and Amy Lipman The University is bringing its classrooms into the 21st century. Headed by English Undergraduate Chair Al Filreis, the Provost's Classroom Facilities Review Committee has been working for the past four years to upgrade classrooms so they are more accommodating to a learning environment. With a $1 million-per-year budget, members of the Committee have met each week with a common goal in mind -- to transform classrooms into "the kind of spaces in which the best possible teaching and learning can occur," Provost Stanley Chodorow said. Filreis said this sort of transformation requires the renovation of everything from the classroom walls and ceilings to the actual tools of teaching. "One of our main efforts is to integrate physical renovation with the installation of state-of-the-art projecting and computing technology -- the sort of technology that is rapidly changing the way we teach," Filreis said. He added that through this project, may courses have begun to meet on-line. English Professor Craig Saper said he has found the updated technology in the renovated classrooms in Williams Hall to be very helpful for his film studies courses. "When I helped design the classroom I use for film studies courses, we wanted to allow students to take notes during the screening of video clips," he said. "So, we designed a rear-projection system. The lights can remain on in the classroom without interfering with the image quality at all. "It is crucial to prepare classrooms at Penn for the video and electronic opportunities now available," Saper added. While improving undergraduate education has been the Committee's primary goal, the project has also served to accomplish something rather rare at the University -- the unification of all four undergraduate schools. Filreis explained that the Committee is a "central-administration project." It has not aimed at improving the classrooms utilized by one particular school, but by those in which the Registrar's Office schedules "central" courses. Committee member Ira Winston, who is also the director of computing for the Engineering School, agreed that the project has created more cohesion between the schools and the administration. "The communication between the schools and the central administration group responsible for central pool classrooms has improved dramatically." So far, classrooms in Williams Hall, the David Rittenhouse Laboratory, Bennett Hall, Meyerson B-1 and the Leidy Laboratory lecture hall have been renovated. Plans are underway to refurbish the Moore, Tender and Towne buildings. Wilson projected that the project will be completed at the beginning of the next century.
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University Police Commissioner John Kuprevich praises the Community Walks program, reporting that there has been a marked decrease in the number of on-campus incidents reported since its implementation in May. "What we are finding right now is that we are showing a better than 30 percent reduction in the number of incidents during the time period that we have the Community Walks staff, compared to the same time period last year," Kuprevich said. And Maureen Rush, director of victim support and special services, said the new kiosk system and the improved walking escort program have increased the visible signs of security on the walks. But there are some members of the University community who are apprehensive about the new safety initiatives. The Community Walks program is part of the University's new master security plan, which was unveiled by University President Judith Rodin in February. According to this plan, Community Walks will run through the center of campus and along other heavily travelled off-campus routes. Five kiosks and 15 new blue-light phones are placed at strategic points along these walks. The kiosks will serve as the primary base of operation for security officers patrolling along the walks. In addition, the Allied Security guards will be responsible for walking around their designated areas. Emergency telephones are installed outside the kiosks to ensure safety at times when the officers are not stationed inside them. Since May, three of the five kiosks have been staffed between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- the ones at 40th and Locust, 37th and Locust and 33rd and Smith streets. And all five kiosks are staffed from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. And Kuprevich said the Allied guards have been "very good in providing information to the police department in terms of reporting suspicious activity." "So we think that that piece of it is a very good indication of the success of the program so far," he said. Kuprevich said his department, along with the Department of Facilities Planning, have identified the designated locations of the new blue-light phones. "The phones are here, but we just want to make sure that we put them up in the most cost-effective, but effective, way," he added. He said the goal is to increase the level of evening and nighttime visibility, adding that some of the fixtures currently being used may be changed in order to increase visibility on the walkways. While officials maintain that these walks are for everyone in the surrounding community -- not just University students -- College junior Sylvie Volel feels that the program is actually isolating the campus from the community, instead of enhancing the relationship. "They are making the campus into a fortress," she said. Rush said the advantage of the Community Walks program is that "we are going to have an optimal number of people congregating on Locust Walk." "The key concept is to get as many people walking on campus as possible," she said. "And that is why we beefed up the Walking Escort program." She added that Walking Escort runs from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. seven days a week. The increased visibility is an advantage because "people feel safer when they see an officer walking by them," Rush said. Kuprevich said he "absolutely expects" the Community Walks program to be running smoothly by the fall.
