA member and College senior Steven Ebert said he had overheard UA Chairperson and College senior Lance Rogers making an anti-Semitic remark about him. He said he also overheard UA Treasurer and College sophomore Steve Schorr say the purpose of the audit was to "screw over the IAA." At that point, IAA President and College senior Brendan Cahill approached SAC, requesting that the committee intervene and take over the auditing process. SAC denied this request, but the groups did arrange for SAC Finance IAA Liaison Lija Bentley, a College senior, to conduct her own audit of the group, in addition to the UA's audit. Cahill, along with IAA Vice President and Treasurer Yousef Master, an Engineering junior, were present at Sunday's UA meeting, appealing to the body to overrule Rogers's interpretation that the audit was constitutional under the UA's guidelines. The issue of constitutionality was also raised last Thursday, when Schorr debated IAA member and College senior Josh Wolson on UTV13's "Frontline." Both groups point to Article V, Section E, number 1 of the UA constitution, which states that the UA Budget Committee has the right to audit the records of the UA and all of the constituent parts. UA members interpret this to incorporate all SAC groups, while IAA members believe that since SAC is the constituent part, the budget committee's power allows them to audit SAC as a whole, but not its members. SAC Chairperson and College senior Graham Robinson agrees with the UA and supports the concept of the budget committee performing audits of this sort. "In terms of strict constitutionality, we really think that it is a pretty silly argument to argue that the UA is not allowed to audit the IAA by obtaining the records from the Office of Student Life because the records are public," he said. "There is no constitutional question." And both Lynn Moller, financial administrator of student activities and Fran Walker, director of Student Life Activities and Facilities, agree that the UA Constitution allows the UA Budget Committee to perform this audit. But Moller said that while it is within the budget committee's rights to perform this audit, she does not necessarily support their choice to do so. "I think given that two members of the UA Budget Committee [Schorr and Wharton junior Tom Foldesi] are on SAC Finance, they should have gone through SAC Finance," she said. Walker said in her 20 years at the University, the UA Budget Committee has never audited a SAC group. She added that SAC Finance used to perform audits "fairly routinely," but that they stopped because the process was too time consuming and it was not discovering any misuse of funds. And Walker said this audit has been surrounded by more controversy than any other audit she has seen. "This has clearly gone beyond an issue of budgets into an issue of allegations going in two directions," she said. "There are allegations of impropriety and I think whenever you have allegations of impropriety you have very strong emotions." She added that the IAA's situation is particularly complicated because the group has both SAC funding and non-SAC revenue. "The way in which they spend their money is frequently different from the way groups that exist with only SAC money spend their money," she said. According to Schorr, a Daily Pennsylvanian sports writer, the IAA is allocated approximately $23,000 with an additional $38,000 in loans from SAC. And overall, the group has more than $80,000 in non-SAC revenue. Meanwhile, the UA Budget Committee is continuing to conduct its audit. The group is going though the records in the Office of Student Life and comparing them with the SAC budget. Once the audit is complete, the committee will present its findings to SAC, which will then decide what to do with them. If the audit finds wrongdoing, consequences can range from freezing funds to revoking recognition, Walker said. Robinson said SAC does not feel the UA Budget Committee is infringing on SAC Finance's right to do audits. "We don't think it is at all unfair because we are not really uptight over who has more power than who," he said. "We don't think SAC is being encroached upon in any way." In the future, the UA Budget Committee has decided to audit groups through SAC Finance, Robinson said.


Eight freshmen elected to UA

(10/13/95 9:00am)

Eight of the 35 freshman candidates for the Undergraduate Assembly emerged victorious last night. Two others were disqualified by the Nominations and Elections Committee for violating the Fair Practices Code. College freshman Eric Jackson and Engineering freshman Jessica Williams lost eligibility because they failed to submit their spending forms before the deadline. This year's top vote-getter was College freshman Vijay Chattha. He received 308 votes, according to NEC Vice Chairperson and Engineering sophomore Ben Goldberger. Wharton senior Dan Debicella, last year's UA chairperson, said this is the first time in his four years that a freshman candidate has exceeded 300 votes. The other winners were College freshmen Noah Bilenker, Samara Barend, Courtney Fine and Mark Sagat, Wharton freshmen Greg Steinberg and Bradley Coburn and Wharton and Engineering freshman Josh Lipshutz. During last night's hearing, eight candidates had the opportunity to defend themselves from NEC charges that they violated Article V, Section B, Part IV of the code, which states that all candidates must submit their spending forms within one hour of the polls' closing time. The polls closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday. One student failed to submit a complete form, and the other seven neglected to hand in a form at all. College sophomore Evan Fleck, NEC grievance officer, acted as a prosecutor, attempting to convince the NEC body that the eight candidates should be disqualified for violating the code. Without the spending form, the NEC has no way of determining if a candidate exceeded the $27 budget limit, he said. "[This wouldn't be such an issue if NEC Chairperson and Wharton senior Ning Chi Hsu] had not repeated ad nauseum that this form had to be submitted on time," Fleck added. Each candidate had four minutes to plead their case. Then NEC representatives had unlimited time to ask follow-up questions. With the exception of Jackson and Williams -- who failed to show up for the hearing -- each candidate took advantage of this opportunity. Several candidates who could not be present at the meeting had representatives read their statements. After each case was heard, the NEC took a 45-minute recess to discuss and vote on the fate of each candidate. A two-thirds vote is necessary for disqualification. Upon returning, Hsu said all the charges against all of the candidates -- except for Jackson and Williams -- had been dropped. As the top vote-getter, Chattha receives an automatic seat on the University Council. Chattha was one of the students charged by the NEC, but he said he was not worried about getting off. "I knew the charges were ludicrous," he added. Sagat said he is honored to be elected as a representative. "My primary goal is to represent freshmen at the University in the best way I can," he said. UA Chairperson and College senior Lance Rogers said this is his favorite time of year on the UA. "We've got eight new energized freshmen on the body," he said.


