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U. begins plans to end fiscal year without loss

(01/30/91 10:00am)

The University plans to postpone major maintenance and construction projects and delay replacing support staff and administrators in order to get out of its projected $1 million deficit, Senior Vice President Marna Whittington said last night. Whittington emphasized that the administration will look to make cuts where it will effect students the least. "Students shouldn't be affected directly," Whittington said last night. "They might find in offices that vacancies have not been filled." "It will not affect academic programs," she added. Whittington said that belt-tightening will also come in "discretionary spending" -- non-essential, day-to-day expenditures in areas not specifically outlined in the original budget. The administration announced to the Trustees last Friday that the University faced a $1 million shortfall -- the first deficit in 15 years -- if it did not enact cost-cutting measures. Administrators blamed the budget problems on a three-and-a-half percent reduction in state grants which Governor Robert Casey announced earlier this month. Because of this abatement, the University lost $1.3 million dollars in funding for Fiscal Year 1990. Whittington, Provost Michael Aiken and Acting Budget Director Benjamin Hoyle said this week that they have been studying various cost-cutting measures. The revised spending strategy should be complete within a few weeks, Whittington said. Hoyle said last night the University is not in a "panic situation." "I think every institution of higher education can pretty much expect that something like this will be happening," Hoyle said. "Most other public institutions have had to absorb reductions in state funding." "We feel confident that we will have resolved these issues, but they are not issues that can be resolved overnight," Hoyle added. Both Hoyle and Whittington said that besides the state cuts, rising oil prices due to the Persian Gulf war have increased budget problems, but added that static oil prices would not have prevented them. "Prices are bouncing around like crazy," Hoyle said. "Philadelphia Thermal can't give us an honest read on [the impact] for this year." The deficit represents nearly one percent of the University's annual budget. Its operating budget is $1.2 billion dollars, Hoyle said. Administrators said last night that they expect further budgeting problems next year as a result of more state cutbacks. "We ought to be prepared to make a persuasive case [to the state] for the importance of funding," Whittington said. "We're likely to feel it again next year as well as this year."

Trustees laud campus center plan

(01/28/91 10:00am)

and ROXANNE PATEL University Trustees praised the preliminary design of the campus center and its surrounding area at their full meeting Friday morning. Trustees Chairperson Alvin Shoemaker said after the meeting that while the center must be "done right," compromises on the design would probably be necessary. "We can't guarantee anything," he said. "It will be a very big, difficult final decision." The presentation of the master plan -- delivered at the Trustees' Facilities and Campus Planning Committee meeting -- featured slides and models of the Revlon Center site and the firm's vision of the area from 33rd to 38th streets between Walnut and Chestnut Streets. The Trustees' few criticisms of the architects' model centered on the buildings' security, the unorthodox design, and whether the complex could be constructed in a single phase. The preliminary proposal for the Revlon Center includes two buildings -- a six-story main building with a central cylindrical drum and geometrically-shaped wings and a smaller, rectangular building. Shoemaker said after the meeting that the University had only raised a "small amount" of the money it needed to build the center. Rick Nahm, vice president for development, said Tuesday that about $11 million had been donated or pledged to the campus center so far, not including this year's senior class gift. He added that his office is also negotiating a possible $2 million donation. Officials have said they believe the University's $1 billion capital campaign will be able to raise $30 million at most for the non-commercial aspects of the campus center. In other business, the Trustees' Committee on University Responsibility heard a presentation on the number of minority and non-minority students, faculty and staff at the University. Administrators gave hiring figures of black, Hispanic and women faculty members over the past six years, as well as student matriculation and retention rates. They also discussed programs which have been implemented to attract and retain graduate and undergraduate students. Some of the Trustees expressed disappointment with the low numbers, but officials assured them that the University has one of the best minority retention programs in the country. Trustees also reviewed architectural plans of both the Law School Library and English House renovations.

FOCUS: A Step Backward? Bush Administration/Min. Scholarships

(01/28/91 10:00am)

William Schilling, the University's student financial services director, was in a meeting with financial aid officials from several other schools when he heard the announcement. An Education Department official had just declared almost all scholarships set aside for minorities illegal. Schilling, like the rest of the officials assembled and the entire academic world, was stunned. Without any advanced warning or debate, the ruling was like an anvil falling on Schilling's office. Financial aid offices at colleges across the country felt the impact just as hard. And, like Schilling, most officials felt it flew in the face of twenty years of affirmative-action educational policies. "I can't see how you can have ]a law such as this[ without saying this issue attacks affirmative action," Schilling said. Financial aid officials from around the country said last week that minority scholarship programs have been a mainstay of their profession for decades, adding that they have been successful in opening doors to many who previously would not have had a chance to get a college diploma. Ironically, the Education Department justified the ruling on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. "The confusing part is that it has been an education agenda that all students receive educational access," Emory University Financial Aid Director Anne Sturtevant said last week. "One way has been the implementation of special [minority] programs." After widespread outrage from the educational and civil rights communities, the Education Department backed off from its original ruling only days after handing it down. Their policy now states that private universities receiving federal funds cannot set up race-exclusive scholarships. The shock of the initial announcement and confusion that still remains over the legal ramifications of this new policy have left many students and administrator dazed. Financial aid officials from several universities said last week that the policy shifts were nothing more than a fiasco. They said the new policy is full of contradictions and will need much more clarification. They also fear that minority students may feel that colleges and universities do not really want them -- and that their scholarship or aid money will be taken away. · It all started over Martin Luther King, Jr. After Arizona residents voted down a referendum acknowledging King's birthday as a state holiday, debate grew in the sporting community over holding athletic contests in the state. National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue recommended that the 1994 Super Bowl be taken from the state's capital, Phoenix. To quiet criticism, organizers of college football's Fiesta Bowl, held in Tempe, Arizona on New Year's Day, decided to offer $100,000 to each participating college's minority scholarship fund. But in December, the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights stepped in. Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Michael Williams said he commended the Fiesta Bowl's efforts but announced that the participating schools -- as well as all other colleges and universities receiving federal funds -- could not give or even handle race-exclusive scholarships. In a letter addressed to the executive director of the Fiesta Bowl, Williams outlined clauses of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protecting against racial or ethic discrimination. Williams recommended instead using as criteria "race-neutral" qualifications, such as disadvantaged economic, social or educational background. After the policy was announced, educators across the nation complained bitterly. "Clearly the reaction from the educational community [was negative]," Schilling said. "Quickly there was a backing off. Nothing was going to be pursued in the short run by the Department of Education." Part of the problem, Schilling said, is that Williams' ruling was not preceeded by the debate that legally must come before a major policy decision. "If the Department feels there is a concern here as far as the application of the civil rights law, and they want to do something about it, they should go though the ]legal[ regulations," Schilling said. Within days, academic outcry was joined by concern from the general public as the issue gained substantial national media attention. In a move which suggested that not all of the Bush administration supported Williams' policy, President Bush announced December 13 that the White House would review Williams' policy. Less than three weeks later, Williams appeared before reporters once again, announcing a six-point policy which said the department could not rule on the legality of state- and municipally-funded minority scholarships, but precluded "private universities" receiving federal funds from giving minority scholarships. The Department also said it would give universities and state and local governments four years to review their policies so that current undergraduates would not lose funding. After Williams' second announcement, administrators and students became even more confused. Administrators questioned the apparent distinction the Department made between public and private institutions. The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities maintains the Education Department inadvertently included the word "private" in the policy, but Education Department spokesperson Roger Murphy would not comment last week on the statement or clarify the issue. · In the second policy announcement, Williams had tried to make at least one thing clear -- present undergraduates would not lose funding, regardless of its source. However, at several colleges and universities, this message has not come across. For example, even though Ohio State University administrators sent press releases to every newspaper in Ohio explaining in detail that no student -- or incoming student -- should worry about financing their education, several students have called the university wondering if they have lost their aid. "We've had to assure them," Ohio State Student Financial Aid Director Mary Haldane said last week. "It's been a continuing problem for continuing students and prospective students." Other schools contacted last week which grant minority scholarships said their problems, though not on the magnitude of Ohio State's, have been similar. Private schools such as the University, which, for the most part, grant aid on a need-only basis, have not heard from many students worried they may lose their funds. However, financial aid and admissions directors worry about possible drops in minority applicants in the near future. "The ultimate problem is the message that gets to prospective students who are considering . . . private colleges is that there may be some limitations on funding -- and there isn't," Haverford College Financial Aid Director David Hoy said last week. "Schools such as Haverford are providing money." Provost Michael Aiken said last week that he also worries minority applicants to the University will drop. "The University has the responsibility to try to bring about a greater representation in the student body and faculty," Aiken said. "That's what I find disappointing about the new policy." · Throughout, the University has defended its undergraduate aid policy, restating that its aid programs, like those of several private colleges and universities, grants money on a need-only basis. However, one University program may face problems in the future -- the capital campaign's Minority Permanence Fund. The Minority Permanence Fund is actually made up of several programs, each which aim of increasing minority representation in all parts of the University. On the undergraduate level, the University is seeking donors to establish endowed scholarships for minority students. Financial Services Director Schilling said last week that although no scholarships have been distributed from the Minority Permanence Fund, the fund had raised half of its $35 million goal. Several University administrators maintained last week that the program is legally sound. They assert that one section of the new Education Department policy allows schools to administer scholarships funded entirely by private donations restricted to minority-only use. "As far as we're concerned, we're going full speed ahead," said Vice President for Development Rick Nahm, who oversees the capital campaign. But other financial aid officers across the country were less sure of the Education Department's policy on endowed scholarship funds. They point out that another section of the new policy prohibits private universities receiving federal funds from paying for minority scholarships with their own money. "A lot of organizations donate to the university," Emory's Stutevart said. "It becomes part of the 'funds.' What are they really saying, that you can't use tuition income?" The policy, Stutevart said, "doesn't speak realistically to how universities manage their money." "Rather than taking gifts and putting them into the endowment, they may have to put it aside," he said. · Some schools have concluded that the best thing to do about the new policy is to ignore it. With at least two major questions over the second policy's content, both proponents and opponents of minority scholarships have decided that the Education Department will have to clarify the policy once again before it will make any sense. After the first announcement, opponents of minority scholarships -- such as the Washington Legal Foundation -- cheered, calling the policy a clear, sound, legal one. However, after the second policy, even these opponents said the policy was confusing and unclear. John Scully, an attorney for the Washington Legal Foundation, told The Chronicle of High Education this month that the second policy substituted "bad politics" for "good law." Scully could not be reached for comment this week. Administrators, on the other hand, say the confusion over the new policy and the quick sucession of policies show the Education Department itself has no idea what its stance is and could not possibly enforce it. "They seem to be unsure about their position, so we've decided not to do anything right now," said Ernestine McCain, assistant director of college aid at the University of Chicago. In a letter sent to presidents of hundreds of colleges and universities last month, American Council on Education President Robert Atwell recommeded schools continue their programs without change, since the Education Department policy could change again. "The situation. . .continues to be fraught with confusion," Atwell said in the letter. "For now, we are advising colleges and universities that offer minority-designated scholarships not to make any changes in the structure of such scholarships or the procedures for awarding them." At the University, Schilling emphasized, the "multiple press conferences" on minority scholarship policy will not affect operations. "We're not doing anything different," he said. "The situation is very unclear. We're not sure exactly what the department's stand is. We suspect the department isn't exactly sure what it is." In the meantime, administrators have decided to continue to do what colleges and universities have done for a generation -- promote affirmative action in education. Emory's Sturtevant said that she is sure colleges and universities across the nation will find ways to continue funding minority students out of existing programs. "No one is going to openly violate the law, but they will continue to [use] these programs," she said. "I think schools will find ways to support students that they feel they need the support, ultimately."

