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GUEST COLUMNISTS: A vote for progress

(04/20/99 9:00am)

Today, the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences will vote on a proposal to test an experimental curriculum, beginning with 200 students in the Class of 2004. Over the past semester, we have worked with the Committee on Undergraduate Education to formulate the pilot program, which we believe improves upon the existing General Requirement in several important respects. Some have asked if 10 courses can realistically be condensed into four. The answer is, of course, no. The four-course sequence at the heart of the CUE proposal does not represent a an attempt to condense the existing General Requirement but an effort to redefine the purpose of the requirement. The new courses aim to introduce students to a spectrum of ideas and perspectives and move away from the notion that knowledge can be neatly categorized or bounded. The goal is to spark the interest of students in both disciplines and interdisciplinary perspectives that they may wish to explore further. And by cutting the required 10 courses to four, the pilot program gives students the ability to pursue interests to a greater extent than was previously possible. Students can use those six course slots to explore the offerings of a particular department in depth, pursue interdisciplinary courses of study or simply experiment. The course sequence also aims to introduce students to the conflicts that exist within the spectrum of knowledge, both between the ways that different disciplines examine subjects and within academic disciplines. The CUE proposal also provides for multiple avenues of inquiry. In addition to investigating natural science, social science and humanities phenomena from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the four course categories all make mention of the need to understand the tensions and conflicts -- produced by both social context and academic discourse -- inherent in the processes of creating and applying knowledge. Examples of this approach in the proposed curriculum may include teaching students about the conflicts between slavery and democracy, nuclear power and nuclear holocaust, and theology and cosmology. Such multidisciplinary exploration exemplifies the approach espoused by CUE; the need to establish a reflective learning process is a critical component of the proposal. The proposed curriculum will also introduce students to the idea of disciplinary knowledge: the idea that the way historians understand a given period, economists a recession or physicists the universe is a product of an ongoing debate in an academic community where various perspectives are represented. The importance of interdisciplinary study in the pilot curriculum extends beyond the introductory four-course sequence. In calling for students to explore ideas from two or more angles via minors, dual majors, abroad programs or thematic semesters, CUE has moved to inject excitement into the General Requirement over considerations of starting salary after graduation. Students, rather than being forced into learning for their resumZ's sake, are to be given the encouragement, advising and class resources to learn for learning's sake. This may not work. But the experiment is worth the effort. A pilot program, carefully evaluated for five years for a limited number of students, has the tremendous potential to tell us things about our current system, help us develop possibilities for future schemas and provide insight into the very way in which we have and would like to learn. The faculty and staff on the committee have developed a framework in which this effort can begin. College faculty should realize that it is by no means the end of a process but rather a well-thought-out beginning.

COLUMN: Living where money isn't

(04/08/99 9:00am)

If you have ever had less than $10 in the bank, if you have ever had a meal comprised entirely of glazed popems, if your idea of the five food groups is a pizza with four toppings, if your idea of a date involves taking Penn Escort, if you use ketchup as a vegetable, if you have ever stolen silverware out of Commons (sorry Ms. Anita), if you really don't have any change when the man in front of Wawa asks you and if you smell your shirts before you wear them, you have experienced selective brokenness. If you have ever found $5 in your pocket and called somebody to tell them, you have been selectively broke. If you are reading this now and know what I am talking about, you are probably selectively broke right now. Being selectively broke is not like being really broke. Being selectively broke means that you have a TV and a VCR, nice clothes, a new pair of shoes and $17 in your bank account. It means that you buy things you can't afford and don't pay for them until much later. It means that you cross your fingers and smile nervously when you pay the dinner bill with your credit card. It means that at any given time, your apartment lacks at least one of the necessities of modern life. I live far away from campus. In order to eat something, I can either cook it or order it. Ordering requires around $5 or $6, unless I use the "fake coupon method." Student: Hey Dominos? Yeah, I have a coupon for a $2.99 large pepperoni pizza. Pizza Man: What? Student: Umm, yeah, I found this coupon for a $2.99 large pepperoni pizza. Pizza Man: Is this Malik again? Student: (pause) Yes. Pizza Man: Please don't call here anymore. When ordering does not work, many students will try to "cook something." This is a prolonged, ritualistic process that commences with the student saying, "I think I am going to cook something." For the next hour and a half, the student will open the refrigerator every 15 minutes and stare at its contents. Each time, the student will hope there is something in the refrigerator that was not there 15 minutes ago. Then, realizing nothing can be made from mayonnaise, canned peaches and baking soda, the student will say "Maybe I'll make some spaghetti." Many college students are stricken by what is medically referred to as "spaghetti syndrome," a culinary condition where everything you cook turns into spaghetti. Spaghetti lasagna. Spaghetti with clear sauce. Spaghetti with noodles. The student will cook spaghetti and will take pride in the consistency of his or her noodles as if no one else could make them precisely that way. Life as a selectively broke college student means accepting that things run out. Living in your own apartment requires dealing with this reality in creative ways. The student soon learns that household items can be used in ways they were not originally intended. Napkins can be substituted for toilet paper and/or Kleenex. Cologne can be used as bathroom spray. Plastic Foot Locker and Penn Book Store bags are as good as any trash bag. Appropriating your roommate's or your boyfriend or girlfriend's things as your own can also be an important means of survival. One of my greatest college discoveries was learning that despite its system of pH balancing, Secret deodorant really is strong enough for a man. Another great lesson learned is that after the tobacco industry, credit card companies are the most vile, wicked and pompous businesses in America. And no, I am not bitter at all. Knowing they will soon be bilking you for thousands of dollars, these companies have such little respect for your intelligence that they lure you with nothing more than a 50/50 blend cotton T-shirt. Credit card man: Get your free T-shirts here! Sign up for a credit card and get a great prize! Student: Hmmm? free T-shirts. That means I won't have to do laundry until the weekend! Say mister! Can I get a couple of those T-shirts!? Credit card man: Sorry, you can only have one prize. Student: OK? Are you giving away underwear too? This signals the beginning of the end. You soon realize that you could buy even more underwear with a credit card. Which is, of course, the only reason guys want a credit card anyway. This is why the companies don't give away underwear at their stands. If you do make the mistake of getting a credit card, you should follow these rules. When the credit card arrives, do not follow the activation instructions. If you have to touch it, cut it up right away and throw it into your Foot Locker bag. If you do make the mistake of activating your credit card, immediately call your girlfriend and inform her you can never see her ever again. This will solve most of your immediate debt problems. People call me stupid for being thousands of dollars in debt to Visa. What is even stupider is Visa giving someone like me a credit card and expecting to get their money back. I'm only joking of course. I fully intend to pay Visa back. I just need to buy some more spaghetti first.

EDITORIAL & OPINION: The lessons of a weekend

(03/29/99 10:00am)

We have a number of concerns in the wake of Penn's first weekend under the new alcohol policy. Students, rather than sitting in sober silence, found other venues in which to drink. Police, rather than toeing their usual laissez-faire line, handed out an unusually high number of citations to students. And between the overbearing police presence, the host of citations and the prevalence of off-campus events where alcohol was served, we were left with little doubt as to the ramifications of Penn's ban. Particularly disturbing is an incident in which two Zeta Beta Tau brothers were picked up by police while returning home. The pair was transported to the hospital, where they were soon released, but not before police cited both for drinking. If Penn is truly interested in the health and safety of its students, the University would do well to ensure that they feel comfortable taking their friends to the hospital, without fear of citation or police interference. But the police enforcement came in the larger context of the ban on alcohol at undergraduate parties. It is a ban that raises increasingly troubling issues. While we initially believed there was value to this pause-and-reflect period, our expectations were not born out by the weekend's events, and we can only expect the problems to grow with time. Certainly, regulations have an important role to play in shaping the drinking environment, and should be occasionally revisited. However, we cannot comprehend the need to suspend the existing system during this evaluation period. The responsibility of individual students for their own health and the health of their friends ought to be the defining value in this discussion, not the administration's parochial dictates. Penn can best serve its student body by returning to a system which facilitates, rather than impedes, the responsible consumption of alcohol as soon as possible.

