Monday, December 4, 2000

23 mins read

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

Monday, December 4, 2000
Volume 5, Number 56


On the Daily Gazette web site right now:
– Complete transcript of administration’s initial statements on Sunday
– Photos, audio, and video from Saturday night’s rally
– Links to the AP/New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer stories
– Letters to the Editor

Visit the Daily Gazette website at http://daily.swarthmore.edu

NEWS IN BRIEF

1) Bloom explains rationale, leaves as students, parents call for resignation
2) Mugging victims tell their story
3) World news roundup
4) Campus events

SPORTS IN BRIEF

1) Women’s basketball takes third place
2) Both swim teams victorious
3) Men’s b-ball drops contest
4) World sports roundup
5) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

WEATHER FORECAST

Today: Sunny. Highs in the mid 40s.
I thought of using this space to take a cheap shot at the administration.

Tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 20s.
I have a captive audience – it’d be perfect.

Tomorrow: Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 40s.
But I’m just not into kicking dogs while they’re down.

TODAY’S SHARPLES MENU

Lunch: Meatball sandwich, crinkle cut fries, *vegan meatball sandwich, cauliflower au gratin, green beans, vegetarian blend
** Hot wing bar

Dinner: Roast top round of beef, red bliss potatoes, *chick pea sautee, Greek pasta, asparagus, baby carrots
** Pizza bar

NEWS REPORT

1) Bloom explains rationale, leaves as students, parents call for resignation

They filed into the Tarble Pavilion in the Lamb-Miller Field House in droves on Sunday – hundreds altogether. Some sat in padded chairs marked “Swarthmore College Athletics.” Some sat on the floor surrounding the room and on the bleachers. Many others stood.

They were alumni. They were parents. They were athletes. They were students. And they all wanted to hear what Al Bloom had to say.

They wanted to know why the Board of Managers made the decision to remove football, badminton and wrestling from the athletic program. They wanted to know why the decision was made so hastily, so secretly, and without any input from parents and students – those most immediately affected by such a move. And they wanted to know how this could be, just three years after a commitment on the part of Bloom and the administration to revitalize the football program at Swarthmore.

As television crews from CBS News and NBC 10 jockeyed for position in front of the podium, Swarthmore College President Alfred H. Bloom, Provost and Chair of the Athletic Review Committee Jennie Keith, and Board of Managers Chair J. Lawrence Shane ’56 addressed the crowd in turn.

Bloom said the initial plan was for Sunday’s meeting to be a small discussion with students and parents. Though it was not his intention for it to be an open meeting, Bloom recognized the reality, unprepared as he may have been for the onslaught that was to follow.

After initial statements from Bloom, Keith, and Shane ( http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/daily/archive/fall_2000/20001203transcript.html), Bloom came back to address the fired-up crowd. Bloom talked at great length about the admissions process, and the “specialization” of Swarthmore students.

“There is no question that our athletes bring this specialization and these incredible intellectual qualities,” Bloom said. “But they don’t bring – each of them – two, three, four of these specializations. They can’t, right?”

The Board of Managers endorsed the Athletic Review Committee’s recommendation that 10-15% of each incoming class should be admitted with athletics as a priority. Bloom pointed to the fact that in order to have a strong football team, “about ten percent of the males in each incoming class have to be recruited for football.” That figure leaves little room for male students whose “specialization” is lacrosse, or basketball, or soccer, or any other sport.

Fighting through interruptions from angry parents and students, Bloom tried to speak to the question of commitment. Three years ago, Bloom publicly stated that the College was rededicating itself to strengthening the football program. By bringing in Coach Pete Alvanos, and helping to set up the slot system in Admissions, Bloom seemed to be making a clear statement at the time that football was once again a priority at Swarthmore.

“Let me try to speak to the commitment issue,” he said Sunday, “because it is the one absolutely critical issue in all this that bothers me, that completely, uh, that keeps me up at night…”

But he never got a chance to finish that sentence. Loud jeers from the fed-up crowd silenced the President. Though Bloom tried to resume, the crowd would not relent, and eventually Boris Ephsteyn ’04 stepped up and took the microphone from the President’s hand, and took it upon himself to start the question and answer session, calling up Dr. Bob Clark ’71, father of Ken Clark ’03, who this year set Swarthmore season records for rushing carries and yardage. Clark is a fifth-generation Swarthmore student.

“Three years ago, you made a Quakerly commitment – we read the Alumni Bulletin – that’s why my son came here,” the elder Clark said. “These aren’t just football players – these are cello players, they are scholars, they like the arts, they are multi-talented kids.”

“Thirty percent of athletes would still be a small minority of athletes, given that that would mean two-thirds of your student population would be non-athletes,” Clark added.

Then, mocking Bloom, he asked, “How much more beautifully heterogeneous and diverse could that be?” He also challenged Bloom to prove that the members of the football team have in any way hurt Swarthmore’s academic standards.

