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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


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The Administration Plays The Bully Again

As usual, the administration, is playing the bully card to a T.  They have decided to file a lawsuit to force the state to transfer the deed, of the house of former fraternity Phi Delta Theta, to the university.  

“Penn State filed a lawsuit last week requesting the court transfer the premises of the former Phi Delta Theta fraternity to the university.

The Nov. 25 suit, filed in Centre County Court, is against the Pennsylvania Theta Chapter of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the 240 North Burrowes Road Alumni Association, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also requests the court appoint “one or more arbitrators” to determine a sale price for the property.

Because the fraternity lost its charter last year and was expelled from the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, Penn State believes it has the right to purchase the property per its 1905 deed.

The deed for the property at 240 N. Burrowes Road states the university reserves the right to purchase the property “if, for any reason, the said premises should cease to be used as a chapter or fraternity house for the use, benefit and behoof” of the Pennsylvania Theta Chapter of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

The former Phi Delta Theta members are in the process of becoming the Phi Society, which has no affiliation with the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, said Sandy Deveney, a member of the Board of Directors of the 240 North Burrowes Road Alumni Association. The association was formerly known as the Pennsylvania Theta Chapter of the Phi Delta Fraternity, according to the lawsuit.”

This article by the collegian’s Aubry Whelan, says it all.  The University thinks that they have eminent domain, so that they can put up a park, to make the IST building look more comfortable.  I ask, in our current housing climate on campus, what is going to benefit students more, a place to live, or a place that looks nice.  Come on Administration, what are we that ignorant in your eyes?  Where do you want these kids to live, why are you not encouraging them in their endeavors to repent for their sins, and reform like a pheonix, better and stronger then before as the Phi Society?

This is just another example of the Administration being obtuse, not caring about anything but their, plan, their ideas, and treating the student body, as children, simply thinking they have to raise us, not collaborate WITH us.

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Why Are The Lights On In The Law School

The New Dickinson School of Law Building, has been beautifully constructed, designed, etc.  It however is not yet open.  No students, have entered the building yet, to gain any form of knowledge.

Why then, are the lights on all night.  Last friday, at the board of trustees meeting, the trustees, voted to increase rates for on campus residents do to the rising cost of electricity in the state.  

The administration seems to just keep shooting itself in the foot.  No more then 6 weeks ago, reports surfaced, on how Old Main, failed to extend their contract with Allegheny Power to ensure that they would continue to receive a discounted rate on our power.  They then covered or attempted to cover their tracks, by proposing building a power plant on campus, which will be used to ensure emergency power for all of the new buildings on campus.

The state legislature, also just voted to take the cap off the rates that power companies are permitted to charge their customers.

So, I ask this is it wise for OPP to keep lights on in a building that no one is using.  Unless there are workers in their after normal business hours, why are the lights on?  I wish I could say that vanity, was not an issue, but it does make sense for the administration to show off their shiny new building.  Is it wise though to spend tuition dollars on something that is completely useless?  I do not think so, the UPUA facilities committee should work on addressing this waste.

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As The Elms Die, Opportunity Is Born

With the loss of such another staple on our campus, one that harkened back to the Penn State of old, a new opportunity is born.  The elm trees, which unfortunately are diseased beyond rescue are being cut down, we can bring back another tradition.

There was once a willow tree that graced our campus.  When the tree was there, people used to bow to it.  It was more then just a tree, it was a sign of respect, for those who had come before, it was a tradition.  Something that bound us together.  People would talk about the tree, meet outside the tree, hang out there.  

There is a plaque outside of the library that commemorates the tree, that is not enough.  It is time to replant the tradition.  We should replant the tree, bring back a tradition, bring back something that bound us, bring back the common thread, it is the time.

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More Charged In Riots

7 More people have been charged for their participation in the Riots following the PSU OSU victory.  These students are now in the group of 21 who have been charged in connection with the riots.  With the number expected to continue to rise, as the police sift their way through facebook, and other sources of evidence, I ask the some questions.  First, what is the cause of the riots, why were students destructive, and why are the police continuing to spend their time on this.

The underlying issue is why did fellow students not stop the destruction?  Do we not have enough respect for our community, that we think it wise to destroy the community of which we are a part.  Would we tear lights off of our own walls?  I do not think so.

“State College Police filed charges Thursday against seven more individuals — all Penn State students — in connection with the Oct. 25 riot, police said. Four face felony riot charges.

Abraham Doe, 19, 524 Locust Lane; Robert Slater, 20, 222 W. Beaver Ave.; Garrick Stafford, 18, 831 Beaver Hall; and former Collegian photographer Maxwell Kruger, 21, 138 S. Atherton St., were charged with riot, a third-degree felony, in connection with the downtown disruption that followed Penn State’s victory over Ohio State. Kruger was not a staff member with the Collegian at the time of the disturbance.

Twenty-one people have been charged in connection with the riot.”

