George Stephanopoulos, now a political analyst for ABC, will come to Penn on March 28 as Connaissance's spring speaker. White House aide-turned-TV pundit George Stephanopoulos will speak at Penn this month just days before the Pennsylvania presidential primaries, Connaissance announced yesterday. Scheduled to talk to the Penn community about his career and the state of American politics, Stephanopoulos will deliver an address entitled "Politics: The Art of the Impossible -- A View From Washington," March 28 at 7 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium. "The big draw of Stephanopoulos this year is that this year is an election year," said Connaissance Co-director Nishchay Maskay, a College junior. "With the Pennsylvania presidential primaries coming up just one week later, I believe his speech with have some bearing on the Republican side as well," Connaissance co-director Theo LeCompte added. Stephanopoulos worked as deputy campaign manager for President Clinton's first presidential campaign in 1992 and acted as senior advisor for policy and strategy during the Clinton administration. He left the White House in 1996 for a career as a political pundit. Since leaving politics, Stephanopoulos has been a critic of the president, especially on his conduct during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Currently on the faculty of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, Stephanopoulos also acts as an analyst for ABC News. He has also written a book about his years with Clinton. Connaissance, which hosts two speakers each academic year, usually chooses one politically based guest and one from a different field. Past guests have included author Gloria Steinem, talk show host Conan O'Brien and comedian Ellen DeGeneres. This year is an exception to that standard, however. After hosting former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the fall, the group chose to invite yet another political figure in light of the upcoming elections. "They are different enough political figures that it provides a good mix," Maskay said. Students reactions to Stephanopoulos' impending visit were generally positive. "It is more interesting to hear a political figure speak than a comedian or actor," College senior Josh Karetny said. "They generally have more important things to say." And Patrick Ruffini, a College senior, said, "Penn is very good at getting a lot of world leaders and not as many people from the American political scene." Tickets for the event are $3 each and available only to PennCard holders. There is a limit of two tickets per PennCard. They will be for sale on Locust Walk Wednesday, March 22 and Thursday, March 23.
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The male student, found in critical condition, is expected to recover fully. A male University freshman suffering from alcohol poisoning was hospitalized in critical condition early yesterday morning, marking the most serious known alcohol-related incident of the academic year. According to University Police Chief Maureen Rush, the student -- who is expected to recover fully -- was in extremely poor condition when paramedics arrived at the scene and extensive measures had to be taken to stabilize him before he was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia paramedics and University Police officers responded to the location in an unspecified Quadrangle residence after they were alerted by a call at about 3 a.m. "Fire and rescue took him to HUP and he was then transferred to the intensive care unit," Rush said. "[The paramedics] had to take some extreme measures to make sure he was OK." The student was unconscious for much of yesterday, regaining consciousness later in the afternoon. "I'm very pleased to report that he is conscious and they're going to keep him overnight to keep an eye on him," Associate Vice Provost for University Life Juana Lewis said yesterday. "We're out of the woods from a medical perspective." Police and University officials said they will now begin investigating where the 18-year-old freshman acquired a quantity of alcohol large enough to endanger his life. "If we have students who are getting into these dangerous underage drinking situations, then the people who are supplying the alcohol are responsible," Rush said. "We will be working with VPUL to determine how an underage person got that drunk." She added, however, that University Police have no intention of prosecuting the student or any individuals who may have been with him. "We're not looking to do any prosecution of him or anyone else," Rush said. "No one should ever think that if they're with someone who is intoxicated they should be concerned about getting in trouble for reporting that person is sick. Our goal is not getting people in trouble, it's saving their lives." Yesterday's incident is the most severe alcohol-related incident of the 11 known hospitalizations since September. Excessive drinking has been a major issue at Penn over the past few years, especially since the death of 1994 College graduate Michael Tobin after an alcohol-induced fall down a set of stairs at the former Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house last March. Tobin's death ignited a campus-wide debate on the University's alcohol policy, which was significantly revised by a group of administrators and students last spring. Following yesterday's incident, Alcohol Policy Coordinator Stephanie Ives expressed concern for the student involved but confidence that problems involving alcohol abuse are being effectively curbed at the University. "We're very, very concerned about him and his family and friends and how the community will deal with this," Ives said. "We're continuing on our path in bringing about cultural change and doing what we can to prevent these kinds of episodes in the future."
Penn will hold off on joining a monitoring group until certain conditions are met. University President Judith Rodin agreed yesterday to accept in full the recommendations that the Ad Hoc Committee on Sweatshop Labor released this week. The committee recommended that Penn join one or both of the factory-monitoring organizations for school-logo apparel -- the Fair Labor Association and the Worker Rights Consortium -- if the groups agree to give greater representation on their boards of directors to academic institutions. Penn is currently a member of neither organization after withdrawing from the FLA two weeks ago. Members of Penn Students Against Sweatshops demanded in a nine-day sit-in last month that the University leave the FLA in favor of the WRC, which they believe is less beholden to corporate interests. The WRC currently has about 12 schools on board, including five that joined this week. The FLA has more than 130 colleges and universities among its members. Rodin said yesterday that she is sending letters to both groups requesting greater representation for colleges and universities and "would be very surprised if they didn't seek our response readily." "Certainly one representative on the FLA is not sufficient, and so we would like to see their response," she said. "And the same from the WRC, that indeed has more college and university representation, but not in the committee's opinion -- and not in mine -- a sufficient amount." The fledgling WRC currently plans to allocate about one fourth of its board seats to academic institutions. In the recommendations, the committee noted that it hopes for a speedy response from the WRC and the FLA, especially because the WRC founding conference will be on April 7. "I agree, as you suggest, that it would be in [workers'] best interests if we could work with both the Fair Labor Association and the Worker Rights Consortium if they respectively agree to balanced representation of colleges and universities on their governing boards," Rodin wrote in a letter to Howard Kunreuther, the committee's chairman. In the letter, Rodin said she will ask the committee for further advice on how to proceed after receiving responses from the FLA and WRC. Rodin's decision comes after several weeks marked by anti-sweatshop protests at schools across the country. More than 300 students at Yale University rallied on Tuesday, asking their administration to leave the FLA and join the WRC. PSAS member Susan Casey, a College of General Studies student and member of the Penn task force, said she was not surprised by Rodin's decision to accept all of the committee's recommendations. However, Casey emphasized that the committee's work was just the first step in a long-term process. She said she would prefer that the University join the WRC and withhold its membership from the FLA until the FLA agrees to more than just changes in the way it is controlled. "There are so many issues that are more important," she said. "I don't know that I'm necessarily happy about the fact that she is taking up these recommendations." Casey added committee members' decisions to vote for the group's final report "doesn't necessarily mean that everybody's real happy with it," but that she thought the code of conduct for apparel manufacturers included in the committee's report was very strong. Religious Studies Department Chairman Stephen Dunning, another committee member, said he was pleased by Rodin's decision, noting that the committee worked very hard to create its recommendations. Dunning said the long-term recommendations of the committee, especially its plan to set up a committee of students, faculty and staff members to "monitor the monitors," were more important than its short-term suggestions. "Both organizations look like they are subject to being controlled by interests" other than the factory workers, he said -- the FLA by corporations and the WRC by the unions that helped start it. "The groups present very different advantages," Dunning noted, adding that committee members all agreed on the basic ideas behind ending sweatshop abuses but had specific concerns about each monitoring group's effectiveness. The code of conduct included as a part of the committee's final report will undergo a period of public review for comment through March 22 and will be formally presented to University Council by Rodin on March 24.