COLUMN: With a major in life skills

(03/05/99 10:00am)

From Nadia Dowshen's, "Urban Guerrilla," Fall '99 From Nadia Dowshen's, "Urban Guerrilla," Fall '99If you need a great conversation starter for a party or family gathering try telling someone that you are an Urban Studies major. When I offer this piece of information, I usually get responses like, "Oh, that's nice honey, but what are you going to do with that?", "I didn't know you wanted to be an architect" or just plain "what exactly is Urban Studies anyway?" Employers and graduate schools are looking for people who can think and communicate rather than a specific body of knowledge. And Urban Studies teaches students the most important skills needed to succeed in academia or the workforce: how to solve problems, communicate effectively through writing and speaking and gain some hands-on experience in their field of interest. These are these should be the goals of all educational institutions and these are certainly the skills that all human beings need to succeed in this increasingly complex and technological society. Equally important is the interdisciplinary nature of the Urban Studies program, allowing students to explore problems that affect cities from a variety of perspectives. Developing a broad framework for analyzing problems is important. Students who focus too closely lose the broad perspective and differing approaches to knowledge that other fields offer. Field work is also an important component of the program. In a two-credit semester-long internship, students work for 15 hours a week in a chosen city organization, corporation or institution. This allows majors to develop important connections and research interests and gives them experience that employers and graduates schools in that field will respect. And in the senior seminar all majors are required to write a thesis on a topic of their choosing involving primary research -- that is, interviewing, ethnography or analyzing previously collected data. After writing, revising and rewriting this substantial paper with the help of three professors and your peers, you orally present your project. This final product proves that you have learned something in your four years and gives you something to talk about in interviews for jobs or graduate schools. I honestly believe that my internship and senior thesis, in addition to being two of my most intellectually and personally rewarding experiences, played a large role in my getting into medical school. So here is my advice to underclassmen. Don't choose a major because you think it will lead to a particular career path. Plenty of English majors find jobs in investment baking and plenty of med school students were non-science majors. Don't choose a major because you think it will be hard or easy. Getting bad grades will not help you, but you need to be able to show grad schools and employers that you have challenged yourself. Pick a major that you are passionate about and where you have access to good professors. But in the end, it really doesn't matter what you major in as long as you learn how to think and communicate.

Ridge issues budget, focuses on schools

(01/26/99 10:00am)

The Associated Press HARRISBURG, Pa. -- For the 1999-2000 fiscal year, Governor Tom Ridge, a Republican, is proposing broad increases in public school spending but saying nothing about tuition vouchers, a priority item on his education agenda. "That's an average of nearly a half-million dollars in new funds available for every school district," he said. School spending in the new budget will include $3.7 billion for basic education, a 3 percent increase over the 1998-99 budget, and $711.5 million for special education, a 5 percent increase. Ridge did not mention tuition vouchers, a plan to give parents financial support to send their children to the public, private or religious school of their choice. Since he took office in 1995, Ridge has tried and failed twice to push such a plan through the General Assembly. At a news conference following his speech, Ridge would not say whether he would propose a voucher program this year. Although he told reporters last week that if he were to present a program, it would cost more than $60 million, he declined to confirm that figure yesterday. If he decides to introduce a program, Ridge said that he will do so at this year's budget address, which he is scheduled to deliver to the General Assembly on February 2. Other initiatives include $35 million -- and a total of $100 million over the next four years -- to help boost students' reading skills through third grade and $20 million for new technology in schools. In addition, Ridge wants $16.8 million, a 25 percent increase, in grants to reward schools for improved performance. Last year, the state Department of Education awarded nearly $10 million to more than 900 schools that improved test scores and increased student attendance. "In Pennsylvania, we reward results," Ridge said. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association welcomed the spending proposals but was waiting to see how the governor intends to distribute the basic education money to the state's 501 school districts. Since 1996, the General Assembly and the administration have decided year-by-year how to distribute the money. "We're hoping there's some move to enact a meaningful funding formula," said association spokesperson Tom Gentzel. School boards are particularly interested in changing the formula for spending special education dollars. Gentzel said the state's method of distributing the money has been based on erroneous assumptions that have resulted in underfunding in many districts. This week, state Rep. Jess Stairs (R-Westmoreland), and Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) intend to propose legislation endorsed by the school boards that would guarantee most school districts at least 50 percent of their special education costs. Poorer school district would get up to 80 percent of the costs. "There's an interest in changing the funding formula with regard to special education," Ridge said. "We have some ideas internally. I think the legislators have some ideas, and we would want to keep an open mind."

COLUMN: To practice what we preach

(01/13/99 10:00am)

From Michelle Weinberg's, "For Every Action," Fall '99 From Michelle Weinberg's, "For Every Action," Fall '99It is a place where the most fundamental human rights are violated by an oppressive, corrupt government. Where petty criminals are sentenced to arbitrary terms in unsanitary, overcrowded prisons. Where the media -- and virtually all other forms of expression -- are tightly controlled by the government and political gatherings are illegal. Where female citizens are trafficked as prostitutes by the government and religious minorities are harassed. Last spring, students from Penn's Free Burma Coalition and the Progressive Activist Network requested that the University divest its holdings in these companies. Their request received support from the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the Undergraduate Assembly, which issued a statement of support last March. Unfortunately, the University ignored the opinions of its own students. A number of cities and universities have already passed "Free Burma" business resolutions, joining organizations around the world campaigning to end investment in Burma. Northwestern, Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Penn State, American and others have declared that they will not enter contracts with companies operating in Burma. These resolutions and boycotts have resulted in many companies severing ties altogether with Burma, including Texaco, Amoco, Pepsi Co., Motorola, Apple Computer and Walt Disney. However, the University of Pennsylvania has refused to take such a stand. The Board of Trustees -- charged with managing Penn's investment portfolio -- needs to consider the implications of Penn's Burma investments and their impact on the country's citizens. People who have attempted to speak out against the government have been repeatedly repressed. On August 8, 1988, student demonstrators flooded the streets to demand that the military regime be replaced by a democratically-elected government. The peaceful demonstrations ended when soldiers fired into the crowd, killing thousands. Little has changed since 1988. Reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International and other organizations have repeatedly detailed a gruesome list of abuses, including murder, rape, torture, detention without trial and forced labor. Farmers are forced to double and treble rice production, overtaxing the land. The government then levies a quota for sale to the state at below-market prices. The regime exports the rice at world market prices and pockets the difference. According to a 1997 U.N. Human Development Report, the government spends over 222 percent more on its army than on health and education services combined. But the issue is also financial. If boycotts of UNOCAL -- the company is currently a key target of "Free Burma" protesters -- drive the company's stock price down, Penn's endowment will suffer. The University has a responsibility to consider the effect of boycotts upon their investment. More importantly, a University responsible for the leaders of tomorrow should act in a socially responsible manner. An institution which stands for education, democracy and freedom should not have equity ties to one of the world's most oppressive regimes. After severing ties with Burma, the Levi-Strauss Company issued a statement proclaiming, "It is not possible to do business in Burma without directly supporting the military government and its pervasive violations of human rights." In a response to the student divestment campaign last spring, Executive Vice President John Fry cited the Trustees policy -- set in 1980 -- regarding such external issues, the "Response by the University as an Institution to External Issues." This policy states that due to the diverse interests found in a large institution, the University cannot take a moral stand on such issues. However, this policy also states, " the University of Pennsylvania will take institutional positions only under the most unusual circumstances and only on those issues which are of the greatest social concern and deal with the most fundamental human rights." Apparently the University Trustees feel that the horrendous situation in Burma does not "deal with the most fundamental human rights." What does that "institutional position" say about our University?

