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Dozens voice support for student services at rally

(12/09/93 10:00am)

Their eyes, tearing from December winds, peered into the windows that surround McClelland Hall. Inside, University Council – a body of administrators, professors and student leaders – watched the dozens of students who had come to voice their support for student services. The rally was organized in response to rampant – and as yet unsubstantiated – rumors that the University is planning a major shakeup in the Vice Provost for University Life's office. Inside, administrators denied such intentions. The showdown wasn't exactly a revolution, and before long, the student crowd dwindled to a diehard core. But as the University's big wigs discussed the future of the VPUL and the services which it provides, it was hard for them to ignore the ruddy faces that pressed against the glass, oftentimes fogging the windows. The demonstration began 15 minutes before last week's Council meeting. Addressing the crowd from the Junior Balcony, Performing Arts Council Chairperson Bardo Ramirez challenged Interim Provost Marvin Lazerson to accept a list of student demands for increased participation in University decisions. A set of three bedsheets, neatly spray painted with green lettering and hanging from the balcony, echoed the Wharton senior's speech. "No changes to Division of University Life without student input and approval," read one banner. "No decisions made over break," said another. The last sheet dared Lazerson to make a "commitment to these demands in writing by Dec. 13." Rally organizer Mary McGuire, head of the Reach-a-Peer Line, stepped up to the balcony and lobbed a volley of rhetorical questions at Lazerson. "When was the last time you set foot in the Women's Center?" McGuire screamed to the cheers of students below her. "When was the last time you went to the Greenfield Intercultural Center, if you know where it is?" she continued. Although students cheered to a few of the speakers' statements, the rally was mostly subdued, with packs of the approximately 200 students talking amongst themselves most of the time. The largest bloc of support came from the performing arts community. Members cheered the news from inside the meeting that Lazerson supports theater space in the proposed Revlon Center with a rumble that carried through McClelland's walls. Students said they came to the Quad to let the administration know they cannot be easily manipulated. "I've used at least 10 different services that students run. How would I get half the things I get done without them?" asked College and Wharton sophomore Stephanie Kleban. College junior Aron Greenberg said he hoped the crowd would be bigger. "It would be nice if there were a few more people here," Greenberg said.

Fear of VPUL shakeup heightens

(12/07/93 10:00am)

New head requests resumes from all 300 staff members In a move that heightened student leaders' fears that the Vice Provost for University Life's office is about to undergo a major shakeup, several University life employees were asked to submit resumes and departmental evaluations to the incoming VPUL. But Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, who will assume the position to be vacated by Kim Morrisson on January 1, said her intentions should "not be misconstrued in any way." McCoullum said the request for resumes was one of the quickest ways she could acquaint herself with the 300 VPUL staff members. In a "transition memo" to the employees, she enclosed a copy of her own resume, so that "people could get to know" her better. In the same memo, she asked employees to evaluate their departmental goals and vision in the upcoming months. But Bardo Ramirez, chairperson of the Performing Arts Council and a student who has been outspoken against VPUL changes, said the resume request might be the start of a plan to reduce staff at the VPUL office, which oversees the Student Activities Council, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and Residential Living, among other departments. "The closest she can come to being human is asking for resumes," said Wharton senior Ramirez. "The worst way to look at it is that their jobs are in jeopardy." McCoullum responded vaguely to questions that the VPUL might be considering staff reductions. "All I can tell you is that my intent is to do the best we can to make Penn exemplary in all areas," she said. Her prime concern, she said, is protecting student interests. McCoullum did not say whether those same interests would be served by changes at VPUL. She did acknowledge, however, that "in any transition there are changes." "But changes are opportunities to move forward," McCoullum said. "I've always viewed change as something that brings excitement to an institution." Larry Moneta, associate vice provost for University life, said the recent actions have "been unnerving," but "no one has spoken with" him about a possible realignment. "I don't know what the intentions are," Moneta said. Ramirez said student leaders are not categorically opposed to changes at VPUL. He worries most that students will not be consulted on plans which Interim Provost Marvin Lazerson and McCoullum are considering. "It's understandable that there have to be cost reductions, however, a big fear is that they could be political," Ramirez said. Lazerson said he does not have a "battle plan" in his "back pocket."

Student leaders fear major U. Life shakeup

(12/06/93 10:00am)

