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Engineering gets $2.2 mil for financial aid

(05/17/91 9:00am)

The Engineering School will receive at least $2.2 million to provide scholarships and fellowships to mechanical and electrical engineering students, University officials announced this week. The University will receive the gift from the estate of Louise Ganster, whose husband attended the University. The amount will become part of the University's endowment and will generate scholarships annually. Ganster specified in her will that the money be used for electrical and mechanical engineering students. The executor of Ganster's estate has said the amount may increase to $2.4 million. Currently, the Engineering School has not decided whether to use the money for undergraduate or graduate financial aid, and may split the amount between undergraduates and graduate students, Assistant Engineering Dean Ted Snowe said Wednesday. The scholarship fund would generate over $100,000 annually, which would provide four of 10 endowed graduate fellowships the school wants to raise during the capital campaign, Snowe said. However, because the University changed its policy to allow donors to give money to undergraduate financial aid for a specific school, the Engineering School may allocate some of the money to undergraduate scholarships. Vice President for Development Rick Nahm also said the gift was important given the University's stressed financial aid program. "It's a nice financial aid grant," Nahm said. "It's very important to us to raise financial aid." The scholarship fund will be named the Joseph Ganster and Julia Ganster Fund.

U.'s state allocation is becoming politicized

(05/17/91 9:00am)

Despite its best efforts, the University will likely have little control over how the state legislature considers and votes on its state funding. Although University officials have kept heavy lobbying pressure on Harrisburg for several months, the legislature's decision on whether to cut the University's appropriation will likely come down to politics, not the University's merits. Several legislators and University officials said this week the University has become a pawn in a political battle over the pressing budget problems the state faces. While the University is pushing for full funding because of its "good citizenship" in the state, it will in all likelihood receive support in exchange for either approval of a tax package or some other partisan proposal. "The problems of other non-preferred higher education institutions will be solved politically," House Minority Leader Matthew Ryan (R-Delaware Co.) said Monday. "I hate to be political, but it is political." Several Democratic leaders maintain that legislators concerned about the University's proposed appropriation must lend support to a comprehensive tax-increase package larger than the one Casey proposed. The state does not have enough money, they say, to give the University more than $19 million without more revenue. Casey proposed, in his February budget announcement, slashing the University's funding while supporting the largest tax-increase package in the state's history. Giving more money to non-state-related colleges and universities will require even higher tax increases, House Education Committee Chairperson Ronald Cowell (D-Allegheny) said Tuesday. "The real friends of higher education are those legislators who will vote for tax increases to pay for the spending," Cowell said Tuesday. But Republican House leader Ryan said that most Republicans oppose the cuts to the University and other non-state-related colleges. It is realistic, he said, to expect the state house to approve a funding level nearly equal to last year's. He added that his party would not support other sections of the budget until the schools' appropriation received a "major" increase. Ryan did not specify what parts of the budget the Republicans would veto if the University's appropriation did not increase. Legislators have maintained the University will be treated the same way as the other non-state-related colleges and universities. Casey proposed funding cuts to all of these schools by between 45 and 60 percent. This status puts the University at the bottom of the barrel for state funding -- irrespective of its longstanding relationship with the state. The University began its fight against Casey's budget proposal -- the largest lobbying effort on the University's behalf in recent history -- days after he made his budget address. Assistant Vice President for Commonwealth Relations James Shada and President Sheldon Hackney said this week their effort is not far along and that a "Plan B" may be necessary, although both say they have received favorable reaction from state leaders. Since February, Shada, Hackney and Senior Vice President Marna Whittington have visited high-ranking party leadership in both the House and Senate. The Medical School, Vet School and Trustees who are Pennsylvania residents have started letter-writing campaigns to statehouse members. Dental School administrators have contacted area legislators to explain how Casey's proposals would affect local residents, while Vet School Dean Edwin Andrews has spoken with several state farm organizations about the importance of the Vet School, the only one in the state. Additionally, the president's office wrote 5300 selected alumni living in Pennsylvania to ask them to contact their state legislators, Shada said. These measures, along with others, have sent a message to legislators that the University is highly important to the state in terms of prestige and economic impact and that its quality would diminish without more money. This message, legislators say, has been difficult to avoid. "I know there's a lot of concern on your campus across the board for institutions of higher education," Cowell said. The University also attempted to send a message to Harrisburg in its budget announcements in March, proposing to cut 300 jobs, halt nearly all construction projects, and decrease the growth of financial aid for the 1992-93 academic year. But political leaders disagree over whether the University's budget held political sway. University Budget Director Stephen Golding said Monday the University has begun implementing Hackney's budget despite hopes the University would receive more money. Schools, resource centers and administrative offices have already decided where they are cutting back for next year, Golding said, and the administration will present to the Board of Trustees a deficit just under the $6.7 million ceiling approved by the Trustees Executive Board. Golding said if the University received more than the proposed $19 million in state funding, the University will hold discussions on what funding cuts will be restored. But restoring the cuts to the Dental, Vet and Medical schools would be among the "first priorities" because doing so would reduce the University's planned deficit. Afterwards, the administrators would discuss restoring cuts to the schools and resource centers, to initiatives such as the Trustees' Professorship Fund and to undergraduate financial aid. Golding emphasized the process is a fluid one and that budgets would be supplemented depending on the amount of money the University regained and when the state approved the University's appropriation. Legislators say they hope to get the budget process completed by June 30, but add that given the dire financial straits the state faces, it could be impossible. Because there is no deadline for the state to appropriate funds to the University, its state appropriation has been approved as late as December in the past.