Students tucked away in their carrels diligently studying for their summer midterms might not notice, but Van Pelt-Dietrich Library is undergoing some major renovations. In the next three years, the library, at least the first two floors, will be literally transformed. Director of Library Development Adam Corson-Finnerty estimates the the project will cost about $7.2 million, with over $5 million already contributed toward renovation efforts. The library will become much more user friendly and a student will no longer have to trek two blocks to get from reference to periodicals, according to David Mowl, library facilities planner. Reference, circulation, current periodicals and microforms, services that are currently scattered through out the library, will be centralized at one location, Mowl said. In addition a number of computer search areas will be added along with new reading rooms and upgraded study lounges. The first phase of the renovation began with Lippincott library earlier this summer. Corson-Finnerty described the construction of a "public service area" which will consolidate most of the Lippincott services on the second floor. Also planned for the Lippincott library are five brand new group study rooms. Corson-Finnerty said these rooms would be where Wharton students and others could meet to study as teams. This is something that students had been requesting, he said. Corson-Finnerty hopes the Wharton library will be completed by next spring. Another part of the renovation plan calls for carpeting for the first and second floors and eventually the entire building. Lighting will also be dramatically changed . In order to add more natural light, the staff offices along the Walnut Street side on the first floor will be converted to bright study lounges and the entrance to the library will be completely redesigned. This will allow a view from the front door straight through to the Walnut Street windows, Corson-Finnerty said. "This will open up the library to probably what the original vision of the architects was," he said. "You'll be able to see out from almost any angle. One of the few beauties of the library is the glass windows." And directly to the right of entrance, a new staircase will be built that connects to the second floor. The staircase that currently stands near the reference desk will be demolished, Mowl said. Smaller projects will be taking place on the third and fifth floors, he added. Several of the carrels on those floors will be replaced and carpeting will also be one. Although the work will take about two years, Mowl hopes to minimize the noise from the construction. The contractors have agreed to work from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. with most of the noisy stuff being done between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Since the search for a new police commissioner is taking longer than expected, Kuprevich is going to remain at the University for another six weeks, until the replacement is selected, according to Executive Vice President John Fry. "I made the decision because we are getting close to selecting our next commissioner, and John has graciously agreed to extend his stay for a little while longer," Fry said. He added that he is still on track to his original commitment of replacing Kuprevich by the end of the summer. He added that he hopes to narrow down the search to one or two candidates to present to University President Judith Rodin and Provost Stanley Chodorow as soon as possible. "I am hoping to make a final announcement August 15," he said. "Maybe even a week sooner." And since Kuprevich is involved in several important long-term projects -- such as the Community Walks program -- the University could benefit from him finishing them up before he leaves, Fry added. The comprehensive national search for Kuprevich's replacement began promptly after he announced his resignation. Since then, Fry has narrowed the field of candidates from more than 70 applicants to a small group of final candidates. Last week, Fry reported that he had brought the search down to two to four candidates. Yesterday, Fry said he has recently been receiving phone calls bringing more people into the search. "This thing is more fluid than I would have expected," he said. Fry said he has appointed a consultative group to involve faculty, students and administrative staff in the candidate review process. "I am trying to reach out and now get the opinions of very important constituencies," he said. He added that it is very important to him that the final candidates have a good relationship with the Philadelphia Police and community. "One of the things that is extremely important to me is an understanding and an appreciation for Philadelphia, and particularly the West Philadelphia area," he said. Fry added that he has spent a lot of time consulting with former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Tucker for the search. Fry said he is on "a very very fast track" in terms of presenting a finalist to Rodin and Chodorow.
Anxiously awaiting the appearance of Candace Gingrich, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's half sister, more than 150 people chatted in the steamy upstairs room of the Christian Association Tuesday night. Gingrich, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign Fund, is in the middle of a six month, 51 city tour promoting the group's National Coming Out Project. Petite, feminine and smartly dressed, the 29-year-old Gingrich warmed up the audience with her articulate and friendly delivery. She spoke mainly about her own experience of coming out with her sexuality -- first in college, then to her family and then to the public. "I have not once regretted coming out," she said. She said she first came to terms with her sexuality while playing on the women's rugby team at the Illinois University of Pennsylvania. When Gingrich's mother found a lesbian newsletter in Candace's room a few months later, she asked her daughter, "Are you trying to tell me something?" That led Gingrich to inform her family, which has continued to treat her with "love and respect," but they haven't discussed it further. Before her brother became Speaker of the House, Gingrich did not belong to gay rights groups, and did not reveal her sexuality. "I made a conscious effort not to tell -- my own self-imposed 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," she said. Gingrich said she sees the tour as an "opportunity and obligation" to make a difference. But she feels that for herself and others, coming out is worth the risk. "Look at the civil rights movement, the suffragists," she said. "There was no gain without risk. Until we come out, until we put a face to this population of people, there will be no progress." She has recently signed a book deal with Scribner's, which will cover her life as well as that of her family. "It's about me, and [Newt] is a part of my life," she said. "I feel it has a good message to get across." Gingrich's message includes an appeal to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals to join the HRCF's efforts to secure equal rights for and end discrimination against them. One of the organization's recent efforts has been to pressure Congress to pass the Employment NonDiscrimination Act, which would make it illegal to fire an employee solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. At times this has forced her to fight her brother's political party and the religious right. "We can't let our administration do our work for us," she said. But Gingrich maintains that her brother supports legislation that she disagrees with to appease the voters who support him, and that "he is probably at heart a Goldwater Republican." "A lot of religious groups actually support gay and lesbian rights," she said. "It's unfortunate that some radical groups hide behind Christianity to attack us," she said. And when asked about her own religious association, the agnostic Gingrich admitted that religious beliefs are a source of difference in her family. "My parents are Lutheran, my brother and his wife are Baptist, my two sisters are Presbyterian, and I'm a vegetarian," she quipped.