Trustees review campus center plans, funding

(01/25/91 10:00am)

and ROXANNE PATEL University Trustees praised the preliminary design of the campus center and its surrounding area, after architects presented their "master plan" yesterday morning. Trustees Chairperson Alvin Shoemaker said after the meeting that while the center must be "done right," compromises on the design would probably be necessary. "We can't guarantee anything," he said. "It will be a very big, difficult final decision." The presentation -- delivered to the Trustees' Facilities and Campus Planning Committee meeting -- featured slides and models of the Revlon Center site and the firm's vision of the area from 33rd to 38th streets between Walnut and Chestnut streets. The Trustees' few criticisms of the architects' model centered on the buildings' security, the longevity of the unorthodox design, and whether the complex would be constructed in a single phase. The preliminary proposal for the Revlon Center includes two buildings -- a six-story main building with a central cylindrical drum and geometrically-shaped wings and a smaller, rectangular building. Shoemaker said after the meeting that the University had only raised a "small amount" of the money it needed to raise for the center. Rick Nahm, vice president for development, said Tuesday that about $11 million had been donated or pledged to the campus center so far, not including this year's senior class gift. He added that his office is also negotiating a possible $2 million donation. Officials believe the University's $1 billion capital campaign will be able to raise $30 million at most for the non-commercial aspects of the campus center. Trustees also reviewed architectural plans of both the Law School Library and English House renovations. In other business, the Trustees' Committee on University Responsibility, heard a presentation on the number of minority and non-minority students, faculty and staff at the University. Administrators gave hiring figures of black, Hispanic and women faculty members over the past six years, as well as student matriculation and retention rates. They also discussed programs which have been implemented to attract and retain graduate and undergraduate students. Some of the Trustees expressed disappointment with the low numbers, but officials assured them that the University has one of the best minority retention programs in the country.

Architects reveal campus center plan

(01/23/91 10:00am)

Architects unveiled their vision of the planned campus center yesterday, revealing an untraditional six-story structure to be built on Walnut Street between 36th and 37th streets. Bill Pedersen -- of the firm Kohn, Pedersen and Fox -- presented slides of a cylindrical building with several rectangular wings and a second separate building built diagonally from it. The so-called "master plan" contains preliminary concepts for the center site and its surrounding blocks, but no definite decisions have been made on the structure. During their two-hour presentation, the Manhattan-based architectural firm showed only the size and shape for the Revlon Center and did not make specific suggestions about what goes inside the structure. Pedersen also proposed landscaping renovations for the block and suggested longer-term construction for the 33rd and 38th street area between Walnut and Chestnut streets. But while several people at the presentation praised the architectural firm's work, some questioned whether the University had the money to build the center as the architects planned it. The architects said their goal for the plan was to connect the campus both in style and in traffic patterns. Currently, Pedersen said, campus space is divided in half, with Walnut Street as a dividing line. The audience -- approximately 40 students, faculty members and administrators -- laughed as Pederson described the blank walls of the Graduate Towers, Van Pelt Library, the Annenberg School and the Annenberg Center facing the campus center site as "relatively hostile" spaces. Yet Pederson also pointed out that Sansom Street had "the scale and vitality" to bring the part of campus north of Walnut street to a style similar to Locust Walk. In his firm's proposal for the Revlon Center site, Pedersen showed two buildings on the block, one which featured a six-story cylindrical drum with rectangular sections built into it, and another, smaller, rectangular building which might contain a clock tower. The drum of the main building would be the focal point of the campus center, Pedersen said. Stairway access to all six floors would be placed in the center of the drum, although the architects planned for elevators adjacent to the drum. The site would be terraced downward from the outside of the drum of the main building to the smaller building, set on the corner of 36th and Walnut. The main building will be on the 37th and Sansom street portion of the lot and a partition, or "veil," would run diagonally between the two. The architects proposed placing The Book Store underneath the terracing so it would not take up as much space on the site. The architects proposed that the main building hold lounges, performing-arts space, office space, retail areas, and meeting rooms, with lounges in the drum space. The architects suggested placing library space, a music listening room, and computing facilities in the smaller building. All the rectangular sections of the main building would be "paired" with buildings across the street, Pedersen said, so that the section would be approximately the same height as the building across from it. Vice President for Facilities Arthur Gravina said that the campus center committee would have to look closely at finances when forming a more detailed plan for the center. "I'm very cautious," Gravina said. "As we move forward [people should understand] that what we present is not cast in stone." However, Gravina said last night that fundraising for the center would be easier now that potential donors can see even a tentative plan. The architects said yesterday that cost had not been taken into consideration while formulating their initial ideas for the center, and Gravina said last night that the plans are too preliminary to estimate a cost. Students attending the presentation offered tentative praise for the program. Some expressed reservations about the area's safety, the ability to integrate the campus center into its surroundings, and the Book Store's underground site. The firm also proposed increasing pedestrian traffic patterns north of Walnut Street by closing one lane of traffic on the south side of Walnut in order to widen the south sidewalk, plant rows of trees and pave it in a style similar to Locust Walk. Other concepts the architects presented as long-term possibilities included creating a "campus gateway" at 33rd and Chestnut streets and building additional dormitories on Hill Field. Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson, who co-chairs the campus center committee, praised the forum, saying that the architects now understand better what the University community wants.

