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Ex-Penn star tries to make it with 76ers

(03/02/00 10:00am)

Ira Bowman, the 1996 Ivy League Player of the Year, scored his first two NBA points in Tuesday's win over Dallas. Forty minutes after the final buzzer sounds in the 76ers' 106-87 win over Dallas on Tuesday, the stands at the First Union Center are empty, save for a few soda cups and stray programs. Only the bravest of autograph seekers and would-be photographers huddle behind the fence outside the arena exit, hoping to catch a glimpse of Dennis Rodman or snap a photo of Toni Kukoc. Inside the Sixers locker room, Ira Bowman -- fresh from his third NBA post-game shower -- is getting dressed in front of Theo Ratliff's locker. Bowman's actual locker is adjacent to that of 76ers star Allen Iverson. And Iverson, who has just hit 15-of-18 from the floor, is holding court in front of almost three-dozen members of the media. But if Bowman minds that his locker is obstructed by the crowd -- or that Iverson had taken advantage of his relatively sparse locker to temporarily rest a pile of diamond-encrusted platinum jewelry while the newest Sixer was in the shower -- he doesn't show it. That's because with just over a minute remaining against the Mavericks, Bowman, a former Penn star, scored his first NBA basket. Last Thursday, Bowman signed a 10-day contract with the 76ers, becoming the third member of the Quakers' 1994-95 Ivy championship team to reach the NBA. "I was obviously really excited," Bowman said, reflecting on last week's good news. "It's something I've been working towards. I was happy the moment finally came." February was an auspicious month for Bowman. Three weeks ago, he was just an average sports fan, flipping through Sports Illustrated. Turning past the cover story, he opened to a feature on the CBA, where he discovered a picture of himself staring back from the page. "It was really surprising -- I was actually just looking at the Super Bowl wrap-up and turned the page and saw myself," Bowman said. The photo came from the CBA all-star game, where the then-Connecticut Pride guard helped secure a win for the East by posting downright Stockton-esque numbers -- 12 assists in just 21 minutes. On February 20, Bowman was in Sioux Falls, S.D., hitting 8-of-9 from the floor in a losing effort against the Skyforce. Three days later, he was back in Connecticut, dishing out eight assists in front of 2,417 fans at the Hartford Armory. The Pride dropped that game -- the second in a home-and-home series with Sioux Falls -- but Bowman hardly had time to ponder the losing streak. Two days later, the 26-year-old guard was in Milwaukee wearing No. 11 for the Sixers. In a 97-83 win over the Bucks, Bowman saw two minutes of action and did what he does best -- the Quakers' career picks-per-game leader notched a steal. "He's a great defender and he's real unselfish. He comes from a good program. He respects the game a lot," said Sixers coach Larry Brown, a self-proclaimed Penn fan. "We lost Bruce Bowen and we wanted a defensive kid, unselfish, to replace him. So that's why we picked [Ira] up." Bowman, who was averaging 12.4 points and 5.3 assists per game with the Pride, first caught Brown's attention when the current Philadelphia coach was the Indiana head man. Bowman saw action in six preseason Pacers games before being cut prior to the 1996-97 season. "I had him try out in Indiana, and I've always admired him," Brown said. "He's gotten better every year." For Bowman, the call-up to the NBA marks the end of a four-year climb. After playing his last game as a Quaker in a one-game playoff with Princeton for the Ivy title on March 9, 1996 -- he hit a late three to force overtime -- Bowman has plugged away at his dream of reaching the NBA. A veteran of several NBA training camps, Bowman first played professionally in Australia in '96 and became a mainstay with the CBA's Pride later that season. He has also played in the USBL. "I was sure [I would make the NBA eventually]," said Bowman, who is quick to give credit to his Penn experience for pointing him in the right direction. According to Bowman, transferring to Penn from Providence after the 1992-93 season was "the best decision I've made in my life." Bowman visited Penn practice twice this week, and on Tuesday Quakers coach Fran Dunphy took in the Sixers' shootaround at the First Union Center. "I met some quality people at Penn, friends who I'll have for a lifetime, and I was able to work with a great coaching staff," said Bowman, the '95-96 Ivy League Player of the Year. "People act surprised that the '95 team had three guys play in the NBA, with me being the last one, but I think it just says wonders for the coaching staff at Penn -- Fran Dunphy, Gil Jackson and my boy Stevie Donahue. It puts Penn on the map." Although the first of the three players from that squad to reach the NBA, Jerome Allen, is currently playing in Turkey, Bowman will be reunited with former Quakers teammate and current Chicago Bull Matt Maloney when the Sixers visit the United Center on Saturday. From the Hartford Armory to the United Center in little over a week. Needless to say, it has not taken Bowman long to notice the disparity between the CBA and the NBA. "It's a big difference in the caliber of play. People here are gifted at every position," Bowman said. "[In the CBA] we had bus rides, we used to fly commercial. That's the biggest difference." But that doesn't mean Bowman didn't enjoy his days as a star with the Pride. "Obviously, [in the CBA] we didn't get the same caliber crowds as here [in the NBA] but I mean, we played in some towns that were pretty basketball-crazy," Bowman said. "On a weekend game in the CBA, you get a pretty good crowd. It's not like the Palestra, but it'll do." If Bowman was nervous in his first game as a Sixer at home, he didn't show it in taking a feed from Aaron McKie and knocking down a 12-foot jumper for his first NBA points in the waning minutes against Dallas. "If you get an open shot at this level, most people expect you to make it," Bowman said. "Of course you have the butterflies at every level. Even at Penn, before every game I felt it a little. But once you get out there, I mean, basketball is basketball -- you're going to do what you've been doing for the longest time." For now, Bowman plans to just take it "a day at a time and see what happens." Brown couldn't predict what lies in Bowman's future when the contract runs out, saying that they would take it 10 days at a time. "All of us who know Ira and appreciate what he's about were extremely happy for his opportunity with the 76ers," Dunphy said. "He's worked very hard, paid a lot of dues and to see that pay off with an NBA chance is just great for him -- much deserved."


M. Tennis cruises to two wins

(03/02/00 10:00am)

The big Quakers had no trouble dispensing with the little Quakers yesterday afternoon at the Levy Tennis Pavilion. The Penn men's tennis team, which, of course, goes by the name of the Quakers, dispensed with Haverford and Swarthmore -- two colleges founded by the Society of Friends -- in dominating fashion, by 7-0 scores against each foe. The Red and Blue won 11-of-12 singles sets and bettered their season record to the .500 mark at 4-4. Given that both the Fords and the Garnet Tide are Division III programs, Penn coach Gordie Ernst made sure to impress upon his team the importance of not playing down to its competition. "I told them coming in that they needed to focus on every point, and I think they did a pretty good job of having concentration," Ernst said. Penn had yet another reason for distraction yesterday. In little more than a week, the Quakers will board a plane for the white sandy beaches of Hawaii and an action-packed week of competition with teams from the 50th state. "I've been looking forward to Hawaii ever since I left last year," Penn captain Eric Sobotka said. Sobotka, nicknamed "Chewie" by Ernst on account of his last name's resemblance to that of Star Wars' lovable and furry Chewbacca, may have had yukelelees and pineapples on his mind, but he was dedicated to the task at hand yesterday. Penn No. 1 Sobotka blanked his Haverford opponent, 6-0, 6-0, and then went on to best Swarthmore junior Peter Schilla in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. "He's the captain and he led this team today," Ernst said. "He's like the little toe of this team." The Red and Blue decimated Haverford in the first match of the afternoon. Penn junior Rob Pringle was masterful at the No. 2 spot, shutting out Matt Bernhard, 6-0, 6-0. The Quakers did not lose a set to the Fords in singles competition, and George Bulman at the No. 6 position was the only Haverford player to even win two games in a set. Each of the three Penn doubles teams also beat the Fords in style. None of the three lost more than two games in the eight-game set. The Quakers were similarly impressive in the nightcap against the Garnet Tide. The singles matches were a little tighter, owing in part to Penn's fatigue. Penn's Tyler Anderson lost the only singles set of the afternoon for the Quakers, but the Red and Blue emerged unscathed. The final doubles match of the day was closer than all the others. The Penn team of sophomore Brian Barki and Anderson trailed Swarthmore's Schilla and Jon Temin 5-2 after seven games. The Quakers duo battled back from there and wound up winning, 9-7. It had been something of a battle, but Penn emerged as the clearly superior squad. "Earlier this season we played Colgate, a team that is probably on par with the two we faced today, but we lost a doubles match," Sobotka said. "Frankly, to do that in our place today would have been a little embarrassing."


