Tuesday, February 13, 2001

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.

Tuesday, February 13, 2001
Volume 5, Number 79


1) The Living Wage Campaign, Part I: The Facts
2) SAO auction to benefit earthquake victims
3) Huffman ’92 to speak about Teach for America
4) World news roundup
5) Campus events


1) World sports roundup
2) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests


Today: Partly cloudy. High 49.
With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, we at the Daily Gazette would just like to express our deep affection for our loyal readership.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy with rain likely. Low 38.
Thus, in lieu of some cheap confectionary trifle, here’s our heartfelt gift to you, dear reader:

Tomorrow: Cloudy with periods of rain. High 47.
No corny weather joke.


Lunch: Beef stew, cornbread, *broccoli-mushroom stir-fry, spinach crepes, corn, brussel sprouts
**Falafel bar

Dinner: Fresh fish, couscous, bow tie pasta, *mushroom medley with spinach, broccoli, vegetable blend
**Chicken patty bar


1) The Living Wage Campaign, Part I: The Facts

In a display of social awareness characteristic of Swarthmore, a new student activism group has emerged on campus. The Living Wage Campaign has recently begun championing their cause in public in an attempt to spread awareness of the living wage issue and to gain support from the college community.

It is likely, however, that out of the 600+ students who signed the Living Wage petition in Sharples, many do not know the details of the issue. In the first of a three-part examination of living wage as an issue in Swarthmore and general society, we begin with some background information about living wage itself and the college’s employment procedures.

As defined by the Living Wage Campaign, a living wage would, in theory, allow individual workers to provide for the basic needs of their families, taking into account such expenses as appropriate housing, food, clothing, child care, and health care. Swarthmore does not currently pay a living wage to all of its staff members.

Instead, according to economics professor Larry Westphal, when setting wages for all of its employees (including faculty), the college conducts a survey to determine what workers in the same types of jobs are being paid on the national market. It then chooses what wages it will pay relative to the labor market.

In doing this, the college inevitably places faculty and staff into separate categories of employment. While staff employees are arguably as important­if not more so­than faculty members in the daily lives of students, the respective applicant pools for faculty and staff are clearly very different. Faculty are recruited on a national level; their salary is determined based on private liberal arts schools comparable to Swarthmore. On average, Swarthmore pays its faculty 102.5% of the average salary earned at comparable schools in order to attract better professors.

On the other hand, staff members­especially hourly employees­are chosen from a local market, primarily the Philadelphia area. Statistics on the average market value for these employees are therefore not as clear as for faculty salaries at other colleges; there is a broader spectrum of employees and employers to examine.

According to figures provided by Swarthmore’s Human Resources Department, newly-hired employees at the college are generally paid approximately 10% less than the average market wage for their work, with the intention that their salary will increase to 100% of the average market wage after 3-5 years of service. The reasoning for this is that many workers will acquire the specific skills they need to work at Swarthmore through their early work experiences at the college. However, as the Living Wage Campaign assesses, 100% of the average market wage for these jobs is still not a living wage.

Thus, the issue at hand is that, while many people agree that staff employees should be paid better and should be able to support themselves fully, a lengthy debate exists over whether or not a living wage can realistically be implemented in the college. Both sides of this issue will be presented in the following two installments on Wednesday and Thursday.

– Pei Pei Liu

2) SAO auction to benefit earthquake victims

The Swarthmore Asian Organization is holding a charity auction this evening in Sharples, from 5-7, in which students will be “sold” to the highest bidders for a Kohlberg coffee bar date.

Bids start at $3 and all proceeds will go to aid the Red Cross effort in earthquake-stricken India.

Winners will receive a Kohlberg date with coffee and biscotti for two, while the highest bidders will get a second date at an area restaurant.

Male students being auctioned off are: Josh McKinley, Matt Williams, Alex Black, Brendan Moriarity, Matt Kaelin, Kwaku Ntoso, Delonte Gholston, Richard Aleong, Erwin Alemany, Matt Murphy, Collin Peng-Sue, Mike Noreika, Frank Visciano, Phil Watts, Cam MacDearmid, and Scott Kushner.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the gender divide, the following females are scheduled to participate: Clare Harney, Katherine Voll, Moriah Radin, Kristi na Pao, Surbhi Gupta, Michelle Lo, Melinda Lee, Meggie Miao, Lourdes Carrasco, Melissa Min, and Poulami Roychowdury.

SAO Administrative Chair, Anne Tantamjarik ’03, reminds potential bidders, “It’s going to be really fun, and it’s all for a good cause, so bring lots of cash.”

– Jeremy Schifeling

3) Huffman ’92 to speak about Teach for America

Ten years ago, a junior English major named Kevin Huffman took a semester off from Swarthmore to study abroad in Chile. Having taken no education courses at Swat, and without any desire to make teaching a career, he became active in tutoring while in South America. When he came back, he had a revelation, and changed his career path a year before graduating. Sound familiar?