After over a year's worth of serious debate and discussion, the University and the city have recently come to an agreement on the Payment In Lieu of Taxes issue. As the city's largest employer, the University has agreed to pay the city a $1.93 million "voluntary contribution" for this year and the duration of the five year agreement, according to Vice President for Finance Stephen Golding. "The University believes this is a good deal not only for the University but for the city," he said. "And it reflects that we are an integral part of the community and we must pay our fair share of the responsibility for maintaining city services." Carol Scheman, vice president for government and community affairs, stressed that the payment was a voluntary contribution and not a tax. And Golding held a similar view. "We believe that the University has always acted as a charitable institution," Golding said. Golding said several issues the University and city had been wrangling over were hammered out before the agreement came to fruition. Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning Greg Rost said he was enthuisiastic about the agreement. "The city is extremely pleased that we were able to enter into an agreement with the University of Pennsylvania," Rost said. Recent legislation passed by the Pennsylvania Senate, Senate Bill 355, the Purely Public Charities Act, included an amendment that charities in Philadelphia that pay their chief executives more than $100,000 would lose their tax-exempt status. But, according to Golding, the amendment had no effect on the tax exempt status of the University. The issue centers around the city's asking the University to pay about 30 percent of the real estate taxes it would owe if it were a for profit institution, as part of the PILOT program. Last summer Mayor Ed Rendell began asking non-profits to pay a portion of the taxes due to the city if the organization were for profit. The city's move follows a national trend of financially strapped cities across the country that have asked universities and other non-profit organizations such as hospitals and churches to make payments in lieu of taxes. The city feels non-profits should pay for such municipal services as fire, police and street cleaning. And the city estimates that the new revenue could raise as much as $8.4 million, with $3.78 going to the city and $4.62 million allocated for the School District of Philadelphia. In addition the city has threatened to take the University and other non-profits to court if they refuse to comply with the city's wishes. Rendell is planning to announce in the next few days how effective he has been in getting large non profit organizations to pay a voluntary contribution to the city.
In an extremely controversial decision, the University of California Board of Regents voted last week to end racial preference and gender in hiring and admission. The decision has sparked an intense dialogue across the country and is considered by opponents of affirmative action to be a major victory. But for those in favor of affirmative action, the vote represents a leap backwards to the 1970's when affirmative action was still in its infantile stages. "I think its going to make people more cognizant of the fact that there are contingencies who would really like to see an end to equal opportunity for all persons," said Anita Jenious, the University's Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action.. "We have to be concerned and ready to combat it if it comes to that," she added. Yet the affirmative action battle in California has just begun. Several government officials, including White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta have pointed out that California universities must keep affirmative action alive in order to keep research grants and federal contract dollars. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that the change in policy at the California university puts billions of federal research dollars at risk. Panetta said that federal contracts with University of California will be reviewed and the Justice Department will be looking into the matter. Reaction to the vote among University officials was tempered. Some felt it was premature to determine its impact and others were just not sure. Provost Stanley Chodorow, who served as an associate vice chancellor for academic planning and dean of arts and humanities at University of California at San Diego, said affirmative action was an effective policy in California. "In my experience in UC, the affirmative action policies worked well," he said. "They were not quota systems, but genuine affirmative action programs that sought to increase the diversity of the student body and faculty and worked well." Sociology professor Ivar Berg, who has worked extensively with affirmative action, said the results of the California vote will not be discernable until November. Berg added that he is concerned with the decision, but it still unsure what it might mean for higher education. "We're nervous about it," he said. "Right now we are sculpting fog. We don't know what we are doing. I don't know where we are heading." He said the main problem with the cutbacks in affirmative action is whether the federal government will insist that universities follow the government's rules. And quotas are another issue according to Berg. "I don't think the courts will tolerate quotas," he said. "And our president [University] and provost will not tolerate quotas." Berg said that the potential loss of federal funding for universities which do not comply with affirmative action policies could become an extremely divisive issue among faculty, specifically between the sciences and the humanities. "We have a real conundrum," Berg said. Berg is fairly confident that as a private institution, the University will not be affected by cuts to affirmative action. "Penn is spending more and more on diversity," he said.
A 1985 graduate of the University was charged Tuesday with murdering a man at a gas station in Providence, Rhode Island. David Barrett, 32, a psychiatrist-in-training in Brown University's residency program was charged with killing Joseph Sylvia, 33, of East Providence. According to police, Barrett had an ongoing dispute with a store clerk at McCane's Mobil, an East Providence gas station and convenience store. A little after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Barrett drove to the station with two others and had words with the clerk, Michael Glynn, police said. "The dispute was not a serious one," Captain Joseph Broadmeadow said. "The clerk did not take it seriously and really didn't understand Mr. Barrett's problem." Sylvia, a friend of Glynn's, intervened in the dispute. Sylvia backed his van into Barrett's car. Then Barrett walked over to Sylvia's open driver's side window, pointed a gun at her and fired three shots, witnesses told police. Police arrived quickly after the shots were fired. Barrett did not try to flee and was arrested at the scene. Both the suspected murder weapon and a handgun were found in Barrett's car, police said. The two individuals with Barrett were question by police, but not charged. Barrett is a 1992 graduate of the University of Vermont Medical College. He entered Brown's residency program in 1992, spending one year at Miriam Hospital in Providence and the past two years at Butler Hospital, a state psychiatric facility. He took a one month leave of absence on June 12, and went on an indefinite medical leave on July 12. According to police, Barrett had no criminal record. But Sylvia served six months in jail for illegal possession of a firearm. She was released in May 1994. Barrett was engaged to be married in his final year of residency at Butler.