Campus center plan to be released today

(01/22/91 10:00am)

University administrators have released few details of the campus center "master plan," due to be released today, but were not lacking in praise for the report. The plan will present initial concepts for the campus center -- to be named the Revlon Center -- by the architectural firm Kohn, Pedersen and Fox, and will include an overall master plan for the section of campus between 34th and 38th streets between Walnut and Chestnut streets. Campus center committee members said yesterday they are excited about the general architectural plan for the center, saying the architects designed creative ways to use space and presented unique ideas for the structure of the campus center building. The architects will present three-dimensional models and slides of their preliminary designs. Vice President for Facilities Arthur Gravina said the architects' preliminary idea for the campus center is a cylindrical-structured building, a design used on campus only in the Furness and Chemistry buildings. This unique style would draw attention to the campus center, Gravina said last night. "We wanted an architect that could build us a building that would be an attraction," Gravina said last night. "If it had to be a campus center, it has to give that connotation." "This is going to be an exciting complex," he added. The master plan is the architects' ideas for the site and is based on both a 212-page report written by the Campus Center Committee and visits to the site. In the original report, the committee asked the architects to answer questions on street crossings, parking, buildings' size and shape, enterances to the area, and the increased role of Sansom Street as a major campus artery with the opening of the new Institute of Contemporary Art building. The report, Gravina said, asked the architects to provide a certain amount of square-footage on the site. The presentation will also show how the architects want the campus center to relate to other existing buildings and how future development around the campus center might complement it. "We want to make sure that they look at all opportunities available to us, and by putting the campus center [on 36th and Walnut], we didn't preclude any opportunity," Gravina said. The architects' report does not detail what space would be used for what particular group, although Gravina said it has suggestions about what space might be used for such purposes as retailing. Administrators said last night that the architectural firm has presented excellent and creative ideas for the campus center site. "I'm really excited," Graduate School of Fine Arts Dean Lee Copeland, who is on the Master Planning Committee. "It's got a lot of potential applications both for the [campus center] program and for the University." "It's a very creative concept," Copeland added. "I think the overall plan, if it ever came to being, would change how the campus north of Walnut would look like," Gravina added. "People would be as impressed with [it] as they are with College Green." The architectural presentation will be in Room 110 of the Annenberg School from 3 to 5 p.m. today.

Shocked students glued to T.V. as bombing begins

(01/17/91 10:00am)

For several students, the United Nations' attack on Iraq marked the end of their "untouchable" years. They said they were realizing for the first time that their generation is fighting a war -- one that will directly affect their lives. And although many students said they were expecting such a strike, they added that the move still shocked them. Across campus, friends and strangers congregated around any available television set or radio, waiting anxiously for new information about the massive air raid. Students gathered together in a somber silence, which was broken only by occasional jokes about Peter Jenning's anchoring gaffes and George Bush's description of Kuwait as a "small and helpless nation." And for many students, thoughts of the crisis automatically include concern for the safety of family and friends in the Persian Gulf. For many others, they include the spectre of the draft, as many men said last night that they would not evade a draft. · During the first announcements of the bombings, the University's Model United Nations was meeting in a Vance Hall lecture room to organize for an upcoming conference and to hold elections. But members left the meeting to discuss both Gulf events and organizational issues. At the other end of the hall, a television set was tuned to news coverage of the crisis. Across the street at the Theta Xi fraternity house, chapter president Chris Ohl placed an American flag over the red door of the house to show his support for American forces -- some of whom are Theta Xi alumni from his chapter. Ohl said he believes that everyone at the University should put up a flag, observe a moment of silence, or make some other show of support for American troops. "Even though we are not fighting ourselves, we shouldn't think 'it's not my job ]to support troops in the Gulf],' " he said. At Smokey Joe's Tavern, patrons gathered around both the downstairs and upstairs bars to watch the first ABC News accounts, discarding pitchers and glasses of beer. Though the bartender tried occasionally to lighten the atmosphere in the normally jovial restaurant and bar, students and West Philadelphia residents alike kept a silent vigil in front of the television. West Philadelphia resident Jeff McFarlan said he was convinced the allied forces would win a war. While at Smoke's, he kept a legal pad in front of him on the bar where he scribbled notes about countries involved in the Gulf, oil, and various notes comparing allied forces' and Iraqi military strengths. "It's a very good cause," McFarlan said. "We should be over there -- it's what the U.S. stands for. We have the air and sea power . . . There's no way in the world they can beat us." Also in residence halls across campus, students gathered together in front of their televisions, calling their parents and friends, and discussing the night's actions. At High Rise North, students awaiting more information were ejected from the building by a security guard when a fire alarm sounded. The guard had to ask the students several times before any of them would stand up to leave. Some students said they were relieved that the allied forces had attacked. Others said they expected the attack to come sooner. "I'm terrified, but I'm glad that this waiting period is finally over," College junior Tova Rubin said less than an hour after the attack began. "I'm scared for Israel -- no one knows what's going on there." Several students said they supported President Bush -- even those who did not agree with him. "It's pretty shocking," College junior Michael Oh said. "It's the first real war I've been alive for." "I support what the President is doing," Oh added later. "Even if we don't support his policies, we owe our support to the American troops." "I absolutely support the President," College sophomore Steve Rice said last night. "It seems like we learned from Vietnam that we're going to massively attack them and get it over quickly." However, others said they wanted the troops to leave Iraq and that the Bush administration forced a war by not giving economic sanctions against Iraq time to work. "I was hoping for a peaceful solution, but in the back of my mind I knew this was coming," College freshman Brad Rosenberg said. "Peaceful solutions are harder to come by, and it seems as if George Bush has taken the easy way out." "The January 15 deadline never should have been passed," he added. "It put us in a corner and never gave the sanctions the time it needed to work." Just after the strike was announced, 15 people sat in the Quadrangle's Ashurst lounge waiting for more information to appear on television. Some students were biting their lips, others sat with their heads in their hands, speaking very little. Others, attempting to study in Bodine Lounge, said they were concerned that their generation was in the Gulf. "I'm scared that someone I know could go there, especially at such a young age," Wharton freshman Mee Kyung Yoo said.

Columnists report threats

(12/07/90 10:00am)

College junior John Shu, who published a column in Wednesday's DP which sharply criticized Interfraternity Council fraternities, told University Police yesterday that he had received several harassing calls since the column ran. And Wharton sophomore Susan Stone said she received a letter in her Steinberg-Dietrich Hall mailbox Wednesday which contained a sexually explicit message. Both columnists reported the incidents to University Police yesterday afternoon. Shu said that although he had already received several threatening calls from individuals, he decided to file a complaint after one caller told him "we're gonna kick your ass. You're a dead motherfucker." Shu said he did not know who threatened him, but that he suspected it had been a group of fraternity brothers. He said he is upset, but not suprised, that he has received anonymous phone calls complaining about his column. "I think it's unfortunate because if these fraternities want to be sensitive and diverse, then they need to accept that there are people who think their system is not the best," Shu said. Shu said he thinks it is possible that someone might try to take more direct action against him. Stone, who has written several columns this semester dealing with Christain views of controversial issues such as abortion, said that the she assumed she received the letter because of her columns. She said that she thinks the letter was written by a male student. She would not reveal what the letter said. Interfraternity Council officers and fraternity members and Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Assistant Director Eric Newman said yesterday that they are upset that Shu has received threats, saying that free expression should not be compromised. But IFC Vice President for Rush Dave Hecht, whom Shu singled out in his column, said that while some of the things Shu said are "worth looking into," the columnist offends people in the ways he presents his information and opinions. Hecht added that he believes Shu is lying about receiving death threats. "I think he is so radical in his approach that no one takes him seriously," Hecht said. OFSA Assistant Director Newman said that the calls should be investigated. "It's not an action that's acceptable to the University community," Newman said IFC President Bret Kinsella said yesterday that while he does not agree with Shu's characterization of fraternities, he would "fight to the death for his right to say it." "I don't even pretend to comprehend the mind that would issue a death threat as a joke or seriously," Kinsella said. Hecht said he opposes any kind of harassment, "including the form of harassment that John Shu did against me." In his column, Shu said Hecht held the "arrogant attitude that causes much of the friction between the IFC and the rest of the student body." "If we think someone might kill someone for an article in The Daily Pennsylvanian, then we need to reassess exactly where our society is headed," Hecht said.

