The city will likely have to wait until 2002 to host the annual extravaganza. With the prospect of losing the entire 1998-99 season to a labor dispute looming larger than ever, the NBA yesterday canceled its February 14 All-Star Game at Philadelphia's First Union Center, taking away from the city an estimated $35 million in revenue -- not to mention a ton of good publicity. NBA Commissioner David Stern apologized to "everyone in Philadelphia" and promised to hold the annual event in the city in the next available year. That would likely be 2002, as the 2000 game will be hosted by the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., and the 2001 contest is expected to be awarded to the Washington Wizards. It's the first time the midseason extravaganza -- which has been played annually since 1951 -- has been canceled. The 5-month-old lockout has already killed the first two months of the season, the first canceled games in league history. No negotiations have been held since last Thursday, and none are currently scheduled. "It would be unfair of us to ask the City of Philadelphia and our business partners to incur the expenditures necessary for this in light of the fact that we can't guarantee a season," Stern told reporters in a conference call. Neither Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell nor his chief spokesperson, Kevin Feeley, could be reached for comment yesterday. The cancellation is the latest blow to the once-highflying NBA. After years of record popularity, the league's reputation has been bloodied by the dispute over how to divide up the league's rising revenue between owners and players. Critics have lambasted the lockout as a quarrel between greedy millionaires and greedier billionaires. Even if the game had somehow been saved, it would have been without a companion event: the four-day Jam Session at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City. The interactive carnival was canceled last month because NBA officials could not guarantee vendors that the game would take place as scheduled. Despite the loss of such a marquee event, Mickey Rowley, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, said the effect on area hotels is not so terrible. The NBA had booked about 5,000 rooms in 18 hotels to the tune of $3 million, and hotels expected another $2 million to $3 million in food and other revenue, Rowley said. But the facts that it's Valentine's Day weekend and that the NBA negotiated low rates mean hotels should be able to recoup a good portion of the revenue, he added. "It's a disappointment, but it's not that big a deal," Rowley said, noting that the effect pales in comparison to what would happen if, say, the Republican Party canceled or moved its 2000 convention. That event is expected to bring in as much as $300 million for Philadelphia. The loss of the All-Star Game is the third nationally publicized embarrassment or disappointment for Philadelphia sports in less than a week. Last Thursday, in the NFL Eagles' 17-14 win over the St. Louis Rams, an ESPN broadcaster said Veterans Stadium's 25-second play clock was not functioning because the city could not afford the cost of repairs. Rendell angrily denied the allegation. Two days later, at the Army-Navy football game, a group of 10 Army cadets and prep-school students cheering and mugging for a CBS television camera at the stadium fell about 15 feet to the artificial turf after they caused a railing to collapse. The most seriously injured cadet broke a vertebra in his neck but is expected to make a full recovery. The last time the city hosted an all-star game in one of the country's four major professional sports -- baseball, football, basketball and hockey -- was in 1996, when the Phillies hosted Major League Baseball's annual game at the Vet. Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Edward Sherwin and the Associated Press contributed to this article.
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Lab tests have found no evidence that tainted food made dozens of students sick last week. It's looking less and less like food poisoning. Preliminary results from laboratory tests of stool samples from students who fell victim to a mysterious illness last week have turned up no evidence of bacterial contamination, Penn and city officials said Friday. The news further dispels any notion that tainted food from University dining halls was to blame for the maladies that sent more than 80 Penn students to seek medical treatment since last Tuesday night. Originally, many students and doctors suspected that the illness -- which caused nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fevers -- was the result of food poisoning, though Penn officials have maintained since Wednesday that the sicknesses were likely the work of an influenza-like virus. Although Friday's results do not definitively eliminate the possibility of food poisoning and because of the tests' nature cannot establish a virus as the culprit, they do provide considerable hard evidence that Penn dining-hall fare -- whether a single item or many different items -- was not culpable for the illness. The University is continuing lab tests this week on stool samples. "It really looks like it is more of a flu-like illness," Director of Student Health MarJeanne Collins said Friday. Also, all tests performed by city public-health officials have so far turned up no evidence of bacteria, Philadelphia Health Department spokesperson Jeff Moran said Friday. City officials are continuing to investigate. The possibility that a contaminated water supply caused the illnesses is "very unlikely," Collins said. Penn health officials were still not sure Friday whether they will pursue the more costly tests to determine whether it was an actual virus that caused the maladies. About 16 students had sought treatment at Student Health Services on Friday through about 4 p.m., Collins said, bringing the total number of victims to about 80. Many of the students had not eaten at Penn Dining, and non-student area residents had reported similar illnesses last week. Yesterday doctors at Student Health said several more students had come in over the weekend reporting similar symptoms, though an exact number was not immediately available, and it was not clear whether the students were suffering from the same illness. Collins stressed that anyone who worried that bacteria had infested the food at Hill College House, Stouffer Dining Commons and Class of 1920 Commons should not consider canceling their meal plans or staying away from the dining halls. "It's important that people are aware that Dining Services has not been implicated," Collins said. She added that officials are investigating the possibility that area vendors or restaurants may have served tainted food over the past week. Last week's outbreak was unusual in the number of students who were struck so suddenly, according to Collins. But in terms of how many students were actually afflicted, the illness so far has fallen far short of a typical annual flu bug. "When we get a flu outbreak we'll see 300 students," Collins said. Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer Ben Geldon contributed to this report.
When Mark McGwire's name (and possibly that of Sammy Sosa) becomes enshrined in the record book this season as having smashed Roger Maris' mark of 61 home runs in 1961, the baseball gods should put an asterisk next to it. Because two expansion teams made pitching even lousier? Nope. Because Coors Field existed? Nah. Because the balls were juiced? Please. The St. Louis Cardinals slugger has one big advantage over Maris and the great Babe Ruth, a leg up even over players just a few years ago. It's something called creatine, a powdery nutritional supplement that athletes of all skill levels and bank-account sizes are taking these days to bulk up and enhance performance. And McGwire is the General Nutrition Centers' No. 1 customer. He's an avid user of the product, having ingested enough of it to increase the size of his biceps to almost two feet in circumference. We're talking here about a little bigger than a Personal Pan Pizza, and more than double the size of my puny arms. (Debate has also raged recently over McGwire's use of androstenedione, a legal, testosterone-boosting drug about which little is known. It's banned in pro football, college sports and the Olympics, but not baseball. For the record, Sosa said this week that he doesn't use creatine or androstenedione, though he's used creatine occasionally in the past, according to a recent New York Times article.) Creatine could very well be the biggest story in all of sports today and in the years to come. Many athletes and trainers are hailing it as the best legal way to beef up your muscles. And so far there hasn't been much in the way of scientific studies showing that creatine, say, makes men sterile or gives them breasts. All the more reason to stay away from it, some experts argue. "What we don't know about creatine should scare us more than what we do know about creatine," Mark Juhn, a sports medicine physician at the University of Washington, told Sports Illustrated in an article which shed light on creatine mania earlier this year. "There are no studies that prove its innocence. If you're perfectly healthy to begin with, why take any chances? You have to ask yourself, Is it worth it?" For McGwire, perhaps it is. If he keeps up his current pace, he could hit as many as 66, or if he gets really hot, 70 home runs this season. When the time comes to update the Baseball Encyclopedia, the editors should do one of two things: either put an asterisk next to McGwire's name, or start a new records list, beginning with 1997 or 1998, to denote the Creatine Era. What would be so bad about that? If creatine is here to stay, and long-term studies prove it's safe and effective, they might as well group the players of the late 1990s and the future under a new label. Indeed, baseball players of the 19th century are rarely compared with those of the 20th. Why shouldn't players of the 21st century, and the years leading up to it, start a new category, too? The demarcation couldn't be much clearer. As more and more athletes ascribe their superhuman achievements to creatine, there's no doubt that an increasing number of high school and college athletes will make the supplement a mainstay of their diets. And it's likely that the games will change in more ways than just the record books. Quarterbacks will get more concussions. Hockey checks will be even fiercer. You could even have baseball pitchers, traditionally the worst hitters in the game, capable of smacking a dinger whenever they approach home plate. Or, in three or four years, a group of scientists could publish a study linking creatine use to something like liver damage or lower testosterone production. Studies producing similar results would follow. The Food and Drug Administration and its counterparts in other countries would ban creatine, pushing it into the underworld of muscle enhancements, right down there with steroids. The consequences would be tragic, with some of this era's greatest icons hobbled, humbled and hospitalized. Just like that, the Creatine Era would be over. Sports would return to the way they were B.C., Before Creatine. No baseball player would hit 61 home runs, not for several decades, not until the next purportedly "safe" nutritional supplement hits the big time. And the baseball record book of the future would duly note that Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' home-run record while religiously using a now-illegal drug. It could happen.
