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PENN ON THE HILL: GOP cuts off College Republicans

(02/01/95 10:00am)

The Republican National Committee has withdrawn funding from the College Republican National Committee, according to Penn College Republicans President Dan Debicella. But the University club does not depend on the CRNC for money, Penn College Republicans Treasurer Amon Seagull said. Debicella, a Wharton junior and the Undergraduate Assembly chairperson, said the RNC stopped funding the CRNC because the college group's newsletter, The Broadside, had gotten far out of line with the Republican party platform. "It had a lot of articles that were anti-Republican," Debicella said. "They called for a new third party of conservative youth [and] attacked the Reagan/Bush legacy as not being conservative enough." He added that he felt the loss of funding was appropriate. "To have Republicans attacking the Reagan/Bush legacy just shows that these people weren't deserving of funding," he said. Seagull, a College and Engineering senior, said the University's group was fiscally independent of the CRNC. "We have absolutely no financial ties to the CRNC," he said. "All of our funding is from alumni support and member dues." Debicella said the CRNC was further right ideologically than the Penn College Republicans. "A lot of the people who are in charge of the CRNC are from the way far religious right," he said. "We like to think of ourselves as far to the economic right rather than the social right." Leaders of Republican organizations at other Ivy League schools also said the CRNC had little impact on their clubs. "We don't receive money from the CRNC, so it doesn't affect our funds," said Harvard University senior Bradford Campbell, president of the Harvard Republicans Club. Brown College Republicans President Peter Bogdanow said his group was not affected either. "We don't get any money from [the CRNC]," the Brown University junior said. "We get a lot of mail from them, but [the mail is not] essential to the daily functioning of the program."


Anticipating impeachment, Nadel resigns

(01/27/95 10:00am)

Under threat of impeachment, College junior Mike Nadel resigned from the Student Activities Council Finance committee last night. Also at last night's SAC meeting, the SAC body elected four new Finance committee members, recognized several new groups and voted on funding requests from others. Nadel, who is a Daily Pennsylvanian columnist, said his resignation was prompted by a letter from SAC Finance committee members that threatened to bring articles of impeachment against him if he did not step down. "The members of SAC Finance were pleased with my decision to resign," he said. But Nadel said he doubted that an impeachment effort would have been successful. "I would have beaten the impeachment," he said. "I was not forced out." He added that he resigned so that his presence on the SAC Finance committee would not disrupt its functions. "I think that SAC Finance will be able to function a lot better this semester without having to deal with the division that my presence might have created," he said. The SAC Finance committee wanted Nadel's resignation because of his constitutional reform plans -- which call for the dissolution of SAC Finance and the transfer of its powers to a new body, according to Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson and Wharton junior Dan Debicella. Nadel said he will now be able to devote more time to the reform efforts, on which he is working closely with UA representative Dan Schorr, a College senior. "We all are here to do what is best for the students," Nadel said in his resignation speech to the body. "I hope we can all work together for a better way of life for undergraduates here." Debicella, who has submitted reform plans that differ dramatically from Nadel's and Schorr's, said he felt Nadel's resignation was appropriate. "He made the right decision," Debicella said. "He was in a very sticky situation of being on a body he wanted to abolish. A lot of people involved in student government had problems with [Nadel's position]." After Nadel announced his resignation, SAC Steering Committee Chairperson Richard Chow said the Finance Committee elections would allocate four seats -- not three, as was originally planned. Six candidates each presented a brief position statement to the SAC body and answered questions from SAC representatives. Wharton junior Dario Schiraldi, College and Wharton sophomore David Shapiro and College freshmen Steve Schorr and Paul Welfer were elected to the committee. Shapiro, who had already served on the Finance committee for the previous year-long term, said he was glad to be back. "I'm happy to be re-elected," he said. "I'm looking forward to serving again." Schorr, who is also a reporter for the DP, said he was looking forward to his term on the committee. "I'm pleased that I'll be able to participate in student government and to try and see that organizations receive a fair amount of money," he said. The SAC body also voted on recognition and funding recommendations proposed by the Steering and Finance committees. Except for deciding to recognize the Bio-Med Research Society -- a move which SAC Steering had not recommended -- the body followed the Steering Committee's suggestions. The assembly also recognized Awareness of International Markets, the First Amendment Task Force, Facilitating Learning About Sexual Health and Generation XX. However, SAC denied recognition to the Wharton Europe Club. The body approved most of the recommended financial allocations as well. Arts House Dance, Composers of U Penn, Generation XX, Interracial Coalition to End Discrimination, the Reach-A-Peer Line, Students Against Acquaintance Rape, TEACH West Philadelphia, and WQHS-AM all received their recommended funds from the SAC assembly. But Red and Blue, a magazine which has been accused of racial and gender bias, was denied any money from SAC. During debate on the question of funding Red and Blue, SAC representatives said they felt denying the magazine funding would indicate their disapproval of several of the articles the magazine has printed recently.


Perelman Quad stuns UA, PAC

(01/26/95 10:00am)

Some still favor Revlon plan Student leaders reacted to the replacement of the Revlon Center with the proposed Perelman Quadrangle plan with a mixture of surprise, optimism and disappointment. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson and Wharton junior Dan Debicella said he is dismayed by the change in plans. But he added that without having read the whole proposal, he was not sure exactly what its effect on students would be. "I'm very disappointed that the Revlon Center will not be a reality under this plan," he said. "But I don't want to make an assessment of the plan before I see it." The UA's recently released Project 2000 included several recommendations for a new campus center -- none of which anticipated that the Revlon Center proposal would be killed. Debicella said the key issue in responding to the new plan is whether the Perelman Quad will serve students as well as the Revlon Center. "What [the Perelman Quad] has to accomplish is the goal of getting people to think of the Perelman Quad as the campus center," he said. "If it's just going to be the renovation of some building and putting new things in, it's not going to be a campus center." Performing Arts Council Chairperson Rosalie Will, a College senior, said she preferred the new plan to the Revlon project. "I think the plan over all is a good idea," she said. "I think it could benefit the University in a number of ways, and I'm very much in favor of it." Will said she favors this plan because more space will be available to performing arts groups. She added that the fact that all of the space will not be contained in one building does not bother her. "If I'm in a performing arts space that's in a building on 40th Street, that's where I am," Will said. "I don't necessarily think that centralizing is the best idea." But Will added that she was concerned that performing arts groups may not be consulted in further planning of the Perelman Quad. "I'm a little apprehensive of the role that performing arts will play in [the Perelman Quad's] development," she said, adding that she questioned whether Irvine Auditorium could meet all the needs of the University's performing arts groups. Under the Perelman Quad plan, Irvine would be renovated and most of the building would be devoted to performing arts. But Will said the renovations may not be performed with PAC's needs in mind. "We don't just need meeting rooms and office space," she said. "Our needs are much more technical and much more specific." Will said she was waiting to see more of the administration's plan before she passed final judgment on the proposal. She added that she hopes that the conversion of the Eric 3 movie theater site to a performing arts complex will not be cancelled because of the Perelman Quad. Both Will and Debicella said they were very surprised by the change of plans. "I could not believe it," said Will. "I was surprised that it happened right now, but I had always thought this was the solution to begin with."


