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State politicians get ready for primaries

(03/24/00 10:00am)

Six Senate hopefuls are vying for heDemocratic nomination on April 4. With the major presidential candidates already set, state primaries are no longer headlining the evening news. In Pennsylvania, however, primary season is far from over. On April 4, hundreds of candidates will be vying for smaller offices ranging from United States senator to representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Though the Pennsylvanian primary probably will not attract national attention, state officials maintain the primary's importance lies in the effect it will have on state politics. "This election is not just about the top of the ticket. It's about the delegations in the convention and it's about local officials," Pennsylvania Republican State Committee spokeswoman Lauren Cotter Brobson explained. And according to Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee spokeswoman Sandi Vito, the race where votes will count the most will likely be the six-way Democratic struggle to challenge Republican Sen. Rick Santorum. The six candidates have turned out in an effort to oust the conservative Santorum, who was swept into office in the 1994 Republican electoral landslide. With the focus in Pennsylvania on the race for the Senate, Political Science Professor Henry Teune thinks the true contest lies not among all six Democrats but among three key candidates: State Sen. Allison Schwartz, former state secretary of labor and industry Tom Foley and U.S. Rep. Ron Klink. "This is going to have to be an organizational fight," Teune said, explaining that endorsements of the different candidates are going to be crucial in swaying voters this April. Despite the fact that Philadelphia Mayor John Street recently endorsed Schwartz, the only woman in the race, Teune said her close ties with her predominately Democratic hometown of Philadelphia will work against her in the primary. The Democratic candidates will be on campus on Wednesday for a debate sponsored by the College Democrats. But despite the local focus on the senatorial race, the Pennsylvania primary will not be entirely irrelevant to presumptive presidential nominees Al Gore and George W. Bush. According to state spokeswoman Stephanie Rimer, this primary differs from most years not only because presidential candidates appear on the ballot, but because it gives voters the opportunity to nominate delegates to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this summer. "Pennsylvania is a state that is a must win for either part in the fall," Brobson said. "The primary is a good indication of what voter turnout might be in the fall." However, with the presidential nominations basically decided, Teune predicted voter turnout April 4 will be low, estimating that no more than 25 percent of registered voters will cast a ballot come primary day. "There's no real attraction," he noted. "Most of the voters don't know who these people are." Furthermore, he added, the national parties will be concentrating little attention on Pennsylvania after the recent victories of Gore and Bush. But Vito, Brobson and Rimer all contend that the upcoming primary is important regardless of the degree of national resonance, citing the primary as an early opportunity for Pennsylvania residents to make their voices heard.


W. Lax looks to start Ivy climb at Cornell

(03/24/00 10:00am)

The Quakers will try to reach 3-1 by beating the explosive Big Red. When the Penn women's lacrosse team travels north to Ithaca to face No. 16 Cornell tomorrow at 1 p.m., it will be bringing one thing along that has been missing for some time -- the confidence that the Quakers can win an Ivy League game. The Quakers (2-1, 0-1 Ivy) struggled to a 1-6 mark in League play a year ago, and going into its Ivy opener this spring at No. 10 Yale, they were unsure of how they would hold up. But a close 9-8 loss to the Elis, followed by a 14-7 Quakers victory over Villanova on Tuesday, has the team confident it can play with anyone. "I think because the team did play Yale tight, that they definitely feel that they can win the game," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "This is a huge game for us, and they're getting to understand that. I think they are getting really excited to play Cornell and to hopefully beat them." To have success tomorrow, though, Penn will need to turn in a strong defensive performance. Cornell (4-0, 0-0 Ivy) brings a high-powered offense into this meeting -- the same offense that raced out to a 7-0 lead on the Quakers last spring and a 9-0 advantage two seasons ago. And though Penn has played well in the second half all season, they once again fell behind early at Yale, 3-0, and Villanova, 3-2, in the past week. "I think we still are getting out kind of slow, but we are definitely picking it up a lot faster than we were last year," Penn goalie Christian Stover said. "Hopefully for Cornell, we can go out there and get an early lead." A young team, the Big Red are led by a quartet of sophomores. Attackers Ginny Miles and Lori Wohschlegel, midfielder Jaimee Reynolds and goalie Carrie Giancola are the heart and soul of a Cornell team that has surprised many by racing out to four straight wins. Miles, who holds the Philadelphia area high school record for career goals with 281, is the Big Red's most potent weapon. A first team All-Ivy selection as a freshman after tallying 38 goals, Miles is off to another torrid start with 13 goals in four games. Penn will likely match the Cornell star up with junior Amy Weinstein, who was honored by the league this week for her performance at Yale. "Amy Weinstein, I think, is going to play on Ginny Miles," Brower said. "She did a nice job against [Yale first team All-Ivy selection] Heather Bentley. I think if Amy is physical on Miles, that she'll do fine against her. We've seen Ginny play, and she's a good player, but I think Amy can do a nice job on her." Weinstein, who spent her first two seasons with Penn lacrosse as an attacker before moving to defense this spring, is excelling in this transition. "I'm really enjoying myself and learning a lot," Weinstein said. "I hope that I get matched up on the top players from now on." The junior, however, was quick to credit the team aspect of the defense. "Whenever anyone scores or anything happens, everyone basically marks up on everyone," she added. "A lot of times the best defensive plays aren't one person doing something, it's the team recognizing that someone's in, and everyone crossing in on them." To this end, the Quakers know they must win the battle of ground balls and double-team well on the Cornell attackers if they are to win. The Big Red are coming off a 14-3 win over California in which Miles netted four goals and Wohschlegel added three of her own. On the other side of the ball, Penn has an attacker who has been blowing up in the early season. Sophomore Traci Marabella leads the Quakers with 10 goals, and combined with senior Brooke Jenkins and freshman Crissy Book, Penn has a potent offense of its own. But in order to find the back of the net, Penn's front-liners will have to beat Cornell's Giancola. The sophomore has excelled this spring, with a save percentage of .632. Quakers goalie Christian Stover also comes into tomorrow's game on a hot streak. The junior did not allow a goal for a 25-minute stretch in Tuesday's 14-7 Penn win at Villanova. Stover, however, is quick to credit her entire defense -- including Weinstein, Lee Ann Sechovicz, Christy Bennett and several other members of Penn's back line -- for the team's strong defensive play. "The defense is very aggressive, and I love that," Stover said. Tomorrow's match is the Quakers' fourth consecutive road game, and playing a league opponent on their home turf is never an easy task. But Penn feels good nonetheless. "What we really need to do is come out right from the start and be as intense as we have been in our second halves," Weinstein said. "And I think we've got a good shot at beating Cornell and really working our way up the Ivy ladder."


Baseball's new stadium is a hit

(03/24/00 10:00am)