W. Swimming ends season of resurgence with coach Schnur

(03/02/00 10:00am)

Until November rolls around, there will be no more meets or tournaments for the Penn women's swimming team -- the 1999-2000 season is in the books. Posterity will remember that the Quakers went 6-6 overall, with a 2-5 Ivy League record and a dead last eighth-place finish at the Ivy Championships. But make no mistake -- to a program that had long been wallowing in the deep end of Sheerr Pool, this season was a life buoy thrown just in time. Penn coach Mike Schnur knows which moment to point to as the one in which that buoy hit the water -- it is the one by which he will always remember the season. On November 20, the Quakers did something they had not done in 42 tries and nearly seven years -- they won an Ivy League meet, edging Cornell in their season opener by a score of 153-145. "The best moment was the 15 seconds right after we won the 400 medley relay against Cornell," Schnur said, referring to the meet's clinching event. "The reaction of the women, I think, is the epitome of the whole season. Just seeing them on the side so happy to win the meet was something I'll never forget." While it was only one win, the victory over the Big Red established that the Quakers' 1999-2000 record would be better than those in the putrid, winless Ivy seasons that were the norm for most of the 1990s. Penn knew that its season would be different than previous ones long before its demons were laid to rest. In September, longtime coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert shocked her team and the rest of the Penn athletic community when she announced her retirement and left the reins of the program in the hands of Schnur, one of her assistant coaches since the beginning of the 1992-93 season. Schnur, officially the interim head coach, put the team through an extremely rigorous training schedule, the peak of which was achieved over winter break. The expressed purpose of this intensive regimen was to prepare Penn to face Dartmouth, which was considered to be the Quakers' only other realistically beatable Ivy foe. Penn's preparation paid off. After falling behind by nearly 45 points, the Red and Blue rallied at Dartmouth to claim their second -- and final -- Ivy win of the season on January 29. Penn's penchant for making comebacks was but one of the positive things Schnur noticed in his team this season. "We improved a lot," he said. "We improved the work ethic of the team, I think we're in a lot better shape physically than we were last year. I think the women's team trained a lot harder than they did last year, and I think our talent level is better. The freshman class adds a lot to the team." The freshman class included Jessica Anders, who made it to the 50 freestyle finals last Thursday at the Ivy Championships -- the first Quaker to do so since 1997 -- and Kate Patrizzi, who quickly became one of the most valuable swimmers in Penn's arsenal alongside junior captain Cathy Holland. Schnur foresees an influx of similarly talented freshman classes in years to come, and he pointed out that five of his 10 early decision recruits swim regular times in certain events that are faster than current school records in those events. He also added that distance swimming and diving -- two areas in which Penn is weak -- would be future recruiting priorities. Although Schnur's position is precarious -- he is still interim head coach and the search for a permanent head coach will heat up now that the season has concluded -- he is excited about next year, especially since Columbia will be particularly weakened due to the loss of Olympian Christina Teuscher to graduation. "With a few breaks here and there, a few more recruits come, I think we're at the level where our goal for [next] year should be to focus on not just [beating] Dartmouth and Cornell, but to also add Columbia and possibly even Yale to that mix," Schnur said. "I can't wait."


English Dept. looks to next chapter

(03/02/00 10:00am)

Faculty, like Bennett Hall, in need of extensive repairs Penn English professors talk of imagery, symbolism and personification all the time. But the examples they cite are usually found in books -- not their own surroundings. Yet perhaps there is no better metaphor for the Penn English Department than its home, Bennett Hall. Both are in desperate need of repair. A quick stroll through Bennett Hall reveals the wear-and-tear of the building's history. The hallways creek with every step, the white-washed classroom walls are chipped away and the heating system works so well that if the professors don't put students to sleep, the sheer temperature does. Within the classrooms, the situation is much the same. Although Penn's department has long been considered one of the best in the nation, recently English professors have peeled away like the paint on Bennett Hall's walls. Over the past 10 years, the number of professors has dropped from 42 faculty members in the early 1990s to just 36 today. And enrollment continues to put stress on one of the College of Arts and Sciences most popular departments. With over 500 undergraduate English majors, class sizes have increased while the number and variety of courses continue to shrink. "Penn has a strong English department, but we are limping along at the moment," said English professor Wendy Steiner, the former department chairwoman. Realism Certainly, resurrecting Penn's largest humanities department is no simple task. But according to most English professors, the repairs are necessary. "The English Department is to some extent depleted," Interim English Department Chairman John Richetti said. "Some faculty moved out, most have either retired, one or two died and a few didn't get tenure and moved on." Last year's loss of three senior faculty members -- who were all respected as top-notch scholars -- was particularly devastating. American Literature Professor Elisa New left Penn to teach at Harvard University. And in a much-hyped "raid" of Penn's English Department, Duke University recruited African-American Literature scholar Houston Baker and Renaissance literature expert Maureen Quilligan away from the department. The effects have trickled down to the classroom level, where undergraduates have noticed that more English courses are being taught by part-time faculty and there are fewer classes overall from which to choose. "I am considering graduate school in English and would like to take some classes on Spencer and Milton, but they aren't there," said College junior Katie Alex, an English major concentrating in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. College junior David Perelli, who is also an English major, said that he has experienced similar problems. "This year has been kind of crappy in terms of course offerings and many professors aren't there," he complained, noting that Penn's course offerings were more limited than those his friends are taking at peer institutions. In the fall of 1995, the Penn English Department offered 68 courses while this semester it offers 62. The Duke English Department, in contrast, has the same number of faculty, but offers around 80 courses to just 250 undergraduate majors -- about half as many as Penn. According to Richetti, the current shortage of Penn English professors is due to the large number of faculty who are on sabbatical, coupled with the recent losses. "We are still short-handed," he explained. "It's partly because our numbers are low but partly because of the number of faculty who are away doing research." The Reformation The current shortage is a problem that will likely be solved when those faculty return next fall. But the long-term health of the department ultimately requires hiring new faculty. This leaves School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston and Richetti with one big repair job on their hands. The SAS strategic plan -- released last April -- called for increasing the number of faculty in several departments, with English near the top of the list. Other departments singled out as needing more faculty and financial support were Biology, Chemistry, Economics, History, Political Science and Psychology. At a time when most humanities departments get starved of resources, Preston has authorized the English Department to hire four standing faculty members -- including at least one senior professor -- to help fill the void left by faculty departures. And a separate search for a senior Film Studies professor is being conducted by English in conjunction with several other departments. "We are doing very well," Richetti said, noting that the English Department is on track with the plan, having made offers for three assistant professors and one senior faculty member. Richetti also said the department could make offers this year to two additional professors, one junior and one senior. But while it is likely that the junior professors will accept Penn's offer, College Dean Richard Beeman is less confident that the department will fill all of its senior faculty slots by next fall, pointing out that "fewer than half of [senior searches] succeed in a given year." The Restoration While officials struggle to fix the faculty situation, they are also working to repair the department's long-standing home. Both faculty and administrators said the building is not on par with facilities at its Ivy League peers and is barely acceptable for teaching. And like the need to increase faculty, improving the English Department's facilities is also at the top of the SAS strategic plan. "Commitment is manifested in our classrooms and what they do to facilitate learning," Beeman said. "Plainly, Bennett Hall is in need of renovation." Despite persistent rumors about renovations to the building, no tangible steps have been taken. In fact, it was not until late last month that the English Department formed a committee to discuss improving Bennett Hall. "We plan to figure out what we want to do and how to pay for it," said English Professor Rebecca Bushnell, who is chairing the committee. "We really want to do this." But the reality of fixing and financing a building like Bennett Hall most likely means that construction will not take place for quite a while. According to Vice President for Facilities Services Omar Blaik, before the project can even enter the design stage, the University must first hire an architect to do a feasibility study and then get the approval of the Capital Council and the Board of Trustees. In addition, the department must find "swing space" that will house its offices and classes while Bennett Hall is being renovated -- hardly an easy task with the amount of construction taking place around campus. And the University also needs to secure donors to provide the financial backing for such a project. Although officials say there are a few prospective candidates in the pipeline, they acknowledge that most contributions flow in when actual plans are in place. "We have identified likely candidates and are having some preliminary discussions," SAS External Affairs Vice Dean Jean-Marie Kneeley said. The Renaissance Despite current challenges, SAS administrators are quick to point out that the English Department is not in complete disarray and most remain optimistic about its future. English remains SAS's largest department in the humanities and, with a top-10 national ranking, it is one of Penn's most respected disciplines. "This is a flourishing department that is improving itself more and more," Graduate Department Chairman Christopher Looby said. And students are quick to point out that most of the department faculty -- both standing and part-time professors -- are gifted and accessible teachers. "You get to work with some of the nation's top scholars as a freshman," Perelli said. But according to Bushnell, the department must acknowledge its current weaknesses and work with its strengths. "This is a department with a strong national reputation but also strong internal relationships," she said. "We want to build this department. It's the key part of our strategic plan."