UA leader presents new five-year plan

(01/24/95 10:00am)

The Undergraduate Assembly released Project 2000, its five-year plan for improving the University Sunday night. With the release of the plan, the UA will now turn its attention to short-term goals -- including the implementation of some of the proposals included in Project 2000, according to UA Chairperson and Wharton junior Dan Debicella. But a small faction of the UA representatives still said they questioned the original purposes behind the project. Project 2000 consists of 30 recommendations for improving the University in 11 different areas, Debicella said. Many of the proposals were written by Debicella, but he gave credit to several UA members who also wrote recommendations. Debicella said the project's proposals fall into two categories. "There are a lot of proposals that are basically compilations of talk that has been going around the University a lot lately," he said. "[And] there are a couple of ground-breaking proposals that really haven't been thought of before." The most ground-breaking of these proposals is a new plan to fund the Revlon Center, a campus center originally slated to be built on 36th and Walnut streets, according to Debicella. The recommendation calls for a binding student referendum on a proposed "Campus Center Fee" to be included as a tuition cost. If students pass the referendum, the fee would go into effect, and its proceeds would be used to build the Revlon Center. "If the administration can't come up with the money for the Revlon Center, let the students vote," Debicella said. He added that the Revlon Center proposal is the Project 2000 proposal that he would most like to see implemented. "If [only] one proposal could pass, it would be for a campus center," he said. "It would be to have the administration commit to not using existing buildings as a student center, but to build a new student center." Debicella said Project 2000 represented the culmination of a semester's work. The UA began work on the project at the first meeting of the fall semester. Other major facets of the five-year plan include a recommendation that student advisory boards be created in order to deal with areas such as Dining Services, the Athletic Department and Residential Maintenance. The plan also suggests that University Police officers be made responsible for specific blocks off-campus and that a new proposal for the Revlon Center be created, according to Debicella. He said he did not expect the entire proposal to be adopted by the administration -- even after five years. "I would be thrilled if four years after I graduated, I come back for Homecoming weekend and I see 50 percent of these proposals implemented," he said. "I would be very, very happy if the administration implemented the important proposals that are in here." But some members of the UA said they did not share Debicella's enthusiasm for Project 2000. "I thought it would be much more productive for the UA to take another course and focus on short-term issues that would have an impact on this UA," said UA representative Eric Tienou, a College junior. "I wasn't against Project 2000, I just thought we had better options than Project 2000." UA representative Lance Rogers, a College junior, said he originally voted against the proposal because he disagreed with its basic purpose. "I don't think the UA should be focused around something that has long-term goals, such as Project 2000, and neglects the immediate future, the way Project 2000 did," he said.


UA REFORM: Fourth in a series: Schorr, Nadel combine plan; Debicella's proposal rebuffed

(01/23/95 10:00am)

Only a week after releasing separate plans for reforming the University's student government, College junior Mike Nadel and College senior Dan Schorr have reconciled their differences and published one united constitutional plan. And in reform meetings this weekend, other students said they disagreed with the major points of Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson and Wharton junior Dan Debicella's plan. But last night Debicella and Nadel, who is a member of the Student Activities Council Finance committee and a Daily Pennsylvanian columnist, said they were working on a compromise and hoped to have one plan on the ballot in April. Schorr, a UA representative, said the revised proposal would retain Nadel's name for the new student government -- Undergraduate Senate. But he added that SAC would continue to exist under the new plan -- an idea which Nadel at first did not support. "We wanted SAC as a check to ensure that groups don't get funding cut off completely," Nadel said. But SAC would lose almost all of its jurisdiction over student activity funding, he said. Most of its duties would consist of recognizing and organizing student activity groups. SAC could only overturn Undergraduate Senate cuts in activity budgets, according to Nadel. Nadel and Schorr support giving the Senate control over finances because they say that funds should be controlled by elected officials. The other elements of the plan are almost identical to the proposals Schorr and Nadel released last week, Schorr said. At a reform meeting on Friday afternoon, Debicella presented his proposals,which dealt mostly with electoral reform. Debicella said his plans represented an answer to the problems facing student government. But he added that he was going to work on a compromise with Schorr and Nadel. "The way to raise the quality of people on the UA is through electoral reform," he said. "But the key is that everybody be willing to compromise." Nadel and Schorr said they were only willing to compromise to a certain extent. "Dan [Debicella] wants us to compromise on the principle of having an open, democratic and solidified government," Schorr said. "Those are principles that we don't feel we should compromise on."