It is time to make the doughnuts at The Shops at Penn at 34th and Walnut streets. Dunkin' Donuts moved into the shopping area on Monday, replacing Perfect Pretzel, which closed down last spring for economic reasons. And just down the block, the parking garage at 38th and Walnut streets is preparing to open in the fall, according to Associate Treasurer Chris Mason. He said the University is currently in the middle of negotiations to fill the last two vacancies in the garage by leasing it to Commerce Bank. Mason described the chain, which has several branches in the Philadelphia area, as being small and "not a mega bank." "It's a customer-oriented bank," he said. He added that while the University has not closed a deal with the bank yet, he is confident that it will work out. "We are working on the lease and we don't see much of a problem with it, so we are assuming that everything is going to happen," Mason said earlier this week. He added that he expects the bank to open up by September. The garage is also slated to house several stores, including Campus Copy Center, an extension of Joseph Anthony Hairstyling, Thrift Drug and Mail Boxes Etc. Mason said Thrift Drug has already started construction, and that if everything remains on schedule the stores should all be open by the end of next semester. "We don't see any problems or delays that we can't control," he said. "Sometime during the first semester everything should open up." And a little further down the block, at 39th and Walnut streets, Mega Video is scheduled to re-open in September, Mason said. The video store shut down in February after a fire tore through the Convenient Food Store next door, completely gutting the convenience store and causing smoke and water damage to Mega Video and some of its neighbors. Mason said the future of the convenience store is "up in the air at this point," adding that the space has been gutted and the roof has been replaced over it. "Right now we are just bringing it back to a shell," he said. And the University may be signing a tenant to fill the space a few stores down from Mega Video left vacant when Galaxy Entertainment closed down in April. Mason said it is unlikely that the location will be replaced by another arcade, adding that the University is currently negotiating with "an existing business in West Philadelphia that may relocate there." He said this business is one that does a lot of business with the University.
The oppressive heat wave that has swept the country, killing at least 670 nationwide, left its mark on the University in recent days -- especially for students, faculty and administrators suffering without air conditioning. Thirty people have died in Philadelphia in heat related incidents, according to the latest estimates. But the Philadelphia number is no comparison to the shocking Chicago figures, where the death toll climbed to 376 and was expected to exceed 400. On Saturday the temperature peaked at 103 degrees Fahrenheit in Philadelphia, although weather officials said it felt as if it were 129 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidity. And the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania's emergency room has had to deal firsthand with the victims of the first heat wave of the summer, one that is destined for the record books. HUP admitted four heat stroke patients since the beginning of the wave and one of the patients subsequently died, according to Susan Canning, administrator for emergency services at HUP. But Student Health did not see any heat related patients, Director of Student Health Services MarJeanne Collins said. She said that the heat primarily effects older people over the age of 60 and very young children, under the age of two. The primary symptoms of heat stroke are a body temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit, and "confused, lethargic" behavior caused by malfunctions of the greater central nervous system. Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Suzanne Shepherd if an individual is excessively thirsty, irritable or has a headache he or she should visit Student Health or the emergency room of HUP if necessary. Shepherd attributed the high mortality rates to the high humidity and to the fact that the heat wave was the first to hit this summer. She said the first heat waves usually cause the most damage because people are not expecting them and are not prepared. "It is not surprising, that the first heat wave of the summer would be the one that did this," Shepherd said. She added that with high humidity the risk of significant heat illness is greater. Humidity blocks the normal mechanism the body uses to get rid of heat. Shepherd cautioned against heavy physical activity, stressing that students must still take certain precautions so they do not become victims of heat stroke. "If you exercise, do it early in the morning," Collins said. "Don't run without water." Most important in extreme heat, Collins said, was keeping the body hydrated. She added that and other juices were good sources of hydration. Caffeine drinks and alcoholic beverages should be highly avoided, she advised. As far as keeping cool, Collins said that people should not take cold showers, but rather tepid showers. Shepherd also said that some medications can lead to heat stroke. Certain medications decrease the ability of the body to get rid of heat and some drugs block the perception that the body is getting hot. Some psychiatric medications, antihistamines and narcotics like cocaine and pcp are examples of medications that react adversely to extreme heat. And earing the proper clothing, cotton preferably, is another measure that can be taken to reduce the risk of heat stroke, Shepherd said. She also suggested that people were sunblock to prevent over-exposure to the sun and skin diseases.
