NATURAL RESOURCES

The answer, my friend, is buying up the wind, as the University has agreed to make the nation’s largest retail purchase of wind-produced electric energy. Penn will purchase 20 million kilowatt-hours a year from Community Energy, Inc., which represents the output of five wind turbines at Exelon-Community Energy Wind Farms in western Pennsylvania. That amounts to 30 percent of the farms’ total energy output, and will satisfy five percent of the University’s annual energy needs.

Illustration by Philip Anderson


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MILESTONES Penn Celebrates 125 Years of Women “Do we have a lot to celebrate? You bet we do,” declared Penn President Judith Rodin CW’66, to the enthusiastic applause and cheers of the audience gathered under a gigantic tent that spanned Wynn Commons. Continued...

Illustration by Michael Miller

AROUND CAMPUS Criminology Center to Emphasize Research “I believe in research like almost nobody believes in research,” Jerry Lee was saying this past October, as he stood at the podium of the Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theatre. “It’s hard to overestimate the role of research in making a better world.” Continued...

HEARD ON CAMPUS Camille Paglia Gets in Tony Soprano’s Face Early in November, the Kelly Writers House and the National Italian-American Foundation joined with Penn’s Center for Italian Studies to present the annual Gay Talese Lecture Series. The topic was “Tony Soprano, the Media and Popular Culture.” Moderated by Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli C’64 GrM’74, whose books include Beyond the Godfather, the lecture panelists were Dr. Camille Paglia, professor of humanities at the University of the Arts and author of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, and USA Today columnist Richard Benedetto. Continued...

Illustration by Josef Gast

RESEARCH For Good Measure … “Growth is really the single most important indication of a child’s health,” says Dr. Terri Lipman, associate professor of family and community health and a nurse practitioner in pediatric endocrinology. But while measuring that growth is non-invasive and “easily understood by children and parents,” it’s not always accurate. In fact, fewer than a third of U.S. children may be getting measured accurately, according to a three-year study conducted by Lipman and a team of researchers. Continued...

HEALTH ECONOMICS Take Penn Medicine, and Hold Off on the 501(c)(3) As the financial picture has stabilized for the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), Penn has decided to create a new, unified governing board for it instead of spinning it off into a separate 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity, as announced last February [“Gazetteer,” March/ April 2001; “From College Hall,” May/June 2001]. That new board, to be comprised of 30-40 people, will be called Penn Medicine. Continued...

APPOINTMENTS This Time the Door is Held for Ramos As a Penn student, Pedro Ramos C’87 once plotted—successfully—to take over College Hall in a protest. This month, as he began a new job as the University’s vice president and chief of staff to President Judith Rodin, the once-besieged building became his workplace. Continued...

RESEARCH Preparing for Smallpox … Again For most Americans, concerns about smallpox and other forms of bio-terrorism came only in the aftermath of September 11. Researchers at Penn and other universities, not to mention the Centers for Disease Control, have been thinking about ways to combat it for a good deal longer than that. Continued...

 

ARBORETUM

 

The Peace of Trees

One hundred years ago, John and Lydia Morris planted this splendid katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) as part of the Japanese garden in their Compton estate in Chestnut Hill. Today the estate is better known as the Morris Arboretum, and it became a favorite source of solace in the wake of the September terrorist attacks.

“We started receiving messages from people saying that this was the place they came to after September 11,” says Marsha Ray, the arboretum’s associate director of development. “I checked our visitation statistics, and I found that in 2000, the week after September 11, there were just over 1,300 visitors. This year, we had 2,800 —the numbers had more than doubled. I have to believe that a lot of that was people searching for someplace to go that was quiet, where they could reflect, where they could find peace, tranquility, and safety for their kids. Many gardens throughout the country experienced the same thing.”


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Copyright 2002 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 1/2/02

AROUND CAMPUS

Jury Says Penn
Guilty of Gender Bias

 A federal jury found the University guilty of sexual discrimination when it passed over a qualified male applicant for the head coaching position of the women’s crew team in 1997. It ordered Penn to pay $71,996 in lost wages, $18,130 in compensatory damages, and $25,120 in punitive damages to Andrew Medcalf, whose 15 years of coaching experience included seven years at Penn as assistant coach of the men’s crew team [“Gazetteer,” September/October 1999]. Medcalf is also entitled to petition the court for an award of attorneys’ fees.

The University’s lawyer, Neil Hamburg of Hamburg & Golden in Philadelphia, said he was “extremely distressed” by the verdict in U.S. District Court because he believed the evidence showed that Penn had “clearly hired the most qualified candidate for the position.” The woman hired was Barb Kirch CGS’84, who had been head women’s rowing coach at Dartmouth College for nine years as well as a two-time Olympian while a student at Penn.

But Medcalf claimed he was not even given an interview since the Department of Athletics was set on hiring a woman.

“The jury understood that Mr. Medcalf was plainly the most qualified candidate for the position,” said Lawrence Woehrle, Medcalf’s attorney. “By awarding punitive damages, they concurred that it was outrageous for Penn to engineer the hiring process so that only women were interviewed.”

In his closing argument, Hamburg told the jury that Medcalf’s case turned civil-rights laws on their head because Medcalf was insisting that a less qualified, white, male candidate be chosen over a woman.

“We’ve made a motion to have the judge reverse the jury verdict on the grounds that it’s completely inappropriate and an aberration and contrary to law,” said Hamburg. That motion was still pending before Judge Herbert J. Hutton as the Gazette went to press last month.

“We are disappointed with the verdict,” added Penn spokeswoman Phyllis Holtzman. “We believe we hired the most qualified person for the position—that being Barb Kirch—and we stand by that decision. We will appeal.”