'DP' inaugurates 111th Board at annaul banquet

(01/23/95 10:00am)

and Melissa Wagenberg The dress was elegant, the food was not, and the behavior was? just silly. With characteristic Daily Pennsylvanian charm, the collective torch was passed from former Executive Editor Jordana Horn and the 110th Board of Editors and Managers to the 111th Board, led by incoming-Executive Editor Charlie Ornstein, at the annual DP banquet Saturday night. Following the cocktail hour and the generally forgettable dinner, DP bigwigs began a night of speeches and awards. The DP Alumni Association presented Wharton senior and outgoing Sports Editor Adam Rubin with an award for writing, and College junior and incoming Photography Editor Stephen Shapiro with an award for photography. Rubin also won the DP's prestigious Editor of the Year award. The News department awarded College sophomore Lisa Levenson Reporter of the Year, and incoming Associate Editor and College sophomore Kara Blond the Most Improved Reporter award. College sophomore Jeff Wieland received the Most Valuable Writer award from the Sports Department. He was joined in his honor by Wharton senior Adam Steinmetz, who took the department's Best Writer award, and by the Most Improved Sports Writer and College sophomore Srik Reddy. The Photo department became the focus of the evening when incoming editor Adam Mark, a College sophomore, stumbled up to the podium, to receive his award for Most Valuable Photographer. College sophomore Evelyn Hockstein was named Most Improved Photographer. College junior and 34th Street Magazine Managing Editor was named best Street writer, and College senior Bret Stuntz received the Most Valuable Player Street award. Among those recognized by the Business department were College junior Caroline Parmigiani and College junior Lori Lovitz, incoming Associate Sales Managers. But despite this glory, University President Judith Rodin said DP writers are more like "vigilantes" than honorable truth-seekers. "I watched the movie The Paper in preparation for dealing with people pretending to be reporters," she said in a speech which received a mixture of polite laughter and boos from the audience. After the dinner, banquet guests adjourned to the Penn Tower hotel for drinking and dancing -- with a decided emphasis on the drinking part. "If my memory serves me correct, the banquet was a lot of fun for all those who attended," Ornstein said. "But one thing is for certain. Kara Blond and Andrew Figel were the most drunk. I have never seen two people more drunk in my entire life." But while Blond and Figel were the most inebriated couple, they were hardly alone in their inebriation. "Jordana and I are lovers," said College junior Greg Montanaro, the new City editor. The very tipsy College sophomore and DP beat reporter Amy Lipman was overheard offering to bring the entire Sports Department home. Unfortunately for Lipman, no one took her up on her offer.


UA REFORM Third in a series: Nadel plan creates undergrad Senate

(01/20/95 10:00am)

College junior Mike Nadel proposed a constitutional plan last week which would completely re-invent student government. Nadel, a Student Activities Council Finance Committee member and Daily Pennsylvanian columnist, said his proposal creates an entirely new governmental structure at the University. But much of his plan resembles that of Undergraduate Assembly representative and College senior Dan Schorr, and Nadel said he and Schorr are working to join the two proposals. Nadel's proposal would abolish all branches of student government in favor of a new Undergraduate Senate, which would perform all governmental functions. His proposal would also create a new Committee on Constitutional Administration to oversee the functions of the government and ensure that the constitution is followed.This committee would also run elections, he said. Nadel said a one-branch system of government is the best way to effectively represent students. "Having one body accomplishes several important objectives," he said. A one-branch system would allow students to understand how the government works. "Right now we have a six-branch student government," Nadel said. "Nobody understands it. A one branch system is a way to [make government comprehensible]." The Senate would also combine all governmental functions into one elected body, providing for more accountability in student government, he added. The proposed plan would create committees on the Undergraduate Senate that perform the duties currently executed by the Student Activities Council and the Nominations and Elections Committee. At the time he released the plan, Nadel said it would eliminate SAC altogether. But this has drawn some criticism from interested students, and now, Nadel is planning to revise the proposal, he said last night. "People have been making comments, and I hear them, and I respect them," he said. "When Dan Schorr's and my reconciled version [of the plan] comes out, those people will be happy with the changes that we make." He declined to comment on what those changes might be. Nadel said there are two reasons that the Senate should perform the duties of the NEC and SAC. If the plan is adopted, nominating and budgeting would be performed only by elected officials. "In principle, unelected people should not be making major decisions for students," Nadel said. Nadel added that if the plan is passed, the Undergraduate Senate would be imbued with so much power that it would attract more qualified student leaders. "[The proposal] gives the elected body enough power so that it will attract good leaders to run for it -- which is not the case now," he said. Nadel said that without a powerful forum for student activity groups, leaders of those groups would probably run for the Senate. Because of the additional powers that the proposed Senate would wield, it would be composed of 40 representatives, instead of the 33 currently on the UA, according to Nadel. Despite the many plans for reform, some student leaders said they were unsure that any changes would be helpful. "You can have one million different new things," said UA representative and Engineering sophomore Manny Calero. "[But] as long as you have student apathy, it will not work." Senior Class Boards President Jason Diaz said he also thinks reform could do more harm than good. "I'm wary that [people] don't know the implications of their actions," the Wharton senior said.


UA REFORM: Second in a series

(01/19/95 10:00am)

Schoor's plan would kill SAC finance, NEC Undergraduate Assembly representative and College senior Dan Schorr proposed a plan last week that infuses the UA with more power than it has ever held -- while slightly weakening other branches -- to combine most governmental functions into one body. "The basic principle is to combine lobbying, finance and nominations in one government," Schorr said. To stay true to this principle, Schorr's plan would institute major changes in several of student government's long-standing organs. The proposal eliminates the Nominations and Elections Committee, the Student Activities Council Finance Committee and the UA Budget Committee. It empowers the UA to perform the duties that currently fall into their jurisdictions. "Functions should be done by elected people," Schorr said. "Nomination and budgeting are not [under the current constitution]." Schorr's proposal would create a new UA Nominations and Feedback Committee to appoint students to University councils and committees -- a duty currently performed by the NEC. "The NEC works well in their constitutional job," he said. "But I disagree with their mission." Schorr said his plan will include an independent body to run elections -- another function the NEC now performs. Originally, Schorr's plan also called for the SAC Steering Committee to run elections, he said. But feedback from students this week convinced him to create a separate committee for the purpose. In addition, while SAC would no longer allocate funds to student activities under the proposal, it would continue to oversee and grant official recognition to various University groups. Schorr said the UA would assume control of funds for SAC groups. But he added that SAC could overturn a funding decision made by the UA by a two-thirds majority vote. "There has to be a slight check on UA funding so it can't indiscriminately wipe out student activity groups," he said. SAC's membership would continue to consist of one representative from each recognized group, as it currently is, Schorr said. With the UA's increased power, it will need additional members, according to Schorr. If passed, Schorr's plan would increase the size of the UA from 33 representatives to 39, so that there would be sufficient personnel to perform the body's added duties. Under the proposal, the UA and SAC would be the only branches of student government. Schorr downplayed the importance of electoral reform in restructuring student government. He added that by infusing the UA with greater power, more talented and capable students will want to run for office. "Instead of electoral reform, what we need is student government members who go out and get in touch with the voters themselves," he said. "I think that will happen under this new government." Other student leaders had varied comments on Schorr's draft. UA Chairperson and Wharton junior Dan Debicella, who released his own plans this week, said Schorr's plan was extreme. "We do need to make the branches work together," he said. "But I see his solution as going over the edge." SAC Finance Committee member and College junior Mike Nadel said he has been working with Schorr in an attempt to unify their plans. "[The plans] have a lot in common but there are some major differences," he said. "We're going to put together one united front." UA representative and College junior Lance Rogers said Schorr's plan could be the solution to the problems facing student government. "It encompasses some great characteristics of [Debicella's and Nadel's] policy and seems to me to be the ideal compromise," he said.


