Disorientation Guide * The Shit Penn Won't Say : ) 08:20:17 (University of Pennsylvania)

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Disorientation Guide * The Shit Penn Won't Say : ) 08:20:17 (University of Pennsylvania)

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2017

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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https://issuu.com/penndisorientation/docs/disorientation

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DISORIENTATION
GUIDE
* THE SHIT PENNWON'TSAY:)

00:20:17

DEARBEST PENNCLASS
EUER:
ADMITTED
Congrats, you've made it to the top university in the world!!
There are a few things we forgot to mention in your glossy
orientation packets. Like our larger white capitalist imperialist values that are central to the core of our money sucking
busine--err higher-education institution. But we get it! If you
want to live the fantasy version that we definitely mailed to
you at least 16 times, put this down/slip it into someone else's
bag/use it as wallpaper in your luxury apartment suites/whatever!
This Disorientation Guide is a critique on Penn as an institution,
a resource for people fighting against injustice, and a documentation of Penn's blunders and resulting campus activism. Most of us are only here for a few years. That means
that institutional memory is very short; we don't know what
happened six, eight, ten years ago, what the last cycle of
student activism looked like. Your Penn journey might have
just began; this institution has been around for more than two
centuries with a history inevitably reflecting the politics of this
country.
This Guide is inspired by many other Disorientation Guides
that have come before ours at different institutions. We recognize that as students who chose to be here, we are consumers of this institution. And that it can do better for itself,
for us, for the Philadelphia community and beyond.
Love,
Some people committed
to shaking stuff up

1

TABLEOF CONTENTS
1

Welcome Letter

3-8
9-10

Penn 's Legacy of Racism

11-14

Being First Generation, Low-Income

15-17

Neglect@ Penn and the Importance of Care

18-19

Dealing with Frat Parties During NSO

20-22

Challenging Rape and Fraternity Culture at

Remember Last Year? A Refresher

Penn

23-25
25-28
29-32
33-34

Fossil Free Penn

35
36-37

West Philly Leftist Resources

Students for Justice in Palestine
Stop Killing Ethnic Studies!
Neighborhood Relations & Gentrification
Resources to Actually Thrive At Penn

2

HISTORYANDTRADITION:
PENN'S LEGACY
OF RACISM
By Kellie; contr ibutor Jordyn (African American Arts Alliance (4A))

WHAT PENN WANTS YOU TO KNOW
...AND WHAT IT'S HIDING
If you look at Penn's Timeline of Diversity online, you will see
that Penn proudly flaunts its achievements in helping students overcome adversity. For example, Penn's first black
students enrolled as early as 1879, the same year Penn's first
Japanese student graduated. In the years following, people
of color earned degrees from Penn, W.E.B. Dubois conducted
research here, and Hillel was established. Martin Luther King,
Jr . even audited classes at Penn from 1949-1951. While these
are clearly significant advancements and accomplishments, if
you want to read between the lines and discover what it was
like for those first students of color, or read up on racist incidents at Penn, you'll have to dig a lot harder . Luckily for you,
I've done my research.

THE BLACK EXPERIENCEAT PENN: BREAKING DOWN
WALLS AT AN INSTITUTION MADE UP OF PEOPLEWHO
HATE YOU
EARLY YEARS
So yes, Penn is wonderful and amazing for allowing people of
color to enter its hallowed halls, but Penn is first and foremost
an institution, founded by white people for white people (actually white cis men, let's be honest) . Resources like the cultural
houses (Makuu, PAACH, etc.) and Dubois College House didn 't
exist when those first PoC students attended. Penn proudly
advertises that those students earned degrees here, but what
did Penn do to protect those students? Sadie Alexander, a

3

black student from the class of 1918,stated:
Can you imagine looking for classrooms and asking
persons the way, only to find the same unresponsive
persons you asked for directions seated in the
classroom, which you entered late because you could
not find your way? Just suppose that after finding your
way to a seat in the classroom, not one person spoke
to you.
To put it mildly, white students at Penn were extremely hostile
to their nonwhite peers. Additionally, none of the dining halls
or restaurants on and around campus would serve black students, and most gathering places were segregated. Track and
field and cross country were the only sports in which Penn
allowed black students to participate, and black athletes were
often not recognized or photographed in yearbooks. When Dr.
Cummings, a black man, graduated from the Dental School in
1919,he wasn't invited to the dinner in which graduates received their certificates-- Penn didn't rectify this until 1972.
1950s ONWARDS

Clubs and greek life are incredibly popular and possess a
great deal of power here at Penn-- some groups and frater nities have been around for years and claim to uphold the
university's traditions and values. One of those groups is the
esteemed and respected Mask and Wig Club, which was
founded in 1889 as an all white male performance group.
The club has expanded and diversified since its founding, but
most current Penn students don't know about a Mask and
Wig tradition that used to be a crowd favorite-- minstrelsy.
That's right, everyone's favorite comedy group performed
"The Golden Fleece" in 1953, and the actors executed the
show in blackface. According to an article from the Daily
Pennsylvanian that year, minstrelsy was an old Mask and Wig
tradition, since "the twelve founders had been fascinated by
the color of burnt cork." Penn is famously proud of its history
and tradition, but has managed to keep this shameful
4

aspect well-hidden.
If you would like another disturbing historical example of
racism at Penn, look no further than ZBT's suspension in 1988.
A Daily Pennsylvanian article from that year states that the
Judicial Inquiry Office accused the fraternity ZBT of "hazing,
harassment, alcohol use, open lewdness, prostitution and
indecent exposure." The fraternity allegedly hired two black
women to perform at a rush event. While they were performing, ZBT brothers shouted racist remarks such as, "Where
did you get them n*ggers?" and then sexually harassed
the women and hazed ZBT rushes. The fraternity ended up
facing several charges and was suspended for 18 months,
but black campus leaders fought for a harsher punishment.
The then-president of the Black Student League, Traci Miller, argued that ZBT should have faced indefinite suspension,
as 18 months was "inadequate." Other black student groups
expressed frustration with the administration and with the
university's judicial system.

