Vinay Harpalani assertively asked the crowd of nearly 200 students assembled on College Green yesterday afternoon, "Have things gotten better?" "No!" they shouted in response. The Graduate School of Education student was referring to affirmative action and the fact that although 170 African-American students were admitted to Penn in 1970, only 152 were admitted in 1999. Harpalani was one of the chief organizers of yesterday's rally, which was part of "Call To Action 2000," a nationwide day of activism in support of affirmative action. This was Penn's second year participating in the rally, co-sponsored by the United Minorities Council, UMOJA, the Asian-Pacific Student Coalition, the Greenfield Intercultural Center and the Undergraduate Assembly. Discussing issues of racism and affirmative action, 11 students addressed the crowd, eliciting shouts and applause from the audience. The organizers also collected signatures for a petition in support of affirmative action at Penn. "Penn is a plantation of higher learning, not an institution," said UMOJA Public Relations Chairman Dan Cherry, a College senior. "Don't be fooled by the rhetoric." He added that affirmative action encounters opposition because it scared the people in power. "It's a fundamental challenge to the balance of power -- the status quo -- in the United States of America." Organizers handed out "Call to Action" T-shirts to the crowd during the rally. More than 100 people received the black shirts with affirmative-action logos emblazoned on them. Students at other schools -- including the University of Michigan and Florida A&M; University -- held rallies today as part of an ongoing initiative by the Coalition To Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary, a national organization responsible for organizing rallies on campuses across the country. The rally comes as institutions across the nation are re-evaluating their affirmative action programs. Michigan, the University of California at Berkeley and Florida A&M;, among many others, have reduced or eliminated affirmative action in their admissions process either voluntarily or as a result of law suits. "It's only a matter of time before this movement hits the Ivy Leagues," Harpalani said. This year marked the first time that the UA co-sponsored the event. UA Chairman and College senior Michael Silver said the group would continue to do so in the future. Kwasi Asare, a College junior and admissions co-chair of the UMC, said the rally's two main goals were "to counteract the movement of the Center for Individual Rights, an organization in support of repealing affirmative action, and to send a message to the University that affirmative action is something students here support." UMC Chairman Jerome Byam, a College junior, also spoke of affirmative action "leveling the playing field" for all people, not just African Americans, but also Hispanics, Asians, homosexuals and women." APSC Political Chair Jenny Yan, a Wharton freshman, emphasized the relevance of affirmative action to Asian Americans, particularly under-represented groups from Southeast Asia. But by far, the most heated speeches came from Cherry and College sophomore Jamarah Leverette. Leverette spoke of reparations for African Americans and recited a poem entitled "Break The Bottle," which symbolized oppression as a Calvin Klein fragrance. She ended with the a shout of "black power!" Other groups in attendance included members of Penn Students Against Sweatshops, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance and the South Asian progressive activist group Sangam. Organizers accredited the impressive turn-out to good weather and a general increase in activism at Penn since the sweatshop sit-in. "I think the turnout was phenomenal," said Kimberly Noble, a College freshman and political chair of UMOJA. "As long as the numbers keep going up, we hope more people will hear our message."
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The Quakers had their best first day at the Ivy Championships in a very long time yesterday. The past four months have been extremely encouraging for the Penn women's swimming team. Under interim coach Mike Schnur, the Quakers finished the regular season at .500 overall, and were able to notch victories over Cornell and Dartmouth after failing to win a single Ivy League meet in the past seven years. Now, Penn has a chance to put a cherry on top of their season's hot-fudge sundae as it competes at the Ivy League Championships at Harvard this weekend. The meet commenced yesterday morning and will continue until tomorrow evening. Yesterday, preliminaries and finals were held for six events -- the 200-yard freestyle relay, the 500 free, the 200 individual medley, the 50 free, the one-meter diving event and the 400 medley relay. The preliminaries and finals will be held for the remaining 14 events today and tomorrow. After the first day of swimming, Princeton leads the meet with a score of 256 points, while defending champion Brown holds second place with 214 points. The Quakers slept soundly last night with the knowledge that they had tallied 61 points yesterday, a score good enough to keep them ahead of the Big Red and the Big Green -- the two Ivy teams they beat this season -- and in sixth place. Cornell trails Penn by a scant five points, while Dartmouth is mired in last with 46. Harvard, Yale and Columbia round out the field, occupying the third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Penn, which finished dead last at the 1999 Ivy championships, received encouraging performances from freshman Jessie Anders in the 50 free prelims and junior captain Cathy Holland in the 200 individual medley bonus consolation heat. Anders' 24.20 sixth-place finish was good enough for a spot in the 50 free finals -- the Quakers' first finals appearance since 1997 in any individual event -- and a new school record. Her time broke the previous 10-year old record of 24.22. Anders finished eighth in the 50 free finals with a time of 24.53, good for 11 points. Holland's 2:07.97 in the 200 IM bonus heat broke the school record of 2:09, set in 1984. Prior to yesterday, it was the Penn women's swimming team's longest-standing record. And even though Holland's phenomenal performance was overshadowed by the other swimmers in the 200 IM -- she finished 17th, garnering no points -- Schnur is thrilled with the team's performance. "It's great. It's the best first day [of the Ivy championships] we've ever had," Schnur said. "We have a lot more points than we had at this point last year, or any years, even the last five or six. If [Anders] wasn't in finals, we wouldn't be in sixth place." By far the most eye-popping performance of the day came from Columbia senior and probable 2000 U.S. Olympian Christina Teuscher, who swam the 200 IM in an unbelievable 1:58.87 -- a time which gave her the victory over Brown senior Stephanie Hughes by a little over three seconds. Teuscher, whom Schnur once referred to as the "Michael Jordan of the Ivy League," missed breaking the Ivy Championships 200 IM record -- which she set last year -- by a little over a second. Columbia's lack of depth beyond Teuscher -- the Lions had only four other swimmers win points in individual events -- continues to keep Columbia from the upper echelons of the tournament. The Lions are only 45 points ahead of the Quakers. But it would take a near-miracle for Penn to overtake Columbia, considering the 189-109 shellacking the Quakers took at the hands of the Lions December 10 -- not to mention the fact that Columbia has Teuscher, giving it a near-automatic first-place finish each time she swims. Thus, being able to look down at Cornell or Dartmouth -- or both -- come tomorrow night would seem to be a more realistic goal. But Penn was beaten soundly on the diving board yesterday and must overcome those points lost to have any chance of not finishing last. Penn does have in its favor its swimming strength, and with no diving events scheduled for today, the Quakers hope to open up some distance between them and their pursuers. Schnur thinks that Holland and freshman Margaret Jones will score points today in the 400 IM, and he hopes the same of sophomore Devin McGlynn and freshman Katy Sanderson in the 200 IM. Schnur is also heartened by the fact that the Quakers are in sixth place without yet putting in the pool one of their best young swimmers, freshman Kate Patrizzi, who will swim today in the 100 butterfly and the 100 breaststroke. "We've finished last eight years in a row, and to get out of that basement would be great," Schnur said.