Fans enjoyed free peanuts and Cracker Jack, and the field was in good shape. With the gigantic, smiling face of Will Smith looking down upon it on a warm, sunny spring afternoon, how could anything have gone wrong at the first game played at the Penn Baseball Stadium at Murphy Field? As it turned out, nothing went wrong for the Penn baseball team, as it made its Murphy Field debut a memorable one with a Smith-adorned billboard for a local radio station looking on. The Quakers overcame a five-run deficit in their last at-bat to beat St. Joseph's, 13-12. The glistening new ballpark's debut was just as successful. While the 263 Quakers supporters who attended the game were chomping on free peanuts and Cracker Jack provided by the Penn Athletic Department, the newness of the field they were watching caused few problems. For instance, the brand new turf on the infield grass kept ground balls down for the most part -- much to the delight of the infielders on both sides. The excellent condition of the field was due to the work of Penn head groundskeeper Tony Overend and his crew, who arrived at the field at 7:30 yesterday morning to iron out any last wrinkles before the 3 p.m. game. "The guys worked pretty hard, the crew I have," Overend said. "It all came together, it was a good job. And we got the 'W.' That makes it a little bit more sweeter." But rarely does any new turf lack irregularities. This became painfully apparent to the Quakers during the Hawks' five-run fifth inning that gave them a 9-4 lead over the Quakers. A ground ball smashed to Penn third baseman Oliver Hahl took a bad hop on the new infield grass and bounced over his outstretched glove as he was diving to his right. Hahl felt that it was probably the rough new turf that caused the ball to skip into left field, allowing one run to score. "[It] sucked," Hahl said. "I was pissed about it." One thing about which the Quakers weren't upset was the early verdict on the relatively small Murphy Field -- it seems to be a hitter's ballpark. The game's first homerun was a fourth inning monster shot to dead center field off the bat of St. Joe's first baseman Tim Gunn, who had not hit a home run all season. Penn's $2-million launching pad eventually paid dividends, as the first Quakers homerun at Murphy Field -- a three-run shot by Anthony Napolitano -- was a crucial step in their six-run eighth inning comeback. "As you can see, there were balls flying out of here like crazy," Penn right fielder Kevin McCabe said. "We took advantage of the last one. But our pitchers are going to have to keep the ball down." While Murphy Field has the potential to reward hitters, it also has the potential to distract them. Cars buzz along the Schuylkill Expressway, which towers above the outfield. In the late afternoon, while home plate is still in sunlight, the pitcher's mound is shrouded in the shadow cast by the huge water cooling plant that looms over the field on the first base line. "I really didn't think it was that bad. You know, Bower [Field] had the trains and the cars, so it's something that we're used to," McCabe said, referring to the Quakers' previous home. "The sun didn't seem too bad. There were shadows in the middle of the field, but you could see the ball fine coming out of the pitcher's hand." Penn coach Bob Seddon, however, thinks that the expressway beyond the outfield might pose a problem for some players. "A couple of the hitters said that the backdrop is not quite high enough," he said. "When a [pitcher's] arm is up, you see a car behind the arm." The hitters aren't the only ones who might be distracted. Penn shortstop Glen Ambrosius said that the stands and the nets that protect the spectators can make fielding tricky. "There were a few times where the guy flied it back, and I thought it was a fly ball coming out into play. It's really tough on the fly balls," he said. "I actually felt they should have named the field Will Smith Field at Q102 Stadium. We need to get a Penn baseball sign up there or something like that," said McCabe, who faces the sign while playing right field. "I was joking around with the guys, saying, 'If you ever lose focus, look at the smiling Will Smith and you can't be upset.' But obviously, you can't have everything be perfect with the field. "I like Will Smith," he added. Yesterday, Will Smith wasn't the only one who was liked. Everybody praised the success of Murphy Field and of those who put it together. St. Joe's was disappointed when the game was called after the eighth on account of darkness. Murphy Field is still without lights. "What they've done here for us is wonderful," Seddon said. "The operations staff and the athletic staff, what they've done for us here is unbelievable. Everybody worked day and night to get the field ready to go. That's a first class operation."


Study finds increased binge drinking

(03/24/00 10:00am)

Despite anti-drinking ad campaigns and stricter school alcohol policies, binge drinking on college campuses is on the rise according to a recent Harvard University study. The Harvard School of Public Health study of 14,138 students at 119 schools, including Penn, showed that two in five college students binge drink. The study defined binge drinking as the consumption of five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more for women. It also showed that students today binge drink more frequently now than in prior years. But the number of students on each extreme of the drinking spectrum seems to be growing -- the study also reported an increase in the percentage of students who do not drink at all. Harvard also tabulated exact numbers for each school studied, but they have not released this data. Penn Alcohol Coordinator Stephanie Ives maintained that according to Penn's own research, the binge drinking rate on campus is lower. But she was optimistic about the Harvard survey, pointing out that the results show that the majority of college students -- 56 percent -- do not binge drink. Ives also questioned the accuracy of the study, asking if a 6'3" man drinking six drinks in six hours --which the Harvard study would classify as binge drinking -- was high risk behavior. "The body can process one drink per hour," Ives said. "[The study] doesn't say if a sitting is 10 minutes or three hours or five hours." And College junior Michael Bassik, a member of the Working Group on Alcohol Abuse and Undergraduate Assembly treasurer, suggested that a student's weight and tolerance should factor into the binge drinking equation. "I know people who can drink five drinks and be fine and I know people who can drink five drinks and be in the hospital," the College junior said. Ives said that before she could determine the accuracy of the study, she would need to know the demographics of the students studied -- their backgrounds, class years and whether they were involved in athletics or the Greek system. Ives was also unsure of how many students were surveyed at each school and questioned whether the researchers surveyed a set number or percentage at each school. And despite the implications of an increase in binge drinking at Penn and major attempts to limit alcohol abuse, Bassik said he was not very worried about the implications of the study. "Changing campus culture is not something that would happen overnight," he said. "Hopefully, four years down the road, we will begin to see a change. Those might be accurate numbers, but we're working hard to change those numbers." And WGAA member and former InterFraternity Council President Mark Metzl said that binge drinking is not only a problem on college campuses. "Alcohol abuse is a societal, not just a college issue," the College senior said.


Penn's current alcohol policy remains a work in progress

(03/24/00 10:00am)

It has been nearly eight months since a new policy designed to change the social culture at Penn and prevent alcohol-related tragedies went into effect. And those behind the ambitious plan say that while they believe the University is on the right track, the policy remains a work in progress. The policy was created after the death of 1994 College graduate Michael Tobin following a night of drinking at an annual Phi Gamma Delta reunion. Tobin fell to his death down a flight of stairs behind the FIJI house a year ago this week. After five weeks of discussions, a provost-led task force submitted a 10-page report to University President Judith Rodin, who approved the recommendations in full last summer. Now, administrators and students are looking at ways to better achieve their stated goals, even if it means altering parts of the policy. "We are not wedded to any of these specifics -- we are wedded to the overall goal," said Provost Robert Barchi, emphasizing that the policy still cannot be fully evaluated after just one year. The current policy outlines stricter rules for monitoring parties and the distribution of alcohol at registered undergraduate events. It also proposes a wide range of non-alcoholic social and educational programming. After more than a semester under the new rules, there is a general consensus among administrators and student leaders that the policy has provided more social options and better enforcement of alcohol rules. But there are definitely a few kinks to work out. The BYOB rules outlined in the policy have proved largely ineffective. And certain social options, such as bringing a bowling alley to campus, have not yet come to pass. Administrators stress that the policy is still a work in progress and changes will be made as needed. Barchi -- who last year headed and continues to lead the Working Group on Alcohol Abuse -- said changes to the policy are appropriate because it was designed to be a working, evolving set of regulations and guidelines. "The idea here was to try to change the culture at Penn towards drinking," Barchi said. "The goal was never to create a policy that was going to last forever. We said from the very beginning that this is going to be an incremental process." Over the next year, several components of the policy may be modified, as administrators review some of the alcohol restrictions and work to fulfill more of the social programming goals. First on the list of changes is the current rule that requires alcohol to be brought to registered events on a BYOB basis, which has proven to be ineffective at limiting alcohol at parties. "The BYOB policy is one area that is a good example of an element that was put in place for a good reason but turns out to be relatively impractical to implement," Barchi said. Barchi said the BYOB policy will likely be reviewed in coming months, as well as the practice of using tickets to redeem drinks from bartenders at parties. Alcohol Policy Coordinator Stephanie Ives said the policy's implementation has gone very well in general, with students demonstrating a willingness to comply with the new University regulations. "I think the rest of the policy looks pretty solid," she said. "The increased social options have been very successful." The BYOB situation will most likely be discussed this summer, she said, with a decision in place before the start of the fall semester. A related provision in the alcohol policy requiring that registered parties have trained bartenders may also be revisited in the near future, according to Undergraduate Assembly Chairman Michael Silver, a member of the Alcohol Rapid Response Team, a committee of student leaders which meets periodically to discuss alcohol issues with the provost. Many fraternities have been reluctant to use the bartenders trained by the University because of their high costs, he said, preferring to use other licensed bartenders instead. Incentives are being considered that could be used to encourage increased use of University-trained bartenders, Silver said, noting that these bartenders "were trained according to the rules of the alcohol policy." InterFraternity Council Executive Vice President John Buchanan, a College junior and ARRT member, agreed that it is "easier on the fraternities" to have bartenders familiar with University rules at their parties, but noted that the $25 per hour charged for each University-trained bartender is "a fairly significant expense" when fraternities can have licensed students tend their bars for less money. "Another compromise can be reached where we have trained bartenders behind the bar instead of students," Buchanan said. "I respect the University wanting to have trained people behind the bar." Regulating alcohol consumption at parties, however, wasn't the only recommendation to combat alcohol abuse made by the WGAA in its report last spring. The group recommended that the University arrange for increased non-alcoholic social options for students late at night. Programs organized by college houses and student groups have been a part of the implementation of these recommendations, but the University has also been working to bring businesses to University City that will allow students to have a wider range of late-night entertainment. "When we start talking about entertainment options? we're working on that right now," said Vice President for Business Services Leroy Nunery. The opening of the Perelman Quadrangle this summer will be "a huge plus" in providing more options for students, Nunery said. Surveys have shown that students are interested in having an expansion of the types of entertainment available to them, he added. "People particularly were interested in places where they could play pool [and] bowl," Nunery said. Though he said the University is working on bringing new business to campus, Nunery noted that projects like building a bowling alley require a considerable amount of space, among other expenses. "We had some early discussions about [bowling]," he said, including talks with a leading national producer of bowling alleys. "I think it would be a very attractive option." However, Nunery stressed that Penn must "utilize the assets we already have" by focusing on efforts like those of the Vice Provost for University Life to create more non-alcoholic student programs. "You can't just throw money at it" with new businesses, he said. "You have to make sure that, on a broad scale, [change] happens."


