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Alcohol ban lifted as task force reports

(04/28/99 9:00am)

Students said the group's work made up for the initial lack of consultation College Green was mobbed by angry students last month when almost 1,000 undergraduates raised their voices against the lack of consultation surrounding the administration's decision to ban alcohol at undergraduate registered parties. And after strict alcohol policies put a damper on Spring Fling, a bitterness against the administration still lingers within the Penn student body. But the student leaders on the provost-appointed task force -- many of whom spoke in the most vehement of tones at the March 30 rally -- said that to create lasting policy changes they had to stop complaining about past administrative actions and work with Provost Robert Barchi and the other committee members. Over the past five weeks the committee has met at least once a week to hammer out alcohol policy issues, culminating in a 10-page report -- released yesterday -- that outlines a list of recommendations to combat alcohol abuse at Penn. Undergraduate Assembly Treasurer Michael Bassik said that when the committee -- composed of 15 students and seven faculty members -- first sat down with Barchi, they recognized that he wanted to hear their ideas and move forward to attack the issues collectively. "Once we got in there, we [realized] that this was our chance to work with the administration," the College sophomore said, adding that "the provost made the atmosphere very welcoming." And Wharton senior and committee member Jeffrey Snyder, formerly the InterFraternity Council's vice president for rush, said the working group realized it had to focus on future discussion instead of the lack of consultation in the past. "The administrative ban was a means of getting the attention of the student body," he explained. Snyder added that members knew they would accomplish nothing "if they let that taint our discussion." Committee members also said they remain optimistic that a pattern of greater consultation between students and administrators will arise out of the new recommendations. Tangible Change Committee Chairperson Samara Barend, a College senior, said that although "students still feel slighted" over the initial lack of consultation, "the success of the task force should set a precedent that students are responsible." Barend noted that the committee recommendation of the development of an Alcohol Rapid Response Team -- an advisory group to the president and provost on alcohol related issues -- will facilitate student-administration consultation in the future. At a press conference yesterday to announce the recommendations, Barchi was effusive in praising the members of his committee. "This has been a remarkable group of people who have been very honest with each other, thoughtful and thorough," Barchi said.

Alcohol ban lifted as task force reports

(04/28/99 9:00am)

Penn President Judith Rodin will now consider the list of recommendations. The provost-appointed alcohol task force submitted a 10-page list of recommendations to University President Judith Rodin on Monday, prompting her to end the nearly five-week ban on alcohol at official undergraduate events. The committee -- which had been meeting at least once a week since March 30 -- recommended several key changes to the existing alcohol policy, including a total ban on hard liquor at all on-campus undergraduate registered events and a stipulation that alcohol distribution end at 1 a.m. at those parties. And the recommendations call for the development of a vast range of new educational programming and increased non-alcoholic social options on campus. It also expands many of the current regulations for Greek organizations to student groups across the University. Provost Robert Barchi, who chaired the committee, said that this is "a very substantial document [with] specific proposals on how we should be working together to change our campus." The committee, composed of 14 student leaders and seven faculty members, developed recommendations within five categories: education, ensuring student safety, responsibility and accountability, minimizing risk and expanding social options. Although the temporary ban has been lifted, none of the new recommendations will be implemented until Rodin finishes a two-month-long period of consultation -- scheduled to last until June 30 -- with the University community. Rodin is asking students to read the policy and send comments to her via e-mail. She said she hopes that even though the semester is almost over, students "don't forget about important issues when they leave." The committee said students should expect to see noticeable differences on campus with regards to the recommendations when they return in September. The recommendations outline an ambitious set of changes that would require significant University support and funding. "The main purpose of this was to get a report out on what should happen," said Wharton junior and former Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Bill Conway, a member of the task force. Vice Provost for University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum said she has been assured that her office will receive all the funding it needs to implement the social options of the plan, if approved by Rodin. The recommendations call for the establishment of an Alcohol Rapid Response Team that would be in charge of implementing the recommendations if and when Rodin approves them and would also serve as a consultative body that the provost could call upon as necessary. The recommendations for alcohol education include academic projects such as the development of classes that focus on alcohol issues and the development of extracurricular events such as forums for students to speak about alcohol experiences. Specific education efforts will target freshmen with the distribution of the Alcohol 101 CD-ROM to pre-freshmen and the creation of an Alcohol 101 freshman seminar, which would promote "scholarly discussion" of alcohol and drug abuse. To ensure student safety, the committee recommended the creation of an alcohol coordinator to address alcohol policy and education issues --Ea position which was also called for by a committee charged by Rodin last year with finding ways to cut down on campus alcohol abuse. Rodin said yesterday that officials interviewed candidates for the job but never hired anyone. Another recommendation to facilitate student safety is the addition of a statement to the alcohol policy specifically spelling out that a student seeking alcohol-related medical assistance for themselves or friends would not have to worry about possible disciplinary action. "Health and safety are the University's and the Penn Police force's primary concerns," said Undergraduate Assembly Treasurer and College sophomore Michael Bassik, another task force member. The recommendations stress that the University will support enforcement of local, state and federal laws and that there will be punitive measures taken against students who violate University regulations. Additionally all organizations holding events must be aware of the alcohol policy and regulations and will be held accountable to them. All officially recognized organizations --Eregardless of whether they plan to hold social events -- would be required to have a member other than their president receive training with regard to alcohol abuse policy. Failure to do so could result in the loss of University recognition. Risk prevention measures include the ban on hard alcohol and the 1 a.m serving limit at registered parties. The committee hopes that by stopping alcohol distribution an hour before the University-mandated closing time for parties, students will have a "cooling-off" period of sorts to sober up before leaving the event. Hard liquor would continue to be allowed at third-party sites, such as sorority parties or fraternity formals, because those establishments are more likely to card students and also usually charge for alcohol -- making it a "financial disincentive" for students to drink themselves to the hospital, said former IFC Vice President for Rush Jeffrey Snyder, a Wharton senior and committee member. The committee also said that a BYOB policy will be enforced at all undergraduate registered events, not just at fraternity parties. Also, the committee recommended a one six-pack limit per organization member at a registered event in an attempt to control the "aggregate" of alcohol at parties. Another goal of the committee is to alter the campus culture by offering more fun, non-alcoholic social options. The recommendations list a variety of social options including the creation of bowling alleys, pool halls and dry music clubs on and around campus, and offering late night intramural athletic and recreational activities. Rodin stressed that the University will fund the resolutions that it ultimately passes but she "can't guarantee that when people come in September, there will be a bowling alley." The alcohol task force was appointed at the end of March after a series of alcohol-related events -- most notably the death of 1994 Penn graduate and Phi Gamma Delta brother Michael Tobin -- prompted the University to re-examine the existing alcohol policies. Tobin's death, which occurred after a night of drinking before and during a FIJI alumni event, prompted Rodin and Barchi to temporarily suspend the policy allowing alcohol at undergraduate parties. The move was met with widespread student condemnation, which culminated with a March 30 rally where student leaders decried the fact that they were not consulted before the administration enacted the policy.