Penn's seniors are looking to round out their careers with the Quakers with Ivy Classic perfection. As far as the 1990s go, the Penn Quakers could quite easily be called the Chicago Bulls of Ivy League gymnastics. Penn has won six Ivy Classic championships and accounts for five individual all-around meet champions. Unlike the Bulls, however, the Quakers have no intention of ending their dynastic hold on first place tomorrow at Cornell. In addition to heading into the meet with a solidly consistent and deep team, the Red and Blue will have one decided edge over the competition -- the only gymnasts who have experienced victory at the Classic will all be Quakers. "When we get to the meet on Saturday, there will only be fourteen people who know what it feels like to win a championship, and they're all on our team," Penn senior Kirby Thorpe said. The Quakers will be striving to break more records in what has already been a memorable season, with new records seemingly tied or broken at every meet. At this Ivy Classic, the team will be defending its unprecedented three consecutive championships, and the seniors want to finish up in record-breaking style. "This is it. For us, it's our last Ivy Classic, so we want to leave on top," Penn senior Becky Nadler said. The veterans of the team want to give the freshmen, as well as sophomore transfer Lauren Hittner, a taste of the winning Quakers tradition. "I'm looking forward to this meet for them because it's just a great, unique experience," Thorpe said. And Penn freshman Veena Abraham understands the history and importance of the meet as a culmination of the season. "I've basically been looking forward to this all season because it's what we've prepared ourselves for -- to go in and win," Abraham said. Penn coach Tom Kovic is confident in the Quakers' abilities and their potential to win, but he wants the team to understand the mentality of the rest of the Ivy League competition. "When we won our first championship [in 1991], we were a hungry team. I want my team to realize how good the other teams are and how hungry they are to win," Kovic said. Yale took home the only Ivy Classic championships of the past decade that did not belong to Penn, winning titles in '93, '95 and '96. In the two meets this season between the Ivy rivals, the Elis edged the Quakers by slim margins. "I want to focus on my team's execution, but to say there's no rivalry would be a lie," Kovic said. "I'm not interested in beating a particular team, however; we're going to beat them all." The battle for first place promises to be highly competitive, perhaps even more so than in recent years due to the strength of the current rosters of the four Ivy programs with gymnastics teams -- Penn, Yale, Cornell and Brown. In addition to falling twice to the Elis, Penn lost a dual meet to Cornell by less than half of a point and beat the Bears by almost three points earlier this season. "The teams are definitely evenly matched. All four teams have a chance. There are no clear favorites," Nadler said. The Quakers, however, will be the only team in the match to have faced each of the other Ivy foes in dual matches, which provides them with another advantage. No matter how much a team might work on its skills, there's no substitute for head-to-head experience. "We've seen everybody. I think that that's important because then we know [going into the Classic] what all the other teams have to offer," Kovic said. Despite the possible loss of Penn junior Kelly Haberer to what Kovic called a "fairly severe foot ligament sprain," the Quakers are not worried about Saturday. "We have the depth to win. It's about consistency under pressure," Penn captain Lizzie Jacobson said. The Quakers are looking to come home as the unprecedented four-time champions, and nothing else seems acceptable. "The focus is on us coming together and performing well. [We have] no excuses. We're going to win," Penn senior Joci Newman said. The Quakers hope that history will repeat itself tomorrow -- as it has for the past three years -- and that the championship trophy will be back at Penn.
The Quakers can take the Ivy driver's seat, or could be virtually eliminated. Still in the thick of the Ivy League title hunt after two grueling weeks on the road, the Penn women's basketball team returns home this weekend to battle fellow Ivy frontrunners Dartmouth and Harvard in what could be the most important pair of games ever for the Quakers. With just three games remaining on the schedule after tonight's and tomorrow night's games, the Red and Blue (16-7 overall, 7-2 Ivy League) will need to avenge their loss at Dartmouth two weeks ago and continue their winning ways against Harvard if they hope for their first-ever Ancient Eight banner -- and its accompanying NCAA Tournament berth, which would also be a first for Penn. "I really think this is probably the biggest weekend in the program's history," Penn coach Kelly Greenberg said. "I think this is a true test of seeing what we're really made of as a team." The first test of Penn's mettle, starting at 7 p.m. tonight at the Palestra, will come fast and physical to the Red and Blue courtesy of league-leading Dartmouth (16-6, 8-1) and its speedy-but-balanced attack. This attack is led by senior guard Courtney Banghart, the Ivy League Player of the Week and the Big Green's leading scorer, who averages 16 points per game. Banghart's average -- built on her trademark consistency behind the three-point line -- ranks her third in Ivy League scoring, lagging only behind the Quakers' leading duo of Diana Caramanico (24.7 ppg) and Mandy West (18.6 ppg). Problematic for the Penn defense, though, is the fact that Banghart is not the only offensive threat Dartmouth brings to the hardwood. Two other Big Green starters also average in the double-digits, including freshman forward Katherine Hanks. Along with her 14.9 points per game -- good for fifth in the Ivy League -- Hanks also leads her team with a 7.1 rebounding average and 35 blocks. And in addition to the youthful Hanks, the defending Ivy League champions return seven veterans from last season who give Dartmouth the experience to remain composed in a big game like tonight's. "Everyone contributes, and we have some depth and some experience in our positions," Dartmouth coach Chris Wielgus said. "It's certainly not the Courtney Banghart show." And besides individual players, Penn will have to deal with Dartmouth's various speeds of play. Although the Big Green usually like to exploit their own quickness by running a fast-paced offense, they also have the skill to slow things down at will. "The thing about Dartmouth is they can play halfcourt, and they can run," Greenberg said. "They can do both well, so we have to be ready for both kinds of games. "It's all going to come down to who's going to make the big plays and which team is consistently tougher throughout the entire game." An uneasy trend arose for Penn during its recent two-week Ivy League road swing. After emerging victorious in both of their Friday games, the Quakers came back to lose the next night -- the first week to Dartmouth, then to Columbia. The pair of second-day road losses has elicited concern from Penn coaches and players. "I'm not sure if it's because of travel," Greenberg said. "I feel like the team feels prepared, so I don't know if it's fatigue or what." The Quakers definitely need to hope for a change in their Saturday luck with Harvard coming to the Palestra tomorrow for a 7 p.m. tipoff. Although almost a polar opposite of Dartmouth in terms of tempo -- preferring a slow, deliberate offensive, rather than a fast-paced game -- Harvard (7-2, 14-7) will still be a challenging opponent for Penn. Like Dartmouth, Harvard has a well-balanced attack, anchored by senior forward Laela Sturdy's 13.5 points per game and sophomore guard Jen Monti's league-leading 6.3 assist average. Unlike the Big Green, though, the Crimson have a lot of size -- 10 of the 15 players on Harvard's roster measure at six feet or above -- and will try to use their height to out-rebound the Quakers, slowing down Penn's transition offense. "One of the most dangerous things about Penn's game is definitely their transition," Sturdy said. In light of the problems Penn has faced playing partially fatigued on Saturdays, some of the Quakers will actually welcome this Harvard strategy of slow, half-court basketball. "I think it's going to be better to play [Harvard] second, rather than having Dartmouth running up and down the floor on Saturday," West said. Plus, with Ivy-leading rebounder Caramanico in the paint (12.0 rebounds per game) and supported by 6'3" Jessica Allen and 6'0" Julie Epton, the Quakers are confident that they will pull down plenty of boards of their own against the Crimson. Every team involved knows the importance this weekend bears on the highly contested Ivy League title race. "Friday night's game is the biggest game," Greenberg said. "But ironically, if we win Friday night's game, then Saturday immediately becomes the biggest game ever."
It has been a long season since the Penn men's squash team beat Brown 5-4 on December 5. And in many respects, it will be a different Quakers team stepping onto the court this morning in New Haven, Conn., to face the Bears in the first round of the Team Championships at Yale. Since December, Penn has endured the loss of its No. 1 player, had another of the team's top players sidelined by injuries and been forced to juggle the lineup on a weekly basis. Penn will have only five of the original nine players from the lineup that faced Brown. A string of losses against top competitors accompanied this string of bad fortune, as the Quakers managed only two wins after the Brown match. The one thing that has remained constant for the Quakers this season, however, is their positive attitude. An underdog in most of its matches, Penn has managed to play stride for stride with many of the same teams that they will face this weekend. Penn was finally able to cash in on its hard work last week when it finished dual-match play with a convincing 8-1 home win over Haverford. The Quakers took all eight wins in the minimum three games. The win may give Penn the momentum it needs to knock off Brown, ranked No. 10 nationally, for a second time. The Team Championships in New Haven will feature the top 36 squash teams in the country. The Potter Division will feature the top eight teams, including No. 1 Trinity and Ivy League champion Princeton. The Quakers carry a season record of 3-9, enough to earn them the No. 15 ranking in the nation. They are bracketed in the Hoehn Division of the playoffs and will compete with the ninth through 16th ranked teams in the country. Depending on Friday's results, the Quakers will match up Saturday against either the winner or the loser of the Colby and Navy match. Cornell, ranked at No. 9, is the top seeded team in Penn's bracket. Penn looks to gain revenge this weekend for close losses suffered during the season. Three teams in the Hoehn division -- Cornell, Navy and Franklin and Marshall -- snatched 5-4 victories from the Quakers. This prospect has been enough to light a fire under the Red and Blue. "This weekend is an opportunity for revenge -- we want blood," Penn junior Will Ruthrauff said. "We are a stronger team in a lot of ways than we were at the beginning of the season." This weekend, the Quakers will be forced to rely on the lower portion of their order, as they have for most of the season. No. 3 Mukund Khaitan, who managed a 3-0 win over Haverford's Ari Wassauer after sitting out the Harvard and Dartmouth matches, will again be forced out of action due to nagging ankle injuries. This will cause the lower portion of the order to move up one spot each. "We have been unstable in our lineup," Penn coach Craig Thorpe-Clark said. "It may have detracted from our competing, but hopefully we'll go on to get the wins we deserve." The key for Penn, which for most of the season has relied on the middle and bottom of its order, will be adjusting to the new positioning in the lineup against Brown. "The bottom of the order is stronger than the last time we played Brown," Penn junior Ritesh Tilani said. "If we get past Brown, we feel confident that we can match up well with the other teams." Penn will be relying on middle order players like Tilani and Ruthrauff to carry them past Brown. Both have been consistent forces this season, and Tilani was the only member of the Quakers to win games against Harvard and Princeton. Penn's ultimate goal, however, will be to make the best showing they can in their final team matches of this somewhat disappointing season. "We beat Brown early in the season, and we've suffered some setbacks since then," said senior Bill Bryan, the team's self-proclaimed "Rudy," who will play at No. 9 this weekend. "I'd love to go out on top in my last match and represent the Red and Blue well."
