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Profs blast U. for Marrow case

(12/11/97 10:00am)

The investigation into the University's handling of football star Mitch Marrow's academic eligibility will wrap up either tomorrow or Monday, when the four-member committee examining the issue will report to Provost Stanley Chodorow. But even as that work concludes, a group of professors criticized the University's handling of the investigation, lambasting the disclosure of Marrow's personal information and the lack of any public statement from Penn officials about the situation. "Unless the administration steps in, it is possible that this incident could have far-reaching implications for students and faculty throughout the University," eight professors wrote in a letter to University President Judith Rodin which was printed in the December 9 Almanac. In the last week of the football season, Athletic Department officials reportedly discovered that Marrow, a fifth-year College senior and a top NFL prospect, had dropped two courses early in the semester while suffering from mononucleosis. This left him enrolled in only two classes, dropping him to part-time status and making him academically ineligible to compete. Shortly thereafter, Marrow tried to enroll in an independent study with History Professor Beth Wenger, who turned him down on the advice of History Undergraduate Chairperson Bruce Kuklick and History Department Chairperson Lynn Lees. When Marrow then sought an independent study with Legal Studies Professor Kenneth Shropshire, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Rescorla disallowed the course, overturning Director of Advising for the College Diane Frey's initial approval. The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported the story on November 27. It is not clear how the newspaper learned of the situation. The letter to Rodin in Almanac criticized the public discussion of Marrow's academic record, including his grade-point average, which was printed in the Inquirer. The release of such information "violates [a] fundamental responsibility of faculty members to students, and in this case puts an academically vulnerable student at great risk for public humiliation," the letter said. Marrow said last week that he was considering suing Kuklick for his role in disclosing the story to the Inquirer, accusing the History professor of tipping the newspaper to the story. Kuklick has denied the charge. Yesterday, Marrow's attorney, Arthur Marion, refused to discuss the story, blasting The Daily Pennsylvanian's coverage thus far as "outrageous" and one-sided. The letter in Almanac also urged the University administration to support Shropshire's decision to grant Marrow an independent study, saying the Legal Studies professor -- who is also the University's faculty representative to the NCAA -- was within his rights to do so. "Dean Rescorla's disallowing the course and his decision to launch an investigation leaves open the inference that Professor Shropshire acted improperly and outside his discretion as a faculty member," the letter said. "The University had an obligation, we believe, to state in a timely and public manner that Professor Shropshire acted appropriately and properly." In a response also printed in Almanac, Rescorla stressed that his decision was based on purely administrative grounds. The letter was signed by Social Work professors Howard Arnold and Peter Vaughan, Education professors Vivian Gadsden and Howard Stevenson, English professors Houston Baker and Herman Beavers, Microbiology Professor Helen Davies and Sociology Professor Antonio McDaniel.

Professors rush to Kuklick's defense

(12/08/97 10:00am)

Mitch Marrow accused the History professor of being anti-Semitic and biased against athletes. Is History Professor Bruce Kuklick, as football star Mitch Marrow alleges, biased against Jews and athletes? With the University's internal investigation into Marrow's academic eligibility expected to wrap up this week, campus is abuzz with the athlete's personal attacks at Kuklick -- not over Marrow's possible violation of NCAA regulations, which could lead to the Quakers forfeiting much of their season. But several of Kuklick's colleagues insist that the charges should not be allowed to deflect attention from the more serious issues raised by the investigation. The University is looking into the circumstances behind Marrow's attempt to enroll in an independent study course with Legal Studies Professor Ken Shropshire last month during the last week of the football season. Marrow, a fifth-year College senior, had been enrolled in only two courses for most of the season, making him a part-time student and thus ineligible to play college sports. Kuklick, the History undergraduate chairperson, and History Department Chairperson Lynn Lees had rebuffed Marrow's earlier attempts to enroll in an independent study with first-year History Professor Beth Wenger. Marrow's course with Shropshire was approved by College of Arts and Sciences Director Diane Frey, but her boss, College Dean Robert Rescorla, overturned her decision. Last week, Marrow, who is Jewish, told several newspapers that Kuklick's involvement in the controversy arose out of his anti-Semitism and bias against athletes. Marrow's charges of anti-Semitism stem from a 1995 confrontation during which Kuklick accused him of plagiarism and allegedly made an anti-Semitic remark to Marrow. Marrow refused to describe the comment to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Though Kuklick has declined to comment specifically on the situation or on Marrow's allegations, last night he obliquely refuted the charges of anti-athlete bias in a conversation about his love of sports. "Did Bart Giamatti hate athletics because he kicked Pete Rose out of baseball?" he asked. "I love athletics, but I hate its corruption." He spoke proudly about his nephew Brian Kuklick, 21, this year's starting quarterback for the Wake Forest University football team and a second-team Atlantic Coast Conference all-star with NFL prospects. Kuklick described Brian as one of his family's "pride and joys," and said they spent the day together on Thanksgiving -- the day The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported his involvement with Marrow's eligibility question. Marrow accused Kuklick of tipping the Inquirer to the story, a charge the professor has denied. "There's a family joke between my brother [Brian's father, Glen Kuklick] and me that there are two different games -- one is called football, and the other is called Ivy League football," he joked. "I spend a lot of time defending Ivy athletics to them." Kuklick, who studies recent American history, won national honors for his 1991 book, To Everything a Season, about Philadelphia's now-dismantled Shibe Park baseball stadium and the city's relationship with its sports teams. And while Kuklick offered his love of sports as proof against an "anti-athlete bias," several of his colleagues blasted Marrow's charge of anti-Semitism as a red herring. In an e-mail to a Daily Pennsylvanian reporter, History Professor Tom Sugrue described Marrow's charges as "bizarre." Sugrue said Marrow and his attorney, Arthur Marion, hoped to deflect attention away from the Athletic Department with their "inflammatory rhetoric." Wenger stressed that charges of anti-Semitism "should not be allowed to serve as a trump card," adding that she was disturbed to see the issue used as a "pawn." Members of a four-person panel investigating the Athletic Department's handling of Marrow's eligibility have refused to comment on their work. With very few people who know anything about the situation willing to discuss it, Marrow's charges easily took the spotlight last week. But the panel will probably not even examine how the story came to light, according to University spokesperson Ken Wildes. Kuklick's involvement in the situation is not likely to be discussed in the report, he said. The real issues, Kuklick's supporters say, deal with academic integrity, not bias. Even if Kuklick does bear personal grudges against Marrow, Wenger, Lees and Rescorla all said or implied the History professor acted properly in denying Marrow's request for an independent study with Wenger. But Kuklick's colleagues were quick to defend him against Marrow's charges of anti-Semitism, no matter how irrelevant they insisted the charges are to the investigation. "To see a man like Bruce Kuklick, who's a strong supporter of Jewish history and has nothing but the best relationship with Jews on campus, [the accusation of anti-Semitism] is painful," Wenger said. "It is crucial for those of us interested in combating anti-Semitism when it does exist to protest loudly when accusations of anti-Semitism are unjust and unfounded," she added. Hebrew Lecturer Nechama Sataty, an Israeli Jew, has known Kuklick since she stayed at his house 20 years ago as a graduate student in American history. She said Marrow's claims had "absolutely no validity," and that Kuklick and his then-wife, History and Sociology of Science Professor Henrika Kuklick, accepted Sataty as part of their family. "[Kuklick] is a humanist," she said. "He never would utter any derogatory remark or anything even close to the notion of an anti-Semitic remark to anybody," she said. Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Tammy Reiss contributed to this article.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin visits Penn

