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State ponders bill that would open U. records

(07/11/91 9:00am)

HARRISBURG -- While a closed-door joint committee hammers out a new state budget, one state senator has proposed that lawmakers use their extra time to speed consideration on a bill which might affect policies on public disclosure of the University's budget. However, Senator Chaka Fattah (D-Philadelphia), who is the minority leader of the Senate Education Committee which is currently considering the bill, said that full House and Senate debate of the measure would probably wait until fall. He added Monday that the final bill will most likely not include the University. The current proposal would apply to both the eleven state aided schools, such as the University, and the state related schools, including Pennsylvania State University and the University of Pittsburgh. "We'd prefer not to be in it in the present form," said Assistant Vice President for Commonwealth Relations James Shada yesterday. "It's early at this point since the Education Committee has not met on the bill, and we hear second- or third-hand that there will be changes on the bill." Fattah said he also expects the bill to be amended, excluding state related schools, or those institutions which receive less than five percent of their total budget funding from the state. "I think it puts universities at a competitive disadvantage," Fattah said Monday. Fattah said the proposal acts as a "disincentive" in many university procedures, including faculty hiring and recruitment. Under the proposed law, faculty salaries would become public knowledge, making competitive bargaining with potential recruits difficult. Although he said the same arguments can be made for keeping budget information private for state related schools, the larger state funding appropriations these schools receive may, in the eyes of lawmakers, justify making the information available to state taxpayers. In calling for faster consideration of the bill, Stapleton cited the recent public disclosure of a multi-million dollar retirement package and $700,000 in low-interest mortgage loans offered to outgoing University of Pittsburgh president Wesley Posvar by Pitt trustees. The scandal has touched off a round of state investigations conducted by state Auditor General Barbara Hafer.

Taxing process keeps U. waiting

(07/11/91 9:00am)

HARRISBURG - The wait itself has been taxing, but not nearly as taxing as the proposal which may finally be under discussion in private state budget talks. For weeks, lawmakers seemed to intentionally avoid the sensitive tax issue through protracted spending discussions and partisan squabbling. But when 10,000 state workers went without paychecks last Friday, it became clear the budget "problem" had escalated into a crisis while legislators enjoyed the July 4 holiday. "No one wants to stop addressing spending and address the major issues," said House Minority Leader Matthew Ryan (R-Delaware Co.) as he entered Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer's (R-Blair) third-floor capitol office for Monday afternoon's discussions. "What I got [in last Wednesday's caucus] is that the Republicans are holding things up, not agreeing with the budget we had passed and the tax plan we had passed," local Representative Harold James (D-Philadelphia) said. However, according to House Appropriations Committee Chairperson Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), a "tax menu" was served to those seated around the bargaining table, based on Governor Robert Casey's original tax proposal. Like his spending plan, Casey's tax proposal is likely to undergo drastic changes. The governor's original spending measures called for a $18.6 million cut in the University's state appropriation, while a recent House of Representatives proposal stood at a level $5 million below last year's funding amount. According to Evans, large cuts to non-preferred institutions like the University will "more than likely" not change. Yet until dozens of House and Senate votes in favor of a tax hike materialize, even that money is in doubt. "I think it is safe to assume you're getting nothing absent non-preferred tax funding," said House Education Committee Chairperson Ronald Cowell (D-Allegheny), adding that he would vote in favor of a tax increase. "I think that a tax increase is inevitable if we're going to be responsible about our obligation," he said. Lawmakers said discussion of taxes outside of negotiations -- much less a final budget vote -- will not occur until at least next week, although a large voting session has been scheduled for tomorrow. Meanwhile, University lobbyists continue knocking on legislators' doors despite the fact the budget is now largely out of their hands. "There's a great deal of waiting, of being in the vicinity, of showing a presence, of being available if there are things to respond to," said James Shada, the University's Assistant Vice President for Commonwealth Relations. "This is a unique time of year."

Freedom, peace will be celebrated on Green July 4

(07/03/91 9:00am)

While many thrill to the rockets' red glare of fireworks this Independence Day, some on campus will instead pause to remember bombs bursting in air over Iraq earlier this year. Members of the groups said Monday that the event was planned because they are "appalled" by what they consider to be blind patriotism fueled by victory in the Gulf war. "We felt that people are missing the point here," said Travis Parchman, a member of the Delaware Valley Student group and Youth Act for Peace and Justice. "The day that we celebrate our independence on July 4 shouldn't just be the day to celebrate that we kicked butt." David Gibson, staff coordinator for the event and a member of Act for Peace in the Middle East, said there is another reason for the event. "It should be fun," he said. Calling the event "the only true alternative to military victory parades" televised nationally recently, Gibson said he hopes over 500 participants to turn out for the festival. He added that everyone is welcome regardless of their political opinions on the Gulf war or "whatever side you came down on on the military," but indicated the event would include some of the lingering debate over the war and its effects. "We feel that either way, there should be more attention given to the victims," Gibson said. "And a victory parade is sort of in bad taste." "We have to temper our celebrations with the injustice that we have foisted on other people in the world," Parchman said. But Parchman also indicated he expects the event to receive a warm reception at the University. "It seems like an appropriate place to create an alternative celebration," he explained. Scheduled performers at the event include Neo Pseudo, Joseph Parsons with Karen Lynn, Soweto Soul, Weasel Stick and Beth Williams. Organizers said they are planning a barbecue as well as providing vegetarian entrees. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 12 midnight Thursday on College Green. 'The day that we celebrate our independence on July 4 shouldn't just be the day to celebrate that we kicked butt.' Travis Parchman Member of Delaware Valley Student and Youth Act for Peace and Justice