Trustees approve 3.4 percent hike in '00-01 charges

(03/24/00 10:00am)

Penn's total charges will be the third lowest in the Ivy League, behind Yale and Princeton. The University Board of Trustees approved a 3.4 percent increase in total student charges for the academic year yesterday, pushing the cost of a Penn education up to $32,996 from $31,902. The increase is Penn's lowest in more than 30 years. At an Executive Committee Meeting yesterday, the Trustees approved a 3.9 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, raising rates from $24,230 to $25,170. In addition, room and board costs will rise two percent, from $7,672 to $7,826. "We're so committed to try and limit the rate of increase," University President Judith Rodin said. The increase in total charges was 3.7 percent last year and 3.9 percent the year before. Rodin added that the University has done everything possible to "create all the opportunity for the best and brightest [to come to Penn]." Penn's increase is on the low end in the Ivy League, with other undergraduate charge increases ranging from 2.9 percent at Harvard and Yale universities to 4.6 percent at Cornell University. And Penn could almost be called a bargain, at least relatively -- its total charges are the third lowest in the Ivy League. Rates will be slightly lower only at Yale and Princeton University, at $32,880 and $32,681, respectively. Columbia University is the only Ivy that has not yet announced next year's charges. University Budget Director Mike Masch explained that Penn is committed to keeping expenses down and not raising tuition more than necessary. He explained that much of the tuition money goes toward a wide range of academic programming. Initiatives in the Penn Humanities Forum and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, coupled with the construction of new buildings on campus, contribute to rising costs, he said. Masch added that Penn's greatest expense is personnel. "We pride ourselves on having a really outstanding faculty," he said. "We want to retain our faculty? so salaries have to be competitive." But the increases are necessary if the University is to "remain at the cutting-edge of creating new knowledge," Masch said. Another top priority for the University is continuing to make a Penn education affordable for all qualified students. According to Rodin, the support of the Trustees will enable the University to maintain its need-blind admissions policy and continue to provide financial assistance to those students who demonstrate need. She said in a statement yesterday that she expects the University's undergraduate, need-based grant budget for the 2000-01 academic year to exceed the $54 million budgeted. Penn has had difficulty competing in recent years with the financial aid offerings of other schools, such as Princeton and Yale, who offer predominantly grant-based aid because they fund financial aid almost entirely from their endowments. But Penn has a much smaller endowment per student ratio than other schools and has been unable to take similar steps. Still, more than 40 percent of undergraduates received grant support from the University last year. "We have had and continue to have one of the most creative, and flexible and extensive financial aid programs of the top research universities in the United States," Masch said. Rodin added that she and the Trustees are committed to the University's campaign to raise $200 million to enhance its endowment for undergraduate financial aid. Over $100 million has already been raised. Penn's per-capita endowment is the lowest in the Ivy League, making it difficult for the University to match financial aid packages offered by other schools.


Man on a mission: The spring weather brought Brother Stephen back to Penn.

(03/24/00 10:00am)

And to think, Penn students were just getting used to the peace and quiet. With a Bible in hand and crowds of students listening to his raucous sermon, evangelist Christian preacher Stephen White -- known better to Penn students as "Brother Stephen" -- revisited his old College Green stomping grounds yesterday. During his first visit to Penn of the spring, the flamboyant clergyman shared his views on religion, culture and morality with just about anyone who would listen. White, 36, first made waves here in the fall of 1998, when he began making his eccentric, one-man College Green sermons before large crowds of bewildered students. His remarks drew fire from a wide spectrum of the University community, many of whom were quick to characterize him as racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. And despite his lengthy exodus from campus, White has not changed his act. Accompanied by wife Laurie and sons Philip, 2, and Wesley, 2 months -- both named after evangelical preachers -- White addressed large crowds all day long, debating with students and sending an occasional chant of "Whoremonger!" or "Fornicator!" out into the crowds of passersby. "I desire to communicate with students again," said White, who runs a campus ministry at Temple University and travels to universities up and down the east coast to preach his beliefs. "I love Penn!" For many students in the crowd assembled just outside of Van Pelt Library, White's preaching was a catalyst for theological debate. For others, it was nothing more than pure amusement. "I think Brother Stephen is definitely one of the more interesting figures we have around here," College sophomore Bill Groh said. "I don't think he makes anyone more likely to convert to Christian evangelism, but he does make people think and he stirs up some controversy, and I think that's good for this campus." "I think this is pure entertainment," College junior Dan Leberman added. "He is a raving lunatic. It's like watching television, like watching Jerry Springer." Despite the angry response his views sometimes elicit from audience members, White says that he will continue to preach at college campuses "in the name of Jesus." "They thought Jesus was a lunatic, and they think that because I want to represent Jesus, I'm a crazy whacko," he said. "But that's OK -- all prophets were considered lunatics." He added that he enjoys preaching at Penn and other Ivy League schools more than at other institutions. "I notice a complete difference at the Ivy League schools from the other schools -- a total difference," he said. "At least [students] here sit there and listen before they get all emotional." But students were not White's only opponents yesterday. Even University Chaplain William Gipson -- who has in the past led student discussions about the controversial preacher -- got into the act. "I actually became quite angry and agitated about a line of questioning directed toward a young woman in the crowd, in which he asked her very personal questions about her sexual activities," Gipson said. "I thought it crossed the line, and I lost control over my own emotions at that point, so I basically challenged some of his interpretations. "Most of his assertions are theologically unsound and sociologically corrupt," he added.


