In the days since the incredibly sad passing of Sheldon Hackney, a lot has been made of his tenure as University president and his time working in the Clinton administration. And those are incredibly important periods in Hackney’s career which should be noted as we reflect on his life.
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Philadelphia is a city that loves its steak. There are dozens of places where meat lovers can enjoy a meal that will keep them full for days. But those looking for the most tender steak in town, one that will literally melt in your mouth while you sit awestruck, should look no further than the Capital Grille. Driving down the Avenue of the Arts, you can't miss the Capital Grille and its sleek exterior. Make no mistake -- this is a businessman's steakhouse, more suited for a corporate dinner than a friendly evening downtown. Capital Grille 1338 Chestnut Street (215) 545-9588 Fare: Steakhouse And if you can get through the door (no easy feat, and you'd better have reservations if you expect to dine), you'll find the after-work crowd out in full force. Some mingle around the bar while others enjoy drinks at their tables. The restaurant has an elegant, streamlined appearance, one that makes you feel as though you're dining in high society. It's a no-frills menu at the Capital Grille. The appetizers are worth a look, but true steak enthusiasts will appreciate the simplicity of dining options. While there are a multitude of alternatives, those who opt for something other than red meat are missing out on a truly scrumtrilescent experience. For starters, the soups and salads are worthy of mention, but the more adventurous will try the Lobster and Crab Cakes ($13.95). It's more than enough for one person and just enough to leave two people with plenty of room for the main course. Those looking for more punch might try the Fried Calamari with Cherry Peppers ($9.95), although be forewarned that it has some kick. The main course is a matter of personal preference. But regardless of your choice, the sight of juice oozing out from the steak as it sits on your plate will entice you to dig right in. You can't go wrong with the Filet ($28.95 for a 14 oz.), which arrives tall, thick and cooked to perfection. If a filet is the standard bearer for judging a steakhouse, the Capital Grille is likely the best in the city. The soft, buttery taste of the steak will make you forget the price and appreciate it all the way to the last bite. For those looking for something on the bone, the 24 oz. Porterhouse steak ($32.95) is worth your while. While not as thick as the Filet, it is cooked to the same even-colored perfection throughout and might be the best value on the menu. At around $5.00, the side dishes are not overwhelming, but the mashed potatoes are a solid choice. And there's no beating the creamed spinach, which is a perfect complement to any steak. If you've saved room for dessert (which is difficult at the Capital Grille), try either the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake ($6.95) or the Flourless Chocolate Cake ($5.95). Both are big enough to share and are rich enough to make you full after two forkfuls. And if you enjoy after-dinner drinks, you will certainly not be disappointed by the large array of ports and single-malt scotches. So if you're a steak-lover, the Capital Grille is the cream of Philadelphia's extensive crop. The prices are a little steep, but if you're going to dine with the high-rollers, you'll have to spend like one.
At the official dedication of the $140 million Wharton building named in his honor, Jon Huntsman spoke Friday afternoon about the message he hopes students take away from his generosity and the education he hopes they will receive.
Penn and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania have entered into a five-year partnership to expand revitalization efforts in the University City area, University officials announced yesterday.
Living in Philadelphia, Penn students have their veritable pick of the litter when it comes to steak houses. However, the price is not always right, since not everyone wants to drop $50 on a tiny slab of meat that will leave them wanting more bang for their buck.
Philadelphia business magnate, longtime benefactor and University Trustee Walter Annenberg died yesterday of pneumonia at his Wynnewood, Pa. home. He was 94.
Until 11:30 p.m. last night, there were three candidates in the race to succeed Dana Hork as Undergraduate Assembly chairman.
In the NBA, the two-man game wins championships.
Thanks in part to the Health System's first profitable year since 1997, Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the outlooks on the bond ratings for both Penn and Health System.
Thirty years ago, there was no academic program at Penn to bring gender into academia. There was no central hub for women to congregate and seek counseling and support, and there were no services specifically devoted to women's security needs.