Eight UA candidates may be disqualified

(10/12/95 9:00am)

Charged with violating NEC fair practice code Eight freshmen candidates for the Undergraduate Assembly were charged last night with violating the Nominations and Elections Committee's Fair Practices Code regulations, according to Engineering sophomore Ben Goldberger, NEC vice chairperson for elections. Seven students were charged with failing to turn in their spending forms, which were due at 6 p.m. last night, and one student was charged with failing to turn in a complete spending form, Goldberger said. The students will be able to present their case to College sophomore Evan Fleck, the NEC grievance officer, at the Fair Practices Code hearing tonight at 7 p.m. in Houston Hall's Ben Franklin Room, according to NEC Chairperson and Wharton senior Ning Chi Hsu. Candidates will be disqualified if two-thirds of the NEC -- excluding Fleck, Goldberger and Hsu -- vote to do so by secret ballot. Spending forms are used to ensure that the candidates do not exceed $27 in their campaigning, Goldberger added. "It is really imperative for us to find out if the candidates are spending $27 or less because we really want to make sure everyone has a fair chance at the elections," Hsu said. Goldberger said the deadline is necessary so the NEC can sufficiently reconcile the forms. "We are not going through them [today]," he added. "This is the time we have set aside to do this." Goldberger said the NEC will not be accepting late forms, adding that in the past, some have brought the forms with them to the Fair Practices Code hearing. "Those who [bring the forms] tend to be more successful than those who don't in not being disqualified," he said, adding that this is not necessarily a causal relationship. Many of the charged students -- including College freshman Jordan Goldstein, Wharton freshman Peter Wright and Engineering freshman Jessica Williams said they were under the impression that the deadline was today -- not yesterday. But Hsu said she does not consider this to be a reasonable excuse, adding that she reiterated the deadline "at least four times" at last Wednesday's Fair Practices Code meeting, which was mandatory for all candidates. All of the candidates signed a statement at the end of the meeting confirming that they understood all of the Fair Practices Code guidelines. UA Chairperson and College senior Lance Rogers agreed that the deadline was made "explicitly clear" at the meeting. "Maybe [the candidates] fell asleep," he said. "The meeting was a little boring. They read through the whole damn Fair Practices Code, and that's got to be boring -- there's no way around it." Hsu said the NEC typically charges approximately eight candidates, but the charges are more varied. There are usually about two students a year charged with failing to turn in this form, she added. Last year nine freshman candidates were charged by the NEC, and three were charged the year before. UA elections were held Tuesday and yesterday. Hsu said 31 percent of the freshman class turned out to vote for their representatives. This is down from last year's 40 percent. The results of the elections will be announced at tonight's Fair Practices Code hearing.


UA wants more student input

(10/11/95 9:00am)

Searching for ways to improve relations with the student body, the Undergraduate Assembly discussed implementation of a blueprint for communication with its constituency at its meeting Sunday. The UA also discussed the possibility of endorsing the changes to the judicial charter made by the First Amendment Task Force. No decisions were finalized. Communication was stressed as an important goal of the UA, one which was deemed "vital to our body's success" in the blueprint. Though the members did not unanimously support the concept, the blueprint -- which was co-authored by UA Chairperson and College senior Lance Rogers and College senior Christian Hensley -- was generally well-accepted. Rogers was very excited by the idea of putting such a plan together, pointing out that it has never been attempted before. "I think it is safe to say that we are definitely going to play a more interactive role this year with the students," he said. Rogers added that this blueprint will require hard work on the part of the members. "I don't want to see you guys wussing out three months down the line," he said. "I think that by this time next year, people will really know who the UA is." Some of the ideas outlined in the plan include increased opportunities for students to address the UA -- including forums in which students can have coffee or donuts with members of the body -- having individual representatives attend Residential Advisor and Greek meetings and maintaining a home page on the World Wide Web. Rogers said these are all ideas that have been around for awhile. A common opposition to the concept was that it required too much time from the UA representatives. "[The plan is] too idealistic and not really feasible," said Matt Brletich, an Engineering sophomore. But most members of the body seemed to be willing to exert the effort. Additional concepts were also discussed and added to the tentative list of ways to improve communication, such as posting the minutes of UA meetings on the UA newsgroup. Later in the meeting, the body discussed the first of the forum events, which will be called "Conversations," slated to be held November 2 in Bodek Lounge. The reception, which is being planned by UA Vice Chairperson and Wharton senior Gil Beverly, "will bring students and student leaders together to encourage open dialogue about campus-related issues and ideas," according to the blueprint. And while nothing has been approved yet, Rogers said he is optimistic that the Student Planning and Events Committee will fund the event. "It's good to see SPEC and the UA working together to try and bring more students into the student government process," Rogers said. Also at the meeting, College senior Mike Nadel presented the First Amendment Task Force's version of the judicial charter, in hopes that the UA would endorse the plan. Their charter recommended taking much of the direct power away from the provost and giving it to the chair of the Faculty Senate. It also insisted that the provost be held more accountable for the decisions made by the judicial board. When questioned why the Task Force chose the chair of the Faculty Senate to take over much of the decision making, Nadel said the fact that senate members are tenured will make them unbiased judges. "I don't have an overwhelming respect for the faculty," he added. "But it is more important for us to take power out of the provost's hands than who we give it to." While the majority of the body supported the Task Force's changes, they opted to refer the vote to the steering committee, since the UA passed a very similar resolution two weeks ago. The resolution is currently under consideration by the deans of the undergraduate schools, the provost, the Faculty Senate and the Graduate and Professional School Assembly.


