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From 'Rocky Horror' to rabbi

(03/07/00 10:00am)

John Sinclair conceived the idea of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show about 30 years ago. Today, though, Sinclair is anything but a "sweet transvestite." Sinclair, who has since become a rabbi and now goes by the name of "Yaakov Asher," discussed his career transformation from producer and actor to rabbi and inspirational speaker before a crowd of about 20 students at Vance Hall on Thursday. Decades ago, while working as an actor in London and Hollywood, Sinclair said he never would have imagined himself as a rabbi. While working on the musical Hair in England, he and a friend came up with the idea of staging a "a science-fiction rock-and-roll musical." He made a deal with his friend that he would produce the stage musical if his friend agreed to write it. The result was the ever popular Rocky Horror Picture Show, which routinely draws devoted fans -- many of whom come dressed as their favorite characters from the film and bring assorted props -- to midnight screenings of the film in select theaters around the country. Before the production of the film in 1975, Sinclair opened up the first 24- track studio in New York, where Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody became the "magic hit." By 1976, with The Rocky Horror Picture Show still bringing in loads of money and four platinum music albums under his belt, Sinclair said he was enjoying an extravagant life. But he was far from content. "Is that all there is? Is this what people go crazy for?" Sinclair rhetorically asked the audience. It was about this time in the mid-1970s that Sinclair read The Shell, a Yiddish novel that relates the story of one man's return to his Jewish roots. The book, Sinclair said, would ultimately inspire him to inspect his own spirituality and return to Judaism. From then on, Sinclair said, he has pursued Judaism passionately, learning more about its religious tenets and practicing the beliefs that he had left behind in his childhood. Choosing God over Hollywood was by then an easy decision for Sinclair, who said he feels more fulfilled now than ever before. "People think that they're going to be happy by having material success, but I'm much happier now," Sinclair said. "I have a real feeling of contentment through the Torah and how the Torah tells us to live." Having experienced life from two radically different perspectives, Sinclair said he now desires to share his experiences with others. After the talk, several audience members said they attended because they had heard Sinclair was a charismatic speaker with an interesting story to tell. "He was inspirational," College freshman Risa Small said. "I really enjoyed how he would act his stories out. He's very talented." "He said things very humbly. He was open-minded and not at all preachy," College freshman Beno Freedman said. "That's not always the case with these things. His story was interesting, even in a non-religious way." The event was organized through the Hillel Outreach committee. College senior Matthew Wieder, who organized the talk, said, "It is of utmost importance that the 7,000 Jews on campus realize that no matter how far removed from Judaism they may be, as was the case with Rabbi Sinclair, it is never too late to learn more about their religion."


M. Ice Hockey Club wins DVCHC title over Temple

(03/07/00 10:00am)

The Penn men's basketball team wasn't the only team on campus winning a league title this past weekend. The Penn men's club hockey team battled back from a 1-0 deficit in the third and deciding game to defeat Temple 2-1 for the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference championship, putting the wraps on a very dramatic best-of-three series. Temple routed Penn 8-2 in the first game of the series, but Penn answered with an 8-3 drubbing the following night to set the stage for the winner-take-all third game at Lehigh. "We came out flat [in game one]," Penn sophomore Whit Matthews said. "The next night Temple didn't play worse, it was just that we came out on fire." In game three, Temple beat Penn goalie Pat Baude to open the scoring a little under seven minutes into the game. That was the only time Sunday afternoon that the Owls would solve Baude, who stopped 42 out of 43 Temple shots. Game three proved to be a goaltending duel as Temple goalie Mike Palermo was just as dominant as Baude. Palermo stopped an unbelievable 65-of-67 shots. With only 3:32 gone in the second period, the Quakers finally knotted the game at 1-1 on an unassisted goal by Matthews. Matthews tapped a face-off draw through the opposing center's legs and then beat Palermo through the five hole to put Penn on the scoreboard. The game remained deadlocked until Penn captain Joe Merrill scored what would prove to be the championship winning goal. Merrill's goal came with 12:20 left in regulation. Penn freshman Jeff Bagnoli, who is also a member of the Penn varsity sprint football team, found Merrill right on the doorstep and Merrill banged in his own rebound to give Penn its first-ever DVCHC Championship.


Law prof named new dean after long search

(03/07/00 10:00am)

After a 15-month search, Professors Michael Fitts became the third internal candidate to be named to a deanship this year. Law Professor Michael Fitts was named the new dean of the Law School yesterday, ending a 15-month search and marking the third time this academic year that the University has selected a candidate from within its own ranks for a top-level position. "Michael Fitts has superb academic judgement and proven leadership and administrative skills," University President Judith Rodin said in a statement. "We are absolutely delighted that he has accepted this new assignment." In February, Rodin appointed Patrick Harker to head the Wharton School, and she named Eduardo Glandt to the Engineering School's top post in November. Fitts succeeds former Law School Dean Colin Diver -- who stepped down in August after a decade of leadership -- and will replace Interim Dean Charles Mooney. In an interview yesterday, Fitts said he expects his new job to be both a challenge and an opportunity, as he prepares to enlarge the faculty and increase the school's endowment. "I like institution building," Fitts said. "I like hiring faculty. I like building programs. I like speaking with alumni." Over the next few years, Fitts said he hopes to hire between seven and eight new professors as well as expand the Law School's interdisciplinary reach, strengthening ties with the University's other professional schools. And, in the process, he said he will be able to improve the school's standing in various academic rankings. Currently the Law School is ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. "We have to take [the rankings] very seriously and I take them seriously," Fitts said. "As we expand the faculty and expand the endowment, it can only help us." The announcement is the culmination of an exhaustive search, that ranks among the longest in the University's history. The search that landed Provost Robert Barchi took 13 months, and 16 months were required to select School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston. "The conclusion was terrific," said Wharton Vice Dean Richard Herring, who chaired the Law School dean search committee. "But if we had gotten the decision at six weeks, we would have been all the happier." A West Philadelphia native, Fitts graduated from Harvard University in 1975, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He later received a law degree in 1979 from the Yale University Law School. While at Yale, he served as editor of the Yale Law Journal. Before coming to Penn in 1985, Fitts worked as an attorney advisor for the Office of Legal Council at the U.S Justice Department and served as a law clerk for former University Trustee Leon Higginbotham, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court. But while Fitts comes with a distinguished legal and academic background, he has never before been a rainmaker. "I have not done a lot of fundraising," Fitts said, unfazed by his inexperience at what has become a priority for most deans these days. "But I have a great product to sell -- an excellent law school with a lot of opportunities." According to Herring, Fitts' genuine enthusiasm gave the committee confidence that he could raise money. But it was his experience as the chairman of the Law School personnel committee at a time "when it did its best hiring in years" that made him stand out from the more than 100 candidates the committee reviewed. Although the nationwide search process dragged on for more than 15 months, Herring said Fitts was identified as a candidate right away. "If you went around the table that first day, [Fitts] was on the list. It was an obvious choice," Herring said. "But Fitts said that he wasn't willing to do it." According to Herring, before Fitts finally agreed to be considered late in the search process, the committee had reviewed a diverse group of candidates -- including practicing lawyers, other law school deans and six internal faculty members. Herring would not reveal the names of any other candidates the committee considered. As they narrowed their selections during the fall, Herring said the committee met more frequently -- conducting almost 80 hours of off-site interviews -- and meetings became more intense. "It was as rambunctious a committee as you will find, but we were all very collegial," Herring said. Herring said the committee submitted its final list of between three and six candidates to Rodin and Barchi in late December. The two then met privately with the individuals on the list before deciding on Fitts in early February. Although he never attended Penn, Fitts' connection to the University runs deep. His father,William Fitts, was the chairman of the Surgery Department in the Medical School. And his grandfather, Joseph Willits, was the dean of the Wharton School.


