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Blizzard forces U. to call off classes

(03/16/93 10:00am)

With thousands of students stuck in airports or at home because of bad weather conditions, the University cancelled classes yesterday for the first time in a decade. The move was in response to the weekend's massive late-winter blizzard that blanketed the nation, dumping about a foot of snow, ice and slush on the University and surroundings. And as area roads became impassable, Escort Service shut down, local businesses closed their doors, and students struggled to get back to campus. The University received about 11,000 telephone calls on Sunday from students and parents wondering if school was going to be in session, Acting Executive Vice President John Gould said yesterday. Gould said classes were called off yesterday because students were stranded across the nation with no way to get back to the University, noting that local highways including I-95 and the Schuylkill Expressway were closed. "It was a much more sensible decision to have students return to class when they could actually get to campus," he said. Gould said school would have been in session if students had not been on spring break. For Mike Ferraiolo, the University's superintendent of hard surfaces and athletic grounds, the past three days have been among the most active of the year for his department. He said the clean-up crew consisted of about 40 people on Saturday and 50 on Sunday, adding that the staff used a number of trucks with plows and salt spreaders for the job. "With a snow like this you're trying to keep ahead of it," Ferraiolo said yesterday. "We basically did a pretty good job, but our basic problem was building steps." He explained that the housekeeping staff, which normally handles steps on walkways near residences, was not on duty over the weekend. This made it difficult for the University to clear all pathways. Ferraiolo said he would rate the overall snow removal as "very, very good." But he added that it did not come easy. "It was very hard on Saturday night," he said. "We had winds up to 70 miles an hour. Sunday, it was 14 degrees and very difficult for the people who were just shoveling. We had 10 inches of snow and ice." And although the storm was not as vicious as the one that hit the University and closed its doors in 1983, Ferraiolo said it was "a close second." Escort did not run on Saturday night, and on Sunday, all service stopped at 10 p.m. "The roads were getting increasingly treacherous," Business Services Director Steven Murray said last night. "We couldn't traverse some of the numbered streets -- they were still in horrendous condition." One benefit of the storm was a decrease in area crime. University Police Commissioner John Kuprevich said that "certainly during the period of the snow there were significantly few criminal incidences." Kuprevich added that the police mainly assisted people in getting home and at accident sites. He said many city officials "were concerned about the homeless" and that most homeless people were provided shelter. Students said yesterday that they thought the decision was a good one. "The weather outside was bad and dangerous," said Nursing senior Valerie Allen. "And besides, many of the students couldn't return. Classes would have been half empty and people would have missed out on things." Allen added that half of her roommates would not have been able to attend classes had they been held.

UA election brings new mix to body

(03/05/93 10:00am)

The face of the Undergraduate Assembly changed drastically this week, as only nine of 17 UA incumbents who ran were re-elected by the student body in the University-wide elections. And the fledgling Coalition for Responsive Student Government turned talk into votes by gaining 10 UA seats -- seven of them from the College. But one Coalition candidate -- College sophomore Peter Spier -- was disqualified by the Nominations and Elections Committee for his involvement in illegal campaigning. The NEC ruled that Spier "biased the elections" because he supposedly campaigned for candidates other than himself -- a policy which NEC elections chair Michael Monson said he warned Spier about twice. In an emotional speech which he later admitted was "inappropriate," Monson claimed "there was definitely bias here" and that Spier "was not just campaigning for himself." Coalition Chairperson Darion D'Anjou said he was happy about his group's performance, but added that he did not think Spier's disqualification was fair. "We did well but I'd like to find something about the inside dealing in the backroom that disqualified Peter," D'Anjou, a Wharton junior, said. His dismissal from the elections followed almost three and a half hours of NEC hearings on violations of the Fair Practices Code -- the policy which governs the way candidates can run for office. Of the 55 candidates running for office, 33 had charges filed against them. All 20 Coalition hopefuls were charged by fellow candidate Michael Nadel for their distribution of leaflets advertising their names and ballot numbers. Nadel, a College freshman, said voters used the leaflets as a reminder at the polls. He alleged that this violated the NEC's rule of no campaign materials within 75 feet of the ballot boxes. "They had an advantage I did not have," Nadel said. But the NEC ruled that Nadel's charges were neither a "gross violation of the rules" nor did they "bias the election." Campaigning for the UA chair began immediately after the results were announced at around 12:30 this morning. College junior Kirsten Bartok, an incumbent, distributed a four-page brochure advertising her accomplishments to the newly-elected UA members. Bartok is the only member who has declared her candidacy for the position. Winning seats in Wharton were junior Jason Wu, current UA sophomore Treasurer Eric Leathers, freshman Dan Debicella, freshman Quang O and freshman Daniel Chen. Freshman Kevin Chang and sophomore George Callas tied for sixth place. A run-off election between the two will take place on the Wednesday after spring break. Tamara Dubowitz was the election's top vote-getter, leading the field from the College. Also winning were Bartok, freshman Ashley Magids, freshman Miae Oh, junior Scott Sher, sophomore Jessica Pollock, sophomore Seth Hamlin, freshman Marissa Mole, sophomore Sarah Manning, freshman Laura Amrofell, freshman Lance Rogers, junior Brian Lynk, sophomore Dan Schorr, junior Rashad Ibrahim, and junior David Heimann. The Nursing representative is freshman Susan Horrocks. Successful from Engineering were freshman Erika Brown, sophomore Gaurang Shah, and sophomore Ha Nguyen. Dubowitz, Hamlin, Magids, and Bartok also won seats on University Council.