Four profs may join dept. next year

(03/02/00 10:00am)

While the ongoing game of academic musical chairs has left the English Department standing up alone for the past year, four recent job offers should put Penn in a better position for the future. According to Interim Department Chairman John Richetti, 19th century American Literature scholar Jonathan Arac from the University of Pittsburgh was offered a position as a senior professor. And three other offers for assistant professorships were made to newly minted Ph.Ds, bringing in younger talent to replace the senior faculty who have left the English Department in recent years. "This is an expansionist moment for the English Department," Richetti said. "We are approaching full strength." In the past 10 years, the department has lost seven standing faculty members -- including three last year -- dropping from 42 standing professors to just 36 today. But since the School of Arts and Sciences' strategic plan called to increase the number of faculty in six key departments last April, the English Department has been actively working to recruit new professors. Although SAS Dean Samuel Preston authorized the department to make just four offers, Richetti said that it is currently looking for a fourth junior professor and there is an outside chance of bringing in another senior African-American Literature professor to Penn. The department is also interviewing candidates for a senior Film Studies professor as part of a joint search being conducted with the Fine Arts, German and Romance Languages departments. That position could be housed in the English Department. According to Richetti, this year's offers were made to help the English Department rebuild traditionally strong areas that were particularly hard-hit by faculty losses as well as to strengthen its national reputation. Should Arac -- who is currently on leave from the University of Pittsburgh to write a book on Mark Twain's classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -- come to Penn this fall, he will replace Elisa New, an American Literature specialist who left Penn for Harvard University last year. Stanford doctoral candidate Sean Keilen -- an expert in English Renaissance literature -- was offered an assistant professorship at Penn next fall, which should soften the loss of scholar Maureen Quilligan, now the chairwoman of the Duke University English Department. Arac and Keilen will likely be joined by Marsha Fausti, a 19th century African-American scholar who is completing her doctoral work at Johns Hopkins University. As an assistant professor, she would help fill the void left by Houston Baker, another top senior professor who left for Duke last year. And with an assistant professor offer out to Joseph Clark -- a post-colonial, African and Carribean Literature specialist -- the department is bolstering its commitment to the emerging field of global English Literature. By replacing a number of senior faculty with junior professors, the offers are in line with the SAS strategic plan's recommendation to reduce Penn's high percentage of tenured faculty from 81 percent to 72 percent. "Younger people bring energy and a new perspective," Preston noted. "And to start with, their salaries are less." It is also easier to recruit younger professors than older, more settled academics. Fresh out of graduate school, recent Ph.Ds actively hunt for jobs -- especially those that provide good tenure opportunities -- and are more flexible about where they locate. "We often get our first-choice candidates because we are a friendly environment and because there is a good chance of getting tenure," Steiner said, explaining Penn's success in attracting assistant professors. The tenure requirements at Stanford and Harvard are so stringent that almost no junior faculty have been awarded the promotion, several Penn professors said. But the more difficult challenge lies ahead, as Richetti and other Penn faculty and administrators work to lure Arac, and perhaps other senior professors, away from various colleges and universities. Hiring senior professors is a much longer and more complicated process than getting their junior counterparts to sign on the dotted line. In fact, College Dean Richard Beeman said less than one out of three senior searches are successful in any given year. Penn's review process is extremely complex and time consuming for the candidate. And from the University's perspective, it is just plain difficult to attract top scholars away from comfortable positions at peer institutions. "Its hard to recruit full professors," Richetti said. "They have families and other personal obligations." Since universities often match salaries when their faculty are being lured away, other factors -- such as inter-department relations, jobs for spouses and partners, endowed professorships and the quality of facilities -- become influential. Penn has difficulty hanging on to senior faculty when other schools offer them money and resources that the University cannot match. Quilligan, for instance, now chairs Duke's English Department, and Baker said that a Duke faculty post for his wife contributed to his leaving Penn. Penn's smaller budget for SAS limits Preston's ability to award endowed professorships. In the past, only one member of the entire SAS faculty has received an endowed chair -- although Trustee Christopher Browne's recent donation will now permit the dean to name two more each year. And only recently did the University allocate funding to sponsor research by new hires. While a well-stacked library -- which Penn does have -- is at the top of any prospective English professor's list, facilities such as a faculty lounge and office space -- which Penn's English Department lacks in its current home of Bennett Hall -- are considered important extras. Beyond these tangible needs, most Penn professors say they like working in a friendly environment. "Some places are snake pits," Richetti said. "I'm not saying we don't have our eccentrics, but we are one big, happy family."


M. Swimming looks to improve at EISLs this year

(03/02/00 10:00am)

After his team finished in the basement at the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming Championships last year, Penn men's swimming coach Mike Schnur was understandably disappointed. The Quakers were disqualified in the crucial 400-yard medley relay last year, a penalty which relegated them to last place at the meet. A false start and the bottom-of-the-barrel finish left a bad taste in the Quakers' mouths. Penn has a chance to wash the taste out today as the EISL Championships get underway at Princeton. "I think that we are going to finish in the six, seven, eight range," Schnur said of his team's chances in the 10-team field that includes Army and Navy as well as the eight Ivy League teams. The meet consists of preliminary heats that will be held in the morning, with the top 24 swimmers in each event advancing to one of three heats at night. The top eight swimmers from the morning heats will advance to the finals, the second eight will advance to a consolation final and the third eight will advance to a bonus final. "My expectations would be to beat the teams we beat in dual meets this year for sure," senior Matt Reilly said. Penn finished sixth in their EISL dual-meet season this year, with wins over Cornell, Columbia, Army and Dartmouth. It will be difficult for Penn to claim sixth at Princeton, however, since the meet is markedly different from dual meets. Easterns differs from the dual-meet season because it focuses more on individual swimmers than the overall team performance. Swimmers choose their fastest events to compete in at Easterns, as opposed to the dual-meet season where swimmers compete in events that may not be their fastest but that give the team the best shot at winning. The ultimate goal for swimmers at Easterns is to qualify for NCAA Championships. Although Penn's schedule lists NCAAs as the final meet, it is unlikely that any Quakers will be found in Minnesota on March 23 -- only two Penn swimmers have qualified for NCAAs in the last decade. Penn will need big performances from seniors Jon Maslow, Matt Reilly, Nick Sheremeta and Craig Nelson to enable the team to place highly this week. "Maslow is a former finalist. Reilly is a former finalist," Schnur said. "[The four seniors] are all very good, very experienced guys. This is their time to shine." Although only sophomore breaststroker Kenneth Goh made the final heat consisting of the top-eight swimmers last year, Penn is hoping that this season will see more Red and Blue suits in those crucial races. "If we get four or five guys in the top eight, that's great. I think besides Kenneth, Chris Miller can do it in breaststroke. Spencer Driscoll has a chance to make top eight in anything he swims," Schnur said. "Dave Hausladen has a shot in the 200 free. The seniors can all make top eight. Kevin Pope has a chance as a freshman in the 100 back." A large part of the Quakers' improvement in the dual-meet season this year can be attributed to the freshman class. Unfortunately for Penn, at Easterns it tends to be the upperclassmen who dominate the meet. "A lot of our high final guys are freshmen and sophomores, and that's something that's hard," Schnur said. The one area where Penn will compete as a team, and needs to do well, are the relay events. Schnur does not want a repeat of last year's relay false start. Relay events count for double the points of normal events. No matter how well the Quakers do this week, Penn will not be taking home the EISL title this year. Thus, the team's main focus is necessarily on scoring personal records with an eye toward building the team in future seasons. "Mostly, what I care about is the guys swimming faster than they have all year, swimming faster than they have in their lives," Schnur said. "We're looking for getting ourselves up for a good springboard for next year."