Freedom, peace will be celebrated on Green July 4

(07/03/91 9:00am)

While many thrill to the rockets' red glare of fireworks this Independence Day, some on campus will instead pause to remember bombs bursting in air over Iraq earlier this year. Members of the groups said Monday that the event was planned because they are "appalled" by what they consider to be blind patriotism fueled by victory in the Gulf war. "We felt that people are missing the point here," said Travis Parchman, a member of the Delaware Valley Student group and Youth Act for Peace and Justice. "The day that we celebrate our independence on July 4 shouldn't just be the day to celebrate that we kicked butt." David Gibson, staff coordinator for the event and a member of Act for Peace in the Middle East, said there is another reason for the event. "It should be fun," he said. Calling the event "the only true alternative to military victory parades" televised nationally recently, Gibson said he hopes over 500 participants to turn out for the festival. He added that everyone is welcome regardless of their political opinions on the Gulf war or "whatever side you came down on on the military," but indicated the event would include some of the lingering debate over the war and its effects. "We feel that either way, there should be more attention given to the victims," Gibson said. "And a victory parade is sort of in bad taste." "We have to temper our celebrations with the injustice that we have foisted on other people in the world," Parchman said. But Parchman also indicated he expects the event to receive a warm reception at the University. "It seems like an appropriate place to create an alternative celebration," he explained. Scheduled performers at the event include Neo Pseudo, Joseph Parsons with Karen Lynn, Soweto Soul, Weasel Stick and Beth Williams. Organizers said they are planning a barbecue as well as providing vegetarian entrees. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 12 midnight Thursday on College Green.

Wharton leaders will try to help city out of financial jam

(07/03/91 9:00am)

A former Wharton administrator and a former Wharton professor are beginning their work as appointees to the state's newly created Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, trying to obtain bonds for a city judged a risky investment by many. Carol Gassert Carroll, a Wharton graduate and eleven-year University administrator, and Bernard Anderson, a Wharton graduate and fourteen-year faculty member, were appointed to the five-member board last month. The Authority was created to oversee Philadelphia's budget plans during the city's current fiscal crisis and help assure outside lenders of the goverment's stability. But the board is empowered to withhold millions in state funding from Philadelphia if it is dissatisfied with the city's fiscal progress. Carroll was the first official named to the authority, when she was appointed by State Senate Democratic Floor Leader Robert Mellow in early June. Carroll served as a Wharton administrator from 1974 to 1985. She received her MBA from the school in 1980 and served as the Director of the school's Executive MBA Program. She currently directs Schulco, Inc., a computer training and consulting company based in West Conshohocken, PA. It was from this position that she met Senator Mellow, when her firm was responsible for computer in his Harrisburg office. In a press statement released last month, Mellow said that Carroll is "uniquely qualified to serve in this critically important position." Bernard Anderson is the other member on the five-person council with ties to the Wharton school. A Wharton doctoral graduate and a professor 1969 to 1983, he was named to the Authority last month as Governor Robert Casey's appointee. Anderson, an urban economic expert, said last month that Philadelphia's fiscal problems will be around for a long time to come. "It's a problem that has built up over time," Anderson said. "It's been exacerbated by the reduction of federal assistance." Anderson described a city that is still undergoing a painful long-run transition from a manufacturing to a service economy, while in the short run facing the effects of the national recession and its effects on employment. As if to indicate Philadelphia's frailty before this recession, rates of employment started to decline in Philadelphia over six months prior the rest of nation, Anderson said. He also said the recession has meant a soft real estate market due to a lack of businesses to fill the buildings popping up along Philadelphia's skyline. And on the horizon, Anderson said research indicates that employment growth in the suburbs is likely to continue outpacing growth in the city, but that the gap between the two may eventually narrow.

Admins. say state budget standoff jeopardizes U. funding

(07/03/91 9:00am)

The state lost most of its authority to spend money this weekend when the midnight Sunday deadline for passage of a new state budget came and went without any consensus on controversial tax and spending issues. Should state lawmakers fail to pass a budget or some interim spending measure before they recess for the long July 4 weekend today, many state workers will go without paychecks this Friday and any budget agreement will be delayed until next week. Although the impasse does not immediately affect the University, which is paid quarterly by the state, it does little to relieve administrators' fears that there could be massive cuts in the school's state appropriation when a budget is finally passed. Administrators say they are optimistic, however. The state House of Representatives passed a spending proposal early last month which reinstated $13 million in funding from the $18.6 million in cuts proposed by Governor Casey last February. But, while still meeting in committee to discuss budget issues, the Senate has refused to consider the House spending bill on the floor until the representatives also come up with an appropriations bill to pay for their plan. Since that will almost certainly mean large tax increases, legislators are in little rush to debate such a proposal. Pressure to keep tax hikes lower could cause the legislature to reconsider cutting the University's appropriation dramatically, a possibility that continues to worry University budget officials. "It's the largest [tax increase] the state has ever faced." said Director of City and Commonwealth Relations Paul Cribbins on Monday. "If that falls apart, we could be out there." Cribbins and Assistant Vice President of Commonwealth Relations James Shada have continued to take turns lobbying in Harrisburg recently, although the budget process has mostly become a slow waiting game while lawmakers meet in closed-door sessions. A break in the negotiations could come at any time, and Cribbins said they are constantly talking with legislators to get a sense of whether any progress is being made. "A lot of it in the last week is sitting around and waiting," Cribbins said Monday. "You never know when something is going to happen and you need to be up there." Despite the delay, Cribbins said he is still hopeful the University will receive state funding equivalent to last year's levels -- which would mean an additional drop of $5 million in cuts from the House's proposed budget. But he is still not taking the current proposal for granted. "Anytime you're in negotiations it's possible to have things taken away," Cribbins said. "We certainly don't consider that money is there."

