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Combat Zone An Editorial Commentary
I would like to preface this report by saying that this has got to
be one of the most difficult and psycologically draining
commentaries that I will ever write for this column. Those of you
who have spoken with me about this, know what I mean. The rest of
you, hopefully, will gain some understanding of it as you continue
Friday, tomorrow, certain campus officials will be meeting with
the Human Relations Commission in Harrisburg to discuss a case
which is pending. The plaintiff is Ms. Twyla Brown,
secretary-receptionist in the student affairs office. The charge is one
of racism. This, to my knowledge, is the second of such complaints
filed by Ms. Brown, against the university, with the commission. The
first was filed approximately eighteen months ago. It was
discontinued for lack of sufficient evidence.
It is very difficult to get specific information about charges made
in a legal case, especially one of this sort, but I believe that the
present amended complaint has to do with an increase in pay which
Ms. Brown did not receive.
The pay scale for office personnel within this university system is
based upon job classification. As a person advances in classification,
an automatic pay increase takes place. Should a person remain
within a certain classification for an extended period of time (as Ms.
Brown has) he or she will receive periodic pay increases which are
required by the state. Also, this person, after working for given time
intervals are eligible to receive additional "merit" raises. These
increases, however, are not automatic. They are at the discretion of
the person's immediate supervisor. The first few of this type of
increase are granted, at the supervisor's recomendation, for
"satisfactory" job performance; the last few of this type, after, say,
two years, increases are granted, at the supervisor's recommendation,
for "outstanding" job performance. (All this is quite similar to the
time-in-grade system within the military and is nearly identical to
the policy used by the civil service).
Last July first, Ms. Brown reached the point when the last type
(last type described above) of these periodic "merit" increases was
possible. Her immediate supervisor, who, at the time, was Kathy
King, denied the pay increase on the grounds that Ms. Brown's job
performance was not "outstanding."
Ms. Brown's retort was that she could not do any more work
because there was no more work for her to do. So, part of her
complaint is saying that she was not granted a raise because of race.
(Here's how that fits: "The alledged racists do not give enough work
to the plaintiff so that the alledged racists are no longer "required"
to give performance pay increases)."
It is true that there is little work involved with Ms. Brown's
position. Unitl this year, the bulk of that position was to maintain
up-to-date, general information files (names, addresses, etc.) of all
students. It was discovered that academic services were also keeping
such files, theirs being a bit more complete. There was a duplication
of work so the files were all sent to academic services. (Remember
the student directory hassle? The main reason why student affairs
did not print one this year was because their files went to academic
services. We are concerned with the same files here).
Another big chunk of the workload designated with Ms. Brown's
position involved secretarial work for Kathy King. Ms. King's
position is no longer in existance, therefore, the work formerly
generated from her position is no longer in existance either.
by Barbara Boswell
That which remains is a job that requires very little work and,
perhaps, should become either a part-time position or be elimated
completely. It simply does not require full-time personnel.
Last Friday, Ms. Brown was offered another position within the
university system. This is a newly created position, which, if not
accepted by her, will be given to someone else. In taking the
position, Ms. Brown would be accepting a lateral transfer. This
means that there will be no loss in classification standing, pay, or
benefits. The position, though not specifically named to me, will be
under the direction of Mr. Slygh, and it is either in admissions or
academic services. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a
Undoubtably, a number of "incidents," whether they be real or
imagined, have taken place in the student affairs office over the past
two years. Some of them I know about; but to report them all
would serve no real purpose for they seem to be subject to too much
interpretation. That is, they can be interpreted on the one hand as
purely\personality oriented conflicts (a formal person vs. an informal
person)and, on the other hand, as in Ms. Brown's case now, as
racist in iiature. Both views are dependent on "where one is coming
from." If a black expects to see racism in the actions of those
around him; kacism is what he is going to see. And, the other side, if
a white is expecting to be intimidated by a black, intimidated is
what he is going to be, regardless of either situation's reality.
"Black goes all, the way back. I'm not going to run anymore."