Castle house has become the symbol in debate over the Walk

(12/07/90 10:00am)

While factions of the University community fight over residential space in the heart of campus, the Castle, one of the campus's most coveted houses, sits vacant and dark in the middle of the battlefield. The Castle, former house of the Psi Upsilon fraternity, is currently the only empty structure on the Walk and has become the focus of immediate plans for the campus thoroughfare. For some committee members, the prominent house, located at 36th Street and Locust Walk, is a microcosm of the whole diversity on the Walk issue. They say that the tone of diversification will be set when Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson fills the empty building with new residents. "Filling the Castle touches very close to the issue of what to do about fraternity houses on Locust Walk," said Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Chairperson Susan Garfinkel, a committee member. The structure has been vacant since Psi Upsilon was kicked off campus last May for planning and executing the January kidnapping of a Delta Psi fraternity brother. The fraternity's charter was revoked for at least three years, and brothers were evicted from their house. Lawyers for the University and Psi Upsilon are battling over the ownership of the house. President Sheldon Hackney announced in September that the house would be filled by a non-Greek organization, opening the Walk to people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to reside in the campus' core. The president has since said he will not make any decision that will prevent Psi Upsilon from reclaiming the house if the fraternity returns to campus. Some students saw Psi Upsilon's eviction as a way to begin diversification. But since Hackney said he will not make permanent plans, they say the house will not contribute to valuable change. Many people -- including some committee members -- have criticized the administration for delaying the process of filling the spacious building, saying it reflects the University's sluggishness in addressing diversity on the Walk. They also say the president has neglected to solicit committee input before making his decisions on the Castle, leading them to think the president does not value members' advice on the Walk in general. "It's a policy statement made by the president that was not referred to the committee for its consideration," Faculty Senate Chairperson Almarin Phillips, a committee member, said last month. "It seems to me that if we have a Locust Walk committee to consider the uses of Locust Walk, matters considering the usage of Locust Walk should be referred to the committee." Committee members said that while not much discussion has centered on filling the Castle, finding new occupants for the building is on the agenda. Since Hackney announced that he plans to open the Castle to non-Greeks, Morrisson has received scores of petitions from students, faculty and staff, requesting a spot in the majestic building. The vice provost, who initially said the house would be filled by January, later said that it will remain empty throughout the year. She said that, although she cannot contradict the president's restrictions, she wants to hear the advice of the Walk committee before choosing the house's new occupants. United Minorities Council Chairperson Nalini Samuel, a committee member, said last month she thinks Morrisson would have made a decision about the house if the committee had started meeting earlier in the school year. "One of the purposes of the committee is to decide what to do with the Castle," Samuel said. "We should get on the ball and do it." Some people have supported the University's delay on the Castle, saying it is better to leave the house vacant an extra nine months than to make a rash decision about its future tenants. "I wouldn't want the University to put someone in hastily and then regret the decision after hearing the recommendations of the committee," GAPSA's Garfinkel said. Samuel said that while the Castle in central to the debate, its importance should not be overemphasized. "The Castle is a great opportunity to serve as an example of diversity on the Walk," said Samuel. "But I'm afraid it might become a token . . . a diversified Locust Walk shouldn't end there."

Legal agreements complicate changes on Locust Walk

(12/07/90 10:00am)

If the University decided to force Locust Walk fraternities from their coveted houses, the courts could enter the already-crowded field of groups trying to bring a broader range of residents to center campus. President Sheldon Hackney has said he will not move fraternities off the Walk, arousing the anger of many people who say the it cannot represent a broad enough range of the University community if the chapters remain. But should the president reverse his decision, he would be faced with his biggest battle yet -- not with fraternity members themselves, but with their attorneys. Behind fraternity members' cries of property rights and fairness and their critics' protestations of "we can move them out" stands an inch-and-a-half-thick pile of legal documents which do not even begin to cover the fraternities' agreements with the University, Associate General Counsel Steven Ponskanzer said last month. Of the 10 Walk fraternities located east of the 38th Street bridge, seven are owned by the University. Yet, Ponskanzer said, each has different agreements which govern the use of the houses. Several of the houses have so-called reversionary rights, which require that the University return control of the house to the fraternities' alumni chapter under certain circumstances. These terms vary from house to house and include varying degrees of specificity. He also said agreements with some houses go beyond the written documents, depending also on the precedent of past dealings with the chapters. "There are no easy answers in terms of who controls and who uses houses," Ponskanzer said. IFC President Bret Kinsella said the University would break honorable agreements if it forced the chapters out of their houses. He said if Hackney decides to move the chapters, he must give them something substantial in return. "We're talking about fairness and . . . property rights and about agreements with the University," Kinsella said. "[But] if the University decides it wants to move fraternities from Locust Walk, they may well enter into an agreement that is equitable to both sides." American Civilization doctoral candidate A.T. Miller, who is involved in graduate student government, said last week that the University should not be daunted by legal barriers. He said legal problems did not stop the University from moving fraternities during the 1960s. But many fraternity brothers said these wholesale removal of fraternities in the past set a bad precedent. They say the eviction has left a bitter taste in fraternities' mouths, and should not be repeated on Locust Walk.

Penn News faces huge debt

(12/07/90 10:00am)

But Penn News Owner Mike Monk last night said he will meet with distribution officials from The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New York Times on Sunday to make sure that newspaper delivery continues to all Penn News subscribers. On Tuesday, the Inquirer stopped on campus delivery through Penn News because the newspaper delivery organization had not paid its bills, but Inquirer Campus Sales Manager Joel Kopke said last night that "progress is being made" in resolving the problems. Kopke added that delivery of the paper was due to resume today. "We're trying to build both a long-term and short-term solution so that everyone will be happy," Kopke said. "We want to make as many students happy with the Inquirer as possible." Monk said last night that Penn News holds $22,000 worth of subscriptions, but has been unable to collect a large percentage of the money because the University reneged on a promise to let the organization bill student subscribers through the Bursar's Office. As a result, Monk said, Penn News owes the Inquirer and the Times "thousands of dollars." "Circumstances have just gotten a little hairy right now, but I'm confident that we will weather this and be back, especially with the support of the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer," said Monk, a Wharton senior. "We should be back on our financial feet by January." The organization has been barraged with complaints from students scheduled to receive deliveries. Monk said Penn News will bill all students who signed up to be charged through the bursar. The organization has distributed papers all fall without regard to whether subscribers actually paid. Monk said Penn News has also had numerous staffing problems and has had difficulty with hired vans and drivers from Penn Student Agencies. The problems have resulted in incomplete distribution some days and the curtailment of door-to-door service in several dormitories. Several subscribers have asked for full or partial refunds, Monk said, adding that, for now, Penn News has enough money to cover refunds for the unsatisfied subscribers. The owner said the Penn News offices in the Christian Association were closed for the last three weeks because of "mixed signals" between himself and former Penn News owner Mark Stanley, who is still helping Monk run the organization. "We're not trying to avoid anyone or ditch anyone," Monk said. "Right now we have a lot of people who are waiting for refunds, but we are in the process of refunding all those people. We will make good by all those people." Penn News also faces eviction from its offices by December 21 because the organization has failed to pay its rent, according to CA Business Manager Ken Simon. "It's not [only] a question of their rent," Simon said. "It's a question of their ripping off students, which is a bigger issue." Monk said that he was not aware of any problems with the rent, adding that "they were dealing with [Stanley] on that." Stanley did not answer repeated messages left on his home answering machine over the last two days. Campus newspaper distribution has been plagued with problems since Stanley took over Penn News from PSA in July. Monk became owner of the organization in November. Monk said that University officials, including former PSA Director William Fox, had told Stanley that Penn News could continue to bill students through the Bursar's Office. At the beginning of September, Penn News took more than a hundred subscriptions from students at CUPID, assuming they would be billed through the bursar. Monk said he did not find out that the University would not bill for Penn News until the week before Thanksgiving. "I feel they did a number on us," Monk said. Deputy Vice Provost George Koval said last night that he decided not to allow Penn News to use the bursar's bill sometime in August or early September after reviewing Stanley's agreement with the PSA to take over Penn News. "I'm the one that said they could not use the University busar system because they were a private organization," Koval said. "They got a letter from [PSA General Manger] Tom Hauber in early September, telling them that. I know it was put in writing and Mark Stanley had a letter dated early September." Koval said that if Monk did not find out about the decision until after he took over Penn News in November, he "ought to be talking to Mark Stanley because [Stanley] withheld information from him when they negotiated the sale of the organization." Monk said he does not think Stanley withheld any information from him, adding that it was his understanding from Stanley that PSA's Hauber was still trying to get busar's bill privildges for Penn News. Hauber said yesterday that he had nothing to do with Penn News' busar bill problems, adding that former PSA general manger Fox had negotiated the agreement for Stanley to take over the service.

