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LETTERS: Friday, April 28, 2000

(04/28/00 9:00am)

To the Editor: Readers of these articles are accurately informed that Penn Political Science is understaffed and that it is engaged in a vigorous, long-term building effort. But readers will not understand that this kind of effort is a challenge that can only succeed in a time span longer than that during which any Penn undergraduate is actually here on campus. In the meantime, colleagues in the department are offering a first-class education to more Penn students than ever before. Enrollments are extraordinarily high in our courses. The number of Political Science majors is very high and rapidly rising. Our honors program produced 15 successful theses. Five of our graduating majors this year are Phi Beta Kappa -- an unprecedented achievement. Our professors and graduate students regularly win teaching awards. Our graduate students are so successful in national competition for fellowship support that one of the main problems I have as chair is to ensure that we will be able to staff our large courses. Professors in the department are publishing excellent books and articles, receiving prestigious research grants, presenting papers at scholarly conferences, etc. -- all the while immersed in the extremely difficult task of making a very good department truly excellent in all subfields of the discipline. The truth is that we have hired five new colleagues in the last three years and we will continue to expand at this rate. It is true, of course, that colleagues have left Penn for other institutions. The rate of turnover at the best institutions in the country is actually quite high these days, making efforts to build strength, especially at the senior level, a real challenge. And if the overall size of the department remains lower than it needs to be, and that it will be, that is due also to the natural result of a large cohort of senior colleagues who reached retirement age at roughly the same time. But this development is an opportunity, a tremendous opportunity, if also a short-term problem. Ian Lustick Chairman Political Science Department To the Editor: Thank you for your coverage ("Residents stumped by fallen trees," DP, 4/26/00) and the editorial ("Time to show a little respect," DP, 4/27/00) on the axing of two young trees on the 3900 block of Baltimore Avenue. Both speak eloquently to the importance of supporting the efforts of the University and the community. As you so effectively argue, this act of vandalism is an unfortunate counterforce to the sustained efforts from Penn's students and administration to join the local residential and business communities in building a better environment for us all. On greening project after greening project -- from reclaiming vacant lots and underused public spaces, planting trees to greening area schools -- we have been enriched and empowered by the energy, dedication and joy the Penn community has brought to these efforts. They have both advanced the vision of transforming University City into a "garden village" and demonstrated the power of gardening as a catalyst for community building. While the recent setback of irresponsible rogue behavior on Baltimore Avenue is infuriating and unnerving, it was the powerful response of the larger majorities of responsible students, landlords, staff and residents that has sent the more important message -- that we care -- and that by working together, can continue the momentum to construct that better environment. The immediate task is to see that the two trees are replaced. We have made arrangements for this, to be paid for by the landlord at 3953-55 Baltimore Avenue. Active in the replanting will be Gene Dempsey, the steward of the other tree, whose quick actions triggered the police and community response. We invite the larger community that support these projects to join in the replanting and in other, equally rewarding greening projects planned for the days ahead. Thank you for drawing the lesson and for resetting the agenda for us all. Esaul Sanchez Dir., Neighborhood Initiatives Office of the Executive Vice Pres.

GUEST COLUMNIST: At work with Trammell Crow

(03/10/00 10:00am)

The new six-year agreement with Trammell Crow, announced last week, will allow us to build on that feedback and our experience, and will facilitate an even more productive relationship. Trammell Crow will continue to provide us with construction management services for the University's more than $700 million program. In addition, Trammell Crow will provide us with portfolio management services (i.e., property leasing, acquisitions and dispositions), and under a separate 10-year agreement with University City Associates, Trammell Crow will manage our off-campus facilities. Facilities operations will be managed directly by the University, and we are better informed and better prepared to accept those responsibilities. The decision to "extend and restructure" Penn's relationship with Trammell Crow is a natural evolution of our original core working agreement. It is not an indication that the original arrangement failed. Remember, ours was a unique model, the first between an educational institution and the private sector, and we were in uncharted waters. Much in the original agreement made very good sense, and we actively sought IRS approval to extend it for a nine-year term. In the final analysis, however, it simply wasn't feasible, in our opinion, to do so. The original agreement was grounded in three core principles; we continue to believe in them: · First and foremost, that an effective mix of private sector discipline and higher education knowledge could and should produce better and more efficient delivery of basic facilities services. Clearly, Trammell Crow brought to Penn a high level of professionalism, intensity, commitment and work ethic that is very attractive in the workplace. Trammell Crow also helped us increase financial discipline, and we use rigorous budgeting and financial analysis as a matter of course to manage our costs better. · Second, that the consolidation of three distinct organizational units -- Facilities Services, Residential Maintenance and University City Associates -- responsible for delivering those services would produce a more efficient organization, enabling us to make great strides toward providing the best service for the best possible price. Our organization is now consolidated, streamlined and re-engineered; the current model allows for both the Trammell Crow and in-house employees to work together toward a common goal, and we have accomplished an important reorganization of facilities services on campus. · Third, and perhaps most importantly, that restructuring service delivery would make it more responsive and focused on our customers. Are we where we want to be? Clearly, we have made considerable progress toward achieving our goal of better service at a lower cost. Can we improve? Yes! Will we improve? Absolutely. We believe that outsourcing allowed us to analyze and change almost every service delivery model. We attracted new talent to the organization, and we are very, very pleased with the quality of the people in our organization today, both those who will remain with Trammell Crow and those we will welcome back to the University. And we learned a great deal through the discipline of self-examination and solicitation of feedback from our customer base. There are those in higher education who have suggested that the Penn-Trammell Crow partnership is a model that demonstrates that educational institutions and the private sector can, in fact, work together. This relationship is for the benefit of both parties, providing essential services to support the educational teaching and research mission of America's colleges and universities. We're very pleased about that.

GUEST COLUMNIST: From the streets to the ivory tower, racism endures

(03/01/00 10:00am)

I am writing as an angry black man who wants to address the complacency and indifference that he witnesses on this campus. Last Friday, four white New York City police officers were acquitted on charges of killing Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant. Forty-one bullets were fired. Although police testimony states that Diallo was "stopped and questioned" before the bullets were shot, neighborhood witnesses report that they heard no such conversation. And, as The Washington Post reported from the coroner's autopsy, "Diallo was hit by a crippling, spine-splitting shot in the chest 'early on' [and] most of the other bullets struck him as he was either falling or flat on his back." It turns out that the officers mistook a black wallet for a gun. The Post also reported that the accused officers were "part of a unit of plainclothes officers who are accused of frisking young black men without cause." Presidential candidate Bill Bradley addressed the situation succinctly: "A wallet in the hand of a white man is a wallet, while a wallet in the hand of a black man is a gun." To me, the Diallo case is symptomatic of the racism that plagues our society. What angers me is that this racism permeates all levels, including institutions of higher learning such as this one. One of my acquaintances spoke at the Call to Action 2000 rally in defense of affirmative action and has since received threatening e-mails. One expresses a hope that he "die before graduation" and another suggests that there are minority students at this school who are not qualified to be here. It is evident to me that, contrary to popular belief, racism is not only perpetuated by Klan members or hot-headed police officers. It is perpetuated by our acceptance of the status quo, by our apathy. It is perpetuated by our peers. This University is a haven for those of us in pursuit of intellectual excellence and professionalism, but we remain uninformed and sheltered. We debate and we theorize, yet we are afraid to walk beyond 43rd Street after 6 p.m. We disagree about the need for affirmative action programs and condemn "self-segregation" on campus, but every night and weekend we surround ourselves with the comfort of our circles of friends. The fact of the matter is that the people who should participate in these discussions do not. It is interesting that those who are adamantly critical of the self-segregation they perceive on campus avoid the Greenfield Intercultural Center and DuBois College House. They also do not attend events hosted by the United Minorities Council, UMOJA, the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, the Latino Coalition or any of their constituent groups. All of these organizations open most of their events to the entire University in an effort to educate the larger community about their issues and cultures. But many of us will leave Penn as uninformed as when we arrived because we don't take advantage of these opportunities. We take for granted that we live in an environment of privilege and opportunity -- the same environment Amadou Diallo sought when he emigrated from Guinea. But Diallo lost his life needlessly, and his killers were acquitted. I am not asserting that the police officers went out that day with the intention of killing an unarmed black man. I am, however, pointing out that there is inherent racism in a system that was created without everyone in mind, where the police force does not represent the population it serves. Whether intended or not, a man lies dead, with no justice. Yet, we still sit here idle? This is my appeal for you to get involved politically, academically or socially -- I don't care how. Please, challenge what you know.

