Thursday, February 15, 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.

Thursday, February 15, 2001
Volume 5, Number 81


NEWS IN BRIEF

1) The Living Wage Campaign, Part III: The Argument Against
2) World news roundup
3) Campus events

SPORTS IN BRIEF

1) Women’s basketball drops crucial contest to Mules
2) Men’s basketball trounced by Muhlenberg
3) World sports roundup
4) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

WEATHER FORECAST

Today: Cloudy with rain likely. High 49.
I was really impressed with the Valentines Dinner at Sharples last night…

Tonight: Cloudy with periods of rain. Low 36.
From the chocolate-dipped strawberries to the Valentine’s Day Massacre…

Tomorrow: Overcast and probable precipitation. High 44.
…to the Sharples worker who, upon encountering the “victims,” commented, “They must have eaten the pasta sauce…”

TODAY’S SHARPLES MENU

Lunch: Chicken and dumplings, buttered noodles, *baked tofu, pierogies, broccoli, cauliflower
**Asian bar

Dinner: Meat lasagna, garlic breadsticks, vegetable lasagna, *Suzies’ sieten, vegetable blend, cut green beans
**Antipasto bar

NEWS REPORT

1) The Living Wage Campaign, Part III: The Argument Against

The Living Wage Campaign is currently seeking support from the college community for its moral and philosophical aims, but in choosing whether or not to support the campaign, pragmatism cannot be entirely abandoned. In fact, while a large number of people seem to support the theory behind the living wage campaign, most of the opposition to the campaign stems from a doubt that a living wage could realistically be implemented at Swarthmore.

One major problem arising from the discussion of a living wage is how exactly to define a living wage: where the figures comes from, and who gets to make the ultimate decision. The Living Wage Campaign has stated their intention to examine this issue in a “broad discussion,” but it remains to be seen how effective a procedure this would be. Individual worker’s circumstances are drastically different: a living wage for a childless person living alone, for example, would be very different from the living wage of a single parent of three. Thus, setting a single living wage could potentially lead to further inequality, while attempting to set a different living wage for every employee is simply unfeasible.

Further complicating the process of setting a living wage is the fact that Swarthmore employees receive above-average benefits packages: according to the Department of Human Resources, benefits in all employment areas besides Dining Services compose approximately 28% of an employee’s total salary. Dining Services workers receive about 42% of their salary in benefits such as health care, vacation time, sick leave, short-term disability, and parenting leave. Hourly wages alone cannot simply be raised to a living wage; benefits also must be considered.

While the campaign urges Swarthmore to set an example for other schools by implementing a living wage, Economics professor Larry Westphal maintains that “Swarthmore is a very small drop in an enormous bucket.”

Living wage remains more of an issue for society rather than individual institutions. According to Economics professor Stephen O’Connell, even if living wage were implemented, it is possible that unemployment would rise as employers cut back on their now more expensive employees. Employers could also become more selective in choosing employees, which would likely lead to skilled workers replacing unskilled laborers. Because of this, a modest increase in wages, though not appearing as helpful to the lowest-earning workers, would probably prove more beneficial in the long run than a dramatic change.

Keep in mind, this is only a brief overview of the potential effects of a widely implemented living wage. Further information can be found at the National Bureau of Economic Research [www.nber.org], where Michigan State University professors David Neumark and Scott Adams have published a 46-page paper on the effects of living wage in urban communities, including “weak negative hours effects of living wage ordinances on low-wage workers, and strong negative employment effects.”

The question also remains how the campaign proposes to finance the raising of worker’s wages. As of yet, the campaign does not have a detailed proposal for this procedure. There appear to be three places from which the college could obtain the money to pay a living wage: the college’s endowment, an increase in tuition, or the elimination or restructuring of other programs. Due to the college’s responsibility under state law to preserve its endowment for future generations, as well as a likely unwillingness from parents to pay additional tuition, the last option is the most feasible and the one on which the campaign is currently focusing.

