THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021 VOL. CXXXVII NO. 5
THE INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Sophomores will be required to purchase dining plan, sparking backlash
Penn will not enact campus-wide quarantine after ‘worrisome’ positivity rate subsides Chief Wellness Ofﬁcer Benoit Dubé said that the worrisome trends noticed in previous weeks’ COVID-19 positivity rates were not sustained JONAH CHARLTON Senior Reporter
Penn will remain at Campus Alert Level Two: Heightened Awareness this week, after “worrisome trends” in previous weeks’ COVID-19 positivity rates subsided. The University sent a message to the Penn community on Feb. 5 threatening a shift to Alert Level Three: Safer at Home on its four-level alert system, which guides the University’s policies depending on the severity of the pandemic in the area. Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé told The Daily Pennsylvanian on Feb. 16 that the worrisome trends previously noticed “were not sustained, and there is no need to impose new restrictions this week.” Dubé emphasized that, while the lower positivity rate is encouraging news, it does not signify that members of the Penn community should be complacent in adhering to COVID-19 public health guidelines and regular testing. Penn administered 16,743 total COVID19 tests between Feb. 7 and Feb. 13, with a total positive headcount of 139 cases and an overall positivity rate of 1.07%. The University also administered a total of 289 tests for symptomatic individuals and individuals who had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. These tests accounted for 37 positive tests, for a 13.81% positivity rate. After doubling for two straight weeks, Penn saw its case count decrease from 242 to 101 among undergraduates between Feb 7 and Feb. 13 as compared to the previous week, lowering the undergraduate positivity rate from 4.47% to 1.84%. The available oncampus isolation capacity also increased to 70.3% from Feb. 7 to Feb. 13, up from 56.9% during the week of Jan. 31 to Feb. 6. On Feb. 9, Dubé explained to the DP that Penn would experience one of two scenarios: a continuation of the doubling of undergraduate cases or a plateau in the number of undergraduate cases. The University experienced the latter of the two scenarios,
Black Penn students allege pattern of racism in Chem. dept. on viral Instagram page
A petition calling for the cancellation of the policy garnered more than 500 signatures as of Feb. 17
KOMAL PATEL Staff Reporter
within each school in the Ivy League. Submissions — which are only identified by school and affiliation to the Ivy League institution — are accepted from Black Ivy League students, alumni, parents, staff, and faculty, as well as other Black community members who have been impacted by racial bias. Black Ivy Stories’ founder — who requested anonymity to protect the identity of the Instagram account — said they drew inspiration from Black Mainline Speaks, an Instagram page on which Black community members share their experiences with racism at schools on Philadelphia’s Main Line, a region of wealthy suburbs. The founder believes that some students choose to submit to Black Ivy Stories instead of filing an official report with their university to make sure their voices are heard, alluding to the fact that even after filing an official complaint, there is a possibility that action will not be taken. “I saw how much momentum [Black Mainline Speaks] is gaining, and how they’re holding these schools responsible for the actions of their students,” the founder said. “Students [and universities’ administration] need to be held accountable at Ivy Leagues, as well.” Black Ivy Stories on Penn’s Chemistry Department On June 29, 2020, a post recounted a 2018 graduate’s experience with an unnamed chemistry professor
Penn announced on Feb. 15 that sophomores will be required to purchase a dining plan beginning this fall — prompting confusion, backlash, and petitions for the University to reverse its plans. The policy will begin with the Class of 2024 in fall 2021, as sophomores will also be required to live in on-campus housing as part of Penn’s Second-Year Experience program. Sophomores must choose from three dining plans — the two existing first-year plans and a cheaper second-year dining plan with fewer meal swipes per week. Sophomores who have kitchens in their oncampus residences will still be required to purchase the dining plan. Currently, 60.81% of sophomores living on campus with a dining plan have a kitchen, but this number will decrease with the opening of New College House West, which will not have fully functioning kitchens, according to Penn Dining’s SecondYear Dining FAQs. With the opening of NCHW this fall, students will be able to use their dining plans at the NCHW coffee bar, as well as at the “innovative teaching kitchen” in the college house, according to the email. The requirement includes exemptions for students enrolled in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies or in Penn Nursing’s BSN Second Degree Program, students who are married or in a University-recognized domestic partnership, students living with a dependent, and students who are 22 years old or older at the beginning of the academic year, according to the FAQ. Under the new policy, sophomores will have fewer plans to choose from than in the past — a change that has frustrated some students, including College first year JJ Gluckman. “They are limiting our options in terms of what dining plans we can choose, and limiting our options to encourage us to use the dining halls more than other places that accept Dining Dollars,” Gluckman said. This spring, sophomores had the ability to choose from six undergraduate dining plans, several of which cost less than this upcoming fall’s first-year and second-year dining plans. Plans available to sophomores this spring offered as many as $1,500 Dining Dollars for the semester — whereas the plan with the most Dining Dollars this fall will only offer $400 per semester. College first year Aditi Doiphode said she also found it inconvenient that Penn decreased the number of dining plan options for sophomores. “If they were going to force students to buy a dining plan and make sure that they’re not food insecure and have reliable meals, they should give more options,” Doiphode said. In an email to first years on Feb. 15, Provost Wendell Pritchett and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli cited alleviating food insecurity on campus and creating a sense of community around shared meals as motivations for implementing the new policy. Pritchett and Carnaroli wrote that the policy was based on discussions with students on the Penn Dining Advisory Board — but one of these students, Wharton sophomore Joel Olujide, said some students on the board did not support requiring sophomores to be on a dining plan next semester. “I don’t think it’s very popular that people have to be on a dining plan next semester,” Olujide said. “I’m on a dining plan right now, but I’m on the cheapest option, which is different from what the lowest option is for sophomores next year.” Hundreds have taken to a Change.org petition to voice dissatisfaction with the policy. A petition calling for the cancellation of the policy, created by Wharton first year Faith Bochert on Feb. 15, garnered more than 500 signatures as of the evening of Feb. 17. “This is a pathetic attempt to pull the wool over our eyes; we are hard-pressed to believe that a dining plan that costs more than groceries is helping students struggling with food insecurity,” the petition states. Bochert said she feels the dining policy is a “blatant cash grab,” as costs for a meal plan may exceed costs for purchasing groceries instead. College first year Julia Pfrommer similarly said that Penn’s meal plans are “absurdly expensive.” “I lived off campus this past fall semester,
SEE IVY STORIES PAGE 8
SEE DINING PAGE 2
KAMI HOUSTON Senior Reporter
SEE LEVEL 3 PAGE 8
Penn shortens quarantine period for students exposed to COVID-19 The University observed most students who were exposed test positive on their 10th day in quarantine or before, if they test positive at all JONAH CHARLTON Senior Reporter
Penn is reducing its mandatory quarantine period from 14 to 10 days for students who are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, effective Feb. 16. Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé and Director of Campus Health Ashlee Halbritter told The Daily Pennsylvanian on Tuesday that the decision to shorten the length of quarantine comes after the University observed that 92.5% of students who have been exposed to COVID19 end up testing positive on their 10th day in quarantine or before, if they test positive at all. “We really hope that this begins to buoy spirts a bit for people who have felt very isolated and for whom 14 days feels like a really long time,” Halbritter said. “We’re really putting our faith in students that this will work.” Members of the Penn community who have received the COVID-19 vaccine also have new guidance for quarantine after exposure. If the individual is fully vaccinated, received their second dose within the last three months, and has no symptoms of COVID-19, they are no longer required to quarantine. Halbritter explained that, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened its recommended quarantine period under specific guidelines in the fall, Penn did not follow suit because Philadelphia was experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and the University did not have a proper system in place to monitor positive or exposed individuals frequently enough. Now, Penn has such a system in place in SEE QUARANTINE PAGE 8
PHOTO BY KYLIE COOPER , ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE CHOI
Black students recount experiences with racial discrimination at Ivy League institutions on the viral Instagram account Black Ivy Stories. (The photographed person is not featured in this story.)
Black Ivy Stories — an Instagram account that recounts Black students’ experiences with racial discrimination at Ivy League institutions — launched this summer amid a nationwide movement for racial justice. Of the over 350 posts made since June 15, 60 are said to be written by Penn affiliates, comprising current students, former students, faculty, staff, and local community members. 11 of these Penn-related posts detail experiences of racial discrimination within the STEM field by professors and other students. Multiple posts levy accusations against Penn’s Chemistry Department, specifically alleging a pattern of behavior that alienated Black students and discouraged them from taking chemistry courses. The Chemistry Department has since apologized to certain students for their “negative experiences” related to the department, but the University as a whole has taken no such steps. “Campuses are not immune from the bias and discrimination that occurs in broader society,” University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy wrote to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “Penn has and will continue to respond to concerns raised with campus resource offices and to create the type of campus environment that allows people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to learn from and with one another.” Black Ivy Stories’ origin Since its first post, the page has gained over 22,000 followers and posted over 350 submissions recounting experiences of racial discrimination and anti-Black bias
“By forcing students into expensive housing and dining plans, Penn is inadvertently hurting the very sophomores it is attempting to support.” - DP Editorial Board PAGE 4
The struggle of Black athletes to assume deserved spots on Penn’s athletic teams has spanned decades. PAGE 12
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BLACK BUSINESS OWNERS REFLECT ON THEIR PAGE 3 ENTREPRENEURIAL EXPERIENCES
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DINING FRONT PAGE
and the grocery costs were so low compared to the dining costs this semester and even next semester with the $4,000 dining plan. That’s a crazy high number,” Pfrommer said. The second-year dining plan for the 2021-2022 academic year will cost $3,996, whereas both firstyear plans, which are available to sophomores, will cost $5,952 for the year. “Asking [students] to pay three grand a semester is not helping anyone who’s struggling financially to obtain food,” Bochert said. “It’s making it harder on them because you’re making it so that people who weren’t food insecure in the first place have a harder time going to school because [dining plans are] incredibly expensive.” Doiphode added that food-insecure sophomores have previously been able to opt in to one of the upperclassmen dining plans at a cheaper cost, which will no longer be possible under this policy. The cheapest upperclassmen dining plan for the next academic year will cost $2,530 — significantly less than the $3,996 second-year dining plan. Students also cast doubt on the University’s claim that the policy is intended to create a sense of community among students eating in dining halls. Doiphode doesn’t think this will be the case, especially given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear what safety measures will be in place in the fall and whether dining halls will be open for in-person dining. Dining halls are currently offering grab-and-go services this semester. “I just don’t think it’s worth paying $4,000 to build community bonding, especially if we don’t even know if indoor dining in the dining halls will even be available next semester, so it’s just a complete waste of money,” Doiphode said. “I feel like there are definitely more effective and cheaper ways to foster community bonding, instead of forcing students to get a dining plan.” College first year Isabelle Weiss echoed Bochert’s sentiment, adding that she is unlikely to go to a dining hall when she wants to hang out with her friends. Pfrommer added that she understands that the University may be trying to make up for some of the traditional experiences the Class of 2024 has lost as a result of starting their Penn careers during the COVID-19 pandemic — but she thinks there are better ways to build a community within the class, like holding more events similar to New Student Orientation. “It seems kind of out there to say that the dining plan will build community,” Pfrommer said. “[Dining halls] could be like what we had this semester, and there’s certainly very little community in going and picking up your food and leaving.”