PRESENTDAY
This might come as a shock to some of you but-- racism isn't
dead. The past year alone at Penn demonstrates just that. In
November 2016, right after DJT was named president-elect,
Penn made national headlines when black freshmen were
added to a racist and vulgar groupme, entitled "Mud Men."
The groupme included horrific racist and sexually violent
images and messages, as well as events entitled "daily lynching." After an investigation conducted by Penn in conjunction
with the FBI, the university notified students that the person
responsible for the groupme was a University of Oklahoma
student. Though a Penn student did not create the groupme,
the incident amplified an already frightening time in many students' lives, and left students feeling angry, troubled, speechless, and even helpless.

5

Even more recently, Penn Law Professor Amy Wax has
caused controversy with her blatantly racist and culturally
elitist statements in an op-ed piece she wrote, published on
philly.com. Wax discusses what she calls "the breakdown
of the country 's bourgeois culture" and makes some truly
outlandish remarks such as "all cultures are not equal," and
society ought to "return to the 1950s posture of celebrating"
bourgeois culture. Wax also describes "the anti 'acting white '
rap culture of inner-city blacks" and "the "anti-assimilation
ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants" as
both incompatible with an advanced free-market economy,
and destructive to solidarity among Americans. To top it all
off, in an interview for the Daily Pennsylvanian, Wax stated,
''.l\nglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior," and, "Everyone
wants to go to countries ruled by white Europeans." Wax's
offensive statements have caused outrage within the Penn
community, including protests and petitions from different
student groups. Wax, who has worked at Penn for sever al years and has made racist comments before, is just one
more example proving that Penn has a tremendously long
way to go in terms of including, defending, and empowering
students belonging to all races and backgrounds.

WHY THISSHIT MATTERS
So what is the point of drawing attention to Penn's racist history? Why not leave the past in the past? And why do I stay
at Penn if I have all of these awful things to say about it? The
fact of the matter is, this information is important. Penn claims
to be progressive and a safe place for its students, but this
information reminds us that Penn is an institution that serves
best its own interests. Penn is an ivy league, a pristine, good
school that wants to preserve its reputation. If we ignore its
disturbing past and its flawed and frustrating present, we fail
to improve it and make it a safer, better place. My thoughts
are perfectly articulated in a quote I first heard at the African
American Arts Alliance's gala last year. Travis Richardson, a

6

United Minorities Council chairman in 1988 said, "Oh yes, in
answer to the inquiries about why I (or any Black student) am
here if Penn is so bad , most of us believe that strength is not
in fl ight , but in fight. Penn is but a microcosm of America. I
cou ld not escape it if I tried. What I can do is try to make it
better."
WORK CITED

"Daily Pennsylvanian Digital Archives." Daily Pennsylvanian Digital Archives, University of Pennsylvania, dparchives.library.upenn.edu/.
Dunn, Richard S.,and Marvin P. Lyon. "Blacks at Penn, Then and Now."A Pennsylvania Album: Undergraduate Essays on the 250th Anniversary of the University of
Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania, 1990.
Griffin, M.I.J."Behind 'The Golden Fleece·:·The Daily Pennsylvanian, 17Nov. 1953,pp.
4- 5.
"Penn Diversity Timeline." Timeline, University of Pennsylvania, diversity.upenn.edu/
diversity _at_penn/facts _figures/ diversity_timeline/.
Snow, Caroline Simon Will. "U. Of Oklahoma Student to Be Suspended for Racist
Group Message after Penn Police, FBI Investigation." The Daily Pennsylvanian, The
Daily Pennsylvanian, 14 Nov. 2016.
Spinelli,Dan. "'Not All Cultures Are Created Equal' Says Penn Law Professor in OpEd:' The Daily Pennsylvanian, The Daily Pennsylvanian, 14 Aug. 2017.
Taubman, Geoff. "ZBT Fraternity Faces Suspension." The Daily Pennsylvanian, 26
Feb. 1988,pp. 1- 11.
Taubman, Geoff, and Patricia O'Donnell. "ZBT Suspended for 18 Months." The Daily
Pennsylvanian, 4 Mar. 1988,p. 1.
"UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES." University Arch ives, University of Pennsylvania University
Archives, University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center.
Wax, Amy, and Larry Alexander. "Paying the Price for Breakdown of the Country's
Bourgeois Culture." Philly.com,Philadelphia Media Network, LLC, 9 Aug. 2017.

7

1908 : SECTION
OF
THE QUAD
DEDICATED
TO
MASK AND WIG
1894 : MASK AND
WIG PURCHASES
QUINCE
STREET
PROPERTY

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MASK AND
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1954 : LAST
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MINSTREL
SHOW

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REMEMBER
LASTYEAR?
A SHORTREFRESHER.
By Student Organizing for Unity and Liberation (SOUL)
There are several incidents of intolerance that happen on our
campus every year - and here we are going to outline just
a couple of them. We think it's important to be aware of the
fact that while the majority of this campus is tolerant, there
are still instances of intolerance and it's not all peaches and
cream. Racist and misogynistic fraternities, homophobic and
misogynistic preachers that frequent campus just to spew
hate, and other Alt-Right groups that use our campus as a
place to post their hate-filled flyers - they 're all here. So let's
take a look at a couple of highlighted incidents.
You read a little bit above about the racist groupme incident of
November 2016. At a time on campus when Prez number 45
had just been announced President-elect, and many on campus were worried for what this new president would mean for
the safety and security of themselves and their families, many
Black Penn freshman one Friday morning woke up to their
being added to a groupme chat named "Mud Men ". This chat
showed images of black people being lynched, messages
calling them nigg *rs, and showed "daily lynching" events. The
images in the chat were triggering and completely despicable.
The Black Penn community immediately mobilized to protect
our Freshman, the most vulnerable group on our campus
at the time considering they were still new and fresh faced .
UMOJA held a town hall to allow for those affected to have
a safe space to share their feelings and receive the support
they needed, in which Amy Gutman was present for part of
the town hall, and SOUL organized a rally and march from
Huntsman Hall to the Football Stadium to express their frus-