National papers probe Penn News money, service

(12/06/90 10:00am)

Both Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Times officials are investigating problems with subscription newspaper delivery on campus after reports of glitches in circulation and payment, circulation managers at both papers said last night. "Lately, the Inquirer has had a problem receiving payment and we have to suspend delivery until we get paid," Kopke said. The financially troubled Penn News service stopped most doorstep paper delivery in October. And Penn News is currently being barraged with complaints from students still scheduled to receive deliveries. Penn News Manager Mike Monk did not return several phone calls to his home and to the Penn News offices and was not at his dormitory late last night. Several student subscribers in the Quadrangle -- the only dorm still to have door-to-door delivey -- are complaining that they have not received their daily paper for the past week and that the weekend editions have not arrived for most of the term. Students in other dorms have complained of inconveniences in the new drop-box delivery system. Many students said last night they want their money back. A year-long subscription for the Inquirer or the Times costs around $80. Philadelphia's New York Times circulation department is researching problems with Penn News' distribution of their paper on the University campus, a department official said last night. Dave Dowerty, a Times circulation officer for Pennsylvania, said he was looking into reports of problems, but has not completed his investigation. He declined to give details of the probe. "We're still trying to get to the bottom of this," he said. Inquirer representative Kopke said he intends to resolve the problem with Penn News peacably, but that he is concerned that this week's delivery stoppage and earlier distribution problems might harm the Inquirer's reputation on campus. Monk's answering machine was so full that it could not hold any more messages late yesterday evening. The answering machine at the Penn News office also was full of messages last night. Several subscribers seeking refunds said yesterday that no one has been in the Penn News office -- located at the Christian Association -- for the past three weeks. College Junior Jeff Jacobson said that Penn News promised him a full refund November 28, but he had not received it as of last night. Last night, Monk called two subscribers -- Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Stephen Glass and College freshman Joon Chong -- and offered them full refunds, the two said. They said Monk told them that he did not return their money sooner because of internal battling with former Penn News Manager Mark Stanley. During this semester, Penn News has been plagued by financial problems, which Inquirer Sales Manager Kopke attributed to an October decision by Penn Student Agencies -- the group formerly in charge of distribution -- to hike the rates it charged Penn News for renting its vans. No PSA officials were available for comment last night. Due to financial crisis, Penn News in September fired 10 of 15 staffers and stopped all door-to-door delivery. In the place of door-to-door delivery, the organization installed drop-boxes with combination locks on them. When the organization switched over to drop-box delivery, it offered students an offer of canceling their subscription with no penalty. Some students who tried to take advantage of the offer said yesterday they still have not received their money back.

In Walk debate, U. may have to answer to higher authority

(12/06/90 10:00am)

From students and faculty to alumni and Trustees, President Sheldon Hackney has heard the gamut of opinions on diversifying Locust Walk. But Hackney said that come May, there is one group he will listen to above all others. Last April, he established a committee of student leaders, faculty and administrators to draft a unified opinion for the campus. Hackney said he is counting on the group to come up with the best way to house a greater mix of students on Locust Walk. But after Hackney's refusal to move fraternities, people on and off the committee have speculated that the group will in fact have little influence on Hackney. They say richer and more powerful forces will shape his decision. And one Trustee said the board is likely to have the final say. "They've indicated that [diversifying the Walk] may be a Trustee decision," said Trustee Richard Censits, who is also president of the General Alumni Society. "The Trustees feel strongly that it is part of the overall planning of the University and that it is part of their role." Censits added that he thinks the Trustees will be open minded about ways to increase the residential mix along Locust Walk. But Hackney said that the decision rests solely in his hands, and that diversity on the Walk "is not a Trustee issue." He said that while he will consult with the board about financial and development aspects, the Trustees' role is not to determine what is best for campus life. He added he has "received much more pressure from on-campus groups" than from Trustees or alumni. Pointing to Hackney's stance on Walk fraternities, many of Hackney's critics say high-powered Trustees and wealthy alumni control the president. "It seems to me that . . . somebody is pressuring him," said Anthropology Professor Peggy Sanday, author of Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood and Privelege on Campus. "I'm sure it's the Trustees and somebody's getting to him . . . Anyway, this campus cannot be ruled solely by the Trustees. We're not a committee if we're ruled by a group of Trustees." But Myles Tannenbaum, who chairs the Trustees' facilities and campus planning committee, said the decisions Hackney has made thus far have not been influenced by Trustees. Tannenbaum, who is a Tau Epsilon Phi alumnus, said the administration makes the day-to-day decisions. But Tannenbaum said he could not predict what effect the Trustees -- many of whom are fraternity members -- will have on the president's final Walk decision. Both opponents and supporters of the Greek system have said fraternities are protected by Hackney for financial reasons. They say the money the University receives from current and former tenants of the Walk houses will persuade Hackney to keep Greeks in the center of campus. According to Censits, only alumni of Walk fraternities will enter the Locust Walk fray, because only they feel they have something to lose. "Others will look on this as hopefully the University trying to resolve and move forward on a major issue," said Censits, a Beta Theta Pi alumnus. Tannenbaum, who did his undergraduate and graduate work here in the 1950s, said alumni influence on the process is not limited to financial considerations. He said the administration values the advice of all alumni. "I think administration of the University for years to come has to consider alums in everything it does, but not because they're financially supporting the University," Tannenbaum said. "Emotional support is equally important." Members of the Council of Recent Graduates have expressed fear that their voices will not be heard on the Walk issue. Members complain that alumni are not properly represented on Hackney's Walk committee, and they said they are trying to find a way to make him hear what they think is best for the campus' heart. Hackney said he has heard from alumni on both sides of the fraternity issue, but that he is relying on the Walk committee to advise him.