4thWave will release its ﬁrst zine focusing on healing from racial injustice in April JACK STAROBIN Contributing Reporter
4thWave, a new feminist publication that hopes to center the voices of women, transgender, and non-binary people of color at Penn, launched this fall. Now, the publication is working to publish its first zine, which is a self-published unique work. The first zine will include written work, such as poetry or prose, and visual art related to healing from racial injustice. In addition to publishing a zine each semester, 4thWave aims to host local artists and writers for events, launch a podcast, and collaborate with organizations such as Q-INE and Penn Monologues to elevate the creative voices of underrepresented voices in feminism. 4thWave will begin collecting submissions for its first zine by Monday and the zine will be released by mid-April, College junior and 4thWave Co-President Irene Yee said. The prompt for this semester’s zine focuses on healing and reconnection in the context of long histories of racial injustice, exploitation of the human body, and colonization. “When loving ourselves and loving our communities has become a radical act of defiance, how can we find space for intimacy and the strength to reconnect with ourselves, with each other, and with the land?” the prompt reads. 4thWave may publish submissions that fall outside the scope of the prompt on its website, even if those submissions do not make it into
“We don’t want to exclude any particular voice. We just want to center the ones that have been traditionally marginalized within feminist movements.” - College junior Irene Yee the semester’s zine, Yee said. The group is also going to publish a featured artist spotlight of College junior Myahn Walker, a Design major and graphic design intern at Design Museum Everywhere, on 4thWave’s website. The feature will include Walker’s artist bio and pieces of her work, which focus on portraying Blackness in different ways, College junior and 4thWave Po-
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etry Editor Sav Grinspun said. College junior and 4thWave Prose Editor Nisha Krishnan said 4thWave hopes to continue finding artists who explore their identities through their work. Through their zine and website, the 4thWave co-presidents want to amplify voices that feminist movements have not always included or fully represented, Yee said. “While there are really, really awesome feminist spaces on campus that are doing really important work, we also felt like it could be important — and it could be really valuable — to have a space that’s dedicated to holding a space for feminist perspectives that aren’t necessarily dominated by a white, cis, [heterosexual] voice,” Yee said. Krishnan said that such a space is especially important in a college environment, where students are finding themselves and seeking out spaces to express themselves creatively. “It’s really important to us to focus on that intersectionality and let people show their identity and who they are, and make people feel safe and be like ‘I’m accepted here in this community’” Krishnan said. She added that the publication chose its name in reference to the history of feminist movements, which is often discussed in terms of three or four sociopolitical “waves.”
In calling itself 4thWave, Krishnan said, the publication aims to “push society into the next wave of feminism.” Yee said 4thWave is in the process of reaching out to Q-INE, a magazine centering the voices of LGBTQ members of the Penn community, to explore possibilities for future collaboration between the two publications. This summer, 4thWave connected with Q-INE organizers for advice and guidance ahead of their fall launch, College senior and Q-INE Co-founding Editor Ana Acevedo said. Acevedo said the collaboration would be the first time Q-INE collaborates with another group on campus, attributing the lack of past collaboration to the logistical difficulties of COVID-19. Acevedo said she welcomes the possibility of future collaborations between Q-INE and organizations like 4thWave. “It’s definitely something that I think would be a good route to take in the future, and I’m interested to see what 4thWave collaboration they have in mind,” Acevedo said. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt student life, 4thWave hopes the publication offers a unique space for community. “We don’t want to exclude any particular voice,” Yee said. “We just want to center the ones that have been traditionally marginalized within feminist movements.”
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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021
Black business owners reflect on their entrepreneurial experiences In honor of Black History Month, The Daily Pennsylvanian interviewed several Black business owners who shared the challenges they faced as Black entrepreneurs — and the perseverance behind their journey. SHEILA HODGES Staff Reporter
lack business owners on campus and around the city — ranging from a 10-year-old with a lemonade stand to a local Philadelphian who owns the oldest Black-owned bookstore in Philadelphia — reflect on the creation of their businesses and their experiences as entrepreneurs. In honor of Black History Month, The Daily Pennsylvanian interviewed several Black business owners who shared the challenges they faced as Black entrepreneurs — and the perseverance behind their journey.
Yvonne Blake: Owner of Hakim’s Bookstore and Gifts
Deborah Olatunji: Penn student, author, and podcaster
Dawud Hakim opened Hakim’s Bookstore and Gifts in the 1950s — the oldest Black-owned bookstore in Philadelphia — during the beginning of the civil rights movement, creating the store after realizing the lack of Black history within the American education curriculum. His daughter, Yvonne Blake, now runs the store with her family in hopes of continuing Hakim’s legacy of using books to educate people about Black History. Blake stated that since the police killing of George Floyd, she has witnessed customers from a variety of racial backgrounds enter her store seeking knowledge on systemic racism and Black history. Although the regular flow of inperson customers stopped for three months during the pandemic, resulting in a switch to online sales, Blake stated that business has been busy as usual now that the store has reopened. “My biggest pleasure is having people come into the store, see the books we have, and tell me that they didn’t know that happened in history or they didn’t know about that,” Blake said, adding that selling books on self-help and financial empowerment that were not available in the 1960s and 1970s gives her pleasure. As Black entrepreneurs of a bookstore that sells books about the Black experience, Blake stated that both her and her father have experienced difficulties. When the bookstore first opened, Blake said were times Blake remembers sitting outside because there were no customers interested in buying their books. Being the first Black bookstore owner in a Philadelphia, Hakim added that he faced difficulties which Blake said continues today. “It is harder for African Americans to get banks to support them, to get loans,” Blake said, adding that places that would automatically support a white business hesitate to do the same for minorities. Blake added that there are places now that can help one find the right resources to start a business, like The Enterprise Center, which she has used to help her bookstore. “There are opportunities out there but we don’t get the information that nonminority businesses get,” Blake said. “You have to kind of fight for it to get it.”
Deborah Olatunji, a first year in the School of Nursing, has a book called “Unleashing Your Inner Genius: High School Redesigned” and a podcast called “Voices of Disruption,” which will be launching merchandise soon. Through her book, Olatunji hopes to inspire students to see the education system as one that can be redesigned in order to fit the passions of each student, and as a place for students to connect beyond working solely on graded assignments. She added that students should have more control over their curriculums. “There is so much pressure to be perfect, and not enough room to explore,” Olatunji said. Her favorite part about being an entrepreneur is the ability to create without any rules, adding that the job leads to self-growth and discovery. “It is just a really, really fun way to learn about yourself and your community, and see where your creativity can reach higher heights,” Olatunji said. As a Black business owner, Olatunji stated that she initially faced difficulties when launching her book due to her lack of marketing experience. In addition to those difficulties, she stated that she often felt underestimated by others and that her thoughts on education were sometimes invalidated due to her young age. Despite these difficulties, however, Olatunji hopes to continue exploring her passion for entrepreneurship. “I think being an entrepreneur is a lifelong journey like being a creator,” Olatunji said. “It is not something you put on your resume as one and done. It is continuous work.” She added that Black History Month is a period for Black youth to be celebrated for their surviving each day being Black in America. “I think Black History means acknowledging your biases, acknowledging your privilege, and then doing the inner work to elevate and amplify Black voices,” Olatunji said.
Troy Harris and Kareem Wallace: Owners of Grassroots Micah Harrigan: Owner of Micah Mixx’s Ten-year-old Micah Harrigan’s age did not stop him from opening up his lemonade business, Micah’s Mixx. When he was 8 years old, Harrigan told his mother that he wanted to start his own business. After getting advice from family friends to pursue something he liked, Harrigan soon decided to launch his own lemonade stand. Witnessing the business grow has been his favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur, he said. He started off selling lemonade outside of his house, and later shifted to hosting pop-ups at locations around Philadelphia and selling lemonade after-hours at one of OCF Coffee House’s locations in the city. Harrigan returned to selling lemonade at his house due to COVID-19 in November, but ultimately decided to take a break due to a high abundance of orders. “It has kind of been paused for the winter because things got big, but they got a little too big — to the point where the fridge was full of lemons,” Harrigan said. He plans to reopen the stand in the coming months, as he prepares a food truck that will allow him to sell lemonade at more locations around Philadelphia.
Shawntay Harrigan: Owner of Triple S. Hair Lounge Empowered to establish a business that would allow her to make people feel good in their own skin, Shawntay Harrigan created Triple S Hair Lounge after being incarcerated at 21 years old. “No matter how much they make, what their job title is, or what they do for a living, each and every person that walks through my door we treat like they are a celebrity walking down the street,” Harrigan said. Her lounge’s slogan is “Be bold, be daring, and be simply beautiful.’ “My job and my duty is to not just have my own business, but to be a stepping stone for those that want to enter into the same field and learn the ins and outs of how to run a business properly,” Harrigan said, adding that she sees herself as a mentor for other young Black women. Using her business to empower others to establish their own, she now teaches part time at the cosmetology school she graduated from, Empire Beauty School, and hires some of her students at her salon. Although she stated that she gets a lot of joy out of running her business, she said that being a Black entrepreneur has had its difficulties. “A lot of things that are provided to other nationalities are not provided to African Americans, and if so we are not aware of those things unless we reach out to certain selected people in order to figure those things out or find it out,” Harrigan stated. Harrigan believes Black-owned businesses are important because they give Black people the opportunity to create the life they want, as they are able to control their salary. She added that to her, Black History Month means education about the Black community. “It means the strongholds who are broken, you know, for us to be able to celebrate and be acknowledged for our accomplishments in our endeavors,” Harrigan said.
After being furloughed by Bon Appétit Management Company, which employs retail dining workers at Penn, chefs Troy Harris and Kareem Wallace launched their Kosher food truck, Grassroots, in hopes of supporting West Philadelphia youth education and employment prospects. Harris said they were inspired to create Grassroots after participating in the successful Justice on the Menu Campaign, a public campaign to give employees a better salary. “If we did that and can change lives on campus, we can change lives doing it for ourselves and trying to help others off campus,” Wallace said. Both Wallace and Harris stated that being a Black entrepreneur has been challenging. There are many Black workers on campus who have the ability to train people but would be overlooked due to being Black, Harris said. Harris added that he will never give up on the business because he hopes to provide others in the urban community an opportunity to do anything other than “going to jail or going to your grave early.” “That is why I got it in me cause I’ve been through a tragedy — my son was shot three years ago, and he is in a wheelchair now,” Harris stated. “This is more so of a heartfelt project to me.” For Harris, Black History Month is a heavy topic, referencing how generations of his family have survived a history of racism. “I just feel like there is just a lot behind it because I look at my mom, I look at my father, my grandmother and the cycle they went through with racism,” Harris said. “They didn’t have a voice, and it is sad. So I feel like, for me, I stand up to anything that I feel like I’ve got to get off my chest, because I can’t go through that stage again of being a gag order on your life, and you can’t speak up as your right, for your rights.”
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021
THE DAILY PENNSYLVANIAN | THEDP.COM
OPINION As a West Philadelphian and a Penn student, where is my community?
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 11, 2021 VOL. CXXXVII, NO. 5 137th Year of Publication DANE GREISIGER President ASHLEY AHN Executive Editor HADRIANA LOWENKRON DP Editor-in-Chief ISABEL LIANG Design Editor CONOR MURRAY News Editor
BRITTANY DARROW Copy Editor KYLIE COOPER Photo Editor ALFREDO PRATICÒ Opinion Editor SUNNY JANG Audience Engagement Editor BRANDON PRIDE Sports Editor LOCHLAHN MARCH Sports Editor SOPHIE HUANG Video Editor QIANA ARTIS Podcast Editor ALESSANDRA PINTADO-URBANC Business Manager PETER CHEN Technology Manager JASPER HUANG Analytics Manager GREG FERREY Marketing Manager EMILY CHEN Product Lab Manager ERIC HOANG Consulting Manager
enn’s grandiose campus that used to be filled with students and bustling at any given time of day is now spotty and bare. Philadelphia, a city that would look just as busy on any given day, is very much the same. It is no secret that this city and this university have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic — a history that will be etched in the memories of everyone who is a part of either, or both, communities. For students at Penn, especially for those who have awaited their arrival for months, it is imperative that we not only seek to bridge the gap between Penn and this city, but also experience it firsthand if we are ever to understand one another. As someone who grew up just blocks away from Penn’s campus, I have witnessed Penn from the outside and have almost instinctively been drawn to the intertwined histories of my city and this university. However, it is quite the opposite for some of my peers. When I first heard the infamous phrase “don’t go past 40th Street,” I honestly wondered why. Was it because this city, or the people like me, were somehow unbelievably dangerous beyond that point? I questioned: Am I excluded from the perceived danger that is beyond because I am a student? For over 20 years, I have lived past those street limits with my family and friends. I am not unique; I am one of many students who call Philadelphia home. For years, Penn felt foreign or like a fantastical dream that neither I nor any of my Philadelphia peers could ever realize. The long path of Locust Walk was something of a myth and the towering buildings surrounding it hid Penn’s presence. When I became a Penn undergraduate, there was no more mystery. I began to understand Penn for its culture and its students — many of whom are caring people. I had been oblivious to Penn’s efforts to contribute to my home and the avenues Penn students were taking to continue its improvement. It was somewhat enlightening. Yet, there was also worry about Philadelphia among some students. I wondered if they felt that West Philadelphia was just as foreign as Locust Walk was to me just a few years ago. I wondered if they would change their mind if just given the chance to walk on its streets. For the students who have longed to arrive on campus, they are thrust into the midst of a crisis both Penn and Philadelphia share. In my neighborhood, I could not begin to tell you where to get tested for COVID-19. On campus, it has become second nature to walk outside of my residence to receive a test within ten minutes time. Though Penn has reached out to some
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Guest Column | My journey of growth and resilience at Penn
Forced on-campus housing and dining weakens the sophomore experience
his past Monday, the University announced that all sophomores, starting with the Class of 2024, would be required to purchase one of three meal plans. The decision to mandate meal plans for sophomores, in conjunction with Penn’s soon to be implemented on-campus housing requirement for sophomores, represents a broader trend by the administration to build a Second-Year Experience. According to the University’s dining website, the goal of the Second Year Experience is in part “to help students make good decisions as they face academic and social choices in their second year.” However, forcing housing and dining choices upon adults accomplishes the exact opposite. By forcing students into expensive housing and dining plans, Penn is inadvertently hurting the very sophomores it is attempting to support. From its outset, the University’s attempt at creating a Second Year Experience was in part an attempt to reduce the burden on sophomores, particularly when it comes to making housing choices early in their first year. However, what the administration sees as a burden is often seen by many students as an opportunity. Indeed, many sophomores have historically taken advantage of the freedom to make housing choices, seeing the opportunities to live with friends and to have more flexibility with housing size. By postponing the chance to live off campus, Penn is taking away freedom from its students.