9

tration and outrage. The University did act quickly, which we
do commend them for - they immediately contacted the FBI
to figure out who was responsible for creating the Groupme,
and reassured Black Penn students that they were on their
side and they would see to it that nothing would happen to
them while they were on campus . They eventually found
out that the Groupme had been created by a student at the
University of Oklahoma who had been admitted to Penn and
attended Quaker Days in 2016, and that is how he had the
contact information of the Black Penn students. He was expelled from the University of Oklahoma.
Though the University handled this situation well, many of
their words of reassurance did not leave Black Penn students
feeling safe at all. Many of us were worried, because if this
student had been admitted to Penn, who is to say that there
were not other students on campus (which I'm sure there are)
who thought the same way and would put our lives in danger? Many Black parents of the students called the University
to figure out what was going on, and the University told our
parents that if we were worried for our safety, we should "go
home for the weekend", as if that would solve the problem .
The incident left our community shaken to its core, but we
continued to persevere, as we have every right to this education as everyone else on this campus and will not be silenced.

10

BEINGFIRST GENERATION~
LOW-INCOME
By David, a first gen low-income student
Tuition this year is a little over $70k. For those of you whose
daddies and/or mommies can fully financially support them
to be here, gr8 and congrats~ On the other hand, for those
of you who are like me, on full or partial financial aid plus
scholarships, we've managed to survive mostly on someone
else's dollar. I'm writing this to you because when I entered
Penn three years ago, no one warned me about how costly it
actually is to be at the prestigious ~*UnlvErSiTy Of PeNnSyLv Ania*~ I thought I'd take a hot second to share with you my
thoughts.
PARTY SCENE

First thing's first: enjoy NSO as much as you can. NSO is one
of the few experiences in your undergraduate career where
practically anything and everything is free. Soon enough, you'll
be bombarded with invitations to BYOs, downtowns, formals,
and whatever form of debauchery that tickles your interest.
(For the purpose of this segment, I won't be talking about the
~free~ frat parties that happen practically every weekend.) I
didn't realize how ostracizing it was for me to constantly turn
down invites from friends and student groups who could
afford these social gatherings. No one told me that karaoke/
BYO/dinner nights were about $20+ a head when split evenly
- I learned this after my first two BYOs. It took me the second
time to realize how badly my bank account was crying because I was too drunk the first time around to notice I venmo-ed someone $26 for "ken's seafood byo ;)".
When frats, sororities, and other student groups host formals

11

and downtowns, they neglect to tell you how expensive it is to
join everyone for a drunken night and (sometimes) open bar,
especially if you've already paid an initial ~membership fee~ to
join. (Oh yeah, speaking of which, joining a frat/sorority is expensive af but obv they don't tell you that when you're sucking up to them during rush.) I seldom went to formals and
downtowns because 1.)I was underage and couldn't pay for
$60+ for fake IDs and 2.) I couldn't pay for the event itself, regardless if it was $20. Some groups - and I've been fortunate
to be involved with these particular groups - are understanding and will help you out financially. But I didn't realize this until
I finally broke out of my little bubble and explained why I was
consistently MIA. Keep in mind that while it's expensive and
pressuring af to take part in some of Penn's traditional party
scene, you can still get free ale and dank music at some frat
house down Spruce St.
FINANCIAL AID

Penn can easily scheme you if you don't know who to speak
to or know what to ask/say cause SFS looooooves playing
games! Every semester, your tuition/bill will fluctuate (it rarely stays the same) and you'll most likely have zero clue as
to why. If you decide to address this with SFS (which I highly
recommend you doing), your initial visit (and probably the
next five) will be daunting, intimidating, and nerve-wracking
af. Damn, I'm getting chills just thinking about the first time
I went in! I do NOT want to relive that. It's extremely difficult
as a low-income student to walk into SFS, a place where
these people can make a few clicks on a keyboard and either
make or break you, and seek financial help. Despite working our asses off, balancing family responsibilities, and doing
God-knows-what to get here, we may feel as though we're
lucky to be at Penn. Because of this, I believe, we're reluctant
to seek help and ask for more. We might feel the need to be
grateful for what we have and what's already being provided
by Penn (especially financially). But I urge you to look past

12

these insecurities. It'll take time for you to develop the con fidence (if you already don't have it, and if you don't, that's
alright!) to stroll into SFS and demand answers and support. It
took me about a year before I felt comfortable to even voice
my concerns before I took action.
I am writing to let you know that as scary as SFS might be,
you have every right to seek help and gain support from the
institution you're attending. And here's a friendly tip: if the SFS
advisor you have isn't doing much good, ask to switch advisors. Gain the support you need instead of settling. Seriously.
Don't. Settle.
SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL CAPITAL

You might not be thinking about this but knowing all of you
overachievers (I can say that cause I was in your shoes ok
pft) you might actually be thinking about summer internships
and jobs already. When it comes down to the internship and
job search, you might feel as though you're at a huge disadvantage. At least for me, I felt at a disadvantage because my
parents, aunts, and unc les couldn't hook me up with an internship at Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs or some other
gnarly place. We clearly didn't have those types of connections. As a f irst-generation college student, it was difficult to
navigate the professional world because I lacked not only the
appropriate connections but also the social and professional
capital.
Prior to entering Penn, I on ly knew a handful of people whose
parents went to college, and to top that off, I knew like two
people whose grandparents went to college. However, at
Penn, the majority of students here actually come from families of higher education, a privilege I clear ly did not have. (I am
by no means shaming that at all, lol.) This privilege, I believe,
has fostered the confidence and capital for many Penn students to successfully navigate the professional world, among

13

many others. As the son of two immigrants who both gave
up education after escaping their home country, I don't blame
my parents for not having gone to college, getting a degree,
and getting a job that can pay for a $70k tuition; I don't blame
them for not being able to connect me with people who can
facilitate my professional and career development; and I don't
blame them for not teaching me how to speak confidently to
professionals and equipping me with the soft skills needed to
thrive in a competitive world. If you find yourself resonating
with some of my sentiment, I want to pass along a few words
of advice: you can do it. You can, lol, honestly. It's going to be
difficult, but it's not impossible . I believe in you.