Initiative to beautify W. Philadelphia area

(03/24/00 10:00am)

The University City District has a new initiative to beautify the neighborhood -- and getting rid of "nasty couches" is part of the plan. But clearing out old sofas is just one segment of a three-pronged effort by the UCD to rehabilitate and preserve local houses, apartments and businesses. Trash on the sidewalks, dim lighting, chipped paint and leaking roofs are all coming under attack by the 3-month-old Neighborhood Rehabilitation Initiative. Led by D-L Wormley, who arrived at the UCD in January after managing Penn's community housing programs for nearly two years, the initiative is intended to improve the physical appearance of the neighborhood. "You wouldn't want to invest in a neighborhood that looked terrible," Wormley said. To this end, Wormley said she plans to hold workshops instructing landowners about home improvement, organize area landlords and provide technical assistance for local businesses. By focusing on making University City "clean and safe," the UCD as a whole has already put safety ambassadors on patrol, hired workers to clean the sidewalks and planted new trees along 40th Street. But the Neighborhood Rehabilitation Initiative will take these goals a step further, explained UCD Executive Director Paul Steinke, because the improvements will now be taking place in homes and businesses -- and not just on streets and sidewalks. Steinke explained that the addition of Wormley "gave us the opportunity to affect the private environment." In January and February, Wormley began surveying community members to determine their concerns about the neighborhood in order to determine the focus of the program. The survey revealed that the primary issue on the minds of University City landowners is selecting and working with contractors. In response to the community's concerns, the UCD will host a series of workshops in early May on contracting, roof maintenance and window repair. Business owners also voiced their concerns about what assistance UCD could provide. Many were curious as to how to improve the attractiveness of their storefronts, while others had practical concerns, such as installing more lighting. "A lot of small entrepreneurs need access to technical help," Wormley said. "Our role is to act as a facilitator to help businesses link into this assistance at no cost." UCD will not directly fund these improvements. Instead, Wormley will assist the businesses by finding and targeting foundations that offer grants for such projects. The Wharton Small Business Center will also provide advice regarding technical problems and marketing questions. Additionally, the initiative seeks to unite University City landlords in order to make neighborhood sidewalks trash-free and the houses well-lit, clean and attractive. Landlord Dan Bernstein, president of Sherman Properties, said he believes that part of the initiative will be "wildly successful" because it unifies the efforts the landlords have already been making. "We need to make sure that we continue to make University City a community that attracts people to visit it," Bernstein said. "The efforts of UCD will only help the situation and should provide some structure."


W. Hoops and the title that almost was

(03/23/00 10:00am)

The Quakers finished with their highest season win total in team history, but they're not satisfied. The Penn women's basketball team finished its season with an 18-10 record, good for the most wins in the history of the program. In that respect, the season was an unqualified success. However, it could have been so much more. "It was in our hands and we let it slip through," sophomore forward Julie Epton said. The "it" to which she referred is the Ivy League Championship, which the Quakers were picked to win in a preseason coaches' poll. The Quakers were on top of the Ancient Eight for much of the season, as they got off to a blistering 6-0 league start. That start came at the end of a stretch over which the Quakers won 11 of 12 games, their only loss during that span coming at the hands of Villanova on January 13. "I definitely think [the season] was successful," senior guard Mandy West said. "We did well, even though we didn't reach our ultimate goal of winning the Ivy League." West had a great deal of individual success this season, as she was unanimously named first team All-Ivy League for the second straight year. She finished the season as the league's second-leading scorer. West was beaten out for the top spot in league scoring by her very own teammate, junior forward Diana Caramanico, who was not only named to the first team, but is also the Ivy League's Player of the Year for the second straight season. Caramanico not only led the Ancient Eight in scoring but most of the country as well. The honorable mention All-American finished second in the nation in scoring with 24.9 points per game, and seventh in the country in rebounding, with 11.9 boards per game. "It's exciting, a great honor," Caramanico said of her All-American status. "There are a lot of good players on that list, and it's an honor to be included." As always, though, Caramanico is more concerned with team success rather than any individual accolades. "That wasn't the way we wanted our last Ivy weekend to go. It's just something we'll have to learn from," Caramanico said. In their final weekend of the season, the Quakers dropped two nail-biters on the road, a 93-82 overtime loss to Brown and an 82-81 loss to Yale that the Quakers let slip away in the final seconds. "Those two losses on the road really hurt," Penn coach Kelly Greenberg said. "I haven't thought about them much because the Princeton game followed, but I'm sure I will, maybe after the Final Four or something." Greenberg, in her first year at the Quakers helm, was generally satisfied with not only her players' success on the court, but also with their development off of it. "What we accomplished this year wasn't erased because of those losses," she said. "After a win or a loss, I'm proud to be in the locker room with those girls. That says a lot about a group that I didn't even know a year ago." Greenberg's long-term goal is to build "a class program," but the immediate goal, of course, is an Ivy championship next season. "We want to be No. 1 in the Ivy League and to improve and win even more than 18 [games]," Caramanico said. "And Mandy leaving is going to affect us, but the experience that [freshmen] Jen [Jones] and Tara [Twomey] gained this year is valuable, because they got so many quality minutes." Jones and Twomey got very significant minutes as the top two members of the highly touted freshman class. Each of them averaged about 20 minutes per game. "[Tara] gained a lot of experience, starting and getting a chance to play at all stages of the game," Caramanico said. "She's definitely a true point guard." While Twomey usually got her minutes off the bench, Jones started every single game of her freshman campaign. "It was harder than I thought, because the mental aspect of the game is so much more important than it is in high school," Jones said. "I'm really glad that I had the great opportunity to start as a freshman. "I think we'll come back next year and have a better season." West believes that, with the present coaching staff, the sky's the limit for her soon-to-be alma mater. "I think coach Greenberg and her staff will certainly improve the program," West said. "They're awesome recruiters and great people to play for."


W. Hoops and the title that almost was

(03/23/00 10:00am)

The Quakers finished with their highest season win total in team history, but they're not satisfied. The Penn women's basketball team finished its season with an 18-10 record, good for the most wins in the history of the program. In that respect, the season was an unqualified success. However, it could have been so much more. "It was in our hands and we let it slip through," sophomore forward Julie Epton said. The "it" to which she referred is the Ivy League Championship, which the Quakers were picked to win in a preseason coaches' poll. The Quakers were on top of the Ancient Eight for much of the season, as they got off to a blistering 6-0 league start. That start came at the end of a stretch over which the Quakers won 11 of 12 games, their only loss during that span coming at the hands of Villanova on January 13. "I definitely think [the season] was successful," senior guard Mandy West said. "We did well, even though we didn't reach our ultimate goal of winning the Ivy League." West had a great deal of individual success this season, as she was unanimously named first team All-Ivy League for the second straight year. She finished the season as the league's second-leading scorer. West was beaten out for the top spot in league scoring by her very own teammate, junior forward Diana Caramanico, who was not only named to the first team, but is also the Ivy League's Player of the Year for the second straight season. Caramanico not only led the Ancient Eight in scoring but most of the country as well. The honorable mention All-American finished second in the nation in scoring with 24.9 points per game, and seventh in the country in rebounding, with 11.9 boards per game. "It's exciting, a great honor," Caramanico said of her All-American status. "There are a lot of good players on that list, and it's an honor to be included." As always, though, Caramanico is more concerned with team success rather than any individual accolades. "That wasn't the way we wanted our last Ivy weekend to go. It's just something we'll have to learn from," Caramanico said. In their final weekend of the season, the Quakers dropped two nail-biters on the road, a 93-82 overtime loss to Brown and an 82-81 loss to Yale that the Quakers let slip away in the final seconds. "Those two losses on the road really hurt," Penn coach Kelly Greenberg said. "I haven't thought about them much because the Princeton game followed, but I'm sure I will, maybe after the Final Four or something." Greenberg, in her first year at the Quakers helm, was generally satisfied with not only her players' success on the court, but also with their development off of it. "What we accomplished this year wasn't erased because of those losses," she said. "After a win or a loss, I'm proud to be in the locker room with those girls. That says a lot about a group that I didn't even know a year ago." Greenberg's long-term goal is to build "a class program," but the immediate goal, of course, is an Ivy championship next season. "We want to be No. 1 in the Ivy League and to improve and win even more than 18 [games]," Caramanico said. "And Mandy leaving is going to affect us, but the experience that [freshmen] Jen [Jones] and Tara [Twomey] gained this year is valuable, because they got so many quality minutes." Jones and Twomey got very significant minutes as the top two members of the highly touted freshman class. Each of them averaged about 20 minutes per game. "[Tara] gained a lot of experience, starting and getting a chance to play at all stages of the game," Caramanico said. "She's definitely a true point guard." While Twomey usually got her minutes off the bench, Jones started every single game of her freshman campaign. "It was harder than I thought, because the mental aspect of the game is so much more important than it is in high school," Jones said. "I'm really glad that I had the great opportunity to start as a freshman. "I think we'll come back next year and have a better season." West believes that, with the present coaching staff, the sky's the limit for her soon-to-be alma mater. "I think coach Greenberg and her staff will certainly improve the program," West said. "They're awesome recruiters and great people to play for."


