Tuesday, February 17, 1998

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The Daily Gazette

Swarthmore College
Tuesday, February 17, 1998
Volume 2, Number 82


In last Tuesday’s Daily Gazette, an article implied that SC’s academic
working group would be working with Provost Jennie Keith on procedures for
changing grades. In fact, Council has not yet decided whether or not to
take on this issue. The headline, “Plost, Student Council to tackle
disputed grades,” was also inaccurate.


1)  Housing Committee addresses substance-free housing, lottery insurance

2)  Student Council votes to issue statement on diversity and support groups

3)  Two winners selected in orchestra concerto competion

4)  World news roundup


1)  Men’s volleyball opens seasons with a bang

2)  Today’s and tomorrow’s contests


Today:      Heavy rain and VERY WINDY. High near 50.
             A good day to try that Ben Franklin thang.
Tonight:    More showers, but less wind. Low of 40.
             But be aware — a dorm key costs $25 to replace.
Wednesday:  Still raining. Not my fault. High around 50.


1) Housing Committee addresses substance-free housing, lottery insurance

In a meeting Monday night the Housing Committee decided that despite some
requests for reinstatement, there will not be substance free housing next
year. The committee also decided to let the sophomore class pick whether
lottery insurance for the class of 2000 will be determined by lottery
number or by the order in which rooms are chosen.

The decision not to reinstate substance-free housing came after the
committee was unable to “find a good process for insuring that students who
chose sub-free housing are there for the sub-free lifestyle rather than to
avoid the lottery,” stated Housing Committee member Tinsley Davis ’98.

The Housing Committee decided last Spring to do away with the
substance-free housing program after several committee members worried that
some students were taking advantage of the system.

During the lottery, as non-substance-free halls filled up, “people began
picking onto the [sub-free] halls to avoid bad rooms,” said committee
member Jason Bromer ’98. This process created the danger that, in order to
receive better housing than they otherwise could, students would sign
contracts to live substance-free without taking the idea of substance free
lifestyle seriousl, Bromer said.

The Housing Committee had publicly stated that it would be considering the
substance-free housing situation during Monday’s meeting, but student
response was not overwhelming. “I think in the last two weeks we have
received 3 e-mails from individuals expressing interest in the sub-free
situation,” said Bromer. Dylan Humphrey ’98 did attend the meeting in
support of substance-free housing.

The Housing Committee also reached a decision Monday on how to decide which
lottery insurance system will apply to the class of 2000.

Under the old insurance system, students who received lottery numbers in
the bottom one third of the class were guaranteed lottery numbers in the
top two thirds for the next year’s housing lottery. However, this system
seemed somewhat unfair to some Housing Committee members. “Under the
current system a person with a very low number could room with a person
with a high number, effectively choosing in the top third of the class,
while two people with middle numbers who decide to room together might get
a bad room without the benefit of future lottery insurance,” explained
Housing Committee member Dan Wood ’00.

To avoid such pitfalls the Housing Committee introduced a new system this
fall for the class of 2001 and subsequent classes. This system gives
lottery insurance according to the order of choices in the actual housing
lottery itself. “Instead of insurance based on actual lottery number, the
new method is insurance based on the order in which the rooms are chosen,”
said Davis.

Although the new system already applies to the class of 2001, it does not
yet affect the class of 2000, which entered Swarthmore before the policy
change occurred. According to Bromer, the Housing Committee had been
debating for some time whether or not to apply the new insurance system the
sophomore class retroactively.

In Monday’s meeting the committee chose to leave this decision “essentially
to the class itself. We will give [the class of 2000] a survey, and poll
responses of people who express an opinion. The way of the majority will
be the decision,” explained Bromer. The sophomore survey will probably be
issued within the next two to three weeks, Bromer said.


2) Student Council votes to issue statement on diversity and support groups

At a meeting heavily attended by members of various campus support groups,
Student Council on Monday discussed issues of hate speech and campus
diversity in a marathon, three-hour-plus meeting.

Rohan Hoole ’00 of Diversity Umbrella began a discussion trying to make the
case for a student council statement on hate speech. Various members
recounted their experiences or those of their friends being threatened or
harassed, and said that they were going ahead with discussions and would
like Student Council on their side. This campus portrays itself as “a safe
place for minorities,” Hoole said, an image which is misleading, since some
are now “fearing for their safety.”

Discussion later centered on negative comments that have been made in
regards to diversity on the Swarthmore campus. A remark by Student Council
co-chair Ryan Peterson ’00 at last week’s Council meeting, as well as the
information that 2 alumni reacted negatively to the latest issue of
Swarthmore magazine, dealing with support groups, sparked numerous
statements about the importance of support groups and requests for Student
Council to issue an official statement.

Peterson had remarked that students had informed him that they believe
Swarthmore’s academic quality has suffered because of the College’s policy
of bringing in diverse students. This statement caused considerable
distress, and Peterson said at Monday’s meeting that he planned to issue a
written apology for not having phrased it with the proper degree of

Student Council voted, 8-1, to prepare a statement on diversity and support
groups to be printed in next month’s Swarthmore Magazine. Sarah Pheasant
’98, the only dissenter, said that “the deadline is next week. A week seems
to be an implausibly short amount of time to construct a statement on
diversity and support groups which both fully reflects the sentiment of
every member yet which all the 12 voting members agree. If such a statement
is devised, I will sign it, otherwise, I plan to write a dissent.”