New beginning for W. Lax

(03/02/00 10:00am)

After 1-12 season, penn starts from scratch A mere 12 months ago, the world of Penn women's lacrosse was in utter disarray. The members of the team petitioned for the removal of longtime coach Anne Sage, saying they would no longer play for her. Leading scorer Brooke Jenkins tore her ACL. And even though she came back to play through the pain, the Quakers skidded to a 1-12 record, the worst in team history. As the Quakers enter the 2000 season, it is almost as if the past never even happened. Karin Brower took over the reins of the Red and Blue over the summer, and a corps of 12 freshman -- who outnumber Penn's returning players -- arrived on campus in the fall. And among the returning players, many -- like senior tri-captain Lee Ann Sechovicz -- are finding new roles on the field. Sechovicz, who played midfield last year, has dropped back to defense. "We're pretty much starting from scratch at midfield, defense and attack," Brower said. "Everywhere." Penn will have talent on the field, but the Quakers do lack experience. And injuries have already taken their toll with the experienced players they do have. Jenkins, who is recovering from another ACL injury incurred during the field hockey season, will be pretty much a stay-home attacker, staying away from midfield duties. Her fellow senior tri-captain, Bethany Stafford, has decided not to play this season due to knee problems. Knee problems have also taken their toll on Jenny Hartman, an eight-goal scorer in her freshman season last year. Hartman will miss the season's first two to four weeks, starting with this weekend's scrimmages at William and Mary. Penn did not scrimmage last year, and this year it will play 14 games in addition to this weekend's scrimmages and an additional scrimmage on March 11 with Lehigh. The Quakers' opener is on March 14 at American, and their Ivy opener is four days later at Yale. A year ago, Penn's first Ivy game was also against Yale. But that was also the Quakers' season opener, while the Elis had already played two games. As its offense was already clicking, Yale outshot the Quakers 40-12 and won the game 11-5. This year, opening at American will almost certainly be helpful to the skilled-but-inexperienced Quakers. "I don't think that we have a weak link at all," Brower said. "It's just that we lack experience. That's going to be the biggest factor for us this year." But playing an extra game at the beginning of the year probably won't turn the Quakers into instant worldbeaters, nor will Brower's different coaching style. The situation at Franklin Field is not like the ones that greeted Andy Nelson or Kelly Greenberg when they walked into the Penn women's soccer and basketball teams, respectively, in their first seasons this year. Those teams simply needed a push in the right direction. Brower's team has lacked depth and still does -- the Quakers do not have enough players to scrimmage against themselves. Their goal is not necessarily to contend for a league title immediately, but to be competitive from beginning to end. "My expectations for the team are a winning season, I hope," freshman Kate Murray said. That will be hard enough, at least as far as the Ivy League is concerned. Dartmouth returns all three of its first team All-Ivy players from last year's league championship team. Princeton is always a force to be reckoned with, while Yale -- which finished third in the Ivies in 1999 -- will feature last season's top Ivy freshman, attacker Amanda Walton. This season, Penn can expect to see quite a bit from its newcomers. "We're going to have a lot of freshmen start, and they'll play a lot of time," Brower said. "They're a great group -- working very hard." One thing that is striking with Penn's freshmen is their explosive speed, something that was definitely lacking from last season's squad. "I'd say we have upperclassmen that have some speed but more of an endurance speed," Brower said. "The freshmen have more of a strength speed right off the step. Whitney [Horton], Jayme [Munnelly] and Kate [Murray] are extremely fast. Christy [Bennett] is quick." The Quakers may have been lucky to get such a crop of newcomers. All of the freshmen agreed to come to Penn before the coaching situation was resolved -- an uncertain prospect to say the least. "I had a good trip here, and I tried to leave some of the lacrosse stuff out of [the decision]," Horton said. "I knew when I decided that the old coach was gone. Actually, it really did [concern me]. I took a lot of uncertainty until a little while into the fall." Now, though, the Quakers are confident and ready for the season. It is hard to say just how they will do, but one thing is for sure -- there is nowhere to go but up.


Leading scorer Jenkins returns from torn ACL

(03/02/00 10:00am)

For Brooke Jenkins, tri-captain of the Penn women's lacrosse team, leadership and strength go hand in hand. One of three seniors on a young Quakers squad and probably the only athlete in Penn history to successfully return from three -- count 'em, three -- torn ACLs, Jenkins leads by example. A second team All-Ivy selection last spring who mentors her younger teammates on Franklin Field, Jenkins also works time into her busy schedule to teach young girls at a local school off the field. "We definitely need Brooke's leadership out there," Quakers lacrosse coach Karin Brower said. "She has the most experience on our team, and I think the kids look to her in a lot of ways. She's definitely one person we need to get out on the field fully as soon as we can." The Alexandria, Va., native became involved in athletics at a young age and never looked back. The captain of her field hockey, lacrosse and basketball teams in high school, Jenkins has moved on to captain both the field hockey and lacrosse squads at Penn. "Brooke's really fun, and she's talented, too -- I don't know how to explain it," Penn tri-captain Lee Ann Sechovicz said. "She's a great player, fun to play with and always cracking jokes. She's great in that sense -- she makes practice fun. "She's determined and such an incredible player that I feel like we'd be lost without her." Too often in the past three years, Penn teams have indeed been without Jenkins. After tallying 19 goals in her freshman campaign with Penn lacrosse, the future looked bright for Jenkins and the Quakers program. But in the season opener of her sophomore year, Jenkins went down with a torn right ACL. With their pivotal midfielder on the sidelines for the remainder of the year, the Quakers struggled to a 4-7 record. Jenkins underwent extensive rehab, though, and made a triumphant return to Franklin Field the following fall -- earning the field hockey team's Most Improved Player award. Then it happened again. Last spring, Jenkins was off to a fast start, netting six goals in the first two games. Jenkins' on-field success did not matter to her right ACL, though, as it blew out for a second time. But after an MRI turned up inconclusive, the feisty blonde midfielder was hesitantly cleared to play and returned to the field with a bulging knee brace in tow. Not even the brace hindered Jenkins -- the determined two-sport star led Penn with 16 goals on only one good leg. "It's amazing -- last year she played in half the games, and she's our leading scorer," Sechovicz said. "That shows something in itself, that she can come back after three ACLs. It's incredible." Bad things are said to come in threes -- and the third ACL tear that Sechovicz refers to happened just months after the second. Last October 15, Jenkins' field hockey career at Penn came to an abrupt halt, this time because of a faulty left knee. Offseason surgery and months of rehab could have convinced many an athlete to call it quits. But not Jenkins. Described by field hockey teammates as an "inspiration," Jenkins cannot contemplate life without her sports. "I just really enjoy playing sports, and with all that free time, I don't know what I'd do with it," Jenkins said. "For me, everyone was kind of like, 'Why do you play both? -- since you've hurt your knee so many times.' "[But] I just like to be out playing. I love team sports and being with the team and everything about it." Having been through it before, Jenkins put her recovery in perspective. "It's actually not been as tough as I thought it would be this time," Jenkins said. Though she did add, "I'm still not back to playing 100 percent." Brower, in her first year coaching at Penn, realizes the importance Jenkins has to this team. Yet Brower is taking steps to ensure the Quakers can both utilize Jenkins and keep her healthy. "Brooke's had a hard time -- I can't believe three knee surgeries," Brower said. "She's playing a lot of attack in practice right now, and we're keeping her out of defense because you kind of have to react a lot, whereas attack you kind of determine what you're doing." This is a bit of a change for Jenkins, who had played more of a midfield position than an attacking role in her first three years at Penn. But the senior has learned to take everything in stride. Jenkins realizes that more will be expected of her than simply putting the ball in the net. Imparting her on-field knowledge and experience to her new teammates is just as important. "Definitely I think coach Brower is expecting me to step up," Jenkins said. "Lead the attack, be more vocal and help the freshmen out, because it's going to be new for them, a different game from high school to college." Jenkins is no stranger to helping younger girls out, though. Though playing both field hockey and lacrosse at Penn prevented her from completing the student teaching element needed for an Education major, the Psychology major still goes out of her way to teach. "I like to work with children, that's one of my real passions," Jenkins said. "I tutor and I'm taking this class called "Girl Talk," and I go to Edison High School and teach a classroom of girls." For the next two months, however, her sole pursuit is a successful senior season with the Penn lacrosse team. "I'm optimistic," Jenkins said. "I think it'll go well."