UA election violations to be probed

(03/04/93 10:00am)

Official charges of misconduct have begun to swirl around the Undergraduate Assembly elections, as candidates have filed 41 complaints of violations of election regulations. And about 1,540 students -- 23.5 percent of the eligible voters -- participated in Monday's and Tuesday's balloting, Nominations and Elections Committee Elections Chairperson Michael Monson said last night. College junior Monson added that about 17.5 percent more students voted this year than last year. "It went very smoothly, we had very few problems," Monson said. The complaints of violations of the NEC Fair Practice's Code -- which candidates file against other candidates -- will be ruled on by the NEC at a meeting tonight. Election results will be released after the hearings. Monson added that a candidate can only be disqualified if members of the NEC determine that there was a "debiasing of the election" or a "gross violation of the rules." But one member of the Coalition for Responsive Student Government -- a group of 20 students running for the UA on a common platform -- said last night that charges have been filed only to hurt his organization's chances. "They're picking at little things broken by all sorts of people," said the member, who wished to remain anonymous because of the code. "They just want to get at the Coalition." He added that he does not think the Coalition has violated any rules. But Tamara Dobowitz, an incumbent UA member running for re-election, said rules are essential for a fair election process. "There are definite rules that have to be made in order to make a fair election for everyone," the College freshman said. "If these rules are broken, it's only fair to give everyone a chance to explain him or herself so that it can be a more just election." Monson said that the deadline for reporting violations was extended from the traditional two hours after polls close until today at 12 noon. He cited a rule in the NEC constitution which allows the NEC to change time constraints during the election process as the reason. Monson said the deadline was extended because the NEC was unable to meet until last night and felt there were "extraneous charges that needed to be filed." He would not explain what he meant by "extraneous." Monson did say that the NEC's judicial process is run very much like a real trial. "The person who files a charge presents the case," Monson said. "And the person who the charge is filed against states his case. Then the NEC deliberates." Darion D'Anjou, president of the Coalition, said he thinks the election went well. But he added that the charges against Coalition candidates are unfounded. "Basically, it's very trivial and in attempt to tear down something that is very, very positive," he said.

UA and Coalition fling a little mud in 'dirty' race

(03/01/93 10:00am)

Members of the Undergraduate Assembly and the Coalition for Responsive Student Government said last week that a recent rash of "dirty campaigning" has prevented students from focusing on the issues for today's elections. And both incumbent candidates from the UA and Coalition hopefuls have accused each other of getting "desperate" and "scared" in their campaigning procedures. "A lot of people, especially lesser known people in the Coalition, are getting desperate," said one UA member who asked to remain anonymous because of a Nominations and Elections Committee rule that prohibits UA candidates from talking about the elections to the press. "Some of the incumbents are getting desperate, too." "Nobody knows what's going to happen," he said last night. "This uncertainty has caused people to make personal attacks and stray away from the issues." One UA member up for re-election said she has seen "numerous violations" of the University's poster policy committed by the Coalition. "If people are going to run for student government they should be honest enough to post posters the right way," she said. Posters have been improperly placed throughout the Quadrangle, she added. NEC rules restrict candidates from putting posters in a number of places, including the area near elevators. But Coalition President Darion D'Anjou said last week that UA incumbents are the ones concerned about being challenged by his group. "This is a movement that makes them [current UA members] get up off their ass," the Wharton junior said. "Their positions are not guaranteed and that makes them nervous. There are a lot of people who are just plain scared." D'Anjou said the Coalition will be running 20 of the total 55 candidates. He also said some UA incumbents have complained to the NEC about the Coalition's postering practices. Michael Monson, NEC elections chairperson, confirmed that candidates have not adhered to all of the campaign's rules. "A lot of people have been violating the regulations," Monson, a College junior. But one UA member said last night that the both the NEC's regulations and outrageous campaign promises have hurt the election. "The poster policy sucks," he said. "And nearly everyone makes ridiculous promises which will never be kept. It's a pity that students don't have any idea who they're voting for." He added that the election will be competitive, saying that he's not sure about his prospects. "I know I deserve to be re-elected, but I know there is a chance that I will not," he said. "If so, I will not be heart-broken." Elections will be held today and tomorrow. Polling locations include Stouffer Dining Commons, Class of 1920 Commons, Hill Dining, and Steinberg Dietrich Hall.

UA candidates still hushed by gag rule

(02/25/93 10:00am)

For students running in Monday's Undergraduate Assembly elections, mum's still the word. The Nominations and Elections Committee, which said it would review the so-called "gag rule" of the Fair Practices Code in December, said it will keep the policy in place for the UA contest. But some UA candidates said yesterday that the rule -- which prohibits them from having their names printed in The Daily Pennsylvanian on election issues -- puts the voters at a disadvantage. One incumbent who is seeking re-election said the rule helps to make the campaign a matter of "style over substance" because students can not be informed of candidates' stances. "No one knows about issues because the main source of campus news can't report it," he said. He added that he favors a revision of the gag rule. "My gut feeling is that the gag rule had to be modified in some way -- as long as we keep it fair and get more substance [ from the modification]," he said. Another incumbent said the policy discriminates against students who make consistent contributions to the University. "People who are constantly working on projects can't demonstrate that they are doing things during the [election] week," he said. "I think that we should certainly re-enter the dialogue about how we are going to allow people to be in the newspaper," he added. But NEC Elections Chairperson Michael Monson said the publicity regulations keep the election on a "level playing field." He added that the NEC decided to keep the rule after a review because "not everyone has an equal opportunity to get in the paper." College junior Monson said he wishes the policy was different, adding that he would "seriously consider [ranging] the rule" if the University were a "free market." But the University is not a "free market" Monson said, because there is only one major source of news on campus. "There is only one major form of news -- that's the DP -- without any kind of competition there's no free market of ideas," he said. "And without a free market there's no free speech." Monson said UA candidates have not expressed concerns to him about the rule. "They weren't too upset," he said. "There were no real gripes."