Disney plans Phila. theme park complex

(12/10/98 10:00am)

Officials hope to attract a million visitors a year to the Pavilion at Market East when it opens in 2000. The Associated Press The Walt Disney Co. plans to open a five-story high-tech entertainment center in downtown Philadelphia that will allow visitors to play interactive fantasy-adventure games a few blocks from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. DisneyQuest, scheduled to open on July 4, 2000, at 8th and Market streets, hopes to attract about a million visitors a year by recreating the Disney experience with virtual reality and computer animation, Disney officials told a City Hall news conference yesterday. The amusement park will also anchor a $150 million development project that officials hope will jump-start the city's tourism and entertainment industries. The city is expected to offer $25 million in tax breaks, improve sidewalks and lighting and renovate the closest subway station. Disney will spend about $90 million on the attractions. The project will generate about 800 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent positions, including 200 full-time employees directly employed by DisneyQuest. "[Philadelphia] is an incredible tourist destination and a burgeoning entertainment area," said Art Levitt, president of Disney Regional Entertainment. "We really wanted to showcase our product here." The block-long project in Philadelphia's Market Street East district also includes a 20-screen movie theater, a health club, a 1,200-spot parking garage and about 400,000 square feet of additional retail space. Possible tenants include a Virgin Megastore music outlet, an F.A.O. Schwarz toy store and a Benetton sports cafe, said project developer Ken Goldenberg of Blue Bell, Pa. The block, where a department store once stood, is now a parking lot. The Pavilion at Market East, as it will be known, is a significant development in the city's efforts to market itself as a tourist destination. Tom Muldoon, president of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors' Bureau, said it will lure more tourists for overnight stays and could help in attracting another high-end department store. Referring to Disney, he said, "When you talk in terms of the tourist attraction, those six letters some way or the other say 'big time,' they say 'first class,' they say 'fun'." Disney opened its first DisneyQuest in Orlando, Fla., last summer, and will debut a second entertainment center in Chicago next year. The company plans to open additional DisneyQuest centers in 20 to 30 domestic and international markets. The press conference yesterday featured a videotape of Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell's November 30 visit to the Orlando DisneyQuest. The tape showed Rendell -- escorted by Disney's Goofy character -- swordfighting a virtual enemy, riding a simulated roller coaster, toying with his image on a computer and generally having the time of his life. ''The biggest surprise is the fun I had as an adult and the range of experiences available,'' he said. With confetti raining on a packed conference room, Rendell also unveiled a model of the entertainment center that featured a stylized version of the classic Mickey Mouse logo and a glass facade that will allow pedestrians to see one of the center's motion simulators from the street. Visitors to DisneyQuest will have four entertainment zones from which to choose: the Explore Zone, a virtual-reality tour of ancient or fantastic places; the Score Zone, where guests can compete as superheroes; the Create Zone, where visitors can design a roller coaster, create a toy or paint; and the Replay Zone, a futuristic twist on classic rides and games. Visitors will be able to navigate a primeval jungle; design their own roller coasters, then buckle up and take a virtual ride; and fly through city streets on a quest to release the Genie in ''Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride.''

GUEST COLUMNIST: Kors: Penn, Hackney mishandled 'water buffalo' case

(12/07/98 10:00am)

What Hackney's own Student Judicial Charter actually said was that once a defendant broke confidentiality, "any person whose character or integrity might reasonably be questioned shall have a right to respond in an appropriate forum." Thus, at the height of the case, plaintiffs discussed it with The Los Angeles Times. The problem Hackney faced was that the facts of the case demonstrated the injustice of his regime. His mixing of what Eden Jacobowitz said and what others allegedly said gives you some idea of his notion of individual responsibility. Hackney's attempt to portray this event in terms of right versus left will not stand up to scrutiny. His primary antagonist was the Pennsylvania ACLU. His problem was not Rush Limbaugh but precisely the liberal media: The Forward, which broke the story, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, NBC News and CNN, among others. They all sent independent reporters who interviewed both administrators, appalled by Penn's injustice, and students at Penn, including, by their accounts, scores of African-American students, who found the prosecution absurd and preposterous. On the same day that Hackney portrayed himself as the victim of a "right-wing" conspiracy in its newspages, The Washington Post itself editorialized about Penn's "Speech-Code Silliness," terming it a paradigm of overbreadth, vagueness and arbitrary prosecutions. The Philadelphia Daily News, in an editorial, called the Penn administration "a herd of dik-diks." Had the editor been a Penn student, the term would have led to his or her prosecution. When the case began, I asked Hackney if the Judicial Inquiry Officer could legislate or must merely follow Penn's policy. Steve Steinberg, Hackney's assistant, called me a day later, and informed me that yes, in Hackney's view, the charges stipulated against Jacobowitz merited judicial adjudication. The Judicial Inquiry Officer was applying Hackney's policy. Under oath, however, before the U.S. Senate, Hackney replied as follows to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) who asked if, under Penn's code, the case should have occurred: "No, I think that this was a misapplication of that policy in the circumstances." In his letter to the DP, Hackney places great importance on the race of the students in this case. Here, however, is what he told the U.S. Senate, under oath, during his confirmation hearings for chairperson of the National Endowment for the Humanities. When asked about political correctness, Hackney said: "It would be a serious problem if it were to capture a campus.? There are various forms of political correctness? but I think in general one can think of it as a term that refers to being overly solicitous of the rights of minority groups and of fashionable and trendy concerns in the present. I think that is one form that could be quite worrisome because you want to have a very balanced and fair approach to things on campus." Dr. Hackney, meet Dr. Hackney. Hackney intervened in the judicial system several times, and in this case repeatedly. I invite the interested to read a chapter from The Shadow University about the water buffalo incident on-line at How did the case end? Before witnesses, members of Clinton's transition team told me that Hackney's nomination to the NEH could not "bear much further scrutiny" and they asked "how the case was playing in the Jewish press." I told them that Jacobowitz would pursue justice and that the case was playing quite badly in "the Jewish press." They asked me to send them those papers. One week later, whether causally related or not I do not know, Hackney called me from Washington, D.C. -- he left the number with my son, and I took contemporaneous notes on the conversation -- to ask if Jacobowitz would be satisfied if the women dropped the case and the University dropped the charges. That sequence of events occurred exactly as Hackney proposed it. Hackney wonders why I could not find him while writing the book. What I possessed was better: the record of his policies, actions, words and double standards during his exercise of power. If someone tells me, "This has to end, Alan," I don't have to call him to ask if he said, "This has to end, Alan." Hackney writes of "shared governance" at Penn. Having both centralized power and destroyed that shared governance, infantilizing students and marginalizing the faculty, he lacks the moral authority to utter those words. I hope that there is no revival of his failed policies. Human relations have improved at Penn now that students are treated more equally and freely. I co-founded and lived in Van Pelt College House from 1971 to 1978. After its first year, it never was less than 20 percent black, simply because it acquired a reputation as a good place to be an individual. We had Maoist revolutionaries and College Republicans, black radicals and black conservatives, gay rights advocates and the Campus Crusade for Christ, all living under the same roof, without speech codes and without social engineering. They offended each other frequently, but far more than Sheldon Hackney ever could dream, they learned to talk to each other, to understand each other, to humanize their relationships and to live with each other in freedom and dignity. His balkanized and paternalistic vision of a university was a sad alternative.