14

NEGLECT@
PENNANDTHE
IMPORTANCE
OF CARE
By Malkia

Penn Face. You will hear this a lot when you get to Penn. This
is when you put on a mask (success, happiness, etc), which
acts like a facade over who you are as a person and your
mental and emotiona l health. Despite consistent calls to ca ll it
out, identify it, and deconstruct it, Penn continues to replicate
this toxic cycle. The pressure to adapt to pre-professiona l
culture forces you to put on these masks. There w ill come
times when you may feel like you do not belong, or are doing
something wrong, simply because you are not properly conforming. Know that you don 't need to act the same or dress
the same. Wharton kids are not better than anyone else. Do
your own thing. It'll serve you for the better.
Suicide. You will also hear this a lot when you get to Penn. As
of 2017 there had been 13 suicides within four years . These
headlines sting. There are students at this school in pain, and
many are painfully unaware until it is too late.
CAPs, or Counseling and Psychological Services. You will
also hear this a lot, often as a joke or jab, when you get to
Penn . People do not have a lot of nice things to say about
CAPs. Don't depend on them for emergencies. If you have
patience, use them as a resource since they are included in
your tuition . Prepare to wait days and even weeks to get con nected to a therapist, with the possibility of trying out multiple
therapists. If you choose this route, don 't be afraid to ask a
friend to be there to make the call with you and realize you 're
not alone in this!! It ca n be daunting . But you can do it. Many
of us have been there. We believe in you.

15

A lot of the information up until this point has been negative.
A lot of people, including myself, struggle to find adequate
resources for handling mental health. I'll be honest, I am still
struggling. Therefore, here is a list of things you can do for
yourself or your friends when you are particularly struggling:
Take Breaks: If you can, try to make going to class a priority, but do not feel ashamed if you feel like you have to miss
a lecture or two. This tip is mostly geared towards your extra-curricular life. You might want to join and run every club
there is to offer, and clubs are fun and rewarding, but do not
worry if you cannot make every meeting or BYO. You don't
need to go out every weekend either, and as a freshman you
may feel pressure to. There is no shame in binging Netflix, or
just getting in that few extra hours of sleep!
Leave Campus: No need to hop on a regional line to the
Pennsylvanian countryside (although that could be fun), but
explore the city. Get off campus. You'd be surprised at how
the environment at Penn in and of itself breeds tension. Go to
a park, perhaps Clark Park, Bertram's Gardens, Rittenhouse
Square, Washington Square, etc. Explore! Walk! No need to
call an uber or scrape out $2.25, Rittenhouse is a 30 minute
walk. And it's a fun walk too!
Community Care: With self-care being the current trend,
we tend to get absorbed within ourselves. It is absolutely fine
and necessary to take time for yourself, and care for your
needs. After all, you need to be able to take care of yourself
before you try helping others. However, this can easily slip
into a hegemonic interior struggle, resulting in self-isolation.
I strongly suggest finding or creating a safe support system.
A community system in which you can confide in others and
they in you. It could range from a friend, to a group of people.
Take the time to check in with one another, and share your
feelings. Don't expect or rely on others to save or cure you,
but don't fall for hyper-individualism either.

16

If you have network insurance, there is also the option of
seeking counseling off campus through your network. This
might take a little more labor, but it can be very helpful if you
find the right therapist.
Penn and the culture that comes with it does not make it
easy for students with mental health problems. But just know
that you are not alone.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

17

DEALING
WITHFRAT
PARTIESDURINGNSO
By SS

SO you 've decided to go to a frat party. Free ale, loud music, and the chance to drown your social anxiety in mindless
dancing. I get it! It's definitely a huge part of NSO, and an
interesting experience (even as like an anthropological study what young white boys are like when drunk with power (and
also drunk with alcohol)). If you 're going to do this, there are
a couple of things you should be careful and critical of, let's
walk through them:

RACE AND BEAUTY STANDARDS: Getting turned away from
a frat party because your group does not abide by straight/
cis-passing, white beauty standards seems pretty gross, but
it happens. Or, at least, if the party is super full they somehow
always still have room for pretty white girls. Check your mor als, are you okay with giving social status to the power crazy
white boys at the door?

THE RATIO: Many frats use a horrible "ratio" system to see
if a group is worthy of entering their sticky-floored, med iocre-music filled, predatory party. They want to make sure
there are more women than men in the group because they
know if there are too many men, the women will have more
choices for hook-ups/dancing/whatever
they want to do and
will probably not choose them.

DANCING: For women passing party-goers , you may find
random boys suddenly
ing against you without
dancing. This is creepy
normalized . It is not ok

appear behind you and start grindany sort of introduction while you 're
af , but for some reason has been
to approach someone and touch their

18

body without their consent. If it happens to you, know that it's
ok to decline.
As we talked about before , partying is a pretty dominant
part of NSO. When I first got to Penn, I was so excited to try
new things and get to know cool people that I didn't take the
time to consider how the activities I participated in reinforced
the same social structure that accuses rape and racism and
applauds objectification of women. If I could go back, I know
I'd be able to meet the same cool people and have amazing
experiences without being complicit in this oppression. So
have fun, but don 't forget to be thoughtful and critical.