Candles light the night in memory of Diallo

(03/07/00 10:00am)

About 150 people gathered to remember the West African immigrant, killed by four N.Y. police officers. On College Green last night, the United Minorities Council and the Greenfield Intercultural Center co-sponsored a candlelight vigil in memorial of Amadou Diallo, the West African immigrant who was shot to death in 1998 by New York City police officers who mistook his wallet for a gun. The four officers were acquitted of murder charges two weeks ago, to the dismay of many who saw it as another example of police brutality against African Americans. About 150 people, including students and professors from Penn and several nearby colleges, gathered on College Green. "As playing the role of representative of many people of color on this campus, it's very important that we make an overstatement against the injustice, and we bring it to the awareness of all Penn students," said College junior Archana Jayaram, the political chair of the UMC. Speakers at the event included University Chaplain William Gipson, Director of the Police Advisory Commission in Philadelphia Hector Soto, Political Science Professor Joao Resende-Santos and other audience members who wished to voice their concerns. Many of the speakers stressed the relevance of Diallo's death to their own lives, emphasizing that what happened to Diallo could have happened to anyone else when prejudices prevail. College sophomore Michelle Watson, the editor-in-chief of The Vision, Penn's independent black newspaper, told of how her mother bought tapes from Diallo, who was a New York City street vendor. "I know a man who lived on the same block three doors down," said Know Iself, a sophomore at a local school who addressed the crowd. Several visibly angry audience members discussed the prevalence of racial stereotypes and the detrimental effects they can have -- which, they say, provides a breeding ground for the Diallo case and other similar incidents. "I'm just frustrated. I'm just really upset," said UMC Chairman Jerome Byam, a College junior. "Before I open my mouth, someone has an opinion of me. I work hard, but people don't just look at me that way -- and I'm upset." In the beginning of the vigil, Gipson encouraged the crowd to heed the callings of Diallo's mother -- to "pray and fight" in order to prevent future racial injustices. Discussing the significance of holding such an event in the heart of a college campus, Wharton senior Sammy Sugiura, the chairman of the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, said, "The most important thing is to remember that these incidents do happen in the U.S. -- a lot of these victims don't have a voice to defend themselves. "The vigil is not only a way to bring light to the tragic way he died, but a way to educate everyone not only about his death, but of other hate crimes that occur," he added.


M. Fencng second at IFA meet

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Princeton might have taken the Ivy League title away from the Penn men's fencing team this season, but the Quakers got revenge when they edged the Tigers by one point and took second place at the Intercollegiate Fencing Association championships at Yale over the weekend. While fencing powerhouse St. John's won the men's three-weapon overall competition in addition to finishing first in both the sabre and epee events, Penn was second to the Red Storm in the overall and with the sabre. The Quakers finished fourth with the foil, one spot behind St. John's again. Penn's most impressive win came from junior sabre Mike Golia, who placed first in the individual sabre championship. Golia started out with a less-than-stellar performance on Saturday, a day when the Quakers fenced against 12 schools during a tiring 13-hour day at Yale's Lanman Center. "Going in there, I just wanted to beat a couple of people," Golia said. "I never thought I was going to win this competition because there are some really tough fencers." Golia barely made it to Sunday's individual tournament. To qualify for Sunday, he needed to finish in the top six in the elite sabre A pool -- and he ended up sixth. On Sunday, twelve fencers -- six from the A pool, four from the B pool and two from the C pool -- competed in a round robin. Eight moved on to compete in the final round robin. Once again, Golia was the last seed. But in the final round robin, Golia went 7-0, never allowing his opponents more than three touches. "On Sunday a lot of people came up to me and said, 'I've never seen you fence better,'" Golia said. "I just fenced a great day on Sunday." Golia's most memorable victory on Sunday was over the Red Storm's Ivan Lee, a member of the junior national team who beat Golia on Saturday. "Anyone watching those two guys fence would have no question that fencing was an athletic sport," Penn coach Dave Micahnik said. "It was an extraordinary bout." Golia wasn't the only Quaker who qualified for the individual championships on Sunday. Sophomore sabres Daniel Vincent and Jeff Lee both made it to the second day, but were ousted in the preliminaries of the round robin. Penn junior foilist David Cohen, who won the foil competition last year, also qualified for the individuals. This year, Cohen only finished fourth -- but he did beat Columbia's Jed Dupree, who won the foil event. In the epee, Penn sophomore Jim Benson won seven bouts and just missed making the individual tournament, and sophomore Scott Eriksen went 5-1 before he had to withdraw due to a pulled hip flexor. Eriksen was replaced by Penn freshman Javier Garcia-Albea, who made an impressive IFA debut by winning approximately two-thirds of his bouts. Eriksen wasn't the only injured Red and Blue fencer. Despite fencing with a previously sprained ankle, senior captain David Liu, a foilist, won 10 of his bouts on Saturday and nearly made the cutoff for Sunday. "It was a decent performance," Micahnik said. "With a few more bouts here and there we might have got a higher score, but I don't necessarily think we would have had the balance to beat St. John's." And while Micahnik is happy about placing second overall, he still knows that the Quakers could have done better. "We didn't win everything there, so I'm not satisfied," he said. "That's just the way it is."