Braving heavy downpours, students clumped outside Campus Copy Center yesterday for a third consecutive day protesting an alleged assault on a Penn graduate student. Graduate School of Education student Gregory Seaton has accused four store employees of denying him service and attacking him last Tuesday. Although Seaton, who is black, has alleged racial discrimination in the incident, protesters say their actions are not motivated by this accusation. "We think what's important is that there was a physical altercation," Wharton senior and Black Student League President Erika Coleman said. "We're trying to make sure that the larger student body understands our platform. I think whether it's a race issue is very difficult to prove." Campus Copy representatives deny the allegations, which are currently being investigated by University Police. Store owner Stan Shapiro said he is not concerned by the protests or the potential threat of a lawsuit by Seaton. "I would hope that no one rushes to judgement and prejudges something that is under investigation," Shapiro said. "It would be irresponsible on their side." Shapiro said he feels Seaton has created misconceptions about the events that actually occurred. "An inflammatory e-mail... has caused all this trouble," Shapiro said. "It bothers me greatly. I'm really just terribly offended by the whole thing." Many students first learned of last week's incident after an e-mail from Seaton began circulating on several campus listservs. The Undergraduate Assembly issued a six-point statement at its meeting last night, stating, among other things, that the UA believes individual student groups should determine whether they will patronize Campus Copy following the allegations of the assault. The statement also said that the UA believed that Campus Copy acted inappropriately, and asked that store issue an public apology for the incident. Neither Seaton nor his legal counsel could be reached for comment. In the meantime, Provost Robert Barchi will meet with selected faculty members and students today to discuss racial issues, according to UA Chairman Michael Bassik. Although the meeting is not directly in response to the alleged assault, it was inspired by the Campus Copy incident. One of the issues that will be discussed is whether or not the University should hold an open forum for students and community members to voice their opinions about the incident. Bassik, a College senior, said he plans to advise the provost not take this measure. "I just think tensions are too high right now," Bassik said. "I want to find a way for students to get things off their chests in a safe manner. I think it's too soon to hold an open forum." Coleman said she did not know how long the protesting would continue, but she added that the protests were mostly directed at the University. "We hope that the University will find another option for students to buy their bulkpacks," Coleman said. University spokeswoman Lori Doyle said that Penn does not directly endorse Campus Copy but, rather, leaves it up to individual faculty to decide whether or not to utilize the store. "Campus Copy is like any other vendor," Doyle said. "It's not like they have any favored status." But Coleman said she hopes the University will respond to the requests of students who are afraid to visit the store. "Physical altercation is enough for me to say that I want an alternative to Campus Copy," Coleman said.
After extensive searches to fill empty posts, Penn's Political Science Department has made two major additions to its American Politics sector. Yale Professor Rogers Smith, who specializes in constitutional law and American political thought, will leave New Haven to become Penn's Christopher Browne Professor of Political Science. Smith's wife, Mary Summers, will also leave Yale to become a senior lecturer in Penn's Fox Leadership Program. The recruitment of Smith and Summers comes on the heels of the fall hirings of two assistant professors in an attempt to rebuild the embattled department, which has been beset by faculty departures and retirements over the past few years. Smith said he hopes his move will encourage professors from other universities to follow suit. "There has been some reluctance on the part of political scientists to come to Penn out of concern that institution building efforts might not get off the ground," Smith said. "It was pretty much a matter of somebody making the first move." Political Science Department Chairman Jack Nagel said the addition of these professors, along with the possible addition of two more senior faculty for the fall, will help ease the burden of future recruitment. Nagel echoed Smith's sentiment, noting that his hiring will hopefully attract even more professors to the department. "I think it's going to be a very positive thing, both in the direct impact he will have in recruitment and in the indirect influence," Nagel said. Smith said he is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead of him at Penn. "At this point in my career, it's exciting to have the opportunity to help build a stronger Political Science Department at a university with so many resources," Smith said. School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston said the University first became interested in Smith four years ago when he served on a committee which evaluated the status of the Political Science Department. Preston said it was not until a year and half ago that Penn began actively recruiting the senior professor. "It's been an intense courtship," Preston said. "He's an outstanding teacher, someone who is very committed to teaching." Smith is currently the co-director of the Institute for Social and Policy Studies Center for the Study of Race, Inequality and Politics at Yale. Nagel said Penn's interaction with West Philadelphia was a major draw for both Smith and Summers. "One of the biggest attractions of them to Penn is Penn's commitment to the city." Smith agreed with Nagel, citing community interaction as one of the major influences in his decision. "One of Penn's strengths is that it has various programs in which scholars interact with community groups," Smith said. Nagel said Smith will fill some of Penn's needs in the American Politics sector. "He is really a major scholar in the work that he's done," Nagel said. "Our priority has been in American Politics, and this is a major appointment." Smith's 1997 book Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. He has been awarded Rockefeller and American Council of Learned Societies fellowships. Penn Political Science Professor Anne Norton said Smith's arrival will provide strength to a department that is in need of reinforcements. "Rogers is one of the scholars who has brought race into the mainstream discourse in Political Science," said Norton, a friend of Smith's. "We now have a very strong cluster of people in American Politics which will make the department that much more attractive," she added. Nagel said Summers would most likely teach one undergraduate course in the fall, in either political science or history.