The Quakers look to hold on to first place in the Ivy League with two wins on their New England road swing. After dispatching Cornell and Columbia at the Palestra last weekend, the Penn men's basketball team stands in a very exciting position with March Madness approaching. If the Quakers can tack on another 11 wins to their current 11-game winning streak -- which dates to January 25 -- they can bring home the national title. Penn has just six regular season contests left, and a 5-0 run through the NCAA Tournament would take them straight to the top. "I can't say that I've pictured in my mind winning the next 11 games and being national champions," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. OK, so back to reality. Before they can even imagine cutting down the nets in Indianapolis, the Quakers must first clinch the Ivy League title with four more victories. Their first chance is this weekend at Dartmouth and Harvard. "I think we realized after the Temple game -- that was a tough loss -- that if we won our next 16 games we were going to be in the tournament and we were going to be happy," Penn center Geoff Owens said. While neither the Big Green nor the Crimson can share Penn's postseason aspirations, an upset for either Dartmouth or Harvard would significantly help its Ivy standing. At this point, just one game separates the third- through seventh-place teams. Harvard (10-13, 5-5 Ivy League), which is in third place, just ahead of the Big Green (8-15, 4-6), has two streaks going. Penn has reason to be wary of both. For starters, the Crimson swept Brown and Yale last weekend. Junior forward Dan Clemente lead with 22 points against the Bears and 19 the following night. Despite scoring just three points in Harvard's 79-52 loss at the Palestra just weeks ago, Clemente has racked up a 19.1 points per game average for the season. This figure would place him first among Ivy scoring leaders, but he is ineligible for the honor since he missed 11 games while recovering from eye surgery. Second, the Crimson have won five straight home finales, including an overtime win over Princeton in '98-'99 and an upset over Penn the previous year. "I think we lost to them at their place my freshman year," Owens said. "It's their home, and Penn is coming to town, so we're going to expect a hell of a game from them." Dartmouth coach Dave Faucher recognized that his team could beat Penn tonight, but knows that it will take a top performance from his sixth-place squad. "We're expecting Penn to play well, and they usually do," Faucher said. "They're leading the league in both offensive and defensive field goal percentage, so that's a double-edged sword that we have reason to be concerned about. We have to be at our best -- our very best." According to Faucher, Dartmouth's best usually comes in transition. The ninth-year coach said that his guards, Greg Buth and Flinder Boyd, will have to push the pace if they hope to compete with Penn. Buth is second on the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game, while Boyd's 8.6 points per contest is good for third. Boyd also leads the Big Green in assists at seven per contest. Penn has won its last five meetings with Dartmouth, including a 75-61 victory on February 12, but Faucher said that loss was actually a turning point for his team. Despite falling to the Quakers, Dartmouth's strong second-half play was enough to please Faucher. Buth scored 18 against Penn that night. "I'm proud of my guys," Faucher said. "We played a good second half against Penn, and we've carried it through the last four games. There's a lot of fighting in the Big Green." Dartmouth, like the Crimson, swept Yale and Brown last weekend to double its league wins and up its overall record to 8-15. But the Quakers learned their lesson in the last game versus Dartmouth and will be ready for its second-half antics tonight. "Last time toward the end we let them back in the game a little bit, so I think we're just going to try to go out there and knock them out real quick -- get it over with -- and then stay tough," Penn forward Frank Brown said. Most likely, Dartmouth's squad also learned a lesson on February 12 -- to beware of Michael Jordan. The senior guard scored 24 points on an 8-for-12 shooting performance that night. Of course, the Big Green probably did not need first-hand experience to make this discovery. Jordan is Penn's leading scorer at 15.9 points per game, and the tri-captain also leads the team in assists with 4.9 per game. "[Boyd] is going to roll up his sleeves and defend [Jordan]," Faucher said. "He's short, but he's really quick. We could try to play a bigger person on him, but Langel is 6'5'' and Brown is 6'8", so then we would have a problem defending them." Dunphy understood Faucher's predicament. "There's no question that Mike is our leader and he's been our leading scorer and really has carried us a lot, but we need to be a good basketball team. Matt Langel can step up and hopefully make some shots? and now that Frank has started to play well and make some shots on the perimeter, he gives us another weapon." Brown was certainly a weapon in the Quakers' last game against Harvard. He scored a season-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and connected on all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. "Everything feels good now and I've been starting on a consistent basis," Brown said. "I was hoping that my senior year would be like this." Since Brown entered the starting lineup on January 28, the Quakers are a perfect 10-0. The senior is shooting 51.3 percent from the field and averaging 6.6 points. "He got hurt on December 29, and it really took him a good six weeks to really get himself back together," Dunphy said. "But when given another opportunity, he's made the most of it."
After two months of almost weekly competition, the women's indoor track season for Penn will hit its climax this weekend in Hanover, N.H. At the Heptagonal Championships at Dartmouth, the Quakers will be facing all seven Ivy League rivals as well as Navy in the most important meet of the indoor season for Penn. The Quakers hope to come away with their first Heps indoor championship since 1996. "We live for Heps," Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci said. "This is the meet that we have waited for all season, so everyone is excited and ready to do what we love." Heps couldn't be coming at a better time for this Red and Blue squad. Penn is coming off a phenomenal meet at George Mason that saw a smaller-than-usual squad turn in some outstanding performances. An obvious highlight of the meet for Penn was sophomore Liz Wittels breaking the school record in the pole vault for the third time in less than a month. "I am happy because I am staying pretty consistent, but I would like to be going a little bit higher," Wittels said. "The work and training is pretty much done at this point, and now we just want to make sure that everyone stays fresh and that no one gets injured." Perhaps the biggest surprise in this meet for Penn was the breakthrough performance by the team's relay squad. The team of sophomore Jeraldine Cofie, junior Melissa MacIntyre, freshman Petra Stewart and junior Bassey Adjah turned in its fastest time of the season in the 4x400 meters with a 3:54.29 to finish second in the meet. "Our relay teams had just an awesome meet," Tenisci said. "Our A-team turned in by far their best performance of the year, and then our B-team came in almost two seconds faster than our A-team had previously been all season." One possible explanation for the team's success at George Mason is that the Quakers runners are just now hitting their peak. The reason for this is that the Penn runners tend to develop their speed later on into the season because the team must practice outside in the cold weather, which is not conducive to speed workouts. "I think we turned a big corner last weekend," Tenisci said. "All the girls just showed themselves how talented they really are and what they are capable of doing." Another reason for optimism on Penn's part is the fact that the Quakers really seemed to build team pride in last Saturday's meet. "With the smaller number of people, we really bonded and came together," Wittels said. "There was a great sense of unity in our team." Although Penn's solid performances at George Mason bode well for the team's chances at Heps, the Quakers know they will need contributions from the entire team if they are to walk away from New Hampshire as champions. Penn's fate could hinge on how the team's numerous freshmen handle the pressure of such an important meet. "It has been a roller-coaster ride for all of our freshmen," Tenisci said. "But I think that they have finally settled down and are really contributing to our team." The squad understands the important of being fresh this weekend, so the coaches are making sure that everyone is rested up and healthy come Saturday. "We are definitely taking it a bit easier this week," MacIntyre said. "It is very important for the jumpers' legs to have pop and for the runners' legs to feel fast, so we don't want to overdo it this week." After months of preparation, the time for practice and waiting is over. "This is without a doubt the most exciting time of the year for us," Tenisci said. "The team has worked hard and kept their focus, so now it is finally time for us to give our best effort and compete with pride for our school."