Candidate field for UA doubles

(02/24/93 10:00am)

Nearly twice as many students as last year have submitted petitions declaring their intentions to run for the Undergraduate Assembly's 25 seats. And 10 current UA members eligible for re-election this year will not be running again, UA Chairperson and College senior Jeff Lichtman said last night. This large turnout -- 55 candidates in all -- will make most of the races tighter, especially in the Engineering School, where 12 students are vying for the three positions. Michael Monson, head of the Nominations and Elections Committee elections process, said this competition can only bring better student government to the University. "The more people run, the more legitimacy student government has and the better the students are represented," the College junior said. Twenty-seven College students will be running for 15 spots, while Wharton's six posts are being contested by 14 students. Nursing has two hopefuls for the school's one position. Former UA Vice Chairperson Ethan Youderian, one of the 10 incumbents who will not be on Monday's ballot, said he has had enough of student government. "After three years, my freshman idealism has finally taken a back seat to reality." Youderian, a Wharton junior said. "It's time to relax and enjoy my final year of freedom." Youderian said he thinks this year's UA has not accomplished as much as he hoped it would. "If you look back at this year's UA and compare it to the [former UA Chairperson Mitch] Winston administration, you'll find that more concrete accomplishments happened during the Winston administration which consistently was bashed for its ineptitude," Youderian said. Youderian advised new UA members to be thick-skinned. "They should keep in mind, though, that anything they accomplish will not be appreciated by the student body," he added. Adding to the number of candidates this year is the Coalition for Responsive Student Government, which had previously pledged to run for every available UA post. In a rules meeting held Monday by the NEC, some candidates had questions about how the Coalition will fit into the election process, Monson said. Monson said he does not think the Coalition will have an unfair advantage in Monday's contest, adding that even though the NEC sanctions parties, it views individual students as the main unit of elections. Monson said group members will not appear on the ballot together and members will only be able "to pool their resources" for campaigning. "In the eyes of the NEC, we see candidates as individuals, not as part of a party," Monson said. In an adjustment of the Fair Practices Code -- the policy which controls student elections -- the NEC agreed last year to allow the formation of parties like the Coalition. Previously, the party system had been ruled illegal. The policy also prohibits candidates from speaking to members of the press.

SAC votes to cut off a cappella funding

(02/23/93 10:00am)

After months of votes, revotes and procedural harangues, the Student Activities Council finally resolved its a cappella funding controversy last night. The body voted to cut off the groups' grants for the rest of the semester -- a total of $6,494 for the seven a cappella groups. The vote reconfirmed the policy of the SAC Finance Committee, which had been pushing for a number of months to stop students from being "double charged" -- paying $5 at the door of a show plus a part of their General Fee which funds SAC. There was little of the heated debate which had punctuated previous meetings at which the a cappella issue was discussed. Both SAC and a cappella leaders said they had resolved most of their differences before the vote had been taken. SAC Finance Chairperson Michael Graves said he was not surprised by the lack of discussion at the meeting, which lasted only one hour -- highly uncharacteristic of SAC meetings, which are well-known for their length. "I had met with representatives from [SAC] Steering and from the Office of Student Life, and I guess it all worked out," Wharton sophomore Graves said. Counterparts singer Sean Aherne spoke in favor of continuing to fund a cappella groups. Aherne, a College junior, said that since SAC allots money on a yearly basis, it is unfair for the group to take away funds so late in the school calendar. "You shouldn't take money allocated to us at the beginning of the year," he said. Pennsylvania 6-5000 President and College junior Mike Phillips, whose group lost $1,100 in the vote, said he was not surprised by the body's decision. He said he does not know how the loss of funds will affect Penn-Six, adding that the group has yet to determine how much it will request from SAC next year. But SAC President Brandon Fitzgerald, a member of the a cappella group The Inspiration, said all of the singing groups have applied for funding for next year. But the College senior added that the groups "have not applied for as much." Leaders said they are relieved that the issue is finally over. "I'm happy that SAC gave its full consideration to the issue," Fitzgerald said. "It was well debated in and out of SAC, even though sometimes it can get unwieldy in a body of 150 people."

$12.66 paid to cover phone calls

(02/19/93 10:00am)

Members of student government have paid back a total of $12.66 for long distance calls they placed from their organizations' offices, Student Life Financial Administrator Lynn Moller said Tuesday. Moller said she has received three separate checks from two Undergraduate Assembly members -- Ethan Youderian and Vice Chairperson Kirsten Bartok -- and one from the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education. Youderian, a Wharton junior, paid the University $3.23 for calls he made to California. College junior Bartok paid $6 for a call she made to France and members of SCUE turned in $3.43. Bartok said late last month that she planned to reimburse the UA for the call. UA Chairperson Jeff Lichtman said he thinks all disputed phone bills have been resolved. "We have told people to pay back their phone bills," said Lichtman, a College senior. "If they have made personal phone calls, then I have assumed they have turned in that amount of money." Lichtman said he has not paid for any long-distance phone calls he made, adding that he thinks the issue is dead. "I don't get the point of rehashing this," Lichtman said. "There are a lot of important things we are working on, and talking about this will again do everyone involved a disservice." But Moller said not all students who have used the phones for long-distance purposes have paid for the calls. She said some have told her that personal expenditures they have made for their organizations' activities have more than compensated for any funds spent on personal phone calls. Moller said she hopes this method of accounting does not continue, but she added that in most cases she does not think students have "been abusing anything." Last month, a check of UA and Nominations and Elections Committee phone records revealed that the organizations spent $172 on long-distance charges from September to November of 1992. The records showed that calls were made to places including France, Texas Southern University, and the switchboard of the U.S. Capitol. Phone records of groups funded by the Student Activities Council also revealed a number of personal phone calls.