(10/31/97 10:00am)

Outside the Museum, supporters and protesters squared off on the issues. and Beth Garstkiewicz As Penn officials feted Chinese President Jiang Zemin inside the University Museum yesterday afternoon, boisterous crowds of onlookers, supporters and protesters gathered on the streets outside to let Jiang -- and each other --Eknow what they thought of it all. Signs assailing the Chinese government's record on human rights vied for the attention of passing motorists with waving red Chinese flags. By the time Jiang's motorcade arrived around 6 p.m. -- two hours after the first protesters set up their pickets -- the competing slogans and chants had blended together into a noisy, spirited chaos that nearly drowned out the traffic on Spruce Street. About 80 people gathered near the Chemistry Building at 33rd and Spruce streets in an Amnesty International-led protest of Jiang's visit and the University's new management training program for the Chinese government. "Penn is still educating slave holders," read one sign. "Yo! Penn! Wake Up!" was spelled in red and blue letters on another. "If we were in China, we'd be in jail by now," said a third. But in what is becoming a common phenomenon during Jiang's U.S. tour this week, the president was largely shielded from his challengers. More than 40 Philadelphia and University police officers -- acting on U.S. Secret Service orders -- had helped move the Amnesty group away from their original spot across the street from the Museum's main gate long before Jiang showed up. And the motorcade sped past the throngs of people on both sides of the street, leaving the crowd a bit disappointed that no one got a longer glimpse. "It's very, very frustrating," said College senior Joshua Marcus, an organizer of the protest. "If we were there, he could hear us," he said, pointing toward Franklin Field. Across the street from Marcus' group -- closer, in fact, to where Jiang's motorcade drove by -- about 80 cheering supporters said they were there to welcome the president of the world's most populous nation. "I don't want for him to be alone," said Engineering sophomore Hua Zhu, whose family moved from Beijing to Louisiana about five years ago. "I'm here to show some kind of support." Waving a Chinese flag, Zhu had no comment on the issues being raised on the other side of the street. But a first-year Chemistry graduate student, who lives in Beijing, said American protesters "overemphasize the Tibet issue." "People need to go to Tibet to see the truth," he said. He was interrupted by the one moment of incivility, when a protester yelled across the street, "Fuck your fascist flags!" Protesters cited a wide variety of issues drawing them to the scene, from torture to Tibet to Tianamen Square. A group of Taiwanese students, who stressed that they weren't affiliated with any University club, said they were simply there to emphasize Taiwan's right to independence. "Human rights is not our point," said Roger Finn, a fourth-year Mathematics graduate student, trying to distinguish his group from the other protesters. "We're just here to say, 'Taiwan is not a part of China'." Meanwhile, Marcus emphasized his disgust with Penn for agreeing to provide $250,000 of training to the Chinese government through Wharton and the Graduate School of Education -- free of charge. "As long as this program exists, I will not donate a dollar to Penn," he said, adding that he hoped faintly that the protest would convince the University to drop the program. "It's hard not to expect to be disappointed with the Penn administration, but you never know. Even Judith Rodin understands that torture is wrong."

Possible assault reported to police

(08/29/97 9:00am)

University and Philadelphia police are investigating a possible sexual assault against a female student early August 28 in the basement of the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The 28-year-old Veterinary student was found lying semi-conscious, with her hands bound, on the floor near the women's locker room in VHUP between 7:30 and 8 a.m. August 28 by an exterminator under contract to the University, said Lt. Ken Coluzzi of the Philadelphia Police Department's Sex Crimes division. Though they had very little information, police said other students should not fear for their safety because of the incident, and that they could not confirm that an assault had definitely taken place. "Whatever happened was directed at this specific individual and was not any random action," Public Safety Managing Director Thomas Seamon said. Since the woman was found early last Wednesday morning, police have interviewed building contractors, school personnel and Veterinary School classmates to try to determine what actually happened in the basement locker room. "[The woman] remembers absolutely nothing," University Police Detective Tom King said. "It makes [the investigation] very difficult." The same student had reported another possible assault to University Police in May, and has reported some threats since then, Seamon said. University Police -- including the Victim Support unit --Eand the PPD's Sex Crimes division, as well as unspecified other law enforcement agencies, have been investigating that incident since May, and have been in close contact with the student, said Director of Police Operations Maureen Rush. The student was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital August 28 and listed in good condition with minor bruises on her wrists and minor cuts, Coluzzi said. She was also tested for evidence of sexual assault, which Coluzzi called standard procedure in possible assault cases involving women. Hospital officials expected to release her on the night of August 28, and police would not say what the tests had revealed. Although police do not have a suspect in the assault, Coluzzi said they are investigating the possibility that the assailant is the same person involved in a similar incident last spring, when the same woman was found semi-conscious in a woman's bathroom of the Veterinary Hospital. "It would be strange that this would have happened to her twice by two different people," he said. "The possibility exists that it's the same person. The likelihood that it's two [assailants] is slim." After the first incident, the woman reported that she received threatening mail, an allegation that the FBI is investigating. The FBI refused to comment on the investigation, but a spokesperson explained that local police often take advantage of the agency's resources to help solve certain cases, including those involving threats. Since the incident, the Veterinary Hospital has drawn flak from critics claiming that lax security may have allowed an assailant to enter the building and assault the woman. But Spectaguard Assistant Vice President Gesi McAllister insisted that the hospital's security is adequate, noting that all after-hours visitors are supposed to have their identification checked by a guard at the main entrance, while another guard roams the hospital. The incident and a report in the Philadelphia Daily News claiming that just about anyone could enter the building without being questioned have led Spectaguard to change its policy so that building visitors must now be questioned at all times of day, McAllister said. Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Ian Rosenblum contributed to this article.

Former President Sheldon Hackney to return to Penn

(04/22/97 9:00am)