M. Track finishes in middle of IC4As pack

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Star triple jumper Tuan Wreh did not compete because of a hamstring injury from Heps. Consider how difficult it is for a team to sweep through the 64-team field in the NCAA basketball tournament. Now consider doing it with just three people in your starting lineup and your leading scorer sidelined with an injury. The Penn men's track team faced similar odds at last weekend's IC4A championships at Harvard when the Quakers sent just 18 men to the tournament, while top programs such as champion Georgetown sent in excess of 30. To make matters more difficult, Penn's star jumper, Tuan Wreh, made the trip to Boston but did not compete due to a nagging hamstring injury, which he initially suffered during his record-setting jump at the Heptagonal Championships the previous week. Georgetown's Nathan Rollins, who won the triple jump event, only outdistanced Wreh's Heps mark by 3 1/2 inches, suggesting that, if healthy, Wreh would have had a terrific shot at scoring some points for Penn. These circumstances rendered the Red and Blue unable to legitimately compete with the region's elite teams as Penn finished in an eight-way tie for 36th place in the enormous 104-team field. Penn athletes did not have visions of IC4A glory heading into the competition, as they acknowledged their lack of depth. "I think the only disappointment was that we didn't send more people there," junior pole vaulter John Church said. "I don't think we really expected to make an impact at ICs." Especially after having participated in Heps the prior weekend, admittedly the most significant meet of the indoor season to most Quakers, Penn came out somewhat flat in Cambridge, Mass. "Most Heps teams don't do very well [at IC4As]," said junior pole vaulter Josh Coleman, who agreed that the team's performance was not that big a disappointment, given the situation. Though the Quakers do not appear overly concerned with their outing, an occasional lack of focus continues to hamper the progress of the team and is causing inconsistency. "I just sort of lost it mentally for the first time this year," said Church, who is confident that such a lapse will not recur in the outdoor season. Even despite a possible lack of intensity, Church, as well as senior vaulter Bob Reynolds, still put forth solid efforts. Reynolds placed sixth with a clearance of 16'1", while Church finished seventh, clearing a height of 15'9". "As a unit, we did pretty well," Church said. Coleman, though, actually ran into some difficulty as he found out just how deep and challenging the IC4A field was. "The opening height was actually my PR, so I didn't do that well," he said, indicating that a career day would have been mandatory to advance. With the exception of Wreh and senior thrower Matt Pagliasotti, who are both still awaiting potential berths in this weekend's national championships, the rest of the Quakers can now turn their attention to something they hold in even higher regard than either indoor Heps or IC4As -- the outdoor season, which commences with the Quaker Invitational on March 25. The Red and Blue feel ready for the new season and will welcome the opportunity to host the majority of its spring meets, including Heps, after traversing much of the East Coast throughout the winter season. Though excited about its prospects, Penn is careful to not be overly optimistic. "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves and start making predictions," Church said.


No problems for Gymnastics against Wilson

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Sarah Bruscia broke her own school record on the uneven bars for the Quakers, who easily topped Wilson. On a day that saw another school record broken and a new personal best set, the Penn gymnastics team's seniors said goodbye to Hutchinson Gymnasium in commanding style. The Quakers' total of 189.125 points dwarfed Wilson's 175.450, and Penn's four seniors ended their careers at Hutchinson in the same fashion they started them -- with unprecedented success. "As freshmen, they came in and helped lead a team that in '95 and '96 had recruiting difficulties," Penn coach Tom Kovic said. "They helped lift the program to the next level." Consistent with season-long performances, Penn's beam team provided the most outstanding routines of the meet. Turning in an outstanding performance on beam, Penn junior Sarah Bruscia broke her own school record of 9.825, established last season, with a meet-high 9.850. "Sarah's performance was simply brilliant," Kovic said. In addition, senior Joci Newman established a personal best score on balance beam with a score of 9.800 in her last regular season meet at home. "I'm glad that it happened here. It's just a good ending. I don't have any regrets with this team," Newman said. Penn captain Lizzie Jacobson contributed two solid routines in her return to the lineup after sitting out all last season with a knee injury. "Lizzie's just heroic comeback on bars and beam was just fantastic. She's worked so hard to get back into the lineup and she demonstrated that today," Kovic said. More significant than the loss of solid gymnastics scores, however, will be the new absence of leadership that the seniors have provided throughout the season. "They are one of the most motivational and spirited classes," Penn sophomore Lauren Hittner said. "We're going to miss their presence a lot." The meet did not go as smoothly as the Quakers had planned, with injuries and illness affecting the lineups. Junior Jenn Capasso is day to day with a hyper-extended knee, and junior Kelly Haberer is still bothered by her sprained foot ligament. "I stuck the landing on bars [at Saturday's meet], and my foot really hurt. I'll be on bars next weekend, but I'm probably done vaulting for the season," Haberer said. Sophomore Sarah Tudryn, crowned Ivy Classic champion on uneven bars in last week's meet, was out with the flu. But, despite the absence of some of the Quakers' most solid gymnasts, the team put together a strong, consistent effort. "With some people out today, the people that stepped into the lineup really stepped up for us," Penn senior Kirby Thorpe said. Up next on the agenda for the Quakers is the Wolfpack Invitational this Saturday, hosted by North Carolina State. "[The meet] is going to prepare us for ECACs. It's in the championship format and we're going to be competing against some of the top teams in the country," Kovic said. "We look forward to meets like this because it's such a high level of competition. Ivy and ECAC rival Yale will also be competing at the meet, providing another chance for the Quakers and Elis to renew their rivalry. "It will be exciting to see Yale again, which will help us for ECACs," Penn senior Becky Nadler said. Saturday's invitational will be the last chance for the senior Quakers to lead their team to another solid performance before ECACs.


Two big-name bands headline Fling concert

(03/07/00 10:00am)

The Roots and Ben Folds Five will share top billing at the annual concert. Melding an unusual combination of harmonious piano rock and rhythmic hip hop, Ben Folds Five and the Roots will share center stage at this year's Spring Fling concert. The Social Planning and Events Committee, which announced the co-headliners last night, said negotiations for a smaller opening band are still in the works. By having the two groups co-headline the event on Friday, April 14, the concert's organizers hope to please a larger range of Penn students than in past years, when only one or two types of music were represented. "Our goal is to get a mix, since music is such a matter of taste," said SPEC concerts co-director Ari Jaffess, an Engineering senior. "I think a lot of people will be excited for these two bands." Tickets will go on sale on Locust Walk starting March 27. Tickets bought in advance will cost $15 for PennCard holders and $23 for the general public. There will be a yet-to-be-announced surcharge on tickets bought the day of the show. The concert will be held on Hill Field, rain or shine. For the last three years, the event has been moved inside to the Palestra because of adverse weather conditions. Ben Folds Five, a unique guitar-free piano trio, was formed in 1993 by pianist and singer Ben Folds. The group made a mainstream name for themselves with their hit single "Brick" in 1997. Their 1997 album, Whatever and Ever Amen, went platinum. Since then, they have also released another album, titled The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, which did rather poor commercially. The Roots, a Philadelphia-based rap and R&B; group, was formed in 1987. With no turntables or disc jockeys, the group is known for its use of live instrumentation at concerts and has in recent years exploded from the underground club scene to achieve critical success and widespread popularity. Drummer ?uestlove and rapper Black Thought -- who met while enrolled in Philadelphia's School for the Creative and Performing Arts -- have been called crafters of "organic hip hop." Their latest release and first live album is The Roots Come Alive. Off that album, the hit single "You Got Me" with singer Erykah Badu earned the group a Grammy in the category for the best duo performance. The Roots' other albums include Organix in 1993, Do You Want More!!??! in 1995 and Illadelph Halflife in 1996. Last year's Spring Fling headliner was the punk-ska band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. They were joined by Run DMC, D-Generation and Clowns for Progress. "These bands are more current than past year's bands," Jaffess said. Bands that have headlined Fling in past years include Violent Femmes, Cypress Hill and A Tribe Called Quest. The theme for this year's Spring Fling is "Fling Me Baby One More Time," inspired by teen-queen singing sensation Britney Spears' hit song.


