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March/April Contents | Gazette
Stouffer loyalists unite, shallow "waves,"
LOSS OF STOUFFER LEAVES TRANSFER ALUMNI ANCHORLESS
I am a former Stouffer College House resident. I
transferred to Penn as a junior and spent both my years there living in
Stouffer. I recently read in The Pennsylvania Gazette that the
University plans to demolish Stouffer Triangle, and erect a new larger
dining facility in its stead ["Gazetteer,"
Jan/Feb]. I know I can speak for many of my Stouffer housemates when I
say what disturbing news this is.
Like myself, not a few Penn alumni transferred in to
Penn and never lived anywhere else except Stouffer while we were undergrads.
If Stouffer is torn down, what happens to the anchor for our nostalgia?
We are not like other classes who can return to Penn any time, look at
the Quad, and say, "Ah yes, this is where I lived as a freshman during
my Penn career. It still looks the same as I remember it." What are
we supposed to tell our spouses and children upon visiting our alma mater,
"Yeah, you see that dining hall? Well there used to be this great
building there, and that's where I lived when I was here. You see? My
room used to be right where that exhaust port is now."
This is a tragedy. I have personal knowledge of people
who met and fell in love with their future husbands or wives in Stouffer,
who experienced life-changing events right there. What can we do to preserve
the best cornerstone of our fond memories of the University of Pennsylvania?
At the very least, I hope someone will have the class and compassion to
organize some sort of Stouffer alumni reunion for all the former residents
before they tear down our beloved fortress. Yes, change is inevitable,
yes change is often a positive thing. But make no mistake. The demolition
of Stouffer is bad. It's wrong. And it is very, very sad.
NO SHOCK, BUT SADNESS
In the latest issue of the Gazette, several
upcoming campus renovations were mentioned; one of them was the demolition
of my home at Penn, Stouffer College House. While the news was not that
much of a shock (I knew that whole building was due for some serious work!),
I was nonetheless very saddened by it. I lived in Stouffer for three unforgettable
years as an undergraduate, and I have many good memories of the place
and of my fellow Stoufferites. I hope your magazine will make an effort
to say a little more about the destruction of this residence than just
a passing note. I'm sure I am not the only one who will bid it a fond
I look forward to receiving every new issue of the Gazette.
Keep up the good work!
ARE ALL FEMINISTS THIN?
When I came upon the article, "Making
Waves" [Jan/Feb], which was about the women's studies program,
I had to stop and stare in amazement. The photo collage provided by Carolyn
Guss had certainly caught my attention, but I'm fairly sure that it was
not in the way that you (or she) intended. There, bobbing on photographic
waves and supported by columns provided by Maxfield Parrish, were a variety
of women: young and old, of varying race, and all of them thin.
Certainly, when one thinks of college one thinks of
the young, ambitious students. But are they all thin? This prompts me
to ask, "Are your anorexia and bulimia clinics overflowing with patients?"
As a portrait artist, I know the value of the visual
image. Many of my customers are overweight and regardless of their position
in life, they remain uncertain of how they are perceived in society. And
no wonder, when they are daily inundated with images of what is considered
"beautiful": supermodels so tall and thin that one wonders if
they are not actually from another planet; weight-loss commercials that
focus not on the health benefits of losing weight but on how one looks;
clothing that is designed for women with the figures of teenagers and
with particularly small breasts. Yet I only had to touch pencil to paper
while drawing these women to discover their power and sense of self: they
dress well and have presence. And their faces are beautiful.
I am not fat, but I would hardly characterize myself
as thin. I would say that I cut a fine figure of a woman: I am successful,
happy, and feel good about myself. My self confidence does not stem from
being thin. I very much doubt that most women at Penn put so much store
in their body-fat content. To do so would mean that they lacked depth
(i.e., their degree would be a "Mrs.," as they used to say --
hardly women's studies material.) As I said above, appearance is not governed
by weight: A woman can be attractive without having to diet down to 95
Would not those participating in the women's studies
program rather have seen some graphic representation of women's goals
and achievements, perhaps pertaining to the quote about the fields of
study the program has touched upon? There are so many Penn women who have
made contributions, so many female artists and writers to portray.