Don't even try to bring a midterm back to Political Science Professor Jack Nagel for a higher grade. He won't consider it. "It's like [being] a baseball umpire," said Nagel, who has a policy of not re-evaluating grades. "Even if you boo the call, you've still got to stick with it." But based on recent research, Nagel may be one of few professors to advocate such a non-negotiable policy. Recent studies in The Boston Globe showed that the average grade at Ivy League schools has steadily risen over the past 20 years. One study revealed that at Harvard, 87 percent of students receive grades of 'B' or higher. The majority of students at Harvard receive grades of A or A-. "What we're doing is making it impossible to discriminate between students," said Harvard Government Professor Harvey Mansfield, who is known for his tough grading policies. "[Grade inflation] keeps them from knowing what they do best and what they don't do well," Mansfield said. "It puts them in a cocoon of praise. You have to develop a certain character to be able to receive disappointing news." Although officials say the increase at Penn has not been as dramatic as at its peer schools, the University is no exception to the rise in high marks. College of Arts and Sciences Dean Richard Beeman said that Penn has seen a steady rise in grades over the last 20 years. While no exact statistics were available, he indicated that the average grade here is slightly below the Ivy League average. Some say the rise is simply due to inflation rather than increased merit. "Yes, [grade inflation] clearly exists, and it exists everywhere," English Department Chairman John Richetti said in an e-mail statement. But Kent Peterman, director of academic affairs for the College, said that the important issue is not the grade itself but the level of achievement it represents. "The important question to ask is whether students are getting adequate feedback from faculty," Peterman said. "What's happened as a result of inflation is that the meaning of a B+ or an A- varies from instructor to instructor." Some professors believe that deservedly or not, inflation itself is a significant problem at Penn. English professor Paul Korshin recently ran a faculty seminar for Penn professors on boosting grades, and said that inflation is so severe that it has affected Penn's standing among other universities. "Penn is so notorious for grade inflation that the deans at our collaborative colleges -- Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore -- have been debating whether they should continue to allow their students to enroll for courses here," Korshin said in an e-mail statement. Faculty point to several causes of grade inflation, including professors themselves, technological advances and pressure from students. Korshin said he believes professors are responsible for the increased average grade, but few will admit it. "Just as medical doctors do not like to talk about [disease caused by doctors], so professors don't like to discuss grade inflation." Others, however, are not as quick to place blame on faculty. Nagel credits some of the rise in grades to the information age, citing technological advantages -- such as spelling and grammar check. "I think there are some respects in which work has improved," Nagel said. "I think that I have seen higher quality work." Nagel also said that students are offered much more aid now than they were 20 years ago. With the increased popularity of tutoring and extra help sessions, he said that students are given better odds of achieving high grades. And still others point to the pressure that students put on teachers to award them good grades. "A grade is sort of a matter of negotiation as opposed to how it used to be," Peterman said. "Now, more often than not, a grade represents a willingness to do it over again or do extra credit." Beeman agreed that pressure from students influences the grading processes of some faculty. "I'm a tenured professor, and if you ask me, I don't feel pressure from the students," Beeman said. "If you ask an untenured assistant professor, you might get a different answer." And the effects of inflating grades may have more consequences than many students realize. Richetti said he believes that companies have become increasingly skeptical about high grades in their hiring processes. "Since everyone knows that grades are inflated, allowances are made, with employers translating the narrow range of high grades into the older, broader range when a B average meant you were a very good student," Richetti said. With overall GPAs on the rise, many schools are looking to resolve the issue. Dartmouth and Columbia, for example, have started putting two grades on each student's report card. The first is the grade that the student achieved in the class. The second is the average grade given in the class. Beeman supports this measure, saying that it more accurately represents the meaning of each grade. Although he proposed the idea at Penn, it has never been implemented. "I would like to see a grading distribution which would more accurately represent the merit of the work," Beeman said. "If you see that the average grade given in a course is a B+ then you question the truth in reporting."