Trustee gives $10 mil. for SAS initiative

(04/28/99 9:00am)

University Trustee Robert Fox's gift will go to create a new program in leadership for College students. University Trustee and 1952 College graduate Robert Fox will donate $10 million to the College of Arts and Sciences to establish the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, University President Judith Rodin announced on Monday. Rodin said that the program will endeavor to enhance the educational experience for students in the College by focusing on the development of leadership skills and abilities. She noted several features of the future program, including discussion groups with business, academic and political leaders; the development of speaking skills courses; and the creation of three Fox Leadership professorships aimed at coordinating curricular and extracurricular leadership events. Rodin praised the new initiative and added that "as a business leader, Trustee and former Penn student-athlete, Bob Fox exemplifies the very leadership principles that inspired this exciting new program." Complete details regarding the program -- which will officially begin in the fall with a non-credit College course, Lessons in Leadership -- have not been finalized, College Dean Richard Beeman said. But he added that he is very excited about developing the program and working with the future Fox professors. As part of the program, Beeman said that in the fall semester of 2000, the College will launch the Fox Leadership Forum -- a weekend of workshops with academic leaders -- as a "vital component" of freshman orientation. School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston said he anticipates that two of the three Fox professorships will be held by John DiIulio -- a Princeton University political science professor who will join the Penn faculty in July -- and Psychology Professor Martin Seligman. He added that the final position should be filled over the summer. Seligman stressed the importance of leadership education, noting that "leadership isn't born, it's cultivated." Beeman said the College has never before focused on developing leadership skills among students. The goals of the new program fall under the broad scope of the Agenda for Excellence -- Rodin's long-term plan that outlines academic and capital goals for the University. Fox -- who majored in economics and played football during his undergraduate days -- serves as the president and chairperson of R.A.F Industries, a private investment company based in Jenkintown, Pa. He said he had hoped to "create something dynamite for the University" through the new program and added that in the business world leadership skills "are everything." "We are fortunate to have Trustees who have the capacity to do this," Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Virginia Clark said. In 1998, Trustees Walter and Leonore Annenberg donated $10 million for the development of the Annenberg Scholars Program and to aid the beleaguered Political Science Department. And earlier this month, Trustee David Pottruck donated $10 million for major renovations of Gimbel Gymnasium, as well as $2 million toward the Wharton School's Huntsman Hall. Fox is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trustees and chairs the Budget and Finance Committee. In addition, Fox is also part of the Trustee board of the Health System and the Athletics Advisory Board. Last summer, Fox and his wife donated $500,000 for the Bob and Penny Fox Student Art Gallery, located in the basement of Logan Hall.

Rodin works to help ensure Penn's financial health

(04/23/99 9:00am)

Though University President Judith Rodin presides over a non-profit academic institution, her colleagues stress that she is strongly committed to developing University resources, raising the endowment and running Penn like a Fortune 500 company. And since Rodin arrived on campus in 1994, Penn's wallet has definitely gained a few bills. Within the Agenda for Excellence, Rodin's five-year strategic plan, Rodin set specific financial goals -- including the effective management of University resources and fundraising to increase the school's endowment. With her job as the head of the University an all-encompassing position, Rodin says she typically spends 30 to 40 percent of her time fundraising. And her work has achieved noticeable results. Since Rodin took over as Penn's president, the school's endowment has tripled to where it stands now at $3.02 billion. And according to Bonnie Devlin, the development official overseeing Agenda fundraising, Rodin has garnered larger gifts than her predecessors have, including Huntsman Chemical Corp. CEO John Huntsman's $40 million contribution to the Wharton School and Ronald Perelman's $20 million gift for the Perelman Quadrangle. "We are raising a a lot of money," said Rodin, adding that "it's a signal that people believe in what we're doing." What they're doing has spread a long way. Rodin has launched an aggressive fundraising campaign which has raised a total of $510 million since the implementation of the Agenda. She has also developed a budgeting system that spans a five-year period, managing University resources more stringently than the former one-year system did. But Penn's investment policies for the endowment came under fire last spring when the Free Burma Coalition accused the University of investing in socially questionable stocks -- such as the Philip Morris Co., the nation's leading tobacco company, and corporations that operate in countries with poor human rights records. Still, Penn officials laud Rodin's dedication to enhancing the University's financial prowess. Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Virginia Clark noted that Penn raised $1.4 billion during the Campaign for Penn, a fundraising drive from 1989 to 1994 during Sheldon Hackney's presidential tenure, bringing in a yearly average of about $120 million. And this year Penn hopes to raise three times as much -- an estimated fundraising total of $300 million, Clark said. Clark attributed the drastic increase in fundraising directly to Rodin, citing her leadership and strategic planning as key reasons for the funding hike. "She has this great ability to relate and reach out to people," Clark explained. "The 85-year-old alumnus loves her to death and the 30-year-old investment banker is wowed by her." Almost every Penn event provides fundraising opportunities for the president. Just two weeks ago, approximately 900 people gathered at the Bellevue Hotel for a farewell dinner for outgoing Law School Dean Colin Diver, an event which Rodin described as a "farewell for Colin but also huge development for me." According to Devlin, Penn's efforts focus on alumni who can "make substantial gifts" by attempting to educate them about Penn's strategic plan through events or visits from development officers. When the office feels it has found a potential donor, Rodin then takes the reigns and invites the alumnus to discuss financial opportunities. And according to the donors themselves, Rodin's passion for Penn comes through strong and clear. "Dr. Rodin is a person of great warmth and sincerity," said Huntsman, who explained that Rodin has the ability to make the University's goals "come alive." Huntsman also noted Rodin's charisma, saying, "She's as charming herself as the University is great." Though Rodin has secured substantial donations for major projects, such as Huntsman Hall and the renovation of Penn's recreational facilities, the goals in the Agenda are far from funded. Devlin said the University has yet to begin fundraising for the upcoming $300 million dorm and dining renovations, scheduled to begin this summer. Though donors will fund only a portion of that project, Devlin said officials are poised to begin the fundraising campaign immediately. And while the University's endowment has soared over the years, very little of it is used to fund financial aid, as many of Penn's Ivy League counterparts do. As rival institutions battle for the best students, financial aid offers can become a key point of contention when prospective students choose universities, and currently Penn is lagging behind its peers in that department. Currently, Penn spends $52 million annually on financial aid and only six percent of that money comes from the endowment, according to Joanne Hanna, who heads Penn's development efforts for undergraduate financial aid. Princeton University, by contrast, offers financial aid packages that are funded 95 percent through the school's endowment. Hanna added that every other Ivy institution funds at least 30 percent of financial aid through its endowment, adding that developing the endowment is now an urgent priority for Penn. To date, Penn has raised $55 million of its $200 million financial aid fundraising goal, set for completion in 2003, Hanna said. "We've got to make [the goal] -- there's a real importance to make it," Hanna said.