Club protests audit by UA

(10/11/95 9:00am)

International Affairs Association leaders are claiming that the Undergraduate Assembly Budget Committee is not following proper procedure in its planned audit of the organization. IAA board members -- with the exception of Wharton and Engineering junior Yousef Master -- did not hear about this audit until it was announced in an article in last Wednesday's Daily Pennsylvanian. Master is the vice president and treasurer of the IAA. This is just one of the complaints that College senior Brendan Cahill, the IAA president, has about the way the audit is being conducted. He also said UA Treasurer and College sophomore Steve Schorr, who contacted Master about the audit, only gave the group a day to prepare their records. When the Student Activities Council Finance Committee performs audits, Cahill said, it gives the groups a week to prepare. "The way in which Mr. Schorr has pursued his accusations against us proves he is not familiar with IAA structure," Cahill said. And College senior Steve Ebert, the director general of the IAA, said such an audit by the UA Budget Committee is unprecedented. "In the history of the UA since the 1965 constitution, the UA Budget Committee has never audited a SAC group," he said. Cahill said the IAA has nothing to hide, adding that the group only spends SAC funding on what it is allocated for; all other expenditures are paid for by the club's proceeds. "We are fully confident that we will be exonerated," he said. "That is not the issue we are taking with them. The issue we are taking with them is that they have publically accused us and are not providing substantiated evidence." Ebert had an informal discussion with Schorr about the audit early Monday morning, during which he questioned the budget committee's motives for the audit. But Ebert said the conversation appeased his worries. He said he was convinced that the intent was sincere, and that the committee was just trying to find out the truth. After the discussion, "I was more confident that we would get a fair hearing," he added. But he said he became more concerned after dinner that night, when he said he overhead a conversation at the Class of 1920 Commons between Schorr, UA chair and College senior Lance Rogers and budget committee member Tom Foldesi, a College junior. Ebert said he heard Schorr tell the group that the goal of the audit was to "screw over the IAA" so that they lose funding and recognition. Ebert also alleged that Rogers made an anti-Semitic remark about him. Both Rogers and Schorr deny making such statements, although they did admit to discussing the IAA audit while dining that night. But Cahill and Ebert are now questioning the motives of the UA Budget Committee, accusing the group of being biased. As a result, they approached SAC Finance Monday night, requesting that the committee intervene and take over the auditing process. SAC Finance IAA Liaison Lija Bentley, a College senior, will be conducting her own audit of the group, according to Schorr, a Daily Pennsylvanian sports writer. He added that the budget committee will remain in charge of its own audit. Cahill said the IAA will comply with all of the committee's wishes. "However, we are not convinced that the matter has been handled satisfactorily," he added. "We will pursue the?steps [necessary] to ensure an open auditing process which we feel will exonerate us."


UA plans audit of campus group

(10/05/95 9:00am)

The Undergraduate Assembly Budget Committee is cracking down on fund misusage. The group is conducting an audit of the International Affairs Association today. And this is just the first of more investigations to come, according to UA Treasurer and College sophomore Steve Schorr. "I think it is common knowledge that a lot of [Student Activity Council] groups do not spend money on what it is allocated for, and somebody has to see that that doesn't happen," he said. "And according to our constitution, it's the UA Budget committee." Wharton junior Tom Foldesi, who is also a member of the UA Budget Committee, said these audits are being conducted because the group has heard multiple rumors about the Association, as well as about several other SAC funded organizations. But Association Treasurer Yousef Master, an Engineering junior, said news of the audit -- which came last night in a phone call from Schorr -- was the first he heard of the situation. "The whole thing took me by surprise," the Wharton and Engineering junior said. "I don't know what is going on, if this is routine or whatnot." Master added that he is going to contact SAC to see what the procedure is, "because I have never heard of this happening before." "But I have no problem with letting them see what is going on with our club," he added. He said he is not sure why his club has been singled out. Foldesi said he does not think this type of audit is unprecedented. Schorr, who is a sports writer for The Daily Pennsylvanian, said there a lot of other groups that the Budgetary Committee plans to examine, but he would not name any other groups. They are starting with the Association because "it has one of the largest budgets of the groups we have heard about so far," he said. The organization has a budget of approximately $25,000, Schorr said. Foldesi said the Association should be submitting their financial records today. "We'll get at it right away, and hope to crank it out as quickly as possible," he added. Wharton sophomore Hester Wong, who is also a member of the UA Budget Committee, said she hopes the group will not have to conduct audits too often. "But we are going to make it a new policy for the budget committee to look at the financial statements [of SAC funded groups]," she added.