Baseball to open play at new field

(03/23/00 10:00am)

The Penn baseball team will host St. Joe's at Murphy Field today. Despite the familiar drone of cars emanating from the Schuylkill Expressway, the Penn baseball team will feel strangely like a visitor in its own backyard today when it hosts St. Joseph's in the Quakers' home opener. Instead of returning to the friendly confines of Bower Field to kick off the home season, where they have hosted teams for the past 20 years, the Red and Blue (5-5) will christen the newly built stadium at Murphy Field at 3:00 p.m. when they take on the Hawks (5-14). Because they haven't even had a chance to practice in the multi-million-dollar facility before this afternoon's opening pitch, the Quakers are just as unsure about the quirks of their own field as they are about the parks they encounter on the road. "I have no idea how this field's going to be," Penn outfielder and leadoff hitter Kevin McCabe said. "Sometimes you know what the infield's going to be like -- if it's going to be slow, if it's going to be a good field to bunt on or something like that. This will almost be like an away game for us." After spending the entire spring break in central Florida, where Penn split its 10 games while feeling out its new roster, the team is relieved to be back home to play. The Quakers, however, know that they will have to adjust their style of play to compensate for the slower infields found here in the damp Northeast, as opposed to the dry, fast fields they played on in the Sunshine State. "The difference in the way the ball comes up is a totally different game," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "In Florida? every ball that went through the infield was like a rocket. It won't be that way here. It's a whole different game, and our infielders will have to be aware of that." One of the major changes Penn's fielders will have to make today is in their movement toward ground balls hit into the slow infield grass. "[We] have to be aggressive in getting to the ball," McCabe said. "In Florida, a lot of times you can afford to sit back a little bit because the ball is a lot of times coming so fast. On this field, you've got to be a little more aggressive in coming to the ball and just staying in front of it." The Quakers pitchers, including probable starter Greg Lee, will also have to come out aggressively against the solid St. Joe's batting order. The Hawks have managed to uphold a team batting average of .286 while facing several top NCAA contenders -- including Florida State and Stetson -- in the preseason, and will surely try to rattle the Quakers' younger pitching staff while at the plate this afternoon. But Penn won't need to worry if Lee, a sophomore transfer from William and Mary who is slated to throw the first pitch in the Quakers' new park while Penn ace Mike Mattern battles the flu, continues to pitch like he did in Florida. In his first collegiate start against Northern Illinois in Daytona midway through the spring break trip, Lee struck out 12 batters in an eight-inning night that helped give the Quakers an 8-4 win. Lee's dominant showing in that game, as well as daily in practice, has made many of his teammates confident in the new addition to the Penn rotation. "You just can't give guys free passes -- you've got to make them hit the ball," McCabe said. "[Lee] goes right after hitters, and that's what you need to do. I think he'll have a real good outing [today]." Of course, the Quakers will also have to contribute offensively if they hope to beat the Hawks -- but lately, that hasn't been a problem for the Red and Blue. Penn has an impressive .324 batting average on the season and has sent seven balls over the fence in 10 games. "It'll take a pretty good pitcher to stop our bats," Seddon said. "We will hit the ball. All the way down the lineup we can hit." And the Quakers are anxious to finally get out and hit on their new field after spending the last couple of practice days under shelter due to rain. "Everybody's kind of itching to get back outside," McCabe said. "When you play 10 straight days in Florida and you have to come back inside, it sucks. I mean, it's not baseball."


Poetry as a visual experience

(03/23/00 10:00am)

One might think that nearly every successful adult poet has formally studied literature at one time or another. But meet Thalia Field, a poet who, in college, opted to study architecture and biology instead of Wordsworth and Keats. Field spoke to an intimate crowd of about 15 area college students and Philadelphia residents at the Kelly Writers House last night and read poems from her recently published collection, Point and Line. In addition, her reading was broadcast live over the Internet as part of a recent Writers House initiative to expand access of its events to anyone with a computer. An experimental poet who combines both poetry and theater in her work, Field cited her influences as architecture and visual art. As a result, she has developed into a poet who is as interested in style as she is in content. "Reading is something more than a given. It is an exciting time for the media of the book," Field told the audience. She read three selections: "Coming of Age," "Setting the Table" and "Binge of the Envelope Bag" -- all poems that place words on disparate parts of the page and utilize provocative -- and seemingly disconnected -- wordplay. "Members of the Writers House have always admired her work. Ever since we met her at the Bard [College] Conference On Poetry and Pedagogy last summer, we have viewed her work as really brilliant for writing in a style that is characterized by combining poetry, theater and fiction all together," said Kerry Sherin, the director of the Writers House. "Field's work is special in that she is interested in what lies outside normal perception, which makes her writing a new form of writing all together," Sherin added. Field is currently a faculty member at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colo., and an associate at Bard College's Institute for Writing and Thinking. She has written an opera, The Pompeii Exhibit, and previously worked as senior editor of Conjunctions magazine. Still, even though Field is part of a canon of poetry dedicated to playing with words and manipulating their meaning, she pointed out that she is still conscious of providing form in her poetry. "Another aspect that I focused on in addition to structure was indeterminacy," Field said. "I try to make my work both structured and indetermined, which is very different from improvisation." Pia Deas, a Temple University graduate student studying writing, described Field's work as "provocative, insightful and innovative." What impressed Deas the most, she said, was "the sophistication of her work, even though she does not have a literature background." And Diana Goodman, a senior at nearby Bryn Mawr College, said that though she found Field's work "interesting," she thought the "drama did not come out in reading since the word layout and structure is more effective on paper."


W. Crew to open with Navy, Georgetown

(03/23/00 10:00am)

Most Penn students are still asleep when the women's crew team practices. Starting at 5:30 nearly every morning, the Quakers have been busy dedicating themselves to a winter of intense training to build up their strength and endurance for the spring season. The intense offseason training regimen included lifting, working out on the ergometer and running stairs five days a week. Saturday mornings were spent running Manayunk Wall -- a half-mile hill that basically climbs straight up. Even so, the Quakers conquered the wall, five times. "When you look at it, running it just feels impossible, but when you finish, it's the most incredible rush and feeling of accomplishment, and you know it was worth it," Penn co-captain Kealy O'Connor said. Even winter break was spent in training, including 10 days in Tampa, Fla. There, the team could train in the water, something that chilly weather just does not allow in December. "It's a team tradition every year, and it definitely helps us to do that in the winter because it allows us to get a feel for the water," freshman Claire Manske said. The varsity eight is coming into the spring season with a win at the Head of the Schuylkill, their last competition in the fall, capping off what was one of the best fall seasons in recent memory. "We had our most successful fall season to date. We want to carry that momentum of aggressive racing into each and every race this spring," O'Connor said. For the freshmen, valuable racing experience gained in the fall is something that they hope will give them a competitive edge this spring. "There's a difference between just rowing and racing," Manske said. "Now that the unexperienced rowers have that race experience [from the fall], it will only make us better." This Saturday, the Quakers will host Navy and Georgetown at home, with the Red and Blue currently holding a nine-year winning streak over Navy. "[We're looking forward to] seeing where we stand against Navy and Georgetown. This weekend will help to set the tone for the rest of the spring races," O'Connor said. The format of the spring races is different than the head races of the fall, with each race being shorter and faster. In addition, the teams now race head to head instead of the staggered-style in the fall, where crews began 10 seconds after one another. However, the Quakers are more focused on beginning their season strongly, and then building from there. "The first race is always important because it serves as a jumping off point for the rest of the season. We're looking forward to racing well," Manske said. The Quakers will be racing first and second varsity eights, first and second freshman eights, varsity four and freshman four in their first race on the Schuylkill this season. Adjustments and changes in the lineups are more than likely as the Quakers work to create their best boats.