U. devising campus planning strategy

(04/22/99 9:00am)

As part of ongoing efforts to effectively design the layout of Penn's campus, University officials announced that they will start the process of creating a new campus development plan this month, outlining ground rules for future architectural and landscaping projects on campus. According to Provost Robert Barchi, the plan will force the University to evaluate campus development projects and to ensure that the projects mesh with the long-term goals for an effective and attractive Penn environment. "We need to have a campus whose physical campus is equipped to carry out the message of the school," said Barchi, adding that the new plan serves as a supplement to the Agenda for Excellence -- University President Judith Rodin's five-year strategic plan for academic and capital development that was launched in 1995. Executive Vice President John Fry explained that the new plan will look at projects and examine several components of the overall campus framework -- including architectural appropriateness, traffic patterns, parking, landscape, security and frequency of student circulation -- to best make use of University land. He added that the plan will be particularly useful as the University continues to develop the eastern precinct of campus -- where future projects include the conversion of the former General Electric Building at 31st and Walnut streets into a $54 million apartment complex and the transformation of the Civic Center into a cancer research and treatment center, as well as the possible eventual purchase of the U.S Postal Service lands. Barchi explained that in 1993, under former University President Sheldon Hackney, a broad campus development plan had been created but never effectively implemented. And now, after several large projects have materialized through the years -- such as the Sansom Common retail complex -- officials deemed necessary a clearly articulated development plan. Under the new plan, a steering committee and five individual working committees -- composed of students, faculty and staff -- have been appointed to examine five key areas of concern for Penn's physical campus. The committees will look at a broad range of issues that affect campus life, including academic purpose and environment; student, faculty and administrative life; historical preservation; transportation and maintenance. The University has also hired Olin Partnership Ltd., a local landscape and architectural design firm -- founded by Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Professor Laurie Olin -- to help conduct a review of the campus for future development. The firm previously designed campus planning strategies at Yale and Duke universities and Harvard Business School. Barchi said that Olin has "national and international expertise [and is] well equipped to critique what we've done and are doing in the future." He also stressed that Olin -- both a Penn professor and West Philadelphia resident -- is sensitive to the needs of the University community. Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Professor Anuradha Mathur -- a member of the student life and administrative life committee -- stressed the importance of careful campus development. "[It's] crucial," she said. "The way the physical environment is designed is crucial to any city."

Rodin OKs new policy on consultation

(04/21/99 9:00am)

The rules deal with how students and favulty should be consulted in administrative decision-making. University President Judith Rodin announced her approval of a newly developed policy on consultation this week, outlining a procedure for administrators to consult with faculty, students and staff regarding developmental decisions at the University. The policy -- created by a University Council committee on consultation, which Rodin appointed in February 1998 -- acknowledges that faculty, students and staff "have a stake in the welfare of the community" and should be consulted in a timely manner about decisions that affect the campus community. The consultation policy applies only to broad-based developmental decisions -- including the creation of the Sansom Common retail project, Huntsman Hall and the University's 1997 decision to outsource facilities management to the Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. management firm -- and does not mandate consultation on academic decisions or issues like the current temporary ban on alcohol at all registered undergraduate events. The policy -- which will soon be added to the Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators, a guide that outlines the University's policies and procedures -- requires that other constituencies be consulted at the same time as the goals for the given project are being formulated and before a final decision is made. The policy was reviewed by the Faculty Senate before Council approved it and recommended it to Rodin at a January meeting. Faculty Senate Chairperson John Keene, a professor of City and Regional Planning and a member of Council's Consultation Committee, said the committee was originally formed because students, faculty and staff felt they had not been sufficiently consulted on the decision to outsource to Trammell Crow in late 1997. Since then, students also have complained that they were excluded from the decision-making process on projects like Sansom Common and the 1998 vending ordinance. Keene, who also heads Council's Steering Committee, said that the new consultation policy "is one of the most important steps that the University Council has taken." He explained that while lines of communication were previously open between faculty and administrators -- such as the regular meetings between the president, provost and Faculty Senate -- there was no official policy for consultation regarding developmental decisions such as the outsourcing of major construction projects. Consultation Committee Chairperson and Law Professor Howard Lesnick stressed the importance of the new policy, noting that "consultation seems to many of us to be a central value in an institution committed to communication." In a message to the University community written last month, Rodin called the new policy a "document that will help guide the consultative process at Penn in constructive and meaningful ways." She added that the policy excludes some business procedures in which the administration must maintain a level of confidentiality. By disclosing such negotiations to the public, Rodin said the "University's negotiating position could be severely undermined." University Council, composed of about 92 Penn faculty, students and staff members, meets monthly to advise the president and provost about issues that affect the University.

Rodin nears 5 years

(04/20/99 9:00am)

A marked increase in academic innovation has been a hallmark of President Judith Rodin's term. When Judith Rodin was tapped by a search committee to assume the role of University president in December 1993, she thought the position would be the perfect outlet for her "passion" for Penn and her desire to improve and develop the institution from which she graduated. "I had a vision for [Penn's] future," said Rodin, adding that she had "an enthusiasm as a leader willing to pull the institution further and further up." And now, five years later, the first permanent female president in the Ivy League has left her mark on Penn in -- among other fields -- the area of academic and strategic planning. This week, The Daily Pennsylvanian examines Rodin's first five years at the helm of the University, focusing on the status of her key initiatives and efforts as well as the woman behind the presidency. In 1995, Rodin launched the Agenda for Excellence, an ambitious strategic plan outlining nine goals and six academic priorities for academic enrichment and campus development, which University officials say has greatly benefitted Penn over the past four years. The plan -- which calls for Penn to be ranked among the top universities of the nation -- seeks to improve funded research opportunities, examine programs of continuing education and increase the use of technology at Penn. Additionally, the Agenda outlines a need for greater integration between Penn and the surrounding community and plans to secure funding in support of the many strategic goals. Four years later, officials point out the tangible changes made under Rodin's agenda -- which is set to expire in early 2001 -- including the development of new interdisciplinary programming, an increase in funded research projects and the creation of the college house system. Additionally, Rodin's fundraising efforts, as a result of the plan, have pushed the endowment to a new high of over $3 billion dollars. Few would dispute that the academic developments Rodin has implemented in her almost five years at the University have enhanced Penn's prestige throughout the nation. Penn has risen to No. 6 on the U.S. News & World Report ranking, and the Class of 2003 accepted just 26.6 percent of applicants, an all-time low. Provost Robert Barchi stressed that while Rodin may not be personally involved in each individual project on campus, she is the driving force behind all the academic and programmatic developments. "She's like a lithium battery backing up a computer," Barchi said. "It may not do all the thinking, but if it isn't there [the computer] doesn't work." Barchi said Rodin has provided Penn students with increased opportunities to pursue nontraditional learning and to "think outside the box" through the development of interdisciplinary study at Penn. Among the eight joint degree programs at Penn is the Management and Technology program, which offers degrees from both the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Wharton School, as well as the Nursing and Health Care Management program, which involves degrees from Wharton and the Nursing School. And prospective students this year will receive a brand new admissions booklet touting the vast array of joint- and dual-degree programs, sub-matriculation programs and cross-disciplinary programs that allow students to experience many facets of Penn's 12 graduate and undergraduate schools. "We do it best," Rodin asserted. "We're the only Ivy that has all of our schools and centers together on one campus [and] we really can create a strategic niche for ourselves that no one else can imitate." Under the Agenda, the University has also increased the number of cross-disciplinary majors, such as Digital Media Design and Molecular Life Sciences. College of Arts and Sciences Dean Richard Beeman said that through Rodin's promotion of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary study, she has "fostered an educational environment of cooperation." Wharton Undergraduate Dean Richard Herring added that Rodin's efforts have led to "a feeling, which is luckily contagious, that this is an institution going places." The commitment to academic development under the Agenda has spawned various new projects over the past few years, including the recently implemented Penn Humanities Forum -- a research center focusing on the humanities -- and the upcoming creation of a new $15 million computer science facility. Rodin has also pushed for academic development beyond the classroom in the creation of the college house system, which divided University residences this year into 12 integrated houses with increased staffing and support services. Director of College Houses and Academic Services David Brownlee praised the creation of the college house system, adding that Rodin's "chief academic contribution has been to improve the environment in which the intellectual work of the University takes place." Rodin says she spends very little time looking back over her career; instead, she said she focuses on the future of the educational system at Penn. And she can point out several areas of concern on the immediate horizon. One is the future of the School of Arts and Sciences. Rodin says she she is pleased with the new SAS strategic plan -- which will build several core departments -- and she wants to ensure that "resources are found to develop areas more fully." "There's a strong feeling that we could be even more interesting and exciting and cutting edge with what we're doing in the College," Rodin said. Another focus will be the use of technology at Penn, Rodin explained. Wharton and the College of General Studies have signed on to satellite learning programs that offer degrees from computer stations across the country. "The question of what we do on campus and what we offer off campus is, as never before, a really compelling question," Rodin said. Tomorrow: The woman behind the University presidency.