GUEST COLUMNIST: From safety to retail, partnering for better solutions

(12/01/98 10:00am)

What many of us forget is that Penn is not only 9,500 undergraduates and 10,200 graduate-degree students. It is also an institution of over 20,000 employees. The administration is not only our provost and deans. It is also a body of coordinators for Finance, Human Resources, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Facilities Management, Technology Support and more. And beyond the imaginary line that many of us draw at 40th and Walnut or 42nd and Pine, there are also neighborhoods and communities with which Penn is inextricably connected. When we as students make demands of our administrators, it is likely that we are not the only nor the largest nor probably the most important voices they hear with concerns to which they must respond. It is probable, though, that many of our concerns as students overlap with those of the surrounding neighborhoods or Penn employees -- those issues of safety, retail development and community relations in particular. Keeping this in mind, how do students make effective changes and progress for the long-run? Two avenues present themselves as options. We can function as an isolated student body, or we can deal with the issues that face us by better utilizing the potential resources with which we come in contact. Administrators, employees and local residents in many cases are less transient and more experienced in problem-solving at Penn than we are as students. By partnering with them we are capable of joining our concerns to make positive, educated, broad and long-term changes for the future. When we attempt to attack large issues as an independent student body, we become independent of those resources. We can make resolutions and demands regarding the appointment of the new provost, improvements in recreational or dorm facilities and our safety on campus. But these issues affect and have relevance to other parts of Penn besides students. Certainly the appointment of the new provost is of great concern to the faculty, recreation facilities are particularly important to the staff and director of the Department of Recreation and improvements in dorm life are of interest for the coordinators of the college house programs. Likewise, there are over 200 SpectaGuards and Penn Police officers whose livelihoods depend on making Penn a safe place for all of us. These are individuals and departments well-equipped to deal with our concerns. The idea of partnerships is pertinent to community relations in particular. From the Center for Community Partnerships and Civic House to the Office of Community Relations, there are vast numbers of student volunteers, employees and campus leaders dedicated to fostering our connection to University City. When we take aggressive actions that affect the community, we are stepping on these efforts. And beyond the University there are local residents whose concerns mirror our own on topics such as retail development and safety. After all, students are the ones with nine-month leases, while permanent residents' stake in Penn's retail development in the area is even greater than our own. And what is the use of making campus safer if the surrounding community is crime-ridden? Our concerns about preventing muggings, robberies and assaults are mirrored by the many resident surrounding Penn's campus. When thinking about any large issue from crime to campus resources, we can and should ask for help from our faculty, administrators and neighbors -- not only because they may serve as centers of knowledge and support, but also because their concerns are likely in sync with our own. One way in which these partnerships are being created is with next Tuesday's Community Relations Symposium, which links the resources of the Undergraduate Assembly, Civic House and the Office of Community Relations. By working in partnerships, problems which face us as students that may seem impossible become solvable.

GUEST COLUMNIST: The truly underrepresented group

(11/25/98 10:00am)

Although the Admissions Office tries to obfuscate admissions information, the numbers are easily deduced from numerous articles printed in The Daily Pennsylvanian. Of all categories of students accepted to Penn, the group which accepted Penn's offer of admission at the highest rate were those who did not self-identify as a member of a minority. Such students -- the vast majority of whom are assumed to be white --matriculated at a rate of 53 percent. By comparison, the groups that complain the most about underrepresentation actually have lower matriculation rates: Only 39 percent of African Americans decided to matriculate at Penn. For Hispanics, the rate was also 39 percent. And for Asians, the rate was 44 percent. Also, the minority groups who say that Penn "doesn't care about" them and "isn't interested in representing" them are being accepted at a higher percentage even as a lower percentage of accepted applicants matriculate. After examining the data published in the DP, I have found that African American applicants were accepted at a rate of 36 percent to the class of 2002. This number is 20 percent higher than the average acceptance rate of 30 percent for students self-identifying as white or "other." Hispanics were accepted at a rate of 38 percent, almost 27 percent higher than the average acceptance rate for whites and "others." In fact, assuming accepted African American applicants continued to matriculate at a rate of 39 percent, for Penn to have a class with the same 12 percent share of African American students as society as a whole, it would have to accept a whopping 74 percent of those that decided to apply. That sounds a bit far from "fair." Similarly, for Hispanics, Penn would have to accept 88 percent of those that applied to achieve a representation proportional to their numbers in society. Asians represent another facet of the underrepresentation issue -- namely, overrepresentation. Asian applicants were accepted to the University at a 25 percent rate. And while 44 percent of Asians matriculated -- nine points below the rate for whites and "others" -- they remain overrepresented at the University as a whole. For example, assuming a constant yield, Penn would only have to accept 3.4 percent of those that applied to get a level of representation equal to their 2 to 3 percent share of the population. But it's not just whites who are underrepresented at Penn -- it is white Christians. Penn's student body is widely estimated to be between 30 and 40 percent Jewish, and about 63 percent white or "other." Therefore, since the vast majority of non-Jewish whites are Christians, at most about 30 percent of Penn's incoming class are white Christians -- while they make up approximately 75 percent of society. Quite a stark disparity, yet there is no outcry. Jews, who make up about 30 percent of Penn's Class of 2002, are only 2 to 3 percent of the American population. Therefore, Jews are 10 times more represented at Penn than in society. Asians make up a dramatic 25 percent of the class, around eight times more than their share of the population. However, white Christians are the most underrepresented group in proportion to their numbers in society, roughly 40 percent of their share of the general population. That share is even less than Blacks, who are represented at Penn in about half their numbers in society at large. I think it is quite obvious that some numbers have been conveniently ignored for far too long. This information brings me back to my original point. It seems that the demand of certain minority groups is as follows: Admit more of us even though we already have a disproportionately high acceptance rate. Then, since we usually refuse Penn, the school needs to admit even more of us so it can look bad and have a low yield. With these statistics in hand, it is time to do battle with the proponents of politically correct diversity. Their brand of diversity is not about making Penn look like America. It is about favoring certain groups at the expense of others, the motivations for which range from career opportunism to blatant racism, both of which are dead wrong. Next time someone tells you certain groups are underrepresented, ask them who we should get rid of. Slots at this school are a zero sum game, so if I get in, someone else necessarily doesn't. It is time to stop pretending that this is not the case. Penn is a great school and is certainly scholarly enough to examine statistics before lavishly funding minority retention for groups that already receive a great deal of consideration and assistance from the University.

GUEST COLUMNIST: UA is raising awareness

(11/23/98 10:00am)