Alum: Non-profit work is rewarding

(03/23/00 10:00am)

The CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America spoke at Penn last night. Judith Vredenburgh isn't exactly a model of career stability. The current president and chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has worked, among other jobs, as a buyer for a major department clothing store and as a top executive at the March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation. As part of the Fox Lessons in Leadership series, Vredenburgh, who today runs the nation's largest and oldest mentoring company, discussed her personal and professional experiences in Logan Hall yesterday afternoon. Vredenburgh's non-profit organization pairs adolescents with adult mentors and provides teenage companions for young children. But the focus of the 1970 College and Wharton alumna's talk was more on what makes a good leader than on the network itself. Vredenburgh discussed various ways in which the approximately 40 audience members, most of whom were female students, can assert themselves as good leaders. Specifically, she said her Penn education paved the way for good management skills. She lauded the liberal arts education system as one that fosters indispensable writing and communication skills. "It was pure liberal arts that I attribute [to my success]," said Vredenburgh, who majored in Economics. "That experience, I think, was absolutely instrumental in making me a more open person. But for Vredenburgh, who has worked in both the private and public sector for the better part of three decades, the top draw to her position -- indeed, the very reason why she decided to abandon work in for-profit companies -- was the opportunity to work with children. Since it serves 139,000 children in all 50 states and in 5,000 different communities, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has provided her with precisely that opportunity. "I realize that many wonderfully talented people are attracted to the non-profit sector," Vredenburgh said. "All of the sudden my mind opened up, and I was learning and contributing at the same time. And I thought, 'Why didn't I do this before? Where was I?'" So it is not surprising that Vredenburgh came to Penn hoping to share some of her idealism and passion for serving with students. "I really think that if I could help kids stay true to what they care about, then that would be worth while," she said, when asked what she hoped students got out of her talk. Joining BBBSA last summer, Vredenburgh was hired with the goal of meeting the demands of the increasingly competitive nature of the non-profit market. With a plan to increase both revenue and the number of volunteers by June 2004, Vredenburgh succeeded in impressing the audience with her driven and ambitious personality. "To have her describe her experiences first-hand and her struggles that she faced being a woman, it was valuable to me as an up-and-coming leader," College sophomore Alex Pruner said. Although she may now be an inspiration for women at Penn, during her talk Vredenburgh noted that, though she was able to find her identity as a student at Penn, she had very few female role models on campus. College sophomore Alison O'Donnell said, "I think that she is definitely someone who has been able to be very successful in both the non-profit sector and the business sector."


Hate e-mail sent to gay group listserv

(03/23/00 10:00am)

Penn Police and the Office of Student Conduct are looking into the e-mail sent to the Queer Student Alliance on Tuesday. On the verge of B-GLAD 2000, the annual Bisexual Gay Lesbian Transgender Awareness Days, a hate letter is a not-too-subtle reminder that intolerance still lives. A derogatory e-mail was sent out Tuesday night to the Queer Students Alliance listserv. The strong and offensive language in the e-mail incited immediate response from members of the QSA and is being investigated by the University Police. The offensive e-mail was in reference to a QSA banner hanging on Locust Walk. "So, I was walking along Locust Walk and I noticed a banner for the 'Queer Students Alliance' or whatever," the e-mail said. "Damn, I didn't know there were so many dykes and faggots on campus." The letter continued: "I just want to thank you for helping me target your kind." The writer also used several expletives and said they would avoid members of the queer community. College senior Andy Byala, a QSA member, said he was surprised by the letter. "I think we'd all like to believe that we Penn students are intellectuals who can see past bigotry," he said. "It's easy to think we're all safe and accepted for who we are, and every situation like this is shocking in its own way." The Penn Police, the Office of Student Conduct and the Information Systems and Computing Office are investigating the e-mail to determine the identity of the sender, whether the e-mail is a breach of law and if it implies any threat. But University Police Chief Maureen Rush, said last night, "Quite frankly, we don't have a criminal act. We have an open expression act that's quite offensive." But she also said, "I've never seen anything like this -- especially using the Internet to target a specific group like this. We aren't ruling anything out at this point." University Police Detective Frank DeMeo, a member of some law enforcement agencies that deal specifically with Internet-type crimes, has been assigned to the investigation. Erin Cross, assistant director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center, said some members of the QSA listserv thought the hate letter was in reaction to QSA's name. Previously known as the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance, the group chose to change its name just before spring break because members found it more inclusive of all non-heterosexuals. However, the term queer was once used as a derogatory term and still holds negative connotations for some people. "I think to a certain extent this kind of behavior is an unfortunate but sort of predictable event," LGBT Center Director Bob Schoenberg said. He added, "It's always a judgement call as to whether to really pay attention to comments such as these?. I would really hate to see a lot of time and energy expended on someone's ignorant remarks." However, Schoenberg did not think the e-mail had anything to do with the QSA's name change. He also said that the LGBT Center and the QSA have received hate e-mail and voicemail messages before, but not recently. Another e-mail was sent out Tuesday from a University e-mail address to the QSA listserv about the group's name change. The e-mail was from a bisexual sophomore who was considering joining the former LGBA until the group changed its name. The sender stated that she was offended by the word queer and would no longer consider joining the group. "I have since decided that I will not join your organization since next year you will probably change the name to the 'Dykes and Faggots Alliance,'" she said. Along with a poster campaign, the QSA will be writing a guest column and submitting letters to the editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian to explain the group's name change and react to the hate mail. "[The e-mail] actually came at a good time," QSA Chairman and Engineering junior Kurt Klinger said. "It sparked a huge response from people on the listserv. Obviously, because of things like this there is a need for B-GLAD and the QSA." B-GLAD will start this Friday with a dance at the Veranda and a rally on Wednesday, among other events. Klinger said the hate mail served not to dampen the enthusiasm of the participants but rather to make them "more active and energetic."


Hawaiian near-misses for M. Tennis

(03/23/00 10:00am)