After four years as director of the National Endowment for the Humanities, former University President Sheldon Hackney will return to Penn's History Department this fall. In a letter to President Clinton yesterday, Hackney announced that he will resign from the NEH when his term ends in August. Hackney, who served as University president for 12 years, left Penn in 1993, when Clinton nominated him to head the agency, which funds research and projects in history, cultural studies and other humanities disciplines. "It's been an exceedingly interesting experience," Hackney said last night of his time in Washington, D.C. "I'm delighted that I did it, and I appreciate the president giving me the opportunity to serve." Hackney said he had wanted to return to teaching -- and to the University -- and decided that the timing was best right now. He plans to begin in the fall, though he has not yet worked out specifics. "We're absolutely delighted to welcome Sheldon back to Penn and Philadelphia after four years of exemplary service," University President Judith Rodin said in a prepared statement yesterday. Hackney presided over the NEH at a time when the agency faced frequent crises. Shortly after his arrival in the capital, the new Republican majorities in Congress targeted the NEH and its counterpart, the National Endowment for the Arts, for elimination. The NEH weathered the attacks in 1995, though it did suffer cuts in funding. But it still has not entirely escaped possible elimination, as both Democrats and Republicans in Washington are striving to trim the size of the federal budget. "I came at an extraordinary time in the life of the NEH, since the 'culture wars' were raging," Hackney said. "So I spent more time than I would have liked to have spent telling the NEH story to Congress and the public." The White House had not yet released Hackney's letter to Clinton last night, but an NEH statement yesterday praised his tenure, saying he "moved the agency forward in a number of areas." Hackney noted that he was particularly proud of his work on the "National Conversation on American Pluralism and Identity," a three-year project that gathered thousands of Americans to discuss questions of identity and America's future. The agency recently wrapped up the project, awarding the last grant and airing a film on PBS. But he said he is excited to come back to Philadelphia. "Penn is a place I love," he said. "Being part of the University community again is actually thrilling." History Chairperson Lynn Lees said Hackney will likely teach a History 200 seminar, open primarily to majors and upperclassmen. He may also team-teach a course on gender in the American South during the Civil War with History Professor Drew Faust, coordinator of the Women's Studies Program. Lees praised Hackney's skills as a teacher and a scholar, and said the History faculty looks forward to his return. A specialist in the American South, Hackney's long experience has given him expertise in higher education as well, Lees noted. Last night, Hackney said he hopes to teach a class on American identity, building on his work in Washington. The timing of Hackney's announcement complicates matters slightly for the fall, Lees said. Advance registration is already over, and the University will soon send out materials to incoming freshman so they can register over the summer. If Hackney is assigned to the two courses, the department will publicize information on both when students return in September, Lees said. When he left Penn in 1993, most observers looked back favorably over his 12-year term as president. But even Hackney noted -- before Rodin was chosen as his successor -- that the next administration would face financial and organizational challenges, foreseeing cuts in government funding.

Students robbed at gunpoint

(04/01/97 10:00am)

A man with a gun followed two students into their house at 40th and Baltimore last night. Armed with an automatic weapon, a man followed two University students into their house at 4015 Baltimore Street last night, robbing them of $53 and a PennCard. Five of their roommates were home during the robbery, but none of them realized what was happening until afterwards. According to College sophomore Chris Page, he and College sophomore Lindsay Fletcher biked home from Van Pelt Library at around 10:30 p.m. Page opened the front door to their house and held it, while he and Fletcher put their bikes in a storage room immediately to the left of the door. The suspect walked through the front door, pushed Page into the darkened storage room with Fletcher, and pulled out a black handgun. He threatened to shoot the two students if they did not turn over their money to him. Page gave him $50, and Fletcher gave him the $3 she had on her, Page said. The suspect then demanded Page's PennCard and took it before leaving. "He said the reason he took my PennCard was so if the police came looking for him, he could find me and kill me," Page said. Before he and Fletcher went inside, Page had looked out at the snow falling on Baltimore Street, but didn't see anyone until the robber came in after him. The suspect had his hood wrapped around his face and was soaked from the snow, preventing the victims from getting a good look at him during the incident. College sophomore Tracy Tripp, who also lives in the house, was sitting in the first-floor kitchen during the robbery. She said she heard Fletcher saying something, but didn't realize until later that she had been talking to the robber. The victims' four other housemates -- including 34th Street Editor-in-Chief Doree Shafrir, a College sophomore -- were also home, but heard nothing. "No one had any idea," Tripp said, adding that Shafrir had just learned of the robbery at 11:05 p.m. and that a seventh housemate who was not home was still unaware. "I'm going to be nervous coming home," Page said. "But there's not much I can do. I am surprised he came into my house, though." University Police Sgt. Thomas Rambo said officers from Penn and the Philadelphia Police Department's 18th District are investigating the crime.

LCE closes Smokey Joe's for liquor violations

(03/26/97 10:00am)

This article appeared in the joke issue. This article appeared in the joke issue.Agents raided the bar last night, citing 54 for underage drinking. They permanently revoked Smoke's license. In a raid that will mean the end of a "Pennstitution," Pennsylvania Liquor Control Enforcement Bureau agents shut down Smokey Joe's Tavern early this morning, citing 54 students for various infractions, arresting two employees and revoking the bar's license to serve alcohol. Owner Paul Ryan said he would not appeal the loss of his license, and that Smoke's would close permanently by tonight, after more than 40 years near Penn's campus. He will concentrate all his energy on running Smoke's sister bar in Villanova, Pa. "It's been a good run, but it's time to throw in the towel," he said. University Police officials asked the LCE raid, according to Director of Operations Maureen Rush. She warned that students could expect an "almost constant" LCE presence on campus for the rest of the year, with agents spot-checking every fraternity party at least two times to prevent fraternities from charging entrance fees. Last night, the LCE agents burst through the doors at Smoke's shortly after 12:30 a.m., pushing past Tim Krug, the bouncer on duty, and encircling the main bar. After announcing the purpose of their raid, agents asked everyone in Smoke's for identification. Of the 213 patrons last night, 54 were under the legal drinking age. They had all showed fake identification or "VIP" cards at the door to get in, said state police Sgt. Joe Lyle, who heads the LCE squad that busted Smoke's. When the agents realized how many underage drinkers were in the bar, they arrested Ryan and Krug and confiscated the bar's liquor license. Students at the bar last night said the raid caught everyone by surprise. "It was utter chaos," said College freshman Stacey Bloomberger, who is 18-years-old. "Cops were running around everywhere, beer was spilling, people were shouting? I tried to sneak out the door, but I fell when I was climbing over the pinball machine on my way out." Bloomberger said she showed a VIP card belonging to 1995 College graduate Matt Maloney when asked for identification at the door last night. Lyle said LCE agents were shocked by the number of underage drinkers in the bar, since Smoke's uses an elaborate system involving a video camera to verify IDs. But copies of the video tapes from the past week -- including last night's tape -- obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian show a wide range of unusual activity captured, suggesting that the usually tight security at Smoke's may have lapsed recently. Sunday night's tape, for example, indicates that none of the 78 patrons who entered that night showed any ID at the door. On the tape, University President Judith Rodin's 15-year-old son Alex Niejelow is seen entering the bar, then leaving three hours later, apparently quite drunk. Rodin could not be reached for comment last night. And Friday's tape shows Ryan telling the bouncer on duty to charge patrons $50 to enter, unless they could prove that they were residents of Andorra, a small principality located in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Only one person met that qualification, according to the tape -- Wharton junior Jose Marti Alanis. Alanis' father is Juan Marti Alanis, bishop of Seo de Urgel, Spain, and the Andorran head of state. Ryan said late last night that he considered himself lucky that LCE agents were too preoccupied with the underage drinkers to discover his large, illegal collection of endangered species, kept in the hallway in the back of the bar. "Thank God they never found the Komodo dragons," he said. "Closing the Penn location is a small price to pay for continuing my operations as the East Coast's largest dealer of endangered or near-extinct animal specimens." The owner of a very expensive restaurant in Paris -- who asked not to be identified -- told the DP he purchases most of the endangered animals on his menu from Ryan. "The scrambled bald eagle eggs are a phenomenal seller, for an appetizer that costs 5,700 francs [about $1,000]," he said. "And without Paul Ryan, where would I get panda filets? You tell me that!" Ryan decided not to appeal the loss of his liquor license because he wanted to clear out the endangered species and move them to another location before authorities could find them, he said. He worried that by remaining open for tonight's weekly "Sink or Swim" promotion, he would open the door to potential discovery. "I couldn't justify risking the animals just to sell cheap beer to frat boys," he said. "I pull in more than $50 million each year just from catalog sales [of the endangered species]? I hardly need to worry about pushing those extra pints of porter." Lyle said he had no idea he had walked into the largest animal smuggling ring on the East Coast, but said he would be contacting Ryan soon to purchase some spotted owl meat for a barbecue he will be holding during Spring Fling. The cookout will celebrate the many busts he anticipates.