Bill Conway says the Undergraduate Assembly's target sticker campaign promotes campus safety. The other night when I went into Steinberg-Dietrich Hall at 11:30 p.m., I found no guard at the front desk and a side door propped open. This was less than a week after a girl was assaulted in the bathroom with a knife. I was especially concerned because after an incident there is usually a sudden surge in security measures for a week or two, and then the concern is gradually placed aside. If this is what happens during the sudden surge, what will happen during the drop-off period? After the attack last on November 8, the Undergraduate Assembly quickly issued a resolution on facilities security. Most of the things we put in that resolution were fairly common sense things like installing card swipers at the entrances of SHDH and Rosengarten -- instead of just requiring students to flash their card -- and adding assault alarms in all public areas. We then wrote a general safety resolution and developed the target sticker campaign. This second resolution had many things that we felt were fairly obvious, like the University publicizing other options for ways to escort students safely from study areas to their homes after 3 a.m. There was also a somewhat controversial proposal. We pledged our support to Public Safety that if they wanted to require those in University buildings to wear ID cards after 10 p.m., we would back them. Three UA members were very much against this proposal, but most thought that clipping the ID card to one's shirt was not a hassle and that students need to do their part to make campus safer. However, it is not the actual proposals within the resolutions that are important. Rather, it is the message we are trying to send. This University can no longer deal with security by throwing money at the Division of Public Safety, which they have done after shootings in the past two years. The administration, faculty and, perhaps most of all, students need to be aware of how the actions we take affect the safety of others. I do not mean to condemn anybody. I have been known to prop the doors open in SHDH myself. The UA hoped that by printing 4,000, stickers with bulls-eyes and the words "Am I A Target?" and giving them out to students, faculty and administrators, it would make everyone more aware of safety issues on campus. The response from nearly everyone has been positive. I personally received 64 e-mails about the campaign. I knew only nine of the people who sent them. Of the 64, only two were negative. We also received positive coverage in The Philadelphia Inquirer and on the CBS and NBC local news. Despite the overwhelmingly positive response, there were some aspects of the campaign that had potentially negative effects we had to weigh. One concern was the effect the campaign would have on the community. West Philadelphia residents have done a great deal of work to make the community safer and we do not send a good message to them by walking around wearing target stickers. But crime around Penn has increasingly come from those in other parts of Philadelphia who come to this area because they know Penn students are vulnerable and see the opportunity to commit crimes. This is especially obvious when you look at the increasing number of arrests for crimes against members of the Penn community and the amount of those committed by people from other areas. Essentially, criminals are targeting Penn students. This is partly why we chose the phrase "Am I A Target?" The other negative effect was that it puts the Penn campus back in the spotlight as an unsafe place. But that was a cost we had to endure to get the message across. The attack in SHDH could have been the fault of the Spectaguard being away from the front desk, a student who propped the door open or an administrator who decided to turn off the door alarm -- which is now back on. The sticker campaign wasn't just about getting administrators to listen to our proposals. It was about everyone taking responsibility for the safety of ourselves and those around us. Judging by its success thus far, we are all ready to do that. I want to thank many of you who were supportive of the UA during this campaign and I ask you to fill out a safety survey on Locust Walk that the UA and the Division of Public Safety are conducting today and tomorrow.

COLUMN: Not so fast, Princeton's still competitite

(11/16/98 10:00am)

For some reason, there seems to be a consensus around campus that this year's edition of the Quakers cannot be stopped. Unfortunately, a small group of dissenters have a different opinion. They call themselves the Princeton Tigers. In fact, there seems to be widespread support for that group from Old Nassau. The people who vote in the ESPN/USA Today and Associate Press polls ranked Princeton 33rd and 37th, respectively, while the 'invincible' Quakers did not receive a single vote. So the voters have not yet conceded the title to Penn. But they have not put that much faith in the Tigers either. That's because this race is going to go down to the final day of the season, a March 2 meeting between the two squads at Jadwin Gym. The Ivy League preseason media poll -- by folks who know what Ivy League basketball is supposed to taste like -- was a lot closer, as Princeton received nine first-place votes to Penn's seven. Both schools were also picked in their fair share of magazines and newspapers. "Unfortunately with our league, people need to know that many of the selections are made with less known about the Ivies than a conference like the Atlantic 10, for example," Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. So the media may not be the best place to look for informed opinions. Unfortunately, Penn students might not be the best sources either. Yes, the Quakers will have center Geoff Owens returning from injury, in addition to three of last year's top ten Ivy League scorers back in Michael Jordan, Paul Romanczuk and Matt Langel. Graduation also cost Princeton Ivy League Player of the Year Steve Goodrich, Second Team All-Ivy Mitch Henderson and Honorable Mention recipient James Mastaglio. There is no doubt Penn will be a better team this year and Princeton will be weaker. But this race is far from over. "I think we have a legitimate chance to be champs in the Ivies," Dunphy said. "But [a runaway] certainly wouldn't be my opinion." Princeton will have seniors Gabe Lewullis and Brian Earl, who were first team and second team All-Ivy selections, respectively. They also benefit from the experience of last year's 27-2 season that included multiple wins over ranked opponents, an undefeated Ivy League schedule, a close loss to North Carolina and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. "This year should be a little more wide-open," Princeton coach Bill Carmody told Princeton sports information. "We've lost some of the top guys we've had, and we have a lot more questions entering the preseason than we've had the last two years." Goodrich's departure has led to numerous questions about whether the Tigers will be able to replace him at center. He will most likely be replaced by a freshman named Chris -- either Chris Krug or Chris Young. But the questions about replacing Goodrich were being asked a year ago after the graduation of 1996-97 Ivy League Player of the Year Sydney Johnson. The Tigers dealt with his loss quite well, going undefeated in the Ivies. Why the continued success? It's gotta' be the system. Although Earl and Lewullis are the only returning Tigers who made significant contributions last season, the value of other players' practice experience cannot be discounted. These relatively unknown players may not have played in the big games, but they definitely understand Princeton's system. That system is the real reason Princeton can never be counted out. While Penn probably has the more talented team this season, the Tigers' system keeps them playing above their heads. After all, the UCLA Bruins clearly had better players in 1996 when Princeton beat the defending national champions in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Neither Penn nor Princeton should have much trouble against the other six Ivy League teams, and they are both capable of going 12-0 against the rest of the conference. Which team presents a greater challenge according to the opposition? "They both do," Sullivan said. "We haven't had success against either team as long as I've been here." It is pretty clear that no one will finish ahead of Penn and Princeton in the Ivies. It is also evident that Penn will have better, more experienced players, and Princeton will miss its graduates. But there is no reason to give the title to Penn this early in the season. While devoted Quakers fans are dying for a title, the reasoning that "we're due" only really works in theory. After all, Communism works in theory and look how that turned out. Another positive for hopeful Penn fans stems from the fact that only three of Princeton's current players actually learned the Tigers' system from Pete Carril himself. Despite Carmody's 51-6 record over two seasons, he has not yet proven his ability to teach the system to new players. None of the six players who started for Carmody the past two years actually learned the system from him. It is very possible that kinks in the armor will begin to emerge as three of this year's starters will have learned the system from Carmody. But even if Carmody proves competent and successful, Penn still has a very good shot at heading to the NCAA tournament It just might be a little premature to start making travel plans.

COLUMN:Grab a mask, run onto the field and tear down the goalposts

(11/11/98 10:00am)

That was 1994. The scene was a mobbed Franklin Field, after Penn clinched its second straight Ivy crown with a 33-0 drubbing of Harvard. Legions of Penn faithful spilled onto the field, ripped down the goalposts, made their way down Spruce Street and tossed the unfortunate uprights into the Schuylkill River. And as Atkins remembers, it was sweet. "The whole week [before the game] everyone was flying around," said Atkins, who was just a freshman offensive tackle and didn't even dress for the game. "When we won, it was the best feeling ever because the stadium was filled, everybody rushed the field, the goalposts were coming down and I was just soaking it all up. "It was the greatest feeling of my life." Yet there's a chance that if the Quakers clinch at least a tie for the Ivy championship with a victory over Harvard this weekend, it may feel a bit incomplete. Atkins, the other members of the football team and every Penn fan who shows up for Saturday's game may be cheated out of one of Penn's grandest traditions. According to Director of Public Safety Maureen Rush, no one -- not even football players' parents -- will be allowed onto the field after the game. "We're going to have videotaping of anybody who attempts to head onto the field," Rush said. "Anybody that tries to do anything with the goalposts will obviously be stopped and arrested, and/or detained, and/or sanctioned by the University." Flyers will be passed out as fans pass through the Franklin Field gates and sporadic P.A. announcements will make the message clear -- Public Safety and the Administration want this tradition to die. The question every Penn fan has to ask him or herself is -- do they want this tradition to die? Last week at Princeton, a glorious thing happened. A Quakers fan turnout that put the Tigers fans to shame spilled out onto brand new Princeton Stadium, making the game teem with the excitement that can only come in games that mean something. It's been a while since Penn has played a game that meant something. With attendance slipping each year the Quakers don't win a title, when half of the Penn student section leaves after the throwing of the toast, it stands to reason that when -- for the first time in 3 years -- Penn is playing for the title fans should be allowed to pour onto the field and show their support for their team. Atkins said that the end of the Princeton game echoed what he felt on the field after Harvard in '94. "It's that sort of thing but it's on grander scale," Atkins said. "It's just unbelievable. "All the students come out and when the goalposts come down that's just an incredible thing." Of course, Penn fans may wonder how the "increased security presence" could handle a rush of 5,000 people or more. "We are prepared to deal with that [eventuality] if it does [happen]," Rush warned. How exactly? "If I told you that then I'd have to kill you," Rush said. Death and arrest threats aside, Penn fans have to look themselves in the mirror and ask what price they are willing to pay to preserve a long-standing tradition. "One night in jail with 1,000 other Penn students would definitely be worth ripping down the goalposts," Wharton sophomore Brian Cornell said. So grab your ski masks, Quakers fans, the title is coming home.