'Pig Penn' apology to air

(04/25/91 9:00am)

The apology, which UTV Station Manager Kirk Marcolina said is part of the hosts' punishment for producing the show, will air at 9 p.m. While Judicial Inquiry Officer Constance Goodman said yesterday she has seen the taped apology, she did not say whether the taped apology was part of the punishment. President Sheldon Hackney called for an investigation of the 45-minute talk show days after the UTV executive committee fired hosts Richard Rothstein and Vincent Fumo. During the show, Rothstein and Fumo split a bottle of tequila, showed pictures of nude men and women and discussed oral sex in graphic detail. At one point in the show, the hosts called two freshman women, identifying them by their names and face book pictures. JIO Goodman imposed sanctions on the hosts last month after a four-month investigation. However, because of University confidentiality policies, Goodman cannot discuss the students' punishments. Marcolina said the taped apology elaborated on all of the points the hosts made in a written apology printed in The Daily Pennsylvanian. He added Goodman made no changes in the taped apology submitted to her. Earlier this month, Fumo and Rothstein submitted the letter to the DP apologizing for offending people and invading the privacy of the two freshman women. They also said they "underestimated the tolerance of the Penn community" and that their discussion and actions were inappropriate. Their letter contradicted earlier statements saying the show was meant as satire and questioning why putting the women on the air was harassment. After Fumo's and Rothstein's apology airs, UTV will broadcast the changes they have made in station policy after Pig Penn, which include barring alcohol on the set, requiring the production director to watch taping of new shows and giving the program director power to pull live shows from the air. Rothstein confirmed yesterday the apology would air tonight but would not comment further. Fumo changed his phone number to an unpublished one days after the show aired. UTV is available in all Superblock dormitories.

Three grad schools ranked in top 10

(04/24/91 9:00am)

Administrators dismissed the University's mixed showing in an annual survey of graduate programs, saying the rankings themselves have little if any bearing on schools' futures. The annual U.S. News and World Report graduate school survey ranked the University's Wharton School graduate division, Law School and Medical School in the top 10 for the second consecutive year. In the report, Wharton remained the third ranked business school with a slew of top five rankings in each concentration in the graduate program. The Medical School rose four places to a sixth place tie with Washington University in St. Louis, and the Law School fell one place to tenth. The Medical School was also ranked fourth in providing "urban care" in a survey of medical school deans across the country. Medical School Assistant Vice President John Eudef said yesterday the Med School was pleased with the U.S. News ranking, especially in urban care, because it indicated its peers thought highly of the University's medical program. But Eudef added the ranking would translate into few tangible benefits and that the survey was "not something we sit on the edge of the chair waiting for." Law School Dean Colin Diver said he "doesn't hear much" about the rankings and said the system U.S. News uses to rank schools has little continuity. "It's impossible to compare one year to another," Diver said yesterday. "Unfortunately [people] don't know that . . . and I have to say, 'Well, fire me. I obviously failed.' Last year, we increased from 10 to nine; I should have gotten a raise." "I think [the survey] is about as relevant to higher education as Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue is to sports," Diver added. However, Diver credited U.S. News with improving their criteria and said he wished other magazines would conduct law school surveys so "people could pick and choose what ranking they prefer." In a survey of business school professors and administrators, Wharton placed first in finance and real estate and in the top five in accounting, business ethics, international business, management, marketing and executive education. Additionally, chief executive officers of several corporations ranked Wharton's finance, insurance, manufacturing and public utilities programs in the nation's top five. Wharton officials were unavailable for comment. Engineering schools were also ranked in the study, but the University's Engineering School failed to place in this year's survey. Last year, the school did not place in the top 25, but its bioengineering department was ranked in the top five. While administrators criticize the U.S. News survey for radically changing the criteria they use to rank academic programs each year, this year's survey fine tunes the parameters used last year in determining top programs. While weighing information differently for each of the four surveys, U.S. News focused this year on student quality, student-faculty ratios, research volume and reputation in the academic and professional circles.

Schools to 'level' undergrad grading

(04/23/91 9:00am)

The University's four undergraduate schools have decided to "level the playing field" by standardizing plus-minus class grading options for all students taking the same class. Under the new policy to take effect this fall, College students taking courses from Wharton, Engineering or Nursing schools will not receive final grades with plusses or minuses. In the past, College students may have received plusses and minuses while their non-College classmates never did. The faculty of each school determines their school's grading policy. Only the College is able to give plus-minus grades to students taking a College course. "[The current policies are] a terrible mishmash," Associate Engineering Dean John Keenan said. "These decisions will help straighten things out." "We thought it fairer to give grades according to schools," School of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Norman Adler added. The new policy will make grading in the class fair, administrators say, since every student will be on the same grading system. While it is not clear how often Wharton, Engineering and Nursing professors differentiate their grading between College and non-College students, the current policy now can both help and hurt College students. "I've had complaints from students [taking course in Wharton] with a Wharton student sitting next to College student," Wharton Associate Dean Janice Bellace said yesterday. "Both have an A-minus -- for the Wharton student, it's an A, for the College student an A-minus. Many students have complained this is unfair." But Associate Engineering Dean Keenan said yesterday few Engineering students had protested the current grading practice. "There hasn't been a great amount of complaints, but it certainly exists as a potential for being unfair," Keenan said. While the practice of giving College students plus-minus graders in Wharton classes is not widespread, Wharton sophomore Samantha Helman said last night she is glad the system will be more fair in the future. "It's not really a problem, but I just remember one dual-degree student where she got a B-minus rather than a B," Helman said. "She was really upset." Deans first discussed changing the undergraduate grading policy during a Council of Undergraduate Deans meeting in December. At this months Council meeting, the deans agreed that all students would be treated equally in grading courses if all four schools' faculty members or undergraduate affairs committees agreed on the change. During final grading period, professors receive different grade forms for each students. Currently, forms for non-College students in non-College classes mark out the places for plusses and minuses, while forms for College students in non-College classes do not.