Forum addresses campus safety

(02/18/93 10:00am)

With a rash of violent crimes taking place in and around the University in past weeks, University Police Commissioner John Kuprevich said last night that the increasing violent nature of many crimes can be traced to recent societal pressures. Kuprevich related incidents of mass shootings around the country and said they "now occur once a week." He added that factors like a bad economy and a lack of "family values" have created an environment where crime is even encouraged. "That says something is wrong with our whole society," Kuprevich told a group of about a dozen students last night. "It all leads back to society somehow -- and how [crime] is addressed." Kuprevich, along with Vice President for Business Services Steven Murray, Assistant Director of Residential Services Joe Kirk and Victim Support and Special Services employee John Wiley, spoke as part of the Undergraduate Assembly's Safety and Security Forum at Stiteler Hall. The two-hour forum touched on the issues of on-campus security, the objectives of Escort Service and placing checks on McGinn Security Services guards. Kuprevich explained that the robbery which took place near the High Rises last Sunday was not the fault of his department. He added that the officers on patrol during that time were in the process of arresting two other people in an unrelated incident. "That night we had sufficient staffing," Kuprevich said. "People were out there doing their jobs -- effectively doing their jobs." Murray said Escort ridership has increased dramatically in the past year. Some nights the service handles over 1,600 passengers, he said. But Kuprevich said he is afraid that students are taking advantage of the system which was "originally designed for safety." "The Escort service has to define its area and its property," Kuprevich said. Joe Kirk, who directs safety for West campus, said his office is working to make sure the guards of McGinn stay awake on the job -- after photos in the Daily Pennsylvanian showed some guards sleeping during working hours. He said better education of the McGinn guards is a goal of the University. That education will come in an "enhanced" training manual for the guards, who previously did not have much "hard-copy background," Kirk added. Of the 13 people attending the forum, many were UA members. But UA member Mark Frederick, who set up the program, said the program was still valuable. "We talked for a good two hours," the Wharton junior said. "It was helpful for everyone."

Complaints may leave homeless man in cold

(02/12/93 10:00am)

For Chuck, the old couch and wooden porch represent a warm place to stay -- a few months' shelter from the winter rain and cold. But for the University students who, by donating their porch, have given Chuck a few feet of sheltered living space, the whole experience has become a lesson in "fighting the system." With the permission of the house's residents, Chuck, a homeless man, has been sleeping and storing his possessions at the front of 3932 Spruce Street for about three months. But after numerous complaints from next door neighbor Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, the property's landlord -- University City Housing -- has told the house's residents that Chuck and his belongings must be removed by Monday morning. "It's our house and our porch," Wharton senior Hae Sin Kim said last night. "People who don't live in this house are telling us what to do." But UCH manager Bill Groves said he has never before had to deal with a case like this one. "It's something we don't encourage," Groves said. "It's something that rarely occurs." But, he added, "If there weren't any complaints we wouldn't have any policy." It all started when Chuck, who requested that only his first name be used, came upon the couch at 3932 Spruce. "It was raining one night and it was the only place where I could seek refuge," Chuck said last night. "When you're homeless, you're out in the elements all day long." The house's 11 residents began to develop a relationship with Chuck, often inviting him inside for meals. They soon allowed him to sleep on the porch and store his belongings there. "[College senior Jennifer McDonald] came out on the porch one day and asked me if I was hungry," Chuck said. "She took me to Wawa and we partied at Wawa." "I think that if it wasn't for the college kids, the homeless would be lost," he added. "He's a friend of mine," McDonald said. "He's very articulate and likes to read a lot." But as Chuck began to appear at the house more often, neighbors at Phi Kappa Psi said they began to get concerned. "We think it's really nice and all that they're giving this guy a place to stay," Phi Psi President Steve Kleinstein said last night. "But our girlfriends and other people would come over here and they were really scared to come in." "They should put him in contact with a homeless shelter," said Kleinstein, a College senior. "There is no reason he shouldn't be going there." Chuck said he does not like homeless shelters because the administrators are "corrupt." "The ones who even run it are smokers," Chuck said. "There is no rule. I'm not going to subject myself to extra abuse." Even at 3932 Spruce, Chuck was still subject to physical violence. He said he was assaulted one morning by someone who came to repair the house. "He kicked me in the head," Chuck said. "He was an old guy and I should have whupped him." Chuck said he does not know where he is going to live after Monday, adding that he cannot wait for warmer weather. "I can get out and do what I want to do in the summertime," Chuck said. "Last summer, I was able to work a few jobs." The residents of 3932 Spruce said the whole experience has changed the way they have thought about life at the University. "People are willing to volunteer on their own hours," McDonald said. "But when it comes close to home -- to having homeless near them -- they are afraid of the daily interaction." As for Chuck, he said he will not forget the people who invited him for a short stay on their Spruce Street porch. "All of the college kids try to lend a hand," Chuck said. "They have a sense of compassion."