Plagued by disagreement, Walk committee races time

(12/05/90 10:00am)

and ROXANNE PATEL Almost eight months after President Sheldon Hackney announced that he wanted to diversify Locust Walk, the committee set up to advise him is still struggling to get under way. Since it began meeting in September, the group has been bogged down by controversy over Hackney's appointments and over his charge, which took fraternities out of the group's scope. Discontent has disrupted negotiations within the committee itself and seeped onto campus. Throughout the process, the president and committee heads have said the panel is playing a vital role, developing a single voice out of the various opinions on campus. Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson said she is certain that the members can move beyond the current squabbles. But some committee members are complaining that the charge undermined their power and that the group only exists to pacify students and faculty. Whether people support the president or question his commitment to diversity on the Walk, they agree that if the committee is to make a significant recommendation, it will have to overcome this slow start. After a semester of meetings, there has been more conflict than consensus. Just five months before they are supposed to make the definitive statement on the future of Locust Walk, members say they are just now shifting into high gear. · Hackney established the committee last spring after announcing at the April University Council meeting that he wanted to change the mix of residences along Locust Walk to better reflect the diversity of the University as a whole. He said he wanted to open up the campus' main thoroughfare to students not involved with fraternities. While Hackney was universally lauded for his stance last April, he has since been attacked for what many people see as his lack of commitment to diversifying Locust Walk. Hackney's critics, including the leaders of the United Minorities Council, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and Faculty Senate, have accused him of restricting the committee's discussion by forbidding members to consider relocating the Walk's current residents. Hackney has also been accused of inflexibility for refusing to change appointments to the committee, despite criticism that the group does not represent the full range of people at the University. At least two committee members are still threatening to quit if Hackney does not allow them to discuss relocating Walk fraternities and if he does not add representatives to the committee. "The committee is a huge mistake," Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Vice Chairperson Elizabeth Hunt said last week. "If certain demands aren't met about the committee, then members are just going to get fed up and quit." GAPSA Chairperson Susan Garfinkel, a committee member, said she may resign because she is the only graduate student on the 25-person committee, which she says does not give an adequate voice to her constituency, which makes up more than half of the student population. "I told the committee [last Thursday] that I was 51 percent on the committee and 49 percent off," Garfinkel said last week. "I need to be assured that graduate student concerns will get equal consideration." Garfinkel has received support from faculty members, undergraduates, other committee members, and the Faculty Senate, which does not usually oppose the president so publicly. Faculty Senate Chairperson Almarin Phillips said last month that he has also considered resigning because Hackney's charge to the committee has left it too little leeway for discussion. "I feel uncomfortable serving on the committee with such a limited charge," Phillips, a public policy and management professor, said last month. "I am not committed to resigning. I am not committed to staying on." But Hackney said this week that he does not think the committee's composition should be changed. He said it is not meant to represent a "perfectly statistical analysis" of the University. "I picked people because they are in leadership positions. I'm satisfied with the make-up of the committee," Hackney said this week. VPUL Morrisson, who heads the committee with Mechanical Engineering Chairperson David Pope, said she does not think resigning is a very effective protest. She said that past student resignations -- including two black leaders who two years ago left the diversity education committee -- have been dramatic, but have had no effect on the groups' workings. Many other members echoed Morrisson's sentiments, saying they believe the group will continue to work regardless of who sits around the table. But several people have questioned how much weight the report would have without faculty or graduate input. Hackney said he has also stood firm on his decision not to move fraternities because a legal fights over the ownership of houses could delay the diversification process. He said he believes relocating them would divide the University community. "It would be a battle we don't need to have," Hackney said this week. Many University Trustees have voiced support for Hackney's stance on Walk fraternities. But Hackney's critics point to his stance on fraternities, which they say is in line with Trustees' wishes, as evidence that the president has sold out in his attempt to diversify the Walk. They say he is not willing to make sacrifices for diversity. Citing the restrictions Hackney has already put on the group's discussions, some committee members have questioned how much influence their findings will have on the president's final decision about the Walk. Many have said they are afraid they are wasting their time. "People on the committee are wondering if we decide to be open-minded and look at all the options, is he going to consider that part of our report?" said Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris. "A lot of people are going in there with the attitude that it doesn't matter what we say, he'll do whatever he wants." But the president said last week that he is depending on the committee to help him determine how to better represent the University community on Locust Walk. In fact, some people have suggested that the committee ignore any restrictions in Hackney's charge if it believes it has found a better solution. Black Inter-Greek Council President Kathryn Williams said the committee has an important function in advising the president of the consequence of his decisions. "I don't feel constricted by the charge," Black Inter-Greek Council President Kathryn Williams said. "We should do all that it is in our power to do. I don't think it really matters what the charge is, the president is going to do whatever he wants." "And whatever he does, we have a responsibility for him to know what it means," she added. Now, with only one more semester of meetings, students and faculty are questioning how carefully the committee will be able to fully examine concrete ways to diversify the Walk. "We don't have enough time," Harris said. "We will hand in a report, but it won't be as well-researched and thought-out as it could be." "Before you know it, six of the seven undergraduates will be graduating, and that will be it," Harris added. Morrisson, co-chairperson of the committee, said last week that the group will "have as many meetings as we need to" next semester in order to fully study the issue. She said she thinks the committee, which currently meets weekly, will be able to submit a full report to the president by its spring deadline.

Debate over houses turns into fight over legitimacy of frats

(12/04/90 10:00am)

and ROXANNE PATEL No one is surprised that fraternities are at the center of the debate over the future over Locust Walk. The 10 chapters have some of the most convenient, centrally located houses on campus, and they occupy the only residential sites on the Walk. But fraternity members say they have been shocked at the allegations and anger that the issue has aroused. They knew that anti-Greek sentiment had been rising for years, but the vehemence of the attacks was unexpected. In their attacks on the all-fraternity Walk, critics have charged that the chapters foster sexism, racism and violence. The system has been barraged with charges of sexual harassment, elitism, and rape. Although they knew their organizations would be central in changing the Walk, Greek members say the Walk dispute has caused the entire system to be unfairly criticized. What began as a discussion over housing has become a battle over the fraternities' place in the University community. · The linchpin of the Walk debate has been the claim that Locust Walk does not represent the entire University because its residents -- members of 10 predominantly white fraternities -- do not reflect the racial, sexual, and ethnic diversity of the University. These claims are accompanied by complaints by women and minorities who say they avoid the Walk whenever possible because they feel at best excluded and at worst physically threatened when they walk to work or class. Lydia York, who received a graduate degree from Wharton in 1987, said last week that because of the Walk's atmosphere, she consciously avoided the Walk at night and on weekends. "At night, Locust Walk takes on sort of a carnival atmosphere," said York, co-chairperson of a recent alumni committee on campus life. "I don't want to say I ever felt physically threatened, but I thought 'What if the boys get out of hand?' " "Personally, I think that something that important on the campus should be a little less threatening," York added. The anti-fraternity factions were given ammunition in 1987 with the release of a report of an ad-hoc committee on racial and sexual harassment. The study, dubbed the Berg Report, states that according to evidence obtained by the judicial inquiry officer and the Office of Student Life, fraternities were responsible for the majority of racial and sexual harassment charges. The report is still cited by a broad coalition of anti-fraternity groups as evidence that fraternities should be thrown off of Locust Walk. Additionally, in a report released this fall, the Committee on University Life noted that many student and faculty members had said they would like the fraternity system to be abolished. While the report did not take a position on the issue, it suggested moving the 10 chapters off Locust Walk. Anti-fraternity sentiments became markedly more vocal last spring, when a group staged an impromptu "Take Back the Walk" protest during a rally which protested crimes against women and minorities on campus. This vocal stance continued through last semester and into this fall. In a book published in August, Anthropology Professor Peggy Sanday increased anti-Greek ire with charges against the fraternity system and specific allegations of sexual harassment against some Locust Walk chapters. In October, she said that her aim in writing Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood and Privilege on Campus was to help remove fraternities from Locust Walk within 10 years. Prompted by concern over reports of fraternities' harassment of women, some University Trustees who are also fraternity alumni have gone to their houses and explained that sexist behavior will not be tolerated, according to Trustee Richard Censits. "Fraternities provide people with the opportunity to get together and be part of a group," said Censits, who was a member of Beta Theta Pi when it occupied the space where the Sweeten Alumni Center now stands. "They don't have the right to hurt or be rude or crude to anyone." In response to these charges, fraternity members have gone on the offensive this year, accentuating their positives to counter the claims that they are intolerent and violent. They say that as an organized campus group, they have the best opportunity to counter racist and sexist behavior. Several fraternity brothers said many groups do not give them credit for their community service and social awareness programming. Consequently, brothers say, when they fight for their houses on Locust Walk, they feel that they are also fighting for a place as a legitimate group at the University. Sigma Alpha Epsilon President Mike Feinberg said defending fraternities' place in changing Locust Walk and defending the Greek system are "two different issues, but in a way it's the same thing." "On the one hand, the issue deals with pluralism, but on the other hand, the people most vocal about diversifying Locust Walk . . .are very anti-Greek and they want to see the fraternity system abolished," he said. Interfraternity Council President Bret Kinsella said last week he feels the Locust Walk fraternities can help the process of building a new Locust Walk. "Fraternities are in a unique position . . . to facilitate the pluralistic goal," Kinsella said. "Fraternities should be integrated in the process because they are first and foremost students of this University. [They] should have the opportunity to participate in a pluralistic campus and should help construct a pluralistic campus just as any other student." IFC President-elect Jim Rettew said last week that he does not fully understand why people are intimidated on Locust Walk. "Sometimes, people say fraternities make them feel uncomfortable," said Rettew, the current IFC secretary. "In a way I understand, but in another way I don't. Some of the guys living on Locust Walk are physically big, but they don't mean to be intimidating." "Fraternities were founded for all the right reasons: brotherhood, honor, trust, fraternity," Rettew added. "Once people get to know us, they will be able to get past this 'intimidating' stereotype." Rettew defended fraternities' place on Locust Walk, saying the Walk is not completely homogenous. "A key to diversity is integration, and fraternities provide the best means of this integration through perpetuating diversified interaction under a common roof in a fraternalistic bond," he said.

