Friday, February 27, 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, February 27, 2004
Volume 8, Number 95

Write to us!
Photo of the day:
Today’s issue:


1) College pressures two companies to change
employment policies

2) Swat grad returns to give Linguistics lecture

3) Weekend roundup

4) World news roundup

5) Campus events


1) Upcoming contests


Today: Partly cloudy. High of 42.
As the work continues to pile up, I begin to despair.

Tonight: Mostly clear. Low of 22.
This, of course, leads to many hours of procrastination thinking of
ways to escape the travails of Swat.

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. High of 52.
One night, I had a great idea, but I couldn’t get any of my friends to
back me up…

Sunday: Mostly sunny. High of 55.
Hey, I thought dropping out tomorrow and starting a hot dog vending
business on Parrish Beach was a great idea!


Lunch: Crunchy cod, macaroni and cheese, El’s black beans, chicken
gumbo, navy bean soup, specialty salad bar, bar cookies

Dinner: Sweet and sour chicken, basmati rice, pasta sautée,
stuffed peppers, taco bar, baker’s choice


1) College pressures two companies to change
employment policies

by Jonathan Ference
Living and Arts Editor

While Swarthmore’s liberal base and staunch support of civil rights
is well known, sometimes the school acts in little-known ways to effect
social change. One of the manners in which it does so is through the
Committee for Socially Responsible Investing (CSRI), which is charged
with paying careful attention to where the College invests its
nearly-billion dollar endowment.

According to committee member Nate Freed Wessler ’04, the six
year-old group is composed of six students, three members of the staff
or administration, and an additional two members who also belong to the
Board of Managers. It is chaired by Samuel L. Hayes, a member of the
class of 1957 and a Harvard Business school professor emeritus,
according to a press release issued by the College.

The College is able to pressure companies by filing shareholder
resolutions; it may do so in companies in which it has held a
significant amount of stock–at least $2000–for over a year. The CSRI
examines the policies of the companies in which the College’s funds are
invested; the goal is to make sure that funds are invested in those
corporations who have fair employment policies.

This was the case with Dover Corporation, an industrial product
manufacturer, and Masco Corporation, a maker of home consumer products.
Both companies previously did not have employment policies that ensured
equal opportunity on the basis of sexual orientation. In a move
consistent with Swarthmore’s values, the College notified the two
companies that it intended to file a shareholder resolution with the
assistance of other groups: Walden Asset Management in the case of
Dover and Domini Social Investments and the City of New York in the
case of Masco. Both companies responded by agreeing to change their

This action recalls a similar effort last year that resulted in the
filing of a shareholder resolution with Lockheed Martin, the famous
aircraft manufacturer. The goal was the same: to get the corporation to
amend employment policies that did not include sexual orientation in
its guarantee of non-discrimination.

Asked to explain how the committee functions, Wessler explained: “We
choose companies at which to file or cofile resolutions by working with
organizations around the country that specialize in socially
responsible investment issues. Once we have identified corporations in
which we invest, and that have what we see as significant points of
corporate irresponsibility, we consider drafting resolutions.”

It is no coincidence that the issue of rights for the
gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual community is rising to the national
forefront at the same time Swarthmore took this action. Wessler sees
the College’s furthering of its position on tolerance to corporate
America as highly important: “I think it is significant that
institutions like Swarthmore are working with corporations to ensure
basic civil rights–like the right to be free of employment
discrimination–that are not always guaranteed by law.”

The CSRI plans to continue its work in identifying corporations that
it might consider as being particularly irresponsible. College
Treasurer and Vice President Suzanne Welsh could not be reached for
comment, though she expressed her congratulations for the swift
response of Masco and Dover in the College’s press release.


2) Swat grad returns to give Linguistics lecture

by Jonathan Ference
Living and Arts Editor

Several Linguistics faculty and a group of students went to the
Science Center to hear Swarthmore graduate Andrew Wedel speak Thursday
afternoon. Wedel, who received his degree from Swarthmore in biology,
spoke on research and studies he has been completing in the fields of
phonetics and phonology.

Wedel studied for his first PhD at University of California-Berkeley
in molecular biology and supplemented his degree with postdoctoral work
in Munich and Santa Cruz. He then opted to change his area of
expertise, completing a second PhD at the University of
California-Santa Cruz in linguistics, again adding to his education by
completing fieldwork in Turkey. Wedel commented: “It has been a pretty
seamless transition,” saying that instead of studying RNA he simply
studies numbers in his computer simulations of language.