COLUMN: The Great Hockey Sit-In of '78

(02/18/00 10:00am)

And perhaps no two stories could be more dissimilar. First, there was the end of the Penn Students Against Sweatshop protest against the University's use of sweatshop labor that ended Monday. And next there was the story that held top billing on both the front and back pages, the tale of the Penn men's basketball team's 55-46 defeat of Princeton on Tuesday. On one hand, there is the so-called sweatshop story, a situation that attracted national exposure. It was an example of Penn undergrads reaching out to the world beyond our Ivy walls. On the other hand, there was the basketball game. For many, Tuesday's painted faces and vulgar chants were examples of the ebullience of Ivy League life, examples of how sheltered Penn students are. There was, however, one point in time in Penn history where these two worlds colorfully collided -- the College Hall Sit-In of 1978. In the late '70s, the University's finances were not as rosy as they are today. So on Thursday, February 23, 1978, Penn admitted to a slew of forthcoming budget cuts, the most visible of which came from the office of then-Athletic Director Andy Geiger. Even though the Penn men's hockey team still had four games left on its schedule, Geiger shockingly admitted that the University was terminating its 12-year-old varsity hockey program effective the next year. The reaction was immediate and furious. Then-DP Sports Editor Dan Rosenbaum gave hockey coach Bob Finke the unhappy news in his office that day, and the Penn head man was livid. "The idea that you [the DP] would know before I would is what upsets me. It's gotta be someone in College Hall. That's what I want to find out. You people at the DP stand up for truth and honesty, right? All right, I want to know who did this," Finke said. "I've got 10 freshmen kids who would have gone to a lot of different places. Now they're asking, 'What the hell is going on here.'" Those connected with the hockey program were understandably enraged, but even more objective voices howled at the University's surprise decision. DP Managing Editor Steven Marquez lambasted Penn for its desire to keep important decisions "as clandestine as possible for as long a period as possible." The indignation over the demise of a team that had managed just four winning seasons in its 12 seasons continued to build throughout the following week. Although the budget cuts had also nixed the women's hockey club, the men's and women's gymnastics teams, the badminton team, the golf team and a host of other University programs, the ire of students on campus seemed to focus on the departure of men's hockey. The anger reached its fevered pitch on the following Thursday when a one-hour Undergraduate Assembly-sponsored rally turned into an all-night sit-in, as 800 angry students stormed College Hall. It would be 87 hours -- nearly a full four days -- before the students would leave. The sit-in of '78, even if it did come at the end of the "Me Decade," made the recently concluded PSAS protest look like a den meeting, and, more importantly, provides today's Penn students with a glimpse of a bygone era where protesters didn't need to look overseas to find an issue to rally around. Ironically enough, when the students spent their first night in College Hall, then-Penn President Martin Meyerson was vacationing in Barbados. But his absence didn't prevent the protesters from getting creative. The sit-in participants carried signs that read innocuous messages such as "Stick with Hockey," but they did go so far as to adorn a golden retriever with a sign that told the world that "I could run U. of P. Better." The University eventually got the joke. The sit-in ended at 3:35 the next Monday morning when 15 students and three administrators signed their names to a document detailing 31 agreements reached in grueling negotiations between students, administrators and Trustees. The compromise, which President Meyerson announced with tears in his eyes, granted the reinstatement of gymnastics, badminton and golf, but left the hockey team out in the cold. Many of Finke's puckmen wound up transferring to other schools, and still others toughed it out without Canada's national pastime for the sake of an Ivy League education. Hockey has never returned, and puck-crazed Penn students still need to settle for a club team. The protesters didn't get everything they wanted, but the '78 sit-in still makes me wonder. The Penn of 1978 is far different from the Penn of today. With soaring admissions numbers and an equally flourishing endowment, it's difficult for us to envision what it would have been like to see a 12-year-old varsity sport with a sparkling new arena sent right down the tubes. In addition, it's hard for us to understand the pure scale of the hockey-induced sit-in. Granted, the administration's initial moves toward an alcohol policy last spring prompted a mob to gather on College Green, but that was about it. There was no sit-in. There was no tearful capitulation by President Rodin. And, yes, the PSAS protest attracted national attention, but its initial 13 participants pale in comparison to the 800 starters in '78. In the final analysis, there's one lesson that I take away from examining the bygone Carter-era protest -- be thankful for Penn sports teams. I would love it if we had a hockey team, but that was taken away from our student body. I implore each Penn fan to take advantage of the opportunities that we have: the chance to watch a basketball game in the glorious confines of the Palestra, the chance to attend Penn Relays and the chance to watch the Penn football team in Franklin Field. With dwindling attendance at football games, it seems as if most of this campus disagrees with this opinion. That's too bad. As the 1978 sit-in demonstrates, being a spectator is not a right -- it's a privilege.

LETTERS: Wednesday, February 16, 2000

(02/16/00 10:00am)

More questions than answers More questions than answersTo the Editor: Is the overall goal, though, to help people in the sweatshops or is it to ease the conscience of the Penn students? Intuitively, it is difficult to see how higher standards could hurt the foreign workers. Nevertheless, as the unemployment caused by raising the minimum wage illustrates, good intentions without rigorous analysis can lead to detrimental consequences. Why are companies building factories in Third World countries? Corruption, political volatility and crime present major obstacles to business. One reason is the countries enjoy a comparative advantage in the form of cheap labor. The people are willing to work for the low wage that American firms provide because their alternatives are even worse. If companies were forced to pay higher wages and have better conditions, why would they locate in countries with high risks, poor infrastructure and little education? In the forum on sweatshops last year, a graduate student studying Bangladeshi textile workers said they wished that conditions were better, but at the same time they valued their jobs. They were afraid of movements to raise wages because they thought the companies would leave. If the regulations proceed as planned, it seems to me that we would be taking away jobs from the people who need them most. Should we stand by and let these violations of human rights and basic decency go unfettered? Sadly, there may be little we can do right now. Hopefully, with good economic policies and the exploitation of comparative advantage, these countries can follow in the steps of the Asian tigers and raise their standard of living. I certainly do not have the answers. I am saying that I have not heard convincing economic analysis that demonstrates that what we are doing will really ameliorate the situation for the workers. I think that many protesters from Seattle to Penn's campus would find that it is often wiser to draw supply and demand curves before slogans and posters. Joe Mazor College/Wharton '02 To the Editor: A rape allegation is an extremely serious one to make, and it appalled me that the article on Delta Tau Delta's current lawsuit ("Delta Tau Delta fraternity faces serious allegations," The Daily Pennsylvanian, 2/14/00), chose to treat it with such little respect. This information, however, was buried on the second page of the article that many students probably did not read. Such sensational storytelling was completely out of line. The current brothers of Delta Tau Delta are respectable people who do not need to have their fraternity's name unjustly slung through the mud so that your headlines can be interesting. Placing the rape allegation right below your headline is just the sort of tabloid journalism that your newspaper should be above. Sujata Gosalia College/Wharton '00