Focus: Change won't come easily

(12/03/90 10:00am)

When the University turned Locust Street into a pedestrian thoroughfare more than 25 years ago, it hoped to bring together a campus that had an impersonal, commuter environment. It was a structural change designed to create a more peaceful and attractive setting, a single move that had broad support across campus. It was a simpler time, and the new Locust Walk reflected the University circa 1960: fraternities dominated the society and they dominated the new central corridor. In this homogeneous community, women and minority students did not have a powerful voice, and they were quietly confined to the periphery of the University. This time around, however, changing the center of campus has not been so straightforward. While people agree that the Walk must change to represent the new, broader spectrum of the University, they have become polarized over what should be done. The Walk discussion has expanded well beyond a single sliver of land between Walnut and Spruce streets. At stake is not only who will live on the Walk, but also issues of racism, sexism, Greek property rights and the role campus opinion plays in administrative decisions. These schisms have made it increasingly difficult for anyone to find a collective vision for the University community, and few of the conflicting groups seem willing to accept defeat quietly. Interest groups of every kind are clamoring about problems on campus, and unlike in the 1950s, the administration cannot resolve the complaints by closing a street. · The issues embodied in the Walk discussion have plagued the campus since women and minorities were first allowed to attend the University. But over the past 30 years, the issue has gained prominence as the number of women and minorities on campus has skyrocketed. Over the past year, Locust Walk, with its imposing academic buildings and 10 predominantly white fraternities, has taken on symbolic importance in the struggle for an open and tolerant environment. Since President Sheldon Hackney announced last April that he wanted the Walk to be more inclusive, the campus has been mired in controversies over the process. Only in recent weeks has Hackney's committee begun the nuts and bolts process of restructuring the center of campus. On one side, the fraternities see themselves struggling to retain the houses that are part of their histories. Members say that they have a legal and moral right to remain on the Walk, and they feel decades of anti-fraternity sentiment has created this the movement to kick them off the Walk. On the other, a loose coalition of groups representing female and minority students argue that their members deserve the same rights given to Greeks 25 years ago. The Progressive Student Alliance, a small but vocal group which sees fraternities as the embodiment of white male privelege, has taken the most extreme opinion, calling for wholesale fraternity eviction. Although they differ with the PSA's tactics and extreme demands, the other organizations, including the Women's Alliance, the Black Student League, the United Minorities Council and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance, side with the ultra-left-wing group on most issues. Outside all these groups lie the majority of the student body, in whose name the diversity cause is being undertaken. They cannot currently live on Locust Walk and have been almost untouched by the process. Under many of the plans discussed, they may remain that way. Hackney, who critics say advocated serious changes on the Walk last April then cooled his stance, has decided to pool the clashing groups together in a committee to find a moderate stance out of the maelstrom of conflicting ideas. From the beginning, the committee's membership has been called into question, as women and minorities, graduate students, faculty and alumni say they are not fairly represented and that Greeks carry too much weight. But at the vortex of the controversy is Hackney's charge to the committee, which only advises the president, in which he forbade members from considering moving Walk fraternities. Some committee members say they feel Hackney has tied their hands, and that it indicates that the president wants superficial, not substantial change. While they say the charge shows a change in the president's attitude, Hackney said yesterday he has remained true to his goals the entire time. He said he has always felt change could be accomplished on the Walk without moving fraternities. "I said it in public but it was not picked up," he said. Because of how he has handled the process, the president has been attacked from nearly every corner. Last spring, fraternities told him he was being too radical. This fall, other special interest groups are saying he is not willing to go far enough. Hackney said that he began the process because he wanted change. "The issue was not very visible when I found it," he said. "I decided we needed to do something about it. It was not in response to any outcry." The committee plans to report to Hackney at the end of the school year, but with only a fraction of the work behind them, the committee will have to scramble to meet the deadline. While the committee's chairperson, Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson, said she is heading towards a group consensus for the Walk, other members have expressed distrust and dislike for the system. At this point, few people are certain where the process is going or that it can yield a universally acceptable outcome. "One of the challenges [of the committee] is defining a vision," Morrisson said. "Here we're talking about a collective vision." As the second semester of "diversity on the Walk" comes to a close, there are still more questions than answers. People have rarely discussed in public many of the most crucial issues, including who owns the Walk, what is the role of the Trustees and what are the proposals being discussed. Before Locust Walk truly becomes reflective of the University community, the community itself will have to address these questions. While Hackney will make the final plan for the Walk, there is no guarantee that his mandate will put the entire issue to rest.

Focus: Walk's short history shaped by accident

(12/03/90 10:00am)

The atmosphere -- and the central location -- of Locust Walk is a relatively new creation. Less than 30 years ago, Locust Street was on the periphery of campus. And the atmosphere of Locust Street was far different from today's Locust Walk. Alumni fraternity members reminisce about routinely turning over the trolley cars as a prank. But in the past three decades, an attempt to expand the University westward has thrust Locust Walk to the center of campus more by luck than by planning. During the first five decades of this century, the campus was bordered by 36th Street. Several fraternities and sororities on Locust Street from 36th westward were as off-campus as today's Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Delta Tau houses on 40th Street. But expansions in both research and enrollment forced the University to move westward in the 1960s, as the Trustees began to execute a comprehensive plan to make the University into a residential rather than commuter school. The University closed Locust Street east of 40th Street in the early 1960s -- buying out almost every lot west of 37th Street, relocating many fraterities and sororities which would be too close to the new center of campus and razing boarding houses, restaurants and rowhouses. And as Locust Walk was closed off, the University's campus took on a new air. Instead of tractor-trailers and trolley cars running through Locust Street, Locust Walk's traffic was confined to pedestrian and bicycle traffic -- a move which created a more peaceful campus, alumni said. "You always had to be looking where you were going," 1959 Class President John Murphy said. "Now it is a more relaxed center of campus." But the fact that the University relocated fraternities and sororities to expand campus in the 1960s has made several fraternity members claim they have second-class status at the University, and fight to hold onto their houses this time. Fraternity members point to their wholesale eviction from Superblock and the Book Store site as evidence of University discrimination. The University's removal of the West Philadelphia residents living beside the Greeks led the residents to feel the same bitterness. "Historically, fraternities have been given second-class property rights from the start," IFC President-elect Jim Rettew said last week. "When the campus was farther east, fraternities were moved to Locust Street. More recently, with the addition of Superblock, fraternities and sororoties were relocated once again." Despite the presence of several academic buildings on Locust Walk, its position as the center of campus action has also fluctuated with the popularity of the Greek system. From the middle 1960s to 1980, undergraduate interest in the Greek system was at a low. A majority of the undergraduates sought their social life elsewhere, and membership in Greek organizations plummeted. Some undergraduates in the late 1970s described the Greek system as a non-entity on campus and said that a Greek social life was only one option among many. Despite the fact that Greek organizations represented less of the student body than they do today, there was no significant push to diversify Locust Walk until the movement gained force last year.