Most of Wedel’s talk centered on his development of a model of the
evolutions of pattern in the lexicon. Using a Powerpoint to help
explain his ideas, Wedel explained how the field has traditionally
understood human interactions in a linear fashion whereby a grammar
algorithm is used to structure a human’s input into a certain output.
Instead, Wedel explained how he feels that a system that models the
evolution of language as resulting from feedback in a cyclic system.

In the system Wedel modeled, a person hearing words categorizes them
in certain manners according to certain rules. As they are again said,
the next person does the same thing, and the language slowly evolves
based on the differences caused by the hearer’s categorization.

Perhaps surprising some, a lot of the research was done with
computer models that artificially created a lexicon and the
interactions Wedel was looking to model. He drew on and modified the
work of many contemporary theorists, citing from works as recent as

The professors seemed just as interested as the students; the
linguistics department even provided pizza to encourage attendance at
this late afternoon lecture. Wedel’s lecture represented an
unparalleled opportunity for both faculty and students to hear about
the latest trends in top-level linguistics study.


3) Weekend roundup

by Jonathan Ference
Living and Arts Editor

When the weekend forecast reads sunny with a high of 55, you know
things are starting to look up… until you’re in one of your last
classes before the weekend and your professor just happens to remember
that he had forgotten to tell you about your midterm next Thursday.
Don’t fret too much…whether break means devolving to a state of
vegetation or hanging around campus for a sport, at least there’s no
more class. Take a break a bit early–it may be approaching midterms
week, but it’s still a weekend!

If you’re not in the mood to travel too far this weekend, then a
must-see is the Vertigo-go show in Science Center 101 on Saturday at
9:45 p.m. Swarthmore’s flagship improv troupe consistently receives
rave remarks from audiences for their hilarious performances; their
last performance in Science Center 101, on Halloween, saw nearly every
available viewing position being claimed. Even better, the group has
just returned from a showing at Harvard’s Improv Festival ready to
debut a new style that member Ethan Ucker ’07 dubs “wildly innovative.”
Hit their show up–it’ll be worth it.

In the mood for checking out some contemporary dance? Make the
voyage to the St. Joe’s University Chapel tonight at 7:00 p.m. for a
performance by the “Courtyard Dancers.” The performance, sponsored by
the Philadelphia Women’s Studies Consortium, will include Pallabi
Chakravorty, a member of the Swarthmore dance faculty. The group will
perform South Asian music based on a variety of styles; an added bonus
is that the public gets in free. The chapel is located at 5600 City
Line Avenue; call 610-660-1857 for more information.

Got a craving for some seafood? Why not take the SEPTA into Center
City and pay a visit to the Sansom Street Oyster House? Twice picked by
Philadelphia Magazine as the best raw bar in the city, the Oyster
House’s owner drives to the airport twice weekly to pick up fresh
oysters air-freighted in from Washington state. Located at 1516 Samson
Street, this restaurant is sure to please the seafood-savvy crowd; give
them a call at 215-567-7683 for more information.

That’s all for this weekend: comedy, some dancing, and some fresh
clams. Mm…now, if that doesn’t make midterms go down easier, I don’t
know what well. Keep safe, kids.


4) World news roundup

* Haitian rebel leader Guy Philippe said yesterday that that his
fighters had begun advancing on the capital, Port-au-Prince, and were
prepared to make an attack unless President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
resigns. Haiti’s ill-equipped national police force is not expected to
put up much resistance. The United States, which is pushing for a
political settlement of the issue, questioned whether Aristide could
continue an effective rule for the remainder of his term, which lasts
until February 2006. The French government has already called on
Aristide to resign. Haiti’s international airport has been packed in
recent days, mainly with Haitian-Americans who are attempting to return
home and escape the violence. Aristide came into office in 1990 as
Haiti’s first freely elected leader, but soon began to lose popularity
due to widespread reports of corruption.