In many ways, Kevin Huffman ’92 was a typical Swattie: socially conscious, but lacking direction. “When I came back from Chile, I think I had this sort of revelation that there was something sort of sad about the fact that I could go overseas and tutor and help advance kids’ lives when I wasn’t doing it here in the states,” he said. “That got me more into teaching and I was drawn to Teach for America.”

Huffman liked Teach for America’s focus on inner cities and low-income rural communities. He applied right out of Swarthmore in lieu of grad school and was placed at a school in inner-city Houston where he taught bilingual first and second grade for three years, opting to stay an extra year past the usual two-year commitment.

Huffman says he is convinced that it was his experience with Teach for America that got him into law school at NYU the following year. After law school, he practiced law in Washington D.C. with a large private law firm, where he focused on education litigation, dealing primarily with school desegregation and school finance litigation. About six months ago, he returned to Teach For America staff as Vice President and General Counsel.

Huffman warns that Teach for America isn’t for everyone – only those who are prepared for the challenge of their lives. “It was much harder than law school – much harder than being a lawyer,” he said. “I heard a lot of complaining at school and at the law firm about how hard it is, but I was never so tired as I was during my Teach for America days,” he added.

Huffman will be on campus today to talk about his experiences with the program and to encourage current Swatties to take part. “I will be talking about Teach For America’s vision — that one day, all children in this country will have access to an excellent education — and the role that our corps members play in reaching that vision,” he said.

Also, he said, “I will be urging Swarthmore’s talented and socially conscious students to consider committing at least two years of their lives to ensuring that their students have dedicated, caring, and energetic teachers committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that they achieve at high levels.”

“I can think of no post-college opportunity more closely aligned with Swarthmore in terms of combining service with hard work and intellectual rigor,” he concluded.

– Jeff Heckelman

4) World news roundup

President Bush has pledged American troops an increase in their quality of life, to the tune of $5.7 billion. As he tours military bases this week, he is promising to improve the morale of the armed forces through a series of compensation boosts and infrastructure renovations. His proposed plan calls for $1.4 billion for pay increases, $3.9 billion to improve military health benefits and $400 million

Following closely on the heels of last week’s computer virus attacks, a new strand, unofficially named the “Anna Kournikova virus” has emerged as a threat to PC users worldwide. The original virus, which arrives by email, has a subject line that reads, “Here you have, ;o).” Its message says, “Hi: Check this!” and it comes with an attachment named “AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs” – although it has already spawned variants. The virus works by spreading through the user’s address book and has already inflicted thousands of computers in America and the United Kingdom.

Napster was ruled against yesterday by a federal appeals court, which said that the company must not allow users to trade copyrighted materials through its application. The ruling will likely lead to a stoppage in Napster’s service as the justices asked U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel, who tried the original case last fall, to implement a new injunction taking into account the stricter decision. Meanwhile, Napster is working with BMG, one of the 5 big music companies, to launch a subscription music trading service by this summer.

5) Campus events

“Tropical Rainforests”
Scott Arboretum Lunch Lecture by Julie McIntyre, Chanticleer Fellow
Scheuer Room – Kohlberg, 12:00 p.m.

Teach for America Presentation
by Kevin Huffman, Swat Alum and VP of Development, Teach for America
Bond Memorial Hall, 4:00 p.m.

Reading by Paul Muldoon, Irish Poet and Director of Princeton’s Creative Writing Program
Scheuer Room – Kohlberg, 4:15 p.m.

Interview Practice Workshop
Trotter 301, 4:15 p.m.

Sproul Observatory Visitors Night
Sproul Observatory, 8:00 p.m.

Film: “American Photography: A Century of Images, Part II”
Kirby Lecture Hall in Martin, 8:00 p.m.

Argentine Tango Lesson
Upper Tarble, 9:30 p.m.

Sexual Health Counselors’ Study Break
Parrish Parlors, 10:00 p.m.


1) World sports roundup

NBA Commisioner David Stern has given Vancouver Grizzlies’ owner Michael Heisley permission to look into moving his financially ailing team. The Grizzlies, who will lose $40 million this year, are tentatively considering St. Louis, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Nashville as possible relocation sites.

After shooting around in practice yesterday evening, the LA Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal appears likely to return from a strained arch injury for tonight’s game against the Nets. O’Neal, who has not played since January 26th, missed Sunday’s All-Star game.

Wisconsin Unoversity running back, Michael Bennett, was arrested yesterday for kicking in a woman’s apartment door in Madison. Bennett has decided to forego his senior season at Wisconsin for the NFL draft.

2) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests


There are no contests scheduled for today.


Women’s basketball at Muhlenberg, 6:00 p.m.
Badminton at Haverford, 7:30 p.m.
Men’s basketball at Muhlenberg, 8:00 p.m.


“Fiction writing is great, you can make up almost anything.” – Ivana Trump


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