Focus: Everybody wants a piece of the Walk

(12/03/90 10:00am)

One thing has become clear after months of debate over Locust Walk: almost everyone wants more space in the center of campus. Hundreds of opinions have emerged from undergraduates, graduate and professional students, faculty and alumni about exactly what should and shouldn't be done with Locust Walk. Suggestions for changing the campus thoroughfare have included creating "senior honors" housing, first-year housing, special-interest housing, lottery housing and even abolishing housing all together. Plans for change range from moving the University Chaplain out of his house to building high-occupancy dormitories on the Book Store site. There has been consenus on a practical plan, and the number of ideas is matched only by the number of people involved in the discussion. They seem to agree only on a single point: Locust Walk needs to represent more of the University. · Many would-be architects of the new Locust Walk agree that a sense of community and sharing can be accomplished by restructuring the Walk, and that the whole University would benefit from such an arrangmement. But not everybody aspires to live on the campus thoroughfare. "Most people I talk to don't want to live on the Walk," Black InterGreek Council President Kathryn Williams said. "But when people come on the Walk, we want to show that there's a place for everyone." Women's Center Director Elena Dilapi also said that an ideal Walk would be a venue where everyone on campus would feel "equally welcome and desirable, both in terms of passing through and having an equal opportunity of residing there or being given the option." Interfraternity Council President Bret Kinsella, whose organization has been pitted against most others in the struggle to change the Walk, said last week that in an ideal Locust Walk people need space both to meet with people of other cultures and to immerse themselves in their own. "People by choice and by neccessity associate with peole with common backgrounds and common interests," Kinsella said. "At the same time the goal for a university is to expose its students to as many diverse. . .experiences as possible." "We have a unique opportunity [to work towards pluralism] not by undermining the diversity and the unique cultures but to augment them by exposure to others," he said. But Anthropology Professor Peggy Sanday, who wrote a book on the University fraternities' violent sexism, said that she would hold residents of Locust Walk to "their highest ideals" -- community, diversity, pursuit of knowledge, and international understanding -- and that living on Locust Walk is a privilege that residents must earn. Some people say they advocate housing that is dedicated to the average student in the form of lottery housing. History and Sociology of Science doctoral candidiate Lissa Hunt said that she would make Locust Walk "naturally diverse" and turn it over to the freshmen. "The freshman class is representative of the student body as a whole," Hunt said. "If the freshman class got to live in center their first year they'd get an idea of what campus life is really like." American Civilization doctoral candidate A.T. Miller suggested among several alternatives that Locust Walk take as its model the University of Virginia and create an honor lawn, where students would have to be participate in an honor society to take up residence there. But Miller said he was skeptical of attempts to move additional people on to Locust Walk. "Some of the ideas for bringing on more people just are silly, like taking over the chaplain's house or the Christian Association," Miller said. "]One idea is] to take the bookstore site as a dormitory site, but already we don't have a super-high occupancy. Building more dorms seems an odd idea." Alan Bowser, a former Trustee and co-chairperson of a Council of Recent Graduates' committee on campus life, said the long-term future should be considered heavily in allocating any space on Locust Walk. Several members of the committee formed to suggest changes to Locust Walk said that in order for more students to congregate on the Walk, more lounges in the various buildings would be ideal. Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Director Tricia Phaup said last week that a combination of uses for the space available would be the best use of Locust Walk, yet she would like to see some patio-type areas for congregating as well as more lounge space. Some people have suggested special-interest housing for Locust Walk, including space for an African-American house, a lesbian-gay-bisexual house, and a women's issues house. However, others question whether a substantial amount of special-interest housing would promote diversity over pluralism, since people next to each other might not interact. "I am much more interested by the idea of having a residential community diverse within themselves rather than a set of homogeneous groups next to each other but not interacting," Graduate and Profesional Student Assembly Chairperson Susan Garfinkel said last week. And while several people on campus say they would remove fraternities from Locust Walk, the diversity on the Walk committee's stance is to be "inclusive rather than exclusive." "I agree that we should be inclusive, but that 'inclusive' means anyone can join and not just rich white men," Miller said.

Sneaky Floyd follower wished you were there

(11/29/90 10:00am)

A College sophomore yesterday blared to the campus that he doesn't want Pink Floyd to be just another brick in the wall. The student, who asked to be identified only as Dan, pirated the Irvine Auditorium outdoor sound system yesterday afternoon, pumping 30 minutes of Pink Floyd songs to listeners for blocks around. Dan said yesterday that he wanted others to appreciate a music group that he truly loves. "I love Pink Floyd," the College sophomore, said. "I think more people should be exposed to it." Dan would not say how he managed to get his Pink Floyd albums over the air, but said it was not difficult. He added that once the music was broadcasting, he went down to Locust Walk to watch for reactions to the music. The music stopped a short time later when he said an "official-looking lady carrying a walkie-talkie" asked him to stop because President Sheldon Hackney and Ombudsman Daniel Perlmutter had received dozens of calls in complaint. Dan said the woman did not take his name. One student who heard the music said that she did not recognize it and that it completely confused her and everyone she saw. "My first thought was that there was an organ recital, but those are usually on Tuesday," College sophomore Jennifer Bakola said last night. "You could tell no one knew what was going one. Everyone's expression was kind of clueless." Assistant to the President William Epstein said yesterday that he heard the music coming out of Irvine as he returned to College Hall from lunch at 2:30 p.m. "I heard it start as I was walking across the street," Epstein said. "I thought, 'Gee, that's strange.' " Dan said that the confusion made the hijacking effort worthwhile. "I did it not so that I could listen to the music -- I have a nice stereo in my room," the College sophomore said. "I did it so I could watch people give weird looks at Irvine Auditorium from the Walk."

U. to close English House for repairs

(11/27/90 10:00am)

The University plans to close English House for the next academic year as part of continuing expansions and renovations in North campus. The 176-person dormitory will remain without residents as workers move the building's entrance from Chestnut Street to Sansom Street, rebuild the King's Court/English House dining commons, and remodel some English House facilities. The changes are designed to integrate the building with the changing landscape of North campus. The new campus center will be constructed at 36th and Walnut streets, and several other new buildings and restructurings are planned for the surrounding area. The renovations will help "give [the dormitory] more of a sense of being a part of the main campus," Deputy Vice Provost George Koval said yesterday. Koval said the Office of University Life has considered the renovations for the past two years but has not acted before now because of lack of funding. The closing is planned to facilitate massive Law School construction. University Life officials said performing the construction in conjunction with Law School construction will save the University money. The exact source for funding the changes to English House has not been found, Koval said. Koval and Senior Vice President Marna Whittington are working to find funding for the renovations. Koval declined to give the cost of the dormitory renovations, but the Trustees passed a resolution in October approving the renovations and recommending that the University spend approximately $593,000 in the project. According to the architecture's schedule, the English House renovations will begin June 1, 1991, giving time for Residential Living to move furniture out of English House rooms after students leave. Koval said that it will be easy to accomodate the 176 students who could live in English House next year in either Hill House, the Quadrangle, or the high rise freshmen project. Koval said the Office of Residential Living is not sure whether the high rise project would expand a floor due to the English House closing. Architectural plans for the renovations, which University Life officials received this week, call for the English House basement to be converted into a "ground floor," with the residences' dining commons and a new main entrance to Kings Court/English House at Sansom Street, Koval said. Currently, the basement of English House holds library space, computing facilities, laundry machines and the PSA commissary. The English House dining commons, which presently are combined with Law School dining services, are currently on the first floor. First-year students currently living in English House said that while they like living in English House now, they are excited about next year's renovations. "If you close [English House] and make it better, the benefits are greater than the loss of people not living here," Engineering freshman Elizabeth Whitehall said. And College freshman Anne Hyson said that even though she does not feel cut off from campus living in English house, she knows other people feel her North campus residence is far from the center of activity. "I feel like I can get to campus fine," Hyson said. "Others don't think North campus is very close."