When Mark McGwire's name (and possibly those of Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa) becomes enshrined in the record book this season as having smashed Roger Maris' mark of 61 home runs in 1961, the baseball gods should put an asterisk next to it. Because two expansion teams made pitching even lousier? Nope. Because Coors Field existed? Nah. Because the balls were juiced? Please. The St. Louis Cardinals slugger has one big advantage over Maris and the great Babe Ruth, a leg up even over players just a few years ago. No, it's not enough money to fill a pool. It's something called creatine, a powdery nutritional supplement that athletes of all skill levels and bank-account sizes are taking these days to bulk up and enhance performance. And McGwire is the General Nutrition Centers' No. 1 customer. He's an avid user of the product, having ingested enough of it to increase the size of his biceps to almost two feet in circumference. We're talking here about a little bigger than a Personal Pan Pizza, and more than double the size of my puny arms. Creatine could very well be the biggest story in all of sports today and in the years to come. Many athletes and trainers are hailing it as the best legal way to beef up your muscles. And so far there hasn't been much in the way of scientific studies showing that creatine, say, makes men sterile or gives them breasts. All the more reason to stay away from it, some experts argue. "What we don't know about creatine should scare us more than what we do know about creatine," Mark Juhn, a sports medicine physician at the University of Washington, told Sports Illustrated in an article which shed light on creatine mania earlier this year. "There are no studies that prove its innocence. If you're perfectly healthy to begin with, why take any chances? You have to ask yourself, Is it worth it?" For McGwire, perhaps it is. If he keeps up his current pace, he could hit as many as 70, or if he gets really hot, 75 home runs this season. When he passes Maris' total, he deserves a healthy round of applause. Then, when the time comes to update the Baseball Encyclopedia, the editors should do one of two things: either put an asterisk next to McGwire's name, or start a new records list, beginning with 1997 or 1998, to denote the Creatine Era. What would be so bad about that? If creatine is here to stay, and long-term studies prove it's safe and effective, they might as well group the players of the late 1990s and the future under a new label. Indeed, baseball players of the 19th century are rarely compared with those of the 20th. Why shouldn't players of the 21st century, and the years leading up to it, start a new category, too? The demarcation couldn't be much clearer. As more and more athletes ascribe their superhuman achievements to creatine, there's no doubt that an increasing number of high school and college athletes will make the supplement a mainstay of their diets. And it's likely that the games will change in more ways than just the record books. Quarterbacks will get more concussions. Hockey checks will be even fiercer. Basketball players might have a lower free-throw percentage (if Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal are any guide). You could even have baseball pitchers, traditionally the worst hitters in the game, capable of smacking a dinger whenever they approach home plate. Or, in three or four years, a group of scientists could publish a study linking creatine use to something like liver damage, heart disease or lower testosterone production. More studies producing similar results would follow. The Food and Drug Administration and its counterparts in other countries would ban creatine, pushing it into the underworld of muscle enhancements, right down there with steroids. The consequences would be tragic, with some of this era's greatest icons hobbled, humbled and hospitalized. Just like that, the Creatine Era would be over. Sports would return to the way they were B.C., Before Creatine. No baseball player would hit 61 home runs, not for several decades, not until the next purportedly "safe" nutritional supplement hits the big time. And the baseball record book of the future would duly note that Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' home-run record while religiously using a now-illegal drug. It could happen.
Depsite last year's 2.1 percent drop in crime, the city could not keep pace with N.Y. and L.A. Of the 20 largest U.S. cities, Philadelphia had the fifth-least number of crimes reported to police in 1997, but it also had the fifth-highest robbery rate, according to FBI crime statistics released this week. Overall, reported crimes in the nation's fifth-largest city fell 2.1 percent from 1996, from 94,565 to 92,591. That change, below the mean drop of 4.9 percent for the top 20 cities, was well behind other major cities such as Los Angeles -- which saw a 13 percent drop in major crimes -- and New York, where crime fell 7 percent. Much of Philadelphia's low crime figures are due to the relatively small number of burglaries and thefts reported. In terms of robberies and murders, the city continues to rank among the most dangerous. City officials got wind of the statistics -- compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation from reports submitted by individual police departments -- as recently installed Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Timoney prepares to use some of the same crime-fighting tactics in the City of Brotherly Love as he implemented while a deputy commissioner in New York. "Obviously, I am very concerned with the homicide rates, the shootings, aggravated assaults," Timoney told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I will also come up with strategies for robberies and burglaries and stolen cars." Los Angeles passed Philadelphia, the fourth-safest big city in 1996, to take the No. 4 position in 1997, bumping Philadelphia down a notch. For the second straight year, San Jose, Calif., the 11th-largest U.S. city, was the safest large city. New York was second, followed by San Diego, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Indianapolis and San Francisco. Crimes included in the statistics are murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft. Robberies in Philadelphia fell 9.5 percent, from 13,188 to 11,938, the 14th-largest decline among the 20 biggest cities in 1997 and behind the mean change of a 10.6 percent decrease. Still, Philadelphia had the fifth-highest rate of robberies in the 20 cities for the second consecutive year. In another major category, murders fell 2.4 percent, from 420 to 410 incidents. However, the city held steady in the No. 4 position for the most murders among the 20 biggest cities. But murders in New York fell 22 percent, from 983 to 770, and Los Angeles saw a 19 percent drop, from 709 to 574. The FBI's press release also includes a footnote for the Philadelphia statistics cautioning that "due to reporting changes and/or incomplete data, figures are not comparable to previous years' figures." Last year the FBI found mistakes in the Philadelphia Police Department's record-keeping system, which lead to a revision of the city's crime statistics.
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who has been at the center of controversies ranging from President Clinton's fund-raising scandal to this week's antitrust lawsuits against Microsoft Corp., took time out of her frenzied schedule to address graduates of the University Law School Sunday morning. Reno, the country's top law enforcer since March 1993, was greeted by a standing ovation and a host of camera flashes as she took the podium at the Academy of Music. Her 20-minute speech was peppered with anecdotes from her 35 years of practicing law, advice to this year's graduates and calls for the new attorneys to work toward "a more peaceful society." Reno also drew laughter from the crowd. The 59-year-old Miami native said she could not have imagined as she graduated from Harvard Law School in 1963 "that my nieces and nephews would be having a debate on whether I should be watching Saturday Night Live or not," referring to the NBC comedy-skit show that has lampooned her in such bits as "Janet Reno's Dance Party." In addition, Reno told the story of a woman who recently thanked her for getting her child-support payments -- decades after Reno had done the work. The nation's first female attorney general -- who has faced criticism for her role in such incidents as the April 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas -- did not discuss any such controversies. Instead, she explained her positions on overarching legal issues. "Every one of us has the obligation? to be an advocate, to be the sword and shield," Reno said. Reno, who earned her bachelor's degree in 1960 from Cornell University, urged the graduates to examine their actions in the context of the larger community. "We've got to look at the big picture," she said. Before skipping out to head to the graduation ceremony for Syracuse University's School of Law, Reno told of how she cared for her mother, Jane Wood Reno, in her last days, living with her as she died of cancer over a three-year period. During that time, Janet Reno took her mother on a Caribbean cruise and a trek across Canada, among other trips, to give her "best friend" some great experiences before she died in 1992 at age 79. "The fact that she had a happy, long life? is one of the most important things for my life," Reno said. Although welcome, Reno's presence may have been a surprise to some. The University did not announce the selection until last Friday, about "six to eight weeks" after Reno had accepted the invitation, according to Gary Clinton, the Law School's assistant dean for student affairs. Reno's office "told us we couldn't announce it formally until the Friday before the event," citing the possibility of a last-minute cancellation, Clinton said on Tuesday. However, students in the graduating Law class had known about Reno's speech since her acceptance, he added. A U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson did not immediately return a call for comment. Without advance notice, campus periodicals were unable to publicize Reno's expected appearance. The Almanac and last Wednesday's Pennsylvania Current -- both published by the University -- printed schedules of graduation ceremonies and speakers but did not list a speaker for the Law School commencement. But the speech that garnered just as big a reaction -- if not bigger -- from the audience was made by Estela de Llanos, president of the Law School's class of 1998, who spoke shortly before Reno. De Llanos drew laughter and applause with an anecdote about when she first appeared to be headed for the legal profession. At the age of five, she lied to protect her father from an auto mechanic who was charging a high amount for a repair, telling the mechanic he did not tell her father the cost of the job -- even after she witnessed the exchange. "And with that, I became a lawyer," she said. The Santa Monica, Calif., native also recounted her three years at the Law School. "The third year completely blacked out because of all the bars we? [brief pause] had to apply to," de Llanos said, to big laughs. After Reno's speech, the school awarded diplomas to 66 recipients of master of laws degrees, 226 recipients of juris doctor degrees and one recipient of a doctor of juridical science degree.