U. pulls plug on sophomore tailgate party

(10/04/95 9:00am)

The sophomore class should have been eating hoagies and listening to live music in Superblock before the Penn-Bucknell football game Saturday. But instead, the sophomore class tailgate party was cancelled Friday evening due to a general lack of communication on several levels, according to Fran Walker, director of the Office of Student Life Activities and Facilities and the sophomore class adviser. Sophomore Class Board President Brett Lasher said the issue stemmed from an advertisement that ran in Thursday's Daily Pennsylvanian announcing the event. The fact that the ad said "BYOB" -- Bring Your Own Beer -- on the bottom suggested to several administrators that there would be alcohol at the picnic. This was the cause of much concern, since "clearly the entire sophomore class is underage," Walker said. But Lasher said he did not intend to imply that sophomores should be bringing beer. "Originally we were not sure if we were going to provide beverages or not," he said. "Looking back on it I realize it probably should have never been written." Walker said she was contacted by Residential Living on Thursday, who expressed concern that there would be a potential problem. University Police were then notified of the situation. But according to Residential Living Director Gigi Simeone, it was too late. "Had the event been registered earlier, perhaps the security concerns could have been worked through," she said. "But this coming to the police's attention at the very last minute was a problem." Walker said she told Lasher to distribute signs announcing that alcohol would not be allowed at the event, which he did. Then Walker left town to head a student leadership retreat over the weekend. "And then Residential Living and the police and the vice provost's office were all fairly anxious about the potential of this event, and so they decided to cancel it," she said. Lasher said he agreed with the administration's decision, although the board is "a little upset with the way it was handled." He said he was off campus on Friday, and when he returned at 8 p.m. there was a message on his answering machine informing him that the event had been called off and all of the plans had been cancelled. "If it was as important to the administration as they said it was, then it should have been taken care of [on Thursday] instead of after five on Friday," Lasher said. He added that his main concern was that the Sophomore Class Board would lose credibility with the students and with local businesses because the event was cancelled at the last minute. Walker said there were other problems that hurt the situation, including the fact that the board did not get its request in to Physical Plant far enough in advance. This prevented Residential Living from knowing about the event sooner. "It was nobody's fault, and the Sophomore Class Board should not be held responsible by their class for planning a poor event because they worked really hard on this," Walker said. Lasher said the board is hoping to reschedule the event.


UA approves plan for two parties this semester

(09/28/95 9:00am)

The Undergraduate Assembly approved a proposal Tuesday to fund two parties co-sponsored by the Social Planning and Events Committee, the InterFraternity Council, the BiCultural InterGreek Council and the Panhellenic Council. Also at Tuesday's meeting, the UA unanimously endorsed a plan to recommend revising the recently proposed Student Judicial Charter with four amendments -- crafted by University Council Steering Committee Representative and College sophomore Tal Golomb. Last semester, the UA voted to allocate $10,080 in funding to SPEC so the four groups could throw biweekly parties open to the entire student body. But the new SPEC board decided this semester that throwing one big party with the theme "Breaking Down the Walls" would provide "more bang for the buck," according to IFC Judicial Manager and College junior Josh Gottheimer. After the UA voted down this proposal last week, the groups went back to the drawing board to come up with a more satisfactory plan, which they presented to the body Tuesday night. The approved plan will provide one outdoor and one indoor party, which will conform to the same "Breaking Down the Walls" theme. They will be free of charge -- and free of alcohol -- to the entire University community. There will also be "solid bands" as entertainment, Gottheimer said. Gottheimer added that the groups received a lot of feedback from the University community, which he interpreted as a very positive sign. And he said he is "elated" that the UA, SPEC and Greek representatives are able to work together on this project. "This is a sign to the University that these three organizations can work together to do something that is in line with what this campus is working for," he said. Under the originally accepted plan, the groups would have already thrown two parties by this time. Therefore, SAC has the right to revert the $1,400 back into its own budget. But College sophomore, UA Treasurer and Daily Pennsylvanian sports writer Steve Schorr said last night that SAC decided to be lenient because the groups "made an honest effort to approach us before the weekly parties would have taken place." The final plans will be worked out over the next few weeks. Gottheimer said the first of these parties will take place sometime in October, and the other one will occur either at the end of November or in early December. The UA also discussed the newly proposed judicial charter at Tuesday's meeting, objecting to the fact that it gives the provost too much control over the student disciplinary system. The body listened to and debated Golomb's four proposed amendments and unanimously agreed that they improved the charter. The amendments were as follows: · The Disciplinary Hearing Officer as well as the Disciplinary Appellate Officer shall be appointed by the Faculty Senate · The student respondent's advisor shall have the right to speak, question and call witnesses as well as be chosen at the respondent's discretion · In cases involving violations of the "Acquaintance Rape and Sexual Violence Policy," hearings will be closed to the public unless both the respondent and complainant request in writing prior to the hearing date that the hearing be open to the public. In all other cases, the hearing will be closed to the public unless the respondent requests, in writing prior to the hearing date, that the procedure be open to the public · The Provost may only modify the sanction ruled by the hearing panel if such a modification lessens the sanction The resolution was delivered to the four undergraduate deans, the president and the provost yesterday.