HAKIEM ELLISON is a College junior studying political science from Philadelphia. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growing into my own Black excellence
THIS ISSUE ALANA KELLY DP Design Editor
communities, the difference in COVID-19 support is night and day. A lack of awareness of the city-wide situation has already affected the communities outside Penn’s bubble. In this historical moment, simple actions to mitigate COVID-19 or even to attempt to understand what is happening beyond campus will bridge Penn and Philadelphia closer. If students continue to separate their existence from that of the West Philadelphia community, then both spaces will remain misunderstood. The community engagement of some Penn students is tremendous and should not be invalidated, but there are many talented students who could benefit Philadelphia if they knew the soul of this city. In order to write “The Philadelphia Negro,” a study on the lives and prejuALI CE dices faced by Black people, W.E.B. Du Bois CH lived among Philadelphians while working in a cramped office at Penn. He chose to live in Philadelphia’s 7th ward and not treat the outside community as subjects or rejects, but as people with stories. He sought to understand their struggles and their lives. Du Bois enhanced his groundbreaking work by he truly living how residents lived and seeing what they saw. There are other examples of figures who have tied their work with Penn to Philadelphia, such as Nathan Mossell, Sadie Alexander, and Raymond Alexander. Their names are not the ones written in popular history books, but they are the people who are ingrained in the history of this city that I am proud to be a part. Their legacies have shaped what anyone has seen outside of Penn’s bubble. These are the people that built their legacy in Philadelphia because they knew and understood the needs of the people around them. I encourage Penn students to do the same. I would be remiss to end this article without mentioning Philadelphia’s rich Black history. This includes all of the names mentioned above. Let us also not forget the legacy of Black figures and limit them to just this week, to just a particular month or just this year, but let Black history have eternal remembrance and celebration as a part of American history. If there is no desire to understand the experiences and history of Philadelphia when we are tied together, then the names that have changed this city become lost, and future names will rarely be written down. I
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PIA SINGH News Editor
Guest Column | Going into West Philadelphia means going home, not crossing a forbidden line
hen I consider my experience navigating an elite, pre- previously exposed to the material through private school dominantly white institution as a Black woman, two educations. I realized that other students — white students, wealthy students, privileged students — did not ever think words come to mind: resilience and growth. My perception of Blackness and my own Black identity was about these things. Despite earning my place at Penn, these considerations led flawed before coming to Penn. I grew up listening to my grandmother tell stories of how she picked cotton for white people me to feel like a fraud. These interactions often highlighted the who are still residents and influential leaders in our town to numerous disparities that exist between the Black Penn comthis day. I listened to my mom tell stories of how she wanted munity and the rest of the university — systematic differences to eventually leave our town, but felt as though something was that put members of the Black and FGLI communities at an chaining her to its center. In our tiny southern town of about inherent disadvantage even at our elite university. But despite 7,000 people, 85% percent of them are white. Throughout these struggles, I have been exposed to many inspiring exammy childhood, I was exposed to very few examples of Black ples of Black achievement. I have also come to a more concrete leaders and saw minimal recognition of their abilities or excel- understanding that one should not need to be at an elite institulence. In high school, the lives of Black and brown students tion to be considered successful, though being here in and of were not valued unless they fit the “good student” prototypes: itself should be recognized as an achievement. The way I have chosen to use my experiences at Penn have athletic, smart, or active community members. This could be seen in the way teachers spoke about the opportunities that only made me more secure in my identity, which extends were available to students of color when compared to our white beyond how people perceive me as a Black woman. This peers. This could be seen in the lack of diversity in our school’s growth has allowed me to find spaces where I feel seen and faculty. There was very little encouragement or incentive for heard and where I am able to share stories of struggle that only Black students to strive for anything more than high school my Black peers will understand. I have been taught the imporgraduation. Before coming to Penn, my Black identity was cen- tance of mental health and the prevalence of trauma within our tered around defying the odds placed before me, as a woman of community. I have been exposed to a variety of artists and podcast creators that center color raised by a single the various aspects of mother in a town that did the Black experience. not seem to mind being Most importantly, stuck in the past. though, I have been My background has blessed with strong, continuously impacted Black women throughthe way I assess my out my life who serve as ability to perform acaexamples of excellence demically, mentally, and in its purest form. These socially at Penn. One of women have taught me the biggest takeaways about the importance from both my general of solidifying and emPenn experience and bracing my identity as my economics major is a non-negotiable part of that no amount of edumyself. I have become cation can eradicate the more motivated to level of discrimination share my experiences and systemic oppreswith others in large part sion that I will continue PHOTO FROM MARY SADALLAH because of the women to experience as a result who have been mentors, of my race and gender. Mercedes Owens was elected on the first team of UA student friends, and sources of I believe Penn could do leaders who are women of color. more to support its students in combating the feelings of im- strength and love throughout my life and these few years at poster syndrome, social isolation, and academic and lack of Penn. Without my mother and grandmother pushing me to conpre-professional preparation that often occupy the Black and first-generation, low-income student experiences. My own stantly explore and expand my personal goals for what I wanted familiarity with these issues have only served to challenge to accomplish, I would not be here today. From my decision to the way I think and advocate on behalf of these aspects of my pursue an economics major to my role as the first popularly elected Black woman to serve as president of the Undergraduidentity. My first year at Penn introduced me to new ideas about ate Assembly, I have reflected upon the fact that I would not myself, my history, and my culture. It was a complete learning have had these opportunities without the countless acts of Black experience. Through my interactions with Black Penn students sacrifice and achievement that created space and forged a path and faculty, I was shocked to learn about the sheer quantity for Black students like me to continue to build upon this legacy. Black History Month is dedicated to the celebration of Black of Black history that was excluded from mine and my peers’ prior educational experiences. In social and academic settings, excellence; this must also include the resilience, beauty, and I learned from incredible leaders within the Black Penn com- wisdom evident in Black culture and community. Every Black munity, whose diverse lived experiences and radical thinking experience is unique, complex, and expansive beyond this day, provided me with a wealth of knowledge. To my disappoint- moment, or century. Stories from students, faculty, and even ment, I also learned that racism and oppression is not at all administration demonstrate how advocacy continues to be a crucial component of our community’s existence. I myself have unique to the South. My time at Penn has primarily been centered on the inter- begun to deepen my understanding of what I deserve as a Black section between my Black and FGLI identities. These identities woman and what I can do for my Black community. The burden lend themselves to an internal battle of guilt resulting from should not be ours alone to carry — history has shown that in leaving my home and family behind to embrace the newfound order to make institutional and social change, we must come privilege associated with attending a university like Penn. Ini- together to fight for it. tially, I struggled with imposter syndrome as one the few Black women in my economics courses. I struggled academically MERCEDES OWENS is a College senior studying and mentally not only because I had never before experienced economics from Lexington, Tenn. She is presithe kind of pressure and competition that seemingly coats dent of the Undergraduate Assembly and her the air at Penn, but also because many of my peers had been email is email@example.com.
With regards to a mandated meal plan, more of the same. Penn’s dining plans, while frequently criticized for both their pricing and quality, provide a sense of commonality for first-year students. However, many first-year students understandably become fed up with meal plans by the end of their first year, and seek healthier, cheaper, and more flexible options off-campus. By forcing sophomores on a meal plan, the University is requiring another year of subpar dining, decreasing the quality of their collegiate experience and subjecting students to administration micromanagement. The harms of the proposed Second-Year Experience extend far beyond reducing choice. Indeed, by monopolizing housing and dining options, Penn is preventing its sophomores from pursuing more cost-efficient and desirable options. Housing, for example, is often cheaper off campus, with students having flexibility in terms of both price and experience. On-campus housing, while having some diversity, offers sophomores fewer options in terms of both price and living arrangement. Penn’s implementation of a mandatory sophomore dining plan suffers from many of the same problems, and may prove to be actively harmful. A key reason cited by Penn for implementing the dining requirement is the need to reduce food insecurity among its students. While this is certainly a problem the University should focus on, a mandatory sophomore dining plan may accomplish the opposite. Specifically, many students argue that because Penn’s meal plans are more expensive than purchasing groceries, the plan will be ineffective in reducing hunger on campus. The University itself has even admitted that its dining plans are not cost efficient, acknowledging near $750 in additional expenses for purchasing an on-campus meal plan. The Second-Year Experience Penn is attempting to create could have other unforeseen consequences, namely making on-campus activities and clubs more financially exclusive. Most prominently, the mandatory housing policy will likely make Greek Life dues more expensive, because of the costs of having unfilled rooms normally occupied by sophomores. This ultimately makes an activity that is already often financially exclusive even more so. The University’s attempt to build a strong Second-Year Experience is laudable, especially in light of the uncertainty created by COVID-19. However, making housing and dining choices for students creates a negative Second-Year experience, rather than a positive one.
FAITH BOCHERT is a Wharton first year from Westminster, Col. Her email address is fbochert@ wharton.upenn.edu. VALERIE WANG is a Wharton first year studying management and business analytics from Bethesda, Md. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Martin Luther King Jr.’s complex and lasting legacy Lexi’s Take | Respect Rev. King for his nuance instead of weaponizing him for his rhetoric
t’s impossible to have a conversation about social justice without referencing the famous Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Arguably the most notable civil rights leader in American history, he is often used when invoking ethos in arguments for both provocative societal change and the importance of civil disobedience over violence in calls to action. The name MLK is synonymous with civic engagement, so much so that this year’s Penn Reading Project focused around that very topic and included a piece by King, “The Purpose of Education,” which he wrote while in college. King’s call for the restructuring of prejudiced political, social, and economic hierarchies was echoed internationally. This contributed to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s in the United States. His part in this movement won him the Nobel Peace Prize at 35. His prioritization of discourse, civil disobedience, and community was inextricably linked to the success of the movement. Nevertheless, what King “really” stood for is often a contentious question: Was he a pacifist, the leader of a radical movement, or both? Movements like Black Lives Matter and their supporters have claimed that Martin Luther King’s legacy has been “whitewashed” or otherwise selectively praised by the country. His “Letter from
Birmingham Jail” is often quoted to substantiate the argument that King believed violence was necessary and warranted to incite change. His quote, “A riot is the language of the unheard,” was projected by social justice advocates all summer as evidence to support the devolution of largely peaceful protests into riots. Mary Frances Berry, Penn history professor, a close friend of the King family, and author of “History Teaches Us to Resist” expressed the importance of King’s message today when I asked her about the activist’s legacy. She explained, “Inequality remains and the struggle continues. Jobs, justice, and an end to police abuse are still issues now as they were in the 1960s and before.” Nevertheless, she also cited that any effort to try to paint King as anything but peaceful is misleading, saying that “he unequivocally believed in non-violent protest.” This sentiment is shared by many who argue that the pinnacle of King’s advocacy was his calls for nonviolence and have chided BLM and other activist groups for saying differently. The word “nonviolent” is actually present within King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” over 15 times. King is also frequently described as being in opposition to fellow civil rights leader Malcolm X, for their
Penn should not extend its dining requirement
Andy’s Angle | Penn should not take away our ability to choose
n Feb. 15, Provost Wendell Pritchett and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli announced that as part of the University’s Second-Year Experience program, second-year students will now be required to opt into on-campus dining plans. They also introduced a new dining plan, which will provide approximately 10 swipes per week, as a result of discussions with student focus groups. With this recent initiative, Penn has taken one step forward but many steps back. Under the guise of varying our options and taking measures that are in our best interests, the University is continually acting as a nanny state, unilaterally making decisions on behalf of the student body with no forewarning.