House aims to drop U. cuts by $13 mil.

(06/13/91 9:00am)

The new budget would reduce the cuts in the University's state appropriation levels proposed by Governor Robert Casey earlier this year from an $18.6 million reduction to apporoximately a $5 million cut. The House proposal returns all Veterinary School funding removed in the governor's budget, and reinstates much of the money cut from the University's instructional, medical and dental funding lines. Administrators universally expressed pleasure and relief over the proposal this week, but were quick to stress they are not taking the proposal for granted and are continuing efforts to increase the University's state appropriation. The new plan is far from set in stone. The proposal sent on by the Democrat controlled House has already met some resistance in the Republican controlled Senate, since the House plan did not include a tax proposal to fund the budget. Even officials familiar with state government are refusing to estimate when the budget process will be finalized, or even if it will be completed by the mandated June 30 deadline. "In order for all this to happen they need not only a budget, but a tax plan to fund it," Senior Vice President Marna Whittington said Tuesday. "So I think we have a long way to go." Earlier this year, administrators developed a comprehensive plan to deal with the governor's proposed $18.6 million cuts, which included reducing faculty and staff by 300 positions, freezing all capital projects and asking Trustees for a $6 million deficit. Yet, although it now seems likely the University will not have to take the drastic measures planned in the event of an $18.6 million shortfall, those measures have not been revised or updated to reflect the new proposal. "We will be going through all this a hundred times if we do that," Provost Michael Aiken said Tuesday. He did nonetheless indicate that restoring academic programs potentially frozen under the emergency plan is a high priority. Both Aiken and Whittington said the University's top priority would be to use additional appropriations to avoid the $6.7 million deficit the executive committee of the Trustees approved for the coming fiscal year. Veterinary School Dean Edwin Andrews expressed some relief over the proposed reinstatement of the school's appropriations, but indicated that his feelings were still somewhat mixed. Andrews said the new proposal offers the same appropriation as last year, without any increases to compensate for inflation. He added that even with the restoration of the funds, other fiscal pressures, including inflation, have Vet School administrators looking for ways to cover an expected $2 million shortfall next year. "It's not like we're fat cats," Andrews said Tuesday. "We're very lean, in fact." Andrews said that he and the constituents of the Vet School will continue to lobby Harrisburg as they have in the past. "Until it's a done deal you're always at risk in this game," Andrews said. "I don't think we're taking anything for granted at all."

Ex-Wharton prof to serve on state committee

(06/13/91 9:00am)

Anderson, an expert in urban economics, is one of five representatives on the newly-formed board. The other four members have each been appointed by the Democratic and Republican leaders in both the state Senate and House of Representatives. These appointees include Carol Carroll, a businesswomen who also has ties to Wharton as a former administrator. The newly-created authority will oversee Philadelphia's finances on the state's behalf, as the city attempts to recover from its current fiscal crisis. A Philadelphia native, Anderson currently manages the Anderson Group, a Center City consulting organization that he started last month. "I have lived in Philadelphia all my life so I definitely have a vested interest in the city and its future," Anderson said this week. Anderson spent fourteen years as Professor of Industry at Wharton after receiving his doctorate in business and applied economics from the school in 1969. He left the University in 1983. From 1987 until this May, Anderson served as managing director of the Urban Affairs Partnership in Philadelphia. He said this position afforded him a chance to study economic forces driving the economic decay of the city he still takes great pride in. In the meantime, before the authority's work begins, Anderson said he considers his appointment is a "high honor" -- one which Governor Robert Casey evidently feels he deserves. "I am delighted a person of Bernard Anderson's experience and stature would assume this very challenging and very important assignment," Casey said in a statement issued Monday. "He brings with him a depth of expertise and insight that will be most valuable to the board in its deliberations."