U. files libel lawsuit against 'Time' mag.

(03/26/97 10:00am)

This article appeared in the joke issue. The University has filed a libel suit against Time magazine over an article about Penn in its March 17 issue. The lawsuit names Time and reporter Erik Larson -- a 1976 College graduate and author of the story -- as defendant, and seeks $25 million in damages, according to General Counsel Shelley Green. In the article, entitled "Why Colleges Cost Too Much," Larson used Penn's budget to examine why the costs of higher education have far outpaced the inflation rate over the past 20 years. He criticized many of the University's budget priorities in light of its high tuition rates, and suggested that Penn and other schools could easily maintain good financial standing even if they slashed tuition. But that isn't the case, the University's lawsuit argues. "[Larson and Time] willfully and maliciously manipulated confidential budget numbers to make it appear that the University keeps tuition inflated artificially," University President Judith Rodin said. "We really do have some very necessary expenses, and we're doing all we can to restrain our costs." The lawsuit claims Larson's piece has irreparably damaged Penn's reputation nationwide, lowering the number of accepted students who will enroll at the University in the fall. The University's brief estimates that enrollment will drop to only 815 students for the entering class of 2001. Since that estimate includes the approximately 805 students accepted early decision in December, officials expect only 10 students to enroll after getting an acceptance letter next month. "We've already fielded a lot of calls from angry parents, saying there's no way they'll send their children here knowing that at least half of their tuition will disappear into thin air," Admissions Dean Lee Stetson said. "Since we usually like to have around 2,500 students in each class, it really worries us that we might see that number drop by almost 75 percent." Time attorney Don Pullen "absolutely, categorically" denied the charges in the lawsuit. Pullen said everything in the story was "dead-on accurate," and suggested that the University was waging "a smear campaign" against the media. "You [at The Daily Pennsylvanian] should be worried, too," he said. "It's clear that Penn has no respect for the press as an institution. They're just trying to scare people away from writing about their finances with this suit." Pullen said Larson discovered far more damaging information in his reporting than he published in the article, adding that what did appear in Time had gone through a careful vetting process involving editors, lawyers, fact-checkers and philologists. Among the information not included in the article was that the University -- and not Provost Stanley Chodorow -- has been covering the costs of his frequent cross-country and overseas trips to interview for top posts at competing institutions. Last year, the University paid for Chodorow to stay in Paris when he applied for a job at the Sorbonne, to Cape Town for an interview at University of South Africa and to a small resort island in the South Pacific while he was under consideration for a job as Club Med's education director. The total cost of these trips and others exceeded $500,000. Another hidden cost in the University budget paid for the College of Arts and Sciences to hire a consulting firm that studied the benefits of offering a liberal arts education at Penn. The College spent more than $1.5 million on the report, which recommended closing the entire School of Arts and Sciences immediately before "the University hemmorhages more money," according to Larson's notes. Larson's reporting also revealed that the University's endowment -- publicly estimated at about $2.1 billion -- actually tops $7.3 trillion. The University, it appears, owns a controlling interest in almost every Fortune 500 corporation in the United States, as well as in the governments of several European nations. Political Science Professor Karl Von Vorys said Penn's influence was the only thing preventing World War III from erupting tomorrow. "If not for the calming powers of Judith Rodin, certainly by now Spain would have attacked Finland over their balance of trade," Von Vorys explained. "And that would have involved the other Scandinavian countries, as well as Spain's allies in Southern Europe? The result would be an unimaginably disastrous conflagration that could well destroy civilization as we know it." Rodin denied any knowledge of foreign affairs, but her travel schedule does include the entry "Summit in Madrid" for next week. Larson could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

UCLA paper: Chodorow interviews for top job

(02/26/97 10:00am)

The UCLA Daily Bruin reports today that Penn Provost Stanley Chodorow is one of four finalists for UCLA chancellorship. Provost Stanley Chodorow interviewed with University of California officials yesterday as one of four finalists for the vacant chancellorship of the school's Los Angeles campus, the UCLA Daily Bruin reports today. Sources on the chancellor search committee told the Bruin that Chodorow, Harvard University Provost Albert Carnesale, UCLA Medical School Dean Gerald Levey and UCLA Law School Dean Susan Prager had interviewed with the committee and University of California President Richard Atkinson in Atkinson's office in Oakland, Calif., yesterday. Chodorow was registered at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, Calif., yesterday, but a hotel clerk told The Daily Pennsylvanian that the provost checked out around 3 p.m. Pacific time. The provost had told his History 211 class -- which meets Mondays -- that he would be away this week for a fundraising trip, and that he would return Friday. Penn administrators said they knew little about Chodorow's whereabouts yesterday. But they said that is not unusual. Vice President for Development Virginia Clark said she didn't know whether Chodorow had planned a trip to the West Coast. But she said he has his own fundraising contacts in California and frequently goes there without alerting her office, which supervises University-wide fundraising efforts. Deputy Provost Michael Wachter said he had not seen Chodorow in their College Hall office yesterday, but added that the provost "travels a lot" and that he expected Chodorow back this week. A spokesperson for Atkinson could not confirm that any interviews took place yesterday. "For anybody to say that the search has been narrowed down to a certain number of candidates is totally inaccurate," said Terry Colvin, the spokesperson. If candidates were interviewed yesterday, it wouldn't necessarily mean anything to the search process, he added. The search committee only advises Atkinson on who to present to the system's Board of Regents as his pick for the UCLA chancellorship. The final choice is Atkinson's alone, Colvin explained. "The president is free to interview candidates, not to interview candidates or to select somebody that wasn't interviewed," he said. Chodorow and Atkinson worked together in the administration at UC-San Diego for years, however, and Colvin said the two still keep in close contact. Today's report in the Bruin is the latest in a series of California newspaper stories speculating on the selection process for the UCLA post. Two weeks ago, The Sacramento Bee published a list of six finalists for the UCLA position, also based on background information from search committee members, that included Chodorow, UCLA's Prager and Harvard's Carnesale. Chodorow said then that he hadn't applied for the job, adding that he would not comment on "rumors about who is a candidate for what." And later that week, the Bruin reported a list of four candidates based on documents provided by a search committee member. That list included Prager and Carnesale, but not Levey or Chodorow. By most indications, Carnesale was also in California yesterday. Harvard Crimson Managing Editor Valerie MacMillan said Carnesale could not be reached at home last night, and that he had cleared his calendar of appointments and events for yesterday. Chodorow had been one of four finalists in contention for the presidency at the University of Michigan in November, but the school's Board of Regents unanimously voted to offer the job to then-Dartmouth Provost Lee Bollinger after an eight-month search process. Chodorow said in November that he had not been "out there looking for a job," and in fact had turned down several offers from other schools. At UCSD, Chodorow served as assistant vice chancellor for academic planning -- under Atkinson -- and was dean of arts and humanities for 11 years. There, he oversaw 15 departments and a total of 200 faculty members, and he is widely credited with helping the university deal with severe cutbacks in state budget aid. Some Penn administrators said they would not be surprised if the UCLA search committee was considering Chodorow because of Penn's prestige, the reputation he earned from his work at UCSD and his friendship with Atkinson.