UA REFORM, First in a Series

(01/18/95 10:00am)

Students would vote by geogrpahic district under Debicella plan Students would vote by geogrpahic district under Debicella planEditor's Note: This is the first of a series of stories outlining the various proposals for constitutional reform of the Undergraduate Assembly. Today's story focuses on UA Chairperson Dan Debicella's plans for revamping student government. Followers of the University's student government may need a constitutional scholar to help them understand the next few months of debate. Within a week of the beginning of the spring semester, student leaders have released nine separate constitutional proposals. Each one represents a major break from the current constitution -- which has been criticized by almost everyone involved in the movement to reform the way student government works at the University. "Constitutional reform is desirable," Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson and Wharton junior Dan Debicella said. "The UA right now has proven that the current structure can work, but no matter how well you're doing you can always do better." Debicella put forward seven proposals this week. Of the constitutional plans released so far, Debicella's most closely resemble the current constitution. All the proposals he put out this week are merely options for the University's student government to discuss, according to Debicella. He declined to endorse any specific plan at this time. While Debicella said he still has faith in the constitution, he cautioned that his drafts still mark significant departures from the present structure. "Actually, [the drafts are] hugely different," he said. "But I think the basic framework we have now works." Debicella focuses all of his plans on electoral reform, rather than a change in the balance of power within student government. All of his plans would change the election system from the current school-based proportional representation. Debicella would implement 33 geographic districts, each of which would elect one representative to the UA. He said the basic problem with student government lies solely in the operations of the UA -- not in the other branches such as the Nominations and Elections Committee, which UA representative and College senior Dan Schorr has suggested disbanding in his own reform proposal. "The other branches of student government work very, very well," Debicella said. "If you just do structural reform without electoral reform, it's just shifting the power around within government." He listed the accomplishments of the Student Activities Council and the Student Planning and Events Committee as reasons that a new constitution should not focus on those branches. But Debicella said all his options include increased UA supremacy over the other five branches of government. "In general, the branches of student government could use to work closer together," he said. "I think you definitely want the elected body of student government to be the final power in all decisions." Most of Debicella's other changes pertain to internal UA matters, he said. Two proposals put forth the idea of creating two positions for UA commissioners, who would study specific areas of the school. Debicella's proposals would make the commissioners responsible to the UA for all information in their area of expertise. "At each Assembly meeting, each Commissioner shall be required to give a written report to the Assembly consisting of recent events in their area?" reads the third of Debicella's proposals. "Failure to produce this report is grounds for removal." In addition, two of his proposals call for a general election for UA officers -- rather than the internal UA election that currently determines who holds office. "The main benefit is that it would make people feel much more attracted to their student government," he said. Rather than structural reform, Debicella said he wants to see an increase in students' understanding of and participation in the UA. "People shouldn't put so much emphasis on constitutional reform as a cure-all for any problems student government might have," he said. "I think that what we need to do beyond just constitutional reform is to get students more involved in student government." Debicella pointed to the UA's recent reports and proposals as evidence that the UA is quite active -- contrary to what he said is the general public opinion at the University. "The UA has gotten a lot done this year," he said. "Structure is important, but more important is what this UA is getting accomplished." Several other student government leaders -- each of whom have reform proposals of their own -- had comments on Debicella's plans. "Dan Debicella doesn't understand what the problem is," SAC Finance committee member and College junior Mike Nadel said. Nadel said electoral reform is not the solution to the problems facing student government, but that he is willing to include it in his plan. "[I am] open to considering electoral reform," he said. "[But] I haven't yet heard ideas that [I] consider good." Schorr said he also thought electoral reform was a secondary issue. "I don't think that's the big problem," he said. "It's being blamed for a lot of problems that are really the result of poor management." Tomorrow, part two of the series will examine UA member Dan Schorr's reform plan.


Student leaders to alter UA

(01/17/95 10:00am)