Speaker retracts 'slander'

(06/13/91 9:00am)

On October 25, 1990, Julianne Davis, the National Endowment for the Arts' general counsel, spoke to an audience of 50 on the topic of "Art, Money, and Politics -- The NEA Under Fire." But it was Davis herself who was soon under fire. In November, the American Family Association, charging that the speech was filled with "vicious and malicious falsehood," filed suit against Davis, asking for more than $100,000 in damages for statements Davis made in the speech. In a court-approved agreement reached in Philadelphia's U.S. District Court on May 28, Davis avoided a trial and possible payment of damages by pledging "not to engage in any further publication or utterance" of the contested statements. In her speech at the Law School, Davis spoke at length about the AFA, a conservative political group based in Tupelo, Mississippi that staunchly opposes the NEA's funding of controversial artists such as Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe. In an effort to describe the AFA's efforts against the NEA, Davis referred to a magazine article she had read from Mother Jones magazine. The article, however, actually referred to an ultraconservative religious group entirely separate from the AFA. "The American Family Association . . . is simply a direct mail political action committee." Davis said in her speech, misattributing material from the aricle. "And it has a 24-point political agenda it would like to see obtained by the year 2000 . . . it includes the elimination of democracy, elimination of public schools, [and] advocates that astrologers, adulterers, blasphemers, homosexuals, and incorrigible children be executed, preferably by stoning." As part of the recent settlement, Davis was also required to write letters of retraction to the Law School and Wharton School, and a letter of apology to the American Family Association. "It was not a major issue around here," Law School Dean Colin Diver said Tuesday, acknowledging that he had received and distributed the retraction. "Although it was probably a major issue for the AFA and Davis." Though the court case is now settled, the dispute between the NEA and AFA is far from resolved. Squabbling between the two groups made headlines last week in Washington, D.C., where the NEA is based. On June 4, the AFA issued a press release in which AFA leader Donald Wildmon trumpeted the group's settlement with Davis. The NEA quickly responded with a statement of its own, stating that the AFA press release misinterpreted court testimony and settlement documents on five points, and was "so factually flawed it is near fiction." Although the groups continue to publicly differ on what the settlement stipulates, both sides insist the court case is settled. But the underlying ideological disputes are not likely to end soon.

Temptations star dies at HUP over weekend

(06/06/91 9:00am)

An hour of emergency efforts by doctors at HUP failed to revive the singer, who was an original member of the 1960's group The Temptations. After becoming ill from smoking ten vials of crack with a friend early Saturday morning, Ruffin was transported to HUP from a 52nd Street West Philadelphia crack house by the driver of a stretch limousine which Ruffin and the friend had borrowed for the evening. The case is now being handled by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's office. While still awaiting results of additional toxicology tests, the medical examiner has labeled Ruffin's death an accident arising from an "adverse reaction to cocaine." According to HUP spokesperson Rebecca Harmon, the hospital's ability to deal with the national media attention generated by Ruffin's death was tested by the unusual circumstances surrounding Ruffin's death. HUP's policies regarding the release of patient information contributed to the confusion. "He was like a John Doe to us," Harmon said Monday. New questions have since surfaced about a missing $40,000 Ruffin was reportedly carrying on the night of his death. According to police, Ruffin was carrying only $53 when he arrived at the hospital. Neither the friend Ruffin smoked crack with nor the driver of the limousine that transported Ruffin to HUP has been charged with any crime, after police questioning. Ruffin was the baritone lead singer for the Temptations in the 1960s, and had continued to record and perform with original members of the group up until his death. Ruffin had lived in Philadelphia since 1989.

Searches for SAS, Nursing deans still underway

(05/30/91 9:00am)

By the end of the summer -- in a period of just over a year -- a clean sweep of the deans from all four undergraduate schools will have taken place, if all goes according to schedule. Last summer, Dean Gregory Farrington took the helm of the Engineering School while Dean Thomas Gerrity stepped in to fill the shoes of ex-Wharton Dean Russell Palmer. This summer, School of Arts and Sciences Dean Hugo Sonnenschein will leave to assume his new post as Princeton's provost, while Nursing Dean Claire Fagin will step down from her position to become president of the National League of Nursing and a member of the faculty. However, permanent replacements have yet to be named for either of these posts. Lawrence Bernstein, head of the SAS dean search committee, previously indicated his committee would step up its search after the end of finals, and there are now some indications the group will be meeting with President Sheldon Hackney to discuss its progress. "We keep hearing rumors, but that's all we've heard," said Linda Koons, executive assistant to the provost. Koons said the provost also met with the Nursing dean search committee several weeks ago, but said nothing new has been heard since. But word on the Nursing committee's progress is still at least two to three weeks away. Meanwhile, SAS Associate Dean Walter Wales will take the helm of SAS as Acting Dean on Saturday. Wales said yesterday that he has not received any timetable for the new dean's selection, but is interested in finding out how long his term as acting dean will last in order to plan for the fall. "I was given little indication at all," Wales said yesterday. The continuing debate over whether the school should choose its new dean from the University community or from the outside may be a factor in the search's progress. To some extent, Farrington and Gerrity demonstrate the differences between internal and external selection. Prior to their selection, Farrington had eleven years experience at the University, while Gerrity was appointed from his private sector post at Index Group, an information consulting firm. Both deans' short tenures have been relatively uneventful, although Farrington's previous University experience may have made his transition somewhat easier. "I think the first year is always difficult because there are so many things you have to learn so quickly," Koons said. "I think in that way it might have been easier for Farrington than Gerrity, but then it might be easier not knowing because you don't have any presumptions."

Mayoral primary results may bode well for U.