Work-study funds cut for this summer

(04/19/91 9:00am)

The University will not give students federal work-study grants for this summer because it does not have enough money to pay them, administrators said yesterday. The cancelation of the program, which provided government-subsidized jobs to nearly 600 students last summer, will make finding summer work even more difficult for qualified students in a year when companies are hiring fewer summer employees. The University does not have enough money to pay for the program because it spent all of its federal work-study money during this academic year, Student Financial Services Director William Schilling said yesterday. The College Work-Study program, which underwrites almost all work-study jobs at the University, gives money to the University to cover wages a student earns at a designated work-study job. The program aims to meet students' financial needs during the academic year. Students receive work-study grants as part of the aid package the University gives them. Financial need is determined when students turn in tax forms and the federal Financial Aid Form. Colleges and universities are able to offer summer federal work-study grants when they have money left over from the academic year. Usually, some students choose to pass up their work-study jobs in favor of Perkins loans -- which are federally guaranteed loans -- leaving work-study money available for the summer. But the University's Perkins Loan allotment was "spread around" to meet students' original needs and students were unable to take loans instead of the jobs, Schilling said. The size of the summer work-study program varies from year to year according to student need during the academic year, and Schilling said the summer work-study program has been canceled previously. Last year, Student Financial Services awarded 585 federal work-study grants, Student Employment Director Carol Murphy said yesterday. The year before, however, the program gave jobs to 376 students. The summer program has a history of erratic financial support. During the 1970s, the summer work-study programs ranged from awarding money to over 1000 students, to not existing at all, Deputy Vice Provost and former Financial Aid Director George Koval said last night. Schilling said the lack of money for the federal work-study program results from stagnant funding levels from the federal government combined with increasing student need for financial aid. "The situation is not getting better," Schilling said. "I don't expect Congress and the [Bush] administration to come through with significantly larger appropriations for the program." Students who wanted to apply for the program said yesterday they were upset about the program's cancelation, and administrators said they are looking for ways to hire summer workers without the grant money. College freshman Priyamvada Chandra said although she is not worried about finding a job this summer, she is dismayed the program will not exist. Student Employment Director Murphy said she has fielded questions about summer work-study grants but many students coming in to apply for summer financial aid know work-study will not be available. Murphy added few students have applied for summer work-study by filling out a summer financial aid form, adding the financial aid forms were "just sent out" and the deadline for applying for aid is May 1. Deputy Vice Provost Koval said he had been told a few weeks ago of the possibility that no students would be given summer work-study grants. Since then, the University Life office has been working on contingency programs to pay for student positions the grant may not have covered in University Life's smaller offices. A "limited" number of students from the state will be able to receive a state work-study grant, Schilling said yesterday, although Murphy said she did now know how many students were able to receive state grants.

'Stand-Up' raises over $17,000 for homeless

(04/18/91 9:00am)

The Stand-Up Against Homelessness organization raised over $17,000 from ticket and concessions sales at last month's comedy concert, organizers said yesterday, adding they hope the event will be held annually. "We're very happy with what we made," event organizer Rob Inerfeld said last night. "The event reached our expectations." Organizers said they are still determining exact figures on how much the concert, held two weeks ago, has earned. Despite the $17,000 tally, organizers said last month that they hoped to raise a total of $40,000 including corporate donations and advertising revenue. But event organizer Neil Schur said he was pleased with the event, adding that Comic Relief Special Events Organizer Judd Apatow was happy with it and that the comedians enjoyed themselves. "We were proud to see the University come together -- both students and administrators to help face problems that plague our streets," Schur said. Stand-Up, sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi and Tau Epsilon Phi fraternities and by Comic Relief, featured MTV star Colin Quinn as well as "Saturday Night Live" cast members Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler and David Spade. Money raised for the event has been pledged to Philadelphia Health Care for the Homeless. Inerfeld, an Engineering senior, said organizers will meet with Health Care for the Homeless representatives and University City Hospitality Coalition representatives to determine exactly how the event proceeds will be spent, adding the money will not go towards general funds. "We're confident that the homeless of West Philadelphia will be helped," organizer Schur said. "This will go directly toward our own neighborhood -- our own little part of the world." Inerfeld said organizers want to discuss giving some of the proceeds to UCHC's proposed Survival Center in University City with Health Care for the Homeless representatives. The Survival Center, which has been in the planning stages for six years, would provide daytime care for homeless people. Inerfeld said it may be possible for Health Care for the Homeless to provide a nurse and medical supplies at the center, adding the final decision to give money to UCHC would be made by Stand-Up organizers and Health Care for Homeless workers.

Campus center committee formed, may meet by May

(04/17/91 9:00am)

Administrators have finished selecting the members of the campus center's building committee, which will be responsible for bringing an architectural ideal into the University's programming and budgetary reality. The committee is composed of two faculty members, two staff members, an undergraduate student and a graduate student, and is co-chaired by Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson and Senior Vice President Marna Whittington, Morrisson said last night. Morrisson declined to give the names of the committee members, saying they will be released by the end of the week after other administrators are informed. The committee will represent the University in planning the new Revlon Center and make recommendations to both the facilities management office and the center's architects, Kohn, Pedersen and Fox. According to Vice President for Facilities Arthur Gravina, the committee will also have three other initial responsibilities: · Deciding how different spaces, such as office, retail and common space, will relate to each other in the center. · Making sure the center remains on budget, determining what is most important "in the event there are tough decisions to make." Committee members will draw on reports from other University committees and input from the University community, Gravina said. · Reporting to the University on the progress of their work, and holding open forums on the status of their work. Morrisson said last night the committee will determine the exact location of specific offices and programs after determining how space will be used in general. The architects are finishing the final version of the master plan -- the architects' vision of campus between 33rd and 38th streets and Walnut and Chestnut streets -- and will be complete by the end of this month, Gravina said. This master plan, first presented in January, suggested the campus center would be a two-building complex. The main building would have a six-story cylindrical center with various geometric-shaped wings. The building will be built on Walnut Street between 36th and 37th streets, on a site currently used for parking. After the master plan is finished, administrators will give the committee guidelines, such as the percentage of retail space and amount of parking in the complex, as well as explain the financial and operational implications of some of the architects' suggestions. Both Gravina and Morrisson said they want the committee to begin meeting by the middle of May. Morrisson added that she hopes members of the committee could meet during the summer. Originally, administrators had hoped to complete construction of the Revlon Center in 1993 or 1994, but the University's projection that it may lose all or part of its state appropriation has temporarily halted the beginning of almost all construction and renovation projects on campus.