Answering accusations on the part of football players that he lied to them three years ago, Bloom said, “I didn’t lie to you. I don’t believe I lied to you. I told you that we were trying to develop a football program. I’m really sorry if you think I’m lying.”

Bloom added, “I think what happened is that I really believed that we would be developing this program and that it would continue, and that I didn’t know that in doing this, we would end up putting the kind of pressure, because of the degree of specialization that exists in football, and in lacrosse, and in basketball…”

With that one parent shouted, “If you couldn’t plan three years ahead, you shouldn’t be president,” a statement that was met with much applause.

At that point, Tony Hillery ’01 came to the microphone and said, “for all you who don’t know me, I’m Tony Hillery, I’m a senior, I’m a captain of the football team. I’m also an RA, a member of Student Council, Student Budget Committee, College Republicans – but that’s not important.”

Hillery then went on to address an earlier statement made by Shane, when he said that contrary to yesterday’s reports, no members of the Board of Managers had resigned. Hillery said, “We just got off the phone with Neil Austrian about fifteen minutes ago. What he said is that if the Board of Managers does not reverse its decision, he will resign from the Board.” Hillery also said Austrian claimed that he was told not to attend Sunday’s meeting because it was supposed to be closed.

Shortly thereafter, Bloom said, “As you know, the purpose of this meeting was to have a real dialogue with you, and your parents if they came. I really don’t think that’s possible as I see it at this point. And so, I think we cannot continue.”

After ten more minutes of jeers, statements, pleas, and accusations, Bloom, Keith, and Shane got up and started to leave the field house as the television cameras hurried after them. One parent grabbed the microphone and said, “Five minutes ago, not less than five minutes ago you said you’d listen to us. We listened to you, you said you’d listen, and now you’re running out the door. It’s unacceptable.”

After one final statement by Bloom, he and his entourage hurried out the door. After they left, Ephsteyn went to the mike and said, “They may leave, but we’re staying. We have a lot to say.”

After statements by a few students and alumni, Pat Murray ’01 stepped to the microphone and tried to sum up the sentiments of the crowd:

“Hi, I’m Pat Murray, I’m a senior here. I think what happened at this meeting today is that trust has been broken. And I think that all of the students that are here are here because they do not trust the administration, and they do not trust the Board to handle these decisions responsibly. Having watched President Bloom toe the party line in response to questions that are fair, I feel that he’s left himself with one avenue at this point. Al Bloom needs to rise to the occasion and resign as President of Swarthmore College.”

With that, and the ensuing round of applause, the final blow was dealt. The meeting went on though, as students and parents lined up to share their thoughts.

The discussion will spill over into tonight’s Fireside Chat, sponsored by Student Council. In Kohlberg Coffee Bar starting at 8:00 p.m., Bloom and Keith will be in attendance. In an all-campus email, Student Council said they are also expecting members of the Board of Managers, the Athletic Review Committee, and the Swarthmore faculty.

– Jeff Heckelmam

2) Mugging victims tell their story

Friday morning, the Daily Gazette reported an incident that occurred the night before, one in which two female students were mugged at gunpoint in the tunnel by the train tracks by three teenage males and were unharmed. This information came from interviews with Public Safety. Now, the victims themselves tell what really happened.

The victims were actually one male and one female, Chris Keary ’03 and Clare Harney ’03. According to Keary, they were walking back from campus from a meeting at the firehouse in the Ville, where they are both volunteers. At about 10:00 they approached the tunnel beneath the train tracks that leads to Magill Walk.

“Once we were in the tunnel, we saw a guy standing with his back to the wall,” Keary said. “We walked down there, and there was a guy at the other end, who cornered us.” At that point, Clare screamed, and the attacker ran away.

“One of them grabbed me, and one of them pushed Chris,” added Harney. “I screamed, flailing around, then I ran up to where Chris was – the other guy had picked Chris up.

“I was going to go over to help Chris, but I saw that he had this big gun, and I froze. We just emptied our pockets and said, ‘we’ll give you anything, we’ll give you anything,'” Harney said.

“The other guy threatened us with a gun and asked for our wallets and credit cards,” Keary said. “I gave him my wallet and then we ran away.”

Harney and Keary said it was inaccurate in the Public Safety report that they were not touched. Aside from being grabbed and pushed, however, they were not harmed in any way. After throwing down their valuables, Harney and Keary ran away, in the direction of Mertz Hall.

The victims were unhappy with the way Public Safety handled the incident. “When we got to Mertz we didn’t dial 911, we dialed the campus emergency number, x8333, which put us through to campus security,” Harney said.

“They asked me basically what the guys looked like and what my extension was, and then hung up. They didn’t alert the ville police, they didn’t send anyone down there,” she added. “It’s very possible they could have still been down there looking for what we had dropped. They didn’t send anybody to check the tunnel, they didn’t send anyone to come get us in our dorm room.”

Afterwards, they called the firehouse – they knew that a lot of Swarthmore Police officers are also members of the fire department. The response was immediate.