After a sixth-place finish at Heptagonals, the Quakers' best will try to excel at Harvard in IC4As. The reason why the Penn men's track team was not all that upset with its sixth-place finish at the Heptagonal Championships last week is the same reason it is optimistic for IC4As this weekend. The individual talent is there. Though the Quakers only placed in the middle of the pack at last week's Heps at Dartmouth, a number of Penn athletes turned in brilliant performances. And IC4As, this year being held at Harvard, provides just the right spotlight for these stars. All participants in IC4As must surpass a designated standard for their particular event in order to qualify. Though still a team meet, this is where each school has the opportunity to showcase its top talent. Penn will send fewer athletes than usual to this year's competition, but it is excited about those who will be present. One such individual is sophomore phenom Tuan Wreh, who qualified for both the triple and long jump events very early in the season. And he made quite an impression in Hanover, N.H., last week. Wreh shattered a 22-year-old Heps record when he triple jumped 52'2", establishing a new personal best by some 20 inches in the process. The Rockville, Md., native's teammates enjoy watching him compete and know that he will continue to improve on what are already outstanding accomplishments. "Tuan hasn't hit his best mark yet," said senior pole vaulter Bob Reynolds, who added that since Wreh is likely to participate in nationals the following week, "this is another stepping stone [for him]." Reynolds has much to be proud of in his own right, as does the entire vaulting corps. Four Penn pole vaulters will make the journey to Harvard, making this the best represented of the Quakers' field event squads. "I feel like I can jump 16 [feet] on any given day," said Reynolds, who qualified for IC4As in the season opener at Princeton with a clearance of 16'1". He says that 16'6" is his target this weekend at Cambridge, Mass. Reynolds is not the only athlete who knows he needs to have a career day in order to make some noise. Sophomore distance runner Matt Gioffre, who will run in the 3,000-meter race, realizes that he probably needs to set a personal record in Saturday's qualifying round just to survive until the finals on Sunday. While Penn was optimistic about competing for a Heps title, it understands that the 104-team field at IC4As brings a greater challenge. "Winning in IC4As is a much more difficult task," Gioffre said. Teams from all over the East Coast will be at Harvard, including traditional powerhouses Georgetown and Navy, the latter a long-time league nemesis for the Quakers. For Wreh and senior thrower Matt Pagliasotti, who could easily win his event, the competition at IC4As may just be a lead-in to nationals. But for the others, IC4As will serve as a measuring stick heading into the outdoor season, which begins on March 25 with the Quaker Invitational at Franklin Field.
For the Penn women's fencing team, the regular season is over. Now it's crunch time. The Quakers (8-8) will travel to Yale this weekend to begin the postseason with the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championship. The two-day meet begins with a team tournament tomorrow in which the Red and Blue will square off against 12 other schools. The top fencers will then qualify for the individual tournament, which will take place Sunday. Of the 12 teams that Penn will be going against, the Quakers defeated five in the regular dual-meet season, while coming up short against five others. They did not fence against the other two schools -- Boston College and Vassar. However, the structure of IFAs differs markedly from that of previous dual meets. In the regular season, each fencer would fence all three of her opponents with a certain weapon. In the IFAs, however, each fencer is seeded A, B or C (based on skill level) and goes against the fencer paired against her from the opposing school. That being the case, each athlete will fence 12 bouts on the day, and each weapon squad will fence 36. The overall victor is then determined by the combined record of all three weapons. While the Quakers lost to five of the schools that will be in New Haven, they still believe they can place very well. While Penn's goal is to take home the whole enchilada, they realistically expect to finish in at least the top four or five. "Our people are good enough to get a good result," Penn coach Dave Micahnik said. "The top third is a realistic goal?. Anything better than that is wonderful." But while many have high expectations, Penn's freshmen, who have been an integral part of the team this year, are not quite sure what to expect in what will be their first collegiate postseason tournament. "I'm really nervous, because it's a really tough field," epeeist Kim Linton said. Nevertheless, the newcomers are looking forward to the event. "I don't really know what to expect, but I think the days will be long and challenging," foilist Stacey Wertlieb said. "And they will probably serve as good indicators for how well we match up to opposing upperclassmen." And while the freshmen will be fencing in their first postseason tournament, it will be the last for Penn's four seniors. "Careers are winding down for some, while taking off for others," Micahnik said. But newcomers and veterans alike will have to come together to try and put an exclamation mark on their 1999-2000 season. "There is no other competition like this in the country," senior captain Heba Abdulla said. "It's a very prestigious honor to win this tournament and a great way to culminate the season."
There has never been a Penn gymnastics graduating class quite like this one. In the four seasons that these Quakers have been at Penn, the team has had unprecedented success. Four Ivy Classic titles in as many years, with each team score breaking the Classic record. Two individual Classic championships. One ECAC Championship. Three ECAC individual champions. Come tomorrow afternoon meet's against Wilson College, seniors Becky Nadler, Kirby Thorpe, Joci Newman and captain Lizzie Jacobson will compete in the last home dual meet of the season and their Penn careers. "I think this meet has special meaning for us seniors because it's the last time we'll ever be competing in Hutch," Nadler said. With that motivation, the focus of the team remains not only on Saturday's meet, but the ECAC Championships, hosted this year by the Quakers on March 18. "The meet should help us to hone and perfect our skills and gather more confidence before heading into the ECACs," Penn freshman Veena Abraham said. Coming off a strong showing at the Ivy Classic, the Quakers are looking forward to using that momentum to carry them through the rest of the season. That is not to say, however, that they are satiated by their accomplishments thus far. "As nice as Ivies was, we can definitely improve on our performances, and we are looking forward to doing that in the next three weeks," Thorpe said. Season-long consistency has kept the Red and Blue confident, and by seemingly hitting their stride beginning last month with victories against Brown and Temple and culminating with a first-place finish at the Classic, they are now focused on maintaining the routines that have worked for them of late. "Everyone has been hitting solid, clean routines at practice and the more solid we are at practice, the more likely we are to hit routines at meets and that's what we need to do consistently until the end of the season," Abraham said. In addition, the ECACs are looming ever closer on the horizon and the Quakers realize they must finish the season strongly in order to be in good position for the championship. "Just because Ivies is over doesn't mean our season is. We still have one more championship meet and two other meets [Wilson tomorrow and the Wolfpack Invitational next Saturday] that we would like to do well in. We stay focused by keeping in mind that ECACs is soon and we need to be prepared," Nadler said. For now, though, the Quakers just want to enjoy the rest of the season and take every challenge as it presents itself. "Every meet is a chance to give it our best effort and go for a good score, no matter what," Jacobson said. "The lineup may change or be the same, but we never think less of any meets. We are still thinking of our regional qualifying score [which determines the ranking of the team at the ECACs]." Expect the last dual meet at Hutch tomorrow to provide plenty of solid gymnastics and a fond farewell to one of the most successful graduating classes in Quakers history.