Juries found only one of the defendants guilty of the researcher's murder. and Ben Geldon Two juries have decided the fates of two people on trial for the October 1996 stabbing death of University biochemist Vladimir Sled. And although the verdicts in the back-to-back, six-day trials differed, both defendants will be spending a long time in prison. Eugene "Sultan" Harrison, 33, who started the incident by attempting to snatch Sled's fiancee's purse, was acquitted on May 5 of murder. A jury did, however, convict him of robbery and other charges. Harrison faces 32 1/2 to 65 years in prison for the Sled incident as well as for robbing a Philadelphia Daily News driver of $600 in cash earlier that day. On the other hand, Yvette Stewart, 30, who drove the getaway car, was convicted Wednesday of third-degree murder. That's a lesser charge than second-degree murder, which the prosecution wanted and which carries a life sentence. Stewart's jury also returned guilty verdicts on charges for both the Sled and Daily News incidents. She faces 47 to 94 years in jail. The third defendant, Bridgette Black, 27, officially pleaded guilty Wednesday, as expected, to stabbing and murdering Sled. A judge will decide later this month what degree of murder she is guilty of at a continuation of this week's hearing. Harrison and Stewart will be sentenced by a judge in September. Sled, a popular and well-respected researcher who came to Penn from Russia in 1992, was stabbed to death on October 31, 1996, four days after his 38th birthday, on the 4300 block of Larchwood Avenue. Sled and his Swedish-born fiancee and colleague, then-University researcher Cecilia Hagerhall, were walking to their home at 44th Street and Osage Avenue when Harrison jumped on Hagerhall and tried to take her purse. Sled, attempting to protect Hagerhall, struggled and fought with Harrison. In the melee that ensued, Black got out of Harrison's stolen sedan and swung her knife around, stabbing Sled five times -- including a fatal strike to his heart. Stewart drove the car up and allegedly fired a gun at least once -- but didn't hit anyone -- before the trio fled from the scene. The slaying, at about 11 p.m. on Halloween night, shook the University community. It was the first homicide of a Penn employee or student in nearly 2 1/2 years. Assistant District Attorney Dick Carroll, who is prosecuting the entire case, said he was not entirely sure why Harrison got off on the murder charge while Stewart didn't. "The case was stronger against Stewart," Carroll said Wednesday after her trial ended. "Harrison's case had the air of a poor slob who couldn't do any better than get beat up by his victims." He added that he "cannot quarrel with [Stewart's] verdict at all." Harrison was "very, very pleased" with his verdict, according to his court-appointed attorney, Tariq El-Shabazz. El-Shabazz had told the jury during opening and closing statements that the defendant admitted to the robberies but was not responsible for the killings. "I think the verdict accurately reflects my client's culpability," El-Shabazz said after the jury's May 7 decision. Stewart's court-appointed attorney, Lee Mandell, was not immediately available for comment. In Harrison's trial, which had begun April 28 with jury selection, Carroll argued that since the murder was committed as a direct result of the robbery -- which Harrison masterminded -- he is guilty of murder as well under Pennsylvania law. El-Shabazz argued, however, that his client should not be condemned for a crime he did not plan or have any part in committing. Harrison, of the 5200 block of Arch Street, had been arrested a half-dozen times since 1984 on various charges including illegal firearms possession, robbery and resisting arrest. But only once did he get a penalty -- two years of probation in 1995 for theft, according to Philadelphia court records. Harrison offered to plead guilty in exchange for 30 to 60 years in prison, Carroll said last week. But the District Attorney's office decided to take the case to trial, he said. Stewart's trial, which immediately followed Harrison's, was more hotly contested, however. Much of the controversy centered on the Daily News driver's failure to identify Stewart in a police lineup, a point Mandell stressed throughout the trial as casting reasonable doubt on Stewart's alleged presence as the getaway-car driver in that robbery. But Carroll said the January 1997 lineup was unfair to begin with. Although Arthur Palestini, 53, testified that he briefly saw a black woman with blond, medium-length hair from the car's side -- a description fitting Stewart at the time of her arrest three weeks later -- Stewart showed up for the lineup with short, dark hair. The woman Palestini misidentified as Stewart had medium-length, dark hair. At the trial, Stewart had medium-length, dark hair. In addition, William Wynn, lineup supervisor for the Philadelphia Police Department, testified that there weren't enough black women with blond hair for a six-person lineup. During the murder, a hood and scarf covered Stewart's head and hair, Black and Hagerhall said. The prosecution's murder case against Stewart relied heavily on the testimony of Black, a prostitute who knew Stewart for a year but had not met Harrison before that night. Black testified that she expected Harrison to give her and Stewart a ride to Center City, where they would both prostitute themselves. The two would then use their money to hitch a ride to the Washington, D.C., area, where Black had previously lived. The three smoked crack in the car, according to Stewart's statement. Black said only Stewart and Harrison used the drugs. Harrison was planning to rob someone that night, and Stewart knew of the plans, Black testified. Stewart was about to get out of the car to help Harrison when Black, seeing her handgun, told her to stay and got out instead, Black said. As Harrison and Black fought with Sled and Hagerhall, Stewart fired her gun, according to Black. Sled immediately fell to the ground, and everyone initially thought he had been shot. But an autopsy revealed only stab wounds, and no gun or bullets were ever recovered. Stewart, who had a dozen arrests and several convictions before October 1996, denied having a gun, though she said in a statement given to police after her arrest that she had heard a gunshot.The jury convicted Stewart of possessing an instrument of crime. But Mandell challenged the validity of Black's testimony, suggesting that she may have embellished it to implicate Stewart. Although Black maintained that she had no deal or plea bargain with the prosecution and that no one forced her to testify, she said on the witness stand that she believes she will get a "benefit" from testifying. "Who does she have to please? The prosecution," Mandell told the jury in his closing statement. Carroll bristled at that suggestion, raising his voice for the first time during the trial in his closing statement, which followed Mandell's. Carroll argued that since Mandell never challenged the validity of Black's November 1996 statement against her testimony, Mandell could not argue that Black had changed her tune in any way. Although it is unclear why Black chose to plead guilty to all charges, her statement indicates that she felt extreme remorse over the killing. Black had no prior criminal record in Philadelphia. The prosecution also relied on testimony from Hagerhall, who flew in from Sweden and took the stand twice in one week, on May 4 and May 8, to fit her flight schedule. Carroll had originally hoped to try Harrison and Stewart together, but the U.S. Supreme Court recently made it tougher for prosecutors to use a defendant's statement against a co-defendant. The ruling led Carroll -- at the behest of Common Pleas Judge Eugene Clarke Jr. -- to decide April 27 to separate the trials. Clarke presided over both trials, which took place in room 702 of the Criminal Justice Center at 13th and Filbert streets. Each jury deliberated for about three hours before reaching its verdict. Daily Pennsylvanian staff writers Binyamin Appelbaum and Maureen Tkacik contributed to this article.