Class boards in need of money

(02/11/93 10:00am)

The bylaws have been written. They even have a name. But as the apparatus for freshman, sophomore and junior class boards begins to fall into place, something is still missing -- money. The boards have been in development since September and now the founders are looking for someone to sponsor their efforts to "boost school spirit" and provide events to keep classes "united." In a closed meeting held last Friday, Undergraduate Assembly members and University administrators talked about different funding possibilities. "We're hoping that all of the avenues where we are trying to get money -- that includes the UA and the administration -- will be in place soon," said class board co-founder and College sophomore David Yarkin. Co-founder Jason Diaz said the University has already provided a preliminary sum of around $1,000 for class flags and elections, which will be held before the school year ends. The University likes the idea of class boards because they provide more student activities, Wharton sophomore Diaz said last night. But the board founders said they will not be asking for exorbitant expenditures. "We would love as much as we could get, but realistically we are just asking for the amount we need," Diaz said. Diaz added that he hopes to defray costs by acquiring corporate sponsorship for certain events, citing the example of possibly holding a "Taco Bell Class Olympics." UA members said the group will try to grant money to the class boards, but has yet to do so. Nevertheless, UA Treasurer Eric Leathers said the UA is "committed" to making sure class boards are funded. "They've made a great case for the necessity of having someone to foster school spirit and class ties," Wharton sophomore Leathers said. "They deserve to be funded." But before funding starts, the bodies must be approved by the UA, Chairperson Jeff Lichtman said last night. "We've asked them to write a specific proposal, as well as outline goals," College senior Lichtman said. "After that, we want to start as soon as possible." Diaz said the boards' formation is ironic, adding that in 1973, similar class boards were disbanded by the student body. "This would be the 20th anniversary of the last time we had class boards at Penn," Diaz said.

UA discusses creating new honor code at U.

(02/08/93 10:00am)

Last night's Undergraduate Assembly meeting was marked by heated debate over the possibility of adding an honor code to official University policy. An honor code would make students responsible for their own academic integrity -- meaning they would proctor their own tests and would also turn in other students for cheating. The students were split between those who said they see an honor code as a way for the University to "show its Ivy" and others who claimed it would "open the door for widespread cheating." "People who cheat have no place at this school," said College senior Jonathan Goldstein, a UA member. "Its time that we have a return to academia for its own sake." But many speakers at last night's meeting said an honor code would only end up hurting innocent students. College sophomore Michelle Falkoff said Wharton students in particular would take advantage of an honor code. "There are so many ways to manipulate the honor code," UA member Falkoff said. "People from Wharton have been gyping the country." And Wharton junior Ethan Youderian said he sees a problem in the "transition to an honor code and those who would take advantage of it." UA Chairperson Jeff Lichtman said he does not think the University is ready for the code. "I wish that students took it upon themselves to be on their honor," UA Chairperson Jeff Lichtman said. "But I'm not sure that the current environment at Penn would allow it to be effectively implemented." "You have this strong sense of competition in the sense that grades here are leading to a career," the College senior added. Although no vote was taken, UA members were asked to discuss the issue in order to provide a report to the University Council, which will address the issue at its Wednesday meeting. In the spring of 1990, a referendum on the UA ballot calling for an honor code was soundly defeated. In other UA business, the body reaffirmed the existence of the Social Planning and Events Committee. After a three-year trial run of the organization, the UA was asked to review the possibility of SPEC's future. The body unanimously approved SPEC, although future budget considerations and a possible restructuring might affect the way the body continues. The UA also unanimously approved a resolution "calling upon the administration to undertake a prompt and thorough investigation of McGinn Security Services." The legislation resolved that the University "develop strict guidelines that all future security services employed by the University will be expected to follow."

Singers to stick with accounts

(02/05/93 10:00am)

A cappella group leaders said yesterday that they will keep depositing part of their revenues in off-campus accounts -- accounts which go against Student Activities Council policy. And leaders added that if SAC decides to cut future a cappella funding, they would be more likely to use the non-sanctioned accounts. Fran Walker, the director of the office of student life and SAC's new advisor, said the a cappella groups are violating University regulations, which require all SAC members to use SAC accounts. "Official policy is that all groups deposit their revenue in their SAC accounts," Walker said. "There is a history behind this policy." "In the past, groups who have raised a lot of money have not always reported the amount accurately to SAC," Walker said, adding that she knows of no current groups who have reported false revenue figures. Mike Phillips, president of the a cappella group Pennsylvania 6-5000, said the group has been honest about its budget. "We outlined for them everything that we spend," Phillips said. "We were totally up front -- we didn't mess with any of the numbers." SAC decided last month to revoke funding for a cappella groups until the general body votes on the issue again at its at February 22 meeting. A cappella group members said that both the SAC banking policy and the recent decision to revoke funds are unfair. "It's ten times easier for us [not to use the SAC accounts]," said Phillips, a College junior. "If SAC is not going to be funding us, we might as well take care of it ourselves." Counterparts President Sean Aherne said his group will also continue its present accounting practices, "especially seeing that we will be getting no funding from SAC." But SAC Finance Chairperson Michael Graves said he hopes the groups will eventually comply with the SAC regulations. "When people decide they're special," College sophomore Graves said, "everyone ends up breaking the rules and you end up not having an organization." Phillips said he thinks the a cappella issue is not a question of the groups' accounting, but rather the possibility of SAC halting all grants. "Obviously, the kind of money we generate is intimidating," Phillips said. Penn--Six reported revenues of $11,700 last year. But Phillips said the lack of SAC funding could lead to a ticket price increase. "From my perspective, everything that we spend is making us a better group," said Phillips, adding that SAC money helps the group get started for the fall semester. "It's a springboard to help us put out a show; if it's taken away, we'll have to come up for it some other way. It might mean a raise in ticket prices." Aherne, a College junior, said Counterparts might also experience some troubles. "They have cut our funding for the semester," Aherne said. "Most of the groups are not gong to be SAC-funded [next year]. This semester we have to pay for everything."