(05/23/91 9:00am)

The University may face a peculiar 'win-win' situation after Tuesday's Democratic and Republican primaries. While the elections required that a majority of the city's mayoral hopefuls face defeat in their quest for party bids, the two victors may also be winners for the University. Only two candidates could hope to emerge from the shakeout at the polls, and it was Republican candidate Frank Rizzo and Democratic hopeful Ed Rendell who walked away with the nominations from their respective parties. This may be good news for the University since both candidates have pledged that their fiscal plans for Philadelphia will not require difficult tax hikes, and both have promised to take a tough stance on city crime. In addition, Rendell is a 1965 University graduate who has worked his way from vice-president of the undergraduate student government to the post of District Attorney for Philadelphia. Many think the winner of this year's mayor's race will become responsible for rescuing the city from its financial crisis. The University stands to lose much in this process if the wrong candidate is elected. Possible bail-out plans involving revenue raising and belt tightning might be problematic for the University. Measures might include increases in real estate taxes, the introduction of user fees for city services the University currently receives for free, or decreases in Philadelphia police protection of surrounding area. Any of these could impact heavily on both the University's fiscal and living environments. Administrators seem to realize the importance of this mayor's race. President Sheldon Hackney even took time out of his commencement greeting Tuesday to urge Philadelphia residents in attendance to vote in the primaries. But administrators are quick to stress that they are more interested in what a mayor might offer the city than what a mayor would offer campus. "I think of all the qualities we need is one which will bring constituencies in the city to work together," Senior Vice President Marna Whittington said yesterday evening. Whittington said, as a spectator, she was surprised by Rizzo's late victory over Republican frontrunner Ron Castille. "We're not looking for a mayor who will just help us," she added. Staff writer Christine Lutton and the Associated Press contibuted to this story.

Sea of graduates sets sail from U.

(05/23/91 9:00am)

From above, it may have appeared as if a raging river had emerged on Tuesday morning and completely hid Locust Walk from view. The seething black current slowly wound its way from Superblock through a half-mile course, with its end flooding into Franklin Field. Closer inspection would reveal the black tide to actually be the University's most recent graduating class, flowing toward commencement ceremonies accompanied by bagpipers and an endless rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance" by the First United States Army Band. Even closer scrutiny would show that the graduates expressed their individuality and sense of humor by decorating their caps. One senior made a last ditch attempt to find a job before graduation by taping the message "4 HIRE" on his mortarboard. Another graduate attached a scale architectural model to his mortarboard. Many taped on an assortment of Greek letters, peace signs and "I MADE IT" messages to distinguish themselves from the masses. The news anchor's speech focused, however, on the Defense Department's restrictions on journalists throughout the Persian Gulf war. Koppel said that although the public may not always find the products of a free press attractive, continuation of such restrictive alternatives to this system could be far more disturbing. President Sheldon Hackney's annual greeting to graduating seniors attempted to strike a balance between the recent "political correctness" movement and the traditional European scientific and creative thought which he said was developed by "DWEMs," or "Dead White European Males." He cited a recent "Doonesbury" comic strip featuring a university president whom Hackney said resembled the past president of an institution "we regularly demolish right here on this field." In the cartoon, the president offers a commencement speech which strives so hard to be politically correct, by editing out all non-P.C. language, that it only says, "Thank you and good luck." Hackney argued that the goal of universities should not be to "transform students," as both the old and the new movements on campus might dictate, but rather to offer students tools to transform themselves. In addition to recognizing the achievements of the University's current graduating class, Provost Michael Aiken conferred seven honorary degrees, including one on Koppel.

Teaching award choices for SAS will be delayed

(05/17/91 9:00am)

The committee charged with choosing winners of the School of Arts and Sciences prestigious Ira Abrams teaching award has recommended the award not be presented this year. However, SAS officials say the choice is probably only delayed and the committee is reconsidering its decision -- which will now be over a month late. The Ira Abrams Awards for Distinguished Teaching are the school's highest teaching honor and include a $1,000 prize. The winners are generally named in mid-April. The four-person committee failed to recommend any of this year's five faculty nominees in its report to SAS Dean Hugo Sonnenschein last month. The decision has led to speculation that nominees were not sufficiently qualified for the honor. An official in the dean's office denied such speculation and said the committee, made up of three faculty members and one undergraduate, will meet again later this month. According to College junior Lara Nicolayevsky, the committee's student representative, the group has met only once. She also said the committee's decision not to recommend winners had nothing to do with the quality of the nominees. The three faculty members who are on the committee -- English Professor Peter Conn, Chemistry Professor Madeleine Joullie and History Professor Bruce Kuklick -- would not comment on their report or future meetings. Conn said, however, that he would probably be out of the country when any additional meetings take place. Sonnenschein said he had only "casual contact" with committee members, but said outside pressure or divided opinion among committee members may have led to the decision to hold further meetings. "The possibility of them coming up with a name at this point is not precluded by what they said to me before," Sonnenschein said. "But I'm not suggesting that they will." Nicolayevsky said the report's recommendation arose from questions over what the award represents, rather than concerns about the candidates themselves. "There were a few question we were asking that prevented us from making a decision," Nicolayevsky said. "But it's not a reflection on the candidates themselves." "We were asking questions about the award and what it should represent," she added. "I guess it hasn't been rehashed in a few years." Nicolayevsky said the committee's discussions were confined to a lunch meeting which took place after each member had separately reviewed recommendations and teaching records of the five professors nominated for the award. The SAS dean's office solicited nominations in early February. Last year's recipients, Physics Professor Walter Wales and German Professor Horst Daemmrich, would not speculate on the delay, saying they were unaware of the decision-making process for this year's awards. Wales, however, did say he was "surprised" that winners have not been named.