UA eyes increased minority membership

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Departing from the proceedings of traditional Undergraduate Assembly meetings, the UA on Sunday night held a special program with more than a dozen United Minorities Council members to discuss community service and minority representation in student government. The UA and UMC combined forces in Logan Hall and broke up into small groups -- each with two UMC members and four representatives from the UA -- to tackle how the groups can together address student government representatives and community service initiatives. "The UA does not represent accurately the school. We don't have enough minority representation," UA Chairman Michael Silver, a College senior, told the roughly 40 students assembled for last night's meeting. He added that the small groups should "start talking about how these organizations can pool their resources." After spending nearly an hour brainstorming, discussing and debating different initiatives the UA and UMC could put forth, the small groups came back together to pool their ideas. Among the proposed community service projects for the two organizations were culturally infused service initiatives, mentoring the student governments of local high schools and working together for Habitat for Humanity. But the students also spent time addressing how to recruit minority students to run for the UA and, once those students decide to run, how to help get them elected. The small groups suggested that the UA educate UMC constituent groups about different candidates that directly pertain to their interests, hold more UA and UMC joint meetings and co-sponsor more events. "Even when minorities run, they don't get elected. We don't know why that is," Wharton and Engineering sophomore and UA member Michael Krouse said last night to his small group. He added that the election of the next UA this spring may generate more voters -- including minority students -- because students will be able to access ballots electronically through Penn InTouch. UMC members echoed the need for undergraduates, minority or not, to understand the impact of the UA on student life. "We have to extend the idea that this is something that will affect you," College junior and UMC member Kevin Chan said last night. After the special session with the UMC, the UA returned to its traditional agenda. The group passed a $1,500 budget request for Change for Change, a project that will provide students with small plastic cups to collect spare change and, at the end of the year, pool it with other members of their college house, fraternity or sorority. The change collected will be donated to Upward Bound, a program to help Philadelphia high school students gain admission to four-year colleges and universities. The UA also passed a resolution supporting a new funding plan for Student Health Services that will prevent students insured by Penn Student Health Insurance from having to pay a Clinical Fee twice, as the current plan mandates.


New fire precautions planned for dorms

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Over eight years, Penn will spend $23 million to updae safety systems. Acting in the wake of a disastrous Seton Hall University dormitory fire that killed three students there, Penn's Department of Fire and Occupational Safety recently announced a $23 million plan to install updated fire safety equipment in all on-campus residences. The plan calls for state-of-the-art alarm, sprinkler and detector systems to be installed in residential buildings over an eight-year period and for new public address systems to be integrated into the University's three high-rise college houses. Director of Fire and Occupational Safety Harry Cusick said that while the University's residential buildings currently meet code, changing standards and concerns following Seton Hall's fire have made such improvements a necessity. "With the code, we are where we need to be," Cusick said. "We're always trying to figure out the ways where it's possible to step up our preventative procedures." All of the University's 12 college houses currently feature smoke detectors in all rooms and sprinklers in basements and laundry rooms, Cusick said, though the goal is to bring the buildings beyond the city's minimum fire safety requirements. "We're in compliance and we're also upgrading everything as the [college house] renovations go on," Cusick said. "What we're doing in the high rises and elsewhere is even going beyond compliance." He added that the new high-rise public address system and additional fire safety staff is going to help ease the crucial flow of information to students in the event of a fire alarm. "It was our thought that by having direct communication on every floor, we could get more on-site contact with students," Cusick said. "Having a few additional people on our staff is also going to help out." Dormitory fire safety has been an issue of great discussion ever since a fire struck Seton Hall's Boland Hall in January, killing three students and sending 55 to the hospital. Since then, fire and police officials -- as well as a federal grand jury -- have been working to isolate the factors that contributed to the fire. Three suspicious sofa fires in a third-floor lounge are currently being blamed for the disaster. But Penn officials reviewing the case have expressed concerns regarding the contribution of two particular factors: alcohol and prior false alarms. "One of the things that we saw at Seton Hall -- and it's stunning, particularly as far as colleges go -- is that alcohol was definitely involved," Cusick said. "Alcohol is the catalyst in about 50 percent of fires in the general population, while at colleges it's more than 90 percent." He added that it is often the victim's intake of alcohol -- as well as that of an intentional or accidental arsonist -- that contributes to fires and injuries. False alarms provide further challenges to fire safety, Cusick said, as they dampen residents' recognition of the seriousness of alarms. In 1999, only 48 of 335 fire alarms in campus buildings were real fires. To combat these challenges, University Police have pledged vigorous investigation of all false alarm incidents. "People become very complacent when it comes to alarms, so our goal is to decrease the perception that when someone hears bells, it's some kind of a false alarm," University Police Chief Maureen Rush said. "We're also really adamant about prosecuting anyone who has pulled a false alarm or discharged a fire extinguisher." Rush, whose department works directly with Cusick's division of Fire and Occupational Safety, added that the Seton Hall fire may have been a valuable warning sign for the rest of the higher education community. "It takes a tragedy sometimes," Rush said. "Seton Hall, tragic as it was, will probably end up saving lives across the country."


Six bands entertain hundreds

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Each of the local bands invited to participate in Friday night's "Attack of the Cover Bands" at the former Christian Association building write and perform their own songs. But this weekend, the six indie rock groups decided to pay homage to their own favorite bands -- including the Rolling Stones and The Smiths, among others -- by performing their tunes in front of an energetic audience of about 300 area college students and other music fans from the region. Co-sponsored by the Social Planning and Events Committee and the Foundation, the concert brought to campus bands like The Persons, Atom and His Package, Asteroid #4, Clock Strikes Thirteen, Lilys and Strapping Fieldhands to perform covers of bands of their choice as well as original selections of their own. With characteristic aplomb and enthusiasm, the bands rocked the auditorium for four hours. "It is a really good idea how the bands are covering one band they like. I've seen it done at other places before, but I'd never seen it done in this area," said Dany Sloan, a student at nearby Westchester College. "It is a good way to attract people and for them to see a different side of the bands they like." Audience members -- most of whom stood throughout the entire show -- ranged from silent admirers of the music who swayed contemplatively to the drum beats and the electric guitar strokes while banging heads and tapping the floor to those who danced more actively. Other audience members seemed particularly pleased that some of their favorite bands were present at the show. "Atom is the greatest guy in the world, so it makes the whole show worth it," Wharton freshman Mike Berlin said of Atom and His Package, who covered The Mountain Goats. Many of the band members seemed to enjoy their participation in the event as well. "It was very fun," said Benjamin Xavier Kim, the lead singer of both The Persons and Clock Strikes Thirteen. "I saw people dancing at the end." And others, in turn, commented on the state of support for local artists. "I think it's really important that people take a stand on their community activities, what kind of things you want to see your community do," said Kurt Heasley of Strapping Fieldhands. "Do you want just classical music as a cultural event? Or do you want to explore local talent?" The concert benefited from more sophisticated equipment and from the support of sound and light engineers who provided much of the ambience of the event. "Each musical group had a very distinct style and sound which was both exciting and challenging," said 1999 Engineering graduate Harris Romanoff, who works as a light engineer. "I had only worked with Clock Strikes Thirteen before, so almost all of the lighting effects had to be done on the spot." The concert was produced by College junior Jared Goldman and College sophomore Nick McDermott-- both SPEC liaisons -- with the support of College senior Andrew Zitcer, who is also the director of the Foundation. The Foundation works to bring together the arts and culture of the West Philadelphia and Penn communities in a meaningful partnership. "The Foundation was the perfect organization to host the event," Goldman said. "Its support has been invaluable for us tonight.