UA legal advice comes cheap

(09/25/95 9:00am)

Lawyer on retainer for free student consultations Been hit by a car? Ripped off by your roommate? Don't take the law into your own hands -- take it to the Undergraduate Assembly. For the past nine years, the UA has provided free legal consultation to University students. But for most students, this is a little-known resource. Every other Wednesday, a representative from the Center City law firm Fineman and Bach comes to campus to meet with students seeking legal advice. The lawyer holds six 30-minute sessions at each visit. Richard Tanker, the lawyer in charge of the program, said the kinds of cases students discuss with the lawyers "really run the gamut." "One of the most frequent problems we see is roommates ripping each other off," he said. Tanker added that the firm has also dealt with accident victims, foreign students with visa or immigration problems and students with debt troubles. College sophomore and UA representative Charley Margosian, who is the liaison between the students and the law firm, said the program serves a great service by helping students figure out their options. A student interested in a free legal consultation should fill out an application at the UA office in Houston Hall. The application is then forwarded to the firm, so the proper lawyer can prepare to meet with the student. The UA pays $1,800 a semester for this service. The money comes from the general student fee, according to UA Chairperson and College senior Lance Rogers. In addition, the fee pays for the firm to provide a speaker -- usually Tanker -- to discuss a topic of interest to the students each spring. Tanker said he usually speaks on the subject of landlord-tenant disputes. Tanker also said it is unlikely that the firm would represent a student in a lawsuit against the University. "There is a concern about conflict of interest and we try to steer clear from those," he said. Tanker said it is difficult to put a price on how much the firm donates to the University in service. "We're devoting a significant amount of our time to reviewing the students' problems in advance," he said. "It's different than just having someone call you off the street and say, 'Hey, I have a legal problem. Can I come in and meet with you?' " Tanker added that the program can sometimes amount to as much as $6,000 of the firm's time. He estimated that his firm consults with 25 to 35 students each semester, although lawyers will schedule extra sessions if necessary. If a student needs further assistance, the firm provides follow-up. This usually involves doing further research and getting back to the student, but it can go further. "If the follow-up gets involved, then we would talk to the student about making some other arrangements, either for a fee or refer them to some other legal services agency," Tanker said. He said the firm goes on to represent less than a third of the students -- mostly students who were involved in accidents. Although the firm consists of 23 attorneys, only 12 participate in this program. Tanker said he sends younger lawyers to campus for two reasons -- because it is more cost-effective and because students relate to them better. The first session of the semester will be Wednesday. Rogers said there are still some time slots available for students interested in a consultation.


UA won't fund $10,000 party

(09/18/95 9:00am)

Rejects plan to hold Greek/SPEC event The Undergraduate Assembly voted down a proposal last night that would have funded one big party co-sponsored by the Social Planning and Events Committee, the InterFraternity Council, the BiCultural InterGreek Council and the Panhellenic Council. Last semester, the UA voted to allocate $10,080 in funding to SPEC so the four groups could throw bi-weekly parties open to the entire student body. But the new board of SPEC decided this semester that throwing one big party with the funds -- with the theme "Breaking Down the Walls" -- would provide "more bang for the buck," according to IFC Judicial Manager and College junior Josh Gottheimer. The party would be free of charge to the entire University community and alcohol-free. The plan was for the event to be held in the Annenberg Courtyard on October 7. Gottheimer said the funding would go toward getting a big name band, security and promotion. He added that the group would want to follow up with more parties next semester -- scaled down but with the same theme. Gottheimer, along with SPEC President and College senior Nelson Telemaco, Panhel President and Wharton senior Lissette Calderon, Big-C President and Wharton senior Trista Bridges and IFC President and College senior Dave Treat were at the meeting in defense of the proposal. After Gottheimer presented the plan to the body, the issue was opened up for debate. Among those supporting the plan was College sophomore Larry Kamin, who said he viewed the proposal as a "happy medium between frat parties and Spring Fling." But College sophomore and UA Treasurer Steve Schorr opposed the plan on the basis that it does nothing to keep students on campus for the remaining weekends. He also said the funding required for additional parties in the spring would have to come from contingency funds, which could not support such a demand. Telemaco said he was disappointed with the UA's decision, adding that the issue deserved more support from the body. He said the four groups put a lot of time into their proposal, and that through interviews determined that the students would appreciate one large event with a well-known band more than smaller events. "It seems to me that [the UA] second-guessed the four leaders of respected groups on campus with their decision," Telemaco said. "This sets a bad precedent." After the proposal failed, Schorr, who is also a sportswriter for The Daily Pennsylvanian, made a motion to revert the $10,080 in funding back to the Student Activities Council, but this was rejected by the body. The money will therefore remain in SPEC's budget. However, the funding may ultimately revert back to SAC because each week a party fails to occur, the money will be removed from SPEC's budget, under the plan that had been approved in the spring. As a result of the UA's rejection of this plan, the four groups will now "go back to the drawing board" to come up with a new proposal, according to Telemaco. Gottheimer said he is frustrated because the groups are losing time and money by spending so much time on planning. He said the groups put a lot of energy into drafting the proposal, since the cohesion of the University's social life was so important to them. Gottheimer added that after observing the voting process, he was "disheartened with the body." "There were people on the body who just wanted the money back to SAC and didn't really want a multi-cultural event," he said. "If they really cared about doing something multi-cultural on this campus, why did they impede us from moving forward?" Telemaco said the groups are going to continue to work together to get a proposal passed. "We definitely want to do this and we are going to take whatever steps we have to take to get this done," he said. At last night's meeting, the UA also passed a rule to force each branch of student government to complete their budget proposals by a January 27 deadline. The deadline will be extended for SPEC, which will have until January 29. Each day the proposal is late, the group will lose one percent of their budget. And the body also voted unanimously to elect College junior Jennifer Rocks as the group's first ever Parliamentarian. Rocks will be present at all UA meetings in order to ensure that parliamentary procedure is being followed at all times.