PPU visits Middle East embassies

(04/17/91 9:00am)

The students traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Saudi Arabian, Israeli and Egyptian diplomats Friday, just after a parliamentary debate on the Middle East. During their visits to the embassies, they asked questions to representatives of the ambassadors about current Middle East problems. Students said few of the answers they received changed their views, since their hosts at the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies aimed to present their countries' "rhetoric" rather than answering their questions directly. After a slide presentation on Saudi Arabia at the Saudi embassy, the consulate's representative Abdulrahman Al-Shaia answered questions on issues ranging from women's rights to the possibility of a Kurdish state. "He was a little sterile; the spokesman was giving the party line," PPU Vice Chairperson Rubin Aronin said yesterday, adding he was disappointed but not suprised by the Saudi spokesperson. At the Israeli Embassy, students said Counsel for Information Oded Ben-Chaim seemed defensive when answering the students' questions. At the beginning of his presentation, they said, he showed them a map of the Middle East showing "little Israel" next to its larger neighbors. Ben-Chaim also defended the growing Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, saying the number of settlers rather than the number of settlements is increasing. PPU members said their experiences with the Egyptian diplomats were the most worthwhile. The students went to the ambassador's home, instead of the embassy, and Minister of Political Affairs Mohamed Amr answered their questions more candidly than the other diplomats they saw. "[Meeting with Amr] was the culmination of everything," PPU Chairperson Denise Wolf said. "This man was the best . . . he was very honest and very sincere in answering questions. Everyone was very happy with him." Students said they were suprised by Amr's emphasis on Egypt's African heritage. Students said security concerns at the Saudi and Israeli embassy were a nuisance. In order to come to the Israeli embassy, students had to provide their birthplace and birthdate to embassy officials a week in advance. In addition, before PPU's Conservative Party Chair Cenk Uygur -- who was born in Turkey -- could enter, the officials asked Aronin how long he had known Uygur and if he would cause trouble. At the Saudi embassy, students had to walk through a metal detector before entering the building, while Wolf's camera was nearly confiscated when she tried to take a picture of the outside of the building. But students said the experience of being at the embassies itself was valuable. "When you spent eight hours in a bus and still feel you enjoyed yourself, it must be a good day," PPU Liberal Party Chairperson John Bertland said.

Comedians keep 'em laughing at Irvine

(04/08/91 9:00am)

Penises were the common theme in last night's charity comedy concert, Stand-Up Against Homelessness. The four nationally-known comedians' humor ranged from comparing friends' penis sizes to telling masturbation confessions, and most of the approximately 1400 people at Irvine Auditorium lapped it up. Apart from penis humor, the four featured comedians, each close friends, offered a wide range of comedy styles and made themselves at home during last night's Stand-Up event, which was sponsored by Comic Relief, Kappa Alpha Psi and Tau Epsilon Phi. The first performer, Saturday Night Live cast member Rob Schneider threatened to hijack the show, staying on stage almost ten minutes longer than Apatow, the night's emcee, wanted him to. Schneider spoofed his "Makin' Copies" skit from SNL in introducing the University -- "University of Pennsylvaniaaaaa. . . The Pennmeister is coooool. . . Penn-o-ramaaaaa" -- and performed his widely-known "Elvis on a fishhook" impersonation. Near the end of his performance, Schneider tried new jokes while flipping the audience off when they did not laugh enough. SNL cast member Adam Sandler, back from taping last night's Late Night with David Letterman, tried out a new character, Opera Man. Opera Man sings a near-intelligible but highly expressive tenor, acting out improvisational scenarios Schneider and members of the audience suggested to him. He received his loudest applause in his closing joke, imitating a cross between Axl Rose and Edith Bunker singing. David Spade's act contained several impersonations, including one of Michael J. Fox -- "he's the same in everything, that's what makes it so funny" -- and one of Tom Petty, complete with hat, sunglasses and beard. Closing the show -- and drawing the most sustained laughter of the night -- was MTV's Remote Control host Colin Quinn. Quinn spoofed Irish wakes, a Friday night with the guys, and a "white man's fight," two men in a bar fighting because one looked at the other. Leona Smith, a Philadelphia homeless-rights advocate who was herself homeless for a year, spoke eloquently on the stereotypes surrounding homelessness, telling the audience most homeless people have jobs where they do not make enough to afford housing or health care. "We're the sons and daughters of somebody," Smith said. "I get frustrated when people pretend we're not there." Event organizer Thomas Reynolds said the event went "exceptionally well," adding he hoped the event could be hosted annually. "The comedians had a great time," Reynolds said. "They really wanted to do it." Quinn said after the show he was impressed with the event. "I've never seen [an event like this] before," Quinn said. "It's great they're actually trying to do something -- I know it's not the norm." All proceeds from the show go to the Philadelphia Health Care for the Homeless. Reynolds said last night organizers did not know how much the event made.

Comedians set for tonight's performance

(04/04/91 10:00am)