The Quakers went 2-3 in the Aloha State over spring break, but they had their chances. For the Penn men's tennis team, the story of its spring break in Hawaii is like that of the Buffalo Bills' bid for a Super Bowl ring -- a tale of near-misses. Penn (5-5) won two of five matches in the Aloha State. But the Quakers could very well have come home 4-1, as they lost one-point matches to both Hawaii and BYU-Hawaii. "We just didn't come up with clutch wins," Penn coach Gordie Ernst said. The Quakers were up 3-2 against BYU-Hawaii last Thursday and needed just two wins in the four matches left for a victory. All four matches went into three sets, but only No. 6 singles player Rob Pringle was victorious. Joey Zupan nearly sealed that key second victory for Penn at No. 4 singles, but the Quakers junior could not hold a 3-1 third-set lead over BYU-Hawaii's Logan Woolley and fell, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4. Penn played its last three matches in Hawaii -- including the BYU-Hawaii contest -- without its No. 1 singles player, sophomore Fanda Stejskal. Stejskal, who had surgery on his elbow in November, reinjured the joint following the Hawaii match. In that match against the Rainbows, the Quakers again took an early lead by winning the doubles point, but Hawaii took home a 4-3 victory after winning four of the six singles matches. Stejskal's contest with the Rainbows' Antonio Garcia, like the Penn-Hawaii match as a whole, started out well for the Red and Blue, as Stejskal took an early 5-3 lead. But Garcia broke Stejskal's next serve and stormed back to capture the first set, 7-5. The second set proceeded in an eerily similar fashion, as Garcia again broke a Stejskal serve to cut into a 5-3 lead. But this time the Penn sophomore did not fold, winning the next point to take the second set. Garcia was too much for Stejskal in the end, though, as the Hawaii No. 1 took the last set, 6-4, for the victory. "[Stejskal] shows flashes of brilliance," Ernst said. "They're like falling stars -- you see them only very rarely because of his injuries." Stejskal, who could not even hold a water bottle the day after his match against Garcia, has been practicing for several days now and is expected to return tomorrow against Temple. Also missing from the Penn singles lineup in Hawaii was senior co-captain Brett Meringoff. Meringoff also usually teams with freshman Ryan Harwood at No. 1 doubles, but Penn was able to overcome his loss at that position on the trip, as Pringle and junior co-captain Eric Sobotka teamed with Harwood to post a 5-0 record in Hawaii. Overall, Penn bested four of its five opponents in doubles on the trip. "Our doubles has improved drastically, which is huge," Harwood said. "The doubles point is what decides matches if it's 3-3 [in singles], and it also sets momentum for the match because that's how it starts off." The Quakers had singles success on two of last week's matches, as they bookended their Hawaii trip with a pair of 9-0 victories against Hawaii-Hilo and Chaminade. Only sophomore Brian Barki against the Vulcans and Zupan against the Silverswords dropped a set in the two matches. In between those victories, however, was a three-match losing streak, including a 7-0 loss to Hawaii-Pacific. Even in that match, though, there was another just-miss for the Quakers. The contest had already been decided, but that did not lessen the drama of the No. 3 singles match between Harwood and Filip Meijer. Harwood and Meijer split the first two sets and were knotted at two in the third set. But then Harwood was penalized a game after losing his temper and apparently swinging his racket against the fence. "It was questionable whether I should have gotten the game taken away from me," Harwood said. Nevertheless, Meijer went up 3-2 on the penalty. But Harwood won two of the next three games to knot the score. "By now, we're both dragging," Harwood said. "It was burning hot and everyone [else] was off the courts for two hours already." Even though it technically meant nothing, the three and a half hour match certainly did not mean nothing to Harwood and Meijer. But like the Quakers had throughout their trip in Hawaii, Harwood fell just short. The Penn freshman lost 7-6 in the final set.


Forum showcases classic Holocaust films

(03/23/00 10:00am)

The screening was part of a series of programs on human rights issues. Last year's Academy Award-winning Italian film Life Is Beautiful simultaneously generated as much international acclaim as critical controversy for its unique and innovative exploration of the horrors of the Holocaust. Last night, as part of the Penn Humanities Forum's week-long series "Human Nature-Human Rights: A Civic Dialogue on Unfinished Revolutions," a small crowd of students, professors and Philadelphia residents gathered together to discuss some less publicized but equally controversial Holocaust films of the last half century. The series explores the struggle for human rights in recent history. Monday night, for instance, the Humanities Forum featured a screening of three episodes of the acclaimed civil rights movement documentary, Eyes on the Prize. Last night's event, held in Meyerson Hall, showcased presentations from Penn professors and screenings of two Holocaust film classics: Alain Resnais' Night and Fog, a documentary filmed in 1955 at Auschwitz, and Vittorio De Sica's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1971. Due to what event organizers described as a publicity failure, about 20 people -- only several of whom were students -- attended the program. English Professor Wendy Steiner, the founding director of the Humanities Forum, emphasized the educational value of the event and expressed regret that more students could not benefit from the discussion provoked by these influential films. In his opening remarks, Penn Law Professor Harry Reicher called the Holocaust "a catalyst for the human rights movement." Reicher teaches a course here, "Law and the Holocaust," which is the first of its kind to be offered at any Law school. "One can say in a few words the effect of the Holocaust on international human rights law in the post-World War II era has been dramatic and indeed revolutionary," he said. Communications Professor Barbie Zelizer, an expert on collective memory and visual representation, introduced the first film, Night and Fog, and participated in a panel discussion following the film. "One of the most difficult things about watching [Night and Fog] is to be able to separate oneself from a lifetime of seeing Holocaust imagery," she said. The other professors who participated in the discussion panel were Al Filreis, the faculty director of the Kelly Writers House and Holocaust literature expert Millicent Marcus, director of the Film Studies Program and an authority on the Holocaust in Italian literature and film. The experts identified stylistic elements of the film, presented their own impressions as both scholars and educators on this particular topic and then opened the discussion up to the audience. This discourse, coupled with an introduction from Marcus, provided the context for the second film, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, which concluded the event. "I am quite interested in various studies of the Holocaust, and this program presented valuable insights regarding representations of the Holocaust in film," College freshman David Price said after the event.


Baseball to open play at new field

(03/23/00 10:00am)

The Penn baseball team will host St. Joe's at Murphy Field today. Despite the familiar drone of cars emanating from the Schuylkill Expressway, the Penn baseball team will feel strangely like a visitor in its own backyard today when it hosts St. Joseph's in the Quakers' home opener. Instead of returning to the friendly confines of Bower Field to kick off the home season, where they have hosted teams for the past 20 years, the Red and Blue (5-5) will christen the newly built stadium at Murphy Field at 3:00 p.m. when they take on the Hawks (5-14). Because they haven't even had a chance to practice in the multi-million-dollar facility before this afternoon's opening pitch, the Quakers are just as unsure about the quirks of their own field as they are about the parks they encounter on the road. "I have no idea how this field's going to be," Penn outfielder and leadoff hitter Kevin McCabe said. "Sometimes you know what the infield's going to be like -- if it's going to be slow, if it's going to be a good field to bunt on or something like that. This will almost be like an away game for us." After spending the entire spring break in central Florida, where Penn split its 10 games while feeling out its new roster, the team is relieved to be back home to play. The Quakers, however, know that they will have to adjust their style of play to compensate for the slower infields found here in the damp Northeast, as opposed to the dry, fast fields they played on in the Sunshine State. "The difference in the way the ball comes up is a totally different game," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "In Florida? every ball that went through the infield was like a rocket. It won't be that way here. It's a whole different game, and our infielders will have to be aware of that." One of the major changes Penn's fielders will have to make today is in their movement toward ground balls hit into the slow infield grass. "[We] have to be aggressive in getting to the ball," McCabe said. "In Florida, a lot of times you can afford to sit back a little bit because the ball is a lot of times coming so fast. On this field, you've got to be a little more aggressive in coming to the ball and just staying in front of it." The Quakers pitchers, including probable starter Greg Lee, will also have to come out aggressively against the solid St. Joe's batting order. The Hawks have managed to uphold a team batting average of .286 while facing several top NCAA contenders -- including Florida State and Stetson -- in the preseason, and will surely try to rattle the Quakers' younger pitching staff while at the plate this afternoon. But Penn won't need to worry if Lee, a sophomore transfer from William and Mary who is slated to throw the first pitch in the Quakers' new park while Penn ace Mike Mattern battles the flu, continues to pitch like he did in Florida. In his first collegiate start against Northern Illinois in Daytona midway through the spring break trip, Lee struck out 12 batters in an eight-inning night that helped give the Quakers an 8-4 win. Lee's dominant showing in that game, as well as daily in practice, has made many of his teammates confident in the new addition to the Penn rotation. "You just can't give guys free passes -- you've got to make them hit the ball," McCabe said. "[Lee] goes right after hitters, and that's what you need to do. I think he'll have a real good outing [today]." Of course, the Quakers will also have to contribute offensively if they hope to beat the Hawks -- but lately, that hasn't been a problem for the Red and Blue. Penn has an impressive .324 batting average on the season and has sent seven balls over the fence in 10 games. "It'll take a pretty good pitcher to stop our bats," Seddon said. "We will hit the ball. All the way down the lineup we can hit." And the Quakers are anxious to finally get out and hit on their new field after spending the last couple of practice days under shelter due to rain. "Everybody's kind of itching to get back outside," McCabe said. "When you play 10 straight days in Florida and you have to come back inside, it sucks. I mean, it's not baseball."