Cite VPUL Morrisson's transfer as evidence of changes Student leaders said last night they are worried that Interim Provost Marvin Lazerson is contemplating a major shakeup in the Vice Provost for University Life's office. Such a realignment, they said, could eliminate or reduce many student activities and services which fall under the VPUL, such as academic advising, the Greenfield Intercultural Center and the Student Activities Council. Lazerson did not return phone calls made to his home last night. The students' concerns follow last week's reassignment of Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson to the provost's office. Associate Vice President Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum will fill her post for six months beginning January 1. Bardo Ramirez, chairperson of the Performing Arts Council and one of 22 students who authored a letter to provost and Interim President Claire Fagin addressing these concerns, said Lazerson has yet to consult "a single student" on what he said are imminent "obvious changes." "The concern is primarily that the provost is making behind-the-scenes decisions about this without talking to any of the students," Wharton senior Ramirez said. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Seth Hamalian said at last night's UA meeting that students will undertake a massive publicity campaign to "scare the administration" into including student input. One change, fears Reach A Peer Line President Mary McGuire, could be the placement of undergraduate counseling services under the jurisdiction of the Medical Center, giving students less control. One University official said the VPUL "will probably be chopped up in pieces," with now-centralized academic support services moving to the individual schools like the College of Arts and Sciences or the Wharton School. And an ongoing University initiative to cut administrative costs by 15 percent could eliminate some of VPUL's 300 jobs, further hurting student life activities. The official, who asked that her name not be used, said student services are often first to go because they are seen as "peripheral" and not "closely connected to academics." Linda Koons, executive assistant to the provost, said students are misinterpreting some of the provost office's long-range planning. "There have been conversations with the academic deans about whether to have closer [school] involvement in tutoring or counseling." Koons said, adding she would "frankly, be surprised that anyone makes any changes before the naming of a new president." She said the VPUL's office is not being singled out for financial cuts, and all areas of the University, including the offices of the president, executive vice president and provost, are looking to reduce their budgets. Koons admits most of these rumors sprouted after Morrisson's transfer. Students have wrongly taken Morrisson's "stepping down" to "mean something big," she said, calling the rumors "silly." The University official said the provost is not verbalizing any restructuring to the VPUL staff. "Our jobs may or may not be on the line, but it certainly feels as though they are," she added. But Koons said "things are going on that are just getting exaggerated."

Interracial dating is a private affair

(12/03/93 10:00am)

Standing before a worldwide audience recently, actors Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson talked openly about their interracial relationship. They laughed about it and reveled in it. Mixed couples at the University don't exactly declare their love in front of the whirring cameras of television networks. It's more of a private affair. Every person interviewed for this story asked to remain nameless. They were willing to talk, some quite candidly, about the tribulations of interracial dating. But whether it was to protect themselves from disapproving grandparents or skeptical friends, their names were not to be used. By examining data from The Vision/Daily Pennsylvanian race relations poll, which suggest undergraduates are comfortable with interracial dating – 82 percent said they would date someone from another race – it seems strange that people are so quiet about it. The issue is not as easily accepted as the numbers indicate. There is still a palpable stigma, both on campus and in society at large, surrounding couples who span racial lines. Parents protest, friends snicker and strangers stare. "It was next to impossible [to date someone of another race] here, and that is why we broke up," said one white College sophomore who had been dating her black boyfriend for nearly a year. Their relationship, she said, was hampered by a black community which steadfastly refused to accept their relationship. "They would tell him that he would never date a black girl at Penn if he went out with me," she said. "He ended up having to make the choice between the black community and me. He's still not accepted." According to the poll, black students were least likely of the races to approve of interracial dating – 62 percent said they would date someone of another race. Eighty-two percent of Asians, 84 percent of whites, and 83 percent of Latinos said they would be willing to have a mixed relationship. The College sophomore said although her white friends did not deliberately lobby against her relationship, their remarks created uneasiness. "They would ask me whether it was true what they say about black guys," she said. "Jungle fever this and jungle fever that." It's the little jabs which often hurt the most. They seem to reflect attitudes otherwise hidden behind gilded statistics. Even today, a black and white couple is not "normal," said a white College senior who is now dating a black man. Words like "multicultural" sound good, but they mean little in practice, she said. "We talk about diversity and what a great thing it is," she added, "but this campus is so polarized." She said one of her friends warned her not to get involved with a black person, because it just "wasn't worth it." The College senior said there is a prevalent "not-me" attitude among white students. "I'll bet that 82 percent approve of interracial dating as long as it is not them," she added. Clearly, the impersonal nature of a telephone poll makes it easy for respondents to be liberal with their attitudes. But when the issues get personal, the decisions – and consequences – of a mixed relationship get harder. They aren't answered with a simple "yes" during a short poll. They are solved through love and a bit of resiliency. One mixed couple said they don't listen to what others say about them. "If the relationship is strong enough, it's going to work anyway," said one white College senior who has been dating her black boyfriend for three years. She said she has had few problems with her biracial relationship, saying most of her friends accept it. "We can go out with friends of ours who are white and friends who are black. It's really no problem." He said he isn't affected by racial issues. "I love black people and I love white people," he said. "I'm not trying to do this to rebel against my race. "I don't particularly go to black functions and I don't particularly go to white functions." Most of those interviewed said dating someone of another race often results in choosing between different social scenes. The College sophomore who said the black community came between her and her boyfriend said this has become painfully clear in recent months. She still attends "black parties" and though she is "a little more accepted than last year," she participates in something that she "will never understand." And likewise, she said she realized that "black people will never be fully accepted [at] a white party." But this has not deterred her from interacting with people of different races. She helped found ICED, the Interracial Coalition to End Discrimination. Its members, who come from all racial backgrounds, hope to make socializing with others a "cool thing to do." "People find that it is wrong at Penn to mix," she said. "It's not exactly discrimination, and it just doesn't have to be that way."