Fork: Delicious food, impressive wine list

(02/16/00 10:00am)

When you take your first step into Fork, a stylish yet unpretentious American bistro in Old City, your eyes get busy in a hurry. Once you make it past the luxurious velvet curtains that stand guard at the late 19th century building, you immediately notice the welcoming lounge area to your left, the exposed duct work above the room, the crowded bar that sits dead-center and the kitchen visible off in the distance. It takes a few seconds for you to process it all -- but that's all it takes. It won't be very long before you feel comfortable in Fork and, by the time your meal is finished, your stomach might just want to call the place home. It's laid-back enough for a first date and more than tasteful enough for an anniversary supper. Executive chef and co-owner Anne-Marie Lasher crafts a new menu every day that reflects the best seasonal ingredients in the the marketplace. And each one offers American food that imaginatively incorporates a multi-ethnic flavor. Before you even start on Lasher's sumptuous offerings, however, you might want to take a long look at Fork's wine list. On a recent visit, there were 24 bottles listed, the vast majority of which could also be purchased by the glass. The list was heavy on French, Italian and Californian wines, with the average bottle costing about $35. There is also a globe-trotting sampling of lagers, ales and aperitifs. Partner and wine director Roberto Sella has won countless accolades for his selections, which, as he told Wine Spectator, are meant "not for special occasions but for drinking with meals." The first-course dinner menu at Fork is an admirable piece of work. With nearly every appetizer going for less than $8, it presents a heady selection of distinctive dishes. The bruschetta with black olive chevre, roasted zucchini, peppers and pecorino romano, which is a steal at $6.50 and served with baby greens, is an absolute delight. Its sharp flavor and fresh vegetables made for a dish finer than any I've had in an Italian eatery. Fork's organic salad greens with white balsamic vinaigrette were marvelously fresh and a must-buy at $4.50. The real treat at any stellar bistro such as Fork is, of course, the main course. And the sampling that we encountered did not disappoint. The sauteed salmon with red wine sauce, which was served over a bed of french lentil pilaf and sauteed savoy cabbage, was a very reasonable $16.50 and a joy to eat. The salmon was just perfectly past tender, and the dish looked wonderful. Another delicious, surprisingly homestyle main course was the pan-seared "free-range" organic chicken with honey mustard sauce, served atop heaping servings of mashed sweet potatoes and snow peas. It was $14.50 and could have been something Mom might have made -- that is, of course, if Mom were a world-class chef. By the time your courteously professional server presents you with your dessert or any one of Fork's myriad after-dinner drink options, your hunger will have long since passed. You may be done eating, but you don't ever want to leave.

COLUMN: Dealing with the big chill

(02/03/00 10:00am)

Phil, my friend, you're not telling us anything we don't already know. Take a quick look around this campus, and there's no ignoring obvious signs of winter. Locust Walk is flanked by mounds of icy debris; trees are bare; and every head in sight is covered with a hat. The season is nowhere more evident than at Franklin Field. Each of its 52,593 seats are blanketed with snow, and even though its storied track and playing surface are now mostly powder-free, the plows have created a number of towering piles of the frozen stuff. It's the type of setting you might expect to see at a Buffalo Bills playoff game -- not at a women's lacrosse practice. Still, at 3:15 p.m. yesterday, the chilly members of the Penn women's lacrosse team dutifully took to the turf for their second day of outdoor practice. The stiff winds swirling about might have deterred your average postal employee, but the Quakers remained undaunted. "We play most of our season in the cold, so we've got to get used to it," Penn senior goalkeeper Melissa Rantz said. The women's lacrosse team will get its season underway March 4 at the William and Mary Tournament, and their male counterparts will get their 2000 campaign started even sooner in a February 19 scrimmage against Towson. The cold is tough on both squads, but the weather might be most bothersome for Penn's track athletes. Although Penn's track and field program is steeped in history and attracts countless elite athletes each year, the Quakers are the only Ivy League team without an indoor track facility. For the Red and Blue's jumpers, vaulters and throwers, the so-called Bubble, located just north of Rhodes Field next to the Schuylkill Expressway serves their indoor purposes just fine. For the Quakers runners, however, the warmest they'll ever get on a February workout is when they pass over a sultry SEPTA vent. The Penn Athletic Department would love to build an indoor track, but neither the funds nor the property necessary for such a massive undertaking are in place. So until the host of the Penn Relays -- the nation's most popular and revered track meet -- builds an indoor 200-meter facility, the Quakers will be forced to brave the frost. With the sort of weather that we've been having of late, Penn sprinters basically have no chance to practice in earnest, and middle- and long-distance runners suffer from a host of other problems that have them thinking of greener pastures. "Coming from the Southeast, I've never had to train in this kind of weather," said 800 runner Rudy Barthelemy, a native of Columbia, S.C. "Your lungs get dried really quickly, and I always feel like the pace is slower than it is. Plus, training on the roads is tough because all the bridges are frozen over, and there's ice everywhere." At least the Penn tracksters get to stay on dry land, however. The members of the Penn crew teams start their spring season in mid-March, so their warm, dry days on the ergometers are numbered. Many men and women rowers are certainly sick of indoor training by now. The 'erg', an enhanced and smarter version of your run-of-the mill rowing machine, is a notoriously difficult task master. Still, February dawns on the Schuylkill are infinitely more imposing than any hunk of junk. The heavyweight men are scheduled to put their shells into the water on the morning of February 7. Since the frozen Schuylkill is currently better-suited for a double axle than a coxswain right now, it's likely that this date might be pushed back, but the climate will be anything but hospitable no matter when they get in the water. The sort of commitment demonstrated by the Red and Blue rowers and runners is laudable, especially considering just how few of those want-to-keep-in-shape Penn students that jogged everywhere in September are still working out on a regular basis. You see, there's a profound difference between athletes around here and your average matriculant. For most Penn students, the frigid temperatures and icy footing might inconvenience them on their walks to and from class or the library. But they always have a comfortable lecture hall or cozy bed waiting at the other end. For those Penn athletes that can't help but spend hours in the arctic air, winter is not just a temporary inconvenience. It's an enemy. And according to Phil, it'll be an enemy for six more long weeks.