Forgive me this rant, but the waters in this collage
were a little shallow for my taste.
WOMEN'S STUDIES ARTICLE OFFERED A FIX OF THE FATUOUS AND FARCICAL
Just when I was concerned that the tenure of Judith
Rodin as president of the University would bring an end to the "News
of the Fatuous" to which I became strongly addicted in The Pennsylvania
Gazette over the last 10 years, your January-February issue contained
a lengthy summary of the 25th anniversary celebration of Penn's women's
studies program ["Making Waves"].
Whoo -- what a fix!
I leave it to alumni who are so inclined to comment
substantively on the proceedings. I just want to thank you for again breathing
some of that farcical Pennsylvania air into my lungs.
Dr. Ann Mayer finds a "striking parallel"
between women in the United States and many Muslim women -- man, you just
can't find clearer examples of missing the forest for the trees than in
the pages of the Gazette. Be sure to update us when Dr. Mayer makes
the big move to Afghanistan!
But Dr. Mayer's contribution pales next to that of the
English Department graduate student who, in all seriousness, it seems,
throws around phrases like "transnational sexuality" (making
whoopee on the San Diego/Tijuana border?) and the wonderfully polysylabbic
gibberish "polymorphously perverse heterosexuality." I do not
know the intended meaning of this phrase, but I'm pretty sure there wasn't
nearly enough of it going on when I was at Penn!
To those students and faculty striving for education
leading to the betterment of world societies, who care not for the race,
faith, or gender of those whom their education may serve, I say "Hail,
Pennsylvania!" To those who've found a program seemingly unconcerned
with educational merit, so long as the correct political symbols are addressed,
I ask, "Can the Gazette which covers the 50th anniversary
please be a double issue?"
WHERE THERE'S SMOKE ...
Re: "Taking On
the Tobacco Giants" [Jan/Feb].
Of all the acts of social and political malevolence
which Penn has committed and supported over the years, none has angered
me more than the ownership of over $10 million of stocks in the two largest
tobacco manufacturing conglomerates in the world (RJR Nabisco and Philip
Morris). I found the work of Mr. Novelli to be extremely honorable, and
am disturbed that Penn silently supports tobacco. Of course, the support
is not always silent: commissaries in Penn dorms carry a variety of tobacco
products. Perhaps Mr. Novelli should visit our campus.
PLAYING WITH FIRE
I was struck by the numbers cited in Susan Lonkevich's
fine article about anti-tobacco lobbyist Bill Novelli. Smoking leads to
more than 400,000 deaths a year, she points out. That figure excludes
those who are maimed and disabled. By my estimate, these statistics are
the equivalent of 5 or 6 major airline disasters a day -- a long and unbroken
chain of daily catastrophe whose main purpose is to feed the machinery
of profit. About 90 percent of adult smokers, she writes, were already
caught up in their habit by age 18. The tobacco industry's $5 billion
marketing budget, which each day ensnares 3,300 child smokers, assures
that the grim harvest of death will continue well into the next century.
My mom, a smoker for over 50 years, has just been diagnosed
with lung cancer, and the prognosis is not good. When she was a child,
though, we didn't know how dangerous and addictive a substance tobacco
is -- at least the public didn't. Given everything we now know about the
harmfulness of smoking, I can't help asking why I see so many smart and
well-informed undergraduates lighting up on Penn's campus. The answer,
I tell myself, is that they are children. They, of course, would rightly
bridle at this characterization, but their brief lives and youthful vitality
conspire to tell them they are immortal.
Labels warning that cigarettes are "hazardous to
your health" are not convincing to those who have not lived long
enough to feel in their bones the beginning of the body's decline. It
is this youthful naiveté that the marketers exploit. One would think that,
as adults -- as parents -- we would rather use our experience and wisdom
to guide our children in their innocence, not take advantage of it. When
a toddler learns to walk, we don't leave open the cellar door that leads
down the dark stair. Or do we?