19

CHALLENGING
RAPEANDFRATERNITYCULTURE
AT PENN
By Anon
Remember to fight for what you want and what you deserve.
Many of the resources on Penn's campus that serve underrepresented and oppressed groups were fought for. Like the
cultural resource centers. Here, I'll specifically address the creation of the Penn Women's Center, which happens the oldest
resource center at Penn. It's also one of the oldest women's
centers in the country, something that Penn will proudly claim
as evidence of its commitment to equity and social justice.
But it wasn't like the Penn administration handed PWC (and
the other cultural resource centers for that matter) to the students on a silver platter.

TRIGGERWARNING:misogynY, sexual assault, rape, violence
In March 1973,five women were raped in 3 days. After this
series of rapes, a group of women met with Penn's director of
public safety to address recent events. The director of public
safety made a suggestion that many non-men have heard
in their lives: if you want to be safer, don't "wear provocative
clothing:· After this meeting, a group of students, faculty, and
staff organized a sit-in at the president's office in College Hall,
in which 200 people participated. Their demands included
better security, a women's center, medical and psychological
counseling services, and free women's self-defense classes. After four days, Penn administration agreed to improve
security measures and create a women's center that would
include medical, psychological, and legal support of sexual
assault victims, self-defense classes and training, and "other
academic and non-academic University functions and services pertaining to women." And thus the Penn Women's
center was created and given a space within College Hall.
20

Of course, even though it's awesome that the campus rallied
around this issue and created a resource center, it's always
important to question and critique what happened to learn
for the future. I'm not going to present only the positives to all
of this. Part of the reason why students were feeling unsafe
on campus was because they thought it was too open to the
public; many buildings were unlocked 24/7, and this was the
time before fancy electronic swipe cards. Much like today,
students feared the community outside of Penn. What does
this say about Penn's view of and relationship to West Philadelphia? What does it mean when white women students imply danger in living near non-white men? How do those dynamics affect the university's willingness to respond? Perhaps
most importantly for us to think about now and in the future,
how can we change our feminist movements to be more
intersectional, to center groups like women of color? This is
a question that people on campus are asking and trying to
answer all the time; don't be afraid to join the conversation.
I know when I got to Penn I felt grateful for the existence of
things like the cultural resource centers, which many of my
friends who ended up at different colleges didn't have. At
first, I was grateful to the administration for providing us with
resources. But as I went through the Penn Experience ("'), I
started to interrogate why I should be grateful to the administration for something students deserve, why I should be
grateful to an administration that doesn't nearly support its
less privileged students enough. I've realized gratefulness
wasn't the wrong emotion, just misdirected; now, I'm grateful for the students who came before us who fought for the
things we have today. Remember your predecessors, and
remember that you can impact the lives of future generations
of Penn students too.
Here's something that students are talking about right now:
the overwhelming presence of fraternity houses on Locust
Walk. When I walked down Locust during NSO, one of the

21

first things I noticed was the frat stars hanging out in front
of their houses, sitting on the couches, watching TV, playing
loud music, drinking beers, and "people-watching." Woah, did
not sign up to be stared at by random men as I go to class!
Indeed, 12 of the buildings on Locust are fraternities. Locust is
the most central part of campus ; why is so much of it allocated to the housing of fraternities? There's a messy history if
you 're interested in reading more . Emily Hoeven wrote a detailed Daily Pennsylvanian article called "It's time to end Penn's
century-long fraternity subsidization" last April (http://www.
thedp .com/ article/2017 /04/ emily-hoeven-fraternity-subsidization) about it all.
To summarize the article, basically, the University needed
more housing as it was expanding in the 1920s and 30s, and
many of the houses that were outside of the original campus were owned by individual fraternities. So, they made a
deal with said fraternities to use their houses as dorms in
exchange for granting benefits like paying for all the costs that
are associated with owning a property. Fraternity brothers
would also get preferential housing and decreased residence
fees. To make the deal even sweeter for the fraternities,
both back then and today, many of the fraternities housed in
University-owned buildings have contracts with the University that would allow them to buyback the property if it stops
being used for student housing. And while these 12 fraternities
take up all this space on Locust, the three cultural centers
(Makuu, La Casa Latina, and Pan-Asian American Community
House) are relegated to a few rooms in the basement of the
ARCH building . It's not impossible to replace the frat houses
with something different. In fact, the spaces PWC and LGBT
Center currently occupy were former frat houses .

22

FOSSIL FREEPENN.
By Fossil Free Penn
The University of Pennsylvania falsely claims to embrace
principles of environmental sustainability. The "Green Campus
Partnership" sub-section of the Penn website, for instance,
aims to demonstrate to prospective parents and students that
Penn is an environmentally conscious academic institution,
making progressive decisions to reduce its impact on the
natural world. Most, if not all, of the self-congratulation presented on this emerald, leaf-laden webpage surrounds the
2007 Climate Action Plan and the 2014 Climate Action Plan
2.0. These initiatives surely brought about positive changes
in Penn's waste management, carbon emissions, and environmentally oriented curriculum and research. These Plans'
provisions, however, do little to counterbalance the carbon
emissions associated with the hundreds of fossil fuel corporations in which Penn invests its endowment. It is odd, then, that
President Gutman claims, in the preface of the roughly worded Climate Action Plan 2.0, to be at all interested in the development of "environmental strategies that will impact our local
community, our nation, and the world." Given Penn's holdings
in the fossil fuel industry, it is hard to know whether these
"strategies" refer to installing LED light bulbs in the Furness
Shakespeare Library or to increasing the performance of drill
bits for deep-water crude extraction. 1
On September 22, 2016, Penn's Board of Trustees rejected
Fossil Free Penn's proposal to divest the University's $10 billion
endowment from the fossil fuel industry. 2 This pernicious
industry, comprising hundreds of coal, oil, and natural gas
companies, is responsible for scores of social and societal ills,
including but not limited to: increasing the likelihood of severe medical disorders for persons living in proximity to coal
mining sites and power plants; 3 the corruption of American