This collegian article quoted above, states the need for students to really care about their community.  If we chose not to destroy but improve our community we would all be better off.  I ask again is it necessary, how does it make us look.

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Stan the Snake

Once again, Stan Latta, assistant VP for Residence Life, has snaked his way out of a problem.  He has successfully completed a “bait and switch.”  He in his infinite wisdom, has created another fee, charging the already strapped for cash student groups, more money.

He himself, said that the point behind the fee, was to discourage, the use of student space, by students who did not live in dorms.  So Stan, I ask you, why not just ban off campus student groups from using this space, why is there a need to tax them?  Why now, do you say that ARSH is the motivating force, when you have proposed this as long as two years ago?

We all know that prices are going to increase here at Penn State, but what is reasonable?  Where doess it stop?  The tipping point was the facilities fee, should that not help to provide for your needs, as it was passed in order to provide for student activities, in student facilities?  

You say that you try to get the pulse of the students, but how do you expect student imput, when you announce a fee a day before it is enacted,  Do not try to tarnish the good name of Penn State, because by acting so sneaky that is what is happening.

Stan, this is ridiculous, what is your office going to do with this new slush fund? I cannot believe that ARSH wants this, do not try and fool us, this is ridiculous.  More to come, do not worry.

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Go See Abagnale

Tonight, go see Frank Abagnale.  He is speaking in the Schwab Auditorium.

Between the ages of 16 and 21, Frank Abagnale posed as an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor and a pediatrician and cashed more than $2 million in fraudulent checks in every U.S. state and 26 foreign countries.

At 21, the French police took him into custody, and he served time in French, Swedish and U.S. prison systems. He was released from federal prison five years later under the condition he would assist the U.S. federal government by teaching and assisting law enforcement agencies in fraud prevention.

Tonight, Penn State students can hear him discuss those experiences and more as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS).

Abagnale will speak at 8 tonight in the Schwab Auditorium. He is most famous for his autobiography Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake which was made into a major movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale. He is the second of four speakers in this school year’s series.

He is a direct source of outside information, on something that would usually be frowned upon, check him out.

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Crows Causing Problem, University Hangs Effigy In Tree

We all have ridden the blue and white loops, while not paying any attention to the stop where we get on.  Until we wait at the stop by the Allen Street gates, we now have a problem.  This problem is that there are a bunch of crows sitting in the trees that are using the restroom right there.  The crows like to do their business right there on everything and everyone.  The University has come up with a creative idea to solve the problem.

Crows roosting in the trees outside Old Main and the HUB-Robeson Center could come home to an unpleasant surprise this week: Office of Physical Plant (OPP) employees armed with pyrotechnic noisemakers to scare them off campus.

University officials hope the loud noises will be enough to startle the crows from the trees and prevent a situation like last winter’s crow problem, when about 3,000 crows roosted in trees by the Allen Street Gates, covering the area in droppings.

“It’s a non-harmful way to get rid of them. We certainly don’t want to decimate the crow population. We just don’t want them here,” university spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz said, adding she did not know how many crows were on campus currently.

Specially trained OPP employees will set off the pyrotechnics — known as “bangers” and “screamers” — at about dusk each evening beginning this week, Mountz said. The relocation program could take as long as a month, she said.

OPP will also hang effigies of dead crows in roosting trees around Old Main and the HUB to alarm the crows.”

I hope this works, life will be much better on Allen street, but if it does not, we are going to look like a bunch of crazy people, with dead birds, and fireworks going off all the time.

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Collegian Is Wrong, Correction Needed

Today the collegian, who normally puts out a very good product, made a glaring error.  In an editorial published today, Ryan Pfister, passed his opinion on the current system of distribution of the Student Activities Fee, commenting on how he thinks UPAC is the best way of allocating it.

He also made commentary on how he thinks that the student activity fee, was used irresponsibly by former members of UPUA on bar tabs, and a formal.  

The beauty of UPAC is that it’s organized around rules, rather than people. UPAC doesn’t put all the requests on the table and decide which ones it likes best.

Instead, it funds on a first-come, first-serve basis. Requests that fulfill the funding guidelines get money. Those that don’t, do not. And since UPAC designates specifically what the student activity fee money will be used for, the potential for misuse and waste is minimal.

Compare this to last year, when UPUA got a lump sum allocation from FAB:

“Among its expenses from the unrestricted fund, the biggest are a $1,000 donation to Eco-Action, $520 used for social expenses like those for homecoming, a $598 banquet expense and a $436 write-off dinner for more than eight members at Chili’s Grill and Bar, 139 S. Allen Street.”

I don’t think students want their money going to banquets and Chili’s dinners.

I’m not saying this year’s UPUA officers would spend the money like that. But the point is that with a lump sum allocation, that possibility exists.

When groups have to specifically request funds from UPAC, that possibility does not. UPAC’s rules, such as the one requiring events be open to all students, stop that from happening.