The movement to reform the University's student government took great strides forward during winter break, as several key players in the reform process released drafts of proposed constitutions this week. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson and Wharton junior Dan Debicella said he welcomes the three proposals developed over break and hopes more will be released. The proposals reflect a wide range of ideas and opinions about the future of student government at the University. UA representative and College senior Dan Schorr proposed a plan which would combine most of the current functions of the Student Activities Council, the Nominations and Elections Committee, and the UA into one body. Schorr's draft would eliminate the NEC and transfer the budgetary aspects of SAC to UA committees. The most important aspect of his plan is that the functions of government would all be carried out by elected officials, Schorr said. "The basic principle is combining nominating, finance and lobbying power in one student government," he said. According to Schorr, this would simplify student government's functions and allow more students to become involved. "It is important that students understand how the government works," he said. "Right now, it's not possible to give a simple explanation of the student government structure. And students can't be a part of student government that isn't understandable." Schorr said his proposal would put the most important facets of government into the hands of elected officials, making student government at the University more representative of the student body. And with an increase in the UA's power, more qualified student leaders would run for office, Schorr added. But Debicella, who issued seven proposals of his own, said the key to a better student government lies in electoral reform, not power. "[Schorr's proposal is] lacking the one reform that is fundamentally needed--changing the way the UA is elected," Debicella said. "I will not support any reform." All of Debicella's proposals center around a new election system, involving 33 geographical districts -- in which each district would have its own UA representative. Debicella said this would provide for more accountability among UA members, therefore making the body more effective. "That is the way that a person can say, 'That is my UA representative,'" he said. "If that UA representative is crappy, they'll kick him out. If he's good, they'll keep him." Debicella said his proposals would also give the UA more authority over the other branches of student government. According to Debicella's plans, the UA would have the ability to overrule all decisions made by SAC and NEC. In Schorr's proposal, the UA would do the work currently done by those groups, Debicella said. SAC Finance committee member and College junior Mike Nadel also issued a proposed constitution this week. Nadel said his draft has much in common with Schorr's. But while Schorr's proposal would enhance the UA's power, Nadel said his plan would dissolve all branches of student government and create a new body -- the "Undergraduate Senate" -- which would perform all government functions. Nadel said he and Schorr worked together on their proposals until the time they were released. Before the April referendum on constitutional reform, the two plans will probably be combined. "We're going to compromise and reconcile and put forward one united front," he said. "We didn't plan a strategy for reconciling before going public." Schorr said he and Nadel are still discussing their proposals -- although he criticized Nadel's outright elimination of SAC. "It's very important that student activities at Penn have a forum to communicate," he said. "There has to be a slight check on UA funding so the UA can't indiscriminately wipe out student activity groups." Schorr said he also believes a separate body was needed to recognize and oversee student groups so the UA could focus on student advocacy. Debicella said that although he shares Schorr's concern, in Schorr's plan there is also a danger that the UA could be overwhelmed by non-advocacy responsibilities. "My biggest fear is that general student advocacy would be lost," he said. Debicella, Nadel and Schorr all said they would welcome comments and opinions from members of the University community in the next few months.


U. dreams up wish list

(12/15/94 10:00am)

While students spend the last few weeks of December thinking about reuniting with high school friends and eating home-cooked meals, University administrators and faculty members are hoping for something a little bit different. University President Judith Rodin said she has two wishes for the coming year. "I hope it's a year of success for the University and for everyone in it, and a year in which the community feels satisfied and safe," she said. College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Rescorla said he is looking for a little change of scenery. "I'd like them to move the College office onto the center of campus where it should properly symbolize the centrality of undergraduate education," he said. Provost Stanley Chodorow said he is hoping to spend time focusing on his research. "I would like three to four hours a week in the library to do work on my field," he said. School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Gregory Farrington also had a list of wishes for 1995. "Next fall, I want all freshmen not to walk in clusters so I won't know who they are," Farrington said. "Liberate the University from the clusters of freshmen!" Farrington also hopes to have a more open forum with the faculty in his school. "I wish the faculty members to all be very, very reasonable and to come in to me and say, one after another, 'Hey, I've got a great idea, and I've got all the money I need to make it happen,' " he said. "If they do that, I will need a personal brass band in my office." Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said he has high hopes for his department next year. "My wish would be for a lot of victories, no injuries and everybody [to be] on the dean's list," he said. Institute of Contemporary Art Director Patrick Murphy said he is looking forward to the holiday break. "[I wish for] a restful and replenishing time for everyone," he added. "For myself -- to get down to read a few novels." Farrington ended his wish list with a plea that echoes many students' sentiments. "May I go through the entire year without anyone thinking I really work at Penn State," he said.


UA proposes to limit tuition increase to 5 percent

(12/12/94 10:00am)

Tuition will not go up next year as much as in previous years -- if a proposal put forward by the Undergraduate Assembly last night is adopted by the University administration. A tuition increase could feasibly be limited to five percent while maintaining need-blind admissions and most University services, according to the proposal. The UA arrived at the five percent figure as a goal because it is one percent greater than the inflation rate over the past 10 years,UA Chairperson and Wharton junior Dan Debicella said. A five percent increase would represent the smallest tuition hike in over three years. Last year, tuition increased by 6.1 percent, and in 1992-93, by 6.9 percent, according to figures provided by the UA. "We're saying you should keep tuition increases to five percent because it's possible," Debicella said. The proposal would require slight modifications of the University's budgetary system, said Wharton junior Vincent Scafaria, also a member of the UA budget committee. Scafaria said at last night's UA meeting that budgeting at the University is done using a system of "responsibility centers." He said each of the University's 12 schools -- along with divisions like the University Museum, the Book Store, Dining Services, and Residential Living -- makes up a responsibility center, creating its own revenue and spending its own money. At the end of a fiscal year, leftover funding from centers that profited is allocated to centers recording a loss -- so that no division of the University comes up short. Scafaria criticized the current system because there is no incentive to cut costs. "The profiting [centers] know their profit is going to leave, so why bother saving money," he said. In order to ensure that expenses drop enough to meet the lowered increase in revenue, the proposal calls for Provost Stanley Chodorow, acting Executive Vice President Jack Freeman and University President Judith Rodin to set limits on certain non-essential spending. "The whole idea is, you identify what matters to students," Scafaria said. "And anything else that's just dead weight, you cut." In what he described as "re-engineering," Scafaria said the University must "take out steps that lead to time delays and extra money." Using figures provided by Interim Budget Director Ben Hoyle, the UA argued that current services can be maintained if next year's tuition increase is limited to five percent. In even the worst possible scenario, expected revenues are greater than expenses by at least $24 million. However, the UA figures did not allocate specific funds to areas such as faculty salaries, employee benefits, or maintenance projects -- because the authors of the proposal did not want to tell the administration how to write next year's budget, Debicella said. But in the expected case scenario, $63 million remain to be spent on these areas. This year's budget only allocates $47 million to them, he said. "The purpose of [the proposal] is a show-me thing so the president can't say, 'oh, this is impossible,'" Debicella said.