With the women's indoor track season all but over, a few talented Quakers will get an opportunity to go head to head against some of the nation's best college athletes at the ECAC Championships this weekend. For most of the team, last weekend's disappointing last-place finish at the Heptagonal Championships was the final meet of the season. However, four Penn athletes will compete in the prestigious tournament this weekend in Boston. Bassey Adjah, Ruthie Neuhaus, Liz Wittels and Ami Desai met the difficult qualifying standards in their events to earn the right to compete on Saturday and Sunday. With the abundance of talent that will be present in Boston, these skilled Quakers definitely have their work cut out for them. "It isn't easy to even qualify for this meet, so this is a very elite field," Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci said. "It is a step above Heps, so it can be a little intimidating, but our girls are ready and thrilled to be a part of it." With more freshmen on the team than head coach Betty Costanza can shake a stick at, this Quakers squad has been plagued by a severe lack of experience and depth. For perhaps the first time all season, this shouldn't play a role in the upcoming meet. All four Quakers competing are upperclassmen, and only Wittels is a sophomore. "This is a great opportunity for us to shine against some awesome competition," Tenisci said. "We obviously didn't do as well as we had hoped at Heps, but we also had some girls perform well at Heps and throughout the season. The ones that are going to Boston deserve to be there and have a chance to be part of something special." This meet could be very challenging both mentally and physically for the Penn athletes. For those competing on Saturday, this will be the ninth straight weekend competition. Also, the grueling two-day format of Heps had to take a toll on the team. "They were all pretty exhausted after the weekend," Tenisci said. "So we've been doing our best to help them out and give them some down time. They only had one hard workout this past week, so we're confident that they're ready to go." One advantage the Penn athletes will have is that no Quaker is competing in more than one event. This not only means that fatigue will be less of a factor, but also that each Penn athlete's preparation can be more targeted. "I am definitely a bit fatigued after Heps and all the other meets we've had," Adjah said. "But I don't think that it will be too much of a factor because I can focus all my energy on the long jump." The Penn pole vaulters could provide some excitement this weekend. Desai placed second last year at the ECACs, and Wittels, who was seventh last season, has been on a tear of late, breaking the school record three times in the span of a month. If Penn is to be successful at ECACs, it is important that the team does not get caught up in the scenery. With so much talent in the field, the Penn athletes seem to understand the importance of focusing on their own performances. "It would obviously be great to place in this meet, but that isn't really my goal," Adjah said. "My goal is just to improve on my own jumping and not worry about everyone else." Some strong individual performances at ECACs may help the team to forget a less than memorable Heps.
Huntsman Hall, the Wharton School's six-story, 320,000-square-foot business education complex, will finish on time but at a cost $9 million more than originally expected, officials said. University officials attributed the steep expense increase to a tight construction market across the region. The increase brings the total cost of the project to nearly $140 million. Vice President for Facilities Services Omar Blaik said the original estimates made over the summer were too low to cover construction expenses. "We went out to five construction companies to ask for five prices on construction costs -- all of the prices came in in a very close range and all were above the estimates for the project," Blaik said. The University Trustees approved the first estimates in the summer, but at their meeting last month, they approved the increased budget. The building -- named for Wharton alumnus Jon Huntsman, who donated $40 million to the project -- is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2002. It will house a 500-seat auditorium, classrooms for undergraduate and MBA students, administrative offices and four academic departments. Blaik said that the amount of construction going on across the region has resulted in heightened costs. Huntsman Hall was affected to a much greater degree than other campus construction because of the size of the project, he said. Craig Thomas, a senior economist with the economics research firm Dismal Science Inc., based in West Chester, Pa., said that a tight labor market has contributed to an increase in construction costs. "Skilled construction workers are particularly scarce and that's because we've had a booming construction market," he said. Thomas also indicated that costs of certain construction materials, such as drywall and steel, had recently increased. "After the Asian currency market [crisis], all commodities saw significant price drops," he said. "But now with the Asian economy [recovering]? you no longer have those very cheap commodities and steel is one of the commodities that has been affected." Scott Douglass, Wharton's senior vice president for administration and finance, said that despite the increased expenses, the project's costs would still be covered entirely by funds obtained by Wharton. "Several years ago, the school received a major gift that the donor has subsequently 'reallocated' to Huntsman Hall," Douglass wrote in an e-mail. "In addition the school has always known that a portion of the cost would be covered by operating surpluses in executive education, as well as discretionary funds available to the dean." Douglass said the project was a few days behind schedule due to snow earlier in the year, but is expected to be back on schedule by mid-April. "That sort of thing is to be expected in a project of this size," Douglass said. "[We are] very pleased with the status of the project."