COLUMN: Standing for what's right

(02/02/00 10:00am)

This past Independence Day weekend, I was fortunate enough to be at Yankee Stadium. There, in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Baltimore Orioles held a 5-3 lead with one out and powerful lefty Arthur Rhodes on the mound. The Yankees had Scott Brosius at the plate and two runners on base. Brosius, previously 1-for-10 against Rhodes and mired in a slump, improbably launched the reliever's offering deep into the left field stands to win the game for New York. At that moment, the right field bleachers became a jubilant mass, jumping up and down, cheering and screaming. The fans there had been on their feet since the middle of the seventh inning, baking all afternoon in the intense July heat. Once "New York, New York" was echoed by the fans, it hit me. I was at an outdoor version of the Palestra, singing a summer "Red and Blue." At that moment, I could not wait for basketball season. That, however, was before they started enforcing the policy. Standing during the entire game is not permitted in the sideline sections. Maybe it's the lackluster effort that the Quakers were putting forth until their recent four-game winning streak. Maybe it's the fact that all of Penn's big games so far have been on the road, save for one home game against Villanova -- and that game was played before a 'Nova-heavy winter break crowd. But more likely, it's the standing rule. Last year, when the policy was not enforced as strictly, the typical crowd reaction to a Penn three-pointer was an extended period of jumping up and down, generally followed by insistent chants of "De-fense!" This season, a typical reaction to a Quakers bomb consists of fans along the south sideline standing up, only to be quickly urged to sit down by an usher. In fact, it seems like anytime a fan's rear end breaks contact from his or her seat in sections 115, 116, 215 or 216, the Palestra fun police descend on the scene to investigate the situation. So far, students in the non-standing sections have complied almost universally with the staff, albeit begrudgingly. Those who have disobeyed have received a stern lecture. The policy, which was first instituted during the 1995-96 season, grew out of the concerns of longtime season ticket holders who felt their views of the game were obstructed by standing students. The policy addresses those valid concerns, but at the same time it infringes upon the students' right to cheer their team to the fullest. To that end, standing is permitted behind the west basket at the Palestra. But that doesn't address the fact that the sections with the most devoted students are not allowed to stand. Standing has been allowed there in the past; furthermore, the basket will always obstruct some fans' view of some part of the court. That's why Penn has the Line every fall. The Line makes the Palestra a sports anomaly -- the best seats go to the biggest fans, not the biggest wallets. It ensures that the students who are most ardent in their dedication to the Red and Blue get the best student seats -- side court, front row. These are the students who most desperately want to stand throughout each game. These are also the students paying the greatest price with the enforcement of the standing policy. In addition to being forced into sitting, the ushers spend the entire game standing directly in front of these fans, blocking their view of the action. On Monday night, after one of Ugonna Onyekwe's thunderous blocked shots, the fans in the sidecourt sections rose to their feet in jubilation and appreciation. The celebration, however, was quickly quashed by the Palestra staff even though a media timeout had been called and there was no action taking place. But even if there was action taking place, what is the big deal? It's not like the Palestra is an opera house. Very often, there are moments in a basketball game that beg for people to stand up and cheer. To keep the most diehard fans from this simple action is to rob them of what makes them the most diehard fans. And this is nothing short of ridiculous. The policy prohibits fans in the side sections from standing throughout the game. But to see the enforcement of the policy, it would appear that any standing is prohibited at any time whatsoever. A great solution would be to sit students on one side of the Palestra and other season ticket holders on the other side, or to seat students behind both baskets. Both of those strategies are used by countless other schools around the country. Why then can't it happen at the Palestra? So, until that time comes, maybe Penn should take its lead from that other historic arena -- Yankee Stadium. In the bleachers, which are very much like the Palestra student section -- loud, boisterous and, yes, at times obnoxious -- enforcement is done by none other than the New York Police Department. The fans in the bleachers like to stand, and do so quite frequently. If there are two strikes on an opposing batter, if the Yankees have men on base or if the Red Sox are in town, the fans in the bleachers get up, and the cops understand the nature of the moment and have no problem with it. Other times, fans get up and are told to sit down. And there's no policy. Fans just accept that is the way things are. There is no reason that the Palestra should be any different. If the Quakers need a big defensive stop, if there's a three-pointer or a dunk, fans should be on their feet. And the Fun Police should lighten up.

COLUMN: Halfway into season, Penn not 'getting there'

(01/21/00 10:00am)

It's sadly appropriate that Fran Dunphy decided to have his team take SEPTA, and not a charter bus, to the Apollo for last night's game against Temple. That slogan has virtually been the theme for the Quakers this season. These public transportation poster boys always seem to leave the impression that the proverbial hump is just around the corner, but they never seem to make it over. "We had our opportunity," Dunphy said after last night's 44-40 loss to the Owls. "And it's disappointing that way, but hopefully we're learning and getting a little bit better as a basketball team, and I think we know we have the ability to be there." Except it is now late January, and Dunphy's words are starting to ring a little more hollow, a little more thin than they might have after Kentucky or Auburn. Almost halfway into the season, the Quakers are 5-7. And they are winless in three tries in the Big 5. SEPTA may be getting there, but the Quakers have played like the Tantalus of college basketball. Like the legendary Greek and his out-of-reach grapes, the much-needed big win -- the game where the talented freshmen and seasoned vets would finally gel -- still seems to lie just beyond their grasp. There were four games on the schedule that seemed to jump off the page in the preseason, their looming enough to make any Penn fan giddy. Kentucky. Auburn. Kansas. Temple. Teams that would all be flirting with top-10 rankings. Four distinct opportunities for the obviously talented Quakers -- returning much of last year's Ivy-winning squad and welcoming their most hyped recruiting class in years -- to seize the national spotlight and get some much-deserved attention. Ask any Penn fan in November how many of those games the Quakers would win and the answer would have been: 3-4 wins -- too good to be true; 2 wins -- a distinct possibility; 1 win -- needed vindication at the least. But oh-for-four, that would have seemed inconceivably disappointing. Here we stand, though, on the brink of the Ivy season, without a single major victory to cling to on those cold February nights in Hanover and Ithaca where the basketball is played in well-polished high school gyms. And all of the Quakers' major national opponents have come and gone. Basketball is a sport where an entire season can hinge on one game. Be it a win or a loss, there are those single 40-minute outings that can be the springboard -- where in the next game, everything seems to click. Take Penn-Princeton I last year. After leading 33-9 against the Tigers, Penn blew it, allowing Princeton to roar back and win 50-49 -- the Tigers' sixth straight in the series. Rather than throw in the towel, the Quakers rebounded in the kind of way that seems only fitting when retold in black-and-white, as if some Rockne-esque speech caused the team to rattle off seven wins in their next eight games, get revenge on the Tigers and raise the Ivy banner to the Palestra rafters. When all the preseason prognosticators were predicting a Quakers' ride well into March this season, no one could have known chemistry would have been an issue. Last night, Penn seemed to defeat itself on the court. In the last of the four marquee matchups, the Quakers had more than a few chances to defeat Temple. With the Owls shooting an atrocious 30.2 percent from the floor and making just 8-of-15 from the charity stripe in the second half, Temple all but handed Penn the ball. The Quakers, though, found their own ways to keep that proverbial hump solidly out of reach. A conservative statistician hit Penn with 16 turnovers, but with the way the Quakers were dropping passes, bricking open shots and miscommunicating on the floor, they appeared to be just running in place in their efforts to "get there." "Like coach said, it's been going on all season," Jordan said. "We've got to get it together, do the little things to help us win the game. A shot here, a rebound here?" But Jordan trailed off. In the big wins, the big game players produce. No one is harder on himself after a loss than Jordan. But he and Langel combined to miss 19 three-pointers. In games when a team has gotten there, those shots fall. Instead, the Quakers find their shot selection being questioned. With 2:40 left and Penn down one, the Quakers had the ball with a solid 20 seconds on the clock to work for a shot. But a wide-open Langel let it fly from at least five feet beyond the arc. He missed. Temple's Quincy Wadley responded by draining the kind of clutch 10-foot runner over Langel on the other end that teams starved for a win can only dream about. A minute-and-a-half later, the Quakers had clawed back to within one and had the ball with a chance to go ahead for the first time all half. Penn worked the clock before Langel spotted up from deep on the right side and let one fly. The Red and Blue fans were silent as the ball hovered in the air. It rattled around the rim and out. On the other end, Temple would finally nail the clutch free throws needed to put the game out of reach. In the locker room, a smiling Wadley celebrated Temple's good fortune. "I was real surprised that [Langel and Jordan] were missing those shots," he said. "We were just fortunate. Any other time, they'd knock those shots down and it's a totally different ball game." Unfortunately for Penn, those "other times" haven't come in the big games. And so the Quakers, humble owners of a 5-7 record, are still left wondering when they will stop trying to "get there" and finally reach their destination. After all, there's only so much track left.