Harvard's Clemente out for season with ankle injury

(11/06/98 10:00am)

The Harvard Crimson CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (U-WIRE) -- Talk about sophomore jinxes. Just two weeks before its season opener at Boston College, the Harvard men's basketball team has learned that standout power forward Dan Clemente must undergo season-ending surgery to repair a degenerative ankle condition. The 6'7" Clemente, last season's runaway Ivy League Rookie of the Year, aggravated a pre-existing weakness in his left ankle with several sprains over the summer. When the ankle did not respond to attempts by the Harvard training staff to treat and rehabilitate it, Clemente, coach Frank Sullivan and team physician Arthur Boland made the decision to do reconstructive surgery. "I sprained it for the last time at the end of August, just working out and shooting around by myself," Clemente said. "I was being an idiot and playing on it, not wearing a brace. Then I came to school and played on it, and it started getting ridiculous. I couldn't run on it or anything." Clemente and the Harvard training staff did not originally anticipate that surgery of this magnitude would be required -- as recently as the middle of October, Clemente was not expected to miss substantial time. In consultation with Boland, though, Clemente reached the point where surgery was inevitable. Clemente hopes to undergo the surgery around Thanksgiving, and his recovery timetable is roughly three months. Clemente will wear a cast for five to six weeks, then do rehabilitation for another five to six weeks if all goes according to plan. "Sometimes guys have ankle problems, do surgery and get right back on the court," Sullivan said. "This kind of surgery is a pretty big deal. It's about the biggest deal there is. Dan's going to be out for some time." Clemente emerged as one of the league's dominant four-men last season, finishing with 13.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, ninth and 11th in the Ivies, respectively. And in a conference chock full of sharpshooters, Clemente was seventh at 43.2 percent from three-point range, converting on 48 of 111 attempts. "We had the luxury of having a skilled shooter at the four position last year," Sullivan said. "Dan was somebody who could screen or step behind the line, and we don't have that caliber of shooter at the four anymore. This takes a lot of cute wrinkles away from our offense." His departure poses a host of questions for Sullivan and the Crimson's reconstituted lineup, particularly now that replacements are needed for two spots in the frontcourt instead of just one -- Clemente at power forward and 1998 graduate Mike Scott at small forward or swingman. "That it's a major blow for the frontcourt is the least I can say," Fisher said. "We were hoping Dan would build on what he accomplished last year, but now the spot is wide open." There was talk even before the severity of Clemente's injury was known of switching the sophomore to small forward while replacement candidates like sophomores Tim Coleman and Chris Lewis or senior Bill Ewing filled in at the four-spot. Though all three are veterans, Ewing, Coleman and Lewis have yet to establish themselves as scoring forces in the paint, and certainly none will contribute in the manner that Clemente did from outside. But Clemente's injury will increase the pressure on the Crimson to improve its defense, one of the biggest question marks entering the season. "The challenge is that we lose a significant volume of three-point shooting," Sullivan said. "Good three-point shooting was a buffer to poor defense last year. It bailed us out of some games, kept us close in others." The injury comes as a shock and a terrible piece of luck for a team in the midst of the most successful stretch in program history. With 45 wins in the last three seasons, Harvard tied a school record. The Crimson was picked to finish in the top half of the Ivy and to perhaps even challenge a graduation-depleted Princeton team for second place behind the University of Pennsylvania. Clemente's loss naturally makes a first-division finish more difficult, but team members remain optimistic. "If the people that do the predictions knew that Dan was going to be out for the year, they probably wouldn't think that second or third place was doable, more like third or fourth," Fisher said. "But if we pick things up, there's no reason for a decline."

COLUMN: A view from the Porch

(10/08/98 9:00am)

No longer the endearing underdog Facing a regionally ranked Seton Hall team, the Quakers threw away a 2-0 lead, but came back to win 3-2 in overtime after junior forward Andrea Callaghan put nice pass from Jackie Flood into the corner of the net five minutes into the first 15-minute extra session. Callaghan's feet saved her mouth. Tuesday, Callaghan was quoted in this paper as saying, "Seton Hall is regionally ranked, and when we beat them it's going to be a big victory." It was a big victory, but the two (and nearly three) late goals the Quakers gave up took a lot of luster off a win the Quakers had to get to stay alive for NCAA consideration. No matter what the final record, the 1998 season is a watershed for the women's soccer program. For the first time, the team must face the reality that it is no longer the endearing underdog of a year ago. Now they, and everyone else, expect them to win. "We're the hunted team now, whereas last year we did the hunting. Penn is the big game to get up for," Penn coach Patrick Baker said before the first home game. In the games where they are the hunted, Penn is fairing quite nicely. The Quakers swept through its first five games with a cumulative score of 18-0. "If people would have told us that we would have been unbeaten and not scored on before playing Harvard back in August, I would have told them, without a doubt," Penn coach Patrick Baker said last Thursday. But in the three games where Penn wasn't a heavy favorite -- Cornell, Harvard and Seton Hall -- the team has a loss, a tie and a near disaster. Problem is, until yesterday, the team hadn't beaten anyone. It even tied Cornell, who isn't even an "anyone." It's time the team accepts that being 7-0 against mostly weaker non-league competition doesn't count for anything compared to its 0-1-1 record in the league. The Harvard game represents the best example of a gap that still remains -- both in words and deeds. "You want them to step on the field and say 'this is ours,'" Harvard coach Tim Wheaton said Monday. "I hope we aren't considered arrogant, but there is a little bit of arrogance you want." "I want [my players] to know they are a good team," Baker said on Monday. "I think that is important. But we don't portray an air of arrogance like Harvard." Harvard arrogant? Maybe. After all, following its game against Yale this year, Crimson senior Naomi Miller told The Harvard Crimson, "Our defense is always awesome. I love watching them play. I don't see another defense in the country that is as good as ours." But Harvard has backed up its talk. The three-time defending Ivy champion Crimson stepped on the field last Saturday and squeaked out 2-1 by finishing their rare scoring chances, keeping their mouths and the team undefeated in the league, although barely. What about Penn's arrogance? For all the non-league goals and wins, the team is one game away from being eliminated from Ivy League title contention and a possible NCAA berth. The tournament is expanding from 32 to 48 teams this year, but with 22 bids going to conference champions, there isn't a lot of extra room for at large berths. A loss to No. 10 Dartmouth on Saturday will almost certainly leave Penn at best in third place in the Ivy League at the end of the year -- one spot too far down the pecking order to grab an NCAA berth. Dartmouth coach Kelly Basius-Knudsen and Harvard coach Tim Wheaton, whose teams will both definitely qualify for the NCAAs, agree that while getting a third Ivy team in the NCAA is possible, it is unlikely. "Everyone expects us to be the best team, but what people don't realize is that two years ago we were at the bottom of the Ivy League," Baker said September 28. The women's soccer program should be proud of everything it has accomplished the past few seasons, but that era of the program is over. A new generation of expectations has arrived, and the team is still struggling to get used to it. "Do I think we can win every game left? Yes," Baker said on Monday. The team has the talking part down. Now it just needs to work on the winning part.