"Saturday Night Live" cast member Adam Sandler will perform with three close friends and nationally-known comedians tonight at Irvine Auditorium -- if he makes his train. Sandler is also scheduled to appear on "Late Night With David Letterman" tonight. He plans to catch a Metroliner to Philadelphia after taping for the program ends and will arrive at Irvine for the Stand-Up Against Homelessness show during the performance. Event organizers praise Sandler's dedication to the event. "For him, [Letterman] is the break of his life, and we're just happy he's still participating in our show," event organizer Neil Schur, a College senior, said yesterday. Sandler will perform with MTV's "Remote Control" co-host Colin Quinn and fellow "SNL" cast members David Spade and Rob Schneider in Stand-Up, which was organized by Kappa Alpha Psi and Tau Epsilon Phi fraternities and the Comic Relief organization. Proceeds will benefit Philadelphia Health Care for the Homeless. Comic Relief special events supervisor Judd Apatow will act as emcee, while WMMR-FM radio's Larry Richman will open the show. The four comedians have performed in comedy clubs across the nation and said they look forward to performing in front of a college crowd. "The comedians are excited, hoping they'll have a good time," Schur said. "I think everyone's going to be completely impressed." Quinn said last night that college settings are his "favorite gigs," but added that he is performing tonight because it is good for him spiritually. "It's good to do something when you're not getting paid, because it's better for you," Quinn said. "I've got to make points for heaven, too." Ticket sales have been brisk, organizer Dave Rubin said yesterday. Almost all of the orchestra seats have been sold, Rubin said, but balcony seats are still available. Schur said Stand-Up is bringing in its own sound system so acoustics will be better than usual in Irvine. Ticket are available at the Annenberg Center box office today and at the Irvine box office starting at 5 p.m. Orchestra seats cost $15 and balcony seats cost $10. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Check, please! University waits for funds from state

(04/04/91 10:00am)

The check is in the mail. At least that's what the state says. The University should have received its quarterly check from the Commonwealth a few days ago, but administrators said yesterday they are still patiently waiting for the money. They wait patiently because they said they don't expect the check any time soon -- the University just received a quarterly check from the state a few weeks ago for an appropriation which it should have received January 1. Because of the state's poor fiscal condition, the University's check -- as well as the appropriation checks for several other schools -- has been held up because the state did not have the money to pay it. The state plans to pay this quarter's appropriation, which was due on campus April 1, by the end of the month, a spokesperson for Governor Robert Casey said yesterday. And at least one quarterly check due in April, the one covering the University Museum's appropriation, arrived on campus yesterday, University Comptroller Alfred Beers said. But the state's three-month delay in paying the University and other non-state-related and state-related schools has caused administrators to be wary of state promises and given them another example of the state's worsening fiscal problems. During the three-month wait for the approximately $9 million check due January 1, the University paid bills it would have paid with the appropriation with its own cash reserves. Senior Vice President Marna Whittington estimated the University lost just under $200,000 in investment interest by spending the money to pay bills. Administrators did not tell departments and schools to cut back spending because the check was late, and the University paid its bills "in a timely fashion," Whittington said. Whittington said last night she is not yet panicked by the April check's tardiness. Having just received the January check a few weeks ago, she added she would not be surprised if another one is a few weeks late. But she added that she cannot remember the last time the state payment has been so tardy. Officials said the University is more likely to receive this payment closer to schedule because of increased revenues from income tax returns that have been coming in advance of the April 15 deadline. But the delayed checks concern a few University officials who worry the state is thinking of cutting back this year's University appropriation once again, after cutting it $1.3 million in January. University administrators say they have not been told officially of additional cutbacks as a possibility, and Casey spokesperson Sue Grimm said last night she could not comment on the situation. "You have to be concerned [about another state abatement]," Assistant Vice President for University Relations James Shada said yesterday. "As long as there's a deficit . . . we continue to worry." The state is mandated by its constitution to finishing each year without a deficit. But the University's plans to finish its fiscal year without a deficit would be altered dramatically if the University lost more state funding before the end of this fiscal year, Budget Director Stephen Golding said last night. The January abatement caused the University to project a deficit of over $1 million to the Trustees. But administrators both on campus and in Harrisburg wait and watch, knowing the University's appropriation's place as "non-preferred" makes it near the front of the line for long waits or possible cuts.

Pig Penn to tape apology tomorrow

(04/04/91 10:00am)

Marcolina said the apology, which is part of the hosts' punishment for broadcasting the show, will air after Judicial Inquiry Officer Constance Goodman reviews it. Co-hosts College junior Richard Rothstein and Wharton junior Vincent Fumo also apologized for the show in a letter sent to The Daily Pennsylvanian yesterday. The letter also mentions the plans to air the taped apology on UTV. It is unclear if the written apology is also part of the punishment imposed by Goodman. Fumo, Rothstein nor Goodman could be reached for comment last night. It could not be confirmed whether they actually wrote the letter. Statements in the letter contradict earlier statements the pair said and wrote just after Pig Penn aired last October. Fumo and Rothstein were fired by UTV the night after Pig Penn aired, and President Sheldon Hackney asked Judicial Inquiry Officer Constance Goodman to investigate the show. During the 45-minute call-in show, Fumo and Rothstein split a bottle of tequila, discussed oral sex in graphic detail and showed pictures of nude men and women. The hosts also called two freshmen women, identifying them on the air by their names and Freshman Record pictures. "We extend our sincere apologies to any individual that was offended, or otherwise negatively affected by our broadcast," the letter states. "In particular, we are extremely sorry for breaching the privacy of two female students." "It was wrong to identify these women and then align them with our show without prior permission," it says. The letter also states that Fumo and Rothstein were wrong in "misjudging the tolerance of the Penn community." In earlier statements, Rothstein had apologized for offending anyone who had seen the show, but had questioned why putting the women on the air was harassment. "I don't think that it's making people feel vulnerable by telling them they look attractive in their face book picture," Rothstein said after Hackney asked for an investigation. Days after the show aired, both co-hosts, who also produced the show, said they would not apologize for the show since it was meant as satire.

Schools review proposed budget cuts

(04/03/91 10:00am)

Each of the University's 12 schools are currently reviewing the administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 1992 to determine if they can operate under the proposed cuts. The University's budget proposal calls for a seven-tenths percent cut in budget increases to all schools, in addition to cuts in five programs from the Provost's Subvention Fund, an account through which the provost pays for long-range academic projects. As part of the review, school officials will meet with University administrators to determine how or if each school can trim money from its budget. After determining which schools may have problems cutting costs, administrators will decide if they can use money from the Provost's Subvention Fund or if money could come from other sources. "Once we know the individual problems within the schools, we can determine what degree of flexibility with University funds we have [to assist them]," Budget Director Stephen Golding said yesterday. Senior Vice President Marna Whittington said yesterday she expects few major problems because schools officials participated in planning the budget. Deans of the schools said after the budget announcement the proposals were fair. Most problems with the budget were ironed out during budget discussions, where school officials told planners if they could not meet the administration's target figures. John Gould, executive director of the president's office, said discussion with the schools had been "statesmanlike," with schools arguing on others' behalf when they felt one school would be too harshly affected by a budget proposal. The budget package calls for a $6.7 million deficit due to a proposed $18.6 million cut in the University's state appropriation, as well as the elimination of 300 staff and faculty positions, a four percent cut in the growth of the administration and a moratorium on all but three construction projects.