GUEST COLUMNIST: UA: At work for you

(12/14/99 10:00am)

This has been a busy semester for the Undergraduate Assembly. Does that surprise you? As the semester comes to a close, it is an opportune time to reflect on what we have accomplished this semester, as well as appraise you of what you can expect from us in the spring. This is not intended to be a strict catalogue of our achievements, but rather a starting point for dialogue between UA members and the student body. At the beginning of our term, we specifically identified recreational space, financial aid, collaboration with minority groups and campus safety as our key areas of focus. We have made tremendous strides in all four of these areas. The UA recently proposed building outdoor basketball courts on the rooftop of the parking garage at 38th and Spruce streets. Our case was bolstered when more than 1,200 students signed a petition in support of this project. We are extremely optimistic that the these courts will be constructed by the fall. As for financial aid, the UA has been working tirelessly to address an issue on the minds of countless students. We distributed a survey in early December to more than 500 students, which has been used to suggest revisions to the University's financial-aid policies. The UA will unveil a proposal in mid-January that incorporates all of this work. We have added the United Minorities Council to our Steering Committee and designated a UA liaison to the UMC. And we have pledged our support for the Asian Pacific Student Coalition in acquiring an Asian-American resource center. Regarding campus safety, we worked with Spectaguard to implement a new program whereby walking escorts will accompany students home from Van Pelt Library every half-hour between midnight and 3 a.m. (and until 5 a.m. during exam period). We also conducted a joint safety survey with the Division of Public Safety. Many of these policy initiatives will come to fruition next semester. Yet we need your input now more than ever. What big issues should we tackle next semester? Are we focusing on the right things? How can we confront the stereotype that student government cannot effect meaningful change? Another approach is to increase outreach efforts. Next semester, look for our televised meetings on UTV13; "Feedback" dinners at 1920 Commons where you can chat with UA members; our UA on the Walk table, featuring petitions and UA Today newsletters; and a student satisfaction survey where you can express your vision for Penn's future. Through this general student survey, we hope to develop a set of general principles that every future UA can use as a blueprint. Some of these principles could include bettering relations between students and the administration; improving the level of services the University delivers to students; and advocating for the best housing, recreation and study facilities. As student leaders, it's easy to get bogged down in mundane policy details and obligations, and sometimes it's hard for us to sense what students really are passionate about. Through these efforts at outreach and articulation of principles, we hope to truly connect with all of you better than any UA has in recent memory. We're not just aiming to make temporary changes. We work closely with the provost and the president on the large-scale issues that profoundly impact the student body. Those of us on the UA have been extremely pleased with what we've accomplished to date. But we can never get complacent -- and neither can you. Apathy is the only thing that can prevent us from manifesting the full potential of student government. So get involved! Join one of our committees. E-mail us your concerns at Stop by our UA on the Walk table. Your presence can only help us better achieve our goals because, in the end, we are your UA -- your elected representatives. Never forget that.

COLUMN: Gimme that rock 'n' roll

(10/29/99 9:00am)

From Michael Feng's, "Snuffles," Fall '99 From Michael Feng's, "Snuffles," Fall '99Like almost any place in the world these days, China is filled with American culture. I cannot walk a block down the street without passing people wearing fake Nikes or signs advertising McDonald's. From The Eagles to Nirvana to Metallica, American rock has both engendered and fueled the rise of the underground music scene in China. In fact, the biggest party night in Beijing is the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide, commemorated with all-night concerts by local bands. Though crude compared to American rock, Chinese rock still has an authentic vitality not found in the other two types of music here: Government-produced propaganda music and canto-pop imported from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Accordingly, American-style Chinese rock has developed one prevailing motif -- the government's all-enveloping oppression of freedom. The song "I Have Nothing," by Cui Jian, China's biggest rock star, became the anthem of the Tiananmen Square demonstrators. Even in today's China, the song is as emblematic of the movement as the video footage of the lone man standing in front of the tank. Unfortunately, propaganda music and canto-pop receive the vast majority of publicity and airplay, despite repeating the same tired themes of patriotism and unrequited love in every song. Propaganda music, which consists mainly of songs about peasants cheerfully harvesting wheat, inspires the least interest from Chinese youth. To call these songs dull is an understatement. Even the older generation that listens to propaganda music does so out of habit; until recently, no other type of music was allowed in China. In the late '70s, however, the government gradually eased its embargo on Hong Kong and Taiwanese canto-pop, a music genre in which virtually all the artists are clones of Celine Dion and Bryan Adams. This is not to say that canto-pop is bad. I readily and unabashedly admit to knowing quite a few of Celine Dion's greatest hits by heart. However, in the last two months I have heard enough syrupy, melodramatic love songs to last a lifetime. The reason for canto-pop's uniformity is simple. For every song, one person writes the lyrics, another composes the melody and the pop star merely sings and looks pretty for the flashbulbs. Since a lyric-writer or melody-writer may work for several different singers, it is small wonder that many songs are virtually identical to one another. This "music by committee" approach is not nearly as inconceivable and remote as it may initially seem. After all, does anyone believe that Britney Spears is the creative impetus behind her songs? These songs are essentially meaningless, so the Chinese government feels no danger of them inciting grass-roots unrest. Thus, the government imposes no ban on them. However, until recently, Chinese rock was banned. Now, having tried unsuccessfully for years to quell the multitude of impromptu concerts in dingy bars, the government has now given up, apparently on the grounds that Chinese youth utilize rock music rather than demonstrations as an outlet for their feelings of rebellion. Before arriving in Beijing, I never considered myself lucky to be able to turn on the radio and listen to music created by artists and not institutions. I took for granted that music would invariably have diversity and meaning. And despite the recent emergence of carefully tailored "music packages" such as Britney Spears, the bulk of American music still has those characteristics. After listening to Chinese radio, I realize that good music, just like any other art, cannot be systematically planned or mass-produced. In a country where mass media is synonymous with mass propaganda, the raw emotions and lyrics of American-style rock provide a substantial and authentic alternative to the government-imposed falseness that permeates Chinese culture.

