Friday, January 30, 2004

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
Friday, January 30, 2004
Volume 8, Number 75


Write to us! daily@swarthmore.edu
Photo of the day: http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/daily/photo.html
Today’s issue: http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/daily/

NEWS IN BRIEF

1) New benefit plan for faculty, staff improves
coverage at little cost

2) Weekend roundup

3) World news roundup

4) Campus events

SPORTS IN BRIEF

1) Upcoming contests

WEATHER FORECAST

Today: Mixed sun and clouds. High of 29.
It has come to my attention that many people were upset by the
“absence” of the weather joke in yesterday’s issue.

Tonight: Clear skies with a low in the teens.
Wondering why I placed the word absence in quotation marks? This is
Swarthmore, land of excessive intellect.

Saturday: Mostly sunny. High in the upper 20s.
The joke was that there was no joke.

Sunday: Sunny. High in the 30s.
Or….am I bluffing?

TODAY’S SHARPLES MENU

Lunch: Crunchy cod, macaroni and cheese, El’s black beans, cut green
beans, stewed tomatoes, specialty salad bar, bar cookies

Dinner: Sweet and sour chicken, basmati rice, pasta saute, stuffed
peppers, broccoli, cut corn, taco bar

NEWS REPORT

1) New benefit plan for faculty, staff improves
coverage at little cost

by Greg Leiserson
News Editor

With the college’s acceptance into the health care consortium
PAISIG, Philadelphia Area Independent Schools Insurance Group,
Swarthmore has introduced a new benefit plan for faculty and staff that
will “preserve and enrich the college’s current benefit offerings”
according to Martin Cormican, HR Manager of Compensation and Benefits.
The new plan will take effect in April. Melanie Young, Associate Vice
President for Human Resources, announced the plan at the most recent
all-staff meeting.

PAISIG currently includes 76 educational institutions in the
Philadelphia region. By combining the negotiating power of the
different institutions, the group is able to purchase health care at
lower costs to the member organizations. A technical advisory committee
for the association makes recommendations about health care decisions
each year. While not the only factor motivating the benefit plan
change, the college’s acceptance into PAISIG was instrumental in
allowing for the low cost of the improved coverage.

Cormican described the most significant quality changes in the new
plan as “an upgrade in our base health care plan from the Keystone HMO
to the Keystone Point of Service (POS) plan [and] a new dental plan
that has a larger network of dentists.” The college also added an
option for faculty and staff to buy an upgrade for vision care.

A decrease in benefit bank payouts for some members of the college
community represents the only cost of the new plan. Benefit bank
payouts are payments which faculty and staff can take as additional
salary or use in flexible spending accounts for health and dependent
care. These options for their use will remain the same under the new
plan. For single employees who choose the point of service plan, the
monthly payment will drop from about $190 to just over $150.

Other factors motivating the new plan were the need to address the
affordability of family health care in the long term and the desire to
make the college’s contribution equitable for all individuals.
Including benefit bank payouts, people choosing single coverage had
been funded at more than 170% under the old plan. Family coverage had
been funded at 66%. With the new plan those figures will change to 150%
and 75%.

The new plan was developed based on recommendations by the Faculty
Staff Benefits Committee after an initial period of research in the
Human Resources department. Tentative recommendations were discussed
with faculty and staff in open sessions and group meetings beginning
last Spring.

Health care costs were a key point of contention in tuition
projections made by the college last fall. At the time it was estimated
that health care costs would increase at a rate significantly below the
average in the past few years. While Cormican was not comfortable
making a precise prediction of the increases in health care costs at
this time because of factors beyond college control, mentioning
government activity and inflation in particular, he expressed
confidence that the rates as a member of PAISIG would be superior to
those the college faced as an independent entity and hope that
membership would also reduce the volatility of rate changes.

*****

2) Weekend roundup

by Jonathan Ference
Living & Arts Editor

Hey, you! Yes, you. I saw you bashing your head against your chem
book in Cornell last night. It’s the weekend, and it’s time to give
your textbooks a break–and what better way to do so than to break out
of the mold and get off campus? Ladies and gentlemen, boys and
ghouls–grab your loved ones and hold onto their hats, or something
like that: it’s the weekend roundup!