There are better ways to build community than imposing fees on students.
Since the inception of the Second-Year Experience program in 2018, which extended the requirement for on-campus housing to second-year students starting with the Class of 2024, Penn has cited “community” as the grounds for most of its controversial decisions. Some first-year students had told the University that finding accommodations for second-year housing was a “major source of stress and anxiety.” In spite of avid concerns voiced by students from low-income backgrounds and those involved in Greek life, Undergraduate Assembly representatives told The Daily Pennsylvanian that the administration was already dead set on carrying out this change and was open only to suggestions regarding implementation. Nearly three years later, Penn is making yet another veiled attempt to force an expensive requirement upon us by reaffirming its mission to “strengthen community.” With this dining initiative, the University is overstating not only the unifying potential of on-campus dining but also the necessity to pay $3,996 for a marginally stronger community. Within their first few months at college, most
students develop strong ties to others through shared classes, clubs, and Greek life. Even with the looming threat of COVID-19 this semester, we are continuing to find ample opportunities to meet new people and enter the embrace of various student groups, in part due to Penn’s intrinsically robust student culture. Any attempt to further unite people from a diverse array of backgrounds is indeed laudable, but coercing all second-year students to pay thousands of dollars for what most could have done anyway is laughable. Given that community-building is not an adequate reason, not to mention that food insecurity could be addressed without mandating sophomores purchase dining plans, it is only natural for us to assume that Penn is doing this to satisfy insufficient demand for University services. If so, there are various alternatives to address this deficit other than incrementally imposing costly Second-Year Experience initiatives upon sophomores. For one, the University enjoys an endowment of over $14 billion as of June 2020, and Penn President Amy Gutmann, who did not take a pandemic-induced pay cut, is still among the highest paid Ivy League presidents. More notably, the University could also naturally increase demand by simply improving the appeal of on-campus dining: The plans could be more affordable, and the food could be more varied and enticing. A friend of mine, for example, has generally been dissatisfied with the vegan options provided at each dining hall, picking only the fruit with each visit. As such, a natural question arises: For my vegan friend and others that are generally discontent with the quality of dining hall food, why is the University so intent on forcing them to nevertheless purchase dining plans? It may be worth noting that regardless of this recent change, I, along with many classmates, likely would have paid as a sophomore for a dining plan. I frankly find the food satisfactory and would not like to eat out for every meal. My point, however, is that there is no reason to take away the ability to choose. For those who own a kitchen, are from low-income backgrounds, or otherwise need other lifestyle accommodations, they should not be prevented from resolving their extenuating circumstances as they see fit. Unfortunately, repeating past mistakes, the administration again decided to announce an Second-Year Experience initiative after setting everything in stone. Only time will tell whether the University can eventually reform its culture of weak communication. ANDY YOON is a College and Wharton first year from Seoul, South Korea. His email address is email@example.com.
different visions of how to attain racial equality in the United States, King’s being significantly less violent. John Capehart, a Black columnist for the Washington Post argues against the claim that King “deliberately courted violence” in a 2015 editorial, “A cynical view of MLK, Black Lives Matter and violence.” In his piece he quotes Clarence B. Jones, lawyer and close advisor to King, who said on the issue, “What was critical to the success of the 1960’s civil rights movement was the ability of King to awaken the conscience of white America to the immorality of racial segregation,” claiming that saying King “invited” violence is “turning history on its head.” While this is true, it would be equally unfair to diminish King’s legacy to that of simply a “dreamer” whose passivism appealed to white America. He was arrested nearly 30 times for his acts of civil disobedience, for breaking laws that he deemed unjust. He helped lead nearly a quartermillion people in the 1963 March on Washington. King was eventually assassinated for the vehemence of his pursuits a five years later. One of only a few people to have their birthday memorialized as a United States national holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. is a figure in American
history as notable as the founding fathers. He was also a deeply religious man — a Baptist clergyman like his father, King’s views were shaped largely by his Christianity. A notable critic of capitalism, he also held strong Christian social values. His complex legacy is upheld by his descendants, particularly his niece Alveda King, a prominent figure in the religious-right movement, and his son Martin Luther King III, a notable human rights advocate. All of this is to say that in order to fully appreciate King’s legacy and influence, we need to treat him like the individual he is and not a twodimensional symbol of selective rhetoric. While Martin Luther King Jr. “unequivocally believed in non-violent protest,” he was also, in his own words, a man of “direct action.” As we further grapple with the issue of race in 2021, rather than idealize his most convenient version in a political argument, let’s be the civically engaged citizens he called for.
LEXI BOCCUZZI is a College first year studying philosophy, politics, and economics from Stamford, CT. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penn needs a school of public service
Guest Column | How Penn can cultivate the next generation of public sector leaders
his past week, in a high-profile impeachment trial involving 1968 Wharton graduate and former President Donald Trump, the United States Senate voted to acquit the former president on the charge of “incitement of insurrection.” Monumental events have marked much of my adult life, as well as that of many other young people in this country — a pandemic, calls for racial justice, economic downturn, tumultuous politics. This week’s failure by our nation’s politicians to hold the former president accountable for his actions was yet another example of our government’s dearth of leadership. As an institution of national recognition, Penn has a responsibility to ensure that it is cultivating a new generation of leaders, which can most effectively be accomplished through the creation of a new school of public service. Penn already has a burgeoning reputation as the “civic Ivy.” Though this title was primarily maintained by student-led organizations back in 2015, since the 2016 election, Penn has ramped up its investment in public service programs like the Perry World House, Penn Leads the Vote, and the Penn Biden Center. Coupled with a rise in student interest in politics, Penn’s student body has become increasingly politically active, and this reputation has even begun to attract prospective students. Yet, despite this increased political interest within the student body, Penn still lacks the centralization of civic resources compared to its peer institutions. Penn’s public service resources are spread across different administrative structures and funding schemes — from Wharton’s Lauder Institute to the Fels Institute of Government to the Annenberg Public Policy Center. This decentralization prevents the collaboration of students with similar interests and leads to lost funding opportunities, such as the defunding of the Wharton Public Policy Initiative. Though politics-related majors are fairly popular at Penn, humanities and social science majors have seen a significant decline over the past decade, and an abysmal 2% of the graduating class of 2020 was employed in the field of government. On the other hand, business and engineering fields students — who have their own graduate and undergraduate schools at Penn — make up a whopping 66% of that same graduating class in finance, consulting, and tech alone. The plethora of resources afforded to business and tech at Penn sends a signal to the student body: These fields are valued. As a result, Penn’s pre-professional culture, fostered by programs such as on-campus recruiting, has diverted potential public servants. This forgoing of public service isn’t unique to Penn, though. Even Harvard Kennedy School graduates have strayed away from careers in the public sector. The lack of young people in government isn’t just a Penn issue. According to College junior Kaitlyn
Rentala, author of the forthcoming book, “The Public Sector Pivot: How Gen Z Will Lead a Renaissance in Public Service,” this is a widespread problem. “Currently, young people are severely underrepresented in public service. In the United States, only 7% of federal government employees are under the age of 30, compared to 23% in the private sector. The numbers are even worse in tech. In some government agencies, like in the Department of Veteran Affairs, the number of tech specialists over 60 outnumber their under-30 counterparts 19-to-1.” Penn is uniquely positioned to be the forebearer of a renewed commitment to public service among elite higher educational institutions. Penn’s many opportunities for interdisciplinary experiences would easily facilitate cooperation with Penn’s other schools — not to mention the opportunities for dual degrees. Additionally, the University’s influence in Philadelphia, a city crucial to the nation’s founding and its current politics, strengthens ties with city government and locally-based public service opportunities. Philadelphia’s proximity to D.C. already allows a small cohort of undergraduates to engage with public interest careers through the Penn in Washington program, but the creation of a school of public service could create even more opportunities for Penn students in Washington. The creation of a school of public service would be a powerful step that Penn could take to recognize and develop this growing culture of a civic-minded student body. With this novel school, the administrative and academic structures for public-interest work would become streamlined, allowing for the expansion of research, internship funding, global engagement, and civic literacy. There is also a campus-culture aspect to this proposal. Centralizing Penn’s current public service offerings would go a long way toward building a community of undergraduates, graduates, and faculty that emphasizes the value of public service and connects current students with alumni pursuing careers in public service. As we continue to see failures of political leadership and a deepening partisan divide in this country, Penn needs to make good on this “civic Ivy” moniker and materially emphasize public service in its curriculum. As our world faces unprecedented challenges, Penn students are ready and willing to meet them — but it is up to Penn to support them in doing so.
JAMES NYCZ is a College senior studying political science and classical studies from Yardley, Pa. He is the president of Penn’s Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society, and his email is jnycz@ sas.upenn.edu.
The pandemic goes past 40th Street. So should PennOpen Pass
Lexi’s Take | Penn must use existing PennOpen Pass technology to protect Phila. residents at local businesses
enn’s administration has made their intentions quite clear in bringing the student body back to campus; the West Philadelphia community comes second to their own plans. West Philadelphia residents were frustrated with the University’s decision to open campus this semester, anticipating the wave of COVID-19 cases that came to fruition last week. Penn, however, ignored their concerns, neglecting to offer the local residents any legitimate safeguards from the health risks posed by bringing Penn students back to campus, and not even consulting them about their plan to bring students to campus. Penn administration must take concrete steps to protect the West Philadelphia community — not just their students, faculty, and staff — from COVID19. The difference in the treatment received by COVID-19-positive Penn students is quite stark compared to what the average West Philadelphia resident would receive. When most students at Penn contract COVID-19, they are not worried about their next steps. After receiving an eventual call informing them of their positive test result, off-campus students can quarantine in their homes, receiving daily texts from the University that track improvements in their health. On-campus students have time to pack their belongings before quarantining at Sansom Place West. While some issues exist, students are largely assured access to adequate health care and do not have to worry about missing work — or nearly any other matter. Many West Philadelphians, on the other hand, do have to worry about these things — positive test or not. After parties and outbreaks, who is there to protect the residents of West Philadelphia when irresponsible, privileged students threaten their lives? While it is not necessarily
Penn’s duty to fix their problems, it is Penn’s duty to mitigate the risks the public incurs. This is not a problem that Penn can patch up with money; bandaids can’t fix gaping holes. A viable solution, however, is glaringly obvious: to require PennOpen Pass for entry to businesses and public buildings on a larger scale. Although
Acme without seeing a familiar face in the sea of Penn students who fill each and every aisle. Among the Penn students, however, are members of the West Philadelphia community doing their own grocery shopping, stocking the shelves, or working the registers. It is scarily easy for a student who has been exposed to COVID-19 — or
the Open Pass system is flawed and can be cheated, offering it in the West Philadelphia community at locations not directly affiliated with Penn could be a good start. One such place would be the Acme Markets next to campus. It is nearly impossible to leave
even has tested positive — to walk into Acme unchecked and risk exposing the community. Instead of relying on the benevolence of students, Penn administration needs to demonstrate its dedication to protecting the community and its members. Before entering Acme or other
off-campus locations frequented by Penn students, Penn should station security guards outside, requiring students show their green Open Passes. Students should readily show them, so that it’s as natural as showing green Open Passes before entering Penn-owned buildings. Security officials are already found at Acme, so why not show West Philadelphians that they are not there to monitor them, but rather to protect their health and security, in addition to that of Penn students? Other potential locations could include places near campus with indoor dining like Allegro Pizza, Smokey Joe’s, and Panera Bread. Since the City of Philadelphia has already recognized that Smokes’ violated COVID19 regulations, adding an extra layer of protection for the community could prove to be beneficial for the community and the COVID-19 count in general. While the “Penn bubble” is undoubtedly real in most respects, a highly contagious virus shatters this notion of a bubble. Penn increased the levels of danger in West Philadelphia by encouraging students to return to campus, making it the administration’s duty to protect the individuals that do not reap the benefits of Penn’s medical services when they fall ill: West Philadelphia residents. By taking existing Open Pass technology and broadening its reach and purpose, Penn can create tangible change and show some respect toward the community it claims to hold in esteem. It’s time to stop painting the town red, and start painting Acme green — with Open Pass, of course. ISABELLA GLASSMAN is a College sophomore studying philosophy, politics, and economics from Suffern, N.Y. Her email is email@example.com.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021
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Photo Essay | Always seen, but what do they mean? The stories of 10 iconic campus sculptures MAX MESTER News Photo Editor
enn’s campus is enriched at every corner by illustrious works of art. While these pieces serve the practical purpose of convenient meeting locations for students, many of them also have intriguing backgrounds and unbeknown meanings. From looming statues to intricate gates, here are 10 installations that bring campus to life.