Debate over Microsoft antitrust case comes to U. campus

(03/02/00 10:00am)

Internet browsers and operating systems, Netscape and Microsoft, Java and QuickTime were the focus of a heated debate Monday night between two key witnesses in the government's suit against Microsoft. Sponsored by Wharton's Gruss Public Management Program, the debate, entitled, "U.S. v. Microsoft: Evaluating the Economic Arguments," drew more than 200 students and professors into a packed room inside Steinberg-Dietrich Hall. Daniel Rubinfeld, a Law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, faced off against Richard Schmalensee, the dean of the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The two economic and technology experts debated several key issues of the trial's most recent findings. While he blasted Microsoft last week, U.S. District Court Judge Penfield Jackson has yet to release a final decision in the case. At issue was whether Microsoft violated the federal Sherman Antitrust Act in tying its Internet Explorer web browser to its Windows 95 and, later, Windows 98 operating systems. The government, Rubinfeld explained, maintains that Microsoft took anti-competitive actions in the distribution of its web browser in order to maintain its monopoly over the operating system market. "This debate is not only significant in terms of policy, but in the legal proceedings as well," said Rubinfeld, who was in charge of the government's economic case against Microsoft. Rubinfeld, who was also the deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust from July 1997 to December 1998, identified three basic harms caused by Microsoft's actions. Specifically, Rubinfeld argued that Microsoft's virtual domination of the market has led to "fewer choices for consumers," a lag in innovation and "unjustifiably distorted competition." Schmalensee, who followed Rubinfeld in his presentation, contended that while "Microsoft is not a cuddly company," it certainly did not violate any laws in attempting to ensure its survival in the market. "Is it illegal to improve a product to maintain a monopoly?" he asked. "I think that is where the government is going, and I think that that is bad policy." Schmalensee, who was Microsoft's lead economic witness, concluded that, "Windows' 'monopoly' is far from obvious," and argued that, "consumers benefitted substantially" from Microsoft's offering of Internet Explorer. In their rebuttals, each commented on the role that the government plays in today's expanding technology market. "Don't underestimate the benefit to competition by having someone to watch over the market," Rubinfeld said. This debate will continue long after the speakers have returned home. Once Jackson releases his rule in 30 to 60 days, the losing side will likely appeal, meaning that there won't be a final decision for several years, Rubinfeld said. Wharton sophomore Chris Burton said he sided with Schmalensee's presentation on behalf of Microsoft. "He seemed pretty successful in trying to portray the media in taking a role that swayed public opinion in the case," Burton said. And Betsy Bailey, chairwoman of Wharton's Public Policy and Management Department, who introduced the speakers, said she thought that the debate brought forward a "highly relevant topic."


Brower brings winning experience to coaching lines

(03/02/00 10:00am)

Each time Sara Evans opens her locker before practice, a quote pasted on the door reminds her that Penn's new lacrosse coach Karin Brower expects her to take risks on the field. The quote is one of many that hangs in the Quakers' locker room -- each one chosen by Brower to reach a different team member. "The quotes are personalized. They remind her of one of us, or of what we should be working on or thinking about," Evans said. "Mine happens to be about taking risks and such because I'm a defender and I know I need to do that." According to Evans, the quotes are just one way that Brower, a former Princeton assistant coach, shows a commitment to helping each of her new players. Evans said this personal attention is a welcomed change from the coaching system that Anne Sage piloted from the start of Penn's lacrosse program until last season when her players successfully petitioned to have her removed. "She's individualized the coaching more than has been done in the past. She's made an effort to show that she's trying to get to know us, and help us, and make us better lacrosse players," Evans said. But that is not the only thing Brower has changed. When asked what else she brought to the Penn women's lacrosse program, Evans chuckled and said, "She brought a program." The Quakers had been without a head coach since the start of the 1999 season, and problems with Sage's system date back years before then. In fact, junior goalkeeper Christian Stover said Sage's own assistant Alanna Wren -- who served as an interim coach last season -- knew her mentor's shortcomings all too well. "[Wren] played under Sage through college, and she found the same problems when she was there that we went through," Stover said. "I think she supported [the petition], even though she never really said so. I think she was proud of us that we did step up and do something because it had been a problem for a while." Hopefully, Brower has brought a program that resembles the one she left behind in Princeton. The Tigers went to the NCAA Tournament in all three years that Brower was there. Penn's coach assisted in Old Nassau from 1996-98. "In the beginning, we kind of made jokes about the fact that Princeton is our rival, but it doesn't affect us much," Stover said. "It's definitely good that she comes from such a high-caliber program." But Brower's coaching career began well before her Princeton days. Prior to joining the Tigers, the 1992 William and Mary graduate served as Villanova's assistant lacrosse coach, William and Mary's assistant field hockey coach and Division III Drew's head lacrosse coach. Brower won two conference titles in two years at Drew and then moved on to Princeton. Following a year-long respite, she will now try to help the Quakers rebuild from their 1-12 mark last season. "[Brower] basically brought the things that you normally take for granted as a team member -- the intensity, the challenge, the goals, the positive attitude," Evans said. "Especially for the older players, she's helped to remind us of all the simple things. She's brought back the fundamental ideals of the team." In addition to improving her current squad, Brower also seems better than Sage at finding new talent for the future. Brower said that with the increasing number of scholarship programs around the nation, today's Ivy League lacrosse coaches must put more effort into the recruiting process. "I think sports has changed and I think that some of the older coaches' philosophies haven't changed. They didn't actively recruit. That wasn't why they started coaching. They coached because they loved to coach -- not to recruit -- and it's definitely a huge part of the job and you have to love to do that," Brower said. "I don't think [Sage] went out and recruited a lot because that's not how it was when she first started." Sage's laid-back recruiting style seemed to correlate with her attitude toward college athletics as a whole. "Sage's style of recruiting was far less intense because her opinion was that you come to school to go to school and playing lacrosse is whatever," Evans said. "In a sense that's a somewhat good attitude, but that doesn't create a winning team." Stover feels Brower's practices are better recipes for success. "Practices are structured to the minute," Stover said. "And she changes it up everyday, so we're never really doing the same thing twice. We might be working on the same things, but in a different style so it keeps us excited and it and it doesn't get monotonous." Something that certainly got monotonous last season was Penn's losing ways. The Quakers' only victory came against Columbia midway through the season -- embedded in 12 disheartening losses. While Brower's addition obviously cannot erase the past, she might be the key to turning things around for the future.


Penn students to bring Mali into tech age

(03/02/00 10:00am)

This summer, 25 Penn students will set up Internet connections and computer labs in Mali. With rapid technological growth threatening to leave developing nations behind, a group of Penn students and faculty hope to use the Internet this summer to bring even the world's poorest nations up to date. Twenty-five University students will travel to Bamako, Mali, to help set up a computer network in the French-speaking country that ranks as the fourth poorest in the world. "They might be the fourth poorest country in the world, but the enthusiasm that they have matches that of any country," said Engineering Professor Sohrab Rabii said, the project's faculty instructor "[The students] will have the opportunity to experience and learn about Mali and West Africa and the issues of technology and its role in improving the quality of life for people in the developing world," Sun said. Following a meeting last winter with Mali's government, the Engineering School agreed to set up Internet connections and computer labs at an elementary school and another undecided location. The Penn students will spend a month in the country. The Internet connections will be made possible via a wireless network to Afribone, an Internet Service Provider, and the team will also train students from the University of Mali to maintain and repair the facilities after the team leaves. Engineering School Director for Academic Affairs Joe Sun, who is part of Penn's delegation to Mali, recollected how even though computers had already been donated to a center there, the boxes had remained unopened because of the lack of technological savviness in that country. "My hope is that this will enable teachers to have access to information that will aid them in teaching students," Sun said. "They have nothing right now." The 25 participating students will receive course credit while in Mali. As part of the program, they will attend a class this spring about the country's culture and its relationship to technology while receiving training in computer software. About 70 students from all four undergraduate schools applied for the program, Student Coordinator and Engineering submatriculant Brian Sullivan said. The students were chosen by project leaders based on their French skills, computer abilities and class standing, he said. According to Rabii, an understanding of the culture will be integral to ensuring that once the Penn team leaves, Malians will continue to maintain the computer centers. "One of the problems we expect to run into apart from the language barrier is the cultural barrier," Sullivan said. Sun noted that the country's infrastructure -- with a lack of steady electricity, poor roads and a limited telecommunication network -- means that students might have to work under difficult conditions. They may not have the electricity they need to make the computers run and it may be hard to acquire parts for maintenance. And Rabii pointed out that for many Penn students, the experience would be an eye-opener, requiring students to be in an alien culture while leading a real-world enterprise. "I don't know too much about Mali, but it's a place where we expect to make a difference," said Engineering freshman Jonathan Wanderer. Added Rabii, "Rather than going to France and ordering food, [students] will be communicating with people and culture?. It would be on a lot deeper level than sight seeing."