As airline strike ends, students can take off

(11/23/93 10:00am)

Clinton saves Thanksgiving Day for many After all of the calls from frantic mothers and inundated travel agents, students flying home for Thanksgiving on American Airlines can scrap their alternate plans for getting home. Yesterday, President Clinton announced that the strike, which threatened to paralyze the holiday operations of one of the nation's largest air carriers, was over. The striking union's 21,000 flight attendants agreed to go back to work and the airline pledged not to fire the employees. The compromise ended a frenetic period for students, many of whom had to make new arrangements to get home in time for turkey and cranberry sauce. College sophomore Sasha Trump said she knew people who "rescheduled their whole lives" because of the strike. Some of her friends left yesterday instead of waiting until tomorrow. Trump's mother had booked a flight on another carrier which was "outrageously expensive." But now that the strike is resolved, Trump will be able to return to her Florida home on schedule. "I knew I would get on a flight home somehow," she said. But as the strike progressed last week, it looked doubtful that Thanksgiving plans would progress smoothly. College sophomore Tara Troy said she was "stressed" about the strike prior to the announcement that other airlines would accept American tickets. She made new reservations on Northwest airlines which turned her first-class ticket into a 6:30 a.m. flight with a stopover in Detroit. And even after the strike ended, Troy was obligated to fly on Northwest. She said she didn't mind the change, however. "I can get home earlier now," the Chicago resident said. Many of American's flights have flown without passengers since they have not had the federally required number of flight attendants. The flight attendants had promised to strike for 11 days, costing the airline an estimated $39 million daily. Because of the strike, American officials said the carrier will post a loss for this quarter and for the year. American Chairman Robert L. Crandall told the Associated Press that the strike has "destroyed any possibility of the airline posting a profit." The Fort-Worth based company said it will return to a full schedule by the end of the week. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Strike might ground students

(11/19/93 10:00am)

With Thanksgiving less than one week away, yesterday's strike of American Airlines flight attendants could pose serious problems for students' vacation plans. And with the 21,000 union workers promising to remain off the job for 11 days, it's likely that many will have to wade through a labyrinth of reservation clerks and voice-mail systems to secure a ticket back home. American is the nation's largest domestic carrier, serving over 200 U.S. cities, including hubs such as Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago. Dallas native Brian Clack said last night that his plans to fly standby on Tuesday will have to be changed. He said his seat will probably be shifted to a Delta flight, but he doesn't expect any major complications. "Hopefully something will work out and I'll get home," said Clack, a Wharton freshman. "I haven't put too much thought into it." Foresight on the part of Brian Rosen's father has guaranteed the College freshman a flight home. Rosen said his father, in preparation for the strike, purchased tickets for use at any time on Delta Airlines. "He bought them three weeks ago and I can use them whenever I want," Rosen said. But most travelers are not as prepared as Rosen – and now will have to grapple with unanticipated problems. A call to American's airport desk found a quick-talking representative, obviously deluged with consumer calls and questions. "I really can't talk right now," he said. He then hung up. American Airlines officials expressed confidence yesterday that the airline will find a way for passengers to reach their destinations. At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan told the Associated Press that the airline would try to get customers on other airlines if no American flights were available. Asked how many flights were affected, she had no specifics but said: ''I liken the situation at O'Hare to a bad snow day.'' But passengers at some airports trying to get on American planes were completely stymied, the AP reported. In Oklahoma City, American canceled its first four scheduled flights. In Atlanta, an 8:31 a.m. flight to Chicago was canceled, but four other flights took off on schedule after the strike began. American has 24 daily departures from the city. This is the largest system-wide strike since Eastern Airlines machinists rallied for more benefits in 1989. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

For 'Red and Blue', new year means new look

(11/18/93 10:00am)

The Red and Blue might have the same name as last year's controversial right-wing publication, but with a revamped board of editors and submission policy, the newspaper hopes to redefine its role at the University. "We are changing it from what it was previously," Editor-in-Chief Justin Cook said last night. "It's going to be a little more of an open forum." In recent years, the 12-page bi-monthly was a forum for conservative concerns at the University. But those same times found The Red and Blue encumbered by Student Activities Council debt and recognition foibles which limited publication. Last year, the paper only distributed two issues. But Managing Editor and College sophomore Chris Robbins said the newspaper, whose only returning member is Cook, is ready to establish a new niche among students. Most recently it has re-established SAC recognition. "It was founded as a literary publication," said Cook, who added he has done extensive historical research on The Red and Blue, which is 105 years old. Cook said issues printed between 1890 and 1930 "were beautiful," rivaling editions of The New Yorker. The old magazines carried poems, art and photographs and had sections detailing activities in the law, medical and undergraduate schools. And though Robbins admitted the new Red and Blue might not challenge The New Yorker at local newsstands, the old format will return to the newsprint when it is distributed door-to-door on December 15. The issues will be free. Cook said the new content, which is slated to include a book review and a "little bit more of an intellectual angle," will also focus on "heavily-researched" stories which might not appear in The Daily Pennsylvanian. This is a significant change from last year's paper, which Robbins said "was notorious for being controversial." He added that previous staffs "continually strived to keep it controversial." Still, Cook said, "there is no conservative qualification to be on the paper." He pointed out that the new "open forum" will contain views both conservative and liberal. Cook said the newspaper will support itself through advertising and hopes to be completely "independent" in a "number of years." He added that an extensive alumni network might help defray printing and operating costs. The new staff has 45 members, 18 of whom are freshmen. They were recruited, "mostly through close connections, friends and a propaganda campaign," Robbins said.