Penn outsourced management of its facilities to the Dallas-based firm just two years ago. Nearly two years after Penn entered into a groundbreaking but controversial outsourcing agreement, officials announced yesterday that the University will resume management its on-campus facilities -- abruptly restructuring a deal that had been touted as the first of its kind. As part of a new, six-year contract with Trammell Crow Co., both sides agreed to take away some of the responsibilities that the Dallas-based management firm assumed in a highly contentious 1997 move that drew fire from University faculty and staff. Under the terms of the restructured agreement, Trammell Crow will continue to manage Penn's for-profit real estate arm and focus on the management of large-scale construction projects -- which it had been doing before the 1998 deal. But while the deal includes a contract for Trammell Crow to manage University City Associates for the next 10 years, the firm will no longer be in charge of day-to-day operations, such as housekeeping and maintenance, for on-campus facilities. Penn will resume control over the management of its on-campus facilities and will rehire the 75 current Trammell Crow managers, offering them comparable positions, salaries and benefit packages. In financial terms, the restructured deal will reduce the cost of services that Trammell provides from about $18 million to $11 million, Vice President for Facilities Services and Contract Management Omar Blaik said. And the $26 million lump-sum payment that Penn was promised by Trammell Crow for taking part in its first attempt to outsource a higher-education institution will also be cut in half to about $13 million, according to Executive Vice President John Fry. Fry, who spearheaded the outsourcing deal more than two years ago, insisted that this latest development is not a total repudiation of the initial agreement. "It's a mid-course adjustment on ways we can improve things," said Fry, who earned the enmity of many in the Penn community for going forward with the plan without consulting those who were to be affected. Still, University President Judith Rodin acknowledged that poor performance on the part of Trammell Crow had caused the change. "We need to take responsibilities for maintenance," Rodin said. "Despite the fact that it is not our core strength, it is indeed our core responsibility. And when we don't see it going as well as we would like, of course the only default is to take it back ourselves." Trammell Crow Higher Education Services Executive Vice President Bob Chagres said the new agreement would only help Penn and Trammell Crow work together better. "Generally speaking, long-term contractual relationships go through modifications based on the practical realities of the day to day," he said. For the past two years, Trammell Crow has been providing the University with services under year-long agreements as they worked to get approval from the Internal Revenue Services for a 10-year contract. But with this year's contract set to expire in July, University officials decided to sit down at the bargaining table with Trammell Crow in confidential negotiations to hammer out a new contract that they hope will rectify the problems in housekeeping, maintenance response time and overall efficiency. According to Fry, University management of on-campus facilities will focus on making its employees more responsive to daily concerns. "Our work-orders will take place in 24 hours instead of 72 hours," Fry said. "The impact I am looking for is service." Although Fry said Penn will continue using Trammell Crow's decentralized, organizational structure, the new University management will concentrate on deploying staff more efficiently. "It's one thing to design an organization, and it is another thing to implement it," Fry said. "Direct management of University employees is the best way to go. Trammell Crow was seen as a layer between the University and University-managed, union employees." When the Trammell Crow outsourcing was first announced in the fall of 1997, members of the University community responded in outrage. A special session of University Council was called to discuss the situation, and the body passed a resolution asking the Board of Trustees to reject the deal. And nearly 200 staff members rallied on College Green in an unsuccessful 11th-hour attempt to persuade the Trustees to rethink the proposal. For the past 21 months, many Trammell Crow employees have voiced displeasure with the management, calling it inefficient and dysfunctional, and few students or faculty have seen any improvement in facilities services. Upon hearing yesterday's announcement, many said they believed outsourcing all of Penn's facilities to Trammell Crow was doomed from the start. "Contracting out institutional work is a delicate operation and three years ago, [Penn] was very anxious to start work and didn't have the experience," said City and Regional Planning Professor Anthony Tomazinis, who chaired the Council's facilities committee when Fry first proposed the deal. "I know they didn't do the homework they ought to have done and I am not surprised." Added a former Penn Physical Plant manager, "[Trammell Crow] was a real estate company and they never had experience with facilities. It is evident because they failed."
Penn students may debate among themselves whether affirmative action is racial justice or reverse discrimination. But rarely do they get the chance to sit in a studio audience and listen to two experts express their views on national radio. Seven undergraduates, all Harrison College House residents, traveled to Center City Monday night to watch a taping of the public radio show Justice Talking. Inside Carpenters' Hall in Olde City, Law professors Frank Wu of Howard University and Gail Heriot of the University of San Diego argued for more than two hours on the effectiveness and legitimacy of affirmative action measures. The two constitutional law scholars focused on a recent court case brought several white students against the University of Michigan for using racial preferences in the admissions process. Wu, who has authored several books on the benefits of affirmative action programs, claimed that showing favor to minority applicants is a measure necessary to promote equality. "The question here is how we will remedy racial discrimination," Wu said. "We've seen that we can do some things about it." Heriot, however, said she believed that such programs have had largely negative effects on colleges due to the admission of students who she said are underqualified. "Preferences have tended to foster separatism," she said, "and the reason for it is this mismatch in academic credentials" that results from preferential admissions. The Penn students attended the taping as part of a house-sponsored series called "Finding Philly," which seeks to expose residents to a variety of cultural events in the city. Harrison House Dean Art Casciato, who created the series, said he thought Justice Talking was a perfect addition to it. "Nothing could be more Philadelphia than Carpenters' Hall," Casciato said, referring to the building's history as a meeting place for America's First Continental Congress. "If you're going to find Philadelphia, this is the place to do it -- around the historic district where it all started," Casciato said. Though the seven students said they enjoyed the show itself, not everyone was pleased with some of the answers given by the speakers during an audience question-and-answer session. "She didn't respond to my question," College sophomore Melissa Ganz said of Heriot. "I thought a lot of what she said was skirting the issue." Justice Talking, hosted by National Public Radio correspondent Margot Adler, is produced by Penn's Annenberg Public Policy Center. It is currently broadcast by more than 60 public radio stations around the country. The show aims to "enable the public to understand the issues and why our laws are the way they are," said Executive Producer Kathryn Kolbert, who is also a senior fellow at Annenberg. "Too often, these issues are cast in three-minute sound bites," she said. "We can provide depth to them in a better way than any other medium." Tapings for Justice Talking are held on Monday nights during the academic year. Topics for the rest of this season include hate speech, juvenile prosecution and gay rights.
They won an Ivy League championship together. They won a national championship together. Now, the top five members of the Penn women's squash team will eschew team glory for the pursuit of the individual kind -- even if it's at the expense of a fellow Quaker. Today, 64 women's squash players from across the nation will begin the hunt for the individual national championship at the the Intercollegiate Championships at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. The tournament, which concludes Sunday, will feature competition from Penn senior Katie Patrick, who has played all season at the No. 1 position for the Quakers. Patrick -- who reached the semifinals of the Intercollegiate Championships last year when the event was held at Penn's Ringe Courts -- is the tournament's sixth seed and will face Dartmouth's Lindsey Bishop today at 9 a.m. Because of Patrick's ranking, her experience and her past success in the Intercollegiate Championships, some feel that she might come home with a title. "I think Katie [Patrick] has a chance of maybe winning it," said Penn junior Megan Fuller, who did not make the trip to the tournament. "If she plays well and stays focused, she has a very good chance of winning." The Quakers' other representatives are freshman Runa Reta -- who will compete as the championships' eighth seed -- and juniors Rina Borromeo, Helen Bamber and Lauren Patrizio, who will occupy the 13th, 14th and 26th rankings, respectively. "They might all be better than their rankings portray," Fuller said, referring to the Quakers who have enjoyed two weeks of rest since clinching the national title. "I think they're better players in terms of their rankings. I think Katie, for instance, should definitely be higher than sixth." In first-round action today, Reta will face off against Brown's Katherine Esselen at 10:30 a.m., while Borromeo will clash with Katharine Stickney of Trinity at 9:30 a.m. Bamber will face off against Harvard's Virginia Brown at 10 a.m., and Patrizio, who has battled knee problems all season, will face Abigail Drachman-Jones of Dartmouth at 11 a.m. The Intercollegiate Championships is not a team tournament but a tournament of individual competition, so the Quakers who made the trek to Massachusetts know that every woman is in it for herself -- even if two Quakers meet in battle at some point in the tournament. "They're competitors," Fuller said of such a scenario. "You kind of have to forget who you're playing and just play squash." The Quakers are no strangers to championship tournaments. It was two short weeks ago that the Quakers travelled to Yale to take part in the Howe Cup national championship tournament and returned to Philadelphia as owners of a perfect season record and a first-ever national crown.
