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Speaking Out continued

rehabilitation effort.

The Eugene Ormandy Memorial on the fourth floor of the Dietrich Graduate Center was made possible through the work of a Committee and many benefactors who pro- vided funds for an advanced listening facility for the Department of Music and for Penn students. This wonderful facility with its attendant exhibit of Eugene Ormandy’s scores, photographs and other highlights of the Philadelphia musical scene will soon be paired with a Marian Anderson Memorial, for which the funding is now about 80% complete. This is a collaborative effort by her nephew, the conductor James DePreist, and a number of Friends who will thus make pos- sible a completely rehabilitated music li- brary in the Dietrich Graduate Center.

The Dietrich family has continued to play an important role in the evolution of the fabric of this building. H. Richard Dietrich provided a reading room on the ground floor of the Dietrich Graduate Center wing of the Library which has provided a study haven for many students until the beginning of the current rehabilitation project, during which it will temporarily house the Current Periodi- cal Room.

The family of Herbert Moelis provided a room (the Larry Moelis Memorial), in which reference staff can carry out computer-as- sisted information search instruction, and Muriel Freeman provided us with a room, the Bernard Freeman Memorial, on the fourth floor of the Dietrich Graduate Center.

Dietrich Graduate Center and the family of Philip Klein, Class of ’28, provided a recently rehabilitated memorial lounge which houses the University’s famous Orrery and other University memorabilia, including the bell that hung in the “new building” that housed the first incarnation of the University of Pennsylvania in the 1740s.

The handsome Kamin Gallery, used for library exhibits, was generously provided by his widow, Dorothy Englert, and sons Daniel and Robert Kamin. It has proved both suc- cessful and popular.

I am sure there are other examples of generous contributions to embellish and up- grade the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center over its long life. Both Richard DeGennaro, my predecessor, and I have worked to raise money for improvement of the facility and its furnishing. However, only the Class of 1937 and Adolph Rosengarten provided funds for the ongoing upgrading of their spaces, and other areas have fallen into disrepair over the years. We have included in our plans for rehabilitation that a small portion of capital gifts be placed in a pooled endowment fund that can be used for periodic refurbishing of the spaces thus endowed. We hope that in this way the Library will continue to reflect the quality and utility provided by our superb alumni and alumnae.

  • Paul H. Mosher, Vice Provost and

Director of Libraries

The Price of Loyalty

I wish to inform the University commu- nity that as of August 15, employees that are on grants will no longer be able to collect severance pay. Also, notice of termination has been decreased from two months to one month.

Where is that equity that the University claims it wants to provide to the employees? Is it equitable that loyal University employ- ees who have worked for decades on grants that bring in monies to the University to pay other employees their benefits get nothing?

Where is the University administrator’s humanity? Is it humane that employees that have worked for one professor for 20 years be told one month before that there is no job for them and they receive no severance pay?

At least, before August 15 a monthly-paid employee of 20 years received 60 calendar days of paid continuation and two months’ notice. If the University can divide its em- ployees and financially discriminate one set of people, what will be next?

It would be equitable and just to establish benefits for all long-term University em- ployees regardless of funding sources.

  • Andrea Weissberg

Research Specialist

On Postdoctoral Benefits

How disappointing were the recommen- dations, or more correctly, the implications of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Policies for Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associ- ates. Again, we see the typically enlightened, but clearly laissez faire attitudes we have come to expect from our University. Do everything we can to improve the conditions of two of the most poorly treated and ignored groups at Penn (a response I whole-heartedly support), but be sure that it doesn’t cost the University. The currently dreadful condi- tions under which Postdocs and Research Associates function have produced a perma- nent underclass of peripatetic scholars.

More timely promotions of Postdocs, as recommended by the Subcommittee, is truly a worthy suggestion. But, what if the promo- tion requires a doubling in total compensa- tion (a modest raise in salary and the addition of fringe benefits) that can’t be covered en- tirely by the grant? Must the Postdoc be fired? Is Penn willing to contribute some money? It is clear that the many tens-of- millions of extramural research dollars that pour into Penn annually are dependent upon the University’s overworked and underpaid Postdocs and Research Associates. Is not the discovery of new knowledge the primary mission of a great university, or is it now the function of the NIH, NSF and private foun- dations, and for the university to be “hired- out” like so many Hessian troops? It would appear that scholarship is no longer our raison d’être, but our means of support. Our junior researchers (unfortunately, some only junior

in name) contribute more to the mission of our great University than many of the plethora of “baby” Provosts, Dean-lets, Vice Presi- dents, Directors, Subdirectors and Subsubdirectors who not only receive the full support of our coffers but require full financing of their growing armies of assis- tants, associates, facilitators, specialists, co- ordinators, counselors, managers, analysts, organizers, etc. This, in contrast to our junior scholars, who must obtain their own salaries, fringe benefits and overhead. The entire $1 1/ 2 million budget for the Research Founda- tion would be hard pressed to support just one subunit of an administrative division.

I realize that the disgraceful and often desperate condition of our non-faculty schol- ars is a national scandal, but it is time for one of the country’s leading research institutions to address the real problems faced by Postdocs and Research Associates with comprehen- sive remedies that could serve as a model for other universities. Enough Band-Aids, there are just so many patches that can be applied to a leaky hose.

  • Bernard Shapiro

Professor of Biochemistry (Vet)

Response to Dr. Shapiro

The chair of the ad hoc committee responds:

Insofar as I understand them I am sympa- thetic with the basic concerns expressed by Prof. Shapiro. I sincerely hope that his im- passioned pleas for supporting the needs and aspirations of postdoctoral fellows/research associates, will add to many other voices in our University community to inspire honest efforts by administrators, faculty, and the post-graduate students concerned to solve some of the most blatant outstanding prob- lems:

1) emergency medical treatment at Uni- versity Hospitals;

  • 2)

    workers compensation protection;

  • 3)

    weekend-evening parking provisions;

  • 4)

    retirement/family health care benefits

if full EB is paid.

Finally, I believe, along with Dr. Shapiro, that some funds derived from indirect costs that accrue via faculty grants should be set aside to provide emergency financial aid to postdoctoral fellows/research associates, whose funding has been terminated. This fund could be considered ‘severance pay’ and follow the overall guidelines used for all other University personnel. The major dif- ference here would be that faculty grants in difficulty would not be further compromised by the extraction of these transitional funds. Rather, overall University benefits from on- going viable grants would be appreciated and some of the indirect costs would be returned to these emergency funds.

  • John J. Cebra, Professor of Biology

Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. Short timely letters on Unviersity issues can be accepted Thursday noon for the following Tuesday’s issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated.—Ed.

ALMANAC September 5, 1995

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