Trading scarves for shorts, U. basks in heat wave

(11/16/93 10:00am)

Thermometers screamed towards a record-high 81 degrees at around noon yesterday, and students cast off their thick scarves and wool sweaters to enjoy summer's last gasp. Abandoning their books, they crashed on College Green with frisbees and asked, rather rhetorically, "Can you believe this weather?" Well, most of them couldn't, since yesterday's heat wave was the warmest November 15 the Philadelphia International Airport has seen since 1973, when highs reached 74, said National Weather Service meteorologist Don Miller. If it hadn't been for the withering leaves that covered much of campus, yesterday would have seemed more like a day in early May than a day in oft-dreary mid-November. Recitations moved outside, students ditched classes and loose dogs pounced on now-exposed limbs and errant footballs. If anything, the warmth enlivened the spirits of the University as it gripped for another round of midterms and 12-page papers – and temperatures expected to drop into the more seasonable 60s today. "We should get out from the building and have more classes outside," said Wharton graduate student Nyno Miya, as he studied for a test outside Van Pelt Library. Just a few feet away, Chris Jones and Dan Aronson were preparing for their latest test. Jones, a College freshman, was not ready for the warm weather. "When I came back from class, I had jeans on and I was dying," he said, clad in a pair of shorts. Wharton freshman Aronson said the warmth "makes it so much easier to study. There's a little less stress." Even a visiting film crew from Seoul, South Korea, basked in the new-found heat. They had just traveled from Minnesota, where temperatures bottomed at 10 degrees and an inch of snow covered the ground. "It was a nice day for our cameras," said Nora Choi-Lee, who was assembling a documentary on education in America. "Everyone was out." "We were really surprised." Meteorologist Miller offered a scientific explanation for the "surprising" weather. "Basically, what we had was a strong ridge of high pressure which was located off the western Atlantic and the clockwise flow was pumping southwesterly air to the Atlantic area. "It's a typical pattern of the summer." But, for most students unaware of meteorological phenomenon or complex airstreams, yesterday was just a welcome break from November monotony. "Everyone is out and about," Jones said. "It's the atmosphere."

IQ Society confounds students

(11/05/93 10:00am)

Showered by fireworks and confetti, about 30 students took part in the IQ Society "Harvest Rite" near the McNeil Building early Wednesday morning. The IQ Society is reputedly a secret organization on campus whose purpose and membership are unknown. The students were told, by invitation, to meet at the "Eastern Foot of the 38th Street bridge" at midnight. After a few minutes, a series of bottle rockets and blackjacks were launched off the roof of McNeil. Confetti, gliders and leaflets also seemed to fall from the sky. Some of the fireworks got precariously close to students in attendance, although no one was hurt. One of the leaflets instructed students to "look in the rubbish bins near you," and upon examination, a nearby garbage can revealed two cases of Killian's Red beer. Other scraps of paper contained a lengthy message telling little about the organization, except that it hopes to "break down Penn's social, racial and gender barriers to form a secret community based on individual worth and a collective, committed whole." That's not much to go on. Students present were also curious about the organization, wondering whether they were "suckers" in a practical joke or legitimate "rushes" for the society. College freshman Paul Lisiak, who was present at the event, said he was skeptical at first. He said other freshmen were unaware of the society when he asked them about it. But after the fireworks started, Lisiak's impression turned favorable. "The IQ Society wants to bring back what college should be," Lisiak said, adding that he was impressed by the variety of people he met. "I don't think it was elitist, because the people seemed chosen because they were diverse. There didn't seem to be a stereotype or mold," he said. "You just don't see that kind of stuff at Penn." Last April, invitations distributed by the IQ Society also told invitees to meet at the 38th Street bridge. Once they were there, a message in a vial arrived via string from the top of 1920 Commons. That note read: "For the next 49 minutes, you should introduce yourself to as many people as possible, for there are members of IQ society present. Those considered for membership will be contacted tonight." These two events are the only known IQ Society events held so far.

Skimmer Day aims to revive old tradition

(11/05/93 10:00am)

Organizers of Skimmer Day certainly hope for captivated crowds of undergraduates, swept up in the pomp of their newest creation, to descend upon the Annenberg Quadrangle today. But, if anything, they hope to recreate the strong University tradition that flourished until its demise in the early 1970s. So from noon to 6 p.m., the Class Boards are planning a carnival replete with food trucks, sumo wrestling, bungee races and a velcro wall. Sure, velcro hadn't been invented in the 1920s, but new tradition has to start somewhere. Skimmer Day used to be an event held in the spring which combined the ritual of Hey Day with the festivities of Spring Fling. But somehow, those two ceremonies split into separate entities, leaving Skimmer Day out of the ceremonial mix. In its latest form, certain changes have been made in the event, probably at the request of the University's Risk Management Office. "In the past, it used to be a physical battle," co-organizer Jerome Schneider said last night, explaining how classes used to skirmish against one another in the old Skimmer Day. Today, the class battles should be a little less violent, shooting for points instead of blood. Competing in the cushioned comfort of sumo wrestling suits, classes will earn points through their participation in various events. To the victors will go a four-foot trophy to be displayed in Houston Hall. Schneider said food vendors will line the Walk and a DJ will provide musical accompaniment. "Mid-terms are finally over, we want people to lay down their books and have a good time," he said. The event will continue into the night when De La Soul and a Tribe Called Quest take the stage at Irvine Auditorium at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Schneider said the concert is nearly sold out, with only about 25 tickets remaining at TicketMaster outlets. The concert is being co-sponsored by the Social Planning and Events Committee. Organizers hope Skimmer Day will "bring Homecoming to the students," who, Schneider said, have been left out of many current Homecoming activities. The price tag of Skimmer Day is around $12,000, according to Junior Class Board President Jason Diaz. That might sound like a lot of money for an organization that gained recognition only last year, but Diaz said it equals the price of bringing political satirist P.J. O'Rourke to campus. O'Rourke was invited to the University by Connaissance last year.