Some amount of opposition to whatever plan the campaign presents, however, seems likely, as it is clear that living wage cannot be implemented without a sacrifice to another area of the school. The degree of this sacrifice is yet to be seen, as is the college community’s willingness to support in actualization the cause it has, for the most part, supported in moral and philosophical terms.

– Pei Pei Liu

The Living Wage, Part I: The Facts http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/daily/archive/spring_2001/20010213.html#wage

The Living Wage, Part II: The Argument In Favor http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/daily/archive/spring_2001/20010214.html#wage

2) World news roundup

Mary Jo White, a Manhattan federal prosecutor, has launched an investigation into President Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. White is examining whether or not Rich was pardoned in exchange for financial contributions to causes Clinton supported. Also yesterday, the Justice Department responsible for pardons testified before a Senate committee that he was unaware Rich was a fugitive at the time of the pardon.

Building on campaign promises to limit overseas military involvement, President Bush stated yesterday that he would hesitate before ordering US troops to enter foreign conflicts. Domestically, however, Bush said he is looking to increase the role of reservists and National Guard members in fighting terrorism at home. NATO allies have already expressed concern about the President’s unwillingness to commit American forces to secure their strategic concerns.

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a substance which is able to automatically repair itself through the use of embedded glue capsules. When the composite material develops micro-tears, the glue fills in the broken areas. Though the new substance is not yet ready for commercial use, it has potential applications in everything from spacecraft and bridge supports to artificial joints and computer circuit boards.

3) Campus events

Open Class with Reggie Wilson
LPAC Dance Studio 2, 4:30 p.m.

Summer Job Workshop
Trotter 301, 7:00 p.m.

SPORTS UPDATE

1) Women’s basketball drops crucial contest to Mules

Heading into last night’s contest against Muhlenberg in Allentown, the women’s basketball team had a two-game lead over the Mules for first place in the East Division of the Centennial Conference. However, despite leading throughout most of the game, Swat fell in the final minutes. Swat took a 19-18 edge into halftime and increased the margin to 38-30 with only seven minutes left, but couldn’t stop a Muhlenberg surge and strong free throw shooting from the Mules in the home stretch, losing 53-46. Sarah Tufano ’03 had a team-high 20 points on 9 of 15 shooting, with seven rebounds. Heather Kile ’02 posted 11 points and nine boards in the loss. The team can still clinch first place, and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, with a win in the season finale against Haverford on Saturday. With only one game before the playoffs, the Garnet’s record is 19-4 overall, and 11-3 in the Conference.

2) Men’s basketball trounced by Muhlenberg

The men’s basketball team was soundly defeated by the Mules last night, 94-52. A dismal first half performance, with 17% shooting, had the Garnet down 43-16 at halftime and the squad was never able to recover. David Pearce ’03 led the Garnet in scoring with 15 points, while David Gammill ’02 chipped in nine. With this Saturday’s contest against Haverford as the last game of the season, the team’s record stands at 2-10 in Conference action, and 3-20 overall.

3) World sports roundup

The Philadelphia Sixers romped over the LA Lakers last night, 112-97, in a game that many see as a prelude to a potential NBA Finals matchup. Allen Iverson scored 40 points for the second consecutive night and outdid the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant in several one-on-one matchups.

A last second basket by Adam Hall propelled #12 Virginia over #2 Duke, 91-89, snapping Duke’s 24-game ACC road winning streak. It also ended a 12-game Cavalier losing streak to the Blue Devils that dated back to 1996.

Thurman Thomas, the ninth-leading rusher in NFL history, announced he would retire from football today. Thomas, who spent last season as a Miami Dolphin, has asked the team to waive him so he can be signed by the Buffalo Bills, thus finishing his career with the team that he helped take to four Super Bowls.

4) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

Today:

There are no contests scheduled for today.

Tomorrow:

There are no contests scheduled for tomorrow.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The streets are safe in Philadelphia, it’s only the people who make them unsafe.” – Frank Rizzo, while mayor of Philadelphia