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Editorial | Understanding the DP's coverage of campus, donor reactions amid violence in Gaza and Israel
Student newspapers capture student life through a distinct lens. No third party is better suited to uncover and report on the student perspective behind breaking events on campus than students themselves, particularly during times of controversy.
Three weeks ago, former Penn rowing coach Ted Nash was accused of sexual abuse by filmmaker Jennifer Fox. Although Fox was never a student at Penn, her allegations fall into a larger conversation about sexual assault and institutional complacency at Penn.
Dear Class of 2027,
A supermajority of undergraduate and graduate resident advisors filed to unionize on March 14. The move from the group of RAs, collectively called the United RAs at Penn, comes after months of organizing and a wave of unionization efforts that have been sweeping the nation, Philadelphia, and the Penn community in recent years.
Editorials represent the majority view of members of The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. Editorial Board, which meets regularly to discuss issues relevant to Penn's campus. Participants in these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on related topics.
The University’s next president, M. Elizabeth Magill, has the resume necessary to become the next great leader of Penn. Set to assume current Penn president Amy Gutmann’s role this July, Magill will take the reins of a university that has seen a rapid expansion in endowment, groundbreaking research, an increase in socioeconomic diversity among its student body, and the construction of numerous prominent campus facilities. But Penn has also seen tensions between Greek life and students of color, recent changes in University leadership, and pushback from Philadelphia officials and community members — all while navigating a ruthless pandemic.
At Penn, 2022 will bring more than just the start of a new calendar year. It will mean the departure of longtime University President Amy Gutmann, who was nominated as the next United States ambassador to Germany. Gutmann's successor will have big shoes to fill. The search for her successor is already underway, with students, faculty, and trustees having various degrees of input and influence.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration announced an expansion in eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans age 18 and older. Penn students may soon have easy access to such vaccines; earlier this week, Penn's Chief Wellness Officer, Benoit Dubé, told The Daily Pennsylvanian that Penn plans on offering COVID-19 booster shots in the coming weeks.
In a recent Daily Pennsylvanian article, students reported month-long waits to meet with a Counseling and Psychological Services counselor. Especially for people calling CAPS for the first time, this long wait time is what one student called the “most discouraging thing in the world.” Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé suggested that students take greater advantage of CAPS walk-in services (like walk-in hours and Let’s Talk), but many students aren’t aware of these services. Walk-in hours (and most other CAPS services) are distant from the heart of campus, as CAPS' office is on Market Street. Let’s Talk brings counselors to common student gathering places, but the hours and locations change depending on the day of the week, making it difficult for students to know where and when they can get immediate help.
This time of year, Penn students are selecting classes for the spring semester. During their selection process, students may consider a plethora of factors, including the timing of course meetings, difficulty and instructor ratings given on the Penn Course Review website, and courses required to complete major or school requirements.
Last week, sprinklers in Lauder College House went off, leading to a full building evacuation and the displacement of 12 students. Only 11 days prior, a similar sprinkler-induced evacuation displaced 23 students from Harnwell College House, forcing them to wait outside for hours in the middle of the night and damaging personal belongings. These leaks and evacuations come during Penn’s first year of requiring all sophomores to live in on-campus housing — a policy that continues to face criticism for the cost it imposes on students.
Next Tuesday, voters in Philadelphia and across the state will head to the polls to cast their votes in the 2021 elections. A variety of positions are up for re-election: district attorney and city controller for Philadelphia alone.
Historically, Penn students have looked to breaks as times of relaxation. This year, however, not all students have been able to truly enjoy their time off. This past fall break, numerous students reported that assignments, exams, and papers with due dates just after the break have prevented them from properly taking advantage of their class-free schedule, instead being bogged down in academics.
There are a handful of traditions that are synonymous with Penn: throwing toast at football games, Spring Fling, and perhaps most notably, Hey Day, where soon-to-be seniors march down Locust Walk with canes and are officially declared seniors by the University president. The celebration, which normally takes place during April of one’s junior year, was postponed to the following fall for the Class of 2022, and it will be held on Oct. 13.
Update: On January 31, 2023, the Municipal Court of Philadelphia found that the individual accused of engaging in the alleged assault described in this article, Nicholas Hamilton, was not guilty of any misconduct. Further details of the DP’s coverage of that individual’s exoneration can be found here.
The return of in-person classes has meant many things for Penn's student body, most of them positive. However, one subgroup of students cannot always fully participate in on-campus activities. Last week, numerous students with physical disabilities reported accessibility problems on campus, such as with academic buildings, housing, and extracurriculars. This is not the first time the University's students with disabilities have felt excluded from campus culture, as students with disabilities such as autism and deafness have also reported challenges in navigating campus.
On Tuesday, College Dean Paul Sniegowski sent an email to students saying that Penn is optimistic the fall semester will be conducted in person. An in-person semester is certainly welcome news for Penn’s student body, many of whom expressed excitement when it resumed last month.
On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, The Daily Pennsylvanian Editorial Board wrote in part, “In another 10 years, students at Penn will have no firsthand memory of that day, no recollection of the sorrow and solidarity that followed … It is for this next generation that we pause for remembrance on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. We must leave them a record that conveys the momentousness of the event and imparts the lessons we’ve learned.”
This fall, students returned to campus, many experiencing it for the first time. For some, one of the benefits of an in-person learning experience is access to exercise facilities, including Pottruck, Penn’s numerous grassy plains, and Penn Park.