U. to increase security for homecoming

(11/02/93 10:00am)

Guards to be added for game In wake of Friday night's chaotic scene at the Palestra and injuries following the University of Wisconsin football team's surprising victory Saturday, University officials plan to provide extra security at this weekend's homecoming game. Assistant to the President Nicholas Constan said yesterday that "word has gone out that we better have enough police and Spectraguards" at Saturday's contest against the Princeton Tigers. Indeed, with both teams undefeated, Saturday's game is a pivotal contest for the Ivy League title, and might, Constan said, lend itself to particularly rowdy student behavior. "It is probably the biggest game of the decade," he said. Saturday, after Wisconsin beat Big 10 rival Michigan, thousands of fans stormed the field from the student section. At least 69 people were injured in the stampede, seven critically. Constan doesn't want the crowd to get out of control, as it did Friday night as hundreds of fans waited in line to buy basketball season tickets in front of the Palestra. He added that Interim President Claire Fagin was "shocked" when she heard about Friday's events. Fagin is out of town on University business, he said. Athletic Director Paul Rubincam said next year "things will be done differently and better." "There will be changes made," he said. He said the Athletic Department never anticipated the rush for tickets – which sent one College senior to the hospital and left many others shaken up. "In the eight years that I've been the athletic director, I don't think we've had problems," Rubincam said. He added that "what happened Friday night was a mix of alcohol and the fact that it was late at night." Rubincam said that in previous years, the tickets were sold in the morning. "If it was done at the normal time of day, I don't think we would have had as many problems," he said. No one could have anticipated the "aggressive nature of the line," Rubincam said, adding he has received a number of phone calls about Friday night's chaos. Constan also said he was surprised by the mob that formed in front of the Palestra, adding the University could not have foreseen the breakdown of order. "It's never happened before," he said. "We've had a long tradition of very orderly waiting, a tradition of it almost being fun. It's a social event." Constan said Men's Basketball Coach Fran Dunphy is "embarrassed about the situation." He said Dunphy feels bad about the concussion College senior Judy Friedman suffered while waiting in line, and may want to "make some kind of gesture" like offering her a seat behind the bench or season tickets. But in the short term, Constan said, the University will focus its efforts on ensuring a safe Princeton game. "We want everyone to enjoy the game without a problem."

Ticket line at Palestra turns chaotic

(11/01/93 10:00am)

Several injured in 'near riot' "Midnight Madness" took on new meaning last week, as hundreds of University students rushed the Palestra's box office, creating conditions described as a "near-riot." No one was seriously injured, but one student received a concussion and dozens more were shaken up. "This was the stupidest, most insane experience I've ever had at Penn," said College senior Andy Prusky. "It shows the true disorganization of the University." With little or no security, and just two attendants at the box office, the line for men's basketball season tickets quickly lost form, breaking down into a virtual mob in front of the Palestra. Despite the commotion, however, a number of season tickets remain, officials said. Last week several University officials, including Athletic Director Paul Rubincam, said they had not heard about the incident. The chaos began shortly after tickets went on sale at 10 p.m. Pushing, shoving and yelling, the crowd had to force its way through the arena's one open door to buy tickets. Students were trapped against the Palestra's outside walls, and one College senior suffered a concussion as the throng surged forward, slamming her head against the bricks. "There were points where I wasn't standing up, I was being supported by the people around me," said College junior Jeff Zilberstein. "I was at a 30-degree angle to the ground. "Anyone below [5-foot-10] couldn't breathe. I didn't have trouble breathing, but the girls next to me were in tears. They were getting trampled." Students who had waited for days to buy tickets found themselves behind others who arrived in line just minutes before. "It didn't matter how long you had been waiting," College freshman Cristina Lopez said last week. "The security guards never wanted to get involved in anything." Ticket Manager Peggy Kolwolski said she hadn't anticipated such a high demand for tickets. "We never dreamed that we would have problems," Kolwolski said last week. She said she did not know how many people were in the ticket line but that the number was greater than last year. "We tried to get some order, but at that point I didn't know what else to do but sell," Kolwoski added. She attributed some of the problems to "students who came after drinking." Next year, Kolwolski said she will consider using a number or wristband system to keep order. In previous years, ticket sales began at 9 a.m., and Kolowski said the morning crowds were more patient. She said she will probably provide more security for next year, too. But many students caught in the Friday's melee blamed the security guards. Almost all of the students interviewed said the guards were unwilling to ameliorate the situation, and were physically and verbally abusive. College freshman Cliff Cohn described an incident where a guard yelled at him to move, saying "Get the fuck out." Lopez said one guard, when asked who his supervisor was, replied, "'My boss is God' and laughed." "He kept on telling everyone 'you're a fucking asshole,' 'your mother is a fucking asshole'," Lopez said. Associate Vice Provost for University Life Larry Moneta and Assistant to the President Nicholas Constan also said they he had not heard about the incident.