The Quakers will face stiff competition from Lehigh and Cornell at Navy. The 15th-ranked Penn wrestling team is traveling down to Annapolis, Md., in search of an unprecedented fifth consecutive title, as the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championship starts today. The Quakers (9-5, 5-1 EIWA) are in a position to become the only five-time repeat EIWA team champions in the modern wrestling era. In fact, you would have to go all the way back to before World War II to locate another dynasty that tallied four in a row. "[Winning at Easterns] has become a tradition for the last four years," Penn junior 197-pounder Mike Fickell said. Based on individual seedings, the teams to beat in the 14-team field look to be perennial EIWA powers No. 12 Lehigh, No. 17 Cornell and Penn. Harvard, meanwhile, has an outside chance to sneak into the top three. The Crimson are led by 2000 All-American contenders Ed Mosley and Joey Killar. The Quakers, though, like their chances of bringing home another EIWA title. "I think if we wrestle to our potential, it won't even be a close team race," Penn senior Brett Matter said. Lehigh -- the last team to capture a team title before Penn's current streak began -- leads all schools with seeded wrestlers in nine out of ten weight classes. Penn, Cornell and Harvard each look to field eight seeded competitors. Lehigh will have the top team seeding in the tournament, by virtue of narrowly defeating Penn earlier this season. The February 20 loss at the Palestra will no doubt be on the minds of the Quakers. "It stings to lose [to Lehigh]," Matter said. "We want to wrestle hard and prove that we're the best team in the EIWA by far." Besides crowning the overall team champion, the tournament also serves as a qualifier for the NCAA Championships. The top two wrestlers in each weight class, along with six wild cards, will head to the Kiel Center in St. Louis on March 16-18. "We should have the ability to have 10 semifinalists and send all ten guys to Nationals," Matter said. This weekend's action, to be held at Navy's Alumni Hall, kicks off at 11 a.m. today with the preliminaries. Here is what to expect in each weight class. 125 National No. 13 Jeremy Sluyter of East Stroudsburg looks to be the favorite again. Perhaps the most interesting match will be between Lehigh's Bruce Kelly and Cornell's Aaron Taylor in the semifinals, as this match could have big implications in the team race. Penn's Kevin Rucci, who may return to action for the Quakers, dropped from the EIWA rankings after he sustained a hand injury. 133 The action here looks to be relatively weak as none of the competitors are nationally ranked. Brown's Livio DiRubbo should be the top seed. His main competition will come from Penn senior Jason Nagle and Harvard's Matt Picarsic. 141 Lehigh's Matt Goldstein was a slight favorite to grab the top seed until Penn freshman Jody Giuricich knocked him off at the Palestra, 3-2. 149 Lehigh's Dave Esposito should be a lock at the No. 1 seed, but there is parity among the rest of the competitors. Penn's Jon Gough may be able to grab a No. 2 or 3 seed. 157 All-American and national No. 2 Matter has never lost a match in the EIWA tournament and looks to become the first Quakers four-time EIWA champion. Leo Urbinelli of Cornell is probably a lock at the second seed. With these two wrestlers hailing from two of the top three teams, this weight class is vital in the race for the team championship. 165 There will likely be a showdown between Lehigh's Travis Doto and All-American Joey Killar of Harvard. Penn senior Tim Ortman has been emerging of late. 174 National No. 2 Rick Springman of Penn is the favorite to beat No. 4 Ed Mosley of Harvard in the finals, but defending EIWA champion Joe Tucceri of Cornell could also be a factor at the three seed. 184 Lehigh's Rob Rohn and Cornell's Rost Aizenberg should vie for the title, but Penn's Mike Gadsby has the ability to be dangerous. 197 Fickell has held the highest national ranking, and he will be a lock to win if he is at his best this weekend. Heavyweight National No. 5 Bandele Adeniyi-Bada of Penn is a definite top seed. He has defeated last year's champion, Seth Charles of Cornell, in dual meets the last two years.
Marie Howe's brother died of AIDS 10 years ago, a tragedy that grieved her to the point of inspiration and provided abundant material for her latest poetry anthology. Howe, a writing professor at Sarah Lawrence College, read passages from her book What the Living Do to a crowd of about 40 students, faculty members and area residents at the Kelly Writers House on Tuesday night. Howe's latest anthology is dedicated to her late brother, John. Most of the poems she read intimately depicted personal stories from her own life, including her troubled relationship with her father. Much of Howe's poetry, as indicated by titles like "Sixth Grade" and "The Grave," had a special meaning to her. Still, Howe was able to elicit chuckles and nods from audience members at various points during her reading. In "Practicing," Howe writes about a poem of young girls who kiss each other as practice for when they get older. And in "The Fort," she discusses the pride that her brother and his friend felt upon constructing a playhouse. Howe, who is also a fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, often stopped to add personal anecdotes related to a particular piece of poetry. After reading a poem that chronicled an intimate gift-giving between her brother and his lover, she looked up to the audience and said, "You know this is one of those moments. This really happened." English Professor Gregory Djanikian, the director of the Creative Writing program, introduced Howe to the audience. "To read her poems is to come away slightly undone and aware of the deep feelings in our lives as well as hers," Djanikian said. On Tuesday, Howe visited Djanikian's Advanced Poetry Writing class and talked with the students about the actual writing process. "My students and I have been pouring over her latest book," Djanikian said. "We have had marvelous discussion about her style, tone and subject matter." Several students attended the reading, including College freshman Omotara James, who said she appreciated the opportunity to work first-hand with an accomplished poet. "[We were] able to ask her questions on her present book and critique our own poetry," James said. "She talked about her methods of writing and the things to include and not to include when writing." Melissa Cahnmann, a third-year doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education, described Howe as a "poetry mentor goddess." Cahnmann actually took a seminar with Howe in Mexico and described her as being "one of the best poetry teachers I have had." She called Howe's poetry "passionate, true and loving." College senior Laurie Kalb said that the work of Howe is "obviously autobiographical and that her greatest talent seems to be the ability to compel the reader to want to understand her experience."