Study shows a minority at U. are starstruck

(04/25/91 9:00am)

When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter is aligned with Mars, University affiliates can hope to enjoy a peaceful day in all aspects of love, career and relationships, says a report published in this week's Almanac. Well, not exactly. The four-page report, written by Molecular Biology Emeritus Professor Robert Davies and Astronomy and Astrophysics Professor Robert Koch, states that only 17 percent of those sampled at the University professed to some belief in astrology. The study also reports that only nine percent of the respondents said they make plans based on astrological predictions. And of all 561 responses used in the survey, only two respondents qualified as "true believers," or persons who said they believe in astrology and consistently plan and act on those beliefs. A questionnaire used in obtaining the report's statistics was published last fall in both the Almanac and The Daily Pennsylvanian. The survey was also administered to the second-year class of the Medical School, students in the General Honors course "Infectious Diseases," and three introductory level astronomy classes. The report offers breakdowns of the responses by age, ethnicity, religion, gender, position at the University, home school and education level. Of these, the report cites 31 to 40 year olds, blacks, Christians, males, staff members, employees of the Vet School, and those who have only a high school education as the groups showing the highest percentage of belief, although in no case did a majority in any category express belief. The authors of the survey said that they were surprised by many of its findings, including the number of 31 to 40-year-olds who professed a belief in astrology. "An explanation that is worthy of further investigation is that these people determined their beliefs during the '60s, when they were younger, when they were high school and college students," Davies said yesterday. "In the '60s there were all these sort of way out, avant-garde beliefs." The authors, "as scientists and citizens," listed two primary reasons for conducting the survey. First was the "common knowledge that in recent times certain national leaders did act on the basis of astrological predictions." But Koch would not confirm last night whether the "national leaders" mentioned in his study were former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy. "I think that's a plausible conclusion," Koch said. "But there may be others." "I don't want to tar anybody's name," he added. The second reason behind the study was to compare current beliefs at the University to a similar study conducted 20 years ago. But Koch said the study proved to be only marginally useful in gauging changes in student's beliefs in astrology. By comparing their data to a report conducted on graduate students at the University 20 years ago, Koch and Davies concluded that there was probably little change over two decades in graduate students' beliefs in astrology. These beliefs were held by a minority of graduate students in both studies. Other findings showed that University students show less belief in astrology than 1200 people contacted in a recent Gallup poll, which found that 25 percent of Americans surveyed believed "that the position of the stars and planets can affect people's lives."

Vet School researcher files grievance

(04/24/91 9:00am)

A Veterinary School researcher is waiting for the ruling of the Faculty Senate's Grievance Commission in a tenure complaint she filed last year against the University, professors involved in the case said this week. Ann Jeglum, a researcher who was once chief of Oncology in the Vet School, has recently finished the hearings stage of her tenure grievance process and is awaiting a final decision from the panel overseeing her case. Jeglum's first tenure bid was rejected during the summer of 1989. Jeglum did not leave the University until February 15, however, and is now working in a West Chester veterinary clinic. Citing confidentiality restrictions, she has repeatedly declined to comment under the advice of legal counsel. Associate Orthopedics Professor Gail Smith yesterday confirmed that Jeglum's grievance is one of two investigated by the commission over the past year, and said he was called to testify in hearings for the case. Citing confidentiality restrictions, Smith declined to comment on his testimony in the case or reveal whether he testified on behalf of the Vet School or Jeglum. Grievance Commission Chairperson Kenneth George announced at the Faculty Senate's annual plenary session last week that the commission finished hearings in a case two weeks ago. The hearings began last April. The case is one of only two cases under consideration by the commission this year. History Department professors said this week the other, accepted by the commission just three weeks ago, is that of Assistant History Professor Hilton Root. George said he expects a decision soon because faculty on the grievance panels generally do not like extending their work over the summer. While at the University, Jeglum spent more than five years -- funded by the American Kennel Club -- researching new treatments for certain forms of canine cancer, as well as treating animals in the Veterinary School's Small Animal Hospital. Veterinary School Dean Edwin Andrews could not be reached for comment on the grievance yesterday. Calls to his office were referred to Veterinary School spokesperson Helma Weeks, who said she was unaware of the grievance but would look into the case.