IFC works to boost pledge GPAs

(03/02/00 10:00am)

New fraternity members traditionally can have a hard time balancing pledging with studying. But with a new InterFraternity Council program, the pledges will receive tutoring and help with their classes. The IFC has instituted a new academic initiatives program, which was put into effect last week, designed to give new members academic support during the new member education period. "There's a tendency during new member education for the new members' grades to slip," said IFC Vice President for Academics Rob Lewin, an Alpha Epsilon Pi brother. "They obviously have another time commitment in their lives now." According to Lewin, a Wharton junior, the grades of men who join fraternities in the spring tend to drop an average of three-tenths of a point from the first semester to the second. An increase in academic programming is one of the goals of the Greek-wide 21st Century Report, which was issued in 1996. Many of the report's other goals -- such as an increased IFC commitment to community service -- have already been met. According to Lewin, the program is voluntary, and the decision of whether or not to participate was left up to each house's president, academic or scholarship chairman and new members. Of the 31 IFC chapters, eight -- Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Mu, Alpha Chi Rho, Phi Kappa Psi, Theta Xi, Kappa Sigma, Phi Kappa Sigma and Tau Epsilon Phi -- have decided to participate in the program this year. "Our ultimate goal is for all 31 houses to sign on," Lewin said. Participation in the new academic program consists of three components: academic workshops for new members, tutoring in subjects generally taken by freshmen and training for each house's academic chair on the University's academic resources. Even if a new member's house agrees to participate in the program, he is not required to attend the academically oriented events. "Each workshop is voluntary because people won't get a lot out of it if they feel they have to be here," Lewin said. The houses must agree, however, not to schedule any new member education programs that conflict with the academic workshops. As part of the new program, the IFC and Academic Support Services held a time-management workshop Monday night in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall for AEPi's new members. Two "learning instructors" -- students from the Graduate School of Education -- spoke to the men about selecting a time-management method appropriate to their personalities. They handed out blank schedules and calenders to the students to help them plan their days. Most of the new members seemed to enjoy the workshop, expressing that many college students -- Greek or not -- need to learn more effective study habits. "I feel like college stuff is very different from high school," Engineering freshman and AEPi pledge Scott Kanas said. "There were people who had a lot of free time in high school and could come home in the afternoon and do their homework. Now we might have classes in the afternoon. For some people [workshops like these] can be very effective." The learning instructors also felt that it was a very positive experience. "[The new members] were good, they were receptive," said Grace Enriquez, a second-year graduate student in the Education School. "I felt we were able to offer some good suggestions."


An afternoon of art, life and elitism

(03/02/00 10:00am)

Every day, Phillipe De Montebello makes financial decisions that affect the most well-known museum in America. And he does so without having ever gone to business school. "I have no formal training in administration, business administration or otherwise," the director of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art told a group of about 75 students Tuesday in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall. De Montebello, who came to Penn as part of the Musser-Shoemaker Leadership Lecture series, discussed his ascent from an Art History major at Harvard to director of the nation's most prestigious museum. De Montebello attended Harvard as an undergraduate and then continued his study of art history at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Today, De Montebello directs a museum with a budget of $125 million that houses around 2 million works of art and brings in about 5.5 million visitors a year. "We are not a market-driven institution. We are a mission-driven institution," De Montebello said. What enabled De Montebello to succeed without formal training, he said, was his passion, common sense and good judgment. "I know what I want. I make decisions not hastily, but quickly," De Montebello said. "I think that's one of my strengths." Although De Montebello said he is "not a team builder," he still likes to consult regularly with the key members of his staff in order to get a good sense of what they are thinking. De Montebello was also willing to recognize his museum as "elitist." "I embrace joyfully that we are an elitist institution. Elitism is having a sense of excellence and betterment," he said. But, for De Montebello, the path to becoming the director of the Met had many stops along the way. While pursuing his doctoral degree at NYU, De Montebello was approached by the Met and offered a management job. In 1969, a museum in Houston asked De Montebello to be its acting director, a job for which he felt he was unsuited. "I have never figured out why they went after me," De Montebello said of the job offer from the Houston museum. Then, in 1974, De Montebello was called back to become the chief curator at the Met. Four years later, he was named director of the museum. "The happiest moment of my life was booking a one-way ticket out of Houston," he said, calling himself a "city boy." After around 20 minutes of De Montebello speaking, he opened the room to a question-and-answer session. During the session, De Montebello fielded questions about topics ranging from a recent profile of him in The New York Times to a recent controversy about avant-garde art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Several of the students who attended the lecture said they were intrigued by De Montebello's honesty in discussing his approach to leadership and his conviction that his museum is "elitist." "I think it is potentially interesting to hear about the relationship between the business and the art world," College sophomore Elizabeth Goodman said.


U. students planning for area cleanup

(03/02/00 10:00am)

Penn has taken the Ivy Council's community service day and turned it into a month-long volunteer effort. They'll be painting, planting, hammering and running -- all in the name of community service. For the first time ever, the Ivy Council -- a group of 40 representatives from all eight Ivy League universities -- has officially proclaimed April 8 as "Ivy Corps," when students will devote their energy and resources to help their surrounding communities. But for Penn's Undergraduate Assembly, one day of community service isn't enough, according to Dana Becker, co-chair of the UA's West Philadelphia Committee. So the Penn "Quaker Corps" branch has scheduled projects for three additional dates. "We're hoping for this to be the first year of something that Penn continues," said Becker, a Wharton sophomore. "We hope to make more of commitment to community service, to see that it is fun and rewarding." The students have teamed up with UC Green -- a Penn initiative aimed at beautifying University City through planting and gardening -- to bring an expected 700 students and dozens of area residents out into West Philadelphia neighborhoods over the next month to work on five different projects, which include tree planting and neighborhood cleanup. UC Green Director Esaul Sanchez said he expects hundreds of fraternity brothers will join in the effort by cleaning the area surrounding their houses. "We in the community feel that fraternities must take responsibility for their property," he said. Kicking off Quaker Corps on March 25, the UA and the United Minorities Council will combine forces with community groups to plant over 50 trees in neighborhoods throughout University City. The following weekend, Penn students will participate in a massive cleanup and greening project at a playground at 45th and Sansom streets. On April 8 -- the official Ivy Corps day -- the InterFraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the Bi-Cultural InterGreek Council will volunteer in conjunction with Greek Week to help clean up the area, IFC Executive Vice President John Buchanan said. Buchanan, a member of Phi Kappa Psi, said the Greeks will focus on the 3800 and 4000 blocks of Walnut Street and the 3900 block of Spruce Street. "It's a good way for fraternity and sorority members to get out and help the greater University City community," the College junior said. Also on April 8, students, with the help of some teachers who have some carpentry know-how, will build a pavilion between the Lea School and West Philadelphia High School, both located on 47th Street. Finally, Becker said that the UA is trying to arrange a 5-K run on April 9 through the "Greenbelt"of West Philadelphia -- the area UC Green has focused its energy on during the past year and a half -- and will donate the proceeds to a yet-to-be-determined local school. The UA has been working with Civic House and a variety of student groups to recruit volunteers for Quaker Corps. Becker admitted that organizing a project this massive is difficult, but both she and Sanchez said they certainly expect it to have its payoffs. "To define success, we would have every single volunteer go there and do a meaningful job," Sanchez said. "You are going to say, 'Something good happened here.'"