I enjoyed Rob Hirtz's article, "Martin
Seligman's Journey from Learned Helplessness to Learned Happiness"
in the Jan/Feb Gazette.
However, I take issue with the idea that Dr. Aaron
T. Beck was the first to "articulate" the concept that "severely
negative or depressed emotional states are caused by the negative thoughts
we tell ourselves." This statement completely overlooks the fine
work done by Recovery, Inc. for over 60 years!
Founded in Chicago in 1937 by Abraham A. Low, M.D.,
Recovery, Inc. provides a self-help program for post-psychotic and psychoneurotic
persons based on the techniques of changing thoughts and controlling muscles
in order to replace the negatives with positives in our emotional lives.
The program is outlined in Dr. Low's text, Mental
Health Through Will-Training, and places an emphasis on old-fashioned
hard work and persistence in the effort to discard inappropriate behavior
patterns and to replace them with more realistic ones.
Currently, there are approximately 700 Recovery Groups
meeting in the United States, Canada and Europe. I have the privilege
of leading the meeting in Brook Park, Ohio.
PUTTING PENCIL TO PAN
Your Jan/Feb issue provided some very useful information
in the article on Martin Seligman, but the piece on restored statues electrified
me ["Before & After"]!
I was on campus in 1947, after returning from the Army and all that, one
of my personal therapies was drawing (i.e., avoiding verbal communication).
One day I tried to draw the sundial just outside the library.
Imagine my pleasure and surprise to see it again in
In my effort to get educated, I actually took one of
your courses on freehand drawing, but that was yet to come. I spent about
20 minutes to capture Pan, if I could, and this is how it came out.
CORRECTING SOME MYTHS OF THE SPRING OF 1993
I am not overjoyed that you have revived the "semester
from hell" in your pages, but I understand the necessity ["Through
a Glass Darkly," Nov/Dec 1998; "Notes
From the Undergrad," Jan/Feb]. Like others caught up in the events
on campus in the spring of 1993, I found it terribly painful, and I still
do. I realize that I bear a special responsibility, not only because I
was Penn's president, but because I was "twisting in the wind"
as President Clinton's nominee to be chairman of the National Endowment
for the Humanities. The NEH was a symbolically sensitive site for the
culture wars then raging out of control, thus making me a much more attractive
target for people whose agendas did not have the welfare of Penn or of
Penn students as first priority. Though I understand the process of myth-making
and demonization, I am still not used to seeing the caricature with my
name attached to it being paraded for stoning in the public square.
I do therefore want to thank your writer, Sam Hughes,
[in his article about Stephen Glass, C'93, "Through a Glass
Darkly,"] for documenting two important truths that are contrary
to the mythic version of that spring. The first is that I condemned the
theft of the newspapers at the time it occurred. The second is that the
decision not to discipline the students who stole the newspapers was made
by others long after I had left the presidency. These are inconvenient
facts for those who need me to play the villainous "Pope of Political
Correctness" in their construction of the story.
The other narrative thread from that spring involves
the "water buffalo" case that quickly passed into the realm
of fable and is now serving as the paradigmatic case for Professor Alan
Kors in his book, The Shadow University, which insists that, "Universities
have become the enemies of a free society ..." One of the measures
of Professor Kors's rhetorical success is that journalists almost always
describe the "water buffalo" case as the episode in which Eden
Jacobowitz got into trouble by calling a group of noisy sorority sisters
"water buffalo." If that were the whole truth, Professor Kors
is right to call it "wacky." That is, however, a bit of edited
reality. One can only understand the event, and the depth of anger felt
by the black women students, if one realizes that Eden Jacobowitz was
not alone when he uttered his curious epithet. He was part of a large
group of white students who were hurling insults and racial slurs at the
black women. It was an ugly racial confrontation.
This is not to argue that Mr. Jacobowitz should have
been punished. Indeed, I was confident at the time that the faculty-student
disciplinary panel that was supposed to hear his case would not have found
that he violated the racial harassment policy. The policy prohibited students
from using racial insults in face-to-face confrontations for the sole
purpose of hurting. The important point here, however, is that the student
judicial charter provided that a faculty-student disciplinary panel was
supposed to make that determination and not the president or the provost.