Judge could deny liquor license to Murphy's Tavern this month

(01/15/97 10:00am)

and Jaclyn LaPlaca It isn't the first time Murphy's Tavern has drawn attention from the law, but the University City fixture may be forced to close its doors at the end of the month. West Philadelphians and University students alike have gathered in the neighborhood bar at 43rd and Spruce streets for 36 years, but agents of the State Police's Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement have also been a common sight at Murph's -- as the establishment is known -- recently. And now, two years to the day after the bar's last run-in with the LCE, Administrative Law Judge Tim Savage will decide whether to revoke Murph's license on January 28. LCE agents have issued nine citations to the bar and owners Joseph and James Murphy since 1960, but three have come in the past four years. The most recent charge dates from January 28, 1995, when agents caught 63 underage drinkers at Murph's. Some of those drinkers told The Daily Pennsylvanian then that they had showed their PennCards as proof of age to get into the bar. The bar's license has been in jeopardy before -- for example, it operated under temporary authority for a year until November 1995, when the license was renewed. And in 1993, the LCE forced it to close for two weeks as punishment for two citations issued the previous year. But Joseph Murphy -- now a seasoned veteran of battles with the LCE -- pointed to the tavern's clean record in the past two years, saying the upcoming decision doesn't really have him too concerned. "I already have plenty of gray hair, so I'm not going to worry about this trial," he said. "It's just one of those bad things that I have no control over." He said he cannot predict the outcome of the trial, calling the LCE agents "mysterious." "Those police are never going to leave us alone, but the students shouldn't be the ones to worry," Joseph Murphy said. "My Penn students might come too early, get caught by the guys and get fined a few dollars, but its no big deal -- the bars are the only ones who really suffer." Murphy said his lawyer, Joe Ryan, characterized the bar's chances at the hearing as "hopeful." In 1995, Ryan had praised the decision to restore the liquor license. "I was happy that a long-standing establishment on campus was able to save their business," he said then, speculating that LCE agents must have conceded that it's difficult to keep underage drinking away from college campuses. So for now, at least, it's business as usual for Murph's. "My biggest worry right now is that my bar has been empty for the past two nights," Murphy said. "Where are all the students?"

Book Store cash registers shut down

(09/11/96 9:00am)

Afternoon power surge leaves registers closed for 90 minutes A power surge knocked out the computer system in The Book Store at 4:14 p.m. yesterday, leaving cash registers inoperable and customers unable to make purchases for an hour and a half. The surge struck the computers that control the cash register system, Book Store Director Mike Knezic said. At that point, the rest of the system froze. Knezic said two cash registers caused the power surge, but Book Store officials will not know exactly what went wrong until maintenance workers from Fujistu examine the machines. Yesterday's crash was the first cash register failure in the history of the store, Knezic said. The problem did not affect electricity in the rest of the building, so lights and the store's anti-theft system still operated. The Computer Connection's cash register system was also unaffected. After the system shut down, lines quickly backed up, with more than 15 people waiting at one register near The Book Store's main entrance on Locust Walk. Announcements every few minutes informed customers that the system was experiencing "mechanical difficulties." Security guards began turning people away from the store's entrances to prevent lines from growing any longer. "We appreciate your patience and cooperation," the announcements said. It took 40 minutes for employees to locate the faulty registers, disconnect them from the system, reboot the controlling computers and reestablish network operations, Knezic said. By 5 p.m., the system was working again. But fearing another crash, Book Store employees told customers to leave and return after 6 p.m., providing time to test the system without making people wait, Knezic said. "We didn't want people to think we were going to open and then have it shut down again," he explained. Customers who had to leave at 5 p.m. could keep their merchandise behind the Customer Service counter until the store closed at 8 p.m., Accounting Manager Kevin Furphy said. At 5:45 p.m., Book Store officials were satisfied by the system test results and brought the registers back on line, according to Knezic. Customers had already started to leave the line after 20 minutes of waiting. Those who stayed said the incident reinforced their negative feelings toward The Book Store. "The Book Store brings a new meaning to 'lack of customer service'," said College of General Studies junior Michael Sanford, who left his place in line -- stashing his books behind the Clinique counter so he could find them easily today -- to go to class at 5 p.m. First-year Law student Kier Gunds said The Book Store should have a backup register system to avoid problems like yesterday's. "I wish there was another book store," he said. "This shuts down the school temporarily for people who haven't bought books yet." A cashier had rung up half of College junior Malik Wilson's purchase when the system crashed. "I thought it was a problem with the register [caused by my purchase]," Wilson said. "It was the Fig Newtons!" More than just frustration motivated some customers' complaints. Engineering and Wharton freshman Scott Calidas was waiting to buy Maple software that he needed for homework due this morning. "I'm desperate," he said. College sophomore Scott Melker needed to buy a tie for part of his costume before a Pennsylvania 6-5000 performance last night at 5 p.m. He had to leave the line without the tie so he could get to the show on time. And one Book Store employee who withheld her name said the crash kept her at work too long. "My shift is over," she said at 5. "I've been here since 8:15. I want to go home." Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Maisie Wong contributed to this report.

New staff joins U. administration

(08/30/96 9:00am)