23

politics; 4 the denial of science, especially with regard to anthropogenic climate change; 5 the destabilization of the global
climate, precipitating , to note only a few consequences, ocean
acidification, biodiversity loss, sea level rise, national security
threats, more frequent outbreaks of climate-sensitive diseas es such as malaria and dengue fever , food shortages , and
water shortages. 6 According to the Trustees Guidelines and
Procedures, a divestment proposal must address four criteria
of social responsibility to merit consideration. Our comprehensive, 48-page proposal, available to the public for review on
the Fossil Free Penn (FFP) website , clearly meets these four
criteria, thoroughly addressing each individual criterion. Criterion 1,for example, states: "There exists a moral evil implicating
a core University value that is creating a substantial social
injury."7 Seemingly, applying this criterion to fossil fuel combustion is simple and undeniable. Yet, our proposal meticulously
demonstrates the social ills that coal and oil industries perpetrate. Solely in the case of coal, we cited up-to-date reports published by Science, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, and researchers at various universities all showing
the damaging effects of coal burning and mining practices
on human health, irrespective of carbon dioxide emissions
and climate change. 8 One may wonder whether all of this
was necessary. I mean, come on, how hard is it to convince a
body of reasonably minded people that burning fossil fuels is,
in a word , bad?
Shockingly, it is very hard. The Executive Committee of the
Trustees, according to a letter issued by Chairperson David
Cohen to the members of FFP, "unanimously approved a
Resolution accepting the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee 's findings and recommendation to not divest from holdings related
to fossil fuels."9 Cohen specified in this letter that "the Ad Hoc
Advisory Committee concurred in what the Trustees consider to be the linchpin of any divestment decision at Penn: the
interpretation of moral evil as an activity on par with apartheid
or genocide."10 While the term 'genocide' generally implies the

24

deliberate perpetration of evil against a group, or number of
groups, of people, who would argue that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians is not an event on par
with mass killing? How can Penn be "a model of environmental academics and stewardship" if it invests hundreds of millions of dollars in the very instruments responsible for bringing about environmental destruction? I invite all who read this
to critically examine our coherent proposal, to be incensed by
the Board's preposterous claim of our failing to meet the divestment criteria, and to join Fossil Free Penn's fight to topple
the hypocrisy that currently guides our University's behavior.
For more information, visit http://www.fossilfreepenn.org/.

The University of Pennsylvania,Climate Action Plan 2.0
(Philadelphia,2014),5.
2 David L. Cohen, Letter to Members of Fossil Free Penn
(Philadelphia,2016).
3 Fossil Free Penn, Proposal for the Formation of an Ad Hoc Advisory Committee
on Divestment from Fossil Fuel Holdings (Philadelphia,2015),10.
4
Ibid, 17.
5
Ibid.
6
Ibid, 10, 14-17.
7 Office of the University Secretary, Guidelines and Procedures for Consideration by
the Trustees of Proposals for Divestment from the University Endowment or Other
Holdings Based Upon Social
Responsibility Concerns of the Penn Community (Philadelphia,2013),3.
8
Fossil Free Penn, Proposal, 10.
9
David Cohen, Letter to Fossil Free Penn, 2.
10
Ibid, 1.
1

25

STUDENTS
FORJUSTICE IN
PALESTINE
By Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are a group of activists that organize for the destruction of various systems of
oppression. Though we vary in our interests, we all come
together to educate and organize in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice and human rights. We host educational and cultural events, public demonstrations, and organize
campaigns to bring awareness to systematic human rights
abuses in Israeli occupied Palestine. Below are some of the
events we've organized over the past year.
''WHAT IS LEFT OF A DEMOLISHED HOME?''
\r ~~:::t
The first was a visual campaign to
bring attention to the illegal Israeli
army practice of Palestinian home
demolitions. Using zip ties, we
strung up disheveled teddy bears
on the lampposts along Locust
Walk to represent the items left
behind by the countless children
displaced and made homeless by
'HOE
home demolitions. Underneath the
HONrl
bears were signs that read "What
is Left of a Demolished Home?
In 2016, Israel has illegally demolished 1033 buildings in the West
Bank and East Jerusalem, forcing Palestinian children and
civilians into homelessness". We tried to get permission from
the administration for our demonstration but they were unwilling to grant it. We decided to go through with it anyway and
when we did get an email from the administration, we offered
to take it down ourselves later in the day. That way we didn't

26

burden the maintenance workers and we could leave the the
installation up for the rest of the day
THE APARTHEID WALL







-- -

.

Another annual event that we organize is the Apartheid wall.
We erect a lifesize wall along Locust Walk meant to mirror
the 450 mile long security barrier Israel has built in Palestine.
Though allegedly for security purposes, 85% of the wall does
not run along Israel's internationally recognized borders and it
has been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.1

27

We spend the day talking to students, faculty, and community
members about the security barrier and the various human
rights abuses it is implicated in.
This year's wall demonstration was even more sobering given
the election of Trump and his eerily similar proposal to build a
wall. In fact, the stock of the security company that built the
Israeli security barrier (Magal Security Systems) jumped up
by 25 percent the day after Trump was elected, a sobering
reminder that all oppression is interconnected.
GAZA MEMORIAL