A cappella accounting questioned

(02/03/93 10:00am)

A cappella groups funded by the Student Activities Council failed last year to deposit all of their profits from performances in SAC-regulated accounts, which SAC Finance Committee Chairperson Michael Graves said is "improper." All funds from SAC activities should be deposited into University accounts as a general rule, Graves said last night. "All revenue is supposed to be put into that account," the College sophomore said. "The contrast, the difference, is what they have used improperly, or taken improperly from SAC." Take the a cappella group Pennsylvania 6-5000, for example. Last year, the group deposited $819 into its University-sponsored banking account. But according to SAC Finance budget reports, Penn-Six made $11,700 in revenues during the same time period -- a difference of $10,881. Penn--Six was not alone in its reporting discrepancies. All but one of the seven a cappella groups, Penny Loafers, have deposited one figure and reported another. Graves said the groups' unreported money could be used inappropriately. "SAC has no control over that money," Graves said. "They can hire an assassin for all we know." He added that most other SAC-sponsored groups deposit their money into their designated accounts. "This whole issue, in the committee's opinion, is [the a cappella groups] feel they have the right to be treated differently," Graves said. "They should have what everyone else has." Chord on Blues President David Elson acknowledged that his group has a non-SAC account into which a portion of the group's revenues are deposited. But he added that it is done only for convenience. "There are groups that do not deposit their money in SAC because its hard to get to," the College senior said. "It's harder to pay vendors so there are groups that keep money to pay for that. We do that, but we are by no means alone." Elson added that SAC has been aware of the practices for some time. "It's nothing that SAC doesn't know about," Elson said. "It's just that SAC Finance likes to have a certain amount of knowledge and control of where we spend our money." Penn-Six President Michael Phillips also acknowledged that his group has an off-campus account. "We have an account at a bank basically so we can write checks," Phillips said. But Graves said off-campus accounts give the groups more freedom to take long distance trips -- excursions which he says "are not within [the groups'] stated purpose." "They [SAC Finance] feel that all of the traveling is a frivolous expense," said Phillips, a College junior. "We feel quite the contrary. SAC's essential goal is to make us perform one show, on campus, per semester. You just can't have a good group that way." (CUT LINE) Please see A CAPPELLA, page 2 A CAPPELLA, from page 1

Coalition to run slate in UA election

(02/02/93 10:00am)

In an unprecedented move, the Coalition for Responsive Student Government has declared its intention to run a slate of candidates in March's Undergraduate Assembly elections. The candidates will be running for approximately 18 to 23 of the 25 available UA seats, spokesperson Scott Sher said Sunday night. The Coalition is running the group of candidates at the suggestion of UA Chairperson Jeff Lichtman, said Sher, a College junior. But Sher said part of the reason the Coalition has become involved in student politics is because the current UA has "become completely disconnected from students as a whole." "I think the UA has become an old boys' network like Congress," Sher said. "Look at the phone bill incident, and you will find that these people have a serious problem with abuse of power." "I don't think it adequately represents students on the whole," said Sher, adding that the Coalition draws members from "all parts of the University community," including the Black Student League and the Chinese Students Association. UA member Ethan Youderian said he welcomes the Coalition's challenge. "I think that each candidate should be evaluated on an individual basis," said Youderian, a Wharton junior. "I don't see a threat by it. If I run, I will run my campaign. If they run, then they will run their campaign." Nominations and Elections Committee Chairperson Michael Monson said he expects the upcoming election to be different than most. "It should be an amazing election," Monson, a College junior, said. "That's what it's all about -- to keep people involved, to keep the system working." "The better the system it is, the more respectability it gets, and the more effective student government is," he added. A platform statement issued by the Coalition outlines the group's three main focuses -- student-administration relations, campus life and relations with the West Philadelphia community. Sher said he thinks these issues should attract students. "These ideas are essential in bringing change [to the University]," Sher said. "[But] what's more important is how we are going to bring change to the student government."

A cappella groups lose SAC funds

(01/29/93 10:00am)