1934 Penn Sports Century 1960

(09/30/99 9:00am)

Following a superb Penn career, Micahnik went on to compete in three Olympic Games. Qualifying for the first time as national epee champion in 1960, however, will always remain a special moment. Micahnik, a 1998 inductee into the Penn Athletic Hall of Fame, remembers that day well. · Dave Micahnik: It was July 3, 1960, one year after graduating from Penn. The Nationals were in New York City at the old Commodore Hotel. I was still being coached by the Penn coach, Maestro Csiszar. I had gone up to Camp Tecumsah with him between the close of school and the Nationals and trained up there with him. I took the bus back down to New York and it was one of those meets. Step by step by step, things fell into place. In the first round, believe it or not, I had to have a fence-off with two other guys to get out of the first round of the Nationals and I started to cruise after that. I didn't lose another bout until the semis. I was 3-2 in the semis and made into the final round of eight. There I was in a position to make the Olympic team. I figured if I made the top four or five, I'd be in. Maestro told me, "If you don't make the top three, it's not for sure." With two shots to go, I said, "I [better] get this one because you don't know what will happen in the next one. This guy had been on the last Olympic team in '56 and everything he did I knew ahead of time he was going to do. I just crunched him. I had the Nationals clinched with one more bout to go. I had it in my hand and then all of a sudden, the coach came up to me and said, "You've got your championship but you have to finish your last bout hard to win it, too. Otherwise, it's going to mess up the Olympic selection. You can't let up." So I said, "OK, I'll do my best in that one." In the last bout, I decided I was gonna go to win the bout but I was going to do it with a little bit of flair. In epee, the whole body's fair target and I was going to make all my touches on the guy's foot. Unfortunately, I only got four on his foot and I did win the bout 5-4. So there I was, undefeated in the national finals and national champion and on the Olympic team. It was very special. I wandered around that ballroom forever. The place was empty and I'm still walking around. It was the first time anybody from a newspaper had ever interviewed me and it was one of those moments.

STAFF EDITORIAL: New policy, little difference

(09/29/99 9:00am)

A proposed parental notification policy wojld leave the status quo substantially unaffected. Instead, the recommended policy calls for parental notification only in two cases: · Where the drug or alcohol abuse led to misconduct involving personal injury to the student or other people, or serious damage to property. · Where the student's drug or alcohol violation has triggered serious consequences, such as eviction from a University dormitory. Only a very few students would be affected by such a policy. And for students who have so completely exceeded the bounds of responsible behavior, parental notification is both appropriate and potentially beneficial. We also applaud the committee's recommendation that the ultimate notification decision be left in the hands of the Office of Student Conduct, allowing for a case by case review of the benefits of notification. Although the recommendations are relatively limited in scope, any new policy stands to break new ground -- until now, parental notification was allowed only when students were seriously ill or injured. Now, for the first time, there will be other circumstances under which parents can be notified of their children's conduct at college. That is a change, and even if it seems a wise one, its details are worthy of close scrutiny and student input. For that reason, we would encourage students to take advantage of the comment period extending until October 15 -- the Undergraduate Assembly is hosting an open forum at 6 p.m. tonight in Logan Hall and, as always, students should feel free to call or write the provost's office with their comments and concerns.

STAFF EDITORIAL: Proceed with great caution

(09/24/99 9:00am)

Parental notification must not be abused, but Penn does have the opportunity to use the device constructively. Do not formulate a policy based on some imagined parental right to notification. Formulate a policy designed to protect the health and safety of students as effectively as possible. We sympathize with Provost Robert Barchi when he says that "I can't imagine you would not tell me if my children's lives were at risk." But there is no inherent reason to grant parents the "right to know" simply because they are concerned. Penn students are adults, entitled to make their own decisions -- and their own mistakes. There is only one reason to notify parents of drug and alcohol violations -- when the student's health and safety is in danger. Penn's policy must work to enshrine that principal, both by protecting against undue notification and by ensuring that parents are notified when they should be. Therefore, we believe that the notification decision should be placed in the hands of a professional counselor -- and that counseling should be mandated only for students who have been hospitalized overnight for drug- or alcohol-related reasons. Parental notification should never follow an arrest or citation for a drug- or alcohol-related offense. In arguing for overnight hospitalization as the trigger for mandatory counseling, we are mindful of two considerations. Setting the bar too low risks discouraging students from seeking needed help -- a health and safety concern that far outweighs any potential benefit. But for students who require overnight hospitalization, concerns about the student's long-term health are more important than the possibility of creating disincentives to seeking treatment -- particularly because students in such serious condition, or their friends, are less likely to consider seeking help as an option and more likely to view it as a necessity, whatever the consequences. We are equally concerned with the process of parental notification, even for students who have endangered themselves. While many parents serve as stabilizing and supportive influences in their children's lives, we cannot ignore the fact that, in many families, the parent-child relationship is a source of instability. For that reason, we strongly support placing the notification decision in the hands of a counselor who can familiarize themselves with the particulars of a student's situation and make a case-by-case determination on the benefits of notification.

COLUMN: Hoffman's on track in week one

(09/20/99 9:00am)

No one is complaining about Gavin Hoffman's performance on Saturday. No one is running out to have his name engraved on the Bushnell Cup either. But expectations were not so high yesterday, and they shouldn't have been. If Gavin Hoffman is not a star in Ivy League by next season, I'd be surprised. And if he had come out looking like a star on Saturday, I would have been equally surprised. Hoffman announced his transfer in July and has had less than two months to learn an entirely new offense. That's not an easy task by anyone's standards. At the post-game press conference on Saturday, Dartmouth coach John Lyons was asked his impressions of Hoffman. "I thought he was okay," Lyons responded. Less than 10 minutes later, Bagnoli sat in the same chair in the same room and was asked the same question. Appropriately, Bagnoli offered the same response. "I thought he was okay." And he was okay. Not great. Not bad. Just okay. Right now, I'll take okay from Gavin Hoffman. His numbers on Saturday were respectable. Twenty-three-of-36 passing for 196 yards and one touchdown is not a bad day. In fact, statistically, it's a day quite similar to one that occurred two years ago. On September 20, 1997, Matt Rader put on a Quakers uniform for the first time and completed 22-of-39 passes for 206 yards and one touchdown. Rader would leave Penn a year and a half later with his name etched all over the Penn record book. But Gavin Hoffman is not Matt Rader. First of all, Rader transferred to Penn for the spring semester of 1997. He worked with the team in spring practice and had nearly eight months to learn the Penn system before ever throwing a pass in a real game. That extra time is a luxury Gavin Hoffman did not have. Hoffman is still learning. People who expected the ex-Big Ten player to be an immediate star in the Ivies were just fooling themselves. True, Hoffman has gone from facing the likes of Penn State linebackers LaVar Arrington and Brandon Short -- two potential first-round NFL draft picks -- to matching up against up against a Dartmouth defense that is mediocre at best for the Ivy League. But that does not mean Hoffman should have had his way with the inferior talent. It takes time to adjust, and Hoffman still needs more of it before he can feel comfortable in the pocket while facing Ivy teams. "Everyday I am feeling more comfortable with the guys I'm playing with," Hoffman said. And he now has three weeks to get even more comfortable with those guys. Before the Quakers travel to Columbia for their game against the Lions on October 16, they will play Villanova, Bucknell and Fordham in three games that mean absolutely nothing in the league standings. Those games will be three opportunities for Hoffman to improve and to learn the tendencies and characteristics of his receivers, offensive linemen and backs. When comparing the debuts of Rader and Hoffman, another stat that jumps out is the number of interceptions. Rader threw three back in '97, while Hoffman tossed two on Saturday. But those picks cannot be attributed solely, or even primarily, to Hoffman. On his first interception, Hoffman hit Brandon Carson in the numbers. But just as the ball hit Carson, Dartmouth linebacker Marshall Hyzdu hit him, popping the ball out of his grasp right into Big Green lineman Kyle Schroeder's hands. And on Hoffman's second interception, he was blindsided just as he was about to release the ball, causing him to loft the ball up for grabs. While Hoffman's stat sheet may show two interceptions, they were not interceptions caused by his inability to read the defense or hit his receivers. They were, however, interceptions that may be avoided once Hoffman and his teammates learn more about each other. This same phenomenon can be seen in the number of dropped balls. On more than one occasion, Hoffman hit his receivers in the hands, but those hands were not ready to catch a football. Looking at his performance this way, Hoffman's respectable numbers from Saturday would have been even better if he had more time to work with his receivers. Gavin Hoffman has talent. It's just that the talent is sometimes hidden when the quarterback is not totally familiar with his receivers. Hoffman is probably more talented than Matt Rader. He may not yet be as good as Rader was last year, but he is better than Rader was when he first played at Penn. And by the time Hoffman is done after three years here, he may be one of the best signal-callers Penn has ever seen. In the next few weeks, expect Gavin Hoffman to get better. Expect him to get on the same page as his receivers, and expect the Penn coaching staff to allow him more free reign in the offense, instead of calling so many short routes and dump passes. Gavin Hoffman was "okay" on Saturday, but he has the ability to be much better.