U. may stop need-blind admissions

(03/27/91 10:00am)

Continuing budget problems may force the University to consider & dropping its need-blind admissions policy within the next few years. Provost Michael Aiken said last week the University will make a decision by early next year on & whether to continue a policy of ad - mitting all students regardless of their ability to pay. This re-evaluation of the Univer - sity's need-blind admissions poli - cies results from the strain finan - cial aid programs have faced over the past decade. These problems have been ex - acerbated by Governor Robert Ca - sey's proposed $18.6 million cut to the University's state & appropriation. If the University ends this policy, it risks losing some of the diversity of its student body and may become more of a middle- to upper-class institution, officials said. "With these cuts we face a real dilemma," Aiken said after last & week's University Council meeting. The provost said the administra - tion will decide next year whether to continue need-blind admissions for the class of 1996 and will prob - ably make a decision by January or February. Under a need-blind admissions policy, the University gives finan - cial aid to make up all costs it deter - mines students cannot afford. Both Aiken and Senior Vice Pres - ident Marna Whittington said the evaluation of need-blind admissions will be difficult. "It's not a policy we're anxious to give up," Whittington said last & night. "If we can find a way to afford it, that's clearly the best solution." In examining the policy, the ad - ministration will determine what & the University can afford and try to find alternatives to scrapping the need-blind policy. The proposed state budget cuts would hit undergraduate financial aid harder than most of the rest of the University because of decreas - ing federal funding and a relatively small endowment for financial aid. In addition to Casey's proposed cuts, the amount of federal funding the University receives has stayed level over the past decade, decreas - ing substantially in real dollars and making a smaller dent in student needs. During the past decade, the Uni - versity increased aid funding by the same percentage every year that it increased tuition. But over the & same period, the amount of general funds spent on financial aid has & nearly tripled, while endowment & funding of aid has only increased slightly. Last week, the University upped its goal for raising financial aid mo - ney for the endowment from $85 million to almost $100 million, in - creasing what was already one of the largest line items in the five- year capital campaign. The University has also recently changed its fundraising practices to allow schools to raise money for their own financial aid programs. This change answers complaints & from deans that schools would & "lose" the money they raised for undergraduate financial aid when it was put in general financial aid & funds. But the University is still behind every other school in the Ivy & League. Endowment interest pays for seven percent of aid grants the University gives. This percentage is nearly eighty percent lower than Princeton, which leads the Ivies in endowed money per student. The University also generates $9.2 mil - lion less in endowment interest & than Princeton annually. Additionally, the future for fed - eral aid money is also unclear. In 1992, the federal government will reapprove the Higher Education & Act. This act sets parameters on how the federal government funds financial aid, determining which & programs will distribute money and the highest amount of funding each program can request. In all likelihood, the Higher Edu - cation Act will not be passed until summer or early fall of 1992. Staff writer Steven Ochs contri - buted to this story.

U. has a few options available to solve growing financial aid

(03/27/91 10:00am)

Administrators admit the University has painful choices ahead. Faced with a myriad of problems in paying for its need-blind admissions policy, the University is looking for suggestions on how to decrease financial aid costs while not giving up completely on need-blind admissions. While Senior Vice President Marna Whittington said last night the University has a wide variety of options, President Sheldon Hackney outlined three last week: · Admit students on a need-blind basis until the University spends its financial aid money and afterward admit only students who are able to pay. This would be the most drastic measure the University would take. · Increase a family's contribution to a year's costs. Currently, the University's estimate of family contribution closely matches the federal government's, which is determined from information families submit annually in a standard financial aid form. This policy would increase the burden on all families receiving aid and would probably result in parents taking out more education loans for their children. · Admit students without looking at their ability to pay, then give full financial aid to a percentage of incoming students based on their merits. Students who do not receive grant money can apply for outside scholarships and possibly for student loans and work-study jobs, which are funded by the government. But students may currently borrow only about $15,000 over four years and work-study grants are usually about $1,000 for an academic year.

Capital drive ups aid goal by $15 million

(03/22/91 10:00am)

University financial administrators have decided to alter the capital campaign to place a greater emphasis on raising financial aid money, particularly for undergraduates. And in another change in financial aid policy, schools will be able to raise money for their own undergraduate financial aid programs starting April 1. Officials said that long-term budget problems, made worse by a proposed $18.6 million cut in state appropriations, forced the administration to adopt the two changes in financial aid fundraising. Before the change, the capital campaign targeted $85 million for financial aid, already making it one of the drive's largest single benefactors. The new policy raises the goal to almost $100 million. Administrators hope to raise enough money through the policy changes to decrease the percentage of general funds spent on financial aid, an amount which has been growing steadily over the past ten years. The shaky financial aid picture became even more bleak because of the possible losses in state funding, Vice President for Development Rick Nahm said yesterday. Despite the changes, administrators said Wednesday in their Fiscal Year 1992 budget announcement that the financial aid allocation will still get lower increases in the 1992-93 school year. Officials said the future cuts in financial aid will be necessary if major state funding cutbacks proposed by Governor Robert Casey are passed. Casey's budget calls for an $18.6 million cut in University appropriations. Because of the loss of funds for financial aid, administrators also said that they may be forced to end the need-blind admissions policy. Nahm said his department would stress to potential donors their money would restore cuts in existing programs rather than create new programs. The new policy allowing schools to raise money for their own undergraduates does not directly respond to Casey's budget, but Nahm said the proposal "ended up being very timely." Currently, schools cannot raise financial aid money for their own undergraduates. President Sheldon Hackney said Wednesday that this policy has made fundraising for undergraduate financial aid more difficult than efforts for raising graduate aid. Currently, money raised for undergraduate financial aid can only be restricted by field of study, grade-point average and a student's geographic area. If no restrictions are made, the money goes into the general financial aid pool. Only graduate financial aid can be directed to a certain school. "In the past, there was not a strong incentive for raising funds for student financial aid," Engineering Dean Gregory Farrington said. "If you raised the funds, they kind of disappeared." Officials said the new proposal should encourage schools to raise money for undergraduate financial aid, including graduate schools which have submatriculants. Farrington agreed, saying the new proposal would allow schools to ask for donations for undergraduate aid and make fundraising for financial aid a high priority. Provost Michael Aiken said Wednesday the University needs to generate an additional $10 million for financial aid in the next ten years. Nahm said yesterday $10 million could be generated with a combination of endowment donations and gifts for scholarships. To gain $10 million from endowment funds alone would require an endowment of about $200 million, Nahm said. He added, however, annual gifts, in which donors agree to give a certain amount of money every year for a set number of years, would supplement endowment earnings.