Hoping to reduce their collective stress levels, increase their energy and improve their health, more than 50 Penn students headed into Logan Hall last night to explore the world of alternative healing. Sponsored by campus groups ranging from Student Health Services to the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life to the Yan Xin Qigong Club, the students were treated to an introductory class in Qigong Tai Chi -- a traditional form of Chinese exercises. According to Barry Kenneally, a worker in Student Health Services and the coordinator for the event, Qigong is "part of a comprehensive health and wellness program." Yu Chen, a Penn graduate student and president of the Yan Xin Qigong Club, explained that Qigong Tai Chi is different from regular Tai chi in that it emphasizes the cultivation of Qigong, or "vital energy." Chinese Qigong master Yan Xin was the first to combine Qigong with science in 1980. Dora Horbachevsky, a staff assistant in the Neurology and Oncology departments, addressed the participants in the beginning of the class. She is one of the two Qigong students who attested to its healthful effects. "[Qigong was] one of the best things that I ever did in my life," she said. "Now I can smile at my boss and be sincere about it." And Will Tayor, a teacher for the Fairmount Park Commission, had similar feelings. "Qigong has enabled me to be drug free," he said. The assets of Qigong include stress reduction, mental health improvement, physical health improvement, energy enhancement, concentration improvement and even weight-loss. "For chronic problems, [modern] medicine is now accepting that Qigong is a valid complementary treatment," said Kirsten Erwin, a biochemist at nearby Hahnemann University and four-year practitioner of Yan Xin Qigong. Near the end of the seminar, Long Gao, president of the International Yan Xin Qigong Health Institute of Martial Arts, showed a video of himself in action. "[Qigong is] being in harmony with the universe," he said. At the end of the seminar, University faculty and students were invited to participate in a nine-week program -- whose location has yet to be selected -- which will teach the movements of Yan Xin Qigong Tai Chi. The sessions, which will meet on Tuesday nights, will also focus on the cultivation of inner energy. Extra admission forms had to be photocopied, meaning that more people showed up for the seminar than had been expected. Most attendees were Penn students who had little or no experience with Qigong Tai Chi. "It was encouraging for me to hear of the health benefits," said Crystal Epps, a graduate student in Social Work who still suffers from a back injury sustained in a car accident two years ago. "It's nice that the University can provide students with alternative techniques," said Gabriel Ramos-Fernandez, a graduate student in Biology who practices Tai Chi.
Dartmouth star Courtney Banghart has become the center of controversy. At Weightman Gym yesterday, the Penn women's basketball team prepared for tomorrow night's showdown against Dartmouth which -- with a win -- would move the Quakers back into a tie for first place in the Ivy League. Meanwhile, in Hanover, N.H., bad blood was brewing. "[Penn has] gone over the line, and they've taken it beyond the realm of basketball and I'm not going to go near the line," Dartmouth coach Chris Weilgus said. "I think it's in the best interest of Dartmouth and the Ivy League and the game of basketball for me to keep quiet." Weilgus was referring to a comment made by Penn coach Kelly Greenberg after Dartmouth star Courtney Banghart scored 24 points in an 89-71 win over the Quakers on February 12. Banghart, who earned first team All-Ivy honors last year and leads the Big Green with 16 points per game this season, taunted the Quakers and acted cocky thoughout the game. Weilgus was upset after reading a quote from Greenberg in The Daily Pennsylvanian earlier this month: "Dartmouth's point guard was out of control, slapping the refs on the butt and pointing to the crowd when she did something good," Greenberg said. "I can't wait to get them back." Greenberg was taken aback when notified of Weilgus' reaction. "I'm kind of shocked and maybe a little bit hurt that anyone would think I meant harm to an individual," Greenberg said. "Especially a young individual within our conference?. I am really in shock." Greenberg -- in her first Ivy campaign -- said her initial comments were misunderstood and, instead of deriding the Dartmouth program, she would ask her team to emulate it. "I have the utmost respect for Coach Weilgus, and have had since her days at Fordham," Greenberg said. "I think it's a shame that she took it that way, since that's exactly what I'm preaching to my team not to be like. We're trying to build a classy program here, and Dartmouth and Harvard are the class of this league. "Anyone who knows me and read that wouldn't think anything about it." Greenberg emphasized the amount of respect she held for Banghart and her play. "She plays with a lot of emotion, and intensity," Greenberg said. "I know that I've said in the past that she definitely has a cockiness about her, but I give her a lot of respect. She can play. She can flat out play the game. [She] is playing awesome right now. There's no doubt that the girl is on fire." Banghart, who is leading her team in scoring and assists and was named Ivy League Player of the Week this week, has indeed improved her numbers since Dartmouth began its Ivy loop, and, over the last three games, the improvement has been even more dramatic. Although she is averaging 16 points per game for the season, Banghart has upped that figure to 17.3 in Ivy League play. The most noteworthy jump is in Banghart's long-range shooting, which was already impressive. For the season, she is shooting 35 percent from downtown. In Ivy League play, however, she has drilled 43 percent of her long-range shots. Over the last three games, Banghart has led the Big Green's vault from third place to first place in the Ivy League standings while playing arguably the best basketball of her career. In games against Penn, Yale and Brown, Banghart scored 24, 31 and 26 points, respectively, for an average of 27 points per game. In that same span, Banghart hit 17 three-pointers on 27 attempts for an astonishing 63 percent. "We're definitely keying on Banghart," Greenberg said. "Because besides her talent, she has all the emotion, and if we can get her out of what she does well early in the game, then we'll be better off. "She does a lot more than scoring. She plays defense, and she's tough. They'll put her anywhere on the court. She'll be in the back line, she'll defend [Penn forward] Diana [Caramanico] in the post and be able to push her around, she is just a tough kid." Quakers senior tri-captain Mandy West echoed her coach's impression. "[Banghart's] a tough, aggressive player," West said. "She leads their team, so we need to respect her and play hard." West said that Banghart's enthusiastic displays on the court didn't translate into trash-talking to her opponents. "No, she's obnoxious because she gets real into it and she's kind of cocky," West said. "But she doesn't really say anything to any of our players." It's Banghart's enthusiasm and effusiveness on the court that caused Greenberg to use the words "out of control," but the Penn coach wants it clear that she respects these things in the Dartmouth guard. "She's cocky? but I just think that she feels good out on the court," Greenberg said. "She does a lot of things that, in women's basketball, you just don't see a whole lot. I'm not saying it's bad, in any way, but she definitely feels good out there, and I do have a great deal of respect for her."
The retention rate for African Americans at penn is 60.1 percent, compared to an Ivy average of 69.6 percent. When College sophomore Ejim Achi returned to Penn for his second year this fall, he found one of his fellow classmates had disappeared. "I know of a kid who was supposed to be a sophomore this year, who isn't here anymore," he said. "I don't know why." Achi and his missing friend are both African American, a minority group that continues to have lower retention rates at Penn than other groups and lower retention rates than those of African Americans at other Ivy League universities. Several students and University officials recently attributed this problem to factors ranging from financial aid difficulties to problems with academic support to concerns about social isolation. In 1998, University Council's Pluralism Committee released a report showing that for African Americans at Penn, the average four-year graduation rate for classes entering 1986-1990 was 60.1 percent compared to an Ivy League average of 69.6 percent and an Ivy high of 82.5 percent. For white students at Penn, however, the average retention rate was a significantly higher 81.7 percent. College senior Chaz Howard, former chairman of the United Minorities Council, said financial aid is the major factor that may cause African-American students to drop out or never receive their diplomas. "It's definitely something that's affected me personally," Howard said of low retention rates. "I've had friends who are African American who aren't here anymore." Valerie DeCruz, director of the Greenfield Intercultural Center, agreed with Howard about financial aid being a hurdle for African-American students. She said a large number of students who fail to graduate in four years have all of their course requirements but cannot formally receive their diplomas because they owe the University money. Bernard Lentz, director of institutional research and analysis at the Provost's Office, was also involved in collecting data for last year's pluralism report on minority recruitment and retention. "What we found was that financial difficulties were key [for dropouts]," he said. Currently, Penn offers financial aid packages that are predominantly loan-based, while Ivy League peers such as Princeton and Yale universities offer mainly grant-based aid. Penn, however --Ewhich has a low endowment to student ratio -- uses a limited portion of endowment money for financial aid. Other schools can afford to fund aid almost completely through their endowments. Lentz said that starting in 1997, the University had implemented a program using retention liaisons. The goal of the program, according to Lentz, is to "try to identify those people who might be having [financial] difficulties early on." The program currently focuses on seniors and aims to complement academic advising with financial advising. DeCruz said another factor that may affect low retention rates for African Americans is the fact that many of them are the first in their families to attend college. "A lot of people take for granted the kind of natural advantage one has when one has family familiar with college and particularly with the Ivy Leagues," she said. "If you are the first in your family to come to an institution like Penn, there are a lot of obstacles." Achi noted that he thought the problem was "just a microcosm of American society," adding that "[African Americans] face a profound racial stereotype." United Minorities Council Chairman Jerome Byam, a College junior, said the University lacked role models for African-American students. "I've never had a black professor," he said. Assistant Dean of Minority Affairs and Advising in the College of Arts and Sciences Janice Curington said she felt psychological factors also played out in low retention rates for African-American students. "One of the issues that I see increasing is a sense of isolation -- a little lack of confidence," she said. "Perhaps [students] are not getting appropriate mentoring." Lentz said the University was "really trying to be very proactive" in increasing retention rates by working with the college house system and Academic Advising to offer more advising and support for African-American students. Still, Howard said the University could be doing more to retain African-American students. "I'm hoping that the University stops researching [low retention] and starts acting on it," he said. "We already know it to be a tragedy."