Alcohol policy shifts party scene

(04/19/99 9:00am)

Students said the crackdown on drinking on campus resulted in more off-campus house parties. Two words overshadowed Spring Fling this year just like the cloudy gray sky that hung above the Quadrangle: alcohol policy. Many students noted that rather than stopping underage drinking, tighter alcohol restrictions pushed the traditional weekend of drunken revelry off campus into more secretive and unsafe locations. Events of the weekend sent six students to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for alcohol-related illnesses and 16 students received citations for liquor law violations. Outgoing Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Bill Conway, a Wharton junior and a member of the provost-appointed alcohol task force, said, "I think that Fling was more unsafe this year than last." Starting on Wednesday night, security guards checked all bags and packages for alcohol at each of the 12 University college houses -- a Fling weekend procedure that has been in place for several years. And an additional measure limited the amount of alcohol that students who are of legal age could bring into the residences -- to two six-packs of beer or one bottle of spirits. Students were not notified of the change until the weekend. The only restriction on alcohol in the residency agreement that all students are required to sign to live on campus is that legal-age students cannot bring in kegs of beer. But it also notes that the University can amend the agreement at any time. While the task force -- composed of seven faculty members and 14 students -- is developing a new alcohol policy, the committee decided not to implement a new policy before Fling. But students on the committee charged that the various unregulated alcohol-related events this weekend jeopardized student safety. Due to the ban, fraternities could not hold the large on-campus parties that are a hallmark of Fling. Although their on-campus houses were off limits, fraternities still held parties at off-campus locations. One fraternity brother acknowledged that the "majority of fraternity brothers had parties elsewhere, outside of [on-campus] houses. But students noted that smaller unofficial events lack the safety and security restrictions that apply to registered fraternity parties. InterFraternity Council Executive Vice President and College junior Andrew Exum, a Daily Pennsylvanian columnist, said the events have "moved away from large but controlled to small but unregulated." Conway noted that because parties this year were mostly small off-campus events, there were "more unsafe and unregulated conditions." Students also pointed out that fewer parties were held this year in part because of a heightened police presence throughout the weekend. University Police Chief Maureen Rush said that even though there were fewer citations this year than in the past, police officers were present throughout the weekend checking for noisy or unruly gatherings. Alpha Chi Rho President Adam Tritt, an Engineering senior, said this year there was "definitely less going on," adding that people were "wandering around streets looking for a party that wasn't broken up." Not only did students face stricter policy enforcement throughout the weekend but Penn officials also employed various measures to combat alcohol abuse and use among students who live on campus. Task force members said that they were aware that bag checks would be utilized, but according to Tangible Change Committee Chairperson and College senior Samara Barend, they were not told about the specific rules for the residents who are of legal age. At least four students were cited by the police attempting to smuggle alcohol into the residences. Events over the weekend -- sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life -- included a Spring Fling Carnival in Hamilton Village and free tickets to The Matrix and The Mod Squad at Cinemagic on Saturday night. And the Tangible Change Committee sponsored a barbeque on College Green from midnight to 2 a.m. on Saturday morning and a pancake breakfast from midnight to 3 a.m. on Sunday. Barend said that the events were "very successful," adding that approximately 2,500 people attended the barbeque and at least 1,000 attended the pancake breakfast. But Barend added that while this programming "complements" the other events that occur during Fling, it should not replace registered undergraduate parties.

For love or money?

(04/16/99 9:00am)

Professors at Penn earn salaries comparable to their colleagues at other Ivy League schools. and Eric Tucker Though they breed students who land the highest-paying jobs in the nation, most Penn professors acknowledge that they will never be the ones earning millions. But the University's professors, for the most part, say they are content with their earnings in comparison to other Ivy League salaries. Recent statistics show that Penn professors' salaries are competitive within the Ivy League. In fact, the University's average salary placed second in the Ivies and first in the state of Pennsylvania, according to the 1997-98 edition of Academe, the Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors. Penn pays an average of $105,616 to its full professors, $69,585 to its associate professors and $62,527 to its assistants, according to a recently released report from the Faculty Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty. These averages include the salaries from nine of Penn's 12 undergraduate and graduate schools -- excluding only the Medical, Veterinary and Nursing schools. Faculty from those latter three schools are excluded because they generally earn very small teaching salaries but take in much more revenue -- sometimes as much as several hundred thousand dollars -- from their clinical practices. But by combining the salaries of the well-paid Wharton and Law professors with the lower-paid professors in the other graduate schools and the School of Arts and Sciences, the actual average figures become exaggerated. And there are dissident voices who complain that the higher salaries earned by some professors create a campus-wide sense of intellectual inequality. The Ivy Rankings According to the Academe, Penn offers competitive salaries to professors in comparison with its peer institutions. The $105,616 mean salary for a full professor at Penn is slightly lower than the impressive $116,800 offered to full professors at Harvard University and $110,000 paid to full professors at Princeton University. Yet Penn offers significantly more than Cornell University, where full professors earn $89,900. Although the salaries for full professors at Penn may be in the middle range across the Ivy League, both the University's associate and assistant professor salaries match up very well with those at peer institutions. "We have to be competitive with our peers in areas of compensation and support," said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Richard Beeman. "Our peers are not only the best universities in the country but they're frequently the wealthiest universities in the country." Associate professors at Penn receive a mean salary of $69,585, and assistant professors earn $62,527. These rates are higher than those for both jobs at Harvard, Princeton and Cornell. Assistant Psychology Professor Sharon Thompson-Schill said she was satisfied with her $55,000 salary, adding that it is significantly higher than those of many of her peers in academia. "Across the board, across the nation for psychology, it's in the $40,000 range," she explained. And Associate Economics Professor Jose-Victor Rios-Rull said he would not expect to earn any more money at another Ivy League institution. "If some university wants to hire me who is in the same class as Penn, [Penn] would typically match the salary," he noted. At Harvard, non-tenured professors earn slightly lower salaries at both levels -- $64,300 for associate professors and $60,900 for assistant professors. Princeton associate professors receive $65,400 and assistant professors get $51,000. Finally, at Cornell, associate professors earn $64,200 and assistant professors earn $56,200. According to several Penn administrators, the University is firmly resolved to match offers made by rival institutions and generally does what it can to recruit and retain faculty members. Beeman cited Penn's "strong determination not to let salary be the decisive factor in losing a faculty member who we really want to keep." And Associate Provost Barbara Lowery claimed that "when schools want to retain faculty who have received offers from competing institutions, there is every effort made to match or exceed the offer." Across the Board But while Penn's mean salaries appear very competitive, the average figures actually combine salary rates from nine different graduate and undergraduate schools. The mean salary, for example, does not differentiate between the traditionally wealthy Wharton School and the less-heavily financed SAS -- a fact that ostensibly makes the average salary rate misleading. SAS Dean Samuel Preston attributed the disparity between Wharton faculty salaries and SAS faculty salaries to simple "market forces." Although the Faculty Senate does not release average salary rates for individual academic schools to the University community at large, some faculty members acknowledge that the salary differences among schools is obvious and well-documented. "What is adamantly clear is that a feature of this University is the enormous variation in salary scales between different schools," said Roger Allen, a full professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, adding that the "publication of information [on salaries in different schools] would cause severe distress." Allen, who is a former member of the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty -- which releases an annual report of Penn's faculty salaries -- noted that his salary is "radically" lower than the average $105,616 reported by the University. And one assistant History professor claimed that professors in the humanities are notoriously paid less than professors in business or medicine. "There's a discrepancy between the value placed on humanities and the value placed on other things," said the professor, who requested anonymity. "My most talented students don't want to pursue history because they don't want to be poor," the professor added. Still, despite the existing disparities among Penn's different schools, most professors in the area of humanities maintain that their earnings never discouraged them from pursuing their passion. In addition, professors accept their salaries as standard rates in the academic world. "I never saw myself as a corporate executive," said the assistant History professor. Recruitment and Retention When Thompson-Schill received her graduate degree in 1996, she immediately entered the academic job market looking for a competitive salary, strong research facilities and affordable housing. And now, at Penn, the 28-year-old incoming assistant Psychology professor claims to be quite content with her job status, which will officially begin this summer. "I was pleasantly surprised by how much money they offered me," said Thompson-Schill, who noted that her $55,000 salary was one of many factors that attracted her to the University. But Thompson-Schill's job search was not only contingent upon salary. With Ivy League universities offering relatively comparable salaries, prospective professors like Thompson-Schill must now weigh a number of factors when choosing between institutions. In short, it's not just the money doing the talking. Among the various criteria that many professors consider important are the academic prestige of the institution, the surrounding area, access to research facilities and the reputation of the respective department. "[Salary] was not the No. 1 factor. The No. 1 factor was a combination of the quality of the place and the geographic location," one associate Economics professor said. Indeed, many professors noted that they valued the affordable residential options offered in University City and promoted through Penn housing initiatives and that they also enjoyed the benefits of living in a major metropolis. "It's relatively cheap to live in Philadelphia," noted one assistant History professor, who currently owns a home in West Philadelphia. "If I were to live in Manhattan on my salary, I'd have to have a roommate." Yet another key recruitment device is the "start-up package" offered to potential employees, which generally includes specific provisions for research projects, such as lab space and equipment and adequate time to conduct research or write books and other analytical papers. Before hiring actually occurs, a prospective professor presents the University with a list of specified needs and estimated costs. Each individual case is then evaluated by Preston. According to both administrators and faculty members, the ensuing negotiations -- which result in a start-up package offer -- are a critical point in the hiring process. "[Start-up packages] are every bit as important, if not more important, than actual salaries," said Beeman. In addition, SAS is making a renewed effort to attract top-rate professors with its recent announcement that it would offer a $5,000 research fund to each newly appointed assistant professor and another $5,000 upon promotion to associate professor -- a move that administrators hope will supplement the already substantial start-up packages. Between salaries, start-up packages and the newly offered research funds, professors weigh a host of financial factors before officially committing to a job. And whatever price the University might pay individual professors, most faculty members, collectively, are neither surprised nor disappointed with the amount of money they make. "It's what I expected. I never tried to decide between history and something else," the History professor said.