Penn pre-meds receive career advice

(03/07/00 10:00am)

Medical school-bound undergraduates might be pleased to know that it is more than their grade point averages and Medical College Admission Test scores that count in the often cutthroat pre-med environment. Last night, in a small lecture room of Stiteler Hall packed with about 130 Penn pre-med students, four deans of admissions from elite medical schools shared their views on the ins and outs of the application process and offered advice on pursuing a career as a physician after medical school. The topics discussed ranged from what medical schools are looking for to the quality of life at schools in general to working as a physician in the 21st century. Most of the students present were freshmen, sophomores and juniors, with only a few seniors interspersed in between. Those who came said they wanted to get a better idea of what qualities medical schools require of their applicants. "This [panel] allows you to have contact with people you normally wouldn't be able to during the admission process: the deans of admission," College sophomore Meredith Chiaccio said. The panelists stressed that high scores and grades are not the only important criteria for medical schools. Besides strong academic credentials, quality of character and individual special characteristics rank high on the lists of medical schools, the panelists said. "You need to have meaningful, dedicated involvement in something important to you," said Charles Bardes, an admissions officer at Cornell University's Weill Medical College. He stressed the importance of having different life experiences and possessing special talents and activities. A doctor, Bardes said, needs a balance of biomedical knowledge and healing ability. George Heinrich, the assistant dean for admissions at the New Jersey Medical School, then discussed the gap between the pre-med experience and life as a physician. He stressed that good doctors understand themselves and can interact successfully with those around them. And Gaye Sheffler, the director of admissions and financial aid at Penn's School of Medicine, did her best to soothe students' nerves about the interviewing part of the application. "You need to think about what things about you are special and unique and will contribute to the medical profession," she told the students. Students then asked questions on issues including whether they can take time off between college and medical school, taking the MCAT and required courses and receiving financial aid. College junior Ayca Gucalp said she felt the panel "reaffirmed [her] general idea of the process." "It was well organized and informative, but they didn't get into the details of the process," Gucalp said. "It was a more general idea."


Search for campus video store continues

(03/06/00 10:00am)

In wake of TLA Video's decision not to open a branch at Penn, University officials and student leaders have already started the search for another video retailer. Members of the Undergraduate Assembly and Penn officials agreed last week they would try to lure a chain video rental store to campus after having difficulty locating another independent store. Tom Lussenhop, the University's top real estate official, said he has begun negotiating with several large national chains, including Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. He added that the University will hopefully have a new video store by the fall, calling that target "optimistic." "Right now, students still crave movies," said UA Chairman Michael Silver, who met with the University to present the group's recommendations for a new campus video operation. "TLA would have been awesome, but it's not happening," Silver said last week. "The only choice we have is a chain." The Philadelphia-based TLA had been in talks with the University since September, when both parties showed an interest in filling the vacant store adjacent to the Eat at Joe's diner on the 3900 block of Walnut Street. But following a boom in the eclectic distributor's online sales and speculation of old-fashioned video rental becoming obsolete, they opted not to come to Penn. Students have repeatedly asked for more video options on campus -- a request the UA hopes to fulfill through its work with the University. "In the area of campus retail and social options, this is the priority for the UA," said Silver, a College senior. Lussenhop, who solicited the UA's input, said "this will be a good opportunity for the UA leadership to get more involved. They're part of the process." He added that UA members will meet with representatives from each of the chains during negotiations. UA video store recommendations include support from a 1998 student survey and criticism of the current video rental option -- Video Library on the 40th block of Locust Street. According to a UA statement, the 1998 UA 40th Street Developmental Survey showed that 53 percent of 470 students polled expressed interest in a late-night video store, while anecdotal evidence -- especially freshmen input -- also supports another store. In its recommendations, the UA complained that the Video Library -- which closes at 10 p.m. on weeknights and Saturdays -- lacks accessibility and selection. "Video Library doesn't cut it," said Silver. Bringing a late-night video store to campus was a recommendation made last spring by Provost Robert Barchi's Working Group on Alcohol Abuse as a way to provide more non-alcoholic activities on campus. Silver said he told Lussenhop that students would welcome a national video chain to campus, despite student complaints that the campus is starting to resemble a mall. UA member Molly Siems, a College freshman, participated in last week's meeting, as representative of the first-year perspective. "It'd be a good idea to have one of the bigger names in a more visible space [for freshmen]," Siems said. The University will first show retailers the empty space next to Eat at Joe's, followed by other locations along 40th and Walnut streets, according to Lussenhop.


UA envisions student input

(03/06/00 10:00am)

Starting today, the Undergraduate Assembly is offering students the chance to tell University President Rodin exactly what they think of Penn. During this week and the week after spring break, the UA is sponsoring an online survey called UA Visions, intended to let administrators -- as well as the UA -- know what students are looking to take away from their Penn experience. "This will give us a good idea of what individual students want," said UA member Josh Klein, who is in charge of the Visions project. The survey will include questions in five categories --academics, social life, ethnic diversity, relations between Penn and West Philadelphia and expectations versus experience. Respondents will rate each aspect of campus life on a scale of one to 10, and they will also have the option to write in their own personal responses to the detailed questions. Students will be able to access the survey beginning today and lasting through the week after spring break. The survey Internet link will be e-mailed to class listservs and the UA will advertise it on campus and in The Daily Pennsylvanian. To encourage students to fill out the surveys, the UA will award gift certificates to local restaurants and online retailers to randomly selected students who participate. Klein said the UA will spend about $250 on several online certificates and they are also seeking out restaurants to donate gifts. The UA will take about a week to tabulate the results and will then compile the results of the survey into a book, which will be presented to Rodin, Provost Robert Barchi, Executive Vice President John Fry and the undergraduate deans. "[Rodin's] enthusiastic herself for the survey," Undergraduate Assembly Chairman Michael Silver said. The College senior said the UA would develop a summary of their major findings and they "definitely want to draw specific policy ideas" to give to Rodin. Visions is not the first online questionnaire sponsored by the UA -- the assembly conducted a survey on alcohol use earlier this year, to which about 2,400 students responded. According to Klein, a College sophomore, the UA is taking action to ensure that even more will fill out the Visions survey. Another initiative geared toward learning students' opinions was launched last week by the Penn National Commission. The newly created PennTalks will facilitate discussion between students on issues at Penn, offering the information to Rodin. But Silver said the two efforts will not conflict. "I don't see it as an adversarial thing at all," he said.