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Lauren Rigney is not the Princeton women's basketball team's leading scorer. Nor is she the team's best rebounder. In fact, the agile sophomore leads the team in only one statistic -- games started. She is the only player to have started all 23 games for the Tigers. "[Rigney] is willing to do anything for the team," senior captain Kate Thirolf said. "She's had to play the post this year. She's had to play guard [and] forward. She does whatever the team needs her to do, and obviously we count on her a lot." The team depends on her so much that, while only a sophomore, Rigney is third on the team in minutes, behind Jessica Munson and Maggie Langlas. "I'm a pretty competitive person -- a very competitive person," Rigney said. "And when I'm out there, I'm out there to win." Winning was not something that Rigney was able to get used to in high school. A four-year varsity basketball player at Marlborough High School, in Marlborough, Mass., Rigney's team finished over .500 only twice. Despite her team's lack of success, Rigney flourished individually, becoming the first player in Marlborough history to score 1,000 career points. A highly skilled guard and intense defender, Rigney was always assigned to cover her opponents' best guard. These attributes impressed several college coaches and, as a result, she was recruited by multiple schools. Having finally chosen Princeton, Rigney then had the daunting task of trying to learn the Tigers' complex offensive system. Princeton's deliberate, hard-cutting offense provided a stark change from her high school's wide open style. Nonetheless, it is a change that Rigney has welcomed. "It's definitely hard [to learn the offense], and I still don't know it perfectly. And I don't think I'm ever going to know it that well," she said. "I like playing at Princeton because it's more of a team game. There's so much talent here. I like having four players on the floor that you have to play with all the time. And you have to know every move that they make." Rigney's court savvy has allowed her to make some spectacular plays on offense this year. On a few occasions this season, when she has found herself with the ball in the paint with her back to the basket, she has fired perfect no-look passes to teammates in the corner, setting up open three-point attempts. "That's kind of a Rigney touch," Thirolf said. "She knows the offense really well. She knows where people will be open." All prestidigitation aside, Rigney has made her biggest impact this season on defense. In nearly every game, she has been called upon to defend the low-post area -- usually the domain of six-foot centers. "I got a little experience over two summers. [But in college], the girls are bigger, they're stronger, and they're faster," she said. "It took a while to get used to it." Even with Rigney's stellar play down low, Princeton's defense has struggled for most of the season. The Tigers have stumbled to a 6-17 record, instead of competing for the Ivy title. Through it all, Rigney has kept up her intensity. "It's been a hard season," she said. "To not win and to know that everyone wants to, and that everyone's trying so hard and everyone's putting in so much effort at practice and in games -- that's hard." After falling to a 1-6 Ivy record in the first half of the league season, the Tigers have dedicated themselves to winning their last seven games. Princeton took two big strides in that direction over the weekend, with wins over Columbia and Cornell -- a game in which Rigney led the Tigers with 13 points. "We're starting to see the results and, with five games left, we're going to see the results for five more games. We're playing to win. That's it," she said. In a season that has been mostly down for Princeton, Rigney has never faltered. She has earned the respect of players and coaches alike, through her multifaceted games and tireless work ethic. "She's definitely a leader both vocally and with her actions," sophomore guard Hillary Reser said. "Every single day at practice she's working her ass off. She loves the team so much, and that's so obvious on how hard she works everyday."
The president will talk about the government's role in the economy as part of the new Granoff forum. Eight years ago, then-Gov. Bill Clinton came to Penn to tell students how he wanted his presidency to impact an increasingly global economy. Today, he's returning to campus to discuss exactly how much of an effect his administration has had. Kicking off the new Granoff Forum, designed to attract influential global business leaders to Penn, Clinton will spend 30 minutes this afternoon in Irvine Auditorium, outlining the current state of the global economy and his projections for the future to an audience of approximately 1,000. University President Judith Rodin will introduce the President, and Michael Granoff -- founder of the forum -- will briefly address the audience of students, local officials and Penn faculty before Clinton takes the podium. Doors open today at 1:30 p.m., and student invitees are encouraged to arrive before 2 p.m. For security reasons, bookbags and backpacks are strongly discouraged. White House spokesman Joseph Lockhart said in a press briefing yesterday that the president's speech will largely focus on how his administration has altered the global economy. Lockhart added that Clinton will probably touch upon "what the proper role for the government is in providing stewardship for the economy." Immediately after his speech, titled "The New Economy," Clinton will depart for several fundraisers in New York. Just over half of those listening to Clinton's insight on the economy will be students, said Assistant Dean for the School of Arts and Sciences Allison Rose, who helped organize the event. Admission is by invitation only, and the majority of students invited to attend were selected from the SAS International Relations Program, the Political Science Department and the Lauder Institute. Philadelphia Mayor John Street, former mayor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Ed Rendell and several other elected officials will join the hundreds of students attending today's address, Rose added. "There will be some representation from all levels of elected officials," she explained. Today marks the first time Clinton has visited Penn since a campaign stop shortly before the 1996 election. Though the details of today's safety measures could not be released for security reasons, Rose said security would be very tight in and around Irvine Auditorium. "It will be at the level you would expect for a visit from the president," she said last night, adding that campus security has been working closely with the U.S. Secret Service in preparation for the president's visit. Irvine itself had to be slightly altered to accommodate the president's security force and the approximately 100 members of the press anticipated to turn out for the event. Press risers were added in several rows, but Rose could not detail any of the other changes to the building. As part of the tightened security accompanying the visit, University officials have predicted that Clinton's arrival might tie up the area at 34th and Spruce streets, the location of the main entrance to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. An e-mail was sent to several HUP officials on Tuesday warning that no traffic will be permitted on 34th Street between Walnut and Spruce from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, possibly disrupting the traffic in front of the hospital. The speech will be broadcast on ResNet at 7 p.m. in its entirety. It will also be broadcast live on the World Wide Web. A link to the Website will be on dailypennsylvanian.com this afternoon.
Many people might not readily associate the Ford Motor Company with Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. But according to legal researcher Miriam Kleiman and several recently declassified government documents, the two were very closely linked during World War II. Kleiman, who represents Holocaust survivors in her work, spoke to more than 20 students Monday in Logan Hall's Terrace Room about the use of slave labor during the war by American and German industrial firms. She was the third lecturer in a four-part seminar series entitled "The Future of Holocaust Commemoration." It is sponsored by Penn's Jewish Renaissance Project and features a different speaker every Monday during the month of February. Twenty-five students registered for the non-credit seminar. Citing declassified documents from the U.S. National Archives, Kleiman said that companies such as Ford, Volkswagen and Bayer used slave labor from Jews and other Holocaust victims to produce their goods for the Third Reich. "Germany's 'economic miracle' after World War II was built on the backs of hundreds of thousands of slave laborers," Kleiman said. "When people think of the Volkswagen Beetle, we want them to think of Hitler." Kleiman distributed a dozen different reports at the seminar that documented abuses committed by Volkswagen and Ford Werke AG, a German subsidiary of Ford. Each report was read aloud by a student as Kleiman moved her lecture from one topic to the next. One of the documents was written by the manager of a Ford-owned plant in Germany during the war. In it, he described the company's workers as "soldiers of the Fuhrer," referring to Hitler's German title as leader of the Nazi regime. Lawsuits have recently been filed by Holocaust survivors against the companies that were shown to have used slave labor, Kleiman said. "We want the story to be told," she said. "There are different ways of commemorating the Holocaust -- our way is litigating." But she noted that the lawsuits are more intended to generate public exposure of abuses than to recover compensation. "It's not about the money," Kleiman said. "It's about justice and preserving the historical record." The students who attended the lecture asked Kleiman questions about her work, and many said they left the lecture with a new perspective on some of the world's most trusted companies. "I was interested to hear different people's perspectives on the Holocaust," College sophomore Robyn Badiner said. "This was a good lecture to do that." Also in attendance was Seymour Mayer, a survivor of four Holocaust concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He spoke highly of both Kleiman and the seminar as a whole. "I thought it was very useful and very informative," Mayer said after the lecture. "It's a good beginning for students to get involved." "The Future of Holocaust Commemoration" was organized by two fellows in the Jewish Renaissance Project, Wharton junior Cory Perlstein and College sophomore Ariel Groveman.