Three deans receive additional five-year terms; new chaplain comes to Penn after five years at Princeton As usual, the summer saw faculty and staff positions created, abolished and filled, as outgoing administrators finished their duties and the restructuring process continued. A look at some of the departures and arrivals: · William Gipson, former associate dean of religious life at Princeton University, was named Penn's new chaplain early this summer. Gipson replaces Interim Chaplain Frederic Guyott, who served the University for 11 months and had applied for the permanent position. Guyott succeeded Stanley Johnson, who had been the chaplain for 34 years. Gipson said he feels his five years at Princeton will give him enough experience and enthusiasm to serve Penn properly. Gipson became a Baptist minister in 1980 and was ordained as a deacon and elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. · Physics Professor Ralph Amado was named vice provost for research. He had served as acting vice provost for research since September 1995. Amado will continue to oversee policy and administration for the University's $350 million research enterprise. He will direct development and implementation of policies that promote research excellence, and will also serve as the University's chief spokesperson on research-related matters. Amado said he will focus on building interdisciplinary partnerships among University departments. He will also work toward developing additional resources for early-stage research projects. Amado replaces Chemistry Professor Barry Cooperman, who stepped down last year to conduct his own research projects. · Kenneth Wildes took over as director of communications on July 1. As the University's central spokesperson, he will develop a comprehensive public relations strategy, while advising University President Judith Rodin and other administrators on P.R. issues. Wildes came to Penn from Northwestern University. In May, when the appointment was announced, Wildes said he looks forward to working with everyone at this "extraordinary" institution. The position had been vacant since March 1994, when Carol Farnsworth left the post for a similar position at the University of Denver. Wildes was in charge of communications for 14 years at Northwestern before coming to Penn. · Medical School Dean William Kelley, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean Gregory Farrington and Wharton School Dean Thomas Gerrity were all reappointed as the final part of their review process. The three came under review late last year as their seven-year terms drew to a close. All deans come under review during their sixth year if they want to be considered for reappointment. The three are now eligible to serve for five more years, after which they must step down, according to Nancy Nowicki, an assistant to Provost Stanley Chodorow. The review committees examined issues such as long-term handling of the school, student and faculty scholarship quality and financial management and development. · · John Prendergast, a 1980 University graduate, has been named the new editor of the Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette is the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania. Prendergast was chosen from a "huge number" of qualified applicants, both alumni and non-alumni, according to Alumni Relations Director Martha Stachitas. He said he plans to tap into the "wealth of information" stemming from the research done at the University. "I'm [also] interested in what it is like to be a student at Penn now and I suspect other alumni are too," he said. "So, I'd like to do more in that area." Prendergast takes the place of former editor Anthony Lyle, whose 31-year term ended last year with his resignation. Lyle's resignation came amidst controversy over alleged administration interference in the magazine's editorial content. Official University statements said he left "to pursue other options," but several other board members resign after Lyle did. Prendergast said he anticipates no difficult working effectively with University administrators. · James O'Donnell, a Classical Studies professor and faculty fellow in Van Pelt College House, will serve as the new faculty master for Hill College House this year, according to Chris Dennis, director of Academic Programs in Residence. O'Donnell is also the current interim vice provost for Information Systems and Computing. O'Donnell was recommended for the position by a joint faculty, staff and student nominating committee, chaired by Electrical Engineering Professor Jan Van der Spiegel, faculty master of Ware College House. O'Donnell succeeds former English Professor Robert Lucid, Hill's faculty master for the past 18 years. Lucid retired at the end of last school year due to a severe eye condition called macular degeneration. Though may Hill House residents and advisors say the residence is still "feeling the loss of Lucid," Lucid himself said O'Donnell was a good choice for the job. · Michael Masch has been named the University's new executive director of Budget and Management Analysis. Masch was recruited from Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell's budget office. As the new executive director, Masch will have responsibility for constructing, monitoring and adjusting the University's budget. · Michael Diorka, a former Tulane University recreational director, was appointed director of Intramural Recreation Sports, giving him the opportunity to lead structural changes for the University's Recreational Sports Programs and Services department. In June, two high-ranking officials from the department retired, giving Athletic Director Steve Bilsky the opportunity to rectify some inadequacies he saw within the program. As the new director of recreation, Diorka plans to improve the quality of the facilities and programs for the "regular student." Two preliminary ideas include creating an advisory board and a Web site to include dates and times for departmental events. · Following a prominent year as interim judicial inquiry officer, Michele Goldfarb was awarded similar duties under a new title -- director of the Office of Student Conduct, a job created by the new judicial charter. Recently, Goldfarb has worked to define the Code of Academic Integrity and the Code of Student Conduct. She is also director of the Student Dispute Resolution Center and is responsible for ensuring that the disciplinary process is fair, timely and consistent. She said she hopes to make herself more accessible and open to student interest. · Gary Hack will serve as the new dean of the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Provost Stanley Chodorow announced. Hack had been a professor of Urban Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. Hack replaces Interim Dean Malcom Campbell, who is planning an early retirement in order to work in Rome. Campbell said he is "happy" about the appointment and feels that Hack is a good choice for the job.

Commerce Bank hit by robbery

(03/05/96 10:00am)

Presenting a demand note for an unspecified amount of money, a 25-year-old male robbed the Commerce Bank at 38th and Walnut streets yesterday at 4:48 p.m., according to eyewitness and police reports. Philadelphia Police turned the case over to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shortly after arriving at the bank, according to a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police. "[Federal agents] always get involved in bank robberies," because federal agencies insure bank deposits, she explained. FBI spokesperson Linda Vizi refused to comment on any details of the robbery. But duty officer Rondetta Beck confirmed that federal agents were investigating the case. University Police Captain John Richardson said dispatchers reported the incident over the radio twice before officers from any police department responded. He explained that bank personnel were not sure that a robbery had occurred when the first call went out. But a second call prompted University Police officers to show up, followed shortly thereafter by Philadelphia Police detectives and the FBI. "My friend and I were walking back from Gimbel [Gymnasium] and needed to use the MAC machine, but a woman came to the door and told us the bank was closed and then we realized why," said College freshman Jeb Bonee. The University City branch office of Commerce Bank opened last September with an aggressive marketing campaign aimed at winning University business. Students who hold accounts with Commerce said the incident did not cause them much alarm. "I don't see that affecting me," College freshman Trevor Blair said. "The only reason I use them is for ATM checking. I don't have a savings account so none of my money was in there."

New judicial charter draft questioned

(02/14/96 10:00am)

Though the proposed judicial charter released yesterday responds to some criticism aimed at previous drafts, students and faculty said major problems still plague the system. History Professor Alan Kors said the new charter's largest failings lie in provisions that prevent anyone associated with judicial proceedings from speaking publicly about them. Kors has been a vocal critic of the University's judicial process since the 1993 "Water Buffalo" incident, when he advised then-College freshman Eden Jacobowitz. Jacobowitz was accused of violating provisions of the University's speech code that prohibit racist speech. "No member of the University community? may disclose confidential disciplinary matters," section III.F.2 of the charter reads. But the paragraph also deems all testimony, files and findings from hearings to be confidential. Anyone who violates that confidentiality could be disciplined by the University, according to the charter. Kors called the section "the most serious breach of fundamental freedom and decency that I have seen in all my 28 years at the University," and volunteered to be the first test case of its prohibitions. He said the charter proposal aims to prevent any denunciation of possible abuse of power or authority in judicial hearings. "How dare the University believe that it may draw a shadow of night around itself and not be subjected to the scrutiny of public opinion?" he asked. "This is disgraceful. They are not the Inquisition." But Provost Stanley Chodorow said the University has a legal obligation to students involved in the system to protect the confidentiality of disciplinary matters. Other areas of the new proposal incorporated some student suggestions into the text, making it more satisfactory to groups like the First Amendment Task Force, which seeks to ensure student free speech rights. The charter would reduce the power of the provost within the system -- a major point of contention over previous proposals. The provost would no longer have the ability to dismiss or replace judicial system officials without consulting the Faculty Senate. Also, the Disciplinary Hearing Officer -- who would administer the system -- would be a tenured faculty member. But the final decision on sanctions for students found guilty of violations of the University's Code of Student Conduct would still rest with the provost. Hearing panels -- composed of three students and two faculty members in disciplinary cases -- would make non-binding recommendations. The new draft would also allow students charged under the system greater freedom to consult with an advisor. Previous drafts had specifically barred non-University-affiliated attorneys from serving as student advisors. The new proposal clears the way for off-campus attorneys to advise students who are facing or will soon face legal proceedings -- but only those students. Last semester, critics of the first proposal said student respondents should be able to allow their advisors to question witnesses -- in effect acting as the students' advocates -- at their own discretion. Yesterday's proposal would allow advisors to speak in hearings, but only under "extraordinary circumstances." It would give the DHO the power to decide what circumstances constitute "extraordinary cases." University Council will discuss the charter proposal at its meeting next Wednesday. Chodorow said last night that he does not expect anyone to raise new complaints about the draft at Council. The charter must be approved by all four undergraduate schools before it takes effect.