COLUMN: Ah, to be clueless, tipsy and loving it

(09/20/99 9:00am)

From Melissa Wong's, "Days Like This," Fall '99 From Melissa Wong's, "Days Like This," Fall '99I was almost crushed on the Superblock footbridge by a herd of polo-shirted and tank-topped freshmen stampeding towards me. One of them pointed to the famous dueling tampons sculpture looming in the distance and very knowledgeably told another, "Look! It's the nipple." As we welcome the incoming Class of 2003, we more seasoned members of the Penn community cannot help but feel a little nostalgic for that first year of blissful naivetZ and drunken debauchery. To be a freshman again, knowing nothing but feeling comfortable with that fact because no one else had a clue either. The first semester is an utter shock to your entire overachieving being. It is a time of new beginnings and pretty much everything else you said in that cheesy valedictory. You slowly realize that you are no longer the only person on the face of this planet who was student council president, yearbook editor, varsity soccer, science league state champion and all-state all-star in everything. Your next-door neighbor got an 800 verbal too. These kinds of people are the ones you despised in high school, clear competitors for that coveted spot in the Ivy League. Now, you're all in the same boat and it builds a sense of camaraderie and cooperation. Until you hear about that impossible curve in Econ 001. Then it's every 4.0 for himself. College classes are different. You think that since you have only two exams the entire semester, you only really have to study a week before each midterm and final, right? What do you mean there's no extra credit?! The professor will never know if you're missing his Friday 9 a.m. lecture. You can sleep in without having your mother call in or write a note. "Johnny isn't feeling well today. He spent the entire night playing beer pong." College life is different. No one makes sure you have clean boxers for the week. Nourishment consists of chicken nuggets for lunch, chicken fingers for dinner, chicken filet for lunch, chicken on a roll for dinner, chicken tenders for lunch and maybe a cheesesteak if Judy Rodin is visiting your dorm. You wear flip-flops in the shower. You sleep in the shower. This is diversity at work, the first time that you will be surrounded by people from places other than New Jersey. Places like New York and Pennsylvania. My freshman year, I had rice balls wrapped in seaweed with my newfound friend from Japan. The girl from Los Angeles down the hall got a new tongue ring. Martha from Alabama made a great strawberry cream cake. Upperclassmen who have abandoned those wild parties freshman year for more refined soirees forget the bonding experience of walking home with 30 of your friends from 41st Street, stopping at random intervals so the guy in Room 335 could yell at each parking meter along the way. Who else but your hallmates would hold you upright while you vomit into the lounge's trash can? Or cook you ramen the next hungover morning? Remember the guilty thrill of trying to convince the Spectaguard that you really haven't been doing jelly shots all night? Despite all those wild times, my favorite freshman memories are of all-night study sessions and intolerable stress levels. The Engineering students would be crouched in the suite lounge over textbooks and TI-83s while the College students read Plato with highlighters in hand and the Whartonites desperately worked on their Powerpoint presentations. The smell of buttery popcorn would waft through the room and we would all chug Surge until we started convulsing. All of a sudden, popcorn kernels fly through the air into mouths across the room. David does his napkin trick. And all work is abandoned for another 40 minutes.

GUEST COLUMNIST: Hiring due to gender, not ability

(07/22/99 9:00am)

Brandi Chastain insists that baring her toned body through her black sports bra last week was a natural reaction. After all, she had just kicked the World Cup clinching goal for the United States women's soccer team and needed to wave something around in celebration. So her shirt came off -- and excitement poured through the veins of millions of Americans, including hordes of worshipping men, as the soccer star victoriously flexed her muscles. Chastain's goal, the U.S. team's 1-0 victory over China and the resulting soccer pandemonium that has engulfed the nation highlight the phenomenal progress women have made in the sports arena over the last several decades. Indeed, only 27 years ago, women's sports had such a backseat to their male counterparts that the federal government felt compelled to pass legislation requiring gender equity in athletics. Those Title IX measures came on top of many other equalizing efforts, like Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids employment discrimination based on race or gender. Combined, these initiatives have given opportunities to scores of Americans who otherwise might have struggled to experience the type of exhilaration Chastain felt last week. Yet, efforts to equalize the playing field can have pernicious consequences when manipulated. Case in point: the University's 1997 decision to not hire Andrew Medcalf as women's crew coach. According to a report released recently by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the University violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when it passed up Medcalf in favor of a female candidate for the job. A look at the facts makes the finding irrefutable. First, Medcalf's experience is extensive. He served -- and has continued to serve -- as assistant men's crew coach since 1990. He also has six years of experience as a head coach at the University level and has racked up innumerable rowing championships. What's more, venerable men's crew coach Stan Bergman highly recommended Medcalf for the position -- the ultimate endorsement of his qualifications. And both male and female rowers publicly supported Medcalf's candidacy. Despite a virtually unparalleled resume, then-Senior Associate Athletic Director Carolyn Schlie Femovich did not even offer Medcalf an interview. To repeat, the candidate roundly supported for the job was flatly denied an interview. Puzzling, to say the least. The EEOC rightly states in its report that Medcalf's candidacy was cut short for one reason: Testosterone. The Athletic Department wanted a female women's crew coach and according to the EEOC "took extraordinary measures" to recruit only female candidates. Both Medcalf and witnesses, for example, told the EEOC that Femovich openly stated that she felt she had to hire a female coach. Of four applicants interviewed for the job, all were females. Granted, the candidate the University hired, Barb Kirch, has impeccable credentials herself -- and the Athletic Department officials point to those to justify their decision. Kirch had already been a successful women's crew coach at Dartmouth College for nine years, coached the U.S. Women's National team for two years and received her undergraduate degree at Penn. Impressive, indeed -- perhaps even enough to put Kirch above Medcalf. But certainly not enough to shut Medcalf out of an interview -- especially when Kirch hadn't even applied for the job when the Athletic Department refused Medcalf an interview. So while Penn may have "the best coach in the country in Barb Kirch," according to University spokesperson Ken Wildes, the University appears to have missed a step in reaching that point. Apparently, the University skipped over the third word in the "EEOC" acronym: "opportunity." Medcalf never got his opportunity.