Alcohol ban not lifted for Spring Fling

(04/15/99 9:00am)

The provost-appointed alcohol task force chose not to create special rules for the upcoming Fling weekend. At the fifth meeting of the provost-appointed alcohol task force yesterday afternoon -- scheduled specifically to discuss the alcohol policies surrounding Spring Fling -- the committee decided not to recommend lifting the temporary ban on alcohol use or implement any new policies for the upcoming weekend. Though the committee did not pass any tangible resolutions at yesterday's meeting, officials did announce a variety of non-alcoholic events designed to provide students with social options for the weekend. According to Provost Robert Barchi, the committee -- composed of 14 students and seven faculty and staff members -- discussed modifying the ban on alcohol for Fling but chose to focus instead on developing its long-term alcohol policy. Barchi said the recommendations for a new alcohol policy will be submitted to University President Judith Rodin over the next few weeks. Several committee members said they support the decision to keep the ban and focus on the long-term policy changes. Wharton senior and committee member Jeff Snyder, formerly the InterFraternity Council's vice president for rush, said the committee unanimously decided not to create new policies for Fling. "We feel that the long-term interest of the University would not be served by creating a policy just for this weekend," he said, adding that any new policy "that was well thought out would not be effectively implemented." Panhellenic Council President Becca Iverson, a College junior, added that the committee has "all these great ideas" for the new policy, but that they don't want to release it until it is fully developed. At a task force meeting last week, Rodin approved a resolution for increased non-alcoholic programming at Fling. And although the alcohol ban will be in place over Fling, committee members stressed that students can attend a wide array of University-sponsored events to have a fun and safe weekend. Other events now planned for the weekend -- sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life -- include an expanded Spring Fling Carnival in Hamilton Village, free movie tickets to The Mod Squad and The Matrix at Cinemagic on Saturday night and a Fling Fitness Fest Sunday morning from midnight to 2 a.m. at the Katz Fitness Center in Gimbel Gymnasium. The Tangible Change Committee already announced additional Fling programming last week, including a barbeque Saturday morning from midnight to 2 a.m. and a pancake breakfast Sunday morning at the same time. Iverson said the committee wants students to be aware of the various activities scheduled for this weekend, whether they choose to attend or not. "There definitely will be students who want to play midnight basketball and students who want to go to parties," she said, adding that "we want to create multiple options." Barchi said that "safety and security of students was a paramount issue" for the committee and will be the chief concern as the committee evaluates alcohol abuse at Penn and tries to create the new policy. He added that he hopes the committee can find an effective plan "without the Draconian measures of being a dry campus." Rodin approved several committee resolutions after the two task force meetings last week. On Tuesday, she approved a measure allowing student organizations to hold events -- such as fraternity and sorority formals and charity functions -- at establishments that serve alcohol. On Thursday, in addition to approving the creation of more non-alcoholic programming during Fling, Rodin agreed to a recommendation permitting Senior Week to continue as scheduled.

Alcohol task force makes no Fling rules

(04/14/99 9:00am)