Under a new program, the administration will hear student views. It won't take bongo drums and protests to get University President Judith Rodin to listen to Penn students' views. As part of her latest project -- PennTalks -- interested undergraduates will have the opportunity to share their visions for Penn's future in student-led discussion groups around campus this spring. Findings from the sessions will be presented to Rodin and other University leaders to provide them with a better understanding of student opinions. "This is a way to get into the grassroots and have really everyone involved in the thinking and planning of the University," Rodin said. "There are a lot of items on the table ranging from what kind of future Penn should have with regard to academic programs, the nature of college houses and what kind of community we want to be." According to PennTalks Associate Director Bill Boltz, the discussion groups will be held in March and early April and will be open to undergraduates from across the University. "This is a chance to have students heard in a variety of forums," he said, noting that sessions will take place in college houses, fraternities and sororities, campus organizations and other places that Penn students meet. Student facilitators will lead the groups and subsequently meet to talk about their findings and eventually prepare a report for Rodin. These leaders will receive discussion training from the Connecticut-based Study Circles Resource Center, an institution that offers advice on how to lead productive discussions. All interested students may attend the training, according to Boltz. Although there is no set agenda for discussion, students will be asked to share personal memories of their Penn experience and identify the University's strengths and weaknesses to provide the background for strategic planning. For Penn Public Talk student liaison Ari Alexander, just the chance to participate in a group is exciting. "Students are looking for opportunities to feel empowered," the College junior said. "For the president of the University, who is seen as distant and corporate, to listen [to students] is a very powerful thing." "This isn't talk for the sake of talk," Penn Public Talk Executive Director Stephen Steinberg said. "On the one hand, we want this to be as open and interesting to students and facilitators, but at the same time distill from it hopes, visions about what this community wants to be." If successful, Steinberg said that they plan to expand PennTalks in the fall to include graduate students, faculty and staff. "And if the model works, we hope to share it with other universities," Steinberg added. PennTalks is the first program to be rolled out by the Penn Public Talk Project, and is being co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Assembly and Civic House. The idea for the program came as an outgrowth of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community -- a University-sponsored think-tank chaired by Rodin that studies how people interact in the public sphere and addresses ways to improve discourse. "It has always been our intent to bring the work of the Penn National Commission home," Rodin said. "This is just another model for interaction."
The board is in its final planning stages but has yet to sign a band for the Friday night concert. With just two months left before the event the Social Planning and Events Committee is getting out the mini-skirts and pom-poms and preparing for the next Spring Fling -- teeny bopper diva style. Since the announcement of this year's theme, "Fling Me Baby One More Time" -- inspired by teen pop-star Britney Spears' chart topping song -- SPEC has been busily preparing for the much-anticipated event, which will be held from April 14 to April 16. "Our progress is 100 percent better than last year," said College junior Jason Ebert, the Fling planning co-director. But though many decisions have already been made, organizers have not yet decided on the headlining band. SPEC member and Engineering senior Ari Jaffess, who has been coordinating the booking for Fling, would not comment on the progress of negotiations with prospective bands, nor on when a formal announcement would be made. Last year's music festivities were headed by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones as well as other musical acts Run DMC and D-Generation. Wharton senior and SPEC chairman Jon Herrmann said this year the concert will be held on Hill Field "rain or shine" to ensure great acoustics. For the last three years, the concert has been held in the Palestra due to adverse weather conditions. As for the amount of tickets expected to be sold, Herrmann estimated it to be about 6,000, depending on the artist performing. Last year's performance sold 4,200 tickets. Ebert, along with College junior Mike Silverstein and Nursing senior Lisa Malbacho, have been in charge of coordinating Fling by supervising and managing nine subcommittees, comprised of roughly 30 people. According to Malbacho, the planning committee is now in its final stages in deciding a logo for Fling T-shirts -- a popular Fling souvenir -- submitted by students to the office of student life last December. Silverstein, who is also a 34th Street editor, said the souvenir committee has begun to brainstorm possible souvenir ideas for Fling. One possibility being entertained is waterguns, which were souvenirs from Fling three years ago. While SPEC tried to bring them back last year, they were not approved due to the alcohol policy, according to Silverstein. "This year, now that things are more stable, [we] hope to bring them back," Silverstein said. "Fling's all about fun and security." Silverstein added that the planning committee will begin deciding on the local bands who will play in the Quadrangle in mid-March. The security committee has been working on ensuring safety in the Quad by providing an on-sight ambulance for the event. While SPEC members said there will be no major changes to this year's fling compared to previous ones, students can expect what always comes out of fling -- a good time. "Let's have fun -- [Fling's a time to] forget about our squabbles and get along," Silverstein said.
The LIFE center on 41st and Woodland is a life saver for some of West Phila.'s elderly. At the Living Independently For Elders center on 4101 Woodland Avenue, 55-year-old Al Ballard is the life of the party, moving from one conversation to another with his fellow members in eager anticipation of the next smile and the next chuckle. Wearing a broad grin and a Charlotte Hornets cap, Ballard claims he's never been happier than when he's at the LIFE center. "You don't have no problems here," he said. "This is the best thing." One of 74 LIFE members, the retired machinist comes in three times a week to catch up with friends, relax and enjoy himself, all the while under the watchful care of the center's comprehensive staff. With the over-65 population expected to grow dramatically from 12 percent to 20 percent by 2050, according to Nursing Gerentology Professor Neville Strumph, medical professionals have seen the field of gerontology expand accordingly. The Nursing School already operates a Center for Gerontological Science and the Medical School runs an Institute for Aging. At the LIFE center, doctors, physical therapists, dieticians, social workers, recreation therapists and chaplains all work under the same roof, providing "one-stop" care for the elderly -- who often have trouble getting from one hospital to another. The center offers a variety of medical services in the clinic -- from dental work to podiatric care -- and also provides members with activities such as discussion groups and horticulture. "All I gotta do is go back there and they'll fix it up," Ballard said, referring to the center's clinic. Born in South Carolina, Ballard moved to Philly in his twenties and worked in a factory until an accident with a baling machine mangled his left hand. Ballard said it was a struggle to support his family with his disability payments and an even greater struggle to find money with which to visit a doctor. But having been at the center for eight months, Ballard is a walking advertisement for the center, singing its praises left and right in gratitude for his current level of care. "Anyone can sit at home and eat and watch TV, but they don't do anything for themselves," he said. "A lot of people really don't need to be in here because they don't appreciate it." Opened in September 1998, the LIFE center was the result of Nursing Professors and LIFE center Faculty Co-Directors Karen Buhler-Wilkerson and Mary Naylor's investigation into alternative healthcare options for the elderly. Naylor and Buhler-Wilkerson proposed the project to the Nursing School in 1994, wanting to create a center that offered care for the elderly while allowing them to remain in their communities. "Clinically they are at a level already where they would typically need nursing home care, but they don't want to go into a home." Executive Director of the LIFE center Christine Allen said. "They want to stay in their community." Every morning and afternoon, van drivers from the center bus the LIFE members to and from their houses throughout many of the poorer neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Medicare is a prerequisite for membership at the LIFE center. Members are predominantly African American and most live with their families, coming several times a week to the center for physical therapy and medical checkups. Like Ballard, however, the majority of members find that the main attraction lies not in the medical treatment, but with the friendly atmosphere generated by the people in the spacious, well-lighted center. "I thought my daughter was trying to get rid of me," 83-year-old Elise Love said, "but I decided to come and see, and I like it." The average day for members begins with a morning snack, which might include a cup of pudding -- an especially important activity since many of the patients are diabetic and have to carefully regulate their intake of sugar. After eating, the center's members either break up to receive therapy or congregate to hold discussions on subjects ranging from religion to U.S. presidents in the large conference space that is especially full on Fridays when the chaplain holds a Bible study. The entire center is designed to accommodate wheelchairs and the bright colors used in the decor help members differentiate between walls and doors. Working on a first name basis, the staff bathe and clean members who are unable to do so for themselves, building an intimate rapport that helps identify potential health problems that might be missed at a routine checkup. "In some ways it's kind of like a family," said Nursing senior Jessica Pitts, who does her clinicals at the center. "Even the members know me by name." A section of the center, called the "Circle of Care," is specially intended to handle the 12 to 16 members with serious dementia -- half of which are Alzheimer's cases. The section has a higher staff-to-member ratio and allows members with dementia to roam freely within the confines of a carefully monitored area. "It's a whole package with a whole team involved in taking care of these people," LIFE center Geropsychiatric Nurse and head of the Circle of Care Beth Gage Greco said. "I think the family members get a lot of support." Since the LIFE center's founding, similar centers have followed suit in Pennsylvania, with a fourth expected to open soon. "What we have are fragmentary systems that lack continuity," Buhler-Wilkerson said of the majority of current medical options for the elderly. "This messy system can turn into this fantastic care center with continuity."
