Ask Benny: A reader challenges Benny's facts

Dear Benny,
Who is David Lindquist, who you believe created the “Peace Sign” (“Ask Benny,” Current, March 28)? In 1970 a group of ardent student anti-war activists asked me to suggest some celebrity sculptor who would make—and donate—a suitable work for their cause. Gently disabused of their notion that such a generous soul would step forward, they agreed to accompany me on a visit to the studio of Robert Engman, a sculptor and professor in the Graduate School of Fine Arts. In an attempt to end a long discussion leading nowhere, I suggested the sign already adopted in Britain by Bertrand Russell’s Nuclear Disarmament movement. It was Robert Engman who ingeniously turned the sign into sculpture; I watched him working on it.
—John McCoubrey, Professor Emeritus, History of Art

Dear Prof. McCoubrey,
Your memory serves you well, but there’s more. Jacqueline Jacovini, curator of the University Art Collection, said Engman is listed as the faculty advisor to a group of Fine Arts students, including Lindquist, who produced the finished project.

Dear Benny,
I see and hear references to “exempt” and “non-exempt” employees at Penn. What do these words mean? And how can I tell whether I’m exempt or non-exempt?
—My Check Comes Once a Month

Dear Monthly Check,
Since you are paid monthly, you fall into one of the government-defined categories that are exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Human Resources stated.

Non-exempt employees, who are paid weekly, fall under its provisions, and must receive at least the minimum wage, plus overtime pay at time and a half for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Independent contractors, executive, administrative and professional employees, certain employees in computer-related jobs and outside salespeople may be exempt from the act’s provisions if their jobs fit the Department of Labor’s definitions. The determination is based on the nature of the work done by the employee.

Got a question for Benny? Send it to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106 or e-mail it to

Originally published on May 9, 2002