The group will meet again today to discuss possible recommendations for Spring Fling weekend. Though Spring Fling is just days away, the provost-appointed alcohol task force did not pass any resolutions regarding the event at its fourth meeting yesterday evening. The committee -- composed of 14 students and seven faculty members -- has scheduled an extra meeting for today in hopes of generating specific recommendations for the alcohol policies surrounding Fling, which will be held this weekend. Wharton senior and committee member Jeff Snyder, formerly the InterFraternity Council's vice president for rush, said the committee discussed the issues surrounding Fling and "our hope in meeting [Wednesday] is to closely examine Fling and see if the committee can come up with policies for this weekend." IFC Executive Vice President and College junior Andrew Exum said the committee is currently discussing different options for Fling, such as recommending a temporary policy for the weekend to replace the current ban on alcohol or attempting to finalize the committee's long-term alcohol policy -- which is still in the works -- before the weekend. But Exum, a Daily Pennsylvanian columnist, noted that although the group is working on a "great long-term plan, [it is] not sure if it's something we can implement two days before Fling." "There are a lot of dogs in our plan right now that aren't ready to hunt," he said. According to Exum, the committee wants to be careful not to implement the new and permanent alcohol policy before being certain it can work. Provost Robert Barchi stressed that the committee made "substantial progress" yesterday in its discussion about alcohol abuse issues and the temporary ban on alcohol at all registered undergraduate parties. Barchi refused to comment on Spring Fling or the possible outcome of today's meeting. Beyond the discussion of Fling, the task force also contemplated the long-term issues of alcohol abuse on campus and listened to reports from two of the three subcommittees that were created last Thursday to closely examine alcohol issues. The responsibility and accountability subcommittee discussed group versus individual responsibility for alcohol-related incidents, according to Exum. He said the committee suggested the development of consistent disciplinary procedures -- through bodies such as the Office of Student Conduct -- for organizations and individuals involved in alcohol-related incidents. And according to Undergraduate Assembly Vice Chairperson Michael Bassik, a College sophomore, the alcohol abuse subcommittee talked about the "logistics" of registered undergraduate parties -- how to "control drinking at on-campus parties" through measures such as checking for proper identification. The third committee, which is looking at health and safety issues, did not have time to present its report yesterday. University President Judith Rodin approved several committee resolutions after the two task force meetings last week. On Tuesday, Rodin agreed to a resolution allowing student organizations to hold events -- such as fraternity and sorority formals or charity functions -- at off-campus establishments licensed to serve alcohol. And last Thursday, she approved a recommendation permitting Senior Week to continue as scheduled and another on the development of more non-alcoholic programming during Fling.

Top professors garner Lindback Awards

(04/14/99 9:00am)

A committee of faculty and students awarded the highest teaching honor at Penn to eight University professors. Eight University professors have been selected by a committee of students and previous award winners to receive the prestigious Lindback Award for excellence in teaching. A ninth faculty member will be recognized with the Provost's Award. Provost Robert Barchi will hand out the awards at a ceremony April 22 at the Veranda. According to Terri Conn, executive assistant to the vice provost for University Life, the independent Lindback Foundation has annually honored standing faculty members since 1961. Four of the $3,000 Lindback Awards are allotted to professors in the health-related schools -- Nursing, Medical, Dental and Veterinary -- while the remaining four are given to faculty in the other eight graduate and undergraduate schools. In the health care fields, this year's winners are Veterinary Parasitology and Pathobiology Professor James Lok and three professors from the Medical School: Anesthesia Professor Robert Gaiser, Pulmonary and Critical Care Professor John Hansen-Flaschen and Pharmacology Professor David Manning. The winners from the eight other schools are Physics and Astronomy Professor Chung-Pei Ma, Law and History Professor Bruce Mann, Classical Studies Professor Brent Shaw and Folklore Professor Robert St. George. Barchi will give the Provost's Award -- which Conn said honors an instructor who is not on the standing faculty -- to History and Sociology of Science instructor Janet Tighe. According to Mann, the Lindback Award is valuable because students are partially responsible for choosing the winners. "The students are why I teach," said Mann, who has taught at Penn for the past 12 years. "It pleases me enormously to be recognized by the students." Mann said his nominations were from various students he has taught over the past decade and he was flattered that they "felt strongly enough" to recommend him. And Lok said that he appreciated the award and the student support he received. "I hope that the support from my students came because they think [my teaching] will have a lasting impact on their careers," he said, adding that all of this year's recipients are highly distinguished. "It feels like being in very good company," he said. The committee has been evaluating candidates for the awards since February, Conn said. She added that the committee reviewed student evaluations and letters of recommendation for the respective teachers to determine the winners.

U. wins $1m. in NEH grants

(04/13/99 9:00am)

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded Penn four grants last Thursday totaling just under $1 million. Penn was the only institution to receive four NEH grants this year, which will help preserve the University's collections of rare artifacts and aid academic research endeavors, according to NEH spokesperson Jim Turner. The NEH gave out 269 awards -- totalling $28.9 million -- in funding to aid the preservation of the artifacts and promote educational programming. Turner explained that the reason Penn received four awards is because the NEH recognizes that "Penn has quality materials that are of national significance." The University Museum will receive a sizable $700,000 -- one of the two largest grants disbursed -- to aid the rehousing of perishable ethnographic and archeological artifacts. The collections will relocate to a new $16.7 million wing, for which construction is scheduled to begin next spring. Museum Director Jeremy Sabloff said he was "thrilled" about the grant, which will enable the museum to place materials in "secure climate-controlled environments." The Rare Book and Manuscript Library in Van Pelt Library will acquire $62,720 to arrange and catalogue the Leopold Stokowski collection. The collection is composed of papers, scores and memorabilia from Stokowski -- who led the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1912 to 1941 -- and was given to Penn by the Curtis Institute of Music last year. Curator of Manuscripts Nancy Shawcross -- who will oversee the project -- explained that the materials need to be cared for because "Stokowski was such a big presence in 20th century music." In addition to the $62,720 grant, the Stokowski project will receive $15,000 in matching funds if the University can raise the same amount. Turner explained that when the NEH "cannot give a grantee the full amount [they requested]," it sometimes uses matching programs to serve as a fundraising incentive for the project. The final two grants both aid projects that Turner said will provide "intellectual access" to both the University community and the wider world. The NEH granted Penn $109,860 for the preparation of the third volume of a proposed eight-volume dictionary of the Old High German language. German Professor Albert Lloyd will direct this project. And a $126,993 grant will fund the development of a World Wide Web-based version of Middle English documents from the period between the years 1100 and 1500 to aid scholars in their research of the history of the English language. Linguistics Department Chairperson Anthony Kroch is in charge of the project. Another Philadelphia institution receiving an NEH grant this year is the American Musicological Society, which will use the $100,000 grant to continue preparing a series of scholarly editions of American music from the late 18th century to the present.

Three candidates left in ICA dir. search

(04/12/99 9:00am)

Officials on the search committee for a new director of the Institute of Contemporary Art announced that the pool of candidates for the position has been narrowed down to a final three contenders. According to committee participant and provost's office staff member Bonnie Gibson, the three candidates will be coming to campus over the next few weeks for "extensive interviews." Due to the confidentiality of the search process, the committee would not reveal the names of the candidates. Gibson said the candidates will undergo a second round of interviews this month, which will be "more telling" as the candidates undergo multiple interviews with the search committee members. Upon completion of the second interviews, the committee will present their recommendations to Provost Robert Barchi, who will then make the final decision regarding the new director. The ICA, located at 36th and Sansom streets and overseen by the provost's office, has long featured avant-garde exhibits of contemporary art. The committee, consisting of three University representatives -- Graduate School of Fine Arts Dean Gary Hack, School of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Rebecca Bushnell and Gibson, as well as three ICA representatives -- remains optimistic that it will meet the targeted hiring date of July 1. Gibson, however, said the date may be a "little aggressive," though she added that the committee has been "pleased with their progress" thus far and that July 1 remains the goal. Judith Tannenbaum, the ICA's associate director and curator, said that she thinks there is a "good possibility" that the position will be filled over the summer. The search has been in progress for five months since former Director Patrick Murphy stepped down in November. Tannenbaum has served as interim director since January. With the aid of the Management Consultants for the Arts, a consulting firm, the committee originally identified nine candidates for the job, Gibson said. After the first round of interviews, the committee then pared the list down to the current three contenders. According to Gibson, the position requires "someone with strong credentials in contemporary art, management experience and fundraising experience." Tannenbaum noted that she will be glad when a new director assumes the position because currently she is effectively "doing two full-time jobs" and she would like to devote more time to the curating responsibilities under her normal position. Murphy served as director for eight years and announced his resignation last September. He will return to his native Ireland to assume a similar position this summer.