Bill Bradley may be trailing Vice President Al Gore in the polls, but that doesn't stop a small but committed group of Penn students from thinking the former New Jersey senator will win the Democratic nomination for the presidential election. Tuesday evening, Penn Students for Bill Bradley convened in Stiteler Hall to discuss plans to promote their favored presidential candidate, a Princeton graduate and Rhodes scholar who first took public office in New Jersey in 1978 and remained for a total of three terms. On Penn's campus, a pro-Bradley student group formed in October under the leadership of co-chairs Matthew Oresman and Alison O'Donnell, both College sophomores. Although less than 15 students attended the meeting, the group itself boasts over 300 members -- a combination of undergraduate and graduate students -- which makes it the largest student campaign organization on campus, according to Oresman. The group's largest concern was the promotion of voter registration. The group is joining in a bi-partisan effort to bolster the number of Penn students who are registered to vote. Called "Voter's Awareness Week," group members are scheduled to be on Locust Walk all week starting next Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are plans for MTV's "Rock the Vote" program to attend, although "final plans are still in the works," Oresman said. The Pennsylvania primaries are on March 14, exactly one week after Super Tuesday -- the day when the race might be effectively wrapped up by virtue of the 13 different state primaries that are taking place on that day. Members also plan to make their presence felt during President Bill Clinton's visit today, as the group hopes to have a large number of supporters outside Irvine Auditorium this afternoon. "It is so important to know that there is support here on campus [for Bradley]. Hopefully there will be other Philadelphia schools here as well," O'Donnell said. Students discussed possible plans to travel to both New York and Florida to help in Bradley's campaign. The students who came to the meeting arrived with high hopes and admiration for the candidate. "I think that Bill Bradley is the best candidate for the race. I think he is a great man of integrity," said Doug Rennie, a first-year law student. Oresman agreed, saying, "The ideas that he [Bill Bradley] has for this country are better than any other politician in the country." "There are so many issues that need to be addressed and he is the only politician seriously addressing them," he added. On the very same night when the Bradley group was meeting, Al Gore and Bill Bradley debated in Harlem about topics ranging from gun control to health care and racial profiling. The Penn for Gore group, led by College junior Michael Bassik and College senior Shirley Zilberstein, held its first meeting last week.
The Penn women's fencing team is about to undergo a changing of the guard. The Quakers, who field a squad with just two sophomores and no juniors, will begin to say goodbye to their four senior fencers this Saturday at Temple when the fourth-years compete in the final regular season meet of their careers. Their departure will leave the team in the capable hands of a strong nucleus of freshmen who have been successful all season long. Veterans and newcomers alike will need to be in top form as the Red and Blue square off against Columbia, Cornell, St. John's and Penn State in a multi-meet at McGonigle Hall. The competition should prove to be very tough for the Penn. In addition to Ivy League rivals Columbia and Cornell, the Quakers will also have to go up against five-time defending NCAA champion Penn State and another very strong team in the Red Storm. Needless to say, Penn will have its work cut out for it. "This weekend will be very difficult," senior captain Heba Abdulla said. "I'm optimistic, but the level of competition is definitely top-notch. We're going to have to take it very seriously and not let the little one-touch losses slip away." Penn coach Dave Micahnik, who also expects a very difficult match, stressed the importance of this meet due to its postseason implications. "We're going to have to fight them tooth and nail," he said. "It's important for our fencers to get every possible touch and every possible victory -- not just for this meet but for the postseason." The weekend after, Penn will travel to Yale for the IFAs, a 13-school postseason tournament, and their performance this weekend will affect their seeding. While each and every match in this meet is therefore important, the Quakers (7-5, 1-2 Ivy League) would like to win both of their Ivy League matches to finish with a winning league record. While the Quakers are expected to defeat the Big Red, they should have their work cut out for them against archrival Columbia, who has a very strong team this year. The meet is also doubly important due to the fact that it is the last for the seniors on the squad. Foilists Margo Katz and Amy Hozer, epeeist Sandra Yens and sabre Heba Abdulla will compete in their final dual meet at Penn and would like to end their careers with a strong showing. "I want to end really well for my last dual meet at Penn," Abdulla said. "I just want to do my best and give it my all. I'm sad to be retiring from fencing." In addition to their desire to give the seniors a good send-off, the Quakers should head into this weekend's meet well-rested. Nine of the 11 Penn fencers had the weekend off before going into the season finale. The other two, freshmen Lauren Staudinger and Christina Verigan, traveled across the country to compete against some of the best in the country. Staudinger and Verigan went to Sacramento, Calif., to fence in the under-20 Junior Olympics this past weekend. Both placed very well and came away with a valuable experience. Staudinger finished in the top 24 out of 150 foil fencers, but despite this strong placing, the star freshman was still rather disappointed with her results. She credited this to a lousy official in the first round, who may have cost her a higher placing. "If I would have had a better official in the first round, I would have had a higher seed and probably would have finished a lot better," Staudinger said. "It was a good result, but I think I could have done better.... But there's always next year." Verigan, in her first national tournament fencing sabre, placed in the top 32 out of 81 sabre fencers. By doing this, she got national points, meaning she will be an automatic qualifier for the summer nationals and next year's Junior Olympics. "It was a confidence builder and will motivate me to work harder," Verigan said. "It also makes me more sure of my decision to fence sabre, because I fenced foil for a while and never got national points." But Verigan quickly shied away from individual exposure, focusing more on the team's upcoming meet and season finale. "I'm looking forward to this Saturday -- everyone will be really pumped."