Police have been looking into a shooting and a robbery near campus. Just days after two gun-related crimes struck the area around Penn's campus, University Police detectives have significantly narrowed the list of suspects in each case -- and police officials say the resolution of both cases may be imminent. The two incidents -- an off-campus shooting on the 3800 block of Market Street and an armed robbery at Eat at Joe's Express, located inside the Moravian CafZs food court on the 3400 block of Walnut Street -- occurred only hours apart from one another during the late night and early morning hours of last Friday and Saturday. According to University Police Chief Maureen Rush, other law enforcement agencies have been brought in to help work on the cases because firearms were involved. "We have the lead on the investigations and we are working with [Philadelphia Police Department's] Southwest Detectives," Rush said. "We're also working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regarding the issue of the guns." In the first incident, two men were shot early Saturday morning while riding in a car in a parking lot at the intersection of 38th and Market streets. Witnesses reported seeing a group of five men in dark clothing fleeing the scene shortly afterwards. Rush said the investigation has already yielded a potential suspect in this case, though closing the book on the matter may not do much to prevent future incidents of the type. "Unfortunately, this was a random act," Rush said. "The people involved -- the perpetrators and the victims -- were known to each other. These are the kinds of crimes that, no matter what you do, you can't prevent from happening." Police and officials from the Penn-owned Presbyterian Hospital, home of the parking lot where the shooting occurred, are taking steps to increase security in the area where the shooting took place. "We immediately got in touch with the hospital, as [the shooting] was in their parking lot, and they're now limiting the parking to Penn affiliates, which will effectively close that lot during the evening hours and secure the lot so that people cannot just drive up and park there," Rush said. And although police say they are confident that this case can soon be closed, Rush said bringing the alleged assailant to trial may be complicated by his relationship to the victims. "There will definitely be some resolution," Rush said. She added, however, that judicial prosecution may be hampered "because of the fact that these are people who are known to each other and there might have been other issues surrounding the event, there might not be ample cooperation to bring this to a full courtroom adjudication." The second investigation, surrounding the armed robbery of Eat at Joe's Express at about 10 p.m. last Friday evening, is also making progress. According to University Police, two Eat at Joe's employees were confronted at a rear service entrance by a pair of men in ski masks, one of whom carried a gun. The assailants made off with over $1,600 from the establishment. Rush said they have identified "a possible suspect or suspects." "We are not just centering our attentions on an outside perpetrator," Rush said. "We are looking broadly at who the perpetrators may be, though there has been no zeroing in on a particular person." She added that a full arrest and trial process in this matter may also be made difficult by certain complications. "We again expect to have an adjudication one way or another," Rush said. "It may not be a courtroom situation, but there will be a resolution." She added that the crimes could eventually be considered solved without the full prosecution of suspects. That would likely occur should witnesses prove uncooperative or victims refuse to press charges. The two incidents came less than a week after a man was shot in the stomach while standing outside the Pegasus Club at 3801 Chestnut Street. That early morning shooting is being investigated by Philadelphia Police detectives. Rush said that the three incidents were "absolutely not related."
The Quakers need wins this weekend when they travel to Yale and Brown. Women's basketball in the Ivy League has become like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates over the last couple of weeks -- a team never knows what it's going to get. Just ask first-place Dartmouth, whose surprising 68-57 loss to Princeton last Saturday shrank the Big Green's lead to just one game ahead of Harvard and Penn, which are tied for second. Or talk with the Crimson themselves, or with Columbia and Cornell, which have all fallen victim to the last-place team in the Ancient Eight -- surging Brown -- in the past two weekends. These upsets, which have shaken up some of the top teams in the league, have Penn coach Kelly Greenberg cautious, especially as her title-seeking squad travels to Brown (8-18, 3-9 Ivy League) today for the first game in the Quakers' (17-8, 8-3) final road swing of the season. "This is the scariest type of game for a coach," Greenberg said. "I'd rather play a Dartmouth than a Brown any day, because emotionally your team understands that [Dartmouth's] the team you have to beat. With [Brown's] record, no one gets up for them, and that's the type of team that can beat you." Yale coach Amy Backus, whose Elis (10-15, 6-6) will host the Quakers in Penn's second game on the road, agrees that the Ivy League can be a very dangerous place if a team isn't fully into the game. "That's the nature of the beast in the Ivy League," Backus said. "Anybody on any given night can knock a team off. You can never let up." Unfortunately for Penn, letting up has been an occasional problem for the Red and Blue, who have found that a lack of emotional preparation against any team can spell disaster. Early last month, the Quakers came out flat against Brown in the teams' first meeting and found themselves down an unsettling 27-23 at halftime. But after a reality check in the locker room, Penn stormed back to win the game by 17 points. After the scare, the Quakers thought the lesson in mental readiness had been learned. Two weeks later, however, it became apparent that the wake-up call from the Bears wasn't quite loud enough, as the Quakers were handed a 70-67 loss by a mediocre Columbia squad in what could be Penn's worst showing of the season. With just one game remaining after this weekend, the Quakers know they have no more time to catch up in the title race if they fall to another Ivy team, whether that team is a league leader or a bottom dweller. But the Red and Blue are confident that being mentally ready for these remaining, lower-ranked teams will not be a problem. "I don't think there's going to be a letdown," Penn tri-captain Erin Ladley said. "We know that Yale and Brown are going to come out strong, and we just need to be prepared for that. We know that we have a chance [for a first-ever Ivy title], and we don't want to spoil it." Against both Brown and Yale this weekend, being prepared physically will be just as important as being ready mentally. The Bears were slowed with injuries to key guards in February, but with everyone now healthy for tonight, Brown's running game and scoring ability will be greatly increased. "They're putting up bigger numbers; they're scoring a lot more; and obviously they've won three of their last four games. So they're coming in with a lot of confidence," Greenberg said. To quell the Bears' offensive confidence, Penn will bring out its vaunted full-court press, which was instrumental in the Quakers' 79-66 victory over Harvard last weekend and played a big part in their last win over Brown. "When we ran [the press] in the second half of the Brown game, we took control," Ladley said. "We just have to come out and do that again." The Quakers will use the same high-pressure defense against the taller, slower Elis, but rebounding will be key in determining Saturday's winner. Yale used its skills in the paint to keep close to the Quakers in February, with the Elis' high offensive rebounding total giving them second-chance shots as well as taking away Penn's transition offense. Yale's Meg Simpson, who averages 7.0 rebounds per game, will try to shut down Penn's transition game on the boards again tonight, but will find it a tough task against Penn's leading rebounders Diana Caramanico (12.0 rebounds per game) and Julie Epton (5.8). Both games are going to be a test of the Quakers' physical and mental focus against two lesser-skilled teams. "It all comes down to what team is going to be tougher and what team makes the smarter plays," Greenberg said. "For us to go in thinking that these two games will be easy would be the craziest thing ever."