The committee searching for a permanent Vice Provost for University Life at the University is getting close to making its recommendation to Provost Stanley Chodorow, according to VPUL Committee Chairperson and Undergraduate Mathematics Chairperson Dennis DeTurck. "I think we will be ready before too long," he said, adding that he is almost certain the committee will make its recommendation before the semester starts. DeTurck added that the committee is only looking at candidates from within the University community. "But not necessarily within the division of University Life," he said. "It can be from other places in the University." Chodorow began the search for a permanent VPUL last spring. Acting VPUL Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum has occupied the post since Kim Morrison, executive director of the 21st Century Project on the Undergraduate Experience, departed in December 1993. McCoullum is one of the candidates for the permanent position. Chodorow added that while he has not given the committee an "absolute deadline" on the search project, he has urged it to complete its work. And the search for a new University Police Commissioner is also coming along well, according to Executive Vice President John Fry. The initial group of more than 70 applicants has been reduced to "a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4," he said on Monday. Fry said he is very happy with the resulting group of applicants. "It's a really great pool," he said. He added that his next step is to bring the candidates to select groups of students and faculty on campus to see what they think. "Based on their feedback, I am going to make my recommendation to the president," Fry said. "And at that point we will make an announcement." He added that he wants to move quickly because he is "very anxious to get the person on the board as quickly as possible." "I would love to see groups set up by the early part of August and see a decision made by mid-August," Fry said. "The person should be ready to start sometime in early fall."
The intersection of 33rd and Walnut streets has been the site of several serious accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles this year. And now the University is taking some steps to make the controversial intersection safer. Victim Support and Special Services Director Maureen Rush said the University is working in conjunction with the Philadelphia Streets Department to increase the safety of the area. The changes to the intersection will include the addition of international signage, warning pedestrians of the dangers of the intersection. In addition, new speed limit signs will be installed and a no-turn-on-red sign will be set up in the near future. Rush added that she believes that University police will be using radar enforcement to potentially slow some of the speedy vehicles on Walnut Street. Some of these new precautions have already been implemented, while others will be put into effect during July and August, she said. An educational component is also part of a proactive plan to improve safety at the infamous intersection, Rush added. She said new employees and new students will be informed of the dangers surrounding crossing certain intersections around the University campus. College sophomore Jae Lee was hit by a car at 34th and Walnut streets November 7. He was in very serious condition at first, spending several weeks in the hospital, undergoing brain surgery, but has since recovered and returned to the University. Post-baccalaureate student Adam Zion was also seriously injured December 7 after being hit by two cars while crossing at the 33rd and Walnut intersection. Zion said he expected to be back to campus by the fall. "The best thing students can do is to cross at cross walks and always ensure that the cars are waiting for you to cross," University Police Commissioner John Kuprevich said at the time. " It is basically an awareness issue." Several posts made to the newsgroups upenn.safety and upenn.talk discuss the hazards of the intersection of 33rd and Walnut streets.
Robert Davenport and Christine Morgan claim they have lived on campus for five years. But on Sunday, University police removed the homeless couple from the Class of 1920 Commons fire escape that had been their home for several weeks, according to Davenport. "They just threw it all away," Morgan said, referring to the possessions she and her mate had accumulated on that balcony. A mattress was among the things that came flying off the balcony towards the dumpsters below. The couple said they were told that they were only allowed to keep what they could carry. "Why can't we just sleep out here?" Morgan questioned. The couple said they tried to respect the students who eat at the 1920 Commons and the University employees who run it by leaving well before breakfast and not returning until after dinner. One of the three University police officers who removed them said it was a "major non-incident." University Lieutenant Susan Holmes said the department had received numerous complaints about homeless people from building administrators around the campus. She could not say, however, whether any of the complaints had been about this particular couple. "Homeless people have not been banned from the campus," Holmes said. She added that the homeless are not permitted to set up permanent dwellings on University property. The homeless often create a hazard to the public safety, she said. Both the University and the University Police provide services to the homeless, including access to a shelter. And one meal a day is provided, Holmes added.. Davenport and Morgan said they live by doing odd jobs, collecting welfare benefits and food stamps and finding discarded hoagies and tacos behind Wawa. They also make sugar water. Davenport said he worked for the city of Philadelphia for eight years, in the Sanitation and Highways departments, and that he was "laid off" for budgetary reasons.