“I was impressed by the Swarthmore Police,” Keary said. “They did a good job. They came right to us and escorted us down to the tunnel, and helped us look for anything that might still be down there.”

“But I was pretty disappointed with the way Public Safety handled it. They were pretty much a stone throw away – they could have gone right over there,” he added.

When contacted Thursday night, the Public Safety officer on duty said he couldn’t say anything until Friday morning, when Director Owen Redgrave arrived. Redgrave released limited information Friday morning, citing a reluctance to overstep the jurisdiction of Swarthmore Police, which he was unable to contact.

“It’s a geographic issue,” Redgrave said at the time, “between the location of the incident and the magnitude of what happened, it’s under the jurisdiction of Swat Police.”

Keary and Harney were not satisfied.

“They should have sent out a voice mail, or an email, or something,” Harney said. “They should have, if anything, posted a campus security person at the tunnel right away, just in case something else happened that night. I think it was ridiculous that no one was put there.,” she said.

“They’re definitely good at what they do every day,” Harney said. “But an emergency happened, and they didn’t seem to respond well at all.”

Currently, Harney and Keary are having discussions about improving safety on campus with a number of deans, discussing things like adding blue phones, extending safe walk hours, and increasing the number and activity of public safety officers.

Harney and Keary say there’s a lesson in all of this: “If you see someone in the tunnel, and you feel uncomfortable, don’t go in there,” Harney said. “You don’t have to worry about being ageist, or sexist, or racist. If you don’t want to go into the tunnel because people are standing there, that’s valid.”

– Jeff Heckelman

3) World news roundup

Al Gore believes that if a final recount is conducted in Florida, it would give him the votes necessary to overtake George W. Bush and send him into the White House. The decision on whether to conduct that recount is up to Tallahassee judge. Both sides promised an appeal if the outcome doesn’t suit them. Still, Gore said that if a recount is conducted, and he still falls behind Bush in the final vote tally, he vows to accept defeat with grace.

Facing a coming election, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said that the end of US President Bill Clinton’s term is not seen as a deadline for a Middle East peace agreement. The violence continued on the Gaza Strip on Sunday as two Israeli soldiers were stabbed and up to 15 Palestinians were injured in other attacks.

4) Campus events

Penance Service
Bond Memorial Hall, 12:30 p.m.

“Can You Be Confucian in the 21st Century?: Questions of Cultural Identity” a student dialogue with Lillian M. Li, History.
Bond Memorial Hall, 4:00 p.m.

“Where Are All the Female Computer Scientists?: Adressing the Decline of Women in University Level Computing” by Beth Tsai ’02.
Sproul 300, 4:00 p.m.

“Conspiracy in Historical Phonology” by Sean Crist, Swarthmore and University of Pennsylvania.
Kohlberg 116, 6:30 p.m.

Fireside Chat with Al Bloom, Jennie Keith, and others.
Kohlberg Coffee Bar, 8:00 p.m.

Swing Dance
Upper Tarble, 9:30 p.m.

SWIL Movie: The Last Starfighter
Kirby Lecture Hall, 10:00 p.m.

Student Council Meeting
Parrish Parlor – East, 10:00 p.m.

Earthlust Meeting
Parrish Parlor – West, 10:00 p.m.

SPORTS UPDATE

1) Women’s basketball takes third place

In the consolation game of the Seven Sisters Tournament at Mt. Holyoke, the women’s basketball team defeated the hosts 60-39 to take third place in the tourney. Heather Kile ’02 led the team with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Katie Robinson ’04 added eight points and a team-high 16 rebounds while Heather Marandola ’01 scored 11 points and dished out five assists.

2) Both swim teams victorious

Both the men’s and women’s swimming teams defeated Western Maryland on Saturday. The women won 137-67 as Natalie Briones ’03 and Amy Auerbach ’02 were triple winners. The men won 129-66 as David Whitehead ’03 and John Lilvis ’03 were triple winners.

3) Men’s b-ball drops contest

On Friday night, the men’s basketball team lost to Western Maryland 87-76. David Pearce ’03 scored 34 points in the losing effort.

4) World sports roundup

Free agent pitcher Denny Neagle signed with the Colorado Rockies for five years at $51 million total. The Rockies are expected to make an eight-year offer to Mike Hampton soon, as they take great strides in attempting to land the best starting pitchers available. …Kobe Bryant scored 38 points to lead the Lakers to a 99-97 win over Dallas. …Golden State’s Antawn Jamison scored an NBA season-high and career-high 51 points Sunday, but the Warriors lost to the Sonics, 118-102. …Davis Love III shot a final round 64 to blow past Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia and win the Williams World Challenge for his first win in two years.

5) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

Today:

There are no contests scheduled for today.

Tomorrow:

Men’s basketball at Washington, 8:00 p.m.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We wish we could have had you all in the process of coming to this decision earlier.” – Al Bloom

 


The Phoenix