Key UA member resigns

(09/13/95 9:00am)

Time commitment was too great for Tienou College senior Eric Tienou resigned from the Undergraduate Assembly yesterday, effective immediately. He will be replaced by College sophomore Katheryn Assadi, who came in second place for the College representative position in the spring UA elections. And College senior Miae Oh will be replacing Tienou as chairperson of the Facilities Committee on the UA. Tienou, who ran for the UA chairperson position in the spring, said last night that had the body elected him to the steering committee, he would have made a different decision. "By my not being chair it made my decision easier because I didn't have a major role on the UA," he said. But he said he made the decision to resign on Sunday because he felt he could no longer fulfill the time commitment the post requires. "I had a very good year last year in what I did, and I think I did a lot compared to other UA members," he said. "I felt that in order for this year to be a similar year I would have to do a lot in order to feel really good. "I couldn't see myself spending all of that time," Tienou added. And he said he put a lot of thought into the decision. "I don't think it was an easy decision to make," he said. "But I made it and I have to go on." Tienou informed University Council Steering Committee Representative Tal Golomb and UA Chairperson Lance Rogers of his resignation yesterday. Rogers said he did not anticipate Tienou's resignation, and would have appreciated prior notice. "I had noticed that Eric had become less involved with the UA, and certainly that was of concern to me," Rogers said. "I now understand why this was the case and accept his resignation." Tienou said he will be keeping in touch with the UA, adding that he is definitely going to the UA meeting on Sunday so that he can talk with Assadi. Rogers said he has a lot of confidence in Tienou's replacement. "I have heard nothing but great things about her," he said. "I feel she will do a great job as the College rep." Assadi was unavailable for comment yesterday. Tienou will remain chairperson of the First Amendment Task Force, which he said is approaching a critical point in its history and will require a lot of attention this semester. And he will continue to be the undergraduate liaison on the Board of Trustees Facilities and Campus Planning Committee. He added that he wants to concentrate on volunteer efforts and take a more active role in Connaissance. And he said he will continue working to improve the conditions in Hutchinson Gymnasium -- a project he was involved with last year. Golomb said he is glad Tienou realized he was too busy and is not wasting his seat on the body. He added that he hopes to continue working with Tienou.


Freshmen get inside look at student government at U.

(09/13/95 9:00am)

Representatives from the six branches of student government addressed a group of about 30 freshmen last night in the Benjamin Franklin Room of Houston Hall. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson and College senior Lance Rogers opened the meeting and then turned it over to Wharton senior Ning Chi Hsu, the chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee. Hsu explained that the NEC is responsible for overseeing UA elections and appointing students to University committees. NEC applications are due tomorrow, he added. Because Student Activities Council Steering Chairperson and College senior Graham Robinson was unable to attend the meeting, Rogers informed the freshmen that SAC distributes $500,000 to 150 organizations campus-wide. Following that, Student Committee on Undergraduate Education Chairperson Satya Patel, a College and Wharton senior, explained that his branch works with the faculty and administration in order to address educational issues. He added that while applications are available later this month, most freshmen do not apply right away. "Most freshmen apply in the spring after they find out what they really hate about the University," Patel said. College senior Nelson Telemaco then spoke about the Social Planning and Events Committee, which plans and coordinates social events for undergraduate students. "We are looking for students with a knack for planning events who want to make a difference and want to have fun doing it," said Telemaco, who chairs SPEC. Then several representatives from the Class Boards explained how they provide social activities for their respective classes as well as school spirit events to the University community. Finally, Rogers spoke about the UA and how to participate in elections. He said students will be able to pick up packets of petitions on September 26, and that elections will be held on October 10 and 11 for the eight available spots. Rogers then opened the floor to questions, which ranged from how much time each activity takes up a week to how can one run for a particular branch. The freshmen seemed to be overwhelmed by all of their options. "I came because I was interested in being involved in some student activities and I thought student government would give me the opportunity to have contact with students and the administration," said College freshman Robin Grossman, who added that she was unsure which branch she was most interested in.