KYLIE COOPER “Brick House” (2019) by Simone Leigh, Penn’s latest statue that was installed in November 2020, stands at 34th and Walnut streets. It draws inspiration from the African diaspora and incorporates themes of wealth and femininity.
AMY GUO “Covenant” (1974) by Alexander Liberman stretches over Locust Walk, though is more commonly referred to by students as the “Dueling Tampons.” Drawing from his Jewish roots, Liberman “hoped to create a feeling of bonding together for a higher purpose.”
DIEGO CÁRDENAS URIBE “Quadrature #1” (1977) by Robert Engman is at the end of Hamilton Walk in T.G. Miller Plaza. Engman, a former Penn professor who taught sculpting, often incorporates mathematic principles into his pieces.
MELANIE HILMAN “Social Consciousness” (1954) by Jacob Epstein is located near Van Pelt Library. In 2019, the statue was relocated to Penn’s campus from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Epstein’s work is a commentary on the sympathy, tenderness, and affliction of
EZRA TROY “Split Button” (1981) by Claes Oldenberg rests between Van Pelt Library and College Hall. Legend has it that a button fell off of Benjamin Franklin’s vest, split in half, rolled across Locust Walk, and became enlarged upon coming to a stop in front of Van Pelt
MELANIE HILMAN “The Kelly Family Gates” (2003) by Mark Lueders serves as the entranceway to the Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall. The hands not only represent creativity, but are also a nod to the “Addams Family” character Thing, which is a disembodied hand.
SUKHMANI KAUR “Love” (1966) by Robert Indiana stands at the east end of Locust Walk. Indiana created several Love statues that can be found across the globe. Philadelphia’s most notable Love statue is located in John F. Kennedy Plaza, commonly known as Love Park.
MELANIE HILMAN “Peace Symbol” (1967), another work by Robert Engman featured on Penn’s campus, is situated close to Van Pelt Library. This sculpture memorializes the victims of the Vietnam War, which the Penn community often demonstrated against in the 1970s.
MARIJA WESTFALL “Black Forest” (1977), designed by 1963 School of Fine Arts graduate Robinson Fredenthal, stands adjacent to College Hall. Fredenthal turned from architecture to geometric sculptures after the onset of Parkinson’s disease at 24 years old.
HANNAH JUNG “Life Savers” (1982) by Billie Lawless is located at 38th and Spruce streets. The sculpture was gifted to Penn by local philanthropists Philip and Muriel Berman.
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allowing for the campus to remain at Alert Level Two, which requires the Penn community to continue following public health guidelines under heightened vigilance. Under Alert Level Three, students would have to quarantine in their place of residence, with all classes conducted remotely and all public gatherings banned regardless of size.
The new guideline went into effect on Feb. 16.
Penn threatened a campus-wide quarantine on Feb. 5.
“The lower rates this week allowed us to breathe a sigh of relief,” Dubé said. “It should not, however, give us permission to become complacent.” Dubé added that the presence of variant strains of COVID-19 on campus serves as a reminder for students to be more vigilant — not less. At least two students have tested positive for the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, a more contagious form of COVID-19, since arriving on campus in the past five weeks. Undergraduates living on and off campus are required to schedule saliva-based screening tests twice a week on pre-assigned days. Graduate students and faculty living on campus must schedule screening tests twice a week on days of their choice, and off-campus graduate students and faculty who visit campus must be tested once a week.
the form of COVID Navigator — an automated, text--based system that checks in with students in quarantine or isolation, Medical Director of Student Health Service Vanessa Stoloff said. Students who receive a Red PennOpen Pass due to a positive COVID-19 result, a COVID-19 exposure, or COVID-19 symptoms are automatically contacted by the COVID Navigator program and will continue to receive messages daily throughout their time in quarantine or isolation. For students who are exposed and in quarantine for 10 days, they will receive their post-exposure test on day seven of quarantine. Halbritter said that testing any sooner than the seventh day in quarantine can often lead to a false negative. If students test negative and continue to feel no symptoms, they are instructed to resume testing on their pre-assigned day or days of the week following their 10 days of quarantine. For students who are currently in quarantine, Halbritter said they should inquire about their quarantine period being reduced from 14 days to 10 days when visiting Irvine Auditorium, one of Penn’s seven COVID-19 testing sites, for their post-exposure test on their seventh day of quarantine.
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MERT EMTs are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines and expedited testing When MERT arrives at the scene of an emergency, they screen the patients for COVID-19 symptoms from a distance before approaching to administer care SARIKA RAU & HELEN RUDOLER Staff Reporters
Despite pandemic-related health restrictions, Penn’s Medical Emergency Response Team is still operational and prepared to respond to emergencies in the Penn community this semester. MERT — a student-run organization that provides emergency medical services to the Penn community — has continued to work closely with the Department of Public Safety to complement services provided by the University of Pennsylva-
vania’s vaccine distribution plan because of their status as healthcare workers and first responders, College senior and MERT chief Andrew Lam said. “We expect the majority of MERT members to be fully vaccinated by the end of [February],” Lam said. “It’s important that we protect them as much as we protect our patients.”
When MERT arrives at the scene of an emergency, they screen the patients for COVID-19 symptoms from a distance before approaching to administer care. If the patient answers “yes” to any of the screening questions, the MERT team member will not engage until a member of the fire department arrives on scene. For situations in which waiting for the fire department to arrive could be life-threatening, the MERT team member is allowed to choose personally whether or not to engage with the patient, but only with full personal protective equipment. To support MERT’s work, the University has agreed to give MERT team members access to expedited testing, but any member who has a potential exposure must quarantine for 10 to 14 days before responding to calls, regardless of the test result. Penn’s Chief of Fire and Emergency Services Eugene Janda said that MERT “has gone above and beyond the PennOpen Pass’” precautions to protect their members. While MERT has continued its work for the Penn community, it has had to change its protocol for working out of their headquarters at Samson Place East. “MERT is a very social organization. When you’re working on shift, the tendency is that you use the squad room to hang out — they sleep in bunk beds, they hang out on the couch, they watch TV, they do homework together, and none of that can really happen with COVID-19,” Glick said. Students who live nearby the scene of an emergency are asked to respond to calls from their places of residence instead of spending their oncall hours at MERT’s headquarters. For those
who must come in, only one person is allowed in each bunk room at a time, and members must complete a cleanliness checklist on their way in and out. In addition to dispatch differences, Alanis said he has noticed that since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a shift in the types of calls MERT has received. “We’ve been getting a greater proportion of calls that are medical and trauma scenarios in comparison to any intoxications,” Alanis said. Trauma calls are for injuries due to force, such as a fall or a car crash, while medical calls are for illness. Typically, many of MERT’s calls fall under a third category, intoxication, due to drugs or alcohol, said Alanis. “MERT responds to all kinds of medical emergencies; we don’t just respond to alcohol and intoxication,” Alanis said. “I feel like that’s a common misconception some students in the Penn community might have.” Similarly, Lam said he wants students to know MERT is still here to help even amid the pandemic. “We especially want the [first-years] who did not have [New Student Orientation] to know that we exist. We want them to know that we’re here to help them and that they can reach us for any medical emergency and that we’re doing everything to make our patients and the EMTs as safe as possible during COVID-19,” Lam said. MERT’s hours have remained the same, operating from Monday to Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., and 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday. MERT will also continue to provide service to their normal locations this semester between Baltimore Avenue and Market Street, and between 30th and 43rd streets.
Winkler wrote that the department was aware of the allegations and is taking steps to make the department more inclusive. “The Chemistry [Department] is deeply committed to the success of all our students,” Winkler wrote. “While it is disturbing to hear that some students have had negative experiences in the past, the department is dedicated to learning from these past experiences and to providing a positive experience for all students moving forward.” Winkler pointed to implicit bias and sexual harassment training that was mandated for all Chemistry faculty and staff in 2018, as well as an open-door policy in the department for Black students to air their grievances, as actions the Chemistry Department is taking to address the needs of students. Winkler also referenced newly established student and faculty committees on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The anonymous students in the Black Ivy Stories posts were not the only students with negative experiences in Penn’s Chemistry Department and other STEM courses. While Engineering sophomore Josh Bradford has enjoyed his courses in the Chemical Engineering program, he also pointed to experiences of racial discrimination with the Chemistry Department. “A lot of [Black students] have been turned away from the Chemistry Department,” Bradford said. “I have friends who are pre-med, and they also have very horrible reviews of the department, so they’ve steered clear of chemistry majors.” Bradford said he has felt the need to establish himself as a Black student worthy of taking STEM courses like the advanced chemistry courses required for his major, as the courses are largely composed of white and Asian students. “Some of your peers will look at you like, ‘Why are you here?’” Bradford said. “And you have to realize, I am fully deserving of being here. I earned my acceptance here just as much as you did.” Bradford said he has found that this feeling of not belonging or being unable to handle the course
material continuously prompts Black students to leave STEM majors and courses. “I have had friends who have transferred from STEM disciplines to non-STEM disciplines because of that,” Bradford said. “And I’ve [known] people who were discouraged to follow their pre-health careers just because they felt like they weren’t capable of handling the material anymore.” He also said that if there were more Black professors teaching STEM courses, he believes Black students might feel more comfortable taking these courses. “I feel like Black professors tend to do a better job of understanding racial biases and be, like, look, there are people here who come from completely different backgrounds and don’t have the same resources as some of their classmates,” Bradford said. Changes being made within Penn’s Chemistry Department and STEM Gabriel Angrand, who is Black, graduated from the College in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Since 2019, Angrand, a learning instructor with the Weingarten Learning Resources Center, has been working with the Chemistry Department to create a supportive learning environment for underrepresented students. Angrand met with the department in February 2020, months before the inception of Black Ivy Stories, to discuss how the department could support all undergraduate students, regardless of their background. The conversation gradually shifted to the needs of underrepresented students after he and another Penn graduate advocated for them, he said. When Angrand met with department faculty again in July 2020, he said the faculty were aware of the allegations on the Black Ivy Stories page. While Angrand said the allegations on the Black Ivy Stories page were never directly discussed, they helped underscore issues that the department had already been working to address, including how to help underrepresented students succeed in science and how the department can increase inclusivity
within its courses. As an undergraduate student, Angrand had a more positive experience in the Chemistry Department compared to other Black students in the department. After failing an exam during his first year, Angrand’s professor directed him to Weingarten, where he found a student who helped him understand the material. He said that it was his positive experience in the department that motivated him to help undergraduate students and meet regularly with the department. “I find it honestly heart-wrenching that so many students have bad experiences with chemistry,” Angrand said. “Not just with the content, but with the instructional team sometimes.” Angrand believes that professors can create a more inclusive environment by interacting with students on an interpersonal level. Techniques range from asking students questions prior to the beginning of the course about their feelings on the subject, to pronouncing students’ names correctly, he added. The Chemistry Department is not the only STEM field attempting to address struggles faced by Black students. Last July, Penn’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers facilitated a conversation on racial bias experienced by students and alumni. A survey of Black Engineering alumni from 2013 to 2019 found a pattern of discriminatory treatment on the basis of race, wherein 55% of alumni felt excluded from the Engineering Department, while 70% of students felt that professors gave up on them too easily. Despite challenges, Bradford believes that Black students should not be discouraged from STEM. If Black students continue to leave the field, efforts to make STEM more inclusive would be harmed. “In order for us to see change, we have to stick through it,” Bradford said. “I think the lessons we learn are rewarding because I feel like this is also reflective of society as a whole.”