Rodin OKs plans for Senior Week, Fling BBQ event

(04/09/99 9:00am)

Several non-alcoholic events are planned for the two nights of Fling. After the third meeting of the provost-appointed alcohol task force yesterday, University President Judith Rodin approved a recommendation permitting Senior Week to continue as planned and another on the development of more sponsored non-alcoholic programming during Spring Fling. The alcohol task force also formed three subcommittees to more closely examine campus alcohol issues. Rodin said she approved the recommendations because the University "had to respond to some of the immediate events." The committee has tried to address policies regarding student events at both of their meetings this week. After Tuesday's meeting, Rodin approved a recommendation allowing student organizations to hold events -- including fraternity and sorority formals and last night's Penn Rocks for the Homeless charity event -- at off-campus establishments licensed to serve alcohol. Rodin said Senior Week will go on as long as students follow the standard safety and security guidelines outlined in the University's alcohol policy and state and federal law. The committee also discussed alcohol policies surrounding Fling -- which will be held April 16 and 17 -- and recommended more sponsored programming that would provide venues for students during the weekend. The Tangible Change Committee, for example, will sponsor a barbeque after Friday night's Fling Concert. The event, with food and a DJ, will be from midnight to 2 a.m. Saturday morning on College Green, according to Tangible Change Committee Chairperson and College senior Samara Barend. Barend added that her group's event will be "another area for people to mingle together since there won't be that many large-scale parties." Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Bill Conway said the committee is aware of students' concerns about the stringent alcohol policies and events surrounding Fling. "Every student who has talked to me has asked about Fling," the Wharton junior noted. In another attempt to provide students with activities during the weekend, the pancake breakfast outside Class of 1920 Commons will run from midnight to 2 a.m. Sunday morning. It will be enlarged to accommodate up to 2,000 students -- twice the attendance at last year's breakfast, Barend said. She added that the committee will discuss the possibility of further programming next week. In addition to preparing the two recommendations, Rodin said that the committee "really stepped back" and discussed the overall alcohol related problems at Penn. At yesterday's meeting, the task force formed three subcommittees of four to eight members each to examine specific issues relating to alcohol abuse. The committees will review these issues over the weekend and report back to the entire task force on Tuesday. The first committee will look at health and safety concerns, including the issue of citing hospitalized students and the availability of alcohol abuse counseling programs on campus. Rodin said the second committee will discuss student responsibility for alcohol use and the accountability of students for both themselves and their peers when using alcohol. "If we accept the student request to be responsible, what kind of accountability do you associate with that responsibility?" Rodin asked. The third and final committee will look at the broader problem of alcohol abuse and try to determine methods to minimize risks for students and also increase the alcohol-free social options available on campus. A fourth subcommittee could be formed soon to examine alcohol culture. Conway explained that smaller groups can cover more issues. "In our larger group meetings we weren't able to get as much accomplished as we would like," he said.

U. approves plan to allow alcohol at formal events

(04/08/99 9:00am)

The decision marks the first relaxation of Penn's temporary alcohol ban. University President Judith Rodin approved the first set of recommendations to come out of the provost-appointed alcohol task force yesterday, allowing student organizations to once more hold events at off-campus establishments licensed to serve alcohol. Rodin's approval represents the first signs of tangible modifications to the administration's temporary alcohol policy which bans alcohol at all registered undergraduate events. There is still no timetable for a total repeal of the ban, Rodin said. The affected events, subject to University-regulated stipulations, specifically include fraternity and sorority formals scheduled over the next few weeks as well as the charity event Penn Rocks for the Homeless, scheduled for tonight. Groups must adhere to several conditions in order to hold the events. The task force -- consisting of 14 students and seven faculty and staff members -- outlined a strict set of regulations that the organizations must follow when holding events, including a limit of two guests per group member, wristbands on attendees who are of age and the presence of legal-age peer monitors. Also, organizers must submit a guest list that identifies those who are over 21. And the vendor must sign an agreement with Penn promising to abide by University alcohol policies and local, state and federal laws. Rodin praised the efforts of the committee, noting that "this is the kind of progress we had hoped for." At the meeting, committee members also developed a list of the other types of social events that might involve alcohol -- such as on-campus fraternity parties and other on-campus events -- to determine on a case-by-case basis over the next few weeks whether the ban can be lifted on any or all of them. According to committee members, the resolution on events at off-campus establishments was developed first because various fraternity and sorority formals have already been planned for the last few weeks of the semester. Undergraduate Assembly Vice Chairperson Michael Bassik, a College sophomore and Zeta Beta Tau brother, said there was a sense of "urgency" regarding this issue because "for contractual reasons, fraternities and sororities need to know before certain deadlines if they can hold formals." Another task force meeting is scheduled for today. Provost Robert Barchi said that while the committee wants to work efficiently as it evaluates alcohol policies, each meeting will not necessarily reap "specific recommendations." "The issues we're dealing with are big issues," said Barchi, adding that alcohol-related issues are "global issues that cut across a number of the contexts that we're talking about." In addition to the discussion of off-campus events, Bassik said the students on the committee presented a series of recommendations that they developed at an open forum on Monday. Suggestions included the development of mandatory alcohol education for freshman, developing a World Wide Web site to inform students about the progress of the task force and holding a town meeting where Rodin could address the students about alcohol issues at Penn. While Rodin noted that the recommendations from the open meeting -- which was attended by approximately 20 students -- were "good food for thought," she does not plan to hold a town meeting in the near future. "I don't think that that's useful at this point in time," Rodin said, explaining that students should voice their concerns to their peers on the task force. Students will be able to follow the progress of the task force through a Web site that will be up early next week, Bassik said.

JOKE ISSUE/Rodin admits owning a home in Bryn Mawr

(04/07/99 9:00am)

Penn's president says she prefers the Main Line to her on-campus home. Though Penn provides the University President with an official on-campus residence, Eisenlohr Hall located at 3812 Walnut Street, Judith Rodin doesn't even keep a toothbrush there, according to real estate records discovered yesterday. The records show that when the working day ends, Rodin leaves the city limits for her spacious home in Bryn Mawr, an affluent suburb about 20 minutes west of Philadelphia. Currently valued at $850,000, Rodin's suburban house -- which she purchased when she took office in 1994 -- is one of four funky and upscale homes owned by Penn's seventh president. In addition, Rodin, her 17-year-old son Alex Niejelow and her husband Paul Verkuil -- dean of the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City -- own a residence in Greenwich Village in New York City and a house in Queenstown, Md. Rodin currently commands a combined salary and compensation package of $514,878 -- making her the highest paid president in the Ivy League and the third highest paid private college president in in the country. For several years Rodin has claimed that her campus residence is her only home in the Philadelphia area. But she now acknowledges that she did not reveal information about her Bryn Mawr estate for personal reasons. "I have tried to conceal the whereabouts of my house to maintain some privacy for my son, my husband and myself," said Rodin, who added that "in a high-pressure job such as mine, it's important to have a quiet place to retreat to." She also noted that her son's high school is located conveniently nearby. Various other administrators live in suburbs along the Main Line. The strip, which got its name from its proximity to the Paoli local railway, consists of more than 20 towns, including Bala Cynwyd, Narbeth, Haverford, Ardmore, Bryn Mawr and Radnor. Health System Chief Executive Officer and Medical School Dean William Kelley is a fellow Bryn Mawr resident, the owner of a stunning, $770,000 house located just a few blocks away from Rodin. And Executive Vice President John Fry owns a $730,000 home in Haverford. Despite two recently created programs that provide loans and monetary rewards to faculty members and staff who live in the surrounding neighborhood, few administrators live in the West Philadelphia area. "I feel more comfortable living with small children in such a safe area," said Fry, adding that the he appreciates the spacious, attractive suburbs after working long days in the city and he is "sure that Judy feels the same." Indeed, "Judy," as her neighbors all call her, is an active and popular person in the area. Mary-Beth Reynolds, a homemaker who lives across the street from Rodin, said that she often sees Rodin out gardening or walking her dog, Butterfinger. "She is a real fun gal," Reynolds noted. "Why, she planned the Fourth of July block party all by herself. All the neighbors came and Judy was grilling burgers and Paul set off the fireworks." Students said they were angry they were not consulted on Rodin's decision to buy a suburban home. They are planning a rally to protest the issue later this week.