ICA sponsors city-wide AIDS Day Without Art

(12/02/94 10:00am)

The button was cloaked in black yesterday as students mourned the deaths of millions who have fallen victim to AIDS. By closing all artistic exhibits across Philadelphia, the city commemorated World AIDS Day with the third annual Day Without Art, sponsored by the University's Institute of Contemporary Art. But despite the University's involvement, only 10 students participated in the AIDS awareness program. Students from both the School of Fine Arts and the Fine Arts Department of the College of Arts and Sciences met at 11:15 a.m. to walk to the Moore School of Art in Center City. Participants from across Philadelphia met at four sites in Center City to walk to JFK Plaza, where the commemoration was held. The Day Without Art in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide commemoration of World AIDS Day. Artistic communities around the country held protests and vigils to focus national attention on the problem of AIDS, according to a statement by the ICA. Speakers at the ceremony included ICA staff member and Day Without Art Co-Chairperson Art Ivy Barsky, First Deputy City Representative for Arts and Culture Diane Dalto, WXPN-FM Disk Jockey Michaela Majoun and poet Essex Hemphill. Barsky called the Day Without Art "a day of mourning, a day of rage, a day of appreciation." "I'm so proud to be in Philadelphia today," she added. Fine Arts graduate student Tina Marie Whitman organized the University's involvement in the event. "I've been trying to get the entire University involved," she said. "[AIDS] is the plague of today. It's something that you can't ignore." According to unofficial Philadelphia Police Department estimates, close to 500 people marched to JFK Plaza. They were joined by an additional 150 observers. But Whitman said the University turnout was far lower than she had hoped. "It is very discouraging," she said. "I find that the amount of apathy at this school is rather discouraging." Although Whitman was one of two supervisors of last year's student participation in Day Without Art, this year she organized student activities alone. As a result, putting the word out on campus was more difficult than last year, she said. Other members of the University community who went to the ceremony said they were also discouraged by the lack of support on campus. "[AIDS] has had a profound impact on my life," said University lecturer and critic Laura Lichtenstein. "I have lost too many friends." College sophomore Grace Koo said she went to the march even though the AIDS epidemic has not personally touched her. "Even though it doesn't affect me, it's really important to show compassion," she said. Koo said she did not think she would have heard about the event if it had not been publicized in Fine Arts classes. Malcolm Campbell, interim dean of the School of Fine Arts, said the lack of publicity was the reason that so few students were involved in yesterday's commemoration. "We just have to make [the event] better known next year," he said. "I think Penn students care deeply." Campbell joined the marchers for a portion of the walk to the Moore School. He said it was especially important for artists to show support for efforts to cure and prevent AIDS. "The impact of AIDS on the arts has been disproportionately devastating," he said. "Creative people have been severely hit."


'Fruitless Thought' takes hold

(11/17/94 10:00am)

For 30 minutes every other week, absurdity reigns on the fifth floor of English House. Fruitless Thought, a discussion group started by College freshman Harris Romanoff, meets every even-numbered Thursday at 7:47 p.m. to ponder such mysteries as, "Pomegranates -- Friend or Foe?", "Duct Tape -- The Ultimate Healer," and "Play-Doh -- Why Does it Smell so Much Better Than it Tastes?" And now, the University is paying for these flights of fancy, as Kings Court/English House has allocated $100 to $150 for the year to Romanoff's group. Fruitless Thought, which attracts up to 40 students a meeting, began on Oct. 6, Romanoff said. An avid V-8 drinker, Romanoff was constantly explaining to his hallmates why he loved the beverage. "So we held a V-8 seminar," Romanoff said. Romanoff gathered his floor together, passed out cans of V-8 to everyone in attendance, and spent twenty minutes extolling its virtues. "It took off from there," he said. "The V-8 seminar was a lot of fun. There's a lot of everyday things that people don't think about." Fruitless Thought evolved to provide a forum for discussion of these everyday things. Romanoff said there are two aspects to every meeting of the group -- the discussion theme and a "Fruit of the Even-Numbered Thursday." At every meeting of Fruitless Thought, Romanoff gives out an unusual fruit for the group to eat. These have included pomegranates, ugli fruit and starfruit. Engineering and Wharton freshman Lauren Arbittier, a charter member of Fruitless Thought, said of the fruit, "It's a good way to expand your horizons towards strange and unusual fruit." Arbittier said Fruitless Thought gives students a chance to unwind for a moment in the middle of the week. "It barely takes any time, but it completely takes your mind off whatever stressful thing you're doing," she said. Fruitless Thought can afford to provide the "Fruit of the Even-Numbered Thursday," because Kings Court/English House subsidizes the group, Romanoff said. The University funding came about in typical bizarre fashion, he added. "I was hanging posters in the elevator and I was summoned because it was a $50 fine [to hang posters without authorization]," he said. But rather than punishing Romanoff, Assistant Dean for Residence of Kings Court/English House Krimo Bokreta ended up giving Fruitless Thought money out of a discretionary fund maintained by the dormitory. "It's a small fund, nothing big, just to encourage that type of activity," Bokreta said. "That's the whole idea of what our house is about -- to find residents who can initiate programs." Romanoff characterized Fruitless Thought as a fun, but bizarre, way to relax. "It's sort of Seinfeld taken to a group level, with lots of random ideas," he said. "It's a time to just chill out." The group's next meeting will be on Tuesday Nov. 22 at 7:47 p.m. due to Thanksgiving. The topic is "Chapstick -- The Life Long Crutch."


Concert to be held in cyberspace

(11/10/94 10:00am)