A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center may lead to earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer in American women -- the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The study, headed by Gynecological Oncology Research Laboratory Director Jeff Boyd, links hereditary ovarian cancer with the breast cancer gene BRCA1. This breakthrough means that for the first time, a genetic test for a defect in the BRCA1 gene can also indicate a woman's chances of developing ovarian cancer. The study's findings were published in the July 15 issue of Cancer Research. According to Boyd, hereditary ovarian cancer is highly treatable if it is detected in its early stages. Testing for BRCA1, offered at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, creates the possibility for "more intense monitoring" of the cancer or preventative surgery, Boyd said. He added that HUP offers a unique testing environment that includes counseling and education. "We believe strongly that general counseling and education are absolutely necessary to undergo testing for BRCA1," Boyd said. Women diagnosed with the mutation have to consider whether to ignore the test results, continue intensive screening or undergo preventative surgery that often means the removal of their breasts or ovaries. The complicated testing process can take one to two months, and is not 100 percent foolproof. Finding a mutation is conclusive, but Boyd said "a negative result is much less meaningful," due to the possibility for human error. A woman with a mutation of the BRCA1 gene has a 90 percent chance of developing either breast or ovarian cancer by age 90. "All cancers are the result of genetic mutations," Boyd said. Medical Center spokesperson Harriet Levy estimated that the BRCA1 gene is responsible for about 90 percent of all hereditary cases of ovarian cancers. The remaining "small percentage" of hereditary ovarian cancer cases are caused by other defective genes, Boyd said. Presently, ovarian cancer has a survival rate of 37 percent over a five year percent. The survival rate for breast cancer is significantly higher --Emore than 50 percent. Researchers at the University of Utah and the National Institute of Environmental Health and Science in North Carolina first discovered the breast cancer gene BRCA1 in October 1994. University Cancer Center researchers were able to link this discovery with cancer patterns found in high risk families. Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer can be inherited from either the mother or father -- despite the fact that these cancers only strike women. But men in high-risk cancer families also are at an increased risk of developing colon and prostrate cancer. Women with hereditary ovarian cancer are also likely to develop their cancer earlier that the general population. The average age for hereditary cases of breast and ovarian cancer is approximately 45. Non-hereditary cases occur at a mean age of 55 or 56.
New position of deputy dean created School of Arts and Sciences Dean Rosemary Stevens is trying to streamline the senior leadership of the school by restructuring her office. But while she is very happy with the new administrative structure she has created, there are members of the University community who are apprehensive about the changes. Effective September 1, there will be several personnel changes within the SAS Dean's Office. Stevens has appointed SAS Associate Dean Frank Warner to a new position called Deputy Dean. Warner, who is also a Mathematics Professor, will be Stevens' principal representative, and will therefore be authorized to act on behalf of the dean. His responsibilities include planning, budget, personnel and facilities. "My goal is to support Dean Stevens and the rest of her administrative team, to the best of my ability, to move the School of Arts and Sciences forward," he said. He added that he has already dealt with some of the budget and facility issues in his associate dean position, but that as deputy dean he will have "additional time to devote to these important issues." As a result of the creation of this post, the position of vice dean for finance and administration will be eliminated. This position is currently held by Mary Cahill. As deputy dean, Warner will have more responsibilities than Cahill did, because she did not have oversight over faculty or academic matters, according to Janine Sternlieb, executive assistant to the dean. One University official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, attributed the creation of this new position to the fact that the SAS is being poorly run by Stevens. "[Stevens] is shifting a lot of the responsibility of running the school to Frank Warner because I think she is having a lot of trouble doing it herself," the source said. But other members of the University see Warner's appointment as a welcome addition to the SAS community. "Frank Warner is an amazingly responsive person," said Al Filreis, Undergraduate English Chair. "In my experience he's been very fair to the Humanities -- what he doesn't know about what we do, he's willing to learn. "I'm glad that the person with the keenest sense of budgetary planning in the school is now a member of the faculty," he added. Cahill said she will continue in this position until September 1, and will help Warner with the transition. She said she would like to continue working at the University, adding that she has been "having some conversations with various people in central administration and also in the health system." Cahill added that she hopes to have the opportunity to apply her business background to a position at the University. She has an MBA from Harvard University. "I have been with the University for two-and-a-half years, but I have spent about 12 years in the business world, so I have a lot of good experience that I hope I can draw on," she said. David Balamuth, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will be taking over as Associate Dean. He will be in charge of the Natural Sciences, Economics and History and Sociology of Science departments. Sternlieb said it has not yet been decided who will replace Balamuth as the Physics and Astronomy Chair. And Music Professor Eugene Narmour has already taken over as Associate Dean for the Humanities. He started in this position July 1, one day after History Professor Richard Beeman stepped down. Stevens said the goal of this administrative reorganization is "to strengthen the leadership of the school in order to be as responsive to faculty as possible, and to develop the School of Arts and Sciences into the best school it can be with both short and long term goals." She added that she is very pleased with the restructuring. "We are making our financial services and our facility services as effective as they can possibly be," she said. "I feel very good about what we are doing." And Provost Stanley Chodorow said he supports this re-engineering. "The SAS effort will streamline the operation, clarify the lines of authority and responsibility in the dean's office and save money," he said. Since assuming the SAS deanship in 1991, Stevens has been working on streamlining the school. In several cases, this meant making decisions unpopular within the University community. In September 1993 she announced that she would disband the Religious Studies, American Civilization and Regional Science departments. At the time, she said this was necessary to save the school money and use resources more effectively. This decision was met by much disappointment and debate among SAS students and faculty members. The Religious Studies Department was ultimately spared, but the other two departments were disbanded last summer and transformed into inter-departmental programs.