Contrast between cities and suburbia discussed

(03/02/00 10:00am)

Penn Deputy Provost Peter Conn spoke along with his son, an Ohio State professor. To prove his point that American suburbs have failed to provide meaningful existences for their residents, Steven Conn pointed to this year's hit film American Beauty. The Academy Award-nominated movie, Conn said, perfectly illustrates the "crushing banality of existence in the suburbs." Joined by his father Peter, Penn's deputy provost and an English professor, Ohio State University History Professor Steven Conn last night addressed a crowd of about 50 students and professors on the advantages that cities today possess over suburbs. The talk, which was held in the Quadrangle's McClelland Hall, was entitled "City and Community." The lecture was sponsored by Community College House, where the elder Conn serves as faculty master. "The idea is that the speaker talks briefly, introduces the subject and sees where it goes -- induces dialogue," Peter Conn said about the "10 Minute Talks" series, of which this lecture was a part. Starting off the lecture, Peter Conn asked the students, "Do we need cities?" Differing from the pastoral debate of the past -- which pitted the city against the countryside -- the new debate, Peter Conn said, is of the suburbs' encroachment upon the city. "We have become suburban," Steven Conn maintained. "More of us live in suburbs -- cities cease to be where most of the population live." Peter Conn, following on his son's message, then cautioned the audience on the dangers of the trend of suburbanization. He argued that artistic creativity and spontaneity is more often stilted than stirred in the suburbs. "No epic poem, no symphony, no ballet, not one of the objects that we treasure comes from a suburb," he said. "There will never be a great work of art coming from Paramus, New Jersey," Steven Conn added. An additional disadvantage of the prototypical suburb, Steven Conn continued, is the fragmentation among different races and societal classes. "If we have any aspirations for culture -- they need to happen in the friction -- the bumping together of people," the younger Conn said, explaining the benefits of the city. In the suburbs, he explained, "We create a rigid class structure -- we don't see people of different classes, different ages." A person would have a much better chance of meeting "different people" by walking down Philadelphia's Walnut Street or through New York City's Central Park than by exploring suburbia, Steven Conn said. "I would argue that the Great American experiment has failed," he added. Not every audience member agreed with that logic, however. "I don't buy that," said College junior Erin Millender, a Community House resident advisor. "You might say it's not racially heterogeneous now, but it will be," she added. Past speakers in the series include English Professor Lorene Carey, who founded the Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia, and Political Science Professor John DiIulio. University President Judith Rodin will be the next featured speaker.


Frat loses charter for rush violation

(03/01/00 10:00am)

Sigma Alpha Mu cannot return to campus until the spring of 2001. After violating dry rush policies last month by serving alcohol at an event, the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity has lost its charter and has been suspended by the University for at least a year, officials announced yesterday. SAM's suspension comes as a punishment for serving alcohol at a January 21 rush event, disobeying InterFraternity Council rush rules and breaking the conditions of the fraternity's current social probation. The fraternity was on probation for violating dry rush and anti-hazing policies a year ago. The suspension will take effect April 9 and will last until the end of the calendar year, but the brothers will be allowed to continue to live in their house -- located at 3817 Walnut Street -- under the supervision of a live-in monitor. The 22 current pledges will be initiated on April 9. "The Chapter is prohibited from holding meetings or participating in, hosting, or sponsoring campus functions, using the name of Sigma Alpha Mu, the Greek letters, nicknames or other insignia, or otherwise functioning as a chapter," said a statement released yesterday by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. The fraternity may be allowed to recolonize in the spring of 2001 if the brothers meet the stringent conditions of their agreement with the University -- which include becoming permanently dry, completing a series of alcohol and risk management classes and doing community service. SAM National Executive Director Aaron Girson did not return repeated phone calls, nor did SAM President Jared Hendricks. Also as part of their punishment, the brothers agreed to place an advertisement in today's Daily Pennsylvanian acknowledging their violations and vowing to improve their conduct in the future. "The current membership of SAM is determined to prove that January's violation was an aberration and that the strides we have made for positive change in the Chapter and on campus will now continue uninterrupted," the brothers wrote in the ad. If the fraternity does recolonize a year from now, it will have to petition its national organization to regain its charter. And the brothers will never again be allowed to bring alcohol into their house, according to OFSA's statement. "The Chapter has agreed to become alcohol-free on a permanent basis, effective immediately," the statement said. If SAM is permitted to recolonize, the brothers will also be required to work on anti-alcohol abuse initiatives, according to OFSA's statement. "Working closely with the IFC, they will assume a leadership role in forming a task force to explore alternatives to alcohol at rush events." The suspension comes about a year after the brothers were disciplined for previous alcohol-related violations. The fraternity was placed on a one-year social probation and a two-year probation after two incidents last spring, the first being a rush event at a New Jersey bowling alley where the brothers brought five kegs and stole or damaged hundreds of bowling balls, pins and shoes. SAM was forced to reorganize in the fall and placed the 40 junior and senior brothers on alumni status, leaving just 21 active members. An IFC statement said the organization is happy with the way the situation was resolved. "We are glad that the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and the University were able to work out an agreement that is acceptable to both parties," the statement said. "We look forward to having SAM play an active role in the Greek system in the future."


Health System exec. resigns

(03/01/00 10:00am)

Chief Operating Officer Robert Martin resigned after only nine months. The reshuffling of University of Pennsylvania Health System executives continued this week with the surprise resignation of Chief Operating Officer Robert Martin on Monday. Martin's resignation comes just 13 days after former Chief Executive Officer and Medical School Dean William Kelley was asked to step down from his position by University President Judith Rodin. "He had done a terrific job," said Health System spokeswoman Lori Doyle, adding that Martin felt that stepping down was the best thing for him. Martin was not available for comment last night. Health System officials announced that I. William Ferniany, who most recently served as the Health System's senior vice president for administrative services, will serve as the interim COO while a national search for a permanent replacement is conducted. Although Martin's reason for leaving was not immediately clear, Interim CEO Peter Traber said in an e-mail sent to Health System administrators that it was Martin's own decision to resign from the position he held for nine months. Some have speculated, however, that his departure was related to the role the Hunter Group -- the Florida-based consulting firm that was brought to campus in July to help administrators slash costs -- is expected to play in UPHS as it attempts to put its financial turmoil behind it. With the announcement of Traber's appointment almost two weeks ago, Rodin said the firm would continue to advise Health System officials on their task of bringing the financially troubled system back to its feet. University officials have contracted the Hunter Group for a three-month consulting engagement, Ferniany explained, though that contract could be lengthened if needed. Alan Zuckerman, a consultant with Health Strategies and Solutions in Philadelphia, said the recent departures of Martin and Kelley could portend more UPHS changes. "It may be suggestive of a broader role that the Hunter Group is going to play," Zuckerman said. He explained that in the past, when executives of Hunter Group clients resigned, it was usually because the firm was asserting a greater degree of administrative control. But Health System and University officials have continually stressed that the Hunter Group executives are not going to assume administrative control of UPHS. "They're not here to slash and burn and they're not here to run the place," insisted Ferniany, who has worked at the Health System for seven years. Other experts in the field saw the recent departures as standard. "I don't think the Hunter Group is behind this at all," explained Joshua Nemzoff, the head of Nemzoff and Co., a New Hope healthcare consulting firm. "There is a rather clear, linear correlation between institutions losing significant amounts of money and management turnover." In addition to Martin and Kelley, the Health System has lost several other administrators over the past year. In October, former Chief Medical Officer David Shulkin stepped down to take a position with DoctorQuality.com. Former Chief Financial Officer John Wynne resigned in April for health reasons. And former Senior Vice President for Hospital Operations Thomas Beeman left in September. As interim COO, Ferniany said he will implement whatever strategies Traber, Rodin and the University Trustees agree upon. Ferniany added he is confident UPHS will meet the goal administrators set in May, which is to run a deficit of no more than $10 million in the current fiscal year. "We will probably make our budget this year," he said. "We will come awful damn close, that's for sure."


Groups hope to add to U.'s political awareness

(03/01/00 10:00am)

A voter registration drive is being held all week long on Locust Walk. It's not unusual to find Locust Walk littered with brightly colored quarter sheets of paper, remnants of student groups trying to attract their peers to their cause. But this week, the quarter-sheets aren't about a party on Friday night or an a cappella performance. Instead, they're about politics. With the deadline for registering to vote in the April 5 Pennsylvania presidential primary fast approaching, political groups this week are supporting each of the four major candidates as part of Voter Awareness Week. "Our impetus for doing this was that students at Penn are extremely intelligent, extremely involved," Voter Awareness Week co-chair Beth Harkavy said. "But there seems to be a lack of political involvement. Students can have a big impact on the issues if they get out and vote." So throughout the week, Penn for Bush, Penn for Gore, Penn for McCain and Penn for Bradley will join forces with the College Democrats and the College Republicans to register voters from Penn's student body. Six tables with voter registration forms greet students and faculty as they rush down Locust Walk to class, to meetings and to the library. According to Harkavy, the goal of voter awareness week is to help get Penn students registered to vote in the state primaries. "This is a week where we're focusing on education and awareness on campus," the College junior said. And the Penn groups supporting different presidential candidates see this as a perfect opportunity to get the word out on the candidate of their choice. Consequently, the groups decided to hold "Issue Days" on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, with each group issuing quarter-sheets on the stance of their candidate of choice on a particular issue. Yesterday, students learned about the views of Bill Bradley, John McCain, Al Gore and George W. Bush on education. Today, each candidate's opinion on the state of the American economy will be discussed. And tomorrow has been dubbed "health day," giving the four groups a chance to advertise the candidates' take on health care, Medicare and Medicaid. "Those three issues really highlight the candidates' differences," said College sophomore Matthew Oresman, the co-chair of the Penn for Bradley group. But Friday, known as "free issue day," gives the four organizations a chance to highlight their candidate's platform on a subject of their choosing. As part of the effort, the College Democrats also hosted several senatorial candidates vying for the Democratic bid in an informal discussion and the College Republicans invited any politically inclined Penn students to a relaxed movie and dinner discussion last night. According to Penn for Bush co-chair Patrick Ruffini, what is unique about this week is the non-partisan foundation that is underlying the different groups' efforts. "People may not realize that if you want to vote in the primary, the deadline is fast approaching," the College senior said. "That's the whole point of what we're doing." Oresman echoed his sentiment, adding that a lot of students are "really looking for a candidate" before they cast their ballot. But overall, Ruffini thought Voter Awareness Week was living up to its goals -- getting Penn students involved in politics. "Some people come up and argue with us, some people come over and help," Ruffini explained last night. "It's achieved its goal, bit by bit, every day on the Walk. It's given everyone a chance to gradually build up their membership base."