Students remember Emily Sachs

(09/11/95 9:00am)

An emotional crowd mourns her death College Green was packed yesterday afternoon, but the beautiful weather had nothing to do with it. The crowd was filled with students whose lives had been touched by College sophomore Emily Sachs, who died May 24 of complications from a severe asthma attack. More than 150 people, hugging and comforting each other, gathered for the 3 p.m. vigil. Quaker Notes, an all-female a cappella group, started off the ceremony in honor of Sachs' love of music. College sophomore Marla Snyder and College junior Kim Stern were the first to address the crowd. Standing at a podium in front of the Peace Symbol, Snyder remembered her close friend as someone who never took a minute of life for granted. "Her amazement for life sparkled in her big, big eyes," she said. "It was this sparkle that made all of her hugs tighter, all of her toe-points straighter, all of her smiles wider and all of her giggles louder. "And it was this sparkle that drew me to her, made me love her and keeps me loving her," Snyder added. Stern, who was Sachs' big sister in the Chi Omega sorority, spoke of her sister's talents, calling her "the little engine that could." "Emily knew and understood what was really important in life and lived her life to the fullest," Stern said. "She accomplished more in her 19 years than many could hope to accomplish in a lifetime." Sachs was an accomplished dancer and singer. She was a member of the Arts House Dance Company, and had won both the Miss Dance Pennsylvania and the Miss Teen Dance New York City titles. She also had the talent to make the people around her feel important. "I can't count the times that Emily told me how lucky she was to have met the friends she made and how special they were to her," Stern said. After Snyder and Stern spoke, about 30 members of Sachs' pledge class approached the podium, each carrying a carnation dyed periwinkle -- Sachs' favorite color. Four of the sisters took turns reading The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. "Like the Giving Tree, Emily unselfishly shared herself with each and every one of us," Wharton senior and Chi Omega sister Holly Fogle said. Chi Omega, Arts House Dance Company and members of Sachs' former residence hall are raising money to plant a tree outside the Annenberg Center in her honor. Wharton senior and Chi Omega President Niki Adler said she expects the tree to be planted by the end of October. After the reading, the podium was opened up to anyone who wanted to share their memories of Sachs. College sophomore Stacey Heller, who had known Sachs since the sixth grade, shared the story of how the two rekindled their friendship last year after losing touch in middle school when Heller moved away. "Emily used to tell the story of our friendship," she said. " 'We were destined to be friends,' she would say. How lucky I felt to have her so proud to be my friend." Sachs' parents also addressed the group. "Emily loved this place more than anything, and would thank us every time we saw her for sending her here," her father Jimmy said. "My father was Class of '38, my wife did her graduate work here and, as far as I am concerned, Emily is Class of '98." Sachs' mother Jo-Ann then invited the entire group over for a home-cooked meal. Then Snyder and Stern took the podium, arms around each other, to say some final words before a cappella group Off The Beat closed the ceremony with Cindy Lauper's "Time After Time."


Educational cuts may affect U. financial aid

(09/10/95 9:00am)

The House of Representatives voted to pass a spending bill on Friday that contains several educational cuts, including some which could have an affect on the level of government funding the University will receive for student aid. One of the cutbacks is with the Perkins loan program. According to David Morse, assistant vice president for policy planning and federal relations, the University receives "a reasonable substantial allocation of these loans." "If [the loans] go away, it will make it more difficult for students to finance their educations reasonably cheaply," he said. Morse added that, as a result, students might be required to borrow more under a bank-based program, which is at a higher interest rate. But he said even if these cuts become a reality, the University will still receive a large fund of Perkins loans. The University provides a little over $10 million in Perkins loans to undergraduates and graduates each year, he said, adding that the capital contribution that is threatened represents a little over $1 million. "So we would still have $9 million to loan each year," Morse added. There were also some changes proposed for the Pell Grant program, which will help some students while hurting others. "Financially needy students will get a larger grant," Morse said. "Students with a limited need who would have otherwise been eligible for a Pell Grant don't get one." Associate Vice President for Finance Frank Claus said he does not see these cuts as having a major effect on the University. "Obviously we never like to see any cuts," he said. "But at the moment there doesn't seem to be any that would have a serious impact on the undergraduate program." Most of the financial aid programs the University offers is funded by the University itself, he explained. One positive aspect of the bill is that it retains the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant and work-study programs at their current levels. "That is very favorable," Morse said. "Those are programs that are very important to Penn students." But the bill also contained cuts in other areas that could affect the University. Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Carol Scheman said she is concerned about the level of discretionary funding. Scheman said it is important for Congress to differentiate between expenditure and investment. "Investing in education and research are investments that pay off many times," she said. Scheman added that the significant program cuts will "affect the University across the board." On a more positive note, the National Institute of Health was given a $643 million budget increase under this bill. Morse said he sees this increase as a good sign. "The National Institute of Health provides a substantial amount of support at this and other universities," he said. "This increase suggests that members of Congress think that basic research done by universities is a very good thing." While Scheman said while she believes the University is "very much at risk," she stressed that the bill has not even completed the first third of the checks and balances process. And Morse predicted that this bill will undergo significant changes before President Bill Clinton has to vote on it. Claus said he does not think the Senate or the President will pass such a severe bill in its current form. He added, though, that he expects more tension from Congress in the near future. "I don't think we are done," he said.


Taking care of business: New stores hit U.