Year in Review Year In Review Year In Review 1995

(12/14/95 10:00am)

APRIL As the academic year wound down in April, concerns that had been in the news for months continued to attract attention across campus. Safety and security issues seemed to dominate discussion. Former University Police Commissioner John Kuprevich announced his resignation, and a search for a new public safety commissioner began. In accordance with University President Judith Rodin's master security plan released earlier in the year, five security kiosks were built along strategic walkways both on and off campus. University Police arrested Wharton evening student Douglas Murphy for bringing a loaded 9-mm semiautomatic pistol to class in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall in the middle of the month. And shortly after the bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City, several University buildings -- including the Penn Tower hotel -- received bomb threats. Kuprevich said the threats were imitations of the Oklahoma City bombing. Some security issues overlapped with campus social life. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Enforcement officers raided four bars around campus and gave out 32 citations to students for underage drinking. And a block party on Sansom Street during Spring Fling drew University Police officers to clear a crowd of about 3,000 people from the street. Police arrested eight students for disorderly conduct. But while the biggest issues of the month were focused on safety and security, there were also major developments in other areas of the University. Admissions Dean Lee Stetson announced that the University accepted 33 percent of applicants into this year's freshman class. The class is the most selective in the University's history, according to Stetson. Then-College junior Lance Rogers was elected the new chairperson of the Undergraduate Assembly at the UA's annual transition meeting. Gil Beverly, now a Wharton senior, was elected vice-chairperson. The University Medical Center announced a merger with the Presbyterian Medical Center in an effort to ensure the future of both hospitals. The agreement was the product of 35 years of negotiations, according to Presbyterian President Donald Snook. And during a House Appropriations Committee hearing in Harrisburg, state legislators made Rodin defend faculty salaries -- including her own, revealed to be $350,000 -- as she requested $50 million in state funds for the University.

Fagin to leave Penn after sabbatical

(12/14/95 10:00am)

Former interim University President Claire Fagin will retire at the end of the current academic year, following a sabbatical during the 1996 spring semester. And former interim Provost Marvin Lazerson confirmed reports of Fagin's retirement on Monday. Fagin and Lazerson presided over the University in 1993-94 after former University President Sheldon Hackney and Provost Michael Aiken resigned. Fagin served as dean of the School of Nursing from 1977 to 1991. She currently holds the title of Leadership Professor of Nursing. News of Fagin's decision took many administrators by surprise. On Tuesday, University President Judith Rodin had not yet heard that Fagin would be retiring. "Claire is a remarkable educator and a first-class investigator," Rodin said. "If she is planning to retire, it will be a great loss to the Nursing School and to Penn. She is in herself an institution and will be very difficult to replace." And Nursing School spokesperson Susan Greenbaum said she knew only that Fagin would take a sabbatical next semester. "All anyone in the Nursing School knows is that she's going away next spring," Greenbaum said last week. "I don't know what her plans are after that." But Lazerson and another administration officials confirmed that Fagin had indeed made the decision to retire. Fagin's long career at the University earned her the respect of many of her colleagues. During her tenure as dean of the Nursing School, she was known as "the University's dean of deans." Lazerson praised Fagin this week, in light of her pending retirement. "Claire Fagin is one of the true greats in the annals of the University of Pennsylvania," he said. "I cannot think of anyone who has given more, so successfully." Fagin could not be reached for comment.

U. investigating origin of racist e-mail note

(12/08/95 10:00am)

Data Communications and Computing officials are investigating claims that a racist message posted on the Internet last week originated at Penn. But Associate Vice Provost for Information Systems and Computing Dan Updegrove said it is possible that Penn's computer system had nothing to do with the posting. He added that the best way for e-mail users to prevent such incidents in the future is to protect their passwords carefully. The message, entitled "Why All Blacks Should Go Back to Africa," appeared to have been sent from an e-mail account at the University of North Carolina. The owner of the account denied sending the message. UNC officials said records from their computer system suggested that someone logged into the UNC account from Penn and posted the racist note. Updegrove said DCCS has begun investigating UNC's allegations, but that the investigation is in a very preliminary stage. "We're cooperating with UNC," he said. "We are absolutely looking into it. But typically it takes some work to determine what the chain of break-ins is." Henry Liang, a College senior and regular user of the Internet, said it is fairly simple to break into a computer system on the network. "There's a lot of ways to 'hack' into a computer system," Liang said. "It's not hard to do." He said although security on the Internet has improved recently due to new programs and techniques, it is still impossible to prevent unauthorized logins. Updegrove said DCCS is looking into the possibility that someone broke into both the Penn and UNC computer systems to send the message. He added that the records UNC sent him pointed to several other possible computer systems that could have been used to post the message -- meaning Penn's system might not have been involved at all. "The origin of the message is absolutely ambiguous," he said. "We are investigating whether something originated here or passed through here." Liang said tracking forged messages or security breaches is complicated. The process of sifting through computer records can take hours of hard work, he explained. Updegrove said he could not comment on the exact status of the pending DCCS investigation. If a Penn student is found to be responsible for breaking into the UNC computer system, that would constitute a "fairly serious" violation of the University's Internet policies, Updegrove said. But regardless of the outcome of the University's investigation, he said it is much easier for security failures to occur if e-mail users do not keep their passwords secret. "The integrity of the whole network depends on people behaving responsibly with their passwords," he said. "If you're careless with your password, you're more subject to having something embarrassing come from your account." In order to prevent others from breaking into their e-mail accounts, users should choose passwords that are difficult to guess, and not share them with anyone for any reason, Updegrove said. He added that users should also report any suspected security problems to their system administrators at once. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

PennCard purchasing power to rise at Book Store

(12/07/95 10:00am)

Beginning later this academic year, The Book Store will lower the minimum purchase price necessary to pay with a PennCard to $10 from $25, according to Book Store Director Michael Knezic. The change will become effective as soon as Book Store officials can reprogram their computers and make some other final arrangements, Knezic said. The new policy is a response to student requests that The Book Store lower the minimum charge. "The students, who are our customers, who use the PennCard have asked us to do this for reasons of convenience," Knezic said. Since September 1994, students have been able to charge purchases at The Book Store to their bursar bill by using their PennCards. The program was implemented through a unique joint effort by The Book Store, the PennCard Center, Student Financial Services and Data Processing. But Knezic said he and other University officials were worried at first. They were concerned that the purchases made by students would not add up to enough money to justify allowing them to use their Penn-Cards as credit cards in The Book Store. "We didn't know what people were going to be buying," Knezic said. "We didn't want anyone to pay for a 10-cent pack of gum with their Penn-Cards." Since then, it has become clear to Book Store officials that students are using their PennCards to pay for substantial items like school supplies and textbooks. And the increased revenues from PennCard sales -- coupled with a decrease in purchases by cash, checks and credit cards -- have made it cost-effective for The Book Store to satisfy customer demands and lower the minimum. Knezic said the original $25 minimum purchase was established to guarantee that processing costs would be covered by revenues from PennCard purchases. Credit card purchases at The Book Store have a minimum requirement of $10, which is also used to cover processing costs and credit card company fees. Because of the minimum, many students have been purchasing $25 worth of goods, regardless of the actual price of the items they really want. College sophomore April Edlow said she expects to spend much less money at The Book Store when the change goes into effect. "The last three times I've used my PennCard, I've had to buy extra things just to make up the $25," she said. "It's usually things I wasn't planning on buying that day, just to push me over the limit." And Wharton freshman J.B. Slosburg said he has frequently bought items he did not urgently need in order to reach the minimum purchase. But Knezic emphasized that the $25 minimum had nothing to do with increasing revenues for The Book Store. He said he predicts revenues will actually increase as a result of the new $10 minimum. Knezic expects more students to shop at The Book Store when the minimum is lowered because it will be more convenient than other nearby stores. And students said they do not expect to spend less money at The Book Store as a result of the change.