Rock and roll goes high-tech tonight at 10 p.m. The first-ever concert broadcast over the Internet, by the Seattle band Sky Cries Mary, will be available free of charge to anyone with a high-speed connection to the Internet. But University students may not be able to watch the ground-breaking concert, said Mark Litwack, manager of network engineering for Data Communications and Computing Services. "I don't think we're going to be ready for full video and sound for the entire campus," he said. "There's no way we'll be able to guarantee a picture." Litwack said the University's Internet connection, which used to be very slow, was upgraded several months ago to a faster one. Some Internet services, though, have yet to be upgraded to match the new speed. The concert will be broadcast over a system called M-Bone, a multi-media network that runs parallel to the Internet, according to Karen Allen, the band's manager. "We have an M-Bone connection, but the site we get it from is not a very good site," Litwack said. Although the University now has a high speed Internet connection, the computer it still uses to connect to the M-Bone system is not up to the speed the University is capable of achieving, Litwack said. "We're trying to find a better connection for tomorrow," Litwack said last night. But even if a new connection is found, campus-wide access will not be possible, he added. "The only [M-Bone] tools I've seen have been for Unix," he said. Computers in the University's computer labs are either IBM or Macintosh, not Unix systems. Litwack said he does not know of any M-Bone software that runs on these computers. Some computers in facilities associated with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences or in David Rittenhouse Laboratories may be available for viewing the concert, Litwack said. He did not know last night whether or not students could actually watch the show using these computers. Ironically, the concert was originally scheduled to be broadcast over the Internet from the University, when Sky Cries Mary plays a free show in the Hall of Flags in Houston Hall on November 22 at 1 p.m. "We needed to be at a university, we had an extra day, and we figured, hey, why not," said Allen, in a telephone interview from Firstars Management in Seattle. "They wanted to give something back to the college kids." But, Allen said, those plans fell through at the last minute. "We didn't get a 'no' from Penn until last week," she said. According to Ben Morgan, the Social Planning and Events Committee assistant director for concerts, the University only had to let the band use the school's high-speed Internet connection. "If the school had agreed, all they had to to was lend the lines, and Sky Cries Mary would have provided cameras and computers," the College sophomore said. George McKenna, the director of Network Planning and Services for DCCS, said, however, that using the University's connection to provide real-time video and sound would have interfered with use of the Internet by students for e-mail and other services. "It seemed inappropriate to allocate bandwidth to something which would interfere with academic services," he said. The University, McKenna said, can only send and receive a certain amount of information over the Internet at one time. Using M-Bone to broadcast internationally would have taken up most of the allocated bandwidth. Everett Thompson, the director of college promotions at World Domination Records, the band's label, said Sky Cries Mary hopes to gain attention from tonight's broadcast. "Being able to reach as many people as possible is the main goal," he said. "Just the exposure is beautiful." But Charles Como, Los Angeles manager of the Internet Underground Music Archive, which will handle the technical aspects of the broadcast, said there is more than just record sales at stake tonight. "The reason we're doing this is to make the public aware of what the Internet can do," he said. "If you can watch live video broadcast over the Net, then what's next?"


SPOTLIGHT: License to sing

(11/03/94 10:00am)

How a cappella groups address issues of copyright infringement University a cappella groups are breaking the law. It's that simple -- when singing groups record songs written by someone else, they must pay royalties to the owner of the songs' copyrights or be in violation of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. This complicated set of laws governing the use of copyrighted songs applies directly to the groups when they perform or record their own versions of copyrighted songs. According to Copyright Basics, an information circular put out by the U.S. Copyright Office, the owner of a copyright has "the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to?prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work?[and] to perform the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of musical works." Copyrights on songs are held by the person who composes the song. According to Copyright for Sound Recordings, another pamphlet published by the U.S. Copyright Office, "a work is automatically protected by copyright when it is created." If a group wants to perform a song it did not compose, it must pay a royalty fee to the copyright holder. But the vast number of performers singing copyrighted songs makes it nearly impossible for all of the royalty transactions to be conducted personally by the performer and the composer. As a result, several agencies have formed to handle the licensing of copyrighted materials. These organizations contract with composers to ensure the proper royalties are paid. The Harry Fox Agency, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) are devoted solely to this activity. There are, according to the U.S. Copyright Office, two types of licenses that apply to musical works -- mechanical and performing licenses. Mechanical licenses allow the licensee to re-record or use a particular recording of a song. Harry Fox covers most mechanical licenses, and ASCAP and BMI deal with most performing licenses. Before a group can record someone else's song, it must pay a mechanical license to the holder of its copyright. For example, if a campus a cappella group wants to record its own interpretation of Madonna's "Like a Virgin," it needs to contact the agency before doing so. But none of the University's a cappella groups pay this royalty. And, members say, this is not an uncommon practice among collegiate a cappella groups. "We don't call the Harry Fox Agency," said College senior and Pennsylvania 6-5000 president Peter Kim. "Maybe one group in 1,000 does that." Harry Fox Agency Membership Coordinator George Brouillette said the government has set the royalty rate at 6.6 cents per song per unit, usually paid to the agency before the release date of the album. "You can get a 75 percent reduced rate, if you request it from the owners of the songs," he said. Usually, Brouillette said, albums which are a compilation of songs by other artists are granted this discount, because there are so many songs on the album which need to be licensed. But despite these discounts, most a cappella group members said they do not pay the royalty fees because of the high cost involved. Off the Beat treasurer and College junior Sharon Richards said her group recently printed 1,000 copies of their newest album, Flail. Fourteen of the album's 15 songs are adaptations of other works. At current government rates, the cost of getting a license for the songs would be over $900. Richards said Off the Beat simply could not afford to pay the royalties. She added that the group never expects a problem with the copyright laws. "I'm sure we knew about [the copyright violations], but we probably didn't expect any problems," Richards said. "I don't think anyone would ever expect that." Quaker Notes president and College senior Beth Popp also said copyright infringement is not really an issue. "It would be nice [to be licensed], but we're financially not in a good position to be paying for copyrights," she said. Popp added that no one "ever really tends to be prosecuted" when they violate the copyright laws. "I get a feeling it's kind of like the little FBI warnings on videotapes," she said. Popp added that she only knew about the mechanical license laws from reading an Internet newsgroup called rec.music.a-cappella. She said there was a long on-line discussion of copyright laws because people were unsure how these laws are applied to college groups. "I found out over the summer -- post CD," Popp said. Under the law, Quaker Notes already should have paid a licensing fee to the Harry Fox Agency. The Harry Fox Agency has an entire department devoted to finding such violators, Brouillette said. "We have auditors on our staff to collect royalties," he said. "We will send the auditors to look at books. And one guy combs through Billboard magazine and finds things there." Usually, Brouillette said, record labels do not allow their members to violate the laws. "Most labels come to us because they usually find songs belong to our clients," he said. Brouillette said it is in the best interest of record labels to cooperate with the agency because the next violation may be against one of their artists. But in the case of small artists or companies like the University's a cappella groups, albums may be released without going through a record label. "We usually find violators through our clients," Brouillette said. "People say, 'I found my song in a record store.'" Brouillette said while it is within the rights of the holder of an abused copyright to sue a violator, problems are usually settled more amiably. "If there's any kind of liability involved, that goes to court," he said. "But we usually just give them a license and that's the end of it." A cappella group members said they felt that due to the relatively small audience for their albums, the Harry Fox Agency does not bother pursuing licenses with them. "It's like an underground thing," Kim said. "We've sold 800 [Pennsylvania 6-5000] discs out of 1,000. That is one-tenth of [what major artists sell]." A cappella group leaders said they do not think copyright enforcing companies pursue college singing troupes. Therefore, group leaders said this week that they are not overly concerned with copyright laws. "Most of the time people don't really think about it," Kim said. "Either we're protected by the University or we'll worry about it when it comes up." While the University does not protect its groups in any way from mechanical license violations, it does ensure that no campus group will be charged with a copyright violation for performing previously written works. Performance licenses, the second type of copyright waiver, are granted to spaces, not groups through ASCAP or BMI. The University holds a performance license from ASCAP covering all uses of the group members' materials. "Penn's license covers live concerts, dances with live or recorded music, music on hold, music played over speakers in a dorm, in a dining hall, etc.," said Deborah Meth, ASCAP Manager of Educational and Symphonic Licensing. "The license also covers performances by an a cappella group or a similar type of group on campus." The University pays 17 cents per full-time student, and 5.67 cents per part-time student to be licensed, according to ASCAP documentation. This fee is due on Feb. 1, 1995, and must be paid annually to renew the license. Also covered under the license are any performances by a campus group that are sponsored by the University or any University-affiliated body, Meth said. Meth said the license does not cover dramatic performances. A group can perform selected songs from a musical play, for example, but not the whole play, without obtaining the rights to perform it from another agency. The license agreement hits a gray area when groups go off-campus to perform copyrighted materials, Meth said. "Say the University choir went on tour across the United States, and that tour was not underwritten by Penn," she said. "Whoever promotes or produces the concerts needs to hold the license." Only if the University rented the performance space, Meth said, would its license cover the use of the works performed. Under no circumstances, though, would a musical group be liable for copyright infringement in this case. "The law is that the party under whose auspices the performance is presented is responsible," according to an ASCAP information document. The University's license with ASCAP is a form license the agency holds with most other colleges and universities across the nation. The fees the University pays are the same as the ones paid by other schools. "We require that Penn submits printed programs of all performances," said Meth, explaining her organization's needs to keep track of which songs are performed. The University does not pay extra based on how many works are performed throughout the year. In general, most a cappella group members said they do not worry about the copyright laws, whether their activities are within them or not. "It's a sensitive issue when it comes up," Kim said. "But it's also an issue that every group ignores in a sense."