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania announced earlier this week that it has been named one of the finest hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. HUP has consistency received high ratings from the magazine for the past three years, and is currently rated above any other hospital in the Delaware Valley. U.S. News and World Report evaluates the hospitals based on extensive surveys focusing on the hospital's reputation, its quality of patient care and its ratio of nurses and staff0f members per bed. The surveys are confidential. HUP was recognized for many clinical specialties including AIDS, cancer and psychiatry. "Every single service we provide in our major program has improved in its ranking, making it the number one hospital in the Delaware Valleys," said Donald Snell, the executive director of HUP. "What differentiates us from the other five hospitals in the county is due to the devotion we have to a three part mission -- the quality of our medical education program, the quality of the research conducted by faculty and students and our patient care," he added. "It is a combination of these things that make our hospital stand out and give it the market leadership over the other hospitals in the area. Snell added that HUP is currently rated sixth in the country in National Institute of Health Funding. "We intend to use the magazine's ratings to market the hospital in conjunction with the already successful television advertisements," he said. And the University can only gain from this ranking, he said. "The prestige of the University in general is heightened," Snell said. "Being recognized as a first-rate hospital is due in large part to the support that the University has demonstrated toward the health system. "Often the best hospitals are associated with universities," he added. "The number one hospital in the country is Johns Hopkins University Hospital, which is, of course, associated with Johns Hopkins University."
Student Dispute Resolution Center Director Steven Blum stepped down from his position on Monday. But Blum is not leaving the University. He will be continuing to teach in the Legal Studies Department. While Blum would not specify why he was giving up his post, Provost Chodorow speculated that he was leaving because "he is tired of the job, which is a tough one, and because he wants to pursue other career options." Chodorow has named Law Professor Michele Goldfarb as acting Judicial Inquiry Officer. Her appointment will be effective August 1. He said Goldfarb was highly recommended by people in the University who knew her from her work at the Law School Clinic. "Both faculty and students who knew her gave her rave reviews for her judgement, good sense and organizational skills," Chodorow said. He added that the search for a permanent JIO will not begin until the fall. "I will start a search for a permanent replacement in the fall, when the students have returned to campus and we can set up a proper committee," he said. When Blum came to the University two years ago, the University was still recovering from the "water buffalo" case. His biggest goal was to restore confidence in the University's judicial system. And he said he thinks he has accomplished this during his short tenure. "We took a system that was deeply involved in controversy and we were able to bring it back to being a system of University discipline and get it out of the controversy," Blum said. Last September, the JIO changed its name to the SDRC in an attempt to better reflect its job on campus. At the time, Blum said students work with each other to solve their disputes and come to a resolution, and that the center's job is not to decide if students broke criminal statutes. Blum said he is proud of his department's introduction of mediation into the handling of discipline matters. Under Blum, the SDRC emphasized mediation over prosecution. With this system, students who go before the SDRC are provided with a trained mediator to serve as their advisor. Most cases were settled before actually going to the University Hearing Board. He said he was also pleased with the respect with which his office has attempted to treat every student. "We have worked hard to always treat students with respect, and I think we have succeeded with that," Blum said. And Chodorow agreed that the most important things Blum accomplished during his two years were "to put the JIO office on a stable basis and to put emphasis on mediation of those disputes that were suitable for such treatment. "His experience with mediation and with counseling helped to make the JIO office into an educational office," he said. One of the biggest projects of Blum's term was the creation of the Student Judicial Charter. The new system would involve a Student Judicial Council, which would include 17 students and a hearing board with four students. The Committee for Judicial Reform released its final recommendations for a new Judicial Charter in March, calling for "a new system with greater and direct student and faculty involvement." The draft charter has still has to be completed by the General Counsel's office. After it is completed, it will have to be reviewed by the administration, the student/faculty committee, and the University Council. And when that process is completed, the charter must be accepted by the deans of the schools. Chodorow said he expects putting the new charter in place to take most of the fall semester. But Chodorow said Blum's departure will not have an effect on the review and approval of a new judicial charter. And University Judicial Administrator Stephen Gale said this charter will be more important to the future of the SDRC than who is appointed as the next director. "The constitution of the office will certainly be driven by the nature of the charter change and not so much by the person selected," he said. "It's going to be, I assume, very close to business as usual except in so far as there are changes in the charter."
More students than ever will be hooking up this fall -- to ResNet, that is. ResNet is being installed in Hill House, Mayer Hall, Stouffer College House, Van Pelt College House and W.E.B. Dubois College House this summer. This will allow students to have enhanced telephone service, a computer connection to PennNet and access to a 55-channel cable television network. But in order to provide these services, Data Communications and Computing Services had to create completely new pathways throughout the dormitories, which were not constructed to accommodate such a system. According to DCCS Project Coordinator Matthew Bixler, construction began for all of the dorms except Mayer Hall on May 25th, and the project is expected to take 10 weeks to complete. Contractors are slated to begin work on Mayer Hall the first week in August. Bixler said the installation process varies by building. For Hill House, contractors had to install an enclosed metallic chaseway to run through each room in the five-level dormitory. They then had to "hack open" walls in order to run the wires into a box. All of the wires connect to the basement through holes in the floor, where an intricate set of trays and pipes were installed along the ceiling. The signal is carried to and from two new communication closets that were created to store all of the power necessary to run the ResNet system. Stouffer College House used a similar system, but since there are stores above the two-story building, DCCS had to coordinate their construction with those tenants. And for Van Pelt and DuBois, contractors built a series of dry wall soffits to accommodate the necessary facilities. Last summer ResNet services were extended into High Rise East, High Rise South, Modern Language College House and Ware College House. By the fall, the only residences that will be not have access to ResNet services are the Quadrangle -- with the exception of Ware College House -- the Graduate Towers and the Castle. Residential Living Director Gigi Simeone said her department faced a tough choice when determining which dorms should be wired for ResNet this summer. Simeone added that a cross-section of residences was selected in order to give students more options. However, she said her department has not yet determined if the remaining buildings will be wired for ResNet next summer. "If we could wave a magic wand, we would do all of them," she said.