Council hears issues at forum

(11/30/95 10:00am)

Members of the University community aired their concerns to University President Judith Rodin and other administrators at yesterday's "Open Forum" meeting of the University Council. Students, faculty members and staff made three-minute presentations to Council on a wide variety of issues they would like to see addressed, ranging from student involvement in the tenure process to the University's affirmative action policies. Council did not respond specifically to any issue. Instead, moderator Will Harris, a political science professor, referred concerns to Council's Steering Committee and promised to revisit them at meetings later this year. Discussion was limited to a certain extent by Provost Stanley Chodorow's absence. Rodin said Chodorow is out of town on University business. Some issues under his direct supervision, such as the Student Judicial Charter, could not be addressed fully as a result. Before the open forum began, Rodin reported to Council on "Agenda for Excellence," the five-year strategic plan she and Chodorow outlined in last week's Almanac. She said the Committee on Academic Planning and Budgeting would be taking comments from across campus through December 8, and would then report back to her and Chodorow with a revised version of the plan based on community input. Council's discussion during the rest of the meeting was supposed to be limited to whether specific points should be raised again later. But many topics inspired significant conversation -- and sometimes debate -- between presenters and Council members. United Minorities Council President and College senior Onyx Finney asked Council to reconsider granting an automatic seat to the UMC. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Lance Rogers, a College senior, said Council had discussed similar proposals in the past and voted against it. He added that he feels the UA adequately represents all undergraduates on Council, and invited any member of the UMC to run for a seat on the UA if they sought a voice on Council. But Finney pointed to the lack of minority representation on the UA, saying that minorities do not have a say on important issues. "I hope that one day organizations like the UMC will not be necessary," she said. "But we cannot pretend to be color blind when we live in a society that is not. There is a student body that is not being represented." Council voted to reopen discussion of an automatic UMC seat at a later meeting. Wharton senior Dan Debicella told Council he and other students would like to see more student involvement in decisions on faculty tenure. "I am in no way going to advocate student involvement in the final say [on tenure]," he said. "However, there is a need for getting all perspectives in that decision." Debicella suggested that students serve as non-voting members of faculty committees that grant tenure, or that committees of students be formed to issue evaluations on every professor under consideration for tenure. Members of Council said they agreed in principle that the tenure process needs more student input. Before the issue was referred to Steering, several members, including College junior and UA representative Laurie Moldawer and Statistics Professor David Hildebrand, who serves as past chair of the Faculty Senate, proposed alternative ways of including student opinion. The body also heard a report from College senior Anthony Putz, co-chairman of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance, on his group's frustration that the so-called "arm's length" agreement with the United States Department of Defense on ROTC has not yet been implemented. Putz asked Council to demand that Chodorow complete negotiations with the Pentagon by Jan. 1, 1996, or else kick ROTC off campus outright. Rogers said he completely disagreed with Putz's position. He told Council he would rather change the University's non-discrimination policies to exempt ROTC than see any change in the program's current status. Other issues received with less controversy included a proposal that Council consider whether part-time employees should receive prorated benefits packages, and a report from Interim Chaplain Frederic Guyott on the activities of a campus religious group called the Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ. Guyott called the organization "a cult." "I cannot believe that this church is a valid religious ministry that a chaplain could support," he said.

Rodin sets five-year plan for U.

(11/28/95 10:00am)

Outlines nine specific goals University President Judith Rodin and Provost Stanley Chodorow have released a five-year strategic plan for the University to community members for comment. The draft, entitled "Agenda for Excellence," seeks to position the University as one of the premier institutions of higher education by achieving nine specific goals, Rodin said. Much of the plan incorporates programs the administration has already started, such as the 21st Century Project on Undergraduate Education and administrative restructuring. It also includes proposals Rodin mentioned in her "State of the University" address to University Council earlier this month. Rodin said any good strategic plan builds on initiatives already in existence. The entire plan includes an emphasis on raising funds that would allow the University to continue its existing programs and to support its future initiatives. One of the goals calls for the University to "identify and secure" necessary financial resources. The plan begins with a statement of the mission of the University that provides a general focus for the rest of the draft. Each goal is intended to help the University achieve this mission. "Penn inspires, demands and thrives on excellence, and will measure itself against the best in every field of endeavor in which it participates," the statement reads. Rodin and Chodorow said they worked with the deans of the University's 12 schools and with the Academic Planning and Budget Committee to develop the draft. In the spring, the administration will ask the schools to devise strategic plans that use "Agenda for Excellence" as their underlying model. Chodorow said this method will strengthen the University because each school's plans will complement the University's overall goals. "Penn has much greater strength than the mere aggregate of its parts," he said. "This plan calls for action. It's not intended to be inspirational only." The plan's first goal calls for the University to be ranked among the top 10 undergraduate universities in the nation. This will require implementing the report of the Provost's Council on Undergraduate Education, Rodin said. Other goals seek to improve the University's research programs, examine its programs of continuing education, increase use of technology at the University and pursue ways of internationalizing the University's focus. In order to further these goals, the plan calls for new ways of raising revenues at the University, including seeking government funds from non-federal sources and streamlining the administration to cut costs. It also calls for a strategy to communicate the University's strengths to the public. Rodin said a search for a director of University communications is underway, but that no candidates have been interviewed yet. Specifically, Rodin's and Chodorow's nine goals are: ·The University will solidify and advance its position as one of the premier research and teaching universities in the nation and in the world. ·The University will aggressively seek greater research opportunities. ·The University will manage its human, financial and physical resources effectively and efficiently to achieve its strategic goals. ·The University will support strategic investments in master's programs and other programs of continuing education in the arts and sciences and in the professions. ·The University will plan, direct and integrate its government and community relations to enhance its missions of teaching, research and service. ·The University will vigorously pursue efforts to increase significantly the University's role as an international institution of higher education and research. ·The University will creatively deploy new technologies. ·The University will effectively communicate to its various constituencies the ways in which it contributes to the advancement of society. ·The University will identify and secure the funds required to support its strategic goals. School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Gregory Farrington said he cannot imagine that any school would write a plan that conflicts with the "Agenda for Excellence." "The values of the University's strategic plan are good values for Penn and good values for our schools," he said. "They call for excellence in education and leadership in all aspects of the University. How could anyone be against that?"