dispatch center receives a call and the patient is showing signs of COVID-19, a MERT member is not sent to respond to the call. “I definitely feel like we’re safe — there’s so many measures in place. We’re being safe but still being effective,” Engineering and Wharton senior and MERT volunteer David Alanis said. MERT EMTs are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under phase 1a of Pennsyl-
MELNIE LEI & ALEX NEIR
nia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Department throughout the fall and spring semesters. Joshua Glick, MERT’s medical director and a 2010 College graduate, said MERT has had to change a number of its typical protocols to keep its 46-member team as safe as possible. Glick said that keeping the MERT team safe from COVID-19 is their top priority. When the
IVY STORIES FRONT PAGE
during office hours. The student, who was in their first year at the time, alleges that the professor implied that participation in sports is the only way the student would have gotten into Penn. The professor also suggested that the student drop out of CHEM 002 and take chemistry courses at other universities in Philadelphia, as the course was not “a good fit.” This was the beginning of a series of interactions with the professor that negatively impacted the student and their time at Penn, according to the post. “The hardest part was being a [first year] who was still learning how to navigate Penn; I didn’t know who to report him to or how to deal with it after,” the post read. “I dealt with it myself.” Another post, published on July 7, detailed the experience of a 2016 graduate, whom, after receiving a low score on a chemistry exam following the death of an acquaintance, the professor told to drop the course. After steadily improving on the following midterms, the student received a D as their final grade in the class. Months later — and after developing “crippling test anxiety and depression” as a result of the experience — the student asked to see their final exam grade. The professor then revealed he had given the student the incorrect final grade and that they had actually received an A- in the class. In response to the post published on July 7 and other posts on the page referencing the department, the Penn Chemistry Department Instagram commented on the post, apologizing to the former student. “On behalf of Penn Chemistry, we would like to extend our apologies for the multiple negative experiences you endured at Penn and in our department,” the comment read. The comment also invited individuals to report incidents to the department’s anonymous reporting form. In an emailed statement to the DP on Aug. 5, Chemistry Department Undergraduate Chair Jeffrey
The University received over 11,000 international applications for the Class of 2025 Penn received 50% more international applicants than in 2020 as foreign enrollment sinks nationwide SASKIA WRIGHT Staff Reporter
Penn received over 11,000 international applications for the Class of 2025 — a record 50% increase from last year — even as international student enrollment in United States colleges saw a drastic decrease this year. The University saw an increase in international applicants in both its early and regular decision rounds, Interim Dean of Admissions John McLaughlin said. 13% of admitted ED students for the class of 2025 are international, and they hail from 56 countries. McLaughlin said that several factors may have contributed to this unprecedented increase, namely Penn’s test-optional policy as well as the opportunities the University has created for students to access virtual programming during the pandemic. These policies have a greater effect on international students than they do on domestic students, he explained, because of the current lack of availability of testing abroad and the travel restrictions on those entering the U.S. These same factors contributed to a huge spike in overall applications for the class of 2025, which received an all-time high of 56,000 applications. The University’s record-breaking increase in international applications, however, stands in stark contrast to recent trends regarding international students studying in U.S. universities. According to a survey of more than 700 colleges, the total number of international students studying at U.S. universities, whether from within the country or from abroad, decreased by 16% in fall 2020. There was also a 43% drop in enrollment for new international students. The survey found that factors including travel restrictions, safety considerations, and virtual learning impacted international students’ decisions to study in the country in fall 2020. On the other hand, total international enrollment in the U.K., Australia, and
Canada has spiked during the same time period. Although a large part of the drop in total international student enrollment during 2020 has been attributed to students deferring their studies during the pandemic, enrollment has been steadily declining
“I think that the uncertainty created by the pandemic motivated students to apply to more universities,” Leo said. “AIS’s focus this year will be less directed towards recruiting new applicants and more towards persuading accepted international applicants
since 2016. Total international student enrollment in the U.S. had similarly dropped by 19% in 2019. College and Wharton junior and President of the Association of International Students Hugo Leo, who is from Indonesia, said that despite Penn’s high international application rates for the incoming class, he does not think the University will see a comparable surge in enrollment.
to enroll.” He nevertheless agreed that Penn’s test-optional policy played an additional role in increasing international student applications. In March of 2020, the University announced it would no longer require SAT and ACT tests for applicants in the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. This decision was reached after the College Board and
ACT testing agencies canceled and delayed multiple test dates amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is often harder for international students to take the required tests because depending on where you live, they might not be available very often,” Leo said, adding that he believes the test-optional policy will increase the number of applicants from unrepresented backgrounds, such as those who live in rural areas and do not attend international schools. Leo added that the increase in applications may be a result of Penn’s positive reputation among international applicants. Director of International Scholar and Student Services Rudie Altamirano said he agreed that the increase in applications from international students can be attributed to Penn’s reputation of collegiality towards international students. “International students need to go through too many hurdles: bureaucracy, homeland security policies, presidential proclamations, visa restrictions, et cetera,” he said. “That is why U.S. universities need to put in extra effort in order to make international applicants feel welcome, and it is what Penn is doing.” Penn is the only university in the Ivy League whose ISSS department is as focused on integration as it is on immigration, Altamirano believes. “We see international students as individuals, not just as demographics, and I think this has really paid off,” Altamirano said. He believes it is crucial for American universities to continue attracting international applicants, citing a Duke University study which found that domestic students who engaged with international students had an increased sense of self-confidence, leadership, and quantitative skills. “International students bring a richness to the classroom that Penn cannot get in any other way,” Altamirano said.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021
THE DAILY PENNSYLVANIAN | THEDP.COM
Professors report unexpected benefits of virtual education despite facing challenges The DP spoke to seven professors who discussed surprising moments of connection with students via remote teaching DELANEY PARKS Staff Reporter
After grappling with virtual learning for nearly a year, Penn professors reflect on how online classes have altered classroom dynamics and students’ learning experiences through unexpected benefits and challenges amid the pandemic. Instructors who taught small seminars, virtual labs, and large lectures alike reported surprising moments of connection, but also some bigger upsets unique to remote teaching, regardless of their classroom style. The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke to seven professors about what they have found to be the major themes of remote learning. Learning how to create community — and then nourishing it For English Department Chair Paul Saint-Amour and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations professor Heather Sharkey, their students’ class years were an influential factor in the classroom dynamics they were able to create. Saint-Amour and Sharkey, who both taught first-year seminars during the fall semester, said their students bonded over having never been to Penn’s campus or having a “normal” college experience. Sharkey said that an important aspect of college classes is the fleeting encounters that allow students, who otherwise might never have met, to bond. One of the greatest challenges she faced was recreating this sense of community via Zoom. “Those small encounters ended up becoming really meaningful, and people exchange ideas, and they become friends, and they start to feel like they’re part of the University,” Sharkey said about in-person classes. “So how do we replicate that, or make up for it, or build community in new ways?” Besides requiring 100% participation, posting presemester icebreakers, and taking time each class for breaks, Sharkey organized social events outside class for first years in her “Mideast Thru Many Lenses” seminar, including organizing a Halloween party, where students played Among Us over Zoom. Similarly, one of Saint-Amour’s main goals in teaching his ENGL 302: “Climate Fiction” class was to counter the fatigue and burnout that his firstyear students were feeling, as most were still in their childhood bedrooms during the fall semester. He used breakout rooms to encourage “freewheeling conversation,” and encouraged students to engage in immersive readings of the literature he assigned, hoping it could serve as a “mental oasis” from the hours of Zoom classes his students had to endure. “There was a certain kind of hilarity to the haplessness of the app itself, and the visual medium — [they] actually lend themselves to a certain kind of good feeling and collaborative spontaneity,” SaintAmour said.
Saint-Amour also said that more serious challenges brought his first-year students closer together, describing how his students supported each other when one was going through a family or health-related crisis. He added that the students were “quite forthcoming” about the struggles they faced while living and learning during a pandemic. “I think that the crisis can make people feel isolated — far from each other in certain respects. But there’s an openness there, if you’re lucky, and I think you can also, by way of the crisis, develop the sense of a found family,” Saint-Amour said. Challenges of remote learning: missing connections and irreplaceable experiences One of the biggest challenges of Zoom is bonding with students, professors said. Anne Duchene, director of Microeconomic Principles and Economics senior lecturer, taught ECON 001: “Introduction to Microeconomics” completely asynchronously in the fall and is also doing so this spring. She said that, though her TAs have synchronous recitations, her only face-to-face interactions with her students occur during office hours, which only some choose to attend. Duchene explained that of the almost 300 students in her ECON 001 lectures, she got to know about 50 students very well and another 50 or so a little bit. She misses being able to joke with them and gauge their reactions in classes, as well as getting to know them through on-campus programs like Take Your Professor to Lunch. “For me, it was very frustrating because I feel like I didn’t get to know them the way I usually get to know them,” Duchene said. Mercia Flannery, senior lecturer and director of the Portuguese Language Program, said that she aims to resolve some of the communication issues that arise in online classes by hosting more office hours with her students. “A lot of communication may be lost because all we are seeing is each other’s faces. There’s a lot more to language than the ability to put sentences together,” she said. Other professors agreed, emphasizing that virtual learning ultimately fell short of the in-person versions of their classes. Like Duchene, Biology lecturer Jessica Ardis found it harder to get to know her students and to interpret live feedback, even though her classes were synchronous. She explained that it’s much easier to see students’ engagement levels and understanding of class material in an in-person classroom or lab setting. “It was very easy to psych yourself out and think that it wasn’t going well,” Ardis said. “It’s hard to read the room.” Daniel Langleben, professor of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine, said that there were experiences in his anatomy classes that could not be replicated remotely. He typically takes his students to an anatomy theater, as he believes it is a memorable and useful experience for them. Langleben added that for students who will never end up attending medical school, his class provides an understanding about neuroanatomy that they probably would not get elsewhere.
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STEPHANIE JUNGYEON NAM Professors have now taught online for three semesters, with altered classroom dynamics and student learning experiences.
“You can mitigate [the obstacles], but you cannot completely replace [them]. And so I would say that, all together, 100% distanced classes are probably weaker, [and] do not capture the entire impact of inperson seminars,” Langleben said. The benefits of remote learning: new platforms and unexpected growth Duchene said that she found an unexpected upside in her ECON 001 class’ digital textbook platform, Top Hat, which allowed her students to discuss a variety of topics — from economics to video games — through its messaging feature. This allowed her to get to know the students in a unique way, she said, adding that she may stick with the platform even when classes are no longer remote. Despite the challenges she faced, Ardis ultimately felt her virtual labs worked out better than she expected, citing instances of connecting with students who lingered after Zoom classes to chat with her. Langleben added that, while the virtual format reduces spontaneity, it positively increases organization. In her language seminars, Flannery strived to include fun ways to connect — including playing Portuguese songs, creating more visually appealing presentations, and trying to minimize lecturing to prioritize interactive activities. Flannery mentioned that aspects of Zoom — the ability to type comments in the chat as students speak, and the way the platform puts students “on the spot” — have allowed her to focus on each student individually in a way that she had not anticipated, and noted that the performance and language development of many of her students have improved in the virtual setting. “There’s something about classes via Zoom. I don’t know if it’s the focus on everyone at the same
time that allows everybody to speak often,” Flannery said. “I see growth.” Looking forward: lessons and takeaways from virtual learning Some professors mentioned how the lines between home and the workplace have become blurred with virtual teaching. Cinema Studies lecturer Will Schmenner explained that online classes have enabled his students to meet his children virtually, adding a level of vulnerability that has allowed him to open up to his students about the challenges of remote life. “If you share with your students that it’s hard for you, if you’re able to make yourself vulnerable — as a professor in these moments — then there is a real potential for greater understanding and connection,” Schmenner said. Drawing from his experience teaching film classes, he said that additional insight into other aspects of his life allows him to unexpectedly connect with his students on a more personal level. “[Teaching from home] leads to moments where the stakes of our conversations and class touch on what it means to be a person, rather than what it means to be an intellectual,” Schmenner said. Saint-Amour and Langleben expressed cautious hopes that the forced conversion to virtual learning will encourage educators to provide more accessible virtual learning in the future, so that students dealing with family or health crises, or students with disabilities, will be able to learn remotely. “A lot of instructors have now developed a greater capacity for flexibility, the ability to innovate in respect to online teaching, and just a greater willingness to offer classes and teach in a manner that isn’t just about being together. I think that the norms have shifted,” Saint-Amour said.