Friday:
You’re missing out unless you take some time out for a visit to this
writer’s favorite Philly jazz club: Ortlieb’s Jazz Haus, located at 847
North 3rd Street in Philadelphia. Get there early because you have to
eat to hear the jazz, but this place is legendary. It’s a former
bowling alley converted to a bar/restaurant, recognized as a veritable
Philly institution. The food is only a bit above average, but you won’t
care when the tenor saxophone player takes his first solo. This Friday
is Larry McKenna on tenor backed by the Mickey Roker Quartet, starting
at 8:45, but, again, think about getting there early, or even making
reservations for some night down the road. The number’s 215-922-1035;
make sure you have good directions because even though the club is in a
safe area of Philly, it’s a bit remote from the parts most students are
used to.

Saturday:
Vroom vroom! You may not think too much about cars, living on a mostly
pedestrian campus, but perhaps it’s time to take a break and look at
what that wonderful liberal arts education might buy you: pay a visit
to the Philadelphia International Auto Show, starting Saturday and
continuing for nine days. It’s held at the Pennsylvania Convention
Center in Philly, and even SEPTA is getting in on the fun, offering
special deals for those taking the train to Market East for the show
(see
http://www.septa.org/store/autoshow.html
for details). Tickets are
just $10 without the discount, and from Aston-Martin to Hummer and back
to Porsche, this is bound to be a hot show. Visit www.phillyautoshow.com for
further
particulars.

Sunday:
It’s Super Bowl time! Cheer your team to victory, jeer your friend’s
team to a loss, pick a team at random to support (as long as it’s the
Patriots)–but whatever you do, kick back on Sunday evening and enjoy
the match-up between the New England Patriots and the Carolina
Panthers. There are plenty of options on campus for viewing the “big
game”, but where you hang out doesn’t matter: for those not really into
the sports, just remember that if you say something about “the
Patriots’ incredible offense that finds a way to win” or remark about
how you feel “the Panthers lack the big game experience to be a
threat”, you’ll fit right in.

*****

3) World news roundup

* With the race for the Democratic presidential nomination underway,
the seven remaining candidates gathered for a debate last night in
Greenville, South Carolina. Rhetoric remained peaceful with most
criticism directed towards President Bush and his administration. The
candidates sought to differentiate themselves through criticism of
current policies on the war in Iraq, terrorism, the economy and
international trade. Senator John Kerry (MA), the front-runner after
claiming wins in both Iowa and New Hampshire, claimed that Bush
exaggerated the threat that Saddam Hussein posed on national security.
Speaking to the moderator, Tom Brokow of NBC, he said “they are really
misleading all of America, Tom, in a profound way.” Former front-runner
Governor Howard Dean of Vermont emphasized his longstanding opposition
to the war. He claimed that Vice President Cheney had coerced
intelligence officials into producing incriminating information for
Bush. Retired General Wesley Clark, whose strength is on national
security, blamed the President for failing to protect the nation from
the September 11th attacks. Senator John Edwards from neighboring North
Carolina emphasized that the current administration’s foreign policy
has sacrificed domestic concerns. On international trade Senator Joseph
Lieberman from Connecticut took the most conservative position by
defending the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade
Organization. House Representative Dennis Kucinich (OH) took a far more
liberal stance in promising to reject both. Dean suggested significant
revision of agreements for the sake of the environment and worker’s
rights. Kerry emphasized the need to protect American jobs.
Confrontation between the candidates was limited to an attack by Dean
on Kerry over health care policy. Dean compared the success of his
health care bill for minors in Vermont to the failure of eleven of
Kerry’s bills in the Senate. He said “If you want a president who is
going to get results, I suggest that you look at somebody who did get
results in my state.” Just over ten percent of available delegates for
the Democratic nominating convention are at stake in the next nine days
as primaries are held across the nation. Neither Clark, Lieberman,
Kucinich nor civil rights activist Al Sharpton admitted plans to drop
out of the race any time soon. All four expressed confidence that they
would claim their first victory in this next week. The next scheduled
debate will be held before the Wisconsin primary on February 17th.