Frosh lead way for W. Fencing

(03/01/00 10:00am)

While Penn men's basketball freshman forward Ugonna Onyekwe is busy slamming home perfectly placed alley-oop passes from fellow newcomer David Klatsky that send the Palestra crowd into a frenzy, five other members of the Class of 2003 are wreaking havoc on their opponents away from the spotlight -- right next door at Hutchinson Gymnasium. Foilists Lauren Staudinger and Stacey Wertlieb, epeeists Kim Linton and Julia Blank and sabre Christina Verigan have developed this year and blossomed into their roles, leading the Penn women's fencing team in just their first year of collegiate athletics. And they are far from finished. With four fencers, including captain Heba Abdulla, graduating after this season and with only two sophomores and no juniors on the team, the freshmen will be expected to carry the Red and Blue and lead them for the next three seasons. "I have to help them to improve so that they become a dominant group and put us over the top to win an Ivy championship," Penn coach Dave Micahnik said. "If they become dominant fencers, while we bring in high-quality new people, we can have a heck of a team." And Micahnik has good reason to be optimistic for the future. While the women's fencing team suffered through a mediocre and somewhat disappointing season, finishing with an 8-8 record (2-3 Ivy League), the freshmen proved that they are a force to be reckoned with. The newcomers combined to win 63 percent of their total bouts. Leading the way was Staudinger, who finished the season with a 37-8 record, while winning 11 of her 15 Ivy League bouts. In just her first year, Staudinger has emerged as Penn's No. 1 foilist and will probably maintain that position for the next three years. Wertlieb, the other freshman foilist, also had a successful freshman campaign, winning 65 percent of her total bouts. Next year, when senior foilists Margo Katz and Amy Hozer will no longer be with the team, these two will be looked upon to carry the foil squad. The Quakers' epee squad has also been led by a rookie. Linton, who was an excellent high school fencer, has excelled this season, winning two-thirds of her bouts both overall and in Ivy League play. Blank, the other freshman epeeist, has also clearly helped the squad. In her limited role as a reserve, she has picked up eight victories for the Quakers, but she hopes to continue to develop and learn skills to make her a better fencer. While Blank is learning new techniques, fellow freshman Verigan is doing a different kind of learning -- she's learning how to fence a whole new weapon. A foilist throughout high school, Verigan decided to switch to sabre in the first year it would be allowed for women in collegiate competition. And Verigan, who has finished the season 26-21 overall with an 8-7 Ivy League record, is happy with her decision. "It's such an experience to be on the inaugural women's sabre team," she said. "I'm glad I made the change because, although it's challenging and at times very frustrating, I enjoy it more." Without a doubt, these five young ladies have created a nucleus and a great foundation for years to come. But while slashing away at the opposition is crucial to the freshmen's success, the most important aspect of their athletic life at Penn is the camaraderie and friendship that exists among the squad. "The fencing team is one big family," Linton said. "We are all so supportive of each other in everything, and we really enjoy each other's company." The young Quakers have grown very close indeed. "After seeing each other every weekend, smelling each other's funk and partying together after meets, I already feel close to the team after such a short amount of time," Blank said. With this strong solidarity, it seems that the Penn women's fencing team will be near the top of the league for years to come. "I think because of our friendships, we will have a successful future," Staudinger said. These five freshman will only get better and with one another at each other's side, there's no telling how far they'll go.


M. Lax: The young, the fast and the hopeful

(03/01/00 10:00am)

Penn lost its top defenders, but its attack may b e the Ivy League's best While the Penn men's lacrosse team is long on athleticism and talent, some parts of it are short on experience. But coach Marc Van Arsdale, who is going into his fourth year at Franklin Field, doesn't really seem to mind. "I'd much rather have this squad than slow guys with years of experience," he said. Although many of the Quakers' key players from the attack and midfield return, Penn lost some top defenders and their goalie -- four-year starter Matt Schroeder -- to graduation. "Matt is clearly the biggest replacement we have to make," Van Arsdale said. "He not only was a great goalie, but he ran the defense and cleared the ball well." While Schroeder will be sorely missed, Van Arsdale and the Quakers are confident that either sophomore John Carroll or freshman Ryan Kelly will be a more than suitable replacement. Both contenders for the position have different talents and both played a half each in the Quakers two preseason scrimmages -- wins over Towson and Hobart. The defense is another area where the Quakers were hurt by graduation, as both Ziggy Majumdar and Brett Bodner were seniors last year. Majumdar was a second team All-Ivy selection for the 1999 season, while Bodner competed in the North-South Senior All-Star game. Despite the loss of these stars, Van Arsdale maintains that this year's defense -- anchored by senior Bill Fowler -- will be just as strong. Fowler has missed almost all of the preseason with a hamstring injury, but with his return, the defense will look to gel. "I think we're going to be more aggressive defensively," Van Arsdale said. "Team defense was the strength of last year's team. In terms of cohesion, though, because of Fowler's injury, it may take a little longer for the team to group together." As far as the attack and midfield are concerned, the Quakers have become even stronger after last year's impressive showing on the offensive side of the ball. The team's leading scorer, Pete Janney, has improved on the attack every year and looks to make this year, his senior season, his best. Janney was first team All-Ivy last year and led the Quakers with 37 goals and 53 points. "Pete came into a good situation his freshman year playing next to two veterans," Van Arsdale said. "He immediately brought the ability to score goals, but each successive year he has been able to make his game more complete." Playing next to Janney will be junior Todd Minerley. Minerley led the team in assists last year and is basically the quarterback of the attack , starting most of the plays. In this season's scrimmages, Minerley has had five goals and seven assists, and Van Arsdale is looking for him to make a splash this year. "Todd is really playing with a good understanding right now and with more confidence," he said. "And he's really going to benefit from the defense focusing on Pete [Janney]." Sophomore Peter Scott is another key to the Quakers' attack. Scott made real contributions as a freshman last year, scoring 11 goals and this year he will have an increased role. Sophomore Scott Solow adds depth to the talented attack. Solow played in the midfield last season, but played attack in high school and is more comfortable at that position. The midfield is certainly the most crowded position on the team. The Quakers return nine players, along with one transfer and an exciting freshman. The key newcomers are Adam Solow, Scott's brother, who arrives at Penn after playing with Dartmouth for two years. Alex Kopicki is Penn's freshman with the most potential. The key returning midfielders are impressive as well. Senior Billy Reidy sat out all of 1999 with a knee injury and hopes to make a big return this season after being the Quakers' top face-off specialist in 1998. Junior Bill Sofield, however, had a breakthrough year in 1999 after stepping in for Reidy. Right now, Sofield will take the majority of face-offs, of which he won more than 60 percent last year. The Quakers open the regular season this Saturday against Notre Dame, hoping to improve on their 1999 overall record of 6-8 and 2-4 in the Ivies. Last year, Penn got off to a fast start, winning five of its first six games. The Red and Blue cooled off quickly, however, losing seven of their last eight, including losses in their final four contests. While two wins in the Ivy League is certainly not acceptable by the team's standards, their defeats to Princeton, Cornell and Harvard were by only one goal each. This year, Van Arsdale predicts that Princeton will once again lead the pack in the Ancient Eight. "Princeton has more than anybody in the league still, but the gap has closed," he said. "After Princeton, it's a crapshoot, which will make for a very competitive league season."