The move is aimed at giving a more honest picture of crime at Penn. For the first time, members of the University community and prospective students will get the full picture of how much crime occurs on and around Penn's campus. In a surprise move that puts the University in the vanguard of higher education, Penn announced yesterday that it would go above and beyond the requirements of state and federal law by including in annual crime reports all incidents reported to University Police -- not just those occurring under the laws' "narrow" definition of "on campus." A U.S. Department of Education investigation into the University's crime-reporting procedures recently found that Penn generally reported its crime in accordance with the law, though the government cited Penn for six minor violations. As an example of the major change about to hit Penn's crime reporting, the number of robberies at the University in 1997 will jump from just 19 to 206. "We applaud the University of Pennsylvania for its willingness to be completely honest about crime on its campus," Secretary of Education Richard Riley said in a statement. "We hope other schools will follow Penn's lead." University President Judith Rodin described the move as "logical." "I thought it was just bad P.R. to make us look like there wasn't any crime around campus," Rodin said. "With the new system, no one can accuse us of covering anything up." And a non-profit group advocating tighter rules for campus crime reporting hailed Penn's announcement as "signaling a new era in the openness and honesty of American universities." "If you're going to Penn, you're going to know just how dangerous West Philly really is," said Daniel Carter, vice president of Security on Campus Inc., the group that asked the DOE to audit Penn's statistics. In explaining Penn's decision to alter its reporting methods, Managing Director of Public Safety Tom Seamon pointed to the bloody March 1 shooting outside the Palestra that left one dead and three wounded. Since some of the victims were shot on the street -- which is not considered University property under the federal definition of "campus" -- some people might criticize Penn for not including all the shootings in its official reports, even though Penn would be complying with the law, Seamon said. The new system eliminates any potential confusion, he noted. College senior John La Bombard was one of those shot and injured. A stray bullet hit him as he worked on a Design of the Environment project in the Blauhaus on 33rd Street. "I'm just glad it didn't hit my penis," La Bombard said. Many statistics would increase astronomically under the new system. For instance, the number of thefts would jump from 1,425 "on campus" in 1997 to a total of 34,984 reported to University Police. Rapes would rise from zero to 12, and murders would go from zero to six. But Penn Admissions Dean Lee Stetson was "outraged" by the move. He predicted the new crime statistics would cause "at least a 50 percent drop in applications" for the class of 2003. "This sucks for Penn," Stetson said. "I don't understand how this helps us at all. Rodin is nuts. Seamon is nuts. The whole freakin' system is nuts." Hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes, who is playing the annual Penn Relays concert at Zellerbach Auditorium on April 25, said the changes will make Penn's campus seem more "dangerous." "This is serious," Rhymes said. "We could make you delirious. You should have a healthy fear of us, 'cause too much of us is dangerous. "We so dangerous, we so dangerous," he continued. "My Flipmode Squad is dangerous. So dangerous, we so dangerous. "My whole entire unit is dangerous."
Boderick Barnville underwent surgery after the knife struck a major artery in his arm. and Maureen Tkacik A University maintenance worker was stabbed in the arm, allegedly by a homeless man, near the busy campus intersection of 38th and Spruce streets Friday morning, authorities and witnesses said. Facilities Services employee Broderick Barnville, 31, underwent surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania shortly after the 7:15 a.m. incident because the knife struck a major artery, police said. He was released Saturday morning. University Police arrested a suspect for the stabbing. As of last night it was unclear whether the Philadelphia Police Department's Southwest Detectives Bureau released him after questioning. Surveillance cameras at the Wawa convenience store caught the suspect on videotape, police said. Police described the suspect as a 6' black male in his 30s with a medium build, medium complexion, thin mustache and a balding head. He wore a long beige coat and dark pants and was last seen walking south on 38th Street from the intersection after the alleged attack. A woman who works at a food truck across the street said Friday that the suspect could possibly be a homeless man who is known as "Mumbles" to employees and police because he does not speak but often mutters profanities under his breath. But several University Police officers said they doubted that "Mumbles" was indeed the suspect, because images from the videotape did not match his description. According to police, Barnville was inside the Wawa visiting a female employee of the store witnesses said is his girlfriend. The altercation allegedly began when Barnville told the manager that he saw the man try to steal a pack of cigarettes, witnesses said. After Wawa employees told the homeless man to leave, Barnville escorted him out, according to police. It is unclear what exactly happened in the next few minutes, but the homeless man allegedly proceeded to stab Barnville near his underarm outside Wawa with a pocketknife, puncturing a major artery, authorities and witnesses said. Witnesses said Barnville lost so much blood that they were afraid he would die. The suspect then walked south on 38th Street, police said. Several people brought the victim into Wawa and put a tourniquet on his arm to stop the bleeding. An ambulance soon arrived to transport the man to HUP, according to several witnesses. A witness sitting inside the eating area of the store said Barnville had "taken swings" at the suspect before he was stabbed. Police police refused comment on those allegations. Hard Surfaces Superintendent Mike Ferraiolo, who supervises Barnville, described the 10-year Penn employee as "just an all-around good guy, a real good person." Barnville was a groundskeeper who cleaned the area around 38th and Spruce during his 6 a.m.-2:30 p.m. shift, Ferraiolo said. Ferraiolo added that the Department of Facilities Services held a discussion Friday afternoon regarding how employees should handle homeless people. "It really hasn't been [an issue] in the past," Ferraiolo said, noting that the department's policy toward the homeless is to call University Police if there is a problem. At about 10 a.m. on Friday, maintenance crews were washing the sidewalk of the blood, which was splattered on the ground across 10 yards from the Wawa entrance to the corner of 38th and Spruce streets. The building housing Wawa also houses a student dormitory and dining hall, as well as several other popular restaurants and retail shops. It is across the street from the Wharton School's Steinberg Conference Center, the Veterinary School's Rosenthal Building and the Class of 1920 Commons parking garage. In recent years, the University has teamed up with Wawa and other local businesses in an attempt to reduce panhandling on and around campus. The program, entitled "Don't Give Change, Help Penn Make a Change," encourages students to put their spare coins in bins in the stores, including My Favorite Muffin and the 7-Eleven convenience store. The money is then donated to the University City Hospitality Coalition and the Horizon House, a West Philadelphia-based human service organization. Officials have touted the program as being successful in reducing panhandling.
The former Penn provost had resigned to pursue the presidency of the University of Texas at Austin. Provost Stanley Chodorow lost his fifth known bid for a university's top post, as the University of Texas announced December 16 that another candidate will be the next president of its flagship Austin campus. The University of Texas System Board of Regents named Larry Faulkner, provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as president of the country's largest university. The announcement came 1 1/2 months after Chodorow resigned his Penn position, effective December 31, to pursue the UT-Austin post. Chodorow, 54, who came to Penn in July 1994 from the University of California at San Diego, declined to comment yesterday. His tenure began on a rocky note, as he was criticized for his handling of a controversial new student judicial code, among other matters. But he won praise in recent years for increasing the levels of student involvement in planning projects such as the Perelman Quadrangle. In December, Chodorow said he would probably return to full-time teaching at Penn if he was not named to the UT-Austin post. Since October 1996, Chodorow had been a finalist for the top positions at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Arizona at Tucson and New Orleans' Tulane University. He lost the bids at Michigan, UCLA and Arizona, and voluntarily withdrew from the Tulane search in November. At the time, he explained that UT-Austin was "a better match." Chodorow was the only candidate from a private university to pursue the UT-Austin post. Faulkner also bested finalists Shirley Strum Kenny, president of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and University of Wisconsin at Madison Provost John Wiley. A fifth candidate, Ohio State University Provost Richard Sisson, withdrew December 5 to become interim president of the Columbus school. Although UT regents were tight-lipped about their decision prior to the final announcement, earlier in December student leaders had urged the school's governors not to appoint Chodorow, stressing he would have difficulty gaining students' trust, according to a December 8 article in The Daily Texan. The UT-Austin students also recommended against Faulkner's appointment. Faulkner, a chemist, wasn't at ease around students and didn't have clear ideas about the issues facing UT-Austin, the student newspaper reported. On December 8, Penn named Deputy Provost Michael Wachter to the position of interim provost. Officials expect to begin the search for a new chief academic officer later this month and announce their selection by next summer. Former UT-Austin President Robert Berdahl left the school June 30 to become chancellor at the University of California at Berkeley. Although it is not yet known when Faulkner will take office, the system's regents hope he will begin his term early this year. Penn President Judith Rodin was traveling in the Far East last week and was unavailable for comment.