This is all Ms. Brown would say to me. I figured, at the time, that
she did not feel she could trust me. (This stems from my first
Combat Zone column). Now that I know about the meeting in
Harrisburg tomorrow, I understand that she may not have wanted to
make explicit statements because of the pending meeting. (That's
Ms. Brown is intelligent, capable, and super-outgoing...qualities I
admire. (And all qualities that employers are egar to find in their
personnel). To such a person, an unchallenging job can be extremely
frustrating. I have been in a similar position and can relate, first
hand, to that frustration. She has made it known that she is unhappy
in her present position, and yet refuses to transfer out of there and
into a position which really needs her talents. I do not understand
this because there remains, in my mind, a reasonable doubt that
there ever were or are now racist activities connected with the case.
Also, Ms. Brown was informed as to the existance of a grievance
procedure within the university system. Help was offered to her
twice in this respect. Both times she refused and went straight to
There remains the possibility that there is a case of racial
paranoia, where every "incident," which, in reality, can be purely a
personality conflict situation, can be labeled as racist. It is such a
thin and "touchy" line to walk.
Perhaps if I may make a suggestion, not only to Ms. Brown, but
to everyone, it would be this: Before you decide whether or not to
run at all, perhaps it would be wise to try to discern whether you are
running from something or running to it.
To the Editors,
At the Student Senate
meeting on January 22, 1973 A
noted that we were planning to
move the operation of the
SHORT TERM EMERGENCY
LOAN FUND from the
Placement Building to the Main
I am pleased to inform you
that effective Monday February
12, 1973 all student short term
emergency loans will be
approved by the Dean of
Student Affairs in Room W-101,
Students will no longer need
to go to the Placement Building
to have short term emergency
Short Term Loan Fund
PLEASE NOTE: All other
m a tters--scholarships, PHEAA
grants and loans, on-campus
jobs, etc. still remain the
responsibility of the Financial
Aid Counselor in the Admissions
Office (Placement Building).
John R. Grimm
Dean of Student Affairs
To the students of Capitol
If you would, kindly read the
cartoon in the Feb. 1 issue of
The Capitolist by Gene Mater
That is the general attitude of
the students here They want
everything for nothing If you
want more activities, better
government, better help on
problems of all sorts, then you
must assume the responsibilities
of getting the job done or, yes,
even the consequences if you
But think -if you fail, you
learn not to act in that way
again in similar situations. So if
you would, stop the complaining
while sitting back and doing
nothing, and get into the front
Do something for yourself
and the fellow students at
Juniors--you will be the next
leaders of Capitol Campus and
of the world, so get involved.
We have learned of a
happening involving Mr.
James Paul, Campus
Security Chief, and a
It seems that one night
last week, Dr. Joseph
Fleishman had entered the
Placement Building through
a rear entrance with a key
secured from Dr. John
Nichols. Mr. Paul, whose
office is located in the
building, approached Dr.
Fleishman and asked him
what business he had there
and how he was able to
enter the building. Satisfied
with Fleishman's answer,
Mr. Paul noted the
"incident" in his record and
classified him as a
In defense of the dutiful
Mr. Paul, we'll add that Dr.
Fleishman might look like a
student by his apparel and
his short hair?
** * *
by Barbara Boswell
The following is a warning to
those people who tend to drive a
motor vehicle while under the
influence of alcohol: "Implied
Consent" is the term applied to
Pennsylvania's legal method of
identifying persons driving under
the influence of alcohol and
removing them from the
highway. The law specifies that
in applying for, and receiving
and accepting a license to
operate a vehicle on
Pennsylvania's Highways, it is
* you consent to a chemical
test of the alcoholic content of
* you consent to this test
being used to determine whether
or not you are under the
influence of alcohol while
operating a motor vehicle,
PROVIDED THAT the test is
* by qualified personnel (all
physicians and those police
officers who have completed an
approved training program)
* at the direction of a police
officer having grounds to believe
the person was driving under the
influence of alcohol.
I thought I'd try to answer,
briefly, some of your obvious
questions: Yes. Yes. Te n
one-hundredths percent. No.
Yes. Yes. There, that should put
your minds at ease.
Should one refuse to take the
test, the officer fills out a form,
the local magistrate signs it.
After this, the Bureau of Motor
Vehicles suspends one's license.
No, I don't know for 'how long'.
** * *