In other business, Peterson answered questions about a possible conflict of
interest between his job as a student assistant in the president’s office,
where he is bound under an oath of confidentiality, and his role as student
council co-chair. Student Council members voted unanimously to end the line
of questioning and retained Peterson as co-chair.

Peterson will be speaking at the next Board of Managers meeting, and has
been seeking student input and suggestions for his remarks; he suggests
that interested students speak to a student council member whom they know.


3)  Two winners selected in orchestra concerto competion

The annual Swarthmore orchestra concerto competition was held Sunday,
February 8. The competition featured seven pieces and eight contestants
altogether, leaving the judges so impressed that they chose two soloists.
Marc Pasciucco ’98 will perform the Saint-Saens cello concerto #1 this
spring, and Katrina Mergen ’00 will be the soloist next fall with the
Martinu Oboe Concerto.

“I wasn’t expecting this at all. I was just competing for the experience of
the thing, so this is really wonderful,” said Mergen ’00.

John Alston, one of the judges, explained that “we don’t usually choose two
winners, but Katrina played impressively and [Swarthmore orchestra
conductor] Sarah [Ioannides] thought that she should have a chance to
perform her piece. It was a hard choice, though–Eva Allan [’00] and Erin
Denney [’99]’s presentation of Bach’s concerto for violin and oboe was also
performed particularly poetically and with great depth of feeling.”

Pasciucco will perform his concerto on April 4 and 5.


4) World news roundup


Super Giant Slalom Skiing (men)
Gold–Hermann Maier of Austria
Silver–Didier Cuche of Switzerland
Bronze–Hans Knauss of Austria

Downhill Skiing (women)
Gold–Katja Seizinger of Germany
Silver–Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden
Bronze–Florence Masnada of France

Dance Figure Skating
Gold–Grishuk and Platov of Russia
Silver–Krylova and Ovsyannikov of Russia
Bronze–Anissina and Peizerat of France

1500 Meter Speed Skating (women)
Gold–Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands
Silver–Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann of Germany
Bronze–Chris Witty of the United States

Relay Cross Country Skiing (women)


A China Airlines Airbus A-300 carrying 196 people crashed just short of a
runway at Chiang Kai-shek airport, 25 miles from Taipei. Everyone aboard
was killed, as were 9 people in the residential neighborhood where the
plane initially crashed before skidding into a rice paddy. The plane was
returning from Bali, and was attempting to land in a heavy fog at the time
of the accident. Among the dead were Taiwanese Central Bank Governor Sheu
Yuan-dong and other bank officials returning from a conference in Bali.


The Supreme Court of Canada opened hearings into whether Canadian or
International Law would permit Quebec to secede from Canada, should its
voters support secession. The Canadian federal government also asked the
Court to decide whether Canadian or International Law would take precedence
in this case, if the two should conflict. Canadian government lawyers
argued that Quebec can only secede with a special constitutional amendment,
which would require the support of other provinces. Meanwhile, Quebecois
politicians staged a protest outside the Ottawa courthouse, arguing that
the issue of secession is for Quebec to decide. In the last referendum on
secession, held in Quebec in 1995, 49.4% of Quebec’s voters favored


Indonesian police said that they would shoot rioters on sight in the
future, after weekend food riots directed at ethnic Chinese-owned shops
left five people dead. … The head of Guatemala’s Historical Clarification
Commission, a commission formed to produce a history of what really
happened during the country’s 36-year civil war, asked the government to
turn over more documentation on massacres and other human rights
violations. … Another massive auto accident occurred in Italy, where five
people were killed in a set of accidents involving about 150 cars, on a
fog-bound highway between Rome and Naples.  … Firefighters rescued a New
Jersey man from a tree in Ramsey, where he crash-landed his new purple and
yellow motorized parachute.



1)  Men’s volleyball opens seasons with a bang

The men’s volleyball team opened up their season on Sunday with a big win
against Ursinus.  Swarthmore got off to a slow start, giving up five
straight points.  The team then rallied and came back hard, winning the
game 15-5.  The next two games were won easily, 15-3 and 15-2. Starting for
the Garnet were Tony Cho ’01, Imran Posner ’00, George Matula ’98, Dzevad
Sukilovic ’99, and Paul Hsu ’98. Nate Schaffran ’00, Josh Tropp ’01, and
Derrick Nathan ’01 also played in the match. “We’re looking to do the same
against Rowan on Sunday”.  said team captain Cho.


2)  Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

Badminton heads to Bryn Athen for a 7:00 p.m. match.
Women’s basketball travels to Muhlenberg for a 7:00 p.m. game.
Intramural volleyball playoffs begin at 7:00 p.m.


Men’s basketball takes on Muhlenberg in an 8:00 p.m. home game.


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The Daily Gazette
Board of Editors
Mary Elizabeth Alvarez
Ross Bowling
Massey Burke
Fred Bush
Steve Dawson
Lorrin Nelson
Cathy Polinsky

Staff Writers
Elizabeth Weber
Aarti Iyer
Tamala Montgomery
Josh Bess
Nathanael Stulman

Rafi Dowty

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This concludes today’s report.

Copyright 1998 by The Daily Gazette. All rights reserved.

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