and Ian Rosenblum Until the University says otherwise, Campus Text Inc. is staying put --Eeven though Penn will soon have the legal right to force the company's trucks to leave the area. Campus Text co-owner Michael Saewitz said the discount textbook company will "in all probability" ask the University for permission to continue operating under the 38th Street footbridge after completing its January sales, at which time Penn will be able to make the trucks leave the location. "I don't see a need to aggressively pursue this at this point," he said. "I imagine our lawyers will send a letter to the University after the January sales period." The University gained the right to determine whether the company can remain at its current location in June as part of an agreement settling a legal battle between the two sides. In a lawsuit filed in September 1996, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based Campus Text accused the University and University Police officers of harassing its employees while they were distributing promotional material on Locust Walk. The two sides reached an agreement nine months later -- after Campus Text's owners had spent $25,000 in legal fees. Although many aspects of the settlement have not been disclosed, Campus Text officials said earlier in the semester that the agreement gives the University the right to decide if the company will remain at its current location near The Book Store and specifies where on Locust Walk Campus Text employees can distribute flyers. Associate General Counsel Robert Terrell said the University hasn't decided yet if it will allow Campus Text to remain at its current location. He added that officials will only make the decision "if and when we get a request" from the company requesting that it be allowed to remain at its current spot. Another factor in determining Campus Text's future location will be the outcome of the recently proposed vending ordinance. If passed by the Philadelphia City Council, the bill would limit the number of on-campus vendors and specify where exactly they can operate. The Book Store is operated by Barnes and Noble College Bookstores Inc. under an agreement with the University and is scheduled to move next fall to a site under construction in Sansom Common at 36th and Walnut streets.
When Towson University athletics officials discovered in late September that one of their football players competed while ineligible, they took swift action -- reporting the violation to Patriot League and NCAA officials and forfeiting what would have been the team's only conference win. Penn officials have not yet indicated whether they will take similar action in the aftermath of recent disclosures that star defensive tackle Mitch Marrow competed while academically ineligible. The University may be forced to forfeit all five victories Marrow participated in, dropping the Quakers' 6-4 record to 1-9. Penn's 5-2 Ivy League record would fall to 0-7. Both controversies began when athletics officials discovered that a player was ineligible to compete. Towson acted to resolve the situation within two to three days. But while Penn officials have known about Marrow's ineligibility for two weeks, they only responded to the incident after it appeared in a Thanksgiving Day Philadelphia Inquirer article. They have reported the violation, but have yet to announce any specific self-sanctions. Towson officials were surprised to discover that a first-year freshman football player hadn't been certified by the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse, a prerequisite for any varsity student-athlete. The error, discovered on September 29 or 30, resulted from miscommunication between athletics officials responsible for monitoring athletes' eligibility, according to Towson Sports Information Director Peter Schlehr. The freshman played in three games, including a 27-7 win over Holy Cross September 13, before officials uncovered his ineligibility. "We immediately set in motion the things that we were gong to do," Schlehr said, adding that Towson notified the Patriot League and Holy Cross of the violation. "We thought the right thing to do was to expose it and offer the forfeit and accept it." Marrow did not play in Penn's October 4 game against Towson. Because he sat out, the Quakers 26-14 win would be the only victory that would stand if officials decide to forfeit the victories in which Marrow played. Since both schools compete in nonscholarship conferences -- Penn in the Ivy League and Towson in the Patriot League -- the scope of possible sanctions is relatively small. Often, schools that violate NCAA regulations are forced to reduce the number of scholarships they offer. Furthermore, because Ivy schools do not compete in postseason play, sanctions on Penn's ability to compete in the Division I-AA playoffs would be moot. Forfeiture of games is therefore one of the most dramatic measures that can be taken against Ivy and Patriot league schools.
The football star denied allegations that Athletic Department officials attempted to cover up his academic ineligibility. Almost one week after news of his athletic ineligibility became public, Penn football star Mitch Marrow finally decided to speak up. Describing the eligibility controversy that has rocked the Athletic Department as an "innocent mistake," Marrow said yesterday that neither he nor the department knew he was ineligible until the last week of the season. He also denied allegations of a cover-up. Marrow, 22, also accused History Undergraduate Chairperson Bruce Kuklick of reporting the incident "because I'm Jewish and a football player." The controversy began after Marrow -- an all-Ivy defensive tackle and pro prospect -- withdrew from two of his four classes at the beginning of the semester due to mononucleosis, dropping him to part-time status and making him ineligible to compete under NCAA regulations. The University, however, continued to charge Marrow full tuition, prompting his mother to call the Penn football office November 20 for advice on how to handle the situation, Marrow said. The call is what first alerted officials to the fact that Marrow had played while ineligible, he said. A committee headed by Provost Stanley Chodorow is investigating the controversy to find out whether the Athletic Department attempted to cover up Marrow's ineligibility and to determine what kind of penalty -- forfeiting the five wins Marrow played in, for instance -- should be assessed. Marrow, in an interview yesterday with The Daily Pennsylvanian, charged Kuklick with "slandering my name and embarrassing my entire family" by contacting The Philadelphia Inquirer about the incident. Kuklick declined to comment on the allegations of bias and anti-Semitism and stressed that the Inquirer had called him first. Ralph Cipriano, the Inquirer reporter covering the controversy, said he called Kuklick but refused to say who had tipped the newspaper to the matter. The story, first reported Thanksgiving Day in the Inquirer, was picked up by The Associated Press and quickly received national coverage on cable stations ESPN and CNN, as well as many newspapers. Before yesterday, Marrow referred all questions to his attorney, Arthur Marion. But saying he was disappointed that the University hadn't yet given an official account of the controversy, Marrow chose to tell his story to the media yesterday. Associate Athletic Director D. Elton Cochran-Fikes, who handles compliance with NCAA regulations, "made an innocent mistake," Marrow said. But he said Cochran-Fikes "kind of screwed up" by failing to provide him and two other fifth-year football players with eligibility information. Cochran-Fikes did not return a message last night. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky refused to comment on details of the case, but said the department followed "standard procedures" in reporting the possible violation to the offices of the president and provost, as well as the Ivy League. Bilsky stressed that the investigation is "not only looking at what happened" but also "at how you can improve things so that they don't happen again." Marrow, a fifth-year College senior, added that he wasn't aware of his "exact [eligibility] criteria." With Marrow in his office, Cochran-Fikes called College of Arts and Sciences Director of Advising Diane Frey November 20 -- the Thursday before the season finale against Cornell -- asking her if Marrow could re-enroll in one of the courses he had dropped, he said. Frey rejected the request. Seeking other options to restore his eligibility, Marrow then visited first-year History Professor Beth Wenger, who is teaching him this semester in a Jewish history seminar. "I'm the one who decided to go to her," Marrow said. "I have heard of regular students doing that [adding an independent-study course late in the semester] all the time." Because of the late timing of the request, Wenger consulted Kuklick and History Department Chairperson Lynn Lees, who urged her to reject the request. Wenger told Kuklick and Lees she felt pressure from the Athletic Department to add the course and protect Marrow's eligibility, Kuklick said. Wenger could not be reached for comment last night. Assistant Athletic Director and academic coordinator Robert Koonce told Marrow that Legal Studies Professor Kenneth Shropshire -- the University's NCAA faculty representative -- "was in need of someone to help him out" on a project, Marrow said. Although Marrow says he "didn't even know Professor Shropshire," the professor's research interest in sports and entertainment law intrigued him, and, on Friday, November 21, Marrow approached Shropshire regarding the independent study. Frey approved the course. But her supervisor, College Dean Robert Rescorla, overturned her decision the following Wednesday.