Neither of us had a legitimate role. Consequently, once the charges were
brought by the offended black women, there was nothing I could do to abort
For me to have intervened "unconstitutionally"
would not only have denied the complainants their day in court, but would
have embroiled the University in unpredictable but sure-to-be-serious
troubles, probably even greater and longer-lasting than the troubles we
actually experienced. As it worked out, under incredible pressure from
national publicity, the process broke down. The hearing could never be
completed. The complainants eventually decided to withdraw their charges
so they would be free to tell their side of the story.
Before the women withdrew their charges, however, Professor
Kors, the faculty advisor to Eden Jacobowitz, called me more than once
to ask that I intervene to throw the case out. Each time, I explained
that I had no legitimate power to do so. The last time he called, he advised
me that if I did not intervene he would have to "go public."
I understood exactly what he meant and was not surprised by the media
campaign that followed soon thereafter.
Nor was I surprised when "water buffalo" questions
dominated my Senate confirmation hearing. I conceded then, as I do now,
that it was not wise to have even the sort of narrowly drawn racial harassment
policy that Penn had. I had supported that policy when it was fashioned.
Indeed, the policy was the outcome of a lengthy and careful process of
consultation and public discussion, and it had the support of a strong
consensus of the campus community. Unfortunately, the difficulty of applying
even such a well- intentioned policy in a fair way was demonstrated by
the "water buffalo" incident. I got that wrong, which I regret,
but I don't think it was the crime of the century, as it is being portrayed.
Even though we now know that using the disciplinary
process to maintain decorum is not a good idea, that does not mean that
Penn or any university should simply ignore the sort of hateful incivility
that was the full reality of the "water buffalo" event. Universities
have a moral obligation, and perhaps a legal one as well, to protect students
from harassment at the hands of other students. Should we just smile benignly
while students burn a cross on campus, or paint swastikas on Hillel, or
shout hate-words at a gay and lesbian gathering? I don't think so. What
we should do may vary with the context, and may require a lot of informal
discussion among the people involved, but we must not ignore it.
I wish we could discuss the complications and nuances
of promoting the right kind of atmosphere on campus, rather than engaging
in rancorous finger pointing.
NO QUARTER GIVEN FOR "CLOSE QUARTERS"
I have found the article, "Close
Quarters," by Michael Brus ["Notes From the Undergrad,"
Jan/Feb], as well as the personal attacks on Sheldon Hackney in the "Letters"
section of the same issue, disturbing and inappropriate in the pages of
a University alumni publication.
The Kors and Silvergate book, The Shadow University:
The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses, is a timely item of
significant interest to the academic community at large. A discussion
of this work, especially as it is co-authored by a member of the University,
would be of service to Gazette readers, including past events occurring
at Penn referred to by the authors. Unfortunately, little information
is offered by Brus about Kors's book, which instead is used as a springboard
for one undergraduate's arguments regarding Sheldon Hackney and his tenure
Hackney is absurdly called by Brus the "Pope of
Political Correctness." This is to misuse the term as currently understood,
for no individual having grown up as Hackney and I both did in the pre-desegregation
South can be accused of "political correctness." We have seen
too much and, anyway, such a background is a virtual starting disqualification
from within the movement.
I do not wish to comment on Professor Hackney's talents
as a crisis manager in academe or as a federal administrator. His record
in these areas may have been an unhappy one; I, for one, am delighted
to see Sheldon Hackney returned to his present, and original, calling.
Occupation of offices on the same corridor in West Philadelphia
can scarcely be an item of sufficient concern to Gazette readers
to warrant two closely written pages. In any case, Professor Kors, as
quoted by Brus, says it all: "I would have written the book anyway."
ELOQUENT TRIBUTE TO FORD
I have just finished reading Dan Rottenberg's eloquent
tribute to Jerry Ford. I want to commend
him for writing it, and you for publishing it. I was not one of those
students who knew Mr. Ford, even casually, during my years at Penn. But
even those of us who had no contact with him were impressed by his integrity,
his diligence, and tenacity in the face of many obstacles, including what
appeared to us to be frenzied alumni objections to his mission. The small
honor that you have accorded him is long overdue.