(09/07/95 9:00am)

It seems that anyone trying to keep up with recent storefront changes on campus would need a score card -- and a pencil with a good eraser. In one of the many recent examples of real estate musical chairs, Cinemagic 3 at Penn opened in June, replacing the AMC Walnut Mall 3, which closed down last November because it could not keep up with competition from larger theaters in the area. And nearby Mega Video, which was scheduled to re-open this month, will not be returning to campus due to "other business concerns," University Real Estate Director Chris Mason said. He added that he has contacted other video stores about taking over that site. The video store shut down in February after a fire tore through the Convenient Food Store next door, completely gutting the convenience store and causing smoke and water damage to Mega Video and some of its neighbors. College Pizza, which also fell victim to the fire, reopened this week with a new menu. In the weeks following the fire, the store reopened at half-capacity, but then closed down again in the beginning of August in order to repair the space most seriously damaged by the fire. Mason said the Convenient Food Store might return after sufficient repairs are made to the location. In addition, Dunkin' Donuts joined the The Shops at Penn at 34th and Walnut streets in July. Owner Vincent Lee said he is happy to be a part of the University community. "The number one reason we picked this location is students," he said. The store replaced Perfect Pretzel, which closed down in the spring of last year for economic reasons. The second campus Bucks County Coffee House is also set to open soon, at 40th and Locust streets. The move is scheduled to be complete by October 15. Mason said the opening is being delayed because of problems obtaining construction permits from the city. Two of the stores in the garage at 38th and Walnut streets have already opened, and the other three are set to open in the near future, according to Mason. Both the Commerce Bank and Joseph Anthony Hairstyling moved into the garage August 21. The Commerce Bank has been celebrating its grand opening all week by giving out gifts to students. Yesterday, a robot entertained students passing by on Walnut Street. And today, the bank will be giving out free water ice. Tony Voci, owner of Joseph Anthony Hairstyling, said moving across the street into the garage has allowed him to expand the services he offers. Mail Boxes Etc. is also set to open in the garage next week, and Campus Copy Center and Thrift Drug will open new locations next month, Mason said. Finally, West Philadelphia Locksmith will be moving one block from its current location on the 4000 block of Walnut Street. It will fill the space on the 3900 block of Walnut which was left vacant when Galaxy Entertainment closed down in April. The move should take place next month. Phil Paul, owner of West Philadelphia Locksmith, said the new site is preferable because it is larger and has a parking lot close by. Mason said he thinks West Philadelphia Locksmith "is a very good use for that space." He said he does not know what will replace the store because it is moving from a building which is not University-owned. There are still no replacements in The Shops at Penn for the Italian Bistro, which closed down last July, or for The Lodge, which went out of business last spring, Mason said.


More dorms wired for ResNet

(09/01/95 9:00am)

The system provides a direct e-mail connection and 55 cable channels. More students than ever will be hooking up this fall -- to ResNet, that is. ResNet, the University's fiber optic residential communications system, was installed in five new dormitories over the summer. It will give students enhanced telephone service, a computer connection to PennNet and access to a 55-channel cable television network. The dormitories affected are Hill House, Mayer Hall, Stouffer College House, Van Pelt College House and W.E.B. DuBois College House. Data Communications and Computing Services Project Coordinator Matthew Bixler said DCCS had to create new pathways throughout the dormitories to accommodate ResNet. The residences originally were not equipped to handle it. Bixler said construction for all of the dorms, excluding Mayer Hall, began May 25, and took 10 weeks to complete. Contractors began work on Mayer earlier this month and should be finished by the end of the fall semester. The installation process varied by building, he said. For Hill House and Stouffer College House, contractors had to install an enclosed metallic chaseway to run through each room in the five-level dormitory. And for Van Pelt and DuBois, contractors had to build a series of drywall soffits to accommodate the necessary facilities. Last summer, ResNet services were extended into High Rise East, High Rise South, Modern Language College House and Ware College House. After this summer's installations, the only residences that do not have access to ResNet services are the Castle, the Graduate Towers and the Quadrangle -- with the exception of Ware College House. Residential Living Director Gigi Simeone said her department faced tough choices when selecting dorms to be wired this summer. Officials still have not determined if the remaining buildings will be wired for ResNet next summer. "If we could wave a magic wand, we would do all of them," she said. But Simeone said the Quad's age would make installation complicated. "I wouldn't say it's impossible,'' she said. "But the Quad is very difficult and very expensive because it is a 100-year-old building in some parts."


Associate provost appointed

(09/01/95 9:00am)

Former Faculty Senate Chairperson Barbara Lowery has been named associate provost by Provost Stanley Chodorow. Lowery, who is a Nursing professor, will manage the academic personnel system at the provost's level, work with faculty issues of all kinds and be responsible for faculty affirmative action at the provost's level. "Barbara Lowery will be responsible for policy issues that arise in the academic personnel system -- how we appoint, promote and terminate faculty and how we manage the various academic titles," Chodorow said. "Her duties will also make her the person who most often deals with the Faculty Senate." Chodorow said Lowery is widely respected on the faculty, adding that she was ombudsman a few years ago and earned a reputation for fairness and good judgement. "She has very wide knowledge of the campus, the faculty and the regulations of the University," he said. Lowery said she will be focusing on the appointment and promotion process at the University, as well as with faculty issues. She added that she will continue teaching and doing research while she holds the post. Chodorow said the associate provost position is one that existed in the past and is being re-established. The responsibilities have recently been under the jurisdiction of Deputy Provost Michael Wachter. Wachter, who recently took over the position of deputy provost, will focus on academic planning and budgetary issues.