For the past few years, we have also organized a memorial for the victims of the 2014 Israeli army assault on Gaza
in which more than 2100 Palestinians and 66 Israeli soldiers
were killed. We print out flags with the names and ages of
all those who were killed and plant them in front of College
Green as a visual reminder of the ruthlessness of occupation
and war.
During the past few years we 've had this memorial, some
28

students have ripped flags out of the ground and thrown
them in our faces. We've had signs put up calling the dead
civilians human shields. We have frequently been called terrorists Like all struggles for justice, changing the status quo
is a very uphill battle, but we will continue the fight against
all forms of settler colonialism and imperialism . We stand in
solidarity with Black Lives Matter, NODAPL, and every other
marginalized group who stands against imperialism.settler
colonialism, white supremacy, the patriarchy, capitalism , and
all other forms of discrimination
We share the views of academics and activists like Judith
Butler, Edward Said, llan Pappe, Jimmy Carter, and Desmond
Tutu that the Palestinian people deserve self determination
and freedom from human rights abuses. We believe in the
words of Nelson Mandela, that ''Our freedom is incomplete
without the freedom of the Palestinians'' 2
If you are also passionate about human rights, both domestically and abroad, and care about the role the US plays in
perpetuating these abuses, you can join SJP by sending us an
email at pennstudentsforjusticeinpalestine
@gmail.com
If you are interested in learning more about the Israeli occupation of Palestine, visit
jewishvoiceforpeace.org/israeli-palestinian
- conflict - 101/
and keep an eye out for our upcoming Palestine 101event this
semester.

"International Court of Justice Finds Israeli Barrier in Palestinian Territory Is Illegal."
UN News Center, United Nations, 9 July 2004, www.un.org/ apps/n ews/story .
asp?News 1D=11292
2 Lembede, Nolwalzi. "Israeli Apartheid Week: South Africa Rej oins Palestine."Al Jazeera, 17May 2012, studies.aljazeera.net/ en/r eports/ 2012/05/ 201251511343828397.
1

htm l.

29

STOPKILLINGETHNIC
STUDIES!!
By Anonymous
Penn loves to tout its Asian American Studies
Program (ASAM) as unique leader among East Coast schools
in brochures and other advertising materials , but its existence
at Penn has been marred with struggle since its founding
20 years ago. The program, founded after Asian American
students, faculty , and staff rallied on College Green and demanded an ethnic studies program, faces a restrictive budget, faltering institutional support, limited physical space, and
undervaluation as a legitimate course of study. Ten years later,
students rallied again for more support from the university
for the Asian American Studies Program and yet, just this
past Spring 2017 semester, students took to College Green
and Locust Walk again to protest the program 's lack of support. Sparked by the departure of founding Asian American
Studies Program faculty member Dr. Grace Kao, the Asian
American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board (ASAM
UAB for short) published an OpEd in The Daily Pennsylvanian
and released a petition garnering more than 1,200 signatures
of support . Dr. Kao's departure marked a vacancy in one of
ASAM 's core course requirements, making it a real fear that
some students may not be able to finish their minor given
the current course offerings, especially considering that other
ASAM instructors would be disincentivized to continue teaching ASAM courses on a volunteer basis and the program
could essentially dissolve. This leaves ASAM on course for an
uncertain future as the vacancy left by Dr. Kao is up for the
time-consuming rehiring process by the Sociology Department and the ASAM UAB continues to lobby for more support.

30

Despite the significant barriers to ASAM's growth and contin ued success, the program's core classes are consistently fully
enrolled and extremely popular. They are among the highest
enrolled classes in their respective crosslisted departments
(e.g. HIST, SOCI, ENGL). The program is undoubtedly meeting,
and even surpassing, its goals, yet is receiving no additional
funding or resources to facilitate program growth, resulting in
stagnation. The future of ASAM requires your support! Underclassmen are vital to continuing movements as the administration expects them to die down when their leaders graduate
after four or five years. Enroll in ASAM courses, go to ASAM
events, and support the other ethnic studies programs at
Penn (AFRC, LALS, NAIS)!

PROTEST
http:/ /www.thedp.com/ article/2017 /02/ asian-american-studies-students - rally-for -their -department-on-college-green

OPED
http://www.thedp.com/
american-studies-893c

article/2017 /01/ guest-column-asian-

PETITION
https://www.change.org/ p/to-dean-f Iuharty-president-gut
mann-provost - price-who-killed-upenn-s-asian-americanstudies

31

-

NEIGHBHORHOOD
RELATIONS
& GENTRIFICATION
By SOUL
One of the things you may hear during NSO is "don 't go past
40th street." Penn emphasizes this every year - they say it's
too dangerous to go farther than 40th street because past
40th street is when you leave the Penn Bubble . For those who
are not familiar with what the Penn Bubble is, it is basically
University City, the neighborhood that Penn creates for itself
within West Philadelphia simply by existing as a prestigious
institution and attracting all kinds of wealthy people . In the
Penn Bubble, you feel safe right? You can see Penn Security
and Police riding around on bikes and in cars on almost every
corner, there 's the blue light system that you can use in case
you need to call for help, and we have access to things like
Penn Walk and Penn Ride if you need someone to take you
back to your dorm room late at night .
But what is the main difference between the Penn Bubble
and the rest of West Philly? The people. The real reason Penn
always tells incoming Freshman not to go past 40th street
is because in UCity you will find people who are here only
because of their affiliation with Penn, and once you head into
the residential areas of West Philly, you find residents - because this is people 's home. They were here long before the
University of Pennsylvania, but they are demonized by the
institution that has gentrified their neighborhood to seem as if
they are all criminals who will rob or harass you just for walking through their neighborhood, when that is not the case . If
you have common sense, you won 't have issues exploring
outside of the Penn Bubble. Granted, many people that come
to Penn do not come from city backgrounds, so they 're used
to walking around with no sense of awareness because you

32

don't have to worry about that in the suburbs or a small town .
However, if you decide to come to school in a city, you need
to learn how to adjust and accommodate to the city lifestyle you can't come to someone else's home and demonize them
for living the way they live.
Penn has had a rocky relationship with West Philadelphia for
a long time. To get straight to the point, here is a timeline of
Penn's gentrif ication of West Philly - or "Penntrification" as
SOUL calls it:
PENlRIFICATION: AN ABBREVI.ATED HISTORY