FDA rips into Penn gene study

(03/06/00 10:00am)

The FDA refused to lift the band on gene therapy studies at Penn's Institute for Human Gene Therapy. In a scathing letter to Penn's Institute for Human Gene Therapy on Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the Institute's defense of its handling of the clinical study that cost an 18-year-old man his life and refused to lift the ban on gene therapy at the University. In the 20-page warning letter addressed to IHGT Director James M. Wilson, who led the study, federal regulators charged the researcher with having "failed to fulfill the obligations as the sponsor" of gene therapy studies, and accused him of violating federal human research regulations. "We are disappointed that the FDA appears to discount a number of the responses to those charges filed by the IHGT," University officials said in a written statement issued Friday. The warning comes six weeks after the FDA charged the Institute with 18 possible violations of federal research protocol breaches and placed a ban on all gene therapy at Penn. IHGT officials responded to the allegations last month and an external committee of scientists is expected to release its findings by mid-April. Federal regulators refuted nearly all of the responses offered by the Institute concerning the gene therapy trial in which Jesse Gelsinger, who died last September, was enrolled.Wilson and his researchers later determined that Gelsinger died of multiple organ failure induced by the gene therapy. The Institute -- which until recently had been considered one of the top gene therapy research centers in the world -- now has 15 business days to inform the FDA about any corrective steps that will be taken and submit any data and documentation for which the letter calls. But a source close to the investigation said that the University will now only submit the documents asked for in the letter; it will not seek to dispute every point with the FDA. "We will not reiterate our position on all of those points that state that we don't agree with [the FDA]," the source said, adding that the University will now await the FDA's final decision on gene therapy at the University, whether it be a lifting of the six-week-old ban or a continued or permanent suspension. University spokesman Ken Wildes said Penn officials could not speculate about the FDA's next move. FDA spokesman Larry Bachorik said the warning letter represents a major attack on Wilson's credibility as a gene therapy researcher. "Warning letters are issued only for serious violations," he explained. He added that the fact that the FDA issued Wilson such a letter "suggests that we had serious concerns" about Wilson's ability to conduct gene therapy research. "I think it's fair to say that the FDA disagreed with many of the responses," Bachorik said. "We take these violations very seriously, and we will closely monitor the response." While the letter is directed specifically to Wilson in his capacity as head of the Institute, the source said he expects Wilson and the two other principal researchers of the trial -- Steven Raper and Mark Batshaw -- to receive similar letters by Wednesday, which would "take them to task as investigators." Neither Wilson, nor Medical School Senior Vice Dean Richard Tannen, who has spoken for IHGT in the past, were available for comment, according to Wildes. Lee Silver, a professor of Molecular Biology and public affairs at Princeton University, said it's unlikely that this marks the end of gene therapy at Penn. "I think mediation will take place and all the deficits in the protocols will be corrected, and it will come back," he said. In the letter, the FDA maintained its position that patients were not properly informed about the dangers posed by the gene therapy trial. The letter stated that patients were unaware of prior adverse events in the trial, and cited numerous cases of poor documentation. Another issue that the FDA raised in the letter was that the IHGT failed to notify regulators of the deaths of two laboratory monkeys and the liver toxicity of a third until one year after the trial was completed. IHGT officials had maintained that the two monkeys were enrolled in studies unrelated to the Gelsinger case, and that the third -- though on a study very similar to the OTC study -- received a dosage of genes far greater than what OTC patients received. But regulators insisted that researchers "had an affirmative obligation" to notify the FDA about the monkey results. The FDA also reasserted its claim that many patients -- Gelsinger included -- were ineligible to participate because of high blood ammonia levels. In its response to the FDA, Wilson's researchers explained that though Gelsinger's ammonia level was high prior to infusion, previous readings were within protocol limits. But the FDA letter insisted that IHGT researchers should have waited to see if Gelsinger's ammonia levels would have decreased before proceeding.


Wrestling falls short at EIWAs

(03/06/00 10:00am)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- It was a two-horse race all year, and in the final stretch the Lehigh wrestling team proved it had a better kick than Penn. In the EIWA Championships this past weekend at Navy, the Engineers' team balance spurred them on to 157 team points and a first-place finish, bringing the Quakers' four-year run of EIWA titles to a screeching halt. Penn got individual titles from its three captains -- Brett Matter (157 pounds), Rick Springman (174) and heavyweight Bandele Adeniyi-Bada -- but in the end, four individual titles and a plethora of bonus points from its other wrestlers made the difference for Lehigh. Penn and Lehigh both placed five wrestlers in the finals, but the Engineers already had a solid hold on the team race by that point. Once Lehigh 125-pounder Bruce Kelly took the first championship bout, the decision was almost automatic. "I think up through the quarterfinals, we were wrestling well. It looked to me like we tightened up in the semifinals," Penn coach Roger Reina said. "Even some of the matches we won, we didn't win in the style and the manner that we trained for." At 133, Penn's Jason Nagle faced Brown's Livio DiRubbo in a rematch of last year's final, which Nagle won in a 10-6 upset. Top-seeded DiRubbo -- who had a 7-1 victory earlier in the year against the No. 2 seed Nagle --jumped out to a commanding 7-1 lead early in the first period with a takedown and three back points. Nagle fought back hard in the remaining periods, bringing the score back to 8-5 at the end of two. In the final period, Nagle managed two takedowns, but DiRubbo sealed the 13-9 victory with a late takedown of his own. At 141 pounds, freshman Jody Giuricich earned a trip to the NCAAs as a wildcard with a third-place finish. In the third-place bout, third-seeded Giuricich bested No. 4 seed Mark Conley of Navy. After a scoreless first period, Conley used a takedown to go up 2-0 in the second period. Giuricich escaped and got in a takedown right at the end of the period to go up 3-2. Giuricich rode out the entire third period to hold onto the victory. The final at 149 featured the tournament's only Penn-Lehigh final, with Lehigh's national No. 6 Dave Esposito facing Penn's Jon Gough. Esposito notched his second major decision victory over Gough this year with a 16-6 win. Matter was the shining star for Penn. With his title at 157 pounds, Matter became the EIWA's first four-time champion in 17 years. Matter also picked up the Fletcher Award, which is awarded to the wrestler with the most career points at the EIWA tournament. Penn's all-time winning wrestler picked up the Outstanding Wrestler award to boot. Matter cruised to a 6-1 victory in the finals over Cornell's Leo Urbanelli to etch his name into the EIWA history books. Of course, EIWA success is nothing new for the Matter family. Brett's title is the ninth for the Matters -- father Andy won three as a wrestler for Penn State, and brother Clint picked up two for the Quakers. "It's kind of a good monkey off my back," said Matter, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation. "The more I warmed up for each match, the more I started thinking about it. Every match I wrestled today they were mentioning, the first [four-time champion] since blah blah blah. I didn't think it was that big a deal." Penn's other national No. 2, Springman, tore through a very deep 174-pound weight class en route to his first EIWA title. He recorded a pin in his finals match against national No. 6 Ed Mosley of Harvard -- the second time Springman pinned Mosley this year. For his efforts, Springman picked up the Sheridan Award for the most falls in the least amount of time. Mike Fickell earned a trip to St. Louis with a third-place finish. Seeded No. 2 at the EIWAs and ranked No. 14 in the country, Fickell held off a scare from fourth seed Matt Greenberg of Columbia to win the third-place bout. In the strong heavyweight class, Adeniyi-Bada closed out the tournament with a 3-2 win over Harvard's Dawid Rechul. Adeniyi-Bada hit a double-leg takedown in the second period to go up 3-0 on a very passive Rechul. After taking an injury timeout in the third period, though, Rechul came out with a sudden burst of energy and initiated more contact. He was unable to manage a takedown, however, and Adeniyi-Bada emerged the champion.