OBITUARY ILLUMINATES UNFORTUNATE EPISODE
The Jan/Feb issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette
includes the obituary of Jeremiah Ford,
whose death occurred more than a year earlier. With this obituary is information
that illuminates one of the unfortunate episodes that occurred at the
University following the 1959 football season.
In the obituary it is stated that only one Penn football
team won more games than it lost during his 14-year tenure. Not mentioned
is that winning 1959 season in which Penn tied Navy, lost only to Harvard,
and won the Ivy League Championship. At the end of the season, Steve Sebo,
Penn's football coach, was fired. Also, a few Penn football players were
invited to a post-season all-star game that was played in the Christmas-New
Year break. They were told expulsion from the University would result
if they participated.
Based on Jeremiah Ford's obituary, it appears that for
Penn to have been completely accepted into the Ivy League in 1954, he
and Penn's new president, Dr. Gaylord P. Harnwell, Hon'53, either
promised or assumed that a losing football program was essential. When
Steve Sebo's coaching contract was not renewed at the end of the 1959
season, we (the students) were told that the decision had been made a
year earlier in response to alumni pressure. However, instead of buying
out the 1959 year of Sebo's contract prior to the season's first game,
they must have assumed he would deliver another losing team. This did
not happen, so when Penn fired Sebo, the University was the object of
ridicule in many, many places.
This brings me to the final part of this letter. Gaylord
P. Harnwell was a great president, and, based on Jeremiah Ford's obituary,
he was outstanding. Yet one of Ford's objectives that "no one would
be used as we were used" (when he was a Penn undergrad) was not fully
realized because Penn football during his tenure was used and sacrificed
to achieve objectives outside the football program.
CALLING ALL COPYEDITORS
At the risk of being old-fashioned/ outdated, I
feel a compulsion to comment on the next-to-the-last paragraph on page
35 of the Nov/Dec 1998 issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette, which
quotes Charlie Ornstein, C'96 ["Through
a Glass Darkly"].
Language phrased in a grammatically correct fashion
is not necessarily stiff or fossilized. Contrarily, the reverse may or
may not be accurate, depending upon the thrust of the intended thought
and its syntax.
With the above in mind, can anyone explain why Mr. Ornstein's
first sentence was not phrased: "If you talk to anyone who was there
at the same time as he, I think you'll find no one/none at the
paper who questioned his ethics or integrity at all" rather than
"If you talk to anyone who was there at the same time as him, I don't
think you'll find anyone at the paper who questioned his ethics or integrity
at all." (In the spoken or printed word it is prudent for the speaker
or writer to avoid advertising that he/she "doesn't think.")
Now to the fifth line, same paragraph: "To the
contrary, among the people whom (not who) he trained and
As a chemistry major at Penn 1947-1952 who took two
years of then-mandatory courses in the English department followed by
several elected courses, I'm a bit surprised by a former DP executive
editor's choice of words
(Young Steele) Grubb
It's become common in journalism to quote a speaker's
exact words rather than rephrasing them to be grammatical, even in cases
(like this one, no doubt) where the speaker could do so him or herself.
This makes for greater accuracy and more natural speech, but it can sometimes
be taken more farther than it ought to be, though. -- Ed.
BRINGING BACK "LOST CLASSES"
The wartime classes of 1943 to 1948 have become
the orphans of the University. In my own case for example, originally
starting Penn in 1941 as a member of the class of 1945, I had the choice
when I graduated in 1947 after 3S years in the Army Air Corps, of being
class of '47 or '45. I chose '45. Many of my classmates chose '46, '47,
or '48, the class with which they actually graduated.