Student leaves with concussion, but no tickets

(11/01/93 10:00am)

College senior Judy Friedman hasn't missed a home basketball or football game during her four years at the University. All of that may have changed Friday night, when Friedman suffered a concussion while waiting in line for tickets in front of the Palestra. "I don't know if I ever want to go to a game now," she said. With hopes of landing good seats to see the defending Ivy League basketball champions, she and a group of friends positioned themselves in front of the Palestra at 7 a.m. Friday. "Everyone was in a really good mood. We were watching Michael Jordan on Oprah," Friedman said. The tone gradually changed, she said, as more people arrived, many of whom were drinking. "People started getting rowdy at nine o'clock," she added. And after the box office opened at 10 p.m., all semblance of order began to deteriorate. Students began pushing and shoving, trying to jockey for good position. Many of her friends wanted to leave the line, but Friedman said she wanted to stay and get their tickets. She made her way to the front of the line by 11:30, and just as she prepared to enter the Palestra's doors, she said she became engulfed by the crowd. "It was so helpless. My feet weren't on the ground," Friedman said. "We were in the crowd and it was getting bad," she said. "And I'm just five feet tall. I got thrown into the wall and I hit the right side of my head. I was fading in and out." "Everyone was pushing," she added. The next few hours are hard for Friedman to remember, but she does recall being taken to a hospital and her friends trying to keep her awake. The effects of the concussion have not yet gone away, she said. With a midterm approaching, she said she has had trouble studying. "I keep opening my book and staring at it," she said. The experience has definitely drained Friedman physically. But more importantly, she said, she has lost faith in the University. "It would have been so easy to prevent," she said. "There were no administrative people [there] at all." Friedman was unsure last night if she was going to sue. If she does, however, she wants the University to change its policy not because "they're afraid of being sued." "I want them to change a policy because its wrong," she said. If there is anything she wants from them right now, it might be basketball season tickets. After 17 hours in line, she never made it to the box office. That is, of course, if she ever feels comfortable about attending the games. "I just hope that I can go to another sporting event," she said.

(Tour guide story, headline missing)

(10/28/93 9:00am)

Every tour group, full of nervous high schoolers and their prying parents, inevitably ends up here. It's the middle of Locust Walk, right in front of Steinberg-Dietrich. And if there was ever one locale perfectly designed for an admissions brochure, this is it. From Bloomers' puke-green sign to the boisterous calls of Mask and Wiggers, Locust Walk at midday is a new-age farmers' market. Students are actually doing something, expressing their interests, selling. You want De La Soul tickets? Got it. Want to vote for Freshman Class Boards? Got it. Want some drugs? You can probably get that too, if you look hard enough. And that's where the problem arises on Locust Walk. With scores of different organizations hawking tickets, pound cake and t-shirts, how can a budding vendor stand out to a prospective buyer? "We'll help you choose your courses next spring," shouted College freshman and Mask and Wig member Mark Milstein to passersby. Milstein couldn't explain how course selection related to ticket sales, but that didn't seem to matter. As Milstein said, the point of "selling on the Walk" is to simply say "anything that makes them look up." Such as? "For all you know, the prices are going up tomorrow," or "I'm going to start abusing random seniors." College junior Liz Rudnick was not trying to sass the audience like Milstein. Her approach was a bit more direct. "Buy your Bloomers tickets now before they're gone," Rudnick said. "This week only." Rudnick said she also tries "to pinpoint one person" for her verbal salesmanship. She said she actually enjoyed selling Bloomers tickets because it's "a nice little social scene." Rudnick did say, however, that selling during the winter becomes a burden. "Winter shows suck," she said. "You get frozen to death." Rudnick was trying to talk over the blare of Black Sabbath's seminal rock hit "Paranoid" bleating out of a radio manned by students selling De La Soul tickets. And although Black Sabbath and De La Soul seem to be musical antitheses of each other, that didn't bother College senior Jennifer Zeller. "We're just making noise," said Zeller, who is Chairperson of the Social Planning and Events Committee, the group that is promoting the concert. "We're just playing music and handing out flyers," Zeller said.

No shots will mean no PARIS

(10/27/93 9:00am)

The pain of getting booster shots will get a little worse next Monday, as students who fail to update their immunization records will be blocked from registering for spring classes. And juniors and seniors who have yet to declare a major will also be put on "hold" through the Penn Automated Registration Information System when advance registration begins. About 800 students – 300 undergraduates and 500 graduates students – have not met the University's health requirements, Immunization Coordinator Vernell Edwards said yesterday. Edwards said requirements for students include proof of immunity from mumps, measles and rubella. Students also must have tetanus shots, a tuberculosis skin test and evidence of a recent physical. Edwards and his staff have undertaken a major publicity campaign to educate delinquent students. "We've done a number of mailings," Edwards said. "We sent some in the summer, at the end of summer and a week ago." Registered letters will go out to those who are officially blocked from registering, he added. Edwards added that efforts have generally been successful, drawing in a consistent amount of students to rectify their immunization imbroglio. Still, he said, every year a number of students fail to listen to his office's queries. That's where the registration block comes into play. In the College, University Management Information Specialist Susan Quant said about 400 juniors and seniors have not yet declared a major. She attributed the large numbers to students who study abroad and others who simply forget to meet the deadline. College Dean Matthew Santirocco said yesterday that he hopes the registration block will motivate students to "walk into the College office and get some advising help." "In other words," Santirocco said, "we have a requirement that a student must declare a major at a certain time. If they don't declare a major, then they may not be able to graduate on time. "The quickest way we have of flagging them is with a hold," Santirocco said. Later next month, 4,000 students may be in jeopardy of losing registration privileges because of incomplete insurance registration, Insurance Administrator Mary Webster said. "We have conducted mailings and will soon have a telephone campaign," Webster said. Students who still fail to produce proof of insurance before the deadline will be blocked from registering.