Court upholds mandatory student fees

(03/23/00 10:00am)

The Supreme Court ruled using student fees to fund campus grps. doesn't violate student rights. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that public universities may use mandatory fees to fund controversial student groups, deciding against several University of Wisconsin students who had charged that their First Amendment rights were violated when their fees funded groups they did not support. The case -- Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin v. Scott Harold Southworth et al. -- has been moving through the courts since 1996. This final ruling sets a precedent for public universities across the country. "We're very pleased, of course, with the ruling that came down, which basically said that public universities can use fees to fund the groups of their choosing," University of Wisconsin system spokeswoman Sharyn Wisniewski said yesterday. "We know that the position has broad implications for universities across the nation and we're glad that we could be the national testing ground for this important issue." The case does not affect Penn, since it is a private institution. The students who brought the suit against the university named 18 student groups to which they objected, including the Campus Women's Center, the Progressive Student Network and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Campus Center. "As a conservative and a Christian, it was frustrating to me to see the money going to organizations I personally disagree with," said Scott Southworth, one of the students who brought the case against the university. The University of Wisconsin requires students to pay a "segregated fee" each semester. Students who do not pay the fees are not allowed to view their grades or graduate. The fees -- which totaled $445 per student for the 1999-2000 academic year -- are used both for student services such as health care and recreation and for funding of student groups. Approximately 15 percent of the fee is available for student groups who apply for funding. The court ruled that because groups representing all viewpoints had equal opportunity to obtain funding -- making the funding process "viewpoint neutral," in the court's words -- the fees did not violate the First Amendment. "If the challenged speech here were financed by tuition dollars and the University and its officials were responsible for its content, the case might be evaluated on the premise that the government itself is the speaker. That is not the case before us," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the court's majority opinion. The court's ruling overturned a decision against the university made by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998 which had upheld a summary judgement by a lower court judge in 1996 that the fee was in fact a violation of the students' First Amendment rights. While the Supreme Court's decision supported the university, it questioned the school's use of referenda as one of the various methods used to distribute funds to student groups. The Supreme Court remanded that issue to a lower court, which will investigate whether the process violates the principle of viewpoint neutrality. Adam Klaus, chairman of the Associated Students of Madison, the group that allocates funds from the student fees, said the Supreme Court had not been presented with enough information concerning the use of referenda. Klaus said that the votes were non-binding and that groups that were included in referendum were subject to the same limitations as other student groups. "I don't think it's going to be a problem," he added. "I think we'll address it when we come to it." The case against Wisconsin was one of several suits challenging the legality of mandatory student fees at universities. The Associated Press contributed to this story.


College forced to face dangers of alcohol abuse

(03/23/00 10:00am)

Alcohol-related deaths of students have brought drinking to the forefront. Part three of four The alarming headline swept across colleges and universities throughout the country one November morning in 1997 -- a Massachusetts Institute of Technology freshman had died from alcohol poisoning. Eighteen-year-old Scott Krueger, who died after spending three days in an alcohol-induced coma, had a blood alcohol level about five times higher than the state's legal limit for drivers while drinking heavily at a fraternity pledge event. Krueger's death was just one in a string of high-profile alcohol-related incidents that have struck colleges nationwide over the past few years -- incidents that have pushed the issue of alcohol abuse to the forefront at hundreds of schools. At Penn, the death a year ago this week of 1994 Penn alumnus Michael Tobin after a night of drinking at a Phi Gamma Delta annual reunion weekend hit close to home. The incident prompted officials to re-examine the University's social climate -- temporarily enforcing a mostly dry campus and ultimately overhauling the policy altogether. Many institutions are engaged in similar ongoing battles against excessive drinking, and even schools untouched by alcohol-related catastrophes are, like Penn, examining and revamping their alcohol policies and beefing up non-alcoholic social options. Yet administrators agree that the problem of alcohol abuse among college students cannot be solved easily. "As much as we're doing, it's conceivable that another tragedy could happen, if not here, then somewhere else," said Noah Bartolucci, a spokesman for Duke University, which saw an alcohol-related student death last fall. MIT spokesman Robert Sales agreed. "Binge drinking is a societal problem. I think MIT is doing as much as you can do as an institution." Following Krueger's death, MIT expelled the fraternity he was pledging and established a system of progressive sanctions on alcohol violations, ranging from calling a student into the dean's office about a minor first infraction to fines of up to $1,500 and expulsion. The Cambridge, Mass., school is also revamping its undergraduate housing system by discouraging freshmen from living in fraternity houses, as was the custom before Krueger's death. Last fall, student alcohol abuse made headlines once again when a Duke junior died from alcohol poisoning. Raheem Bath died of aspiration pneumonia in November several days after he consumed large quantities of alcohol, passed out and inhaled his own vomit -- which caused the fatal bacterial infection to form in his lungs. Duke initially did not disclose the involvement of alcohol in Bath's death due to privacy concerns of his family. However, after Bath's mother mentioned at a December memorial service that her son's death involved alcohol, administrators began to discuss the issue with student leaders and trustees. And officials have since appointed a task force of administrators, faculty and students to explore ways to improve Duke's alcohol policy. Tragedy also struck Michigan State University when a student there died after excessive drinking in 1998. Bradley McCue died on his 21st birthday when he participated in a school tradition by trying to drink 21 shots of alcohol to celebrate his birthday. He consumed 23 and subsequently died. With the assistance of McCue's parents, MSU now shows two videos on the dangers of excessive drinking during freshman orientation to both the students and their parents. According to MSU's Associate Director of Student Life Marie Hansen, the vignettes have given rise to discussions on alcohol between parents and their children. "For the first time, they're talking about the issue in a manner that is more forthright and less parental," Hansen said. Still, the reality of alcohol abuse again echoed throughout the MSU campus last spring when nearly 100 students were arrested for alcohol possession and disruptive behavior after a riot broke out when the school's basketball team made the Final Four. In response to this incident and to a similar riot that took place the previous spring, MSU President Peter McPherson brought city officials and residents together with MSU administrators and students to find ways to curb excessive drinking. According to Hansen, MSU officials are aiming "to eliminate high-risk drinking rather than prevent all drinking." She added that according to a recent school survey, 71 percent of MSU students have zero to five drinks per week, an amount she said is reasonable. Dartmouth College is also revamping its alcohol policy since incidents of overconsumption of alcohol -- especially in the Greek community -- surfaced on its campus. Dartmouth's Student Life Committee recommended revisions to the alcohol policy, and the suggestions, which include a mandatory education program during freshman orientation, are currently being reviewed. The small Hanover, N.H., is also close to eliminating its Greek system altogether. Margaret Smith, the coordinator of alcohol and other drug education at Dartmouth, said the changes have been in the making for at least 30 years. "[Dartmouth] is trying to be proactive," Smith said. "Alcohol abuse has become an issue on many campuses? and it can't be side-stepped." Smith added that administrators, faculty and students alike agree that amendments to the alcohol policy are necessary. "The change is what's being debated," she said. "We're going to try to make our policies very developmental? something to grow from and not to be taken lightly." Though free from high-profile alcohol-related incidents in recent years, Brown University has had a group in place to review its alcohol policy since 1996. "No particular incidents, no catastrophe prompted the review [of the alcohol policy]," Brown spokeswoman Tracie Sweeney said. But she added that an incident in 1998 emphasized the need to curb alcohol abuse. An undercover reporter for The Providence Journal went drinking with a group of students at a gathering at a student social center on campus and then wrote an article about the high level of underage drinking at the event. In response, police entered the center one night and found the reporter's story to be true. Brown temporarily closed the center, where students must now scan ID cards that identify minors.