After a star football player was found ineligible, the Athletic Dept. tried to arrange a last minute independent study. and Tammy Reiss In the aftermath of what professors called a failed attempt by the Athletic Department to cover up a star football player's academic ineligibility, the University faces a scandal that could force the team to forfeit many of its victories. The University will investigate whether Athletic Department officials tried to arrange what one History professor described as an "obviously inappropriate" independent study course for fifth-year College senior Mitch Marrow, a two-time all-Ivy League defensive tackle and pro prospect, after they realized his part-time status deemed him ineligible to compete under NCAA regulations. Marrow, 22, had dropped one of his three classes early in the fall semester due to mononucleosis, and his two classes gave him part-time status. The NCAA allows only full-time students to compete in intercollegiate athletics. If officials determine that Marrow indeed played while ineligible and the team is forced to forfeit the five victories that Marrow participated in, Penn's 6-4 record in 1997 could fall to 1-9. The negative publicity surrounding the incident could also dampen Marrow's NFL draft prospects, said Arthur Marion, Marrow's attorney. As a result, Marrow's attorneys are "considering the possibility of legal action against the individuals who we feel are responsible for this happening," Marion said. Marion declined to identify those people, but accused Undergraduate History Chairperson Bruce Kuklick of violating federal privacy laws by discussing Marrow's situation with the media and disclosing personal information such as Marrow's grade-point average. The story, first reported Thanksgiving Day in The Philadelphia Inquirer, was picked up by The Associated Press and quickly received national coverage through cable stations ESPN and CNN, as well as many newspapers. The controversy began about two weeks ago when Associate Athletic Director Denis Elton Cochran-Fikes, who is responsible for the department's compliance with NCAA regulations, contacted the office of College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Rescorla, seeking to reinstate Marrow into the course he had dropped. The office rejected the request because the deadline to add courses had passed September 19. Cochran-Fikes then approached first-year History Professor Beth Wenger, who has Marrow as a student this semester in her Jewish history seminar, and asked her to create an independent study course for Marrow, a History major. But, according to Wenger, adding an independent study course so late in the semester was "an arrangement I'd never made before," prompting her to approach Kuklick and History Department Chairperson Lynn Lees for advice. The two urged Wenger to reject the request, which Kuklick said was "completely unjustified" on several grounds. The decision was "not a moral dilemma or a hard call," Kuklick added. Kuklick said he suspects the request was made solely to protect Marrow's eligibility. "The Athletic Department had suddenly discovered they weren't in compliance with NCAA guidelines," he said. "This was obviously done to get Marrow in compliance with the regulations." After Wenger denied the request, Legal Studies Professor Kenneth Shropshire -- who is also the University's representative to the NCAA -- agreed to approve an independent study course for Marrow, Rescorla said. Shropshire teaches a course focusing on the business and legal aspects of sports. But because Shropshire agreed to the independent study just two weeks before the end of the semester, the College advising office had to approve the request. After receiving a written letter from Shropshire, College adviser Diane Frey decided to approve the independent study Friday, November 23 --Ethe day before the team's season closer against Cornell, Rescorla said. Shropshire did not return repeated phone calls for comment, and Frey declined to comment on any specifics of the Marrow case. However, Rescorla overturned Frey's decision last Wednesday, citing the lack of "extenuating circumstances" surrounding the request. He explained that Shropshire indicated that he was unsure whether Marrow could even finish the work by the end of the semester. Lees added that getting a request for the course just before the game "made it particularly suspect." Marion said Marrow "did absolutely nothing wrong" and added that he "may have gotten bad advice from the people who are supposed to advise him." The lawyer stressed that he didn't know many details of the situation, and he refused to allow the media to interview the 6'5", 280-pound Marrow, a 1996 and 1997 first-team all-Ivy selection. Marrow declined to comment yesterday, referring all questions to Marion. Although Marion said Kuklick's "long-standing bias" against Marrow and the football team prompted him to contact the Inquirer, Kuklick stressed that the Inquirer contacted him first. Ralph Cipriano, the reporter who wrote the Inquirer's November 27 and 28 articles on the controversy, did not return a message yesterday. In a prepared statement released Sunday, the Athletic Department said that "the University has certain procedures in place for such investigations and will follow these protocols." "It is expected that a preliminary report will be submitted to the Ivy League Office within ten days," the November 30 statement said. The NCAA typically defers questions over regular-season eligibility to individual conferences. Officials have yet to determine who will sit on the "small" investigatory committee examining the incident, Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said. Although Bilsky said he wasn't sure if the committee's report would be publicly available, he said the department would "absolutely" issue a statement on the report. Ivy League Executive Director Jeff Orleans said his office would review the report and "make a judgment as to what it means and then if anything should happen after that." He refused to comment on possible consequences, such as the forfeiture of games, which might result from the incident. Cochran-Fikes and other Penn athletics officials refused to comment. Several NCAA officials wouldn't comment on Marrow's situation, saying they do not yet know the specifics surrounding the case. Marrow returned to play this fall in hopes of impressing pro scouts and increasing his draft prospects. Despite his lack of playing time, he was still named to the all-Ivy first team for the second straight year. Marrow missed two games -- one win and one loss -- in October due to his illness and played sparingly in many others. In the Cornell game, he sat out the second half with an injury.
It's time to buy the farm. In the latest step of an ongoing controversy, a coalition of conservation groups, community members and state legislators submitted a proposal yesterday to purchase a University-owned farm in Bucks County. The group had until today to make its offer. Penn put the 211-acre Gutman farm in Upper Makefield Township up for sale last month, asking $5.5 million for the property. The University received the farm in the mid-1970s from the estate of financier Monroe Gutman for use as an arts center. Neighbors fear that a developer may buy the land, changing the character of the wealthy, rural area. Two developers have submitted offers for the property, but Penn officials declined to comment on those bids. Coalition officials also refused to discuss the details of their bid, including the size of the offer, citing a confidentiality agreement with the University. Penn officials said they hadn't yet seen the proposal. "We have found great support from throughout the area," said Cliff David Jr., president of the Heritage Conservancy, a nonprofit Bucks County organization heading the coalition and chipping in $50,000 toward buying the property. The group has received support from several local legislators, including U.S. Rep. James Greenwood (R-Pa.) and State Rep. David Steil (R-Bucks). "We're just hoping the University finds the offer we're presenting to them acceptable to their needs," David added. Although David said he hopes the University will make a decision "sometime next week," University spokesperson Ken Wildes said "there's no real timetable" for choosing whether to sell the land to a developer or the group. But the fates of the farm and the township aren't the only things at stake. University officials are concerned that Graduate School of Fine Arts Dean Gary Hack may leave the University if his underfunded school doesn't receive a sizable portion of the proceeds from the farm sale, according a coalition member. In a private meeting last month, Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Carol Scheman and University Treasurer Scott Lederman told coalition leaders that Penn recruited Hack "with promises of additional funding for his programs," according to Stan Arabis, chairperson of Upper Makefield's Environmental Advisory Committee. Scheman said she has "no memory of any such conversation." But she stressed that "all faculty such as Dean Hack are in fact in demand like that." "Gary Hack is a preeminent guy in his field and can write his own ticket anywhere," Scheman said, adding that the GSFA "really needs more support" in terms of funding. Hack, an urban design expert, was hired by the University last year after heading a similar program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for several years. Arabis said he believes University officials wanted to sell the property quickly last month, rather than by engaging in private negotiations with neighbors over a longer period, so they could "deliver on the promises they made" to Hack. Hack didn't return repeated telephone calls for comment yesterday. But several GSFA administrators said he has no plans to leave the University, regardless of the outcome of the farm sale. Gutman's estate donated the farm to the University upon his death in 1975. Located about 30 miles northeast of University City, it flourished for a decade as a center for about a dozen Fine Arts graduate students, who converted several barns on the property into studio space. Officials cut the program in the mid-1980s to save money. The University and Jackson-Cross, the real-estate firm handling the deal, originally set an October 29 deadline for offers on the property. Penn extended that deadline initially to November 21 and then to today in response to requests from the coalition.