Future of Vet School viewed as precarious

(03/21/91 10:00am)

During yesterday's budget announcements, speculation on the Veterinary School's future was never far from the forefront. President Sheldon Hackney repeatedly said that the Vet School's future is in jeopardy. If the proposed 45 percent in state cuts to the Vet School -- which amounts to about 20 percent of its total budget -- is not restored and the state's appropriation continues to decrease, administrators say they may close the school within five years. But others, such as Vet School Dean Edwin Andrews -- who has journeyed to Harrisburg to lobby on the school's behalf more times than he could recall -- said it is too early to predict the school's future, but they were optimistic about the school's likelihood of regaining funding at last year's level. The University maintains the Vet School is vital to the state's welfare. The school has graduated 1200 veterinarians that live in Pennsylvania and provides services, such as veterinary care for rare animal diseases, that no other facility in the state could provide, administrators say. However, Governor Robert Casey proposed last month reducing the Vet School's appropriation by $6.9 million, an amount which could close the school in five years if not restored and could not be made up by firing the entire faculty, Andrews said last month. But Andrews said earlier this week that legislators understand how important state funding is to the school's operations. "I think everyone pretty much agrees that our funding must be restored," Andrews said Monday. "The big question is how its going to be restored." And at least one state legislator -- the one representing the University area -- is worried about claims the Vet School would close. State Representative Harold James (D-Phila.) said he had just heard a presentation by the Vet School last week, and he is convinced the school's future is vital to the state. "I think that it's very serious . . . if they even talk about closing the school," James said yesterday afternoon. "We have to make sure that's taken care of in the next budget, so it won't come to that." While state legislators and Andrews say Casey's budget was a political move to get the public's attention, the University has responded by taking the cuts seriously, adding they must plan for the future assuming all state funding -- including Vet School funding -- will be cut. Despite his cautionings that the Vet School may close, Hackney said he feels the school has a strong backing in Harrisburg. "The Vet School has broad support," Hackney said yesterday. "I would hope that would convert into votes at budget time." Because administrators said they could not find a way to cut $4 million from the Vet School's budget, they proposed the school run a $4 million deficit next year. Administrators said the school already has identified a number of services which must be cut. Andrews was not available for comment yesterday afternoon.

U. announces major cutbacks To cut 300 faculty, staff; stop most construction in response to Casey budget

(03/21/91 10:00am)