Weingarten counselor releases poetry book reflecting on race and religion
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Gabriel Angrand also addresses his role leading youth at Penn as a recent graduate himself LAUREN MELÉNDEZ Contributing Reporter
After grappling with the impact of COVID-19, the Trump administration, and numerous shootings of Black men, Weingarten Learning Resources Center counselor Gabriel Angrand is publishing his second book of poetry on Feb. 26. In his book, titled “Love, God,” Angrand reflects on love, race, gender, religion, and social issues. Angrand said many of his poems come from thoughts he has had following the shooting deaths of many Black men, including Ahmaud Arbery and Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia. As a 2017 College graduate and a 2018 Graduate School of Education graduate, Angrand also reflects on his role educating youth at Weingarten at age 25. “We’ve had four years of an administration that would profess being aligned with Christian values, and maybe a cabinet that would do the same,” Angrand said. “The big issue with that is maybe a lot of the things that have been said, a lot of the decisions made really don’t come from a place of humility.” Angrand said humility is essential to combating social issues, as it provides people with an accurate understanding of their roles as members of the “world race of humanity,” and allows people to put the interests of others before their own. “I think each of us can do a little bit better at understanding where others are coming from, and I think that understanding will turn into real solutions,” Angrand said. “We can spend a lot of time being angry, but I think it’s through dialogue that true justice can really come into play.” Another focal aspect of “Love, God’’ is Angrand’s responsibility to teach Penn students important academic skills, after graduating just a few years ago himself. At Weingarten, Angrand is a STEM Learning Instructor and program facilitator for Weingarten Ambassadors, a group of students who work to increase awareness of the academic resources available at the center. Engineering junior and Weingarten Ambassador Niko Simpkins said he values Angrand as a mentor, as well as somebody who understands the Black experience at Penn.
PHOTO FROM EVE POETRY.COM Weingarten Learning Resources Center counselor Gabriel Angrand is publishing his second book of poetry entitled “Love, God” on Feb. 26.
“Since I’ve been at this school, this semester is the first time I’ve had a Black [STEM] professor, so Gabriel Angrand to this point has been the only representation that I’ve seen as far as Black excellence [in STEM],” Simpkins said. “It’s important to be able to see yourself in a space that you want to go to and be at.” Simkins said Angrand is incredibly dedicated to his role as a STEM instructor, working “crazy hours” to help his students by explaining concepts via video chat and reviewing resumes and cover letters. College junior Brennan Rose, one of Angrand’s STEM tutees, said Angrand was a “lifeline” for him in terms of excelling in his classes and developing good study habits. “Penn had a really big stigma for me, as to feeling sort of superficial. Like yeah, they want to help you cause it’s their job, but it didn’t really feel like they wanted to help me,” Rose said. “Gabe was the first guy who felt really interested in what I was doing, really interested in trying to make sure that I succeed.” When working with students, Angrand said that he likes to take on a more supportive role, rather than taking charge. He said that one of his favorite things about the Weingarten Ambassadors program is that it enables students to leverage Weingarten’s institutional credibility to give students access to new spaces where their voices can be heard. “It’s really huge for me to be able to place students in those spaces, and that’s what my leadership looks like — just supporting the voices of those students,” Angrand said.
THEDP.COM | THE DAILY PENNSYLVANIAN
SPORTS 1 1
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021
Penn graduate John Edgar Wideman achieves excellence on and off SPORTS | Wideman led the Red and Blue to a Big 5 championship in 1963 ANUSHA MATHUR Sports Associate
John Edgar Wideman broke barriers both during his time on Penn men’s basketball, as one of the few Black players on the team, and in his illustrious writing career that followed after he graduated. The Pittsburgh native showed both academic and athletic promise from a young age. He was raised in the Black neighborhood of Homewood, and moved to Shadyside when he was 12. In high school, he was a star on his basketball team, served as student body president, and graduated as class valedictorian. In 1959, Wideman received a Benjamin Franklin academic merit scholarship to attend Penn and was one of the few Black students in his class. In his memoir, Brothers and Keepers, he wrote about how he was motivated to excel in college by the thought of elevating himself out of poverty. “I was running away from Pittsburgh, from poverty, from blackness,” Wideman wrote. “To get ahead, to make something of myself, college had seemed a logical, necessary step; my exile, my flight from home began with good grades, with good English, with setting myself apart long before I’d earned a scholarship and a train ticket over the mountains to Philadelphia.” However, at Penn, Wideman grappled with an identity crisis. In addition to being one of the few Black students at the school, he was one of only two non-white athletes on basketball team. It’s unknown whether Wideman was Penn’s first Black basketball player, but there are no Black players shown in any basketball team
After almost dropping out of Penn, alumnus John Edgar Wideman became a captain of the varsity basketball team, honor student, Rhodes Scholar, and a successful author.
photos until he made varsity in 1961. He struggled with constantly being surrounded by whiteness and experienced alienating encounters with his white classmates. The difficulty of assimilating and relating to his classmates took a toll on Wideman, and he even tried to drop out of Penn. However, basketball motivated him to continue. As he was about to board a train back to Pittsburgh, Wideman was stopped by his basketball coach, who convinced him to persevere. Indeed, Wideman ended up excelling. He rose to the varsity team in his sophomore year. As an under-
classman, he scored in the double figures several times during games. He became co-captain his junior year, and captain his senior year. As captain, Wideman led the team in scoring, and helped the Red and Blue to a 20-8 Ivy League record and a Big 5 Championship. Wideman’s performance earned him first team All-Ivy status, and he was later enshrined in the Big 5 Hall of Fame. Wideman was also recognized on campus for his writing, and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society. He graduated with a B.A. in
English, and was the second Black person ever to be named a Rhodes Scholar, giving him national recognition. At Oxford, he studied 18th-century narrative technique. He became the first person in the world to win the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction twice. However, as Wideman met tremendous success in his career, his family back home struggled. His brother was sentenced to life in prison in 1975 without the possibility of parole, though his sentence was commuted in 2019. Wideman’s son was also sent to prison in 1986. Wideman’s literature focuses on his personal experiences, as well as the stories of his family that define his identity. The story of his brother’s incarceration is a strong theme in his work. In his short story “The Beginning of Homewood,” Wideman intertwines his brother’s story with the story of his ancestors. “I don’t have anybody living around me who has much of a sense of what I do,” Wideman told The New York Times. “That’s exactly what I like.” Wideman has since taught at Penn and other institutions, and was one of Penn’s first Black tenured professors. Wideman, now 79, continues to write. He compares writing in his old age to playing basketball. “By the time I finished playing basketball, I used to be, you know, the star, the go-to guy for whomever I played for,” Wideman told the Times. “But at the end of the time on the playground, to make a layup, you know, to steal the ball once — it’s gravy. You don’t have to worry about carrying the team, your rep. You’re just out there, and anything you can get is good.” Channeling the stories of his ancestors and his personal experiences as inspiration, Wideman has been able to persevere through struggles and share his Black experience with the world.
Penn alumna Karen Saah juggled two degrees and three varsity sports SPORTS | Saah starred on Penn’s field hockey, track, and lacrosse teams KATHRYN XU Sports Associate
The time commitment for being an athlete in college is notorious, independent of chosen major. For Karen Saah, being both a student and an athlete meant participating in three varsity-level sports while earning a dual degree from Wharton and the College. Saah is currently a lawyer, a relatively uncommon path for college athletes. Her undergraduate tenure didn’t necessarily predict such a development either; Saah earned a B.S. in marketing along with a B.A. in International Relations from Penn while she was a member of the varsity field hockey, track and field, and lacrosse teams. Field hockey is where Saah left her strongest mark. A current member of the Field Hockey Alumni Board, Saah’s impact on the team was noted ever since she joined; Saah was the only freshman on the traveling team, a team with high expectations levied upon its shoulders after winning five Ivy League titles in the 1980s. In the 1990 season, Saah was a key part of keeping the team’s Ivy League title hopes alive, even as a sophomore. One pivotal moment was when Penn beat Princeton and improved their record to 3-0-1 in conference play. Saah
scored the game-winning goal. “It was a great win,” Saah said. “We knew it was one of our bigger games of the season.” The Quakers ultimately finished in second place, with a 4-0-2 record in the Ivy League. Saah’s contributions, however, did not stop there—as a junior, Saah was again noted as a key player. On her 20th birthday, Saah scored two goals to lead Penn to a 3-0 victory over Lafayette. The previous week, Saah had contributed another two goals to a 6-1 drubbing over Dartmouth. “Karen’s taking very positive leadership out there,” then head coach Anne Sage said. “She’s making things happen. She knows what she wants to do with the ball and she’s doing it.” The Daily Pennsylvanian echoed this high praise, stating, “This type of brilliant and exciting play from Saah is a gift Penn hopes it can open time and time again throughout this season.” However, the Red and Blue would not win a championship in Saah’s freshman, sophomore, or junior years. In 1991, the seemingly indomitable juggernaut of 1980s field hockey teams was now struggling, with a meager 5th place in the Ivy League. Saah helped change that in her final year with the team, when she garnered a second team All-Ivy nod. Though she didn’t score many points, her leadership was noted by assistant coach Val Cloud as a key reason why the Quakers finally clinched another championship in 1992.
“[They’ve meant] everything,” Cloud said. “It’s been a real motivation. [Saah and the other seniors] have been great leaders. On any good team you need leadership — somebody to keep them together. That’s what they’ve done.” Perhaps even more remarkable was what Saah accomplished off the field. Saah, along with other seniors Michael Dal Bello, Beau Ances, and Michelle Peluso became a recipient of the Thouron Award, a fellowship covering full tuition fees and fees for up to two years to study at any university in the United Kingdom. The selection for the award is intense and rigorous: After an evaluation of students’ general applications, a group of semifinalists is chosen to undergo a large, successive set of interviews. With her award, Saah earned a post-graduate diploma in development economics and international development from the University of Cam-
bridge. Saah went on to earn an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Then, despite intending to go into business, Saah decided instead to go to law school. Saah attended Stanford Law School, where she was a member of the Black Law Students Association, while also serving on the managing board of the Stanford Law Review. During her following time with Shearman and Sterling, Saah worked with the pro bono team to help Haitians apply for work visas after the 2010 earthquake. Saah’s accomplishments follow naturally from her undergraduate successes. Her perseverance led to both an Ivy League title and the reception of a highly selective fellowship, followed by the surprising and remarkable path of attending Stanford Law School. From her time at Penn to the present, Saah has been a paragon of excellence.
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Karen Saah was a recipient of the selective Thouron Award, a fellowship covering full tuition and fees for up to two years at any university in the United Kingdom.