U. to award five honorary degrees next month

(04/06/99 9:00am)

The University will award honorary degrees to five recipients at the 243rd Commencement on May 17, University President Judith Rodin announced yesterday in a press release. The recipients include former tennis star Billie Jean King, who won 20 Wimbledon Championships and 13 U.S. Open Championships and was ranked the No. 1 player in the world seven times between 1966 and 1974. Another recipient is Gerda Lerner, a scholar in women's history and a founding member of the National Organization for Women. She is joined by Earl Reece Stadtman, a prominent researcher at the National Institute of Health who is "recognized as a pioneer in the field of enzyme regulation," according to the University's press release. The list also includes Isabella Lugoski Karle, the head of the X-ray Diffraction Section in the Laboratory for the Structure of Matter at the Naval Research Laboratory. Karle, through her X-ray structure research, has established the experimental procedures used worldwide for molecular structure analysis using electron and X-ray differentiation. And the Commencement speaker, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. According to the press release, Rubin's portfolio "is without boundaries and his impact is felt around the world as he balances the economic and financial needs of a global economy." The University announced that Rubin would be the Commencement speaker last month. He and his four fellow degree recipients will appear at Franklin Field on May 17 in front of graduates from Penn's 12 undergraduate and graduate schools. The number of honorary degree recipients is slightly lower this year than in the past. Last year, the University bestowed degrees upon eight men and women -- including the speaker, former President Jimmy Carter; Federal Reserve Board Chairperson Alan Greenspan; author Maurice Sendak and opera singer Jessye Norman. University spokesperson Ken Wildes explained that there's "no magic number" and that ultimately the number of people depends on the results of the search committee. University Secretary Rose McManus, who works with the committee, was unavailable yesterday.

At forum, students discuss alcohol ban

(04/06/99 9:00am)

Approximately 20 students attended an open forum yesterday organized by members of the provost-appointed alcohol task force to discuss the administration's temporary ban on alcohol at all undergraduate registered events. Although the attendance was lower than the task force members had hoped for -- considering that between 800 and 1,000 students attended a rally on College Green last week to protest the new alcohol policy -- the two-hour discussion resulted in a list of 14 possible ideas that could curb alcohol abuse on campus without banning alcohol at specific events. Students discussed both short-term goals -- such as lifting the alcohol ban before Spring Fling -- and long-term goals, which include developing solutions to combat the alcohol abuse problems at Penn. The task force members plan to review the 14 suggestions and present the best of them to the rest of the task force at the committee's meeting today, according to Undergraduate Assembly Vice Chairperson Michael Bassik, a College sophomore. The student suggestions included a mandatory alcohol education class for freshmen, increased non-alcoholic programming and the use of emergency medical technicians at fraternity parties to examine students. Another proposal the students suggested was to organize a town meeting where University President Judith Rodin could explain to students her goals for the development of alcohol policy. College senior Andrew Ross, who does not sit on the committee, said he would "like to have her stand [up] and tell us why she's doing what she's doing." Several students pointed to a lack of fun non-alcoholic activities at Penn. College senior Michael Kraver, a member of the task force, said many students think that if they can't drink, there is no reason for them to go out. He said that Penn needs to "change the culture" of alcohol use. Some suggestions for non alcoholic options included jazz shows, group events and video stores that would stay open past midnight. Task force members also explained to students at the forum that the current alcohol ban is a temporary measure and that the administration is willing to work with the student body to find a better solution to the alcohol abuse problems on campus. "The dry policy is really temporary," Bassik said. "It's not a solution and they want to get rid of it as much as we do." A final point that students stressed was the need to notify the campus about the progress of the task force by e-mail or through a proposed World Wide Web site that would post alcohol policy ideas and invite student responses. Task force committee member and Wharton senior Jeff Snyder, formerly the InterFraternity Council's vice president of rush, said the small meeting proved to be productive. Snyder cited the last-minute scheduling of the meeting as well as lowered student awareness of the event due to the recent holiday as possible reasons for the meager turn-out.

Fry, Barchi collaborate on new capital projects

(04/01/99 10:00am)

With several projects springing up all over campus that place a dual focus on academic and capital planning, University Provost Robert Barchi and Executive Vice President John Fry say their offices are working closer together now than ever before. Due to a recently updated capital planning process -- which utilizes increased surveillance from the offices of both the provost and the EVP -- the two officials have decided to "step up interactions" for campus planning, according to Fry. Vice President for Facilities Services Omar Blaik said his department spearheaded a six-month evaluation of the capital planning process that resulted in the recent changes. Blaik explained that the new process requires the provost and the EVP to evaluate any projects before presenting their results to the Capital Council, an administrative committee chaired by University President Judith Rodin that approves campus projects. Previously, Blaik explained, projects were not evaluated in such detail in the capital planning process. In fact, deans could examine their resources for a project by contacting the Office of the Executive Vice President and taking the proposal straight to the Capital Council. But since that process lacked approval by both the provost and EVP, a project's academic and institutional goals were often left undefined. Now, with the new capital planning process in place, a dean must bring a proposal to the provost, who evaluates the project's academic priorities. Once that part of the process is complete, the EVP evaluates the project's cost and available funding. And only after both departments review the proposed project is it presented to the Capital Council. Citing projects like the upcoming Quadrangle renovations, the construction of a $120 million facility for the Wharton School and the recently announced renovations to Skinner Hall, both Barchi and Fry said their offices are working closely on projects that require academic and financial attention. The relationship between the offices went "from a good [relationship] to a terrific one," said Fry, who oversees campus retail and development projects like Sansom Common. Both officials stressed that all projects ultimately seek to further the academic goals of the University. "Everything we do will have an academic component and an operational component," Barchi said, adding that "it's very difficult to separate what we do academically from what we do operationally." Although their departments clearly play different roles -- with Barchi's falling on the more academic side of the spectrum -- Fry agreed that the "academic mission" is the chief concern of all University officials. "There's an easy misconception that we're somehow divorced from the product," Fry said. "But we love the mission. That's how most of us get our charge." Barchi noted that the Quad renovations epitomize the type of project that utilizes both administrative offices, since they align the "major capital expenditures" of the project with the stated academic goals of the college house system. Fry and Barchi said they meet several times a week to discuss such ongoing planning. Indeed, as Fry noted, he and Barchi are "pretty much joined at the hip."