With faculty recruitment underway across the country, Penn's School of Arts and Sciences is actively searching for professors to fill holes in multiple departments. SAS is looking to fill 40 senior and junior faculty positions before the beginning of the next semester. At the top of the list for senior hirings are the Economics, English, History, Political Science and Psychology departments. SAS Dean Samuel Preston said he is optimistic that 25 of those 40 spots will be filled by the summer. "I think we're on schedule," Preston said. "We certainly have a lot of irons on the fire." Last March, Preston authorized searches for 40 senior and junior faculty members. The University filled 28 of these positions before Preston opened the 40 most recent searches. Preston said that seven professors have already accepted assistant positions in various departments, including Psychology, Sociology -- which was only targeted for junior hirings -- and the embattled Political Science Department. The Political Science Department, which has suffered numerous losses over the past few years and has struggled with recruitment, has already hired a junior professor in comparative politics. Department Chairman Jack Nagel said that searches are also underway for senior professors in American politics and international relations. "We're cautiously optimistic," Nagel said. "It's very active. There are a lot of possibilities." Ideally, Nagel added, the department will know whether the two positions will be filled for the fall by the end of next month. Nagel credited the deans of the school with jump-starting the recruitment process. "They've been magnificently supportive," he said. "They've done everything we've asked of them and more." Preston said that the hiring process for all departments would not be finalized until the summer, but that he hopes to have two-thirds of the positions filled by the end of April. "I think the market has broken later and later," he said. "I don't think we've seen any unexpected roadblocks." English Department Chairman John Richetti said the recruitment of junior faculty is a much simpler undertaking. "We always get our first choice when we hire junior faculty," Richetti said. "It's easier to hire young assistant professors because it's a very competitive market." The English Department has found an assistant professor in South Asian literature for the fall, but the appointment is currently pending approval by several committees and the Provost's Staff Conference. Richetti said that searches are underway for senior professors in Renaissance and American literature as well. "The department is actively recruiting because we had a lot of losses lately," Richetti said, referring to recent retirements and the death of Professor Lynda Hart. "We're going to need a lot more professors in the next few years." Richetti said he would be pleased if two out of the three positions are filled by the fall, considering the difficulty involved in recruiting senior faculty. "You're going after people who have jobs elsewhere," Richetti said. "People want to come to Penn, but they want to go to our peer schools just as much." But Preston said he believes that Penn is on equal footing with other Ivy League schools when it comes to senior faculty recruitment. "I think we're competitive with anybody in the country," Preston said. "There's no university in the country who I could name who would have a better shot than Penn at hiring faculty." While many departments struggle to find senior faculty, the current focus of the History Department has been on locating assistant professors to fill posts left by faculty on leave. "It's going extremely well," History Department Chairwoman Lynn Lees said of the recruiting process. "I think that all of the candidates have been very excited about coming to Penn." Lees, who is stepping down from her post this summer, said the department is targeting one senior faculty member in U.S. women's and gender History. In addition, searches have begun for assistant professors in U.S. and 20th century European history. "I think that the assistant professor positions will certainly be filled, and I have high hopes for the senior position," Lees said.