Donald Gaines and Penn "amicably resolved" the suit, which alleged Penn unlawfully searched his car. A $3 million lawsuit filed against the University last May by University President Judith Rodin's former driver came to an abrupt, out-of-court end last week -- but neither side would say exactly how or why. In the suit, Donald Gaines, who was fired last year after University Police found a gun and marijuana in his car, accused the University of unlawfully searching his car and causing him emotional and financial distress. "Amicably resolved" were the two words repeated by University officials and Gaines' attorney to describe how the case ended. Both sides provided few specifics and refused to say whether the University had paid Gaines to settle the lawsuit. "The resolution of the case is not, and should not be, interpreted as an admission of liability," University spokesperson Ken Wildes said in a prepared statement. "We have come, quite simply, to resolution." Wildes, Associate General Counsel Brenda Fraser and University outside counsel Nancy Gellman declined to comment on the case. Howard Bruce Klein, the attorney representing then-University Police Officer John Washington -- who was promoted to sergeant in May -- didn't respond yesterday to several telephone messages. As a result of the agreement, U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Newcomer dismissed the case with prejudice last Tuesday, meaning that Gaines can't file suit again. "I think both parties are very satisfied" with the settlement, said Gaines' attorney, Marc Perry. The Gaineses, who are in their 40s and live in Philadelphia, don't have a listed telephone number. Perry refused to arrange an interview between the Gaineses and The Daily Pennsylvanian. "Both parties were confident that a resolution could be reached outside of court," Perry said. "At that point, there was no further reason to continue." Perry added that "a lot of details [of the agreement] still have to be worked out." Gaines, hired as Rodin's driver and bodyguard in April 1995, was fired in March 1996 after a University Police officer discovered the firearm and drugs -- as well as ammunition and empty beer cans -- in the car, which was parked in the University-owned garage at 38th and Walnut streets. Gaines was never charged with a crime. He had a concealed-weapons permit to carry his registered .22-caliber revolver. In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court last May, Gaines and his wife accused the defendants -- the University, the University Police Department, Washington, Rodin and Rodin's chief of staff, Stephen Schutt -- of conspiracy, invasion of privacy, causing emotional distress and violating his civil rights. Gaines sought $3 million in damages in the lawsuit for "loss of financial stability, peace of mind and future security" as well as "embarrassment, humiliation, mental and emotional distress and discomfort," according to the complaint. Gaines, a 23-year Philadelphia Police veteran, claimed that University Police officers didn't like him because they wanted Rodin to hire a guard from within the department. He "was continuously advised to watch his step," the lawsuit states. In an October 6 decision, Newcomer dismissed the conspiracy and invasion of privacy claims, as well as some civil rights charges. But he allowed several other civil rights claims to proceed against the University and Rodin. Newcomer also ruled that Gaines couldn't name the University Police Department as a defendant because it was legally the same entity as the University. The suit was scheduled to get a trial date after February 3.
This time, the new PennCards will work, officials say. After a chaotic beginning to the fall semester -- when many of the new student identification cards didn't work properly, causing massive delays and raising security concerns at dormitories and dining halls -- administrators say they've extensively tested the cards' new debit function and are ready to implement the project's next phase starting next week. Although students were originally supposed to be able to use the card's gold chip -- which can carry $50 in portable cash -- by last September, officials "decided to slow it down and do it right" to avoid a repeat of the delays and security problems, according to Laurie Cousart, director of telecommunications and campus card services. "We wanted to step back and make sure that kind of stuff didn't happen," said Cousart, who oversees the Penn-Card project. If all goes as planned, students will be able to use the cash chip for vending, laundry and copy machines throughout campus by the end of next week. Also, about 30 local merchants and food outlets are interested in installing devices that read the Penn-Card's cash chip or magnetic strip, Cousart said. Students may add value to the chips at any of the 5-foot-tall "card value centers" around campus. Two machines have already been installed -- one in the Quadrangle's McClelland Hall and one in the PennCard Center at 38th and Walnut streets -- and should be operational next week. Although officials haven't yet determined the final locations for the devices, they expect to install "probably 15" machines by February. Tentative sites include inside of several dormitories, the Class of 1920 Dining Commons, Van Pelt Library and the Johnson Pavilion, according to Cousart. Additionally, the University is installing card readers around campus to allow PennCard holders to use hundreds of washers and dryers, vending machines and copy machines in University buildings and dormitories. But after the project delays and problems with the cards this semester, the new PennCards' main competitors expressed skepticism that University officials will successfully launch the debit system next week. "They keep talking about the storm, and it hasn't started raining yet," said Matthew Levenson, one of four 1997 Wharton graduates who founded a company last year that offers the QuakerCard, a popular, free debit card for students. About 35 merchants around campus accept the QuakerCard, including all eight restaurants inside the food court at 3401 Walnut Street. Merchants must use separate devices to accept the two cards. QuakerCard merchants get the card readers for free but must pay a "small" percentage of revenue from QuakerCard purchases to University Student Services Inc., which offers the cards. Merchants who wish to buy a Penn-Card unit must lease the machines and pay a percentage of revenue to PNC Bank Corp., which is marketing and selling the units for the University. Monthly costs and fees for the machines weren't immediately available last week. Officials sent letters November 10 to about 230 merchants in University City in an attempt to enroll a "wide variety" of businesses in the new program. Cousart described the 30 positive replies she received from area merchants as "a pretty good response for a week's time." No merchants have signed a contract to accept the new cards yet. "We expect there to be a pretty broad interest" from merchants, Cousart said. But Levenson said he isn't worried the PennCard will take business or potential business away from his company, and refused to say how many students have QuakerCards. In September, University Student Services officials had said they have "significantly" more than 3,000 students using the cards. With the PennCards, by contrast, more than 10,000 of the University's 20,000 students have the new cash-chip cards, although exact figures weren't immediately available. All the old cards should be replaced by June, Cousart said. But even when all students and faculty members receive the new cards, the program's success will ultimately depend on how many people use the debit chips. Levenson said a similar program at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor hasn't been successful. Many of the 85 Ann Arbor merchants that accept Michigan's "Mcard" are "unenthused" that they had to pay for the card readers, he said. And the Michigan official who overadmitted that the program has only been "moderately successful," as fewer people than expected use the card's $50 cash chip. "It's just a new way of spending money, and it takes a while to convince people that they should try it," Michigan Assistant Director of Financial Operations Robert Russell said. Michigan has issued about 75,000 of the cash-chip cards to students, faculty members and staff since the program began in 1995. Penn began issuing its new cards in late August, allowing students with accounts at PNC Bank or the University of Pennsylvania Student Federal Credit Union to use the cards at Money Access Center machines. Students who have an MBNA America Bank credit card will be able to transfer funds to the cash chip. If a cardholder loses the PennCard, the cash on the chip is not refundable. QuakerCard users, by contrast, do not lose money if they misplace their cards. The debit functions are part of a deal, announced last March, among the University, UPSFCU, PNC Bank and MBNA Corp. Under the agreement, the University will receive $6 million over the next five years in return for adding cash, bank and credit-card functions to its student ID cards.
