This editorial appeared on the front page of the print edition on Monday, April 25, 2016.
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The disruption by protesters of the talk being given by sitting CIA Director John Brennan on Friday afternoon is a dark mark on this University’s reputation. Three separate disruptions by shouting activists derailed an otherwise illuminating discussion from one of the Obama administration’s highest officials.
Despite what some might say, the Undergraduate Assembly is a body of students that has the potential to have a large amount of influence at Penn. Members hold substantial influence with administrators, take on important projects throughout the year, and are generally tasked with bringing together the voices of different student groups across campus.
Taking reader feedback into consideration, we at The Daily Pennsylvanian are placing an embargo on writing about the following topics:
With the Pennsylvania primaries fast approaching, as well as those of many other relevant states, The Daily Pennsylvanian’s Opinion Board is endorsing candidates for the presidential primaries, as we have in past elections. We are choosing a candidate for both parties, and these selections reflect the choices of the Opinion Board and not the publication as a whole.
The spring semester may only be at its halfway point, but Penn has set the calendar for the next academic year. For the Council of Deans, establishing the calendar so far in advance is standard operating procedure. Each year, the undergraduate deans assemble and prepare a calendar that they then propose to the Office of the Provost for approval, while taking students’ opinions into account during the process. The process is refreshingly multifaceted, and the potential calendar goes through multiple stages before being approved.
On Feb. 23, a man in possession of a machete and a stolen ID card was arrested in Van Pelt library. He was trailed into the library by a Penn employee and apprehended by Penn Police within the span of 16 minutes. While 16 minutes might seem long to anyone witnessing the event, the arrest was fairly quick, and some students in the library were unaware of what had happened until the situation had passed.
Yesterday, Penn welcomed Caitlyn Jenner as the Social Planning and Events Committee Connaissance spring speaker and QPenn’s keynote speaker. The moderator was 1972 College graduate and Daily Pennsylvanian alumnus Buzz Bissinger, who wrote the Vanity Fair story announcing Jenner’s transition. With ticket lines stretching down Locust Walk, it was clear that the student body was definitely interested in hearing what she had to say.
During the summer of 2015, Penn introduced a new online program for freshmen called Thrive at Penn. TAP covers topics such as wellness and health, alcohol and drugs, healthy relationships and sexual violence prevention and knowing how to “thrive” at a research university.
What is there to say about Winter Storm Jonas? Not very much on our campus. To go by the vista offered by High Rise Field on Saturday morning, no student could be rebuked for thinking we’d get to February before attending class again. And yet, in a flurry of activity, the hardy men and women of Facilities and Real Estate Services undid the weather’s work — by Monday morning, you could have walked down Locust Walk in flip flops without any trouble. We salute their efforts in keeping us high and dry.
Earlier this week, Kenny Jones — a former administrator in the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life — was found to have misrepresented his academic credentials on multiple occasions. In past blog posts, presentations and other job-related documents, Jones had claimed to have earned a Ph.D. from Morgan State University this past March and spoke of his time as a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity at Jackson State University.
This year was a historic one, both at Penn and across the country. Following the unjust decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases late last year, the Black Lives Matter movement has brought racial inequality to the forefront of current debates in the United States. Attacks in Paris — first Charlie Hebdo in January, then the Bataclan massacre in November — shocked the world, while daily attacks in Beirut, Lebanon, and Nigeria and Syria and elsewhere, along with floods in Japan and other natural disasters, barely went noticed by the global community.
Amid the recent, mainly Republican backlash against accepting Syrian refugees by many states, Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to allow refugees to settle in Pennsylvania is a refreshingly ethical decision in American politics today.
Last year, the University revamped its sexual assault adjudication process in response to changes in federal guidelines for sexual assault on campus. As part of the overhaul, Penn created a new sexual violence investigations office and hired Christopher Mallios to serve as its inaugural head.
Systemic racism at college campuses across the country was thrown into the spotlight two weeks ago, with protests at the University of Missouri and Yale University demanding action to address the institutional marginalization of people of color.
This week, a four-part series in The Daily Pennsylvanian exposed the concerning state of housing facilities across campus. Besides drawing attention to the run-down and, quite frankly, unsafe conditions that 54 percent of students live in, the series highlighted another equally troubling phenomenon: Facilities and Real Estate Services’ widespread lack of concern for people, including students and workers.
Facilities and Real Estate Services’ continual struggle to maintain quality living standards in campus buildings, publicized in a four-part series in this week’s issues of The Daily Pennsylvanian, comes as no surprise to most students living on campus.
Sexual assault is a problem at Penn that has recently been on everyone’s mind, especially after nearly a third of female undergraduates reported having been sexually assaulted. The issue is even more prevalent on campus this week in light of the ”It’s On Us” campaign, a national action week devoted to preventing sexual assault.
On Friday, Penn announced that it will not revoke Bill Cosby’s honorary degree, after weeks of declining to comment on the subject.
Today and tomorrow, the Board of Trustees will meet to consider some of the most pressing matters facing the University. One of those issues, we hope, is whether Bill Cosby should keep the honorary degree that Penn awarded him in 1990.