Administrators announced major across-the-board cuts yesterday for the 1992 fiscal year in response to a possible sharp reduction in state funding. The University will likely run a $6 million deficit in next year's budget despite cutting at least 300 faculty and staff positions and postponing almost all building projects not already underway, administrators said. The deficit projection is the first in 15 years. And while financial aid funding will increase as planned next year, less money than usual will be added to the financial aid budget in 1993. In addition, the University's "need-blind" admissions policy could be scrapped in the future. These proposed measures, announced by the University in two open forums and at University Council yesterday, are in response to Governor Robert Casey's proposed $18.6 million cut to University funding. Administrators say they planned this year's budget assuming the University will not receive this money and planned for the possibility the University might eventually lose all state funding. "We have assumed the governor will have his way . . . and assume, in future years, the other 50 percent is at risk," President Sheldon Hackney said. It still remains unclear whether Casey's budget will be accepted by the state legislature. The University must pass a budget anticipating the cuts because in past years, the state legislature has not decided on the University's appropriation until well after July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year. Officials said the budget plan aims to reduce the amount of money spent while not harming the University's "core academic mission." It also attempts to distribute budget cuts across the University, administrators said. Budget Director Stephen Golding said the University wanted to reshape the budget by cutting expenses rather than raising tuition. The administration will request the Board of Trustees' approval of a 6.9 percent tuition and fees hike for undergraduates for next year at Friday's Budget and Planning Committee meeting. Despite the fiscal problems, the proposed budget is larger than last year's. The University projects a 5.4 percent growth in its budget, Golding said. The administration had planned on an eight percent growth in this year's budget until Casey announced his cuts. Excluding the $6 million deficit, the University has only a 3.4 percent budget growth. Golding noted that the budget will grow slower than inflation, meaning it will actually decrease in real terms. Provost Michael Aiken said faculty salaries will increase between four and five percent over last year -- lower than the six to seven percent increase the University had originally projected. Cutting 300 faculty and staff members by the end of the next fiscal year is part of a combination of cuts to schools and to administration. These cuts will come from not replacing retiring and departing faculty and staff, reassigning faculty and staff where they would be more productive, and laying off some staff members. Administrators say they cannot yet predict where these personnel cuts will fall. Hackney said it would be up to school deans whether they replace professors on leave, saying they are not always replaced currently. He added that he was "extremely reluctant" to request the budget deficit, saying it would be the most difficult part of the budget for the Trustees to accept. But he and other administrators said it would enable the University to avoid unnecessarily hurting academics. "It's better to make [budget cuts] with a scalpel than a meat-axe," Aiken said. Officials said the suspension of building programs is a contingency against continued cuts in state funding. Projects that will be delayed include the Law School's new library, renovations to Kings Court/English House, new headquarters for University Police, a proposed University-owned power plant, the campus center and repairs to College Hall. Three construction projects will proceed as scheduled: renovations to Logan Hall, renovations to the Evans Building at the Dental School and the construction of the Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. The Evans and Logan renovations will continue because they are already well underway, administrators said, and the IAST, which is not scheduled to break ground for another two years, will proceed so the University can meet government expectations for funding. Golding said the administration had a nine-point strategy for making up the $18.6 million in proposed state funding cuts. According to Golding: · The University as a whole will run a $2 million deficit, which it will cover by using cash reserves held in the University's bank. · The School of Veterinary Medicine will run a $4 million deficit, which will be made up from the same cash reserves. · The administration will cut its budget growth from five percent, as originally planned, to two percent, saving $4 million. Some of the cuts in staff will fall under this category. Computing, security and the library system are exempt from these cuts. · Individual schools and research centers will cut their budget increases by .7 percent each, a proposal which will save the University a total of $2.4 million. Some of the cuts in faculty and staff will also fall under this category. · The Vet School will increase revenue or cut programs to make up $1.1 million of the school's proposed state funding cuts. · The Medical School will either increase revenue or cut programs to make up the proposed $1.4 million cut in state appropriations. · The Dental School will either increase revenue or cut $160,000 from its budget to make up for the proposed reductions. · The University will gain $725,000 by increasing undergraduate and graduate tuition and fees. · The Provost's Subvention Pool, an account which funds several long-range academic projects, will be cut by $2.8 million. Administrators said managers in different schools and divisions would make decisions on how they would cut faculty, staff and programs, but five programs in the provost's Subvention Pool have already been earmarked for suspension or revenue freezes. · Graduate fellowships will be frozen at this year's level of $6.5 million. · The Research Foundation will be frozen at this year's funding level of $1.1 million instead of being increased to $1.3 million. · The half-million-dollar Undergraduate Initiatives Fund, which funds outstanding proposals for undergraduate research, will stop funding projects. · New financial commitments to the Trustee Professorship Fund, which creates professorships, matches professor salary offers, and offers the provost a general salary reserve, will be stopped. · A Social Sciences Research Institute, which the University had said in its five-year plan it wanted to establish, will be postponed. Administrators added that despite their intentions to preserve academic quality, some academic programs would be affected, particularly those which encouraged excellence in its students and faculty. One goal for planning this year's budget, Budget Director Golding said, was to retain "need-blind" admissions policies. Under this system, students are admitted to the University without consideration of their ability to pay, while Student Financial Services creates a package of loans, grants and work-study funding so students can attend. But Hackney said he "cannot promise" the need-blind admissions policy will continue indefinitely, although he stressed the University has not made a final decision to drop it. He outlined several possible ways to decrease the burden on financial aid, including placing more of a burden on families; giving aid to some on merit and telling others the University cannot cover their costs; or dropping "need-blind" admissions by admitting a percentage of students who will receive full aid and then admitting others on the condition that they are able to pay. Provost Aiken said Student Financial Services was already having problems meeting student need because the federal government is not giving the University enough money. He added the University needs to raise enough money for its financial aid endowment to produce another $10 million in interest over the next 10 years. Aiken said deciding between funding financial aid and funding academic programs is a "difficult trade-off." Student Financial Services Director William Schilling was not available for comment. Trustees must approve any budget deficit. The Trustees' bylaws mandate balanced budgets every year and the body's executive board will have to grant an exception in order for the University to plan for a deficit. Hackney said the chairperson of the Trustees' Budget and Finance Commitee, and Trustee Chairperson Alvin Shoemaker, know the University has planned for a deficit next year. Others, he added, have been sent a letter informing them of the administration's plans. The entire budget will be voted on at the Trustees' general meeting in June, but Hackney said if the Trustees do not approve of the deficit, they will tell him at Friday's Executive Board meeting.

U. stops trading financial aid info

(03/19/91 10:00am)

The University will not trade financial aid information with 22 other colleges and universities this year, possibly indicating the first sign of a settlement in a 15-month Justice Department probe. The University has met annually with Ivy League and other elite private institutions for decades to discuss financial-aid packages for students applying to more than one school in the group. The institutions, called the New England Overlap Group, say they meet so students can make a decision on which school to attend on factors other than financial-aid packages. But a Justice Department investigation of the schools for possible violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act by fixing tuition and financial-aid packages has prompted the schools to cancel the meeting. The meeting had been scheduled for the end of this month at Wellesley College. Respresentatives of the institutions maintain they were not asked by the Justice Department to suspend the meetings and insisted that the practice of comparing financial information between students is legal. "We believe there are benefits [to holding the meeting]," University General Counsel Shelley Green said yesterday. "It's a fair way to determine students' need and allocate financial aid . . . but in light that this investigation was continuing, we thought it was best to suspend it for a year." Green would not speculate on how prospective students' financial-aid packages would be affected by the cancellation. Student Financial Services Director William Schilling was not available for comment. But Bryn Mawr Director of Public Information Debra Thomas said yesterday students' aid packages may not be as large this year since institutions would not have the same amount of information about prospective students. Neither Green nor Thomas would comment on how the investigation is going, although rumors of a settlement have been reported since January. The Justice Department has been investigating the University and reportedly 56 other institutions since the fall of 1989. Observers say the focus of the probe has focused on the 23 east coast institutions in the Overlap consortium. The consortium is divided into two groups: one which includes the Ivy League and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another which includes the seven "sister schools" and seven New England private colleges. The Overlap Group met last year, although a few schools, including Yale University, did not participate in the meeting.