COLUMN: Missing a piece of the puzzle

(10/05/98 9:00am)

From Michael Mugmon's, "The Way It Is," Fall '98 From Michael Mugmon's, "The Way It Is," Fall '98Here at Penn, someone is missing. It's not really a professor, and it's not exactly a dean. It's not really a student or a staffer, but it's not just an administrator either. I only know that this person is absent. Very absent -- and has been for nine months. And the void might hurt Penn's academic mission more than you'd like to believe. So, who is missing here at the University of Pennsylvania? A permanent provost, that's who. On Halloween Day 1997, then-Provost Stanley Chodorow -- his hands full with a very public hunt for various university presidencies and wary of drawing attention away from more pressing issues -- announced his plans to exit the position he'd held since 1994. Little more than a month later, University President Judith Rodin tapped Deputy Provost Michael Wachter to fill in as interim provost. At the time, Rodin said she hoped to appoint Chodorow's permanent replacement by summer 1998. When Chodorow officially stepped down and returned to the History Department on January 1, Wachter -- a 29-year Penn veteran and a brilliant scholar of economics and the law -- began what he believed would be a "short term" in the interim spot. Rodin and Wachter's expectations for a quick transition seemed right on track when, just 11 days after Wachter took over as interim provost, Rodin selected a 15-member provost search committee. Consisting of 11 faculty members, two undergraduates and two graduate students, the committee would be charged with conducting a national search for top provost candidates based on vision, past performance, motivational and strategic techniques and a genuine affinity for academia. And as for whether or not the committee could select an internal candidate, Wharton School Dean and Committee Chairperson Thomas Gerrity said, "The committee will consider candidates from inside the University as well as from nationally recognized teaching and research universities across the country." All signs pointed toward an efficient process and the selection of a top-notch candidate by the administration-designated July 1 deadline. Jump to the present. October 1998. Summer has long since passed, and Chodorow has attempted to shed his "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" image by scoring a job at the helm of California Virtual University. Much more important, however, Rodin has yet to announce a provost candidate, revealing the fiction of Wachter's "short term." With Rodin and committee members mum on the closed process, the situation sadly resembles the painful search for a permanent dean of the School of Arts and Sciences after Rosemary Stevens resigned in September 1996. There again, administrators and the SAS dean search committee hoped to have a dean in place by July -- well in time for the start of the 1997-98 academic year. But the search dragged on past September for another full semester until Rodin named Sociology Professor Samuel Preston dean December 15. So far, so good with Preston. He has begun to revitalize SAS departments and faculty, and he just received an unrestricted $10 million donation. Faculty and students alike seem quite happy with him. But why wasn't Preston chosen sooner? Admittedly, he had reservations about accepting the job. Nonetheless, he was right under Rodin's nose, and it should never have taken 15 months to select him. Similarly, Wachter has performed his interim duties well, namely keeping things running smoothly and preparing for an easy transition. As interim provost, he has done solid work in the realm of distributed learning, made nice progress on the construction of Perelman Quadrangle and helped to keep the 21st Century Project -- Penn's broad initiative to focus on interdisciplinary study and to provide research opportunities to undergraduates -- moving along. Nonetheless, the "interim effect" paralyzes Wachter to an extent, and since the provost is considered the University's chief academic officer, such a freeze allows Penn to run the risk of becoming stagnant in terms of academics and broader projects. Instead of allowing Wachter and the University to push full speed ahead into new, exciting territory, the excessive wait forces Wachter simply to keep the ship steady. As college house mastermind David Brownlee said last fall, "You won't find the creation of new projects under an acting provost." Additionally, the fact that Wachter doesn't know for certain if he is a candidate for the permanent provostship somewhat immobilizes him, causing him to walk on occupational eggshells. If not, the committee needs to get rolling. If, however, a short list of excellent candidates exists, Rodin is the one who needs to get rolling, and she needs to make a choice sooner rather than later. In choosing Chodorow, the old provost search committee took a mere six months to select him as the top candidate. This time, the search has gone on too long. There is no way the committee hasn't already presented a list on which at least one candidate -- be it external or internal -- would be perfect for the job and willing to come to the University. Please, for the sake of Penn academics, find the missing permanent provost now.

COLUMN: The Mark of a Golden Penn

(09/29/98 9:00am)

Look across the page -- just to the left. That is what last weekend's Cissie Leary Invitational will be remembered for, Anastasia's win. Former Penn women's tennis coach Cissie Leary passed from the Penn athletics scene very much as she existed in it, quietly. Even those the most familiar with Penn sports may not know exactly who Cissie was, and certainly not what she was. And as every Cissie Leary Invitational passes, and only two of her recruiting classes remain, tragically, her memory falls more in jeopardy of existing to the outside world solely on a banner. This tournament embodies her much more than simply by name. The banquets for the players and the friendships forged before competition exemplify the platform on which she believed athletics should be played. Coaches bring players to this event for Cissie and what she believed in, not to showcase their talents. Cissie passed quietly through Penn's public eye, as she diverted attention away from herself. But her life was spent in the hearts of others and they flooded her open ears. Leary came to Penn in 1977 at the age of 22 and involved herself with everything and everyone she could until scleroderma finally forced her to rest in November 1996 -- after she spent 10 years fighting it. To this day, her influence is alive on tennis courts throughout the country, and her smile is ingrained in minds so vividly that some of her players can't help but refer to her in the present tense. As close friend Louise Gengler, head coach of the Princeton women's tennis team, stated, she became a common thread to coaches and tennis on the regional and national level. Her work went well beyond coaching Penn to 16 winning seasons, and a cumulative record of 229-119. "People who didn't know what Penn tennis was all about knew the name Cissie Leary," Gengler said. Cissie also spent nine years on the National Tournament and ITA regional Committees. She coached the 1981, '85 and '89 U.S. teams at the Maccabiah Games, and earned coach of the year honors by the United States Professional Tennis Association's Middle States Division. And the accolades go on and on. But her legacy was the friendships she bestowed upon those she worked with. On game day, Gengler says, there was no one more competitive. But practices were fun, and it was the players' time. With Cissie, it was always the players' time to shine. To the day she passed away, she wanted to make sure the spotlight landed somewhere else. Leary battled her illness for 10 years. She was diagnosed with her cancer simultaneously with the pregnancy of her now 12-year-old daughter Katie. Her legacy was to be a great mother, as she already was to so many. She took a chance of giving up her life -- a possibility the doctors made her aware of if she had her child -- to bring life to another, and joy to so many more. During the miraculous 10 years time she fought cancer, she made sure to live, not die. When she brought junior Elana Gold to Penn for a recruiting trip, she mentioned nothing of her sickness. It was only later, when Gold went to Cornell to be recruited, that she found out of Leary's illness. Senior tri-captain Karen Ridley recalls Leary saying, "I'm very sick, but I'll be fine; I'll be better," and simply thinking she would be. Cissie always made you think she would be fine. Her terminal illness was brushed away by her smile and her desire to hear your problems. Penn coach Michael Dowd tells the same story. "You would ask her how she was feeling, when she wasn't looking good," Dowd said. "And the next thing you know she had turned the question around into asking about how you were. "She made you feel like the only person that mattered. All of a sudden you'd be telling her about your problems that were so much less significant than hers. She never talked about herself." Tennis was her love, and people were her life. The hardest time of her life came in that November month of 1996. She couldn't drive the team van to away events, but she made every trip. Just before she passed away, she talked of the spring break trip, and bringing her dialysis machine with her so she could join the team. But she never put her needs ahead of the team. And last weekend, she wouldn't have either. Cissie would have wanted the spotlight to be on Anastasia. She would have read the article across the page first. She would have made Anastasia feel like she was all that mattered last weekend.