Performing arts grads speak at U.

(10/03/94 9:00am)

Walnut Street felt more like Broadway Friday afternoon during the first annual Performing Arts Council Career Symposium, held in the Annenberg Center's Harold Prince Theatre. Eight University alumni who work in television and theater returned to campus to speak about their experiences and to give advice to University students interested in the performing arts as a career. Kathryn Helene, PAC coordinator, said the purpose of the event was "to give people a realistic sense of what it's like to have a career in the performing arts." She said she had brought in several University alumni to speak to students in the past, but this year's effort was the first time that a large group of alumni had been brought to speak as a panel. Hearing 10 people speak has a "far greater impact than if you hear one or two over the semester," Helene said. The panel represented a wide range of jobs in the performing arts, from actor to composer to CNN producer. But all the speakers, regardless of their particular career, stressed several similar themes in their speeches. "There is a Penn mafia right now of fairly recent graduates," said alumnus and Broadway producer David Stone. Many speakers emphasized the importance of networking and making personal contacts. "Whenever you're working with other people in theatre, it's always important to remember that you may need these people down the road," said composer Brian Besterman. Actor Susan Bernfield advised students to plan ahead. "It definitely pays off to try to define your goals early and really try to do what you want to do," she said. Students who went to the symposium said they found it helpful and informative. "This is a great way to meet alumni who can make the transition [into professional theater] easier," said College junior Todd Shotz, the publicity manager of the Glee Club. Shotz said the symposium had "given me some reassurance that it can be done." College of General Studies senior Joan Fishman said she attended the symposium because she wanted to learn as much as possible about the theater. "I got a lot of positive affirmation to take some risks and follow my dreams," Fishman said. Members of the panel said they took the time to come to Philadelphia for the symposium because it was important that they try to help current University students.


DU picnic kicks off mentoring program

(09/30/94 9:00am)

A barbeque picnic at Delta Upsilon yesterday kicked off the second annual College Now Collaborative, a mentor program between the fraternity and West Philadelphia High School. As part of the program, DU brothers advise and counsel high school students. The mentors meet with their advisees about once every two weeks for an informal conversation. The mentors also run workshops to teach the students basic skills including public speaking, test taking and studying. Last year, the group held eight of these workshops. College junior Joe Parisi, this year's College Now Collaborative chairman, said he wants to expand the program to reach more students in West Philadelphia. He said he would also like to involve other University groups in the mentoring process. College senior David Doctorow, who founded the collaborative last year, said he hopes University students outside of his fraternity will assist DU's program because he wants as diverse a group as possible mentoring the high school students. Both Parisi and Doctorow said the expansion would begin next spring, when the two accept applications from other groups. But until then, the focus will be on the nine original high school students who are still part of the collaborative's effort. Doctorow said this year the program's aim will be to ensure that the nine West Philadelphia High School students go on to college. "We know what the important issues are," he said. DU will take the high school students to colleges around the Philadelphia area and let them speak with admissions officers and college counselors. Doctorow said yesterday's picnic was beneficial for the students because "they're realizing college is a fun thing. It's not just school." Terrance Williams, a junior at West Philadelphia High School, said the main reason he returned this fall was that he enjoyed the program last year. "I liked going to the [University basketball] games," he said. "And sometimes we'd go play basketball up the street." College junior Anthony Pryor is Williams' mentor for the second straight year. "For the first year, it went extremely well," he said. "Sometimes it's difficult to get these abstract concepts off the ground." Sana Heath-El, who is also a high school student involved in the program, said the collaborative's efforts are "definitely worthwhile." "They're doing a good job," she said. "You meet new people and make new friends." Veteran mentors praised the program during yesterday's barbeque. "If mentoring made even just a little difference, it was well worth my time," College junior Chris Meyers.