Jonathan Searles, also a Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer, will have to wait until classes end before reporting for duty. Like many other Penn students, Jonathan Searles will be pining for Florida on March 8. But Searles' won't have visions of afternoons spent relaxing on the warm sand when Penn's spring break gets underway two days later. Instead, Searles will be dreaming of doubleheaders on the Bradenton, Fla., baseball diamond. You see, Jonathan Searles is no ordinary Penn student. The Wharton freshman also happens to be a professional baseball player. Drafted last June by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth round, Searles spent the summer playing Rookie ball for Bradenton, where he posted a 1-0 record with a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings pitched. March 8 is the date Searles' Bradenton teammates have to report to Florida for spring training, but on that date Searles will not be packing his baseball gear into his duffel bag in Bradenton -- he'll just be packing for a trip back to his Huntington, N.Y., home. Yes, Jonathan Searles is no ordinary baseball player, either. His contract with the Pirates stipulates that Searles does not have to report to Florida until mid-May, so unlike his full-time baseball-playing teammates, he will finish out the school year before making the 1,000-mile trek to Bradenton. But although Searles says he doesn't regret his decision to finish out the school year before going back to being a baseball player, you can't help but notice his baseball yearning when he talks about Cliff Baek, his teammate at Bradenton. Baek has already reported to spring training and is using the extra time to hit in the batting cages and lift weights. "What's better than that?" Searles said. "He'll have a month's practice on everybody." To Searles, sports may not be everything, but they certainly take up much of his life. Sure, he's often found studying in his room. And sure, he parties and socializes like any other college student. But from college basketball games to football catches in the Quad, everything seems to come back to sports for Searles. "If it sounds shallow, sports are my love," Searles said. "I don't see anything wrong with devoting most of your time to what you love." Despite the devotion, Searles does nothing to broadcast his status as a Pirate. Quite the opposite. In fact, most of his friends didn't find out that Searles played pro baseball until more than a week after they met him. "He's one of the most modest people I know," said sophomore Blake Miller, who went to high school with Searles. "He just doesn't bring it up." Searles just wants to be ordinary. His favorite baseball player growing up was not your standard larger-than-life superstar -- it was gritty and unheralded Chicago Cubs' first baseman Mark Grace. "Mark Grace was consistent," Searles said. "Every day he played, and he always got a hit. Man, he always got a hit. And you never heard of him doing anything stupid off the field." In other words, Mark Grace is, through and through, just a baseball player. And that's exactly what Searles wants to be. He doesn't deny that he wants the fame that comes hand-in-hand with making the Show, but he wants that fame to come from what he does on the field, not off of it. Searles, like most people, calls what John Rocker said in the infamous Sports Illustrated interview "ridiculous," but he chastises Rocker even more for his antics inside the ballpark. "On the field, when he would flip off the fans -- there's no room for that in the game," Searles said. "You're a professional. Be a professional. The fans are there to watch the game. You're there to play. "The game of baseball is bigger than anyone that will ever play it." Searles seems a bit overwhelmed by the game at times. You can tell by the boyish wide-eyed enthusiasm he radiates whenever he talks about his summer in Bradenton. But maybe Searles is just overwhelmed with the joy he feels for the game. "I noticed a difference," said Searles' mother, Candice Searles, when discussing the changes in her son last summer. "We took a visit [to Florida] in July, and Jonathan was just happy. You could see it in his face." Of course, not everything in Florida was happy for Searles. The Huntington, N.Y., native had perhaps the most inauspicious pro baseball start possible. "The first thing [my teammates] said to me before I went out to the mound was, 'Don't give up a home run,'" Searles said. And what did the first batter Searles faced do? He homered over the left-field wall. "I put two fastballs by that guy and I said, 'Hey, why not, I did it through high school, let's just put a third by him, right?'" Searles said. "Whack," Searles said, laughing and shaking his head. "They were hysterical in the dugout." But Searles' youthful pound-it-in-there attitude -- though it hurt him that time -- is precisely one of the reasons Pirates scout Dana Brown courted Searles. "He's aggressive with his stuff," Brown said. "If you're going to pitch in the major leagues, you can't be intimidated by the batter." Searles didn't give up another long ball all summer, but he still showed much of the inconsistency of a pitcher just a few months removed from high school. In one game he walked the bases loaded only to come right back and strike out the side. "After that, I just sat down in the dugout and said, 'Damn, I've got to start making this easy on myself,'" Searles said. Maybe things would have been easier for Searles if he had decided not to sign with the Pirates. Instead of being on the lowest rung of the Pittsburgh ladder, he would have played varsity football for the Quakers, as coach Al Bagnoli recruited Searles as a quarterback. Searles could have played baseball at Penn too, as Quakers coach Bob Seddon tried to woo the 6'3", 195-pound pitcher after Major League scouts showed interest in him. Instead, Searles merely sits in the stands at Penn sporting events, seemingly still content with his decisions, yet still longing to be on the field. At the Quakers' first football game, Searles could not help but think about what could have been and reminisce about what was. "When the band was playing and getting ready for kickoff, I just tensed up, just like I used to do on the sideline before I get out for the first series," Searles said. "I know how everyone on that field was feeling at that time, and it was kind of frustrating." In baseball, too, Searles feels removed from the game when he's at Penn. Last semester, he long-tossed with freshman baseball player Paul Grumet, who was recovering from arthroscopic surgery. But now, as the snow melts, the Penn baseball team -- including Grumet -- is coming out of its winter hibernation, and Searles is again left pining for the baseball fields. "I say to Paul, 'Aw, man, you're so lucky. You get to go play right now. In the middle of school you can go play, relieve some tension, have some fun for a couple hours. I'm so jealous of you,'" Searles said. You can see the sentimentality of Searles as he holds on to his memories of high school baseball -- the same sentimentality that keeps a beat-up Eddie Bauer hat his ex-girlfriend gave him on Searles' head. You can see just a hint of superstition in Searles. He wore No. 14 on the seventh grade football team, when his team went 6-0. And after a switch to No. 11 the following year resulted in an 0-6 season, Searles went back to No. 14 for good. But most of all, you can see how Searles is just an ordinary person. He doesn't want to stand out of a crowd. He doesn't want to be known as "that Pirates pitcher." He just wants to be Jonathan Searles. "He's just a regular person, don't you think?" asked his mother, Candice. Regular, yes -- common, no.
Freshman Yale Cohen and junior David Cohen give Penn a dose of brotherly love and excellence with the foil. It must not have taken very long for the childhood sword fights of brothers Yale and David Cohen to turn into the real thing. The Wharton freshman and Engineering junior found international fencing success well before either could drive. The duo is not only known for being the top foilists on the Penn men's fencing team -- the brothers from Houston have been competing in and winning international competitions for the past seven years. At his mother's encouragement, David Cohen picked up his first foil at the age of 14. He began training in his home town under the guidance of three-time Egyptian Olympic team captain Mauro Hamza. Yale decided to join his older brother a month after David began fencing. "I'd heard of [fencing] in movies but I'd never seen it done," Yale said. "I saw what [David] was doing and I thought it was pretty cool, so I tried it." Because St. Mark's High School didn't have a fencing program, the brothers continued to train privately with Hamza. They began competing in statewide tournaments -- including Texas' Van Buskiak tournament, in which both brothers placed first during their fencing careers -- before moving on to bigger and better things. "We've been to a lot of national tournaments where we end up fencing each other," Yale said. One such occasion was the 1997 Junior Olympics, when Yale faced his brother in one of the finals rounds. "It was really close, and I flicked him and hit him over the head, behind the mask," Yale said. "It made him really dizzy." Yale ended up winning the bout when his brother had to leave for medical reasons. The elder Cohen's resume has rapidly grown more impressive over the years. Among his long list of achievements are a sixth-place finish at the 1997 Junior Nationals, the 1999 IFA Championship and membership on the 1998 U.S. Junior Pan-American team. In addition, David made it to the Junior Olympics from 1996-98, advancing to the finals in '98. Penn fencing coach Dave Micahnik remembers officiating at David's national tournaments while David was still in high school. "Recruiting was not very difficult," Micahnik said. "Dave searched for academic programs. He's in the [Management and Technology] program, and that's a big attraction for people. He wasn't dissuaded by the fact that it's extremely challenging." While Micahnik kept an eye on David Cohen, he also took notice of Yale. "I saw Yale during his development years," Micahnik said. "I knew the family at that point. When he showed up here, he was surprised I had been watching him for a while. I basically knew what I was getting." Like his brother, Yale Cohen's resume includes a slew of first-place wins. Yale won both the 1998 and 1999 Masters Open Divisional Tournaments. He also finished first at the 1997 Cadet North American Cup and was ranked No. 1 in his five-state section for two consecutive years before coming to Penn. Last December, Yale finished third in the Palm Springs Senior North American Cup. Yale has made his way to the Junior Olympics every year since 1995, and this year wasn't any different. On Monday, he returned from the 2000 Junior Olympics in Sacramento, Calif., where he placed 13th out of a field of 200. "I knew [Yale] was going to be a promising fencer," Micahnik said. "By the time he got here, he was pretty quick." Yale described his decision to come to Penn in three short phrases -- "Wharton, really good fencing, brother." While Micahnik believes having a sibling on the team brings a feeling of security, he emphasizes that the brothers are independently talented. "They help each other in competition, but either one could advise the other," he said. While David Cohen remembers that years ago he and his brother would compete against each other in practice -- "we wanted each other to lose" -- he claims college has changed this. "Now [Yale] understands that I'm always right," he said. "That's why we don't argue anymore." Both brothers have been happy with Penn's fencing program and maintain good relationships with their coaches. They take their fencing lessons from assistant coach Iosif Vitebskiy, who has a fencing style similar to their original coach's. "Both of us take a lot from our coaches," David said. "They're interested in helping us out and giving us good advice. We learn a lot from them." This season, the Cohens have helped make the Penn foil squad a powerful entity. When Penn's January 22 meet with Rutgers was stalled at 13-13, it was David Cohen's final-bout triumph that brought his team to victory. David also contributed to other Quakers' wins by going undefeated at Duke and Yale, while Yale Cohen went undefeated in meets with Harvard, Yale, Rutgers, Haverford and Johns Hopkins. "Dave always comes over and asks the epee squad how we're doing. He's a team player," Penn epeeist Jim Benson said. "The Cohens are part of the strength of the foil team, and that helps the strength of the team overall."