The game room lawsuit pits the University against the arcade's owners. It could go to trial any day. Top University administrators, including University President Judith Rodin, gave depositions and may testify at the trial. Two powerful Center City law firms are butting heads. And the seven-month legal battle has spawned an 8-inch stack of court documents. All over a video arcade and laundry? But that's what has happened since April 18, when city regulators, working closely with University officials, shut down University Laundry and University Pinball at 4006-4008 Spruce Street. At the time, officials claimed the 24-hour businesses were a nuisance that attracted crime to the edge of campus. The Schoepe family, which owns the businesses, cried foul, accusing the University and the city of Philadelphia of violating their due-process rights in a federal lawsuit filed April 24. The establishments reopened the following day under a court order requiring them to close between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. The fact that the Schoepes didn't get a hearing before their businesses were closed "does seem problematic," according to Larry Frankel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Pennsylvania chapter. The University filed a countersuit in June, accusing the Schoepes of knowingly allowing their businesses to attract criminal activity. While the city paid the Schoepes $60,000 to settle its part of the case in September, U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Katz recently ordered that neither the University's nor the Schoepes' attorneys can mention the settlement in their opening statements. The lawsuits have sat in Katz's trial pool since November 3, which means that he can call the case to trial on 24 hours' notice. Attorneys expect the trial to last about eight days. Lawyers for the University and the Schoepes have declined to comment on the case. At stake are charges that the University is racist and improperly used its clout as the city's largest private employer to close the businesses. Additionally, the suit threatens the University's year-old stated goal of improving the 40th Street area -- the site where a student was shot and wounded in September 1996. Schoepe attorneys accuse the University of wanting to close the businesses because it didn't like their main clientele, which is primarily local African-American and Asian-American youths, not Penn students. University attorneys claim that the game room's customers urinate in the streets, beat up students, get into fights, steal cars and smoke marijuana. Attorneys for the Schoepes, however, counter that University Police handled 36 incidents at 4006 Spruce Street between February 1996 and February 1997, compared with 254 incidents at the Wawa convenience store at 38th and Spruce streets during the same period. Shane Lipson, president of Penn-Watch, the student-run town watch group, said the organization -- which was founded in 1995 and patrols the area from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday -- has never responded to or called police to report an incident at University Pinball, which is also known as the "game room." While Lipson stressed that he doesn't have first-hand knowledge of the lawsuits, he said he believes "the University has a duty to take all legal steps possible to protect all members of the University community." Although the Schoepes claim just $2,244.87 in compensatory damages -- a week's worth of revenue from the arcade and laundry, according to court documents -- they seek additional punitive damages, emotional distress damages and attorneys' fees. And the University seeks unspecified damages "including expenditures for police responses and a loss of reputation and difficulties in attracting students, faculty and staff," the University's pretrial memorandum states. But a federal jury will determine more than just damages in the case. In addition to the charges of racism, the jury may decide whether University Police -- whose 100 officers make it one of the state's largest private forces -- is allowed to patrol private property not owned by Penn. After the University created a 40th Street Action Team -- composed of administrators and students -- to improve the corridor between Sansom Street and Baltimore Avenue, University officials discussed buying the Schoepes' properties on the 4000 block of Spruce Street. But the talks failed to produce an agreement last January. University officials then met twice, in February and March, with officials from the District Attorney's Public Nuisance Task Force to discuss the two businesses. University Police also "conducted undercover video surveillance of the corner of 40th and Spruce" streets, according to a court document filed by both sides. College senior Jae Lee, who was assaulted in the game room last February by two men -- one of whom also assaulted a University Police officer -- said the interconnected businesses "definitely" cause problems for students by attracting crime. But Lee said he didn't know "if that's a good enough reason to close down the place." Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley, which has 191 attorneys and is the sixth-largest Philadelphia law firm according to the National Law Journal, is representing the University. Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel LLP, representing the Schoepes, has 150 lawyers and is the city's 11th-largest firm.
Robert Engman, who obtained the property for Penn, says the donor's wishes were ignored. For Robert Engman, the Edna and Monroe C. Gutman Center of the Graduate School of Fine Arts represented a "completely unique opportunity" for sculptors like himself and other artists to work peacefully in studios on a 211-acre Bucks County farm. In fact, in the mid-1970s, the Fine Arts professor emeritus convinced Monroe Gutman, a wealthy financier and Harvard University graduate, to donate the land to Penn for that purpose after his alma mater turned down the offer. Now Engman and others are accusing University officials of not being faithful to its original agreement with Gutman in deciding to put the property up for sale last month. The center has been vacant since the mid-1980s, when the arts program, lacking adequate levels of interest, fell victim to GSFA budget cuts. "I have nothing invested in this now, except that promise to Gutman," said Engman, 70, who was co-chairperson of the Fine Arts Department from 1970 to 1983 and designed the peace sign on College Green in 1970. "It makes me furious or concerned that being the person responsible for that gift coming to Penn, that I was not even consulted as to its disposition." Engman stressed that the University has a responsibility to "make a minimum concession to development and a maximum concession to openness." University officials insisted that they had acted properly. "[Engman is] entitled to his opinion," University spokesperson Ken Wildes said. "This has been discussed with the donor's family, and the donor's family is comfortable with what we're doing." Gutman died in 1975 in his 90s, and his wife Edna passed away a few years later. Their daughter, Peggy Nathan, couldn't be reached for comment yesterday. A coalition of conservation groups and neighbors of the farm, given three extra weeks by the University, has been feverishly raising funds over the last month in an effort to buy the Upper Makefield Township property, to keep it out of the hands of a developer who might change the character of the wealthy rural area. After a meeting between coalition members and Penn officials, the University extended the deadline for offers to November 26. Fine Arts Professor Emeritus Neil Welliver, who was Engman's co-chairperson, insisted that "Gutman never intended [the farm] to be anything other than an arts center." "I am pissed with the University of Pennsylvania," said the 67-year-old Welliver, who lives on an 1800-acre farm in Lincolnville, Maine. "I just think they've become unbelievably rapacious." One farm neighbor who is involved with the negotiations to buy the property, however, said Engman's concerns won't affect the situation's outcome. "I think [his points are] wonderful," Christopher Chandor said. "But I'm a lawyer, and I don't think it buys dogshit, except tears." In his discussions with Gutman, Engman originally proposed a center where students studying in their third and final year for a master's degree in painting and sculpture would live and work in renovated buildings on the property. The program later eliminated the third-year requirement. During the program's 10-year existence, an average of about 15 students resided at the farm.
University officials and members of a coalition seeking to buy and preserve a Penn-owned farm in Bucks County held a "positive" meeting yesterday, but failed to reach an agreement on the property, according to a member of the group. The University put the 211-acre former Fine Arts center in Upper Makefield Township up for sale last month, but extended the deadline for purchasing offers by three weeks after neighbors and legislators expressed concern that a developer would buy the property and change the character of the wealthy, rural area. With Friday's deadline approaching, University officials yesterday gave the coalition of preservation groups and neighbors five additional days to come up with an offer, making the latest deadline November 26. "There is hope. Things look positive," said Christopher Chandor, a farm neighbor who sits on the board of the Heritage Conservancy, the nonprofit Bucks County group leading the campaign to purchase the property. "I think everybody was pleased with the outcome of the meeting." Chandor and University spokesperson Ken Wildes declined to provide details of the discussion, the University's asking price -- which was recently quoted at $5.5 million -- or the coalition's offer. Two developers have already made undisclosed offers for the farm, several people involved with the situation said last week. "We want to work with the conservancy as much as we possibly can," Wildes said. But he stressed that the University is discussing the sale with "all interested parties." Four neighbors have each pledged $250,000 to the effort, and the township may contribute another $600,000. Pennsylvania's farmland preservation program may also give some money to help buy the land, according to U.S. Rep. James Greenwood (R-Pa.), who is also closely involved with the campaign to purchase the property. The University received the farm in 1975 from the estate of financier Monroe Gutman. Located about 30 miles northeast of University City, it flourished for a decade as a center for about a dozen Fine Arts graduate students, who converted several barns on the property into studio space. Officials cut the program in the mid-1980s to save money. About 10 people attended yesterday's on-campus meeting, including University Treasurer Scott Lederman, Managing Director of Real Estate Tom Lussenhop and representatives from the real estate firm Jackson Cross, the University's broker on the sale. Heritage Conservancy President Cliff David Jr., Chandor and another neighbor represented the coalition.