* The United Nations came down against British intelligence agents
yesterday, saying that if allegations that they bugged
Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s office were true, their behavior had
violated numerous international treaties and should stop immediately.
The allegations stemmed from comments made by Clare Short, who had
served as Britain’s international development secretary at the time of
the alleged bugging. According to Short, Annan’s was tapped previous to
the U.S invasion of Iraq last March. While the UN is up in arms
regarding these allegations, not everyone has responded so negatively.
According to Spain’s UN ambassador Inocencio Arias, “Everybody spies on

* A new church-sanctioned study of abuse in the Roman Catholic
Church has found that 4,392 priests-or about 4% of those in the
country-have been accused of sexually abusing a minor since 1950. There
have been 10,667 abuse claims filed since that time, however
approximately 3,000 of them have gone uninvestigated as the clergymen
in question were dead. The church has already enacted several reforms
to prevent abuse since the issue went public in 2002, including a
policy barring sex offenders from holding ministry positions. The
survey, which was undertaken to restore trust in church leadership, was
overseen by the National Review Board, a group formed entirely of


5) Campus events

Collection Lecture: Beth Shulman
LPAC Cinema, 1:15 p.m.

Science Center 199, 5:00 p.m.

Shabbat Services and Dinner
Bond, 5:30 p.m.

Multilingual Slam Poetry Event
Clothier, 6:00 p.m.

Small Craft Warnings Open Mic/Distribution Party
Mephistos Lounge, 7:00 p.m.

Haitian Dance and Drumming Workshop
LPAC Dance Studio, 7:00 p.m.

Film Screening: Dirty Pretty Things
LPAC Cinema, 7:30 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.

Recital by John Alston: “In the Spirit of the Spiritual”
Lang Concert Hall, 8:00 p.m.

Concert for a Living Wage: Kierstin Gray (opening act: Trio Agua Fria)
Kohlberg Coffee Bar, 8:00 p.m.

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

Love Stories Screening: “It Happened One Night”
Science Center 101, 9:30 p.m.

Olde Club Show: Hollertronix
Olde Club, 10:00 p.m.

Living Wage Rally
Kohlberg Courtyard, 11:00 a.m.

Campus-wide A Capella Concert
Parrish Parlours, 7:00 p.m.

Film Screening: Dirty Pretty Things
LPAC Cinema, 7:30 p.m.

Hang Tough, Martina (a play by Audrey Pernell ’04)
Frear Ensemble Theatre, 8:00 p.m.

Vertigo-go Improv Comedy Show
Science Center 101, 9:45 p.m.

Matrix Party/Root Beer Kegger
Paces, 10:00 p.m.

Student Breakfast and Quaker Meeting
Quaker Meetinghouse, 9:30 a.m.
Menu: Brunch foods, including vegetarian

Catholic Mass
Bond, 11:00 a.m.

Hang Tough, Martina (a play by Audrey Pernell ’04)
Frear Ensemble Theatre, 2:00 p.m.

Dance Presentation: Jill Sigman
LPAC Dance Lab, 4:00 p.m.

Directing II Class Auditions
Frear Ensemble Theatre, 7:00 p.m.
The Student Global Aids Campaign invites you to a screening of
“Philadelphia”, a movie about a gay lawyer (Tom Hanks) who gets fired
because he has AIDS. Hanks, who took home an Oscar for his performance,
hires a lawyer (Denzel Washington) and begins a discrimination lawsuit.
The movie will be shown in Science Center 199 at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Keetje Kuipers ’02 invites you to a short talk on Friday at 8 p.m. in
Kohlberg Coffee Bar. The focus of the talk will be her experiences with
SERVAS, a non-profit organization that provides free homestays for
people all over the world of all ages. Keetje spent two months in Spain
traveling all over the country and experiencing rural and city life
through the eyes of Spaniards. Keetje will be handing out information
on how to participate in SERVAS.



1) Upcoming contests

There are no contests scheduled for today.

Badminton in PA State Tournament at Albright, 9:00 a.m.
Women’s Tennis hosts Carnegie Mellon, 10:00 a.m.
Indoor Track in Centennial Conference Championships at Haverford, 11:00
Men’s Lacrosse hosts Stevens Tech, 1:00 p.m.
Men’s Tennis hosts Carnegie Mellon, 1:30 p.m.

Indoor Track in Centennial Conference Championships at Haverford, 10:00
Women’s Tennis at Salisbury, 1:00 p.m.



“The man who rolls up his sleeves seldom loses his shirt.”
–Thomas Cowan


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World News Roundup: Lauren Janowitz
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