Substitute 'PARIS guy' speaks out

(10/21/93 9:00am)

Fame often has a strange way of thrusting its burdensome weight upon the unwitting shoulders of history's bystanders. That is, of course, if one considers being the substitute voice for PARIS a position of importance in the University's annals. Tad Davis' voiceovers are just a small part of the Penn Automated Registration and Information System – you can hear him announce room numbers and enrollment in just a few departments such as Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. But thousands of students hear his voice as they scramble to register for new classes. There's got to be some fame in that, right? "Basically, I do the software maintenance," said Davis, the lead programmer analyst at the University Management Information Services at 3401 Walnut Street. "As things needed to be added or changed, I, by default, was chosen." And despite many students' claims that PARIS is really a computer, Davis explained that most of the voices were done by a Columbus, Ohio, disc jockey a number of years ago. Davis' voice is used only as a substitute. Davis said he never considered lending his voice to PARIS as a step into stardom. He was just doing his job. "I haven't really thought about it," Davis said. What Davis does think about is the PARIS system, which he administrates and helped implement when he was a systems analyst. As of now, PARIS can maintain 48 simultaneous calls, issue grades and track past semesters' performance. Assistant Registrar Janet Ansert said students are generally pleased with the system. "I hope the students are happy," she said. Indeed, they are. PARIS has gained cult popularity among students, many of whom have seemingly developed relationships with the system and its deep, throaty voice. After all, who doesn't love to hear those reassuring words, "You are enrolled." And who hasn't wondered what the "PARIS guy" looks like? College sophomore Melissa De Leon has. "I think he's about 6-1," she said. "He wears a gray suit with a navy tie. He has brown hair and has a pronounced chin?He's just a stud." Davis said he doesn't have any particularly favorite lines or intonations of the PARIS voice. He is partial to the PARIS menu which informs the caller that a chosen section is closed, and then offers other available sections. "I get a little thrill of pleasure of knowing how much goes on behind all of that," Davis said, clinging to his programming roots. He thinks his voice sounds fine, and is only concerned about it when "there is a change in the course of dialogue" from his voice to the original PARIS voice. Such is the life of the substitute.

For diners, if it's not nailed down...

(10/14/93 9:00am)

For Dining Services Director William Canney, it must seem like a herd of mules leave his dining halls every day. Mules, the historical pack animal of choice for smugglers of guns, heroin and grenades, probably would not fit through Stouffer's slim doors. But enough silverware and dishes were stolen from Dining Services last year – $150,000 worth – to make it feel like a parade of burros makes a daily sojourn out of the dining halls laden with contraband coffee mugs, salt shakers and teaspoons. "I bet most students have a few table settings of our silverware," Canney said yesterday, adding that student theft has gotten worse since he first arrived at the University. "When I first came here in 1975, we used to use a ratio that for every customer we would order double the amount of china," Canney said. Now the ration now stands at six to one and accounts for 1.4 percent of the total budget, he said. The cost of replacing stolen diningware is passed onto the students themselves, many of whom complain that meal costs are too high. But such statistics don't appear out of the ordinary for a student body which often amuses itself with the pilfering of plates and putty-colored pepper shakers. Wharton senior Marc Horer related a story about how he assembled his "Secret Santa" gift freshman year. The choice? Three sets of Stouffer diningware, of course. "I got three of everything," Horer said. "Three trays, three bowls, three glasses, three sets of shakers." "Everybody loved it," said Horer. He added, though, that stealing the trays was difficult. "I got a big back pack and had two friends walk in front of me." Canney said Dining Services has not yet developed a sensible way to combat theft. He said he thought about installing lockers for students' bags, but it proved too costly. So Canney is hoping to rely on a "level of trust" to keep the forks and bowls where they belong. That doesn't appear to be happening. "Each fraternity is outfitted with flatware and silverware and cups from Stouffer," said College junior Roy Katzovicz. "Every winter and spring you can see freshmen moving out in herds with copious amounts of the stuff," Katzovicz said. He even said he and a friend stole employees' hats during their freshman year. "We just took them when they put them down," Katzovicz said. "We had a whole collection by the end of the year." Canney said Dining Services is not intent on enacting "Gestapo-like" tactics to save its eating implements. But if an employee does catch a student in the act of thievery, the student will be asked to "put it back" and will be reminded of the policy which restricts students from removing more than a piece of fruit or ice cream cone from the confines of a dining hall.