Construction has begun on a new Asian-style eatery, scheduled to open late this summer, which will be operated by popular Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr. Pod, previously slated for a spring opening, will showcase a $2.5 million retro-futuristic decor -- intended to conjure up a 1960s Japanese vision of the 21st century, according to Starr. "The design is always evolving," said the proprietor of the trendy Continental and Buddakan restaurants in Center City. As of this week, workers had installed the preliminary air conditioning and plumbing units, Starr said. Tom Lussenhop, the University's top real estate official, said the University is prepared for Pod's arrival. "We, the landlords, are ready to go," he said earlier this week, adding that Starr's "meticulous" attention to detail caused revisions to the construction schedule. Pod, to be located at 37th and Sansom streets next to the rear entrance of the Inn at Penn, will feature a conveyor-belt sushi bar -- one of only four in the country. The David Rockwell Design Group, the architectural firm which also designed the Nobu and Vong restaurants in Manhattan, will make its Philadelphia debut with the 7,500-square-foot restaurant. Designs include private seating areas, or "pods," where customers can alter their space's color with the press of a button. "This is a very complex [project]," Starr said, adding that a conveyor-belt sushi bar takes 14 weeks to build in Japan. According to Starr -- who recently opened the Moroccan-cuisine restaurant Tangerine at 232 Market Street and the French bistro Blue Angel at 706 Chestnut Street -- Pod's menu is not complete but will offer sushi and other Asian items. The 200-seat establishment, Sansom Common's second restaurant, will be less expensive than Starr's other creations. Meals and beverages will cost an average $35 per customer. Pod's lounge will provide continuous DJ entertainment. "We think it's going to be big," Starr said last month. The additions of Pod and a card and gift shop, slated for an opening later this spring, will mark the completion of Sansom Common's three years of construction, Lussenhop said. Philadelphia retailer Arnold Bank, who operates stores in the Gallery at Market East and the Shoppes at Liberty Place, will run the card shop. He will also operate a similar store in Houston Hall when it reopens later this year. Starr had also been asked to open a restaurant in Robert Redford's Sundance Cinemas complex, which is under construction at 40th and Walnut streets and scheduled to open this fall at the earliest. In recent months, Sundance ended the relationship after deciding to manage the restaurant itself, according to Senior Vice President of the Sundance Film Centers Scott Dickey. "We had some great conversations with Stephen," Dickey said yesterday. "If we need to, we will tap him."
It was an unlikely setting for a shouting match. Tuesday evening, about 150 people -- many of them area medical students -- gathered in Stemmler Hall's Dunlop Auditorium for a heated debate on physician unionization. The fifth annual Thomas Langfitt Jr. Memorial Symposium brought four of the leading authorities on the controversial subject to Penn for a panel discussion and an open question-and-answer session. Arthur Caplan, the director of Penn's Center for Bioethics, served as the moderator. Much of the dialogue centered around the Campbell bill, a piece of legislation currently making its way through Congress that would give self-employed physicians the right to unionize. They are currently prevented from doing so by antitrust regulations. Doctors employed by hospitals can form unions, however. The experts who argued in favor of unions said they felt that the current system robbed them of critical decision-making power. Susan Adelman, the president of Physicians for Responsible Negotiations, began the forum by asserting that doctors were being taken advantage of by managed care organizations. "If [physicians] wish to be altruistic, they will be the altruistic recipients of crummy contracts," she said, referring to the terms many health maintenance organizations require doctors to comply with if they wish to treat their patients. Indeed, managed care often served as the focus of the evening's discussion. Panel member John Kelly, the director of Physician Relations for Aetna/U.S. Healthcare, wondered if unions for physicians would improve the quality of healthcare. "What impact would collective bargaining have? on patients?" he asked. However, Robert Weinmann, the president of the American Union of Physicians and Dentists, offered emphatic support for the Campbell bill "Health care dollars are being shuffled away from the doctors? to shareholders and executive pay packages," he said. Martin Gaynor, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, upheld the opposing view. "We're in very turbulent times in the healthcare system," he said, adding that he felt collective bargaining for individual physicians was not the solution. The event frequently became contentious as audience members asked questions of the panel. Caplan, for instance, asked how doctors could force HMOs to bargain if they themselves were not permitted to strike -- a question that sparked further debate between the panel and the audience. After the talk, Peter Traber, the interim chief executive officer of Penn's Health System, said he believes that patient care should always be the No. 1 priority of hospitals. "I think that I would come down on the side of professionalism and the integrity of the patient-physician relationship," he said. And James Wall, a first-year Medical student at Penn, said he felt that, "As a physician, [collective bargaining] would improve the state of physicians, not necessarily? society."
With Palestra wins over Brown and Yale, penn can secure its second straight league crown. Michael Jordan has accomplished many things during his four years at Penn. He has been named first team All-Ivy for the past two seasons and is the heavy favorite to win this year's Ivy League Player of the Year award. He is leading the Quakers in scoring for the third straight year, and with 12 more points, he will pass Ron Haigler for third place on the all-time Penn scoring list. But there is one way in which the 6'0" point guard has never put the ball through the hoop during his Penn career. With three games remaining in his time at the Palestra, Michael Jordan would like to dunk. "If the score is well enough out of hand and I have a chance, I'll try," Jordan said. "I'm not as an accomplished dunker as Ugonna." If Jordan does successfully throw one down, it could serve as an exclamation point on what should be a very exciting weekend for the Penn men's basketball team (18-7, 11-0 Ivy League). Heading into this weekend's contests with Brown and Yale, the Quakers hold a two-game lead over Princeton in the Ivy standings. If they emerge victorious over both the Bears and the Elis, the Red and Blue will clinch the Ivy title before even stepping onto the Palestra floor to face the Tigers in Tuesday's season finale. But the Quakers are not getting ahead of themselves. "I'm quite sure that Brown and Yale this weekend are going to want to knock us off," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "It's up to us to make sure that doesn't happen by playing as hard as we can, as intelligently as we can and trying to execute our game plan as best we can." By winning the final three games on the schedule, the Quakers will finish undefeated in the Ivy League for the first time since the 1994-95 season. Last week, however, the Quakers almost faltered on their way to an unbeaten league season. Leading 62-61 with 1.9 seconds remaining in the game against Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion, Penn gave the Crimson a final chance to win. A three-point attempt by Dan Clemente, however, bounced off the rim, and the Quakers escaped with their closest win of the Ivy League season. Penn will make sure that it does not give the Bears (8-17, 4-8) a similar chance to pull off an upset tonight at the Palestra. "We're prepared for a fight both games, both nights," Quakers center Geoff Owens said. "I think if we play hard for 40 minutes, we have a good chance." To make sure they defeat the Bears, the Quakers will need to contain two freshmen stars. In fact, tonight's game could help determine the Ivy League Rookie of the Year award, as Penn forward Ugonna Onyekwe will go up against the Bears' Earl Hunt and Alaivaa Nuualiitia. Hunt is third in the league with 16.8 points per game, while Nuualiitia leads the Bears in rebounds with 6.7 boards per game and averages 14.2 points per contest. In the first meeting between the two teams on February 5 at the Pizzitola Sports Center, Hunt led the Bears with 13 points, while Nuualiitia scored eight and pulled down nine boards. Penn's star freshman, Onyekwe, only played 17 minutes in that game, as the Quakers routed the Bears, 83-48. All 14 Quakers scored against the Bears, and Matt Langel led the way with 24 points on eight three-pointers. The Red and Blue also had little trouble with the Elis (7-18, 5-7), when they met at the Lee Ampitheater in New Haven, Conn. Oggie Kapetanovic scored 12 points off the bench, and the Elis never really had a chance. Penn ran away with a 61-36 win, holding Yale to 23.7 percent shooting. Despite cruising to two easy victories when visiting these Ivy foes last month, Penn knows that it cannot feel comfortable just yet. "You can never get too comfortable, because that is when somebody sneaks up on you," Jordan said. And with three games remaining, the Quakers know there are still things they need to work on. "I think we're making a few mistakes," Owens said. "There are a couple turnovers here and there, a few needless ones. If we can [control] that, I think we'll be alright." The Quakers are currently turning the ball over 12.9 times per game, which is good for 13th best in the nation, but several turnovers last Saturday against Harvard allowed the Crimson to stay in the game. If the Quakers can keep the mistakes to a minimum and emerge with two wins this weekend, they will extend their winning streak to 15 games. Currently, Utah State, with 14 consecutive wins, is the only team in the nation with a longer streak than the Red and Blue. More importantly, though, two wins would clinch the Ivy title for Penn on Saturday night. And although Tuesday's game against the Tigers has been sold out for months, only about 4,500 people are expected for each of this weekend's games. "If we are fortunate enough to win both games, it would be nice to have as many people as we can here," Owens said. "Don't wait for Princeton to come out. You should come out to these games too." The people who do show up at the Palestra this weekend might even get a special treat if Jordan can indeed get the first dunk of his Penn career. "I've seen him dunk lots of times. This summer, he said everyday after we'd get done working out for a few hours, he'd dunk one just so he'd be ready for this year," Owens said. "If he gets an opportunity, there's no reason he can't throw down."