I feel that the University is missing a golden opportunity
to reengage the members of these classes who have lost their class ties
and other ties to the University. The desire to remain part of the University
family is apparent from the reunions that different groups such as ours
are holding. Let's face it, there is not much time left, for the obvious
One suggestion is that part of the Alumni Weekend ceremonies
for 2000 (though it may already be too late) or the year 2001 be devoted
to the classes of 1943-1948 to celebrate their ties to the University
and also recognize their service in World War II. Another suggestion is
that a Homecoming or other football game be used as the focal point for
what could be made a meaningful day recognizing these lost classes. Many
of us have children and grandchildren who have attended or are attending
the University now. What better way to cement that relationship?
CORRECT CITATION: MEDAL OF HONOR
I enjoyed your piece on Private
Murphy, ["Alumni Profiles," Nov/Dec 1998] since I regularly
drove by the Federal Center named for him in Waltham, Massachusetts, when
I was stationed at Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts. However, I must point out
that you have committed the popular mistake of referring to Private Murphy
as a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The correct
term is simply the Medal of Honor.
Some of the confusion on this issue may result from
three sources. First, although the citation does state that the award
is given in the name of the Congress of the United States, the word Congressional
is not a part of the title of the medal. Second, President Eisenhower
established the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for all recipients.
He also was in error when he used that title. Last, this method of referral
continues to the present day and seems almost natural, even though it
is not correct.
I felt a publication of your quality would appreciate
learning this information for reference in future issues.
of Prussia, Pa.
Your correspondent on the subject of self-medication
by physicians ["Gazetteer,"
Jan/Feb] seems to claim authorship of an old adage which has been around
Penn for over half a century, at least. My classmates and I heard about
this from one of the Peppers, Bill or Perry, and for this reason I wonder
whether it doesn't go back to Sir William Osler.
Only one word is changed: "The physician who treats
himself has a fool for a consultant."
I enjoy reading the Gazette but have one nit-picking
complaint. Many of your headings are printed in an ink so faint that they
are hard to read. I suggest that you rein in your over- zealous designer
in the interest of simple legibility.
COMMENDATION FROM A CRITIC
As a frequent critic of The Pennsylvania Gazette
in years past, I must write and commend you on the excellence of the
The Jan/Feb copy is outstanding in every respect.
The wonderful design work, the structure, the splendid
articles (I did find the long-forgotten issue of Sheldon Hackney and political
correctness to be somewhat belabored), the abundant use of color all combined
to make this an outstanding magazine -- by any criteria.
And you are now only two years behind on obituaries
-- a definite improvement!
Congratulations. And keep up the superior work.
ARTICLE REVIVED FAMILY MEMORY
The Nov/Dec 1998 issue of the Gazette, with
its "The Flu of 1918" article
by Eileen A. Lynch, served as a family memory for me. My grandmother,
Regina Mazzatenta, died on October 18, 1918 as a result of influenza.
Ms. Lynch's research allowed me to feel like I was reading the newspapers
of Philadelphia, including The Pennsylvanian, during October of
1918. This opportunity really touched my heart. Personally, I felt that
it was a memorial for her.
Thank you, Ms. Lynch, for giving me this experience.
MOST VIVID MEMORY: WAGONLOADS OF COFFINS RUMBLING DOWN THE COBBLESTONE
The flu epidemic of 1918 may be one of the "least
remembered" in history, but I remember it vividly.
I was seven years old, the youngest of eight children,
and we happened to live not far from Penn -- 38th and Haverford. My father
was a house painter and had to take jobs wherever he could find them,
even though he knew it meant working in houses that might be contaminated.
My mother actually helped nurse some of the neighbors who were sick. Yet,
somehow, we were lucky and none of us got sick.
I remember the little sacks of chopped onions that many
people wore suspended from their necks, believing this would prevent them
from getting the flu, but my most vivid memory is of the wagonloads of
coffins rumbling down the cobblestone paving of Haverford Avenue.
Another vivid memory of that time (though not related
to the epidemic) had to do with the ending of the war. About a week before
Germany surrendered there were reports that the war had ended. This was
referred to as the "false armistice." It was celebrated by a
small parade down Haverford Avenue consisting of about 100 slightly tipsy
men following a wheelbarrow pulled by a goat. Inside was a very happy,
but unconscious, drunk around whose neck was draped a sign proclaiming:
"We got the Kaiser's goat."
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