Hackney, Aiken dominate Senate plenary discussion

(04/18/91 9:00am)

It may have been the faculty's dime, but President Sheldon Hackney and Provost Michael Aiken did most of the talking. The president and provost finally offered their long-awaited answer to faculty budget concerns and allegations of unrestricted administration growth at the Faculty Senate's annual plenary session yesterday afternoon. The once-a-year convergence of faculty serves mainly as a chance for faculty to catch up on the previous year's work of the Faculty Senate and its numerous committees. However, the major focus of this year's meeting were speeches by the president and provost on the financial "cloud over higher education," in Aiken's words. Debate was limited, but more outspoken faculty members used the session as an opportunity to expound on issues of academic freedom, faculty oversight of school budgets, the University's image, the length of faculty judicial complaints, and the president's latest draft of racial harassment policy. Although the Senate took no votes, a quorum of just over 100 faculty members attended this year's plenary. However, that number had dropped to less than 50 by the end of the two-and-a-half hour long meeting. The $18.6 million proposed cuts in the University's state appropriation and the recent scandal surrounding Stanford University's accounting for indirect research costs comprised some of the concerns raised by administrators and faculty at the meeting. Recent reports by Faculty Senate committees have also heightened fears over future salary and benefit increases, as well as the future of academics at the University. One of the reports targets growth in the administration's unrestricted budget over a period of twelve years while faculty size remained nearly constant. Hackney started by calling the administrative growth study a "serious attempt" with "quite laudable" analysis of several areas of the budget. But he proceeded to question the validity of the study's conclusions, citing what he considered to be several major flaws. Hackney attributed much of the rise in administrative budgets to funding increases for libraries, financial aid, computing, security and regulatory compliance in areas of toxic waste disposal and laboratory animal care -- increases either required by law or which contribute to the work of faculty members. He also criticized the study for only considering the University's unrestricted budgets -- funds not locked into particular programs -- and also for not including clinician educators, an atypical segment of the faculty which nonetheless achieved the greatest growth of any faculty group over the last twelve years. By including restricted budgets and clinician educators in his analysis, Hackney arrived at a figure representing a small percentage gain in the faculty's budget allocation. "No runaway administration lurking here, I think," Hackney said. Bioengineering Department Chairperson Soloman Pollack, chairperson of the committee that authored the report, said the study has been both praised and panned, but defended it as an accurate, relevant look at budgetary effects on the daily life of faculty. He said that prior to 1982, similar statistics place the faculty growth ahead of the administration. The resulting turnaround has altered the quality of scholarly life, he claimed. The provost's address dealt mainly with the effect of state cuts on the University. The University plans to absorb proposed cuts through the use of the provost's subvention fund, temporarily ending a program to supplement faculty salaries. As in the past, the provost stressed that the measures are designed to protect the University's academic core through use of a $6.7 million deficit and cuts to the administration.

Study: Grad students targets of sex harassment

(04/17/91 9:00am)

The Ombudsman's latest report on campus sexual harassment again cites graduate students as the most vulnerable target, representing 12 of the 16 cases reported to the office. The report, published in yesterday's Almanac, is a further elaboration of a report released early this year. It tallies the 16 sexual harassment complaints reported directly to the Ombudsman's office, as well as 26 other complaints forwarded to the office by outside agencies. Of the 16 cases reported to the office, 15 were filed by students. The new report offers some new information but few details on the 42 sexual harassment complaints filed between July 1, 1989, and June 30, 1990. It instead describes common themes among complaints and characterizes situations where individuals have felt sexually harassed. The report singles out graduate students as "the members of our community most vulnerable to sexual harassment." "In their student role they rely on close relationships with one advisor or at most with a few mentors to develop professionally for what they hope will be their life's career," the report states. "The student is almost entirely dependent on the faculty member's judgements, evaluations, and references, both during the years of University experience and thereafter on the job market." The summary also repeats previous statements that the complaints resulted in letters of reprimand, salary freezes and at least one case of expulsion for offenders. Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Vice Chair Elizabeth Hunt said last night both GAPSA and the Graduate Student Associations Council frequently hear stories of sexual harassment from graduate students. "I think sexual harassment is a problem pretty much limited to graduate students and it is, at this point, somewhat a byproduct of the thesis-writing professor-student relationship," Hunt said. "Professors are notorious for abusing that." She characterized sexual harassment as one of the more disturbing abuses of the professor-student relationship, but said even asking students to do menial chores such as feeding parking meters or babysitting constitutes a form of harassment. Hunt said she hopes for the appointment of a graduate student advocate for students to turn to in these instances. She said such an advocate would help balance the power professors wield over the students they advise. "Just because you're an apprentice doesn't mean you're a galley slave or a bedroom slave or any-other-type-of-room slave," Hunt added. University regulations describe sexual harassment as "any unwarranted sexual attention" that either "involves a stated or implicit threat to the victim's academic or employment status; has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's academic or work performance; and/or creates an intimidating or offensive academic, living, or working environment."

Profs hope for large plenary turnout

(04/16/91 9:00am)