Owens dominates paint to help M. Hoops to title

(03/06/00 10:00am)

Penn center Geoff Owens turned 22 on Wednesday. This weekend, Owens celebrated his birthday in style at the Palestra, helping the Quakers to stand tall over the rest of the Ivy League competition for their second consecutive Ancient Eight title. Owens has been through it all over the past four years at Penn, from the toils of a 12-14 season to the agony and uncertainty of sitting out a year with a medical condition to the elation of back-to-back Ivy League championships. And this weekend, Owens, like the team, was at his best. The man in the middle had a career night on Friday as the Quakers clinched a tie for the league title against Brown, then brought the house down again on Saturday as Penn wrapped up the title by beating Yale. The school's all-time leading shot blocker bolted from the gate against the Bears, swatting the first of his six shots just 18 seconds into the action. He finished the night with 50 blocks on the season, making him the first man in Penn history to amass 50 rejections in two different seasons. Owens is also the only Red and Blue player ever to record 40 or more blocks in three seasons. By the time Friday night ended, Owens exploited the undersized Brown frontcourt -- specifically 6'6" center Alaivaa Nuualiitia -- for a career-high 22 points, along with 11 rebounds, all in a scant 27 minutes as Penn demolished the Bears by 23 points. "We're very undermanned in the frontcourt," Brown coach Glenn Miller said. "It seems like the opposition's frontcourt players always have their best games against us. We're playing a 6'6" five man. We just don't have the personnel or the physical presence to cover low." Miller's estimation is fair enough, and Owens freely noted himself that his offensive explosion was facilitated by Brown's lack of frontcourt size. But championship teams take advantage of the weaknesses of their opponents, which is just what Owens did with his explosive night at the Palestra on Friday. The Bears' lack of size in the paint has not stopped Nuualiitia from averaging an impressive 14.2 points per game and earning honors as Ivy League Rookie of the Week five times this season. Friday night, though, Nuualiitia scored five points, shooting a ghastly 2-for-9 from the floor. "It's kind of my job to help my teammates out," Owens said. "It's my job to deflect a shot or make a guy miss. It's a personal challenge every time a guy comes down the lane or shoots, I want to bother his shot, make him miss." Owens did just that on Friday night -- his six blocked shots were the only ones registered by anyone in the game. And in the face of Ugonna Onyekwe's four fouls, Owens was particularly careful to not force himself out of the game as well. Owens did not pick up any fouls until four minutes into the second half. "Geoff Owens and Ugonna are back there changing shots and blocking shots," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "Ugonna had a tough night being in foul trouble? but we had a guy back there who could get the job done." Although Penn's big man did not put on the scoring exhibition against Yale -- tallying 10 points in 35 minutes -- that he did the night before, Owens was dominant in the paint, hauling in seven boards and blocking one shot. Without center Neil Yanke, Yale's starting frontcourt trio of John Kirkowski, Ted Smith and Bill Parkhurst combined to play 90 minutes. Together, they shot 5-for-15 from the floor, scoring just 13 of the Elis' 52 points. The three also combined to pull down a meager 13 rebounds. And when Owens did score on Saturday night, he really made his presence felt. Eight of his 10 points came in the second half, four of which were on dunks that whipped up the Palestra crowd into a frenzy. With 9:58 remaining in the game, Owens' first dunk brought Penn's lead back up to 10 points for the first time in over eight-and-a-half minutes. He rose over the fray underneath the goal to put home a David Klatsky miss and get Penn back on its way home to the title. When Yale drew to within seven points with 4:30 to play, it was again Owens who answered, taking a Matt Langel pass and clearing the lane for the dunk that started chants of "Ivy Champs" in the Palestra. Owens went above the rim once more on Saturday night -- with a pair of scissors to take down the net.


Professors voice concerns over online note firm

(03/06/00 10:00am)