An advocate of marijuana legalization spoke last night to a crowd of 300 students. Chances are you've been told your whole life to "Just say no." But Richard Cowan wants you to believe that you have been the victim of an insidious lie. Last night, Cowan, the former director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, argued that the information about marijuana presented by the government, the educational system and the mainstream media in this country is dangerously misleading. The Penn chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union brought Cowan to campus to deliver the talk, titled "Turning Over a New Leaf." Nearly 300 students packed Room 17 of Logan Hall to hear Cowan's opinions on the legalization of marijuana. In the United States, laws prohibiting the use or sale of marijuana -- or "cannabis," as it is more technically known -- have led to more than 12 million arrests since 1968, including medical patients who use the natural hallucinogen to alleviate the pain of treatment. "The state ideology of the United States is the repression of cannabis," Cowan said, adding that prohibitionists tend to dismiss the medical arguments for legalizing marijuana as a ploy to give drugs to young children. Recently, Cowan said, two quadriplegics in Arizona were imprisoned for using marijuana for medicinal purposes. He explained that their imprisonment costs taxpayers $600 a day. Cowan, who once told talk-show host Phil Donahue on live television that he has smoked pot every day for the last 27 years, used a combination of humor, statistics and argumentation to reveal what he called the "truth" about marijuana. Cheers of approval resonated when Cowan cited a study showing that "heavy [marijuana] smokers have a slower decline of mental cognition than non-smokers." Still, he stressed that the difficulty in his advocacy work is convincing people to take the issue seriously. Noting its racist origins and classist implications, Cowan suggested that marijuana laws represent "the corruption of the legal system in the United States" and should be of concern to "anyone who cares about individual freedoms." College sophomore and ACLU President Yoni Rosenzweig agreed that this "issue? strikes to the core of American liberties." Cowan cited the Netherlands as a model of a country that he said has a more honest and logical marijuana policy. "The Dutch system has a fundamental objective: the separation of markets," he explained. By legalizing a so-called "soft drug" such as marijuana, Cowan said, the Netherlands has successfully isolated it from more dangerous, "hard" drugs, such as heroine and cocaine. In defense of the Dutch laws, Cowan pointed to the fact that there are 160 heroin addicts per 100,000 in Holland compared with 430 in the United States. Incarceration rates in Holland are also a full 10 times lower than those in the United States. College sophomore Kim Litchfield, who said her uncle has multiple sclerosis and has used marijuana to relieve his pain, said she believes that the separation of markets "makes a lot of sense." And College junior Hank Wilson, who attended the lecture to gain information for an Urban Studies project, said he found Cowan "very intelligent and articulate." Michael Edwards, a College sophomore and member of the ACLU, said he will continue to raise awareness of drug laws as co-founder of a group called Penn Students for Sensible Drug Policies.
The assailant remains at large after attacking the woman on Spruce Street. Philadelphia and University Police are currently on the hunt for a young man believed to be responsible for a sexual assault last Saturday on the 4300 block of Spruce Street. The assailant allegedly attempted to rape the victim, a young female with no affiliation to Penn. She was not harmed physically during the incident. Police were not able to release any additional information about the woman. The assailant allegedly followed the victim as she walked west on Spruce Street from 40th Street sometime around 2:45 p.m. last Saturday, University Police Chief Maureen Rush said. The alleged perpetrator began asking personal questions of the victim as she proceeded down the street, eventually asking to use a bathroom in her residence, Rush said. According to an e-mail sent by Penn Police as a safety alert to various members of the University community, it was then that the alleged attacker assaulted the young woman. "The male gave the impression that he was leaving, just before he attacked the victim in the vestibule of her apartment building," Penn Det. Larry Singer wrote in the e-mail. The victim fended off the attacker and avoided a potential rape by screaming loudly, Rush said. Following the attack, the victim immediately contacted the Philadelphia Police Department, which responded to the scene and is leading the investigation. The suspect is described as a clean-shaven 18-to-25-year-old black male, 5'10"-6' tall, with a thin build, bushy hair and medium complexion. He was wearing dark-colored clothing. University Police, who are now assisting in the investigation, were alerted about the incident late Wednesday evening when PPD officials asked to review the Penn Police's closed circuit television camera tapes from the area to identify potential suspects, Rush said. "We're working closely with the Philadelphia Police Department's Special Victims Unit to assist their investigation," she added. "We are just assisting them with any information we can provide, and certainly helping out with patrols in trying to track down a possible suspect." Rush said the traumatic experience was difficult for the victim to handle from an emotional standpoint. "She's certainly shaken," Rush said. University Police are now adding additional uniformed and plainclothes patrols in the area to increase the level of security in the wake of the attack. They're also taking additional care to review closed-circuit television video tapes of the neighborhood to identify potentially suspicious behavior, Rush added. And the e-mail sent by Singer is being distributed to members of the University community to heighten awareness of potential dangers and "make sure that the community is aware until [the perpetrator] is caught," Rush said. Special care is being paid to the case since the assault took place in an area where many University students live. "This could have very easily been a Penn person involved so our goal is to make an apprehension soon," Rush said.