* The U.S. Department of Defense released little information about
the release of three teenage inmates from the American military base in
Guantanamo Bay. The boys had been held for one year on charges of
assisting the Taliban. Neither their names nor their countries of
origin are being released. More than 600 prisoners have been held at
the base since the War on Terrorism began in late 2001. Civil rights
groups have criticized the detention of prisoners at the base without
trial. Administrators and military officials have referred to national
security concerns, executive privilege and judicial precedent for
justification. Two boys were captured during U.S. military raids on
Taliban training camps. The other was captured while trying to obtain
weapons for Taliban fighters. According to the BBC, the Department of
Defense said “the boys no longer posed a threat to the United States,
and they had no further value as suspects for interrogation.” The boys
were given special treatment during their detention. They were held
separately from adult prisoners, and given lessons and incentives for
good behavior. Non-governmental organizations will assist in
reintegrating them into their societies of origin.

*****

4) Campus events

Friday:

Anime/Manga Club Screening: “Revolutionary Girl Utena”
Kohlberg 228, 9:00 p.m.

Lecture: “Honky-Tonking: Migration, Marginalization, and Whiteness in
Southern California”
Kohlberg 226, 3:30 p.m.

Movie Screening: “School of Rock”
LPAC, 7:30 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.

Movie Screening: “Casablanca”
Science Center 101, 10:00 p.m.

Olde Club Show: Need New Body and The Capitol Years
Olde Club, 10:00 p.m.

Saturday:

IC Forum on Social Justice and Activism
Kohlberg, 12:30 p.m.

Sunday:

Quaker Meeting Student Breakfast (Krispy Kreme donuts, juice, hot
chocolate, tea, fruit)
Quaker Meeting House, 9:30 a.m.

Catholic Mass
Bond, 11:00 a.m.

Adult Religious Education: The Social, Political, and Religious
Atmosphere the Early Quakers Dealt With
Whittier Room, 11:45 a.m.

Super Bowl Study Break
DU, 4:30 p.m.

Super Bowl Meatfest
Mephistos Lounge, 6:00 p.m.

*****

SPORTS UPDATE

1) Upcoming contests

Today:
There are no contests scheduled for today.

Tomorrow:
Women’s Basketball hosts Bryn Mawr, 2:00 p.m.
Swimming hosts Gettysburg, 2:00 p.m.
Men’s Basketball hosts F&M, 4:00 p.m.

Sunday:
There are no contests scheduled for Sunday.

*****

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Anyone nit-picking enough to write a letter of correction to an
editor doubtless deserves the error that provoked it.”
–Alvin Toffler

*****

Interested in reporting or writing for the Gazette?
Got a news or sports tip for us?
Just want to tell us what you think?

Contact the staff at daily@swarthmore.edu

Communications Editor: Megan Mills
Features Editor Alexis Reedy
Living & Arts Editor: Jonathan Ference
News Editor: Greg Leiserson
Sports Editor: Alex Glick
Photo/Graphics Editor: Charlie Buffie
News Reporters: Scott Blaha
Anya Carrasco
Lauren Janowitz
Sanggee Kim
Ken Patton
Maki Sato
Angelina Seah
Christine Shin
Siyuan Xie
Sports Writers: Sarah Hilding
Holice Kil
Photographers: Kyle Khellaf
Robbie Hart
Max Li
Anthony Orazio
Casey Reed
Webmasters: Charlie Buffie
Greg Leiserson
Weathercaster: Josh Hausman

The Daily Gazette is published Monday through Friday by an
independent group of Swarthmore College students. The Daily Gazette Web
Site is updated regularly, as news happens. Technical support from the
Swarthmore College Computer Society is gratefully acknowledged.

Our world news roundup is compiled daily, using a variety of
sources,
most notably the Associated Press (
www.ap.org),
Reuters (www.reuters.com), CNN (www.cnn.com), and The New York Times (www.nytimes.com). Our campus sports
summaries are derived from information provided by the Swat Athletics
Department (http://www.swarthmore.edu/athletics/).

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This concludes today’s report.