Standing in front of the almost-full College Hall room 200 last Thursday, History Professor Bruce Kuklick addressed his class about what he called a great "moral problem" -- Versity.com. A commercial Web site that pays students $8 to $12 per lecture to post their notes online, Versity.com features notes from college courses across the country, including Kuklick's American History class. And when he found out about the Web site last week, an irate Kuklick vowed to address the issue with his class the next day. "I'm officially telling you that you shouldn't be [posting my lectures online]," Kuklick warned his students, saying the site seems to violate professors' intellectual property. Kuklick isn't alone in his concern. Last month, Yale University demanded that Versity.com remove the lecture notes of its professors from its Web site, citing as reasons possible copyright law violations and university rules prohibiting students from participating in commercial enterprises. "This was clearly, in our opinion, something that at the level of Versity.com was violating the law and at the level of the undergraduates was violating our regulations," Yale spokesman Lawrence Haas said. Although Penn currently does not have a policy regarding distribution of course notes online, a committee of administrators already investigating intellectual property rights on the Internet has begun the process of addressing the issue. "We do believe that the commercial use of such notes may violate intellectual property policies and we're investigating," said Deputy Provost and English Professor Peter Conn, who chairs the committee. More than 10 percent of Penn undergraduates are registered users on the Web site, according to Versity. com, which has online notes for 52 Penn classes this semester. "We believe that posting faculty lecture notes without their consent -- and even without their knowledge -- violates canons of collegiality," Conn said. Versity.com officials, however, deny breaking any laws. According to Versity.com spokeswoman Janet Cardinell, the Web site only took down Yale's lecture notes, "in order to have discussions with them." "We've reviewed the copyright laws and the copyright does not extend to coverage for basic historic fact, or scientific fact or information in the public domain," Cardinell said. Many Penn professors had no prior knowledge that their lecture notes were available online. The reactions of professors who found out about the site ranged from mild surprise to outright anger at Versity.com for not seeking their permission before posting notes from their courses. Psychology Professor David Williams, the chair of the undergraduate division of the department, saw posting of notes from his lecture on Versity's Web site as "neither good nor bad." "It's an inevitable consequence of the availability of the Web," Williams said. But Legal Studies Professor Phil Nichols, like Kuklick, was not happy. "I'll announce it in class," Nichols said. "If I find out anyone's feeding notes to Versity, I'll fail them." Many students said they see few problems with having class notes posted on the Internet. One student who sells her notes to Versity.com said she sees no moral or legal issues conflicting with her job. "As long as it's not plagiarism, as long as it's your own interpretation of the lecture, it's fine," she said. Statistics Professor Abraham Wyner, who was aware his lecture notes were accessible on Versity.com, saw no major legal or ethical difficulties. "I'm perfectly willing to participate in such an endeavor," Wyner said. But he, like many other professors, was disappointed by the quality of the notes. "What they put on the site looks like it took about five minutes to do," Wyner said. According to Cardinell, other colleges -- but not Penn -- have contacted Versity.com about the online lecture notes. But Yale is the first school to request an all-out ban of lecture notes on the site. "We saw [Yale's request] as a chance to raise the debate," Cardinell said. "A lot of what's going on is misinformation and lack of information of what the product really is and how students are using it."


Role of modern Jewish female discussed

(03/06/00 10:00am)

Some say women belong only in the kitchen. Others say women should pursue careers and leave the housekeeping to someone else. Somewhere in between these two extremes lies the advice shared by Bronya Shaffer to a crowd of more than 25 Penn students and community members at the Lubavitch House on Friday night. Shaffer, speaking on the role of the Jewish woman in the modern world, explained the middle ground in the conflict between the woman's place in the workplace and in the domestic realm. "It is never a conflict of ideals, it is just a conflict of time and energy," Shaffer said. Her suggestion to Jewish women and girls of all ages was to perform "simple acts -- like lighting the Sabbath candles." She also reminded college students that following traditions can enable a young woman to make wherever she lives into a home. Although Shaffer is herself an observant Hasidic Jew from the ultra-observant neighborhood of Crown Heights, N.Y., she stressed that her message is not meant only for religious Jews. Lighting the candles, Shaffer said, is "about creating an awareness and influencing the people around you. It's for all women." Shaffer also pointed out that even though women may have been limited to certain fields 50 years ago, they have since been more liberated. "Today there is no area that women aren't involved in. Society is changing, and that means traditions are changing," she said. Audience members were largely receptive to Shaffer's message. "Realizing that wherever I am is my home, and that I can light the candles even in my room here at Penn, is really comforting," College sophomore Ilene Kalter said. College sophomore Lisa Pitlor also felt that Shaffer's advice was relevant to her life. "I want to be able to raise my kids and have a career," Pitlor said. "I'm not that religious, but I plan to raise my kids in a Jewish home. These kinds of ideas make sense to me." Shaffer chose to concentrate on the idea of lighting the Sabbath candles in honor of the third birthday of Sterna Levin, the daughter of Rabbi Ephraim and Flora Levin, who run the Lubavitch House at Penn. In Lubavitch tradition, the third birthday is the first time a girl lights the Sabbath candles on Friday night. "At this age, a child starts to understand what they're doing," Levin explained. "They have ownership over their own actions." Levin had invited Shaffer and her family to join his family for the weekend in order to help celebrate this occasion. Shaffer, who travels occasionally to lecture around the country, focuses much of her studies on communication and relationships. Communication, she said, is important to the discussion of the modern Jewish woman. "There are serious misconceptions about traditional Judaism's view of women," Shaffer said. "There must be recognition that what I'm saying doesn't exclude anyone."


No luck for the Irish: M. Lax upsets Notre Dame in opener

(03/06/00 10:00am)

The young but determined Penn men's lacrosse team came from behind to beat No. 12 Notre Dame 10-7 in the Quakers' first game of the season at Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon. Penn was slow at the start, spotting the Fighting Irish a 2-0 lead, but co-captain Pete Janney led the Quakers back, scoring twice in the last 1:09 of the first quarter. From there, Penn never looked back, scoring seven of the next nine goals -- including another two by Janney. "We just let Pete do his thing, and he just carried us all the way through," Penn junior Todd Minerley said. "He's our leader out there, and he set the tone for us and everybody just followed." While Penn's attack was impressive, an inexperienced defense and goalie were also strong from start to finish. Sophomore goalie John Carroll -- starting in his first game ever -- had 18 saves, including eight in the first quarter when the Irish could have put the game out of reach. "Carroll bailed us out early in the game when they were getting a lot of opportunities," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. Penn's defensive corps was also dominant. Sophomore Scott Marimow had the unenviable task of guarding David Ulrich, Notre Dame's best player. While Ulrich still managed a hat trick, Marimow's staunch defense prevented the Notre Dame junior from doing more damage. "Scott Marimow was our X-factor, containing their best player," Minerley said. "He kept him under control and didn't let him get feeds." At 2-0, Penn looked like it was on the verge of collapse, but the team did not panic. Janney took the game into his own hands, tying the score as the first quarter expired. "We were a little nervous early," Van Arsdale said. "We wanted to be in the game for 60 minutes, but at the end of the first quarter I told the team that they had already given back 15. We knew we had to play harder." And play harder they did. Janney netted the first goal of the second quarter with just over 11 minutes to go. About two minutes later, midfielder Billy Reidy scored for the Quakers to make it 4-2. Penn sophomore Scott Solow added one as he took the ball and flung it right past the Irish goalie to increase the Quakers' lead to three. With the score 5-3, Minerley tallied the prettiest goal of the game. With 6:30 left in the half, Minerley took the ball from behind the goal, swung around to the front, switched hands and flicked the ball past Irish goalie Kirk Howell as he fell to the Franklin Field turf. The Red and Blue ended the half 7-4, outscoring Notre Dame 5-2 in the second quarter. Ulrich made the game close in the third quarter, scoring twice in the last 40 seconds of play. The Quakers, however, would not be denied this victory. Penn junior Kevin Cadin scored from the top of the crease on a pass from Alex Kopicki, and five minutes later, Minerley added his second score of the day. When the final whistle sounded, the Quakers had knocked off the No. 12 team in the country thanks to strong play on all sides of the ball. "I think our inexperience was overcome by some energy and enthusiasm," Van Arsdale said. "Our experienced guys are really giving us some good leadership. There's not a lot of them, but guys like Janney and Reidy are really stepping up and getting everybody focused in the right direction."