The Student Activities Council voted last night to postpone its decision on funding for a cappella groups, revoking funding until SAC meets again next month. SAC Finance Committee members recommended that no funds be given to a cappella groups after reviewing the groups' budgets and deciding they could survive on their own. The general body agreed to follow the committee's suggestion until the issue can be revisited. SAC Finance Chairperson Michael Graves said his policy is justified, adding that all groups reported profits of over $1,700. "They can fund themselves," said Graves, a Wharton and College sophomore. "Students should only pay once to see these groups." SAC is funded from a portion of the $695 general fee students pay with their tuition, and students must also buy tickets to see the a cappella groups sing. Funding for a cappella groups was a hot topic last semester when SAC Finance recommended that the groups charge $2 admission for their shows as opposed to the $5 they have traditionally charged. In December, SAC's general body rejected the recommendation and ticket prices for a cappella performances stood at $5. But the body stipulated that SAC Finance could review the a cappella groups' budgets because the figures were based on the lower admission price. The general body postponed the vote because a cappella members said they had not had enough time to review the finance committee's findings. Counterparts singer Sean Aherne said he was not told about the committee's findings until late Wednesday night, and called for a postponement until further review of the facts. "We weren't able to speak to them before this meeting," the College junior said. Many singers said last night's decision has put their organizations into financial limbo. "They're voting to have a policy to stay in effect which never went into effect," said Pennsylvania 6-5000 member Mike Phillips. "Now we won't be able to get at the money for almost an entire month," the College junior said. "It's an important month because our show is coming up." "SAC has killed the a cappella groups," said College junior and Counterparts member Seth Goren. The meeting was punctuated by frequent debate on parliamentary procedure and tension between the finance committee and the a cappella groups. "That was one of the poorer run meetings by SAC Finance I've seen in a long time," College senior Andy Roth said after the meeting. "Most SAC meetings are better than this," SAC Chairperson and College senior Brandon Fitzgerald said. "But when you have a group of 150 people, things can break down." Departing SAC adviser Albert Moore, who leaves his post today, offered a speech of conciliation to the body. "When you come to meetings in the future," Moore said, "I hope you will find each other more cooperative and organized. SAC should be like a family." The body also voted on next year's finance committee members. Winning were Wharton sophomore David Browne, Wharton junior Stanley Rowe, and Wharton student Ronan Stauber.

UA and NEC phone records reveal scores of personal calls

(01/26/93 10:00am)

One call was made to France. Two 94-minute calls were placed to the switchboard of Texas Southern University in Houston. Still others reached the operator at the U.S. Capitol on several occasions. These calls and scores of others were listed in phone records for the two lines at the office shared by the Undergraduate Assembly and the Nominations and Elections Committee. And from September to November 1992, bills for the lines totalled $423 -- of which over $172 was spent on long-distance charges. But UA members said last night they think most of the calls made from the office were necessary. "I'm quite confident that those calls were not made by UA members on personal business," UA Chairperson Jeff Lichtman said. UA operations are funded by a portion of the $695 general fee that students are required to pay. UA leaders said there have been a number of "extenuating circumstances" which have necessitated the use of the UA and NEC phones for long-distance calls. Lichtman said he made repeated calls to the U.S. Capitol switchboard as part of the UA's effort to "track legislation." "I know that we are interested in the bill that [Colorado Rep. Pat] Schroeder is working on right now about changing the Department of Defense policy on ROTC," Lichtman said. Lichtman said he also called his summer employer at the Democratic Congressional Campaigning Committee in Washington, D.C. to help arrange speakers for the University because he "has some connections there." But Lichtman said he does not know of any student government business taking place in Texas. "In my role as treasurer, I wasn't aware last year about everything that was going on," Lichtman, a College senior, said. The six-minute call to France was made by UA Vice Chairperson Kirsten Bartok as a part of her arrangements for a charity ball which she conducts, Bartok said. The ball is not affiliated with the UA or the University. "The phone call was an emergency," College junior Bartok said. She added that although it has yet to be paid for, she will soon pay off her debt. "That phone bill will be paid before this story is printed," Bartok said. Also included in the phone records were more than an hour and a half of calls made to Wells, Maine, the home of Bartok's father. Bartok said her father helped to purchase and set up the UA's new computer system. She said she called her father for computer advice. Tanya Young, last year's NEC chairperson, acknowledged last night that she, too, used the office phone to call her house. Records indicate that two phone calls were placed to Young's home on April 7 and 20 of last year, costing a total of $12.76 and lasting over and hour and a quarter. "I did call home, but that's it," said Young, who graduated last year with a degree from Wharton. Young denied that she placed calls to Texas Southern, which is also located in Houston. But in a period of two months, 344 minutes of telephone calls were made to the Houston 713 area code. UA adviser Fran Walker, director of student life activities and facilities, said last night that she does not approve of Young's actions. "She should have reimbursed the NEC," Walker said. Although Walker said she does not think the bills were "exorbitant," she did say she hopes members will not make any more personal phone calls. Staff writer Peter Morrison contributed to this story. (CUT LINE) Please see PHONES, page 5 PHONES, from page 1 No H&J; required. Do not bother inserting ! -- Michael ' In my role as treasurer, I wasn't aware last year about everything that was going on. ' Jeff Lichtman UA chairperson

Questions raised about UA phone calls

(01/21/93 10:00am)