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Bell was named All-American and All-East as a defensive back in 1951 and 1952. Evans was Penn’s first Black football captain in 1952. “As a player [Evans] is rated as one of the greatest ever to come to Pennsylvania – and we’ve had some great players here over 75 seasons,” the DP wrote on Sept. 26, 1952. “He is exceptionally fast and quick. He has natural reflexes which enable him to get the jump on his opponents. In fact, it sometimes seems to opponents as if there are eleven Bob Evanses playing on defense.” Evans fell ill a few games into his senior year, was hospitalized for nine days, and rendered unable to complete the season. Bell, a sprinter for the track team during the football offseason, was also a member of the 1952 team that pulled out of the annual North Carolina Relays. When accommodations could not be made in Chapel Hill for the three Black team members, including Bell, Art Faulk, and Charley Emery, the team voted unanimously to cancel the trip entirely. This was followed by a call to action from the DP against the overt racial discrimination among Penn’s Southern athletic opponents. “It is the obligation of Pennsylvania as a leading Uni-
versity and ‘pioneer’ in equality to follow up the lead of the team, openly condemn any such discrimination, and take such steps as necessary to boycott the narrowmindedness of our Southern ‘colleagues,’” the DP wrote on April 4, 1952. “Active large-scale protest, backed by power and determination, is the only way that we can put an end to this repugnant foolishness. Now is the hour for our University officials to act.” There is no record of any action by the University administration beyond cancelation of the April trip. Penn track would host North Carolina on Franklin Field only a month later. While Penn lost the meet to the visiting Tar Heels, Emery set a discus program record with a toss of 162 feet, 6 and three-eigths inches. Admittedly, these stories only scratch the surface of the endemic racism in collegiate athletics at Penn. Gaps and omissions in Penn’s archives serve as a painful reminder of what is missing from the University’s history. Strikingly, no records exist detailing the achievements of the pioneering Black female athletes at Penn. These names may have been lost to time, or, like in the case of Cummings, purposely hidden by a discriminatory administration. In any case, racial integration was not an issue to be solved by one person. It took the efforts and sacrifices of many athletes fighting for equal opportunities on Penn
Seeking a Penn student who can work part time (8-10 hours a week), Monday thru Friday. Candidates should have an interest in marketing and communications and be proficient in web page design. The Development Manager will be expected to create, manage and assist on a variety of assigned tasks and projects related to the Daily Pennsylvanian Alumni Association, including; web and material design, database management, and event planning. Please send a resume, class schedule, and work-study allotment to Development Director Steven Molberger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Samples of previous work may be required during the interview.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021 VOL. CXXXV NO. 5
THE INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
The history of Black athletes breaking color barriers at Penn SPORTS | Black athletes were frequently benched against Southern teams in the ‘60s LOCHLAHN MARCH Senior Sports Editor
The struggle of Black athletes to assume deserved spots on Penn’s athletic teams has spanned decades. There was not one “color line” to cross at Penn, but many, and the names and stories of several Quakers who defied the odds to wear the Red and Blue are lost to history. Nevertheless, their struggles and achievements cannot be forgotten. From the records that do exist, one can find lessons in bravery, perseverance, and athletic excellence. The story starts with track and field. The Penn Relays is the nation’s largest amateur track and field competition. The event has been open to Black entrants since its inception in 1895, which, at the time, was relatively unique for a sporting event. Dave Johnson, who in June stepped down as the Penn Relays’ director after 25 years in the position, told Sports Illustrated that he once came across an archival letter from the 1910s, which was written from a Relays official to an administrator of a participating school. The administrator had threatened to pull his team out of the meet if Black athletes were permitted to participate, but the official dismissed the threats in the letter, holding firm on the Relays’ tolerant policy. While the Relays were always integrated, it would be a few years before a Black athlete would represent the Red and Blue at the event. John Baxter Taylor, Jr. enrolled as a Wharton student in 1903 before transferring to Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, where he would ultimately graduate from in 1908. Taylor competed on Penn’s track team in 1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, and 1908. Indisputably the best college-level quarter-miler at the time, Taylor set the collegiate record for 440 yards with a time of 49.1 seconds in 1903. He beat his own record in 1907 with a time of 48.6 seconds. Taylor went on to represent the United States at the 1908 Olympics in London, competing in both the 400-meter race and the 1600 medley relay. Taylor was a major contender for the gold medal in the former, but ultimately forfeited a chance at the title. During the race, a controversial foul was called on an American runner, causing officials to call for a rematch. Disagreements between the American and British athletes led Taylor and the other American athletes to boycott the 400-meter rerun. In his second event, Taylor topped the podium as a member of the 1600-meter relay. He was the first Black athlete to win a gold medal in the Olympics for the United States. Within a few months, however, tragedy struck. Taylor, one of the greatest athletes to come through Penn, would die that December from typhoid pneumonia. He was 26. Thousands came together at Taylor’s funeral to celebrate the trailblazer’s life. “Since 1904 he has without doubt been the greatest quarter mile runner in the country, yet his great successes did not turn his head,” The Daily Pennsylvanian wrote after Taylor’s death on Dec. 5, 1908. “Always quiet and reserved, he had the bearing of a true gentleman. We can pay him no higher tribute — John Baxter Taylor: Pennsylvania man, athlete and gentleman.” Almost a decade after Taylor’s historic Olympic victory, Willis Nelson Cummings would enroll at Penn and become the third Black student to earn a varsity letter
Penn Relays has been open to Black athletes since its inception in 1895.
at the University after joining the cross country team in 1917. “Negroes were not allowed to participate in football or basketball or anything but track,” Cummings told the DP in 1979. “There was too much contact in the other sports.” Cummings was also one of only two Black students enrolled in his year at Penn’s School of Dentistry, and he would go on to graduate sixth in a class of 259. When he was named captain of the cross country team in 1918, Cummings became the first Black captain of any varsity sport in either the Ivy League or the Big Ten. This milestone was not won without controversy from competitors and within Penn itself. The Quakers’ team photo tradition was discontinued for that season, out of reluctance to show a Black person sitting in the center as a captain. Despite this, Cummings was determined not to let his race be erased from his accomplishments. “Back in those days, you never heard anything about Negroes unless they were committing some kind of crime. You never heard about them if they were doing something very good,” Cummings said in 1979. “So after I became friendly with different sports reporters, I asked them to put ‘negro’ after my name, to show that Negroes could accomplish something of significance. But in small letters, to show how insignificant the whole thing really was.” After reporters began following Cummings’ request, some of the Quakers’ cross country opponents were angered. Navy, who had competed against the Red and Blue in 1918, had not realized that Cummings was
Black, reportedly due to his light complexion. They subsequently refused to run against him in 1919. Southern road trips were a fraught issue for Black athletes who integrated in schools above the Mason-Dixon line. Commonly, the integrated and segregated teams would come to a “gentleman’s agreement”, and Black players would be benched for the games played against all-white teams. This practice was especially prevalent in football, and continued through the late 1960s. While Penn’s cross country coach, Lawson Robertson, was reluctant to compete without his captain, Cummings urged the team to travel to Annapolis, Md. without him — it was the last chance for several runners to earn their varsity letter for that year. The Quakers would ultimately attend the meet without their captain, but Robertson swore he would never again compete against Navy. He kept his word. According to Cummings, for the rest of Robertson’s tenure as coach, Penn and Navy never again clashed in a dual meet. After his graduation, Cummings’ legacy wasn’t just missing from the team photo. There was no official record of Cummings running at all for Penn until 1963, when he brought his own scrapbook of clippings and archives to the University’s administration. Cummings, who passed away in 1991, has now been restored to his rightful place in the Penn history books. While Cummings was starring on the cross country team, a man named Douglass Sheffey was joining the Hilldale Athletic Club, an American professional Negro League baseball team based in Darby, Pa. Sheffey pitched for Hilldale from 1915 to 1917, after which he enrolled in Penn’s School of Dental Medicine in
1920 and became one of the first Black baseball players to suit up as a Quaker. This was 27 years before Jackie Robinson broke the professional baseball color line in 1947. As the Quaker’s ace, Sheffey certainly had the talent to play in the Major League Baseball, and if he had been white, he likely would have. Another member of the Quakers’ rotation during Sheffey’s tenure, Walt Huntzinger, went on to have an MLB career. But Sheffey’s story at Penn also has some gaps. Local newspapers, including the Inquirer and the DP, never made any mention of his race or his past in the Negro League while he played for Penn. Sheffey also was present on the Red and Blue’s road trips to Georgetown and Navy in 1921, which was virtually unheard of for Black athletes at the time. It has been theorized that Sheffey was able to pass as white, and that was how he was able to enter the hostile climate at those schools. Almost three decades after Sheffey played, a pair of Quakers pushed through the barrier of segregation that had been intact since 1895. Bob Evans and Eddie Bell were the first two Black athletes to play for Penn’s football team. “I kidded Bob. I told him they recruited me to keep him company,” Bell said, as reported by The Journal Times in 1996. “We faced some racism. One time, we scrimmaged at Maryland. We ate on campus. Some of the players went into a drug store for sodas. When we walked in, they said they couldn’t serve us. The whole team left.” SEE COLOR BARRIER PAGE 11
Former Quaker Doug Glanville journeys from Phillies fan to Phillies legend SPORTS | Glanville is the only Quaker to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft COBY RICH Sports Reporter
Doug Glanville will forever be linked with the City of Brotherly Love. The Teaneck, N.J. native grew up a Phillies fan, less than a hundred miles away from the university he would attend and the stadium in which he would play a majority of the games in his Major League career. To date, he is one of only three Quakers to be selected in the MLB draft and to play in the major leagues, alongside former players Steve Adkins and Mark DeRosa. Glanville is the only one of the three to have been drafted in the first round, and was the first Black Ivy League graduate to make it to the majors. While Glanville was picked by the Chicago Cubs and spent his minor league career in their farm system, he spent most of his tenure in the majors — and his best seasons — with his hometown favorite, Philadelphia Phillies. It was in Philadelphia that Glanville played his best statistical season. In 1999, he posted a .325 batting average, hit 11 home runs, accounted for 73 RBIs, and had the fourth-highest hit total in the league with 204, behind only All-Stars Derek Jeter, B.J. Surhoff, and Luis Gonzalez. While the Phillies unfortunately saw little team success and never made the playoffs over the course of Glanville’s tenure with the team, he did make one postseason run in his career and made the most of it. Glanville made a return to Chicago during the middle of the 2003 season, after a July trade sent him from the Texas Rangers. That season, the Cubs were hot. They
Doug Glanville is one of three graduates to play in the major leagues.
had won the NL Central division and eked past the Atlanta Braves, three games to two, in the NLDS. In Game 3 of the NLCS against the Florida Marlins, with the series tied 1-1, Glanville found his moment. The game had gone to extra innings, with the teams tied at four runs apiece. Glanville was called off the bench as a pinch hitter in the top of the 11th inning, with All-Star Kenny Lofton on first base. With a 2-1 count, Glanville ripped a line drive to cen-
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ter field and gutted out a triple, driving in Lofton to score what would be the game’s winning run. Unfortunately for Glanville and the Cubs, the famed Curse of the Billy Goat would dash any hopes of a World Series title. Game 6 of that series was dramatically altered by the so-called Steve Bartman incident. When Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou pursued a foul ball hit towards the left-field fence, Cubs fan Bartman inadvertently deflected the ball out of
Alou’s glove, preventing what would have been the second out of the eighth inning. This case of fan interference arguably caused the Cubs to choke away the game and, upon their loss in Game 7, the series. Glanville would return to Philadelphia for a final season to retire as a Phillie, and in 2010 he joined ESPN as a color analyst covering MLB games. He also appeared on “Baseball Tonight”, “Wednesday Night Baseball”, and ESPN Radio, while also writing for ESPN The Magazine and the New York Times. Glanville is a published author, writing the highlypraised “The Game From Where I Stand”, providing insight into his career and the life of a baseball player and explaining “how players prepare for games, deal with race and family issues, cope with streaks and slumps, respond to trades and injuries, and learn the joyful and painful lessons the game imparts.” Perhaps most importantly, however, Glanville has continued commenting on racial issues in the United States. In 2014, he wrote a piece for The Atlantic entitled “I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway,” detailing an experience in which a police officer from a neighboring town questioned him without reason for suspicion while Glanville was shoveling snow. He has also responded to the George Floyd incident of 2020, creating a video essay for ESPN called “Enough is Enough.” With his notable baseball career, impressive and varied post-baseball ventures, and of course his engineering degree, Glanville can be described perfectly as a jack-of-all-trades. He embodies Penn’s desire to create well-rounded students and individuals, and therefore deserves his place in the pantheon of Quaker athletes.
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