COLUMN: A View from the Porch

(09/24/98 9:00am)

Thanks for showing up now go home Why? The Richmond Spiders, this week's opponent, couldn't keep its dance card in order. Penn was coming off a 1993 season which saw it go a perfect 10-0. With sophomore DeRosa ready to start at quarterback and wide receiver Miles Macik coming back for his junior season, the Quakers seemed primed for another 10-0 year. Then, in late May 1994, Richmond called to say it was sorry, but apparently its schedule and that of its Yankee conference mates (now the Atlantic 10 Football Conference) had gotten a bit mixed up, so it wouldn't be available to play on the long since agreed to October 1 date. College football schedules aren't like high school dances, where as soon as you get dumped it's not too hard to find a new date two minutes later. Games are finalized years in advance, and to break a deal four months before the season leaves the left-out team in an impossible position. To Penn's credit, the Athletic Department met with a number of schools to strike a deal to play on October 1. Liberty and Hofstra wanted to play, but had too much honor to ditch their previously scheduled opponents. And an attempt to play St. Mary's in California on Thanksgiving ran aground due to logistical problems from both schools. So on Saturday, October 1, 1994, the Quakers were left in their street clothes with the best seats in the house for the Penn State-Temple game being played on Franklin Field. If there was any doubt that Penn had some frustration following its week off, it humiliated its next foe, poor Holy Cross, 59-8. The Quakers went 9-0 in '94, won another Ivy title and extended their record win streak to 21 straight games dating back to 1992. That's certainly not a season to complain about, but as Al Bagnoli said at the time, his kids work all year and only play 10 games. To suddenly only have nine is a big deal. Part of the big deal is what the nine-game season left on the record book. DeRosa left Penn following the '95 season with 3,885 yards, just 69 fewer than Jimmy McGeehan's school record. Macik left fewer than 100 yards shy of the career receiving yardage mark. Saturday, only a handful of fifth year seniors will have memories of their cancelled game, and none of them would have seen any significant playing time. Still, there are a few links remaining from Penn's non-game. Senior tailback Jim Finn is best friends with DeRosa. On the other side of the ball, Chuck Boone, Richmond's athletic director and the man ultimately responsible for the game cancellation, will be wandering the Spiders' sidelines. Regardless, the team should have enough pride in its history to stick up for its brethren of years past. It doesn't matter what the reasons for cancellation were, Penn football was cheated. The players, coaches and even the record books were wronged in 1994. Most of the 1998 Quakers know all too well how it feels to be the victimized by the record book and by forces out of their control. As this year's football team expunges the demons of '97, it can also stick it to the villains of another bleak moment in recent football history. Set the record straight on Saturday. And don't invite them back.

GUEST COLUMNIST: Education above punitive measures

(09/16/98 9:00am)

The Harvard College Alcohol Report is back and its conclusions are not surprising. The report states that binge drinking is still high on college campuses and that Greeks in particular are "at the center of the campus alcohol culture." It also concludes that binge drinking has not declined significantly, despite punitive measures by universities, and that most Greeks living in a fraternity or sorority house drink. Greeks at this university are unique and different from many of our counterparts across the nation. We are one of the only Greek systems nationwide, and one of the only groups on campus, that mandates two types of alcohol training (TIPS and Drug and Alcohol Resource Team workshops) for our members. This is especially important given that studies have shown that education is the best way to combat harmful drinking. Our education seminars have two goals: To educate our members on how to deal with alcohol responsibly and how to handle those who have taken it too far. So not only will the bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood ensure that a person will be taken care of, but everyone from our pledges to our senior members knows how to handle a potentially harmful situation. While the Harvard study may warn of Greek excesses, we want to remind those in the Penn community of our educational process that places us in the foreground among other Greek systems and other groups on campus. That being said, I am not going to deny that Greeks drink more frequently than many students. But one must take into account that we are some of the most social students on campus. Many of our members join a house, as opposed to a performing arts group, athletic team or other extracurricular activity, for the friendship and support involved. Furthermore, social activities, even in the real world, often revolve around alcohol. American society teaches that good ways to spend time with your friends are over drinks. Why else would there be so many bars, cocktail parties or just people getting together over a beer to discuss old times? Additionally, the alternative social outlets on campus are limited. If there were competing social organizations that provided a viable alternative to Greek life, their drinking rates would be just as high. The reality, as the report indicates, is that many of those students who binge drink in college did the same in high school. They are doing nothing new in college, and if they are Greek, they are receiving infinitely more education on alcohol than previously. But beyond all this, perhaps the report's most important indication is that the methods used by most universities, which are mainly punitive and include heavy sanctions against both drinkers and fraternities, have failed; otherwise the numbers would have gone down. Given that such measures appear to be counterproductive, Penn Greeks are in a far better position to deal with the problem of binge drinking than any other group on campus. At Penn we educate, choosing neither to preach nor sanction recklessly. This is not to say, however, that punishments aren't handed down. The InterFraternity Council, through the Judicial Inquiry Board, sanctions houses for violations of policies that could make events unsafe. Greeks at Penn are united in our desire to create a campus that remains "the social ivy" as well as an institution where students are educated and safe. This explains our collaboration on educational efforts, and coordinated attempts to ensure students' safety at our functions. We have achieved an excellent balance. Let us only hope that this report will not scare the University into taking more draconian steps that have evidently failed elsewhere.

GUEST COLUMNIST: Toward student empowerment

(07/23/98 9:00am)

There are those who have no idea what the UA is or does -- i.e. 90 percent of the student body; those who couldn't care less about what it does (the administration); and finally, you have your other branches of student government, who like to obsess over every little thing the UA does or doesn't do. So, who's to blame for all of this? Well, it all depends on who you talk to. For those pre-frosh not yet acquainted with the wonderful world of Penn politics, here's lesson number one: there is always someone to blame. And remember this next rule, you must always, always complain about something, but never, ever do anything about it. When in doubt, just pass the blame on. In the last few semesters, this blame passing has become so prevalent that it is now the official "sport" of the student government here at Penn, and the cycle begins anew with each Sunday night UA meeting. Members of the body may spend an entire 50-minute session debating and voting on an issue, only to have the resulting resolution completely disregarded by both their fellow students and the administration. For example, when the UA passed a resolution in February opposing the vending ordinance the University had recently submitted to City Council, it had absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the decision process. In fact, vending has been severely limited on campus due to the same bill that the UA voted to oppose ("UA criticizes U. over vending ordinance," DP, 2/17/98). With no evident progress from week to week, the UA is touted as "ineffective" and the search for a scapegoat begins. While the UA faults the administration for not taking student views into account, it's hard to blame University President Judith Rodin for choosing to ignore the advice of a body which is a fairly homogenous and an inaccurate representation of the student body. And the mud-slinging simply can't end there, as non-Greek members of student government point to the heavy Greek presence on the UA as the underlying reason behind the body's general futility, further dividing the campus among already pronounced partisan lines. Well, for once, maybe, just maybe, no one is at fault. Try as it may, without fundamental changes, the UA will never be able to achieve the necessary results to placate its critics. In its role as an advisory board without any direct legislative power, the UA -- and its student body constituents -- are at the mercy of the administration and will never have a real voice in the issues that matter. The current infrastructure of the UA is simply not effective, but unfortunately, the remedy is out of the hands of its members. The only road to empowerment for the UA is to get one of its members appointed to the body where the real decisions are made -- the University Board of Trustees. In 1994, the Board of Trustees approved the appointment of four non-elected Pennsylvania officials in return for $35 million in state funding. So, if the the state can have a four-fold say in University issues, why can't we the students, who pay hundreds of millions a year in tuition, have just one voice?