The Undergraduate Assembly budgeted $1,200 this year to pay for office phone calls, even though many of the charges from last year's $1,264 phone budget came from UA members making personal long-distance calls, according to a former UA officer. The figures for the phone budgets are cited in this year's UA budget and by UA officials. David Chun, whose allegations are detailed in a column that will appear in tomorrow's Daily Pennsylvanian, said long-distance priviliges had been considered a "perk" of UA membership. "There were no major incentives not to make personal long-distance calls," said Chun, a College junior. "And there were no immediate pressures from the veteran UA members to stop making them. It was a general consensus that that was a perk of being on the UA." Chun served as last year's chairperson of the UA's University Budget and Finance Committee, a committee that addresses student tuition and funding concerns. Current and former UA officials defended the size of the phone budget, citing normal UA business, and said personal calls were kept to a minimum. But they also said that weak security in the UA office allowed unauthorized phone usage to occur by both students and University employees. Current UA Chairperson Jeff Lichtman said the UA makes a number of long-distance phone calls to student governments at other universities. "We had a conference with people at Harvard," Lichtman, a College senior, said last night. "We talk to schools all throughout the country. The phone is there for UA business, to take care of UA business." Last year's UA Chairperson, Mitch Winston, said he was aware of improper telephone calls, but said they did not originate from UA members. "If any member of the UA made long-distance calls on the phone, that was totally illegal," Winston said. Winston said UA telephones were used by unauthorized Physical Plant employees and former UA members who still had access to the UA office. "Many students were making calls," Winston, a Wharton senior, said. "Anyone could come in and dial. The problem was that the office was left unlocked." But former UA Vice-Chair and current member Ethan Youderian said some personal long-distance calls were made by UA members. "I never use the UA for personal calls unless it's something rather important," Youderian, a Wharton junior, said last night, adding that he called his girlfriend in California "two or three times" around Thanksgiving. He said he planned to pay for the calls at the time, but has not done so yet. Youderian also traced some of the phone charges to unauthorized users he said he has observed in the UA office. "A few times I have walked in the office and Physical Plant people were making personal calls," Youderian said. Lichtman acknowledged that security at the UA office has not been tight. "I definitely think that unauthorized people are making phone calls," Lichtman said last night. Lichtman added that locks to the UA office were changed at the start of the semester, but prior to that, many former UA members still had keys to it.

Coalition joins U. political fray

(01/20/93 10:00am)

Anyone going to get a slice of chocolate cheesecake at 1920 Commons last night might have missed leaders of the Coalition for Responsive Student Government introduce themselves to the University student body. The coalition, a new student government group, made a 30-second proclamation to diners complete with the unfurling of a coalition banner. Students received the announcement with both skepticism and excitement. "I think it's another piece of bullshit," College sophomore Shelly LeWinter said. "No one really cares about it." "How many student governments do we need?" Wharton sophomore Sean McGrath asked. But coalition leaders said they remain confident that they will be successful, adding that they have had a number of interested students contact them. "I was on the telephone all last night talking to people," said Wharton junior Darion D'Anjou, the coalition's chairperson. "This is just the start of a bunch of things that are going to happen." Some students said they think the new organization may have a positive effect on student life. "I think that by saying they're making a big effort seems like they are serious about what they want to do," College sophomore Leora Saacks said. D'Anjou and spokesperson Scott Sher distributed leaflets to the tables last night, which stated, "85.5 per cent of undergraduates at Penn can't name more than 1 (one) out of 33 members of the Undergraduate Assembly." UA Treasurer Eric Leathers, who was present during the announcement, said he hoped the two organizations could work together without getting involved in any disputes. "I think that if they want to get involved, that's great," said Leathers, a Wharton sophomore. "But if they want to go about it, they should be willing to work with us." College sophomore Liz Rudnick said she thinks the coalition may not be able to stand on its own. "It seems like a great group," Rudnick said. "I question how effective it could work without the UA." And although Rudnick said she was going to attend the coalition's first meeting, she said most of her friends "didn't know anything about it." Rudnick traced the problem to the coalition's flyers, which she described as "not very informative." The coalition, which handed out general surveys Monday, will be distributing a second round of surveys about more specific issues, said Sher, a College and Wharton junior.

Watch out UA, new group is on the way

(01/18/93 10:00am)

In what organizers call a response to "campus-wide apathy towards student government," a group of students has announced the formation of the Coaltion for Reponsive Student Government. The group's purpose, said chairperson Darion D'Anjou, is to "relate more effectively to students" and to "provide effective and efficient solutions to student concerns." "We won't have confines like the [Undergraduate Assembly] or the [Nominations and Elections Committee]," said D'Anjou, a Wharton junior. "They have rules that they have to follow. We're going to be looking for input from all aspects of the student body." After staying "underground" for a number of months, the approximately 30 students who comprise the organization will make their first foray into the public eye today, when they will distribute surveys on campus. These surveys, according to spokesperson Scott Sher, will form the backbone of the coalition's first plans for University improvement. "Before we decide on any agenda we want to get the results of these surveys," said Sher, a Wharton and College junior. Although cautioning that the coalition, which will be independent, will not be in conflict with established bodies like the UA, leaders used the UA as evidence of campus "apathy." "Four out of five students don't know who the UA chair is," coalition secretary and Wharton sophomore George Calles said. "That makes it a lot more difficult for the UA to claim to be the voice of the students when the students don't know who the leader is." But UA Chairperson Jeff Lichtman said he thinks the two groups can work in concert, with the UA functioning through "traditional channels," and the Coalition "outside traditional lines." "They are acting more as a lobbyist or an influence group," said Lichtman, a College senior. "But I think that once they develop their ideas more, and target their issues, they might be effective." Calles echoed Lichtman's optimism for cooperation. "We're not looking to replace [the UA], we're looking to add to it," Calles said. D'Anjou said what makes the Coalition different from other student organizations is its "personalized attention to students." "We are going to get out there and start talking to students," D'Anjou said. "We want to be a forum for ideas -- a think tank." UA Vice Chair Kirsten Bartok said she is "excited to see what issues they come up with." She said she hopes the coalition will focus on social activities, about which the UA has been brainstorming for some time. "The more brains we have, the better," Bartok said. Sher said he thinks the organization's effectiveness will not be hampered by its young age or unofficial status. He added that many of the coalition's founders are former government leaders themselves. Both Sher and Calles directed Bill Clinton's campaign at the University. D'Anjou is a former UA member and is currently treasurer of the Black Student League. Treasurer Jeff Wu, a Wharton junior, has been involved in the Chinese Student Association.