Virtually everyone in Van Pelt College House will notice the new environment when they return this fall. English Department Undergraduate Chair Al Filreis has been appointed Faculty Master of the dormitory by Provost Stanley Chodorow. He will hold the position for a three-year term, after which it can be renewed upon review. Filreis is replacing Marco Frascari, who will be the new Architecture Department Chair. Academic Programs in Residence Director Chris Dennis said that as Faculty Master, Filreis is a member of the Residential Faculty Council, which meets at least monthly to "carry out its mission of developing the educational and academic potential of Penn's residential system." Filreis said he has big plans for the future of Van Pelt College House. Along with newly appointed Van Pelt Faculty Fellow James O'Donnell, a Classical Studies professor, Filreis intends to use technology to enhance the quality of life for the residents. This goal comes as no surprise to students and faculty who know the two professors. And it is one of the main reasons wy they were selected for the initiative by the provost. "When announcing to me by e-mail my appointment to the position of faculty master, and noting that Jim O'Donnell would also be moving into the house, the provost jokingly reminded me to be sure to foster 'an actual community as well as a virtual one,'" Filreis said. He said he hopes the need for such a virtual community in a College House, "where lively live discourse is the thing," is recognized. "I hope Van Pelt will soon be a place where that lively discourse will be livelier as the result of new media used to intensify social-intellectual life still further -- a discourse that never sleeps," he said. One of Filreis's and O'Donnell's projects is to have put all of the residents on a special Van Pelt listserv, which is already up and running. O'Donnell said he sees his move to Van Pelt College House as an "opportunity to make things happen at the intersection of the academic community of the campus and the world beyond that we can now reach through the electronic networks. "The chance to put myself through a reeducation course in student life and ideas -- necessary, now that I am no longer as young as I used to be -- is a bonus of great value," he added. "It will be an exciting place, that I guarantee." Filreis said that as a prominent faculty figure in the dorm, he intends to be a be a part of students' lives and conversations. He said he and O'Donnell plan on continuing the "e-geek/computing group," as well as the Van Pelt House Council -- a student committee which organizes programs and allocates funds for house activities. This is an important time for the College House system, "since the new-look undergraduate education to come will have close connections to academic programs in residence," Filreis said. "We hope to manage the sort of acute integration of academic and residential that planners for '21st Century' undergraduate education have been dreaming of," he added. Many students who will be living in Van Pelt next year are looking forward to working closely with Filreis and O'Donnell. "I am really excited about having Al and Jim in the Van Pelt community," Van Pelt College House Computer Manager Marsha Chan Wai Hong said. "I believe that they will spur networking awareness throughout the dormitory," the Engineering senior added. Even residents who are not active participants in the networking community are anticipating a positive experience. "I'm not much into e-mail in general, but this sounds like a step in the right direction towards improving communication around the house and may very well lead to a strengthened sense of community," Wharton senior Adam Blitz said. There are 25 faculty members in the University's College House system. Dennis said faculty involvement in the University's House system can be traced back to the early seventies. "Since that time, about 180 faculty members have lived in residence, making Penn's program of faculty involvement one of the most intensive the the country," he said. Summer Pennsylvanian staff writer Salman Sajid contributed to this article.
Some say Mumia Abu-Jamal has been unjustly sentenced to be executed on August 17 because he did not get a fair trial. Others maintain that Abu-Jamal, a black political activist and journalist, murdered a police officer and was duly tried and fairly convicted. The case is now under appeal. Students at the University had mixed opinions on the controversy, which has gained visibility on campus after a group of protesters plastered Locust Walk and campus buildings with signs alleging that Abu-Jamal's trial was corrupt. "They have a right for free speech, but they're littering," Penn Summer Science Academy student Tommy Walsh said of the campaign. According to the signs, Judge Albert Sabo, who heard the Abu-Jamal case, has sentenced 31 people to death, none of whom were white. His law clerk, however, said that this claim is irrelevant, because under Pennsylvania law it is the jury, not the judge, which has the power to impose the death penalty. Fourth year Medical student Mark Knight said that he was unsure of the influence of race on the case, although he added that he was sure it was an issue. "Many young African-American males are prejudged to be of a criminal character," he said. "I myself, even here at Penn, have experienced that. "It is pretty clear how your civil rights can get trampled, given the right set of circumstances," Knight added. College sophomore Disise Tomaz agreed with the protesters. "I think he should be let free," she said. "I think he had an unfair trial." But Carthik Bala, another Penn Summer Science Academy student, believes Abu-Jamal is getting what he deserves. "I think he should be shot," Bala said.