Have you ever vvondered 1•1
hy Van Pelt library faces a'Nay from 1he street?
Why does Penn get 1,vo trolley stops? What was there before "Un versity City"?
1872

Penn rnoves fro1n9th and Chestnut to West Philadelphia
Ph1ladelph1a's
"poor/1ouse"
1ssold to t11eUn1vers1tY,
and College/-/all,s
cons1ruc1ed
on those grounds

1945

The Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia is appointed
TheRAPis tasked w11hrernoving "blight"through the process of
en1inentdomain

1949

The Housing Act of 1949 authorizes the governn1ent to pay tvvo-thirds of the
net cost of purchasing and improving bligl1tedareas

1950

The RAP classifies the Black Bottom as a "redeveloprnent zone,"officially
des1gnc1
t1ng it i:lS i:l target for urbon rene,val

1956

Penn lobbies the city lo bury the trolley tunnel under what 1s now Locust Walk
lo allow the University to unity its campus

1958

Penn President Gaylord Harnvvell decides to purchase the Black Bottom for
use by the University
TheBlack Bottom was a ihriv,ng working-classblack neig,'1borhood
borderedby Lancasterand UniversityAve,1ues 101henonh and sout/1, and
32nd and 40t11streets to the east ancfwest

1959

Penn, Drexel,USc1ences and Prcsbyterion Hospital establish the West Ph1ladelpt11
a
Corporation
Despitetest,monyfrom residentsabout the Black Bottom as a thnv1ng
cornn,unitY.the WestPhiladelphia Corporationasserts that the Black Botton,
1snfe w,th "physicaland soc,al,Ifs.,

1962

Van Pelt Library 1sconstructed along Vv'alnut Street
Thelibrary'sentranceis bud/ facing ,nward w,th the loading dock facing oulward

1970

The process of de1T1olishing the Black Bolto111is complete.
Homeshave been seized through errunenldomain and demolished

1998

Penn partners with the School D1stnct ot Philaoelph1a to open the Penn Alexander School
Penn has the jointgoatsof reachingout to the co,nmunityand "revitalizingits
h1stonchousing stock, reducing vacancY,and fuelingcommeroalactivity..
In 1hefirst severalyears after the school opens, real estateprices wit11in
the Penn Alexandercaichment zone nearly tnple

2010

Census data shows that between 2000 and 2010, the black population 1nthe area
has declined by 43% and the 1°,hite population has increased by 48%

33

So as you can see, Penn's history of gentrification runs deep
- all the way back into the late 1800s. Gentrification is dangerous for obvious reasons - because it forces long time
residents out with higher prices, forces out small business
owners, and erases the history of a whole neighborhood.
You'll never hear about the Black Bottom from Penn, but that's
why this Disorientation guide has you covered - so you can
understand the history, and use your privilege as Ivy League
students to combat it when necessary.
https://igniting-the-soul.tumblr .com/post/142641839192/timeline-of-pen n-trification-when-penn-gentrif ied

34

WESTPHILLYLEFTIST
RESOURCES
By Malkia
Get off campus and see what the West Philadelphia community has to offer! Learn more about your neighbors and support their initiatives and businesses

EDUCATIONAL
A Space - anarchist community center tht hosts movie
screenings, various workshops, and benefits, such as
books behind bars
https:/1m.facebook.coml A-Space-AnarchistCommunity-Center -3098 7050865/
The Wooden Shoe - anarchist and radical lit bookstore, that
also hosts workshops, roundtables, and activist guest
speakers
https:/ / m.facebook.com/WoodenShoeBooks/
LAVA space - Lancaster Ave Autonomous space. A DIY zine
library that hosts local shows, but also political
meetings and activist workshops.
https:/ / m.facebook.com/
Lava-space-254183187961826/
Bindlestiff Books - independent radical bookstore.
https://bindlestiffbooks.wordpress.com/
Media Mobilization Projects - activist media production.
https://mediamobilizing.org/
SELF DEFENSE
8 Limb Academy - Holding a FREEself-defense class Sept
3rd! Also hosts pay- per-session self defense classes
for queer and trans folx!

35

RESOURCES
TO ACTUALLY
THRIUEAT PENN
By United Minorities Council (UMC)
So, obviously, we're not done yet . Join our communities to
fight for what's good. Here are some of the spaces that we
feel are doing some of the good work:

PHYSICAL SPACES (all created only after direct organized
action between faculty, staff, and students)
Civic House
Greenfield lntercultural Center (GIC)
La Casa Latina
LGBT Center
Makuu
Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH)
Penn Women 's Center (PWC)
Spiritual and Religious Life Center at Penn (SPARC)
ORGANIZATIONS/PROGRAMS ON CAMPUS
Asian Pacific Student Coalition (APSC) - umbrella APIA group
Lambda Alliance - umbrella LGBTQ/A+ group
Latinx Coalition - umbrella Latinx group
Umoja - umbrella Africa diaspora group
United Minority Council (UMC) - umbrella minorities group
Penn Association for Gender Equality (PAGE) - umbrella
gender equity group
Penn 's Spiritual & Religious Life Umbrella organization (PRISM)
Student Organizing for Unity and Liberation (SOUL)
Penn Student Labor Action Project (SLAP)
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
African American Arts Alliance (4A)
Natives@Penn
Excelano Project
Penn First

36

718(APIA FGLI space)
Asian Pacific American Leadership Initiative (APALI)
Mujeres (Latinx women's space)
Sister, Sister (Black women/woe's space)
South Asian Women's Space
Spice Collective (APIA women's space)

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
Africana Studies (AFRC)
Asian American Studies (ASAM)
Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (GSWS)
Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS)
Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS)

37

Wanna 9et involved? Questions?
PENNDISORIENTATION@GMAIL

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