This is wrong!  The money used to pay for those events, was not spent irresponsibly, the student activity fee did not fund these events.  The money used to pay for these events was from the unrestricted fund, which is provided by student affairs, and does NOT come from the Student Activity Fee.

The collegian owes all the penn state community an apology for attempting to tarnish the reputation of those leaders, who are trying to make sure, that the work they do for the betterment of our community is not forgotten, and can be built upon.

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Spanier Cares About Class Gifts?

Not so long ago, a month or so ago, OPP started demolishing most of the class gift of 1900.  Park benches provided much needed sitting space, on both Pattee Mall, and Old Main mall, the gift of the class of 1900 were quickly and disrespectfully removed.  

This is the time of year when the seniors decide what they want their “legacy” to be.  This is a great tradition, if not for anything else but the impact it has on our campus.  Some of the most notable landmarks on campus are class gifts, from the Lion Shrine, to the Allen Street gates.

When OPP shows such careless disregard for history, it is hard to take articles like this one from the Centre Daily Times seriously.

Penn State President Graham Spanier said he’s willing to bet that every Penn State student walks by at least one senior class gift every day, whether it’s the gates at Allen Street or the Nittany Lion statue.Soon the Old Main Bell will become another piece of Penn State history that students, faculty, alumni and visitors can admire when walking through campus.

The Senior Class Gift Committee announced Thursday that the 2009 class gift will be the restoration and display of the Old Main Bell.

“The bronze bell, currently in the Old Main Bell Tower, has not rung since the last day of class in June 1929,” said Liz Kernion, overall chair of the committee.

“Once restored, the bell will be placed in a prominent location on campus where thousands of students, alumni and visitors can see it and appreciate it as a symbol of Penn State’s distinguished history.”

Cast in 1874, the bronze bell now can be seen only by visitors to the limited-access bell tower, Spanier said. Class funds will go toward removing the bell from the tower and its restoration and relocation on campus.We are hopeful that eventually the bell can be rung on special occasions, allowing the campus community to hear University history,” Spanier said.

More than 2,500 seniors voted on the proposal last week, choosing restoration of the bell over two other proposals — a scholarship and creation of a “Mount Nittany Vista” at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Kernion said seniors have so far pledged $20,000 for the gift.

The tradition of the senior class gift began with the first class that graduated in 1861 — a class of 11 — whose gift was a portrait of Evan Pugh, the university’s first president, Spanier said. Each class gift, he said, brings with it a unique story.

Seniors Lauren Seitz, international politics, and Andy Jaye, biology, both voted for the Old Main bell.

“I wanted something that was concrete that we could come back and see,” Seitz said.

“And, you know, we always hear about how cool the bell is up there, but we never get to see it,” Jaye said. “Now it will come down, and it will be like Penn State’s Liberty bell.”

President Spanier, if you really cared about this, then you would have prevented one of your arms, in the top down system you run, from tearing down a piece of history.  Lets be honest at least on this topic, where people give so much.

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Order is Necessary, so is evidence.

How would we know about any riot if there was not media there to cover it?  There are obvious holes in that argument, however the point is, without the media there would be one less watch dog, one less source keeping the rest of the world honest.  Media, however you view it, good or bad, is necessary.

In the campus setting here, the Daily Collegian, is necessary it is unnecessary for one of their photographers, to be burdened with the worry of being arrested while doing their job.

“Mike Fender, president of the Associated Press Photo Managers and photo editor at The Indianapolis Star, said police often “pull safety as one of their trump cards.”

“They try to keep media members safe, and they don’t want the media aggravating the situation,” he said, adding he has had photographers who have been hit with objects and have been injured while on assignment.

Felletter said he identified himself as a member of The Collegian staff after he told an officer people were throwing objects at the backs of other officers. He said that officer expressed no problem with him being there.

He said the first time an officer asked him to leave was when Argiro said, “Get the f— off my street” as Felletter was taking photographs at the intersection of Locust Lane and Beaver Avenue. He said Argiro threatened to arrest him and held two cans of pepper spray to his face.

Felletter said Argiro followed him, and he took photographs of Argiro over his shoulder until Argiro again threatened him with pepper spray, demanding his driver’s license.

Felletter said he received his affidavit Saturday but has not had any further contact with police and has not spoken to a lawyer. He said he noticed some discrepancies between his story and the criminal complaint but would not elaborate.

Fender said police have threatened, but have never arrested, any of his photographers.”

This article from the Collegian, illustrates how the State College Police are wasting their time.  The student photographer was not intoxicated.  He was not causing a ruckus, or ripping down street lights, nor was he even disrespecting a member of the police force.  Obviously the police make split second decisions, and must judge a situation on the spot, however if this student identified himself, was cooperative, and calm, the the officer should have let him do his job.  The photographer, might have even helped the police with pressing charges, having been a first hand, sober, witness.  However the police did not see it that way, and chose to waste time on a person who was not in-sighting a riot, but observing, while people who were causing a problem ran free.