Purdue's men's basketball program hit with NCAA sanctions

(07/01/99 9:00am)

The NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled the university violated rules regarding recruiting, extra benefits and ethical conduct in the men's basketball program, in addition to several secondary violations in the women's basketball program. As part of the school's penalty, it will have to repay up to 90 percent of the revenues generated from the Boilermakers' appearance in the 1996 men's NCAA tournament, and an assistant men's basketball coach was banned from off-campus recruiting for a year. Purdue was spared possible sanctions that would have left them ineligible for future NCAA tournament berths or televised appearances. But the Boilermakers will lose a scholarship for the 2000-01 and 2000-02 academic years, limiting the men's basketbal program to 12 scholarships for those seasons. The university also will be limited to four paid recruiting campus visits during the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons. Also, all team and individual records from the 24 games during the 1995-96 season in which an ineligible athlete participated will be vacated. That includes their NCAA tournament appearance that season, when Purdue, a No. 1 seed, was eliminated by Georgia in the second round. The committee penalized Purdue, in part, for a 1995 loan that an assistant coach arranged for a prospective player to receive $4,000 through a representative of the university athletic interests. The loan was never repaid, minimal effort was made to collect the balance and eventually the loan was charged off by the bank after the player left for another institution following the 1995-96 academic year. Last fall, athletic director Morgan Burke said Purdue found no evidence to support allegations about the loan. But the NCAA found the loan was unsecured, given to a player with no credit history and lacked a cosigner. Purdue officials said they had no immediate comment on the NCAA sanctions, which have come on the heels of the controversy surrounding Minnesota's basketball program. The NCAA began a preliminary inquiry into the allegations with interviews at the school in the summer of 1997 and expanded it in March 1998. Kendrick was fined an undisclosed amount of money and forbidden to recruit off campus for 10 days during the official recruiting period that began in November 1996. The NCAA, which did not mention Kendrick by name in the report, said an assistant coach involved in the recruiting violations would be subject to NCAA ''show-cause'' requirements for one year. The penalty allows the committee to determine whether the individual's athletic duties should be limited for a specified time. In December 1996, Burke said coach Gene Keady and Kendrick inadvertently violated NCAA rules by making 15 telephone calls to Davis, who later signed with the Boilermakers, but did not play as a freshman because of academic ineligibility. Davis played in 12 games as a sophomore last season, then quit the team in December.

COLUMN: Searles hurt by Ivy rules

(06/17/99 9:00am)

After a team-record 28 losses, head baseball coach Bob Seddon and pitching coach Bill Wagner must have known that there was nowhere for the Quakers to go but up. Little did they know that the Ivy League champion football team might just hand them a quarterback. A quarterback who can throw an 88 mile per hour fastball. In what initially seems to be an unfortunate break for Seddon and Wagner, incoming freshman Jonathan Searles might just be a bit too good throwing the baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected the quarterback/pitcher in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. The rule certainly limits Searles' opportunities, but the upside for Seddon is enormous. "He has three professional pitches," Seddon said. "He has a straight change, a curveball, and a big-time fastball. He's got a great arm and great talent...[but] there's no rhyme or reason why [Searles] should sign. He's an eighth-rounder." Seddon hopes to build Searles' skills at Penn to increase his draft value coming out of college while also building Penn's program back up from last season's futility. "The only danger is injury," Seddon said. "He's gonna be worth more after [his] junior year. If you get into the Wharton School, and you have a chance to play football and baseball in college, you will be worth a lot more in the end of your junior year." However much the rule can help Searles' future value and Penn's baseball program in this instance, it does not make sense to have such a mandate in the Ivy League. As classical values promote a sound mind and a sound body, what greater showing of soundness could there be than to excel as a student and play football at a Division I-AA level, all while climbing the ranks of a professional baseball organization? No one stops an aspiring painter from stepping onto a field of play and writing poetry about his experiences. No one tells a math major that she can't go to the observatory to chart the stars after soccer practice. It is both unfair and nonsensical to treat Searles' multiple talents any differently. If he could somehow successfully balance all of the demands of such activities, then more power to him. If Searles should spend his summer tossing baseballs in the Pirates system, how different would that be from Penn basketball guard Lamar Plummer working in Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell's office last summer while hooping it up in the Sonny Hill League? Many people wonder why the Ivy League no longer turns out athletes like Lou Gehrig and Sid Luckman, why the Ancient Eight now produces Doug Glanvilles and Joe Nieuwendyks -- athletes who are certainly good at the professional level, but not among the greats of their games. While the eight Ivies provide excellent academic opportunities, they are really unable to accommodate the needs of athletes. It is impossible to say where John Searles will be in four years. If he signs with the Pirates, he could make his way through a minor league system that is known for its development of pitchers. If he stays at Penn, Searles could develop as a football player. He could become an even better baseball player and increase his future draft value. There is also the risk that Searles could incur an injury. And he would then have to rely only on his mind not just his arm -- to make his way in the world. The good part of the bargain for Searles is that there is no wrong decision. The shame is on the Ivy League for creating this dilemma for Searles.

GUEST COLUMNIST: Yes, fraternity brothers are people too

(06/03/99 9:00am)

This summer I decided to do something that few women would ever dare to try -- I moved into a fraternity house. You see, when I was given the opportunity to sublet a room in a house on Locust Walk for the summer, I jumped at the chance. To me it seemed like an extremely inexpensive way to meet a wide range of people. Although the summer has barely begun, I have already come to a few realizations about fraternities and the "frat boy" in particular. However, I must make the following disclaimer before I begin: I am proud to be an active member of the Greek system, and I believe that it promotes friendship, community service, scholarship, and campus involvement. Still, I had my own preconceptions of fraternities and the men within their ranks. Perhaps as a result of attending one too many parties and then watching my male friends suffer through pledging during the spring, I perceived fraternity men solely as alcohol-obsessed hedonists. I will be the first to admit that I fell for the common misconception that frat boys are dirty, smelly, leering, uncaring and insensitive. Harsh, I know, but Animal House made a lasting impression on me. But after a couple of weeks of living in a fraternity house, here is what I have learned: Although I still agree with the "smelly and dirty" part of the misconception mentioned above, "frat boys" are real people with legitimate feelings and valuable opinions. For me, nothing drove this home more than the little things: when one brother who lived in the house put together my roommate's bed without being asked, simply because it was a nice thing to do. Or when I returned home from work to find a group of brothers in the front yard, playing tennis and cards with three underprivileged kids whom they had befriended on the Walk. Many "frat boys" have serious girlfriends and are caring individuals who treat women with respect. I was surprised by the protective nature that these men take on when they see a female friend upset, stressed out, or in trouble. With surprisingly good intuition, the men in the house can easily spot a friend in trouble and move quickly to remedy the situation. I admit there is an immature contingent of Greek men who have received the "player" tag for their womanizing behavior, but applying that term to encompass over a thousand people is incorrect and unfair. When it comes to women, many are simply "waiting for the right one." Another facet of the frat boy personality-- commonly overlooked -- is their academic achievments. It is not uncommon to see the same faces at parties during the weekend and then the next Monday in class, making profound connections and wowing others with their knowledge and intelligence. I still remember the shock that I felt when one "frat boy" that I had met a party during the weekend helped me conquer my history homework the next week in recitation. We oftentimes forget that everybody at this school, regardless of whether or not they are Greek, was admitted to Penn for one reason: because they deserve to be here academically. The "frat boys" that we so often stereotype as moronic are in actuality the valedictorians of their high school graduating classes, the Ben Franklin scholars and the leaders of many different student groups at Penn. Yes, these boys like to cut loose, but not before their 3.9 is in the bag. Foosball rules the day. Learn it, know it, play it. It's more than a game for these boys -- its an obsession. The losers receive no kind treatment, I have seen guys running around the house in their boxers after a losing a game of foosball. If you expect to live in a fraternity, you had better be good at it. I would not trade my experience on Locust Walk for anything, and I already plan on residing in the same place next summer. Because I have shared much more than a house with these "frat boys," I have shared a home.