University President Judith Rodin will temporarily fill the shoes of Professor John DiIulio as the acting director of the Fox Leadership Program, Penn officials announced yesterday. Rodin was also appointed as a Robert Fox Leadership Professor, joining DiIulio, a political science professor, and Psychology Professor Martin Seligman. The Fox professorships and leadership program were created as part of a $10 million donation made by Penn alum Robert Fox in 1999. Fox is the president and chairman of RAFIndustries, his own private investment company. The Fox Leadership Program was created by DiIulio for the development of leadership skills. "We wanted to maintain the momentum of this program that John has begun," School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston said. "He leaves a large gap, and I can't think of anybody better than Judy to fill it." Preston said that Rodin was a natural fit for the position. "I could think of no one more appropriate than Judith Rodin to fill this important and prestigious chair," Preston said. "She's extraordinarily well qualified for it." Rodin takes over the Fox Leadership Program two weeks after DiIulio announced that he would take a leave of absence to head the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Despite speculation that the selection of Rodin is insurance for the extended absence of DiIulio, Preston expressed confidence that Rodin's appointment is temporary. "I think we're going to have to cross that bridge when we get to it, and I don't expect to get to it," Preston said. Preston said that the Fox professorship is reserved for Penn faculty members, and is not a tool for recruiting faculty. "This is a very specific kind of chair," he said. "It is not the kind of chair that would be offered to a faculty member of another institution." Preston added that the endowed professorship is more of an honorary chair than an academic one. "An endowed chair is a distinct honor," he said. "The burdens that she's taking on are programmatic." However, the new appointment does not mean that Rodin will spend more time in the classroom. "This is another opportunity for her to have a more hands-on position in the undergraduate departments,"Preston said, pointing to the program development responsibilities that she will take on. The Fox Leadership Program sponsors workshops and forums on politics and public speaking. It also sponsors a lecture series which brings Penn alumni back to campus to speak with students about their experiences. Rodin, a Psychology professor, has authored or co-authored 10 books on various topics related to psychology. She could not be reached for comment yesterday. Rodin, who graduated from the University in 1966, returned to Penn in 1994 to become president of the University after spending 22 years as a faculty member and administrator at Yale. "President Rodin has been a leader throughout her career," Preston said. "Her record of achievement is testimony to the lifetime value of a liberal arts education."
One down, nine more to go. The first semester of the experimental pilot curriculum has come to a close, student reviews so far have been mainly positive. The pilot curriculum was first offered to incoming freshmen in the fall of 2000 and will be tested out until 2004. Currently, 200 students are enrolled in the program, which significantly cuts down the number of general requirements and places an emphasis on broader, more interdisciplinary courses. Some of the concepts that are being tested in the program include a team-teaching format and four general categories instead of the 10 sectors of the General Requirement. "I think the structure is pretty cool," pilot student Laura Dolan said. "All three subjects that were taught in my class were things that I would never have taken." Dolan and 38 other students took a class called "The Self Portrait" -- a seminar covering Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Art History and Germanic Languages that was taught by three professors, each with a different field of expertise. "[The professors] fed off each other well," Dolan added. "They knew enough about the other two subjects to incorporate them into the class." However, not all pilot students were as pleased with the three-subject format. "I thought it was a little bit unbalanced," said Michael Biondi, who took a course entitled Cognitive Neuroscience. "There were two really good and cohesive sections, but I thought it was almost like stopping mid-term and taking a separate course." Cognitive Neuroscience was taught by professors from the Law, Philosophy and Psychology departments. "I think the fact that there's three professors is a good and bad thing," Biondi said. "You get three different perspectives, but it's so hard to follow three different trains of thought in one semester." The pilot curriculum was developed by the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) with the intention of giving students a chance to focus on their particular interests and exposing them to fields that are not ordinarily covered in the traditional curriculum. The new approach also gives students more time to explore undergraduate. The experiment will be evaluated in the spring of 2004, and if it is deemed successful, the pilot curriculum may be implemented for all incoming freshmen in the fall of 2005. Biondi says that the less-structured curriculum appealed to him because he wasn't sure what his interests were. "I liked the fact that there were only four required courses," Biondi said. "I felt it left my options open to try other things." Dan Landsburg enrolled in the experimental program to broaden his horizons. "It seemed like a new opportunity," Landsburg said. "It gave me a look at courses that I would probably never take." Landsburg said he was pleased with the change of pace that the class provided. "It was a little more abstract than the other classes I took," he said. "The subject matter isn't easy to integrate, but [the professors] worked to help each other." Alexis Brine was pleased with the smaller, more casual class structure. "I really liked that it was small," Brine said. "We even had discussions in the lectures." "I felt a lot closer to all of the students in the class," Dolan added. "Discussions were more informal. No one was trying to impress anyone."