Shrinks force new graduation date

(10/12/93 9:00am)

Thousands of psychiatrists have changed the date of next May's Commencement. It's not because of widespread job-hunting anxiety. It's because the American Psychiatric Association, 34,000 members strong, has booked 90 percent of Philadelphia's hotel space for Monday, May 16. The invasion of the shrinks has forced the University to move Commencement to Thursday, May 19, instead of holding the traditional exercise on Monday. Terry Conn, executive assistant to the vice provost of University life, said there "may be a few problems, fewer than if we hadn't changed it." "People may have to take two days off their jobs and that may be an inconvenience," she said. The Jewish holiday of Shavuot is also on Monday, May 16, although Conn said it was not the main reason for the change. Conn said the University knew of the lack of hotel space as early as 1991 and changed the date with the approval of Council of Undergraduate Deans. But some students interviewed yesterday said they were generally unaware of the shift from tradition. "I found that out a couple of weeks ago," Wharton and College senior Alan Famer said. "It screwed up my mother's travel plans. She's going to have to take a week off of work." A check of American Airlines revealed skyrocketing costs for family members not staying in Philadelphia over a Saturday night. Using Miami, Fla., as a point of origin, it would cost $970 to leave on Tuesday, May 17 and return on Friday. University tradition has dictated that most visitors arrive at the University on Friday and leave on Sunday – a fare which is only $415. Still, some students seemed relatively unconcerned about an event that is a solid seven months in the future. "I only went to one graduation two years ago and I forgot what day it was on," said College senior Alexander Catalona. He added, however, that he is against any scheduling change which might raise the price of a family visit. Also unaffected by the change is the Sheraton University Hotel. Reservation representative Lisa Hunter said the hotel has been booked for graduation for two months. All 376 rooms have been secured, Hunter said, adding that "No, it doesn't really affect us."

Committee gets an earful from students

(10/07/93 9:00am)

If University students had any advice for the Visiting Committee on Undergraduate Education, it was on the very subject of advice. Nearly all of the students involved in yesterday's meeting voiced discontent with the University's advising system – particularly in the College. "A lot of my classmates have a very hard time getting in touch with an adviser," said one College sophomore whose name was withheld at the request of meeting facilitator, Princeton Professor Aaron Lemonick. "When I wanted to go see an adviser, they told me things I already knew." The group of nine students met with officials from Princeton, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Virginia. They focused much of their first hour of discussion on the University's divergent peer, faculty and school advising systems. Students said there is a large gap for College sophomores who are under neither the auspices of freshman faculty advising nor counseling from major advisors. MIT Professor Jeff Meldman tried to focus the group's responses toward solutions to the problems. Members suggested extending faculty advising to cover all four years of a student's term. One student suggested that such a program might create roles of "educational philosophy planner" which do not currently develop. "Ideally, faculty would help us in life planning, not just picking classes," said one College junior. Some students, however, described situations in which faculty were less than accommodating. "Faculty members feel that undergraduate advising is not in their job description," a College senior said. "It's not malicious; it's just the way it is." Others suggested students should have more general contact with faculty. One participant voiced support for lounges in which both parties could meet on an informal level. "Although the faculty is very addressable," said one student, "the relationship isn't pushed enough." Still, panel members said the University has sufficient advising resources. It just doesn't use them well. "As long as you ask the right questions, you can get help," said one student. Though the Visiting Committee's main purpose was to find gaps in the University, organizers were intent on impressing the visitors. Members and students were treated to a semi-catered lunch with an attendant clad in a bow-tie. They were served on china. A big white-frosted cake waited for dessert as participants talked for about two hours.

Air Jordan's retirement deflates U.

(10/07/93 9:00am)

The balls bounced on the hardwood courts at Gimbel Gymnasium just as they always had. But something had changed. Basketball legend Michael Jordan had announced his retirement. At a morning press conference yesterday, Jordan announced he was retiring because he had lost his desire to play the game after the July murder of his father, James Jordan. The man who became an international hero, appeared on a Wheaties box and even had his own line of shoes, shocked the world. He was out of the game. Sure, it wasn't like the Earth had exploded. But for many students who grew up imitating the tongue-wagging, sky-walking tendencies of Air Jordan, it seemed like a friend was gone. "I was a fan of his when he was at North Carolina with James Worthy," said Nursing sophomore Michael Bentley, as he waited for a new pick-up game to begin at Gimbel. Bentley reminisced about his high school days and his first pair of Air Jordans. "Every kid had a pair of Air Jordans," Bentley said. "I had one of the very first models –Ethe real ugly ones with red, black and white." Jordan's influence was not lost on Bentley. "The NBA is Michael Jordan," he said. Amidst the clank of errant jump shots and squeaking shoes, Philadelphia resident Mike Polland remembered the athlete who so skillfully and frequently dismantled his hometown favorite 76ers. "I hated it when he would kill the Sixers," Polland, a businessman, said. "But if you've ever tried to dunk, you begin to appreciate how great an athlete he was." "He even dunked over Manute," Polland said, referring to former 76er and 7-foot-6 city celebrity Manute Bol. Mathematics graduate student Skaff Elias said although he will miss Jordan's proclivity for appearing in highlight films, the superstar's departure will help teams stymied by the Bulls' relentless defense and graceful offensive maneuvers. "I want to see [Phoenix Suns' forward Charles] Barkley win so I'm not going to miss him," Elias said. Chicago native Marna Fainman sees the retirement a bit differently. "I was in mourning today," said the College junior. "We all live for Michael at home." She's serious about the Bulls. "I stayed home this morning to watch the press conference," Fainman said, admitting that she cried. And Fainman is sure she won't be the only person who misses Jordan's on-court finesse. "Even grandmothers were yelling 'Go Michael' at the games."