For years, the plenary session of the Faculty Senate has thirsted for better attendance from professors and better issues to rally them around. Organizers of this year's session are hoping that the dry spell will break when the faculty meet tomorrow in College Hall. Faculty Senate leaders are pulling out all the stops in their attempt to improve attendance. Worries over the future of faculty incomes and concerns about unmatched administrative growth are two issues being used by faculty leaders to motivate professors to show up. The leadership hopes to play off the fears of some faculty that their apathy may translate into smaller income increases in the future and are arguing that attendance will pay beyond time spent at the meeting. One of the issues that will probably be raised is a recent faculty report which suggests a dramatic growth in the administration during an era when faculty size remained constant. The Senate Executive Committee has charged administrators with ignoring the University's "academic component." Another recent report that might be discussed is one on the economic status of the faculty. The report cited inflation worries and the University's budget crunch while raising the possibility of a decline, in real terms, of faculty salaries. Both President Sheldon Hackney and Provost Michael Aiken have been invited to speak and field faculty questions on both those issues. But if the past is any guide, they may address a small audience. In recent memory, attendance at faculty plenary sessions has hovered at a scant 100 out of nearly 2000 standing faculty members. The leaders have historically tried to sell professors on the argument that they are passing up a once-a-year opportunity by not attending. It is an argument that, in the recent past, rank-and-file faculty have not bought. "Last year it was just a bit over a hundred," Faculty Senate Chairperson Almarin Phillips said yesterday. "I hope it's a bit more this year." The most remarkable plenary session in the memory of many faculty members happend over a decade ago, and had little to do with salary issues. At that meeting, over 600 faculty members attended a heated plenary session to protest moves to close several University schools, as well as a decision of then-President Martin Meyerson's and his provost to name themselves University professors. Since then, however, attendance at the plenary sessions has dropped dramatically, and the gatherings themselves have proved increasingly forgettable. In hopes of reversing the downward slide, faculty leaders decided several years ago to hold plenary sessions once each year instead of the customary once per term. This ploy has, for the most part, failed. Although this year's plenary will not offer the same level of drama as the watershed gathering a decade ago, faculty leaders still hope several budget issues, which could affect professor's paychecks, will encourage faculty to show up in greater numbers. "We said [this session is] about the salaries -- and if faculty aren't interested in that, we don't know what to say," said Faculty Senate Chairperson-elect Louise Shoemaker. The poor attendance record has caused difficulties for faculty who do attend the sessions and wish to vote on proposals introduced during the meeting. A quorum of 100 faculty is required for binding votes on issues raised at the session. Even though voting on issues at the plenary session is permitted only after a quorum call -- a count to verify that the necessary 100 faculty are present -- the procedure is often ignored. In the past, faculty have intentionally avoided making quorum calls in order to permit voting at sparsely attended meetings. On other occasions, individual faculty members have made quorum calls to prevent votes they expect will contradict their personal views. Should all else fail, however, organizers say faculty votes can still be conducted by mail. Although topics of discussion for the plenary have already been outlined, exactly what will be said at the meeting is still unclear. "I think it will be very difficult to segregate the economic status part from the administrative cost part," Phillips said. "I don't have any intention of trying to segregate the discussion." Provost Michael Aiken returned from a trip to France yesterday, where he was delivering a scholarly paper. A meeting of the provost's planning group scheduled today may be part of his presentation tomorrow. At last week's University Council meeting, Hackney said he disagreed somewhat with data cited in the Faculty Senate's report on the size of the administration. Officials in the president's office could not be reached for comment yesterday. The faculty plenary session is scheduled for 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, in College Hall room 200. The meeting is open only to faculty and invited guests.

34 depts. hiring too few women

(04/16/91 9:00am)

A faculty report to be published today states that 34 University departments are delinquent in hiring women, and faculty leaders said yesterday that they are moving to establish a faculty committee to oversee hiring procedures. The report, which appears in today's Almanac, also states that the Nursing School is delinquent because its faculty contains no men. The report is based on data in the provost's report on affirmative action hiring practices. According to the Finance Professor Morris Mendelson, who chaired the committee that drafted the report, the most recent data represents little change from statistics reported in the past. "[There has been] no deterioration, but no significant improvement either," said Mendelson. "It still calls for something to be done." Committee members have, however, begun circulating a proposal outlining a plan that would have a Faculty Senate committee help oversee affirmative action hiring procedures. The proposal has been sent to Provost Michael Aiken and to school deans for comment, and may be implemented as early as next fall, according to Faculty Senate Chairperson Almarin Phillips. Phillips, an ex-officio member of Mendelson's committee, said yesterday that the new proposal outlines procedures for a Senate committee to oversee hiring in all University schools. Phillips said the affirmative action concerns arise over "quantity, not price," saying that while females are not hired in the same numbers as males, they are still paid the same in general. "We have really good evidence now that there is not across the University discrimination in salary between men and women," Phillips said. "I don't mean by that there aren't situations where discrimination is a concern, but it's not a pervasive problem." Despite the problems in hiring females, Faculty Senate Chairperson-elect Louise Shoemaker praised the administration for their efforts in equalizing faculty salaries. "The provost, I must say, has really gone to bat for women when salaries are too small," Shoemaker said. "But what we're concerned about is that the number of women is still so small." "Some departments seem to hire quite a few men and women and some of the men make it through tenure and the women don't," Shoemaker added. The report lists 11 departments with no women on their standing faculty. These departments are Astronomy, Geology, Mathematics, Accounting, Statistics, Bioengineering, Systems, Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, Fine Arts and Animal Biology in the Veterinary School. It also lists 11 departments with no tenured women faculty members. These departments are American Civilization, Music, Oriental Studies, Philosophy, Slavic Languages, Insurance, Management, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science and Clinical Studies in the Dental School. And the study lists 12 departments that have only one tenured woman on their faculty. These are Classical Studies, German, Religious Studies, Physics, Decision Sciences, Finance, Health Care Systems, City Planning and Basic Sciences in the Dental School.