So Penn Students Against Sweatshops staged a massive on-campus sit-in last spring on behalf of workers' rights across the world. Now what? "I thought, okay, we had the sit-in, but what do we do now?" College sophomore Bryan Hirsch said. For him, the next step involved splitting from PSAS -- which organized the sit-in last February -- and starting his own group, Exports and Manufacturing for Penn Advocates of Workers Rights, to prove that he was more than just talk. Hirsch, along with a handful of interested students, created EMPAWR and brought an independent artisan from Ecuador to Philadelphia to prove that there are alternatives to clothes made in sweatshops. They have since pressured the Penn Bookstore to sell the goods. "I think the issue has grown into more of an economic injustice than an individual sweatshops gripe," Hirsch said. Hirsch's idea was born during a summer voyage to Ecuador that proved to be eye-opening for Hirsch -- showing him how to expand beyond PSAS. He discovered the Morales family this past summer while researching and working at an orphanage in Otavalo, Ecuador. After spending time among the native workers, Hirsch realized that it would take more than a protest to help the family rise above the labor conditions. Morales' clothing, which has been on sale all this past week in the lobby of the Penn Bookstore, will remain on display through next Thursday. "[Morales] is not trying to compete with sweatshops," Hirsch said. "He is trying to make a difference for the indigenous community." Hirsch went in search of an outlet for his merchandise. He approached Penn Bookstore General Manager Kevin Renshaw. "It was a good business proposition," Renshaw said. "The product that he presented to us is something that we don't carry anything like in this store." After meeting with officials from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Hirsch and his organization decided that the best way to promote Morales' homemade clothing line was to bring it to Penn. The bookstore display has drawn the attention of numerous shoppers, whose curiosity was piqued by the unique and colorful wool-knit sweaters and hats. "I'm very impressed with the organization, love and care that has gone into this," College sophomore Risa Turetsky said, while passing by the display. "It's not something that I'm an active member of, but I'm a supporter of the cause." Hirsch's long-term plan is to create a sweatshop-free line of clothing emblazoned with the Penn logo. However, there's some red -- and blue -- tape to be crossed. Before the products can be labeled, Hirsch must apply to the Penn licensing committee for permission to use the logo. He must also get approval from Barnes and Noble Booksellers to market the clothing through the Penn Bookstore. Both agendas may delay production until February. But Hirsch is confident that the clothing will not only profit on this campus but on university campuses nationwide. Until that occurs, Hirsch said he's content with having sold enough merchandise to exceed the yearly income of three Ecuadorian families combined.
Last Wednesday, some of Penn's best and brightest were practically accused by their professor of cheating on a weekly assignment by showing "too much camaraderie on quizzes." Ironically, this occurred in the most competitive class at Penn. Professor Herbert Levine scolded his anxious Microeconomics class for their alleged behavior concerning the Internet quizzes he had given. But in a class that has been described by many as "cutthroat," why would students dare help each other on tests? "Because we're all in it together," Wharton freshman Chris Dougherty explained. "Everyone wants to help each other." But based on the war stories told regarding this entry-level course, Dougherty may have to fend for himself now that the final is around the corner.
Last night, Uncle Sam was nothing more than a side show. Hundreds of students gathered in the Hall of Flags at Houston Hall last night to celebrate and watch the 2000 presidential election results as they were reported. The event combined a live jazz band, a stand that distributed free cheesesteaks and Tastykake, kegs of root beer and Uncle Sam on stilts in an effort to involve the Penn community -- particularly undergraduate students -- in the election process. Television monitors around the room featured election coverage from all of the major networks. "Our job is to hold events that are a lot of fun," said Theo LeCompte, director of the Social Planning and Events Committee, which co-sponsored the event along with the Undergraduate Assembly. "We are ecstatic at tonight's turnout," the Engineering senior added. The room could barely hold the large, boisterous crowd, which erupted periodically upon the release of the latest projections. "It's fantastic to experience such an event in public," College sophomore Jake Kraft said. "A presidential election means something for everybody in this country." The event was the culmination of efforts made by SPEC and the UA to educate Penn students and encourage them to voice their opinions. The UA also held a voter registration week, during which 700 Penn students registered to vote in Pennsylvania. "We have a vested interest in educating the student body about the elections," said UA Chairman Michael Bassik, who also ran the Penn for Gore club. "We're trying to help students exercise their rights." During the several-hour long festival, students filtered in and out of the room -- some busy socializing with friends, others more intently focused on the election results. Despite the impartial nature of the event, the crowd on hand was clearly biased toward Vice President Al Gore. Boos were heard on occasion when Texas Gov. George W. Bush was projected to win a state. "This turnout shows that College Democrats are growing and on the rise at Penn," said College sophomore Aaron Short, who is the club's treasurer. "We've been in a funk for a while, but I think we'll see an increase in membership after this election." The College Democrats passed out signs in both English and Spanish promoting the Gore-Lieberman ticket. However, the Penn Republicans organization was not intimidated by the fact that they were so drastically outnumbered. "We wanted to show that there is some Republican support on this campus," College junior Kelly McKinney said. "We did as much as we could on campus, and we're happy with our support." The largest cheers of the night were heard upon the projection of Senate victories in New York for Hillary Rodham Clinton and in New Jersey for Jon Corzine. A large ovation also came when Gore was projected to be the winner in Pennsylvania. The biggest surprise of the night came when the networks took back their projection that Gore would win Florida. Stunned students voiced their disappointment and anger at the networks for getting the state wrong so early in the night. Despite the sizeable crowd, only a scattered few students attended on behalf of independent candidates. Most notably, there was almost no support on behalf of Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who failed to receive the 5 percent of votes that he would need to have federal funding for his upstart party. Still, the organizing bodies were extremely pleased with the excitement that the election, the closest in decades, generated in the Penn community. "This was much more than we ever could have called for," College freshman and UA member Kirsten Grubbs said. "Penn students were such a deciding factor, and we strongly influenced the vote in Philadelphia." Many of the students in attendance were impressed by the effort put into organizing the event. "It's great that groups like these bring awareness and help promote activism on the Penn campus," College freshman Debbie Fromstein said. Although the crowd was bi-partisan, grudges were not held between students from opposing parties. "The Republicans have just as much of a right as everybody else to support their candidate," College sophomore and Democrat Tonica Jenkins said. "It's much more interesting to watch with other people, especially from other parties."
On the outside, he may look like a rabbi. But deep down, he's still a rock star. Rabbi Tzvi Gluckin, billed as the "Tie-Dye Rabbi," held an inspirational discussion with an intimate group of students on Tuesday. But there was nothing tied or dyed about the talk, which was an attempt to "convey the conventional wisdom behind many Jewish traditions." Still, Gluckin did make numerous almost-psychedelic references to reaching "higher levels of consciousness." "The purpose of Judaism is to intensely experience the pleasures of life," Gluckin said. "In studying Judaism, you are exposing who you really are." Gluckin originally intended to pursue a career in rock music. However, after what he deemed "a mid-20s crisis," Gluckin moved to Israel, where he made a smooth transition from musician to pulpit master. "I wanted to feel life," Gluckin said. "I wanted to be plugged into my existence, and not just through music." Gluckin's transformation into scholar involved shaving his head, moving to Israel and growing a beard so long that it led him to declare himself "Earth Jew." "I became so involved with Judaism that I found myself wanting to wander through the desert barefooted," Gluckin said. Gluckin spoke about some of his own spiritual experiences, which included watching the New York Mets win the World Series in 1986 and listening to albums by his idol, blues musician John Lee Hooker. "This is Rabbi Gluckin's forte," said Jonathan Kohn, director of the Orthodox Community of Penn's Outreach Committee, which sponsored the event. "We wanted to educate the Jewish masses about their heritage, and he is renowned for his approach to the subject," Kohn added. Gluckin's lecture was one of many that the OCP Outreach Committee has held in an effort to teach about Judaism. Previous events included a discussion on the political crisis in Israel, which was held last month. However, Gluckin was a far less conservative speaker than many of the committee's previous lecturers. He interspersed jokes about his collection of Megadeth CDs and the impracticality of some Jewish traditions with his message about connecting to religion. Gluckin also broke into impromptu air guitar solos at random intervals, evoking both laughter and confusion from a crowd that was largely unfamiliar with heavy metal music. "I want to help break down stereotypes that most people have about Judaism," Gluckin said. "Penn has lots of cool Jews, so I enjoy speaking here." Although only about 15 people attended, the crowd was impressed with the personal spin that Gluckin put on religion. "He's a dynamic speaker," College junior Ian Neeland said. "He seems to be very in touch with young crowds."