Return to Swarthmore in the News 2004

Clippings collected Aprill 29, 2004

Published by the Office of News and Information



HEADLINE: A perfect storm of tipping points

April 24, 2004 Saturday 


LENGTH: 397 words

BYLINE: TOM MAURSTAD, Pop Culture Critic


   It's a phrase that has been used in recent days to describe the presidential campaign and the war in Iraq, home prices and car sales. These days just about everything seems to be at a "tipping point." Language is just as susceptible to fads and crazes as any other part of pop culture. A phrase suddenly appears in seemingly every other sentence you hear or read. As quickly as you can say "bling bling," you've got the linguistic equivalent of a Beanie Baby.

   Last year, it was "perfect storm;" this year it's "tipping point." A Nexis search yields 123 appearances in the week ending Wednesday in publications ranging from Time magazine to The Times of London. The Dallas Morning News published a special section under the banner "Dallas at the Tipping Point." In a word, "tipping point" is hot.


   "It's hard to say what something means as it's happening," says Dr. Donna Jo Napoli, chairwoman of the linguistics department at Swarthmore University. "Sometimes a phrase starts being used in a new way to deal with old information; sometimes it reflects a new attitude or expresses new information." …



The Christian Century

HEADLINE: Foul words permeate pop culture lexicon, eliciting a backlash.

April 6, 2004

SECTION: No. 7, Vol. 121; Pg. 14; ISSN: 0009-5281

LENGTH: 823 words

BYLINE: O'Keefe, Mark



    But today, foul language is common, and not just among potty-mouthed children or radio shock jocks like Howard Stern. Consider John Kerry using the f-word in describing President Bush's war effort in Iraq, rock singer Bono using similarly raw language at the Golden Globe Awards or Garrison Keillor singing a ditty that included "pissed" and "ass" on his A Prairie Home Companion show.


    Not everyone sees cause for concern. Donna Jo Napoli, professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College, sees such change as a normal part of the evolution of language. "We're still shocked by lots of things," Napoli said. "We've just changed what we're shocked by. A racial slur, for example, knocks us flat." …



Business Week

HEADLINE:  Clobbered By The Cornucopia

April 26, 2004

SECTION: BOOKS; Number 3880; Pg. 25

LENGTH: 849 words

BYLINE: By Hardy Green


    THE PARADOX OF CHOICE Why More Is Less By Barry Schwartz Ecco -- 265pp -- $ 23.95

     Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less is like an intellectual house of mirrors. Those exposed to this social-psychological vision of American life may experience a dawning shock of recognition, first exclaiming, ''That's not me'' and then admitting, ''Oh, yes it is.'' That's because Schwartz, a professor of social theory at Swarthmore College, describes case after case of people who say they like to have options but who, in almost every sphere of life, are overwhelmed by the necessity of choosing from a vast and growing number of alternatives.


    Here are some examples from the oppressive cornucopia of consumer choices. Supermarkets confront customers with an avalanche of selections: Chunky Monkey, Heath Bar Crunch, or chocolate chocolate chip frozen yogurt? And that's just the beginning, as is clear to anyone who has had to pick from among an employer's health-care alternatives, thought about switching from AT&T to Sprint, considered a course of college study, mused about buying a computer, flipped past the dozens of cable-TV offerings, or puzzled over 401(k) investments. …



The New York Times

HEADLINE: No Small Price to Pay for Denim Perfection

April 27, 2004, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section B; Page 8; Column 1; Metropolitan Desk; Fashion Page

LENGTH: 1421 words



   In the beginning there was Levi's. And Levi's begat Wrangler and Lee. And Wrangler and Lee begat Jordache and Calvin Klein and Sergio Valente. And then, moved by the mystical and inexorable forces of the American marketplace, the jeans makers all went forth and multiplied. By now every parent of a teenager is aware of this reality. The days when the crucial decision in purchasing a pair of blue jeans was as simple as predicting the degree of inseam shrinkage are as remote as the Gold Rush.


   Who, at this point, is not? "The presumption we've all operated under was that if some choice is good, more is better," said Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College and the author of "The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less" (Ecco, 2004), a book whose germinus was a trip Mr. Schwartz made to Gap. "I was trying to buy a pair of jeans, and there were 100 different varieties," Mr. Schwartz said. "All of a sudden, I found that I cared, damn it, to get the ones that fit the best, and that my standards were raised despite my former complete indifference to that." …



Best's Review

HEADLINE: Personal choice vs. public policy

April 1, 2004

SECTION: No. 12, Vol. 104; Pg. 92; ISSN: 1527-5914

LENGTH: 262 words

BYLINE: Panko, Ron


    Public policy has shifted toward giving employees more responsibility for choosing how to invest their retirement dollars and, more recently, their health plans. But lately, some members of academia have expressed doubts that most Americans want that kind of responsibility, especially in managing their 401(k) plans.


    Writing in the New York Times, Barry Schwartz, professor of psychology at Swarthmore College, opposed President Bush's proposed shift to an "ownership society" that would include partial privatization of Social Security. Too many options can result in paralysis rather than liberation for many people, he wrote. It also can result in worry and regret about choices made. The implication is "that sound social policy simply cannot consist of throwing an ever-greater menu of options at the American people," he wrote. …



Food Management

HEADLINE: Free to choose? How much choice is too much?

April 1, 2004

SECTION: No. 4, Vol. 39; Pg. 6; ISSN: 0091-018X

LENGTH: 834 words

BYLINE: Lawn, John


    It's a common restaurant experience. You pick up the lunch menu, ready to make your selection, and your first thought is: "Wow. Look at all the choices!"  You read them over, marveling at the number of sandwiches, entrees, soups and salads. There are combination plates, specials of the day and signature house offerings. When the server inquires if you're ready to place your order, you start to say, "Sure," but stop yourself.


    It turns out there's more to this kind of experience than meets the eye and  that a fair amount of experimental evidence backs up the idea that you can offer customers too much of a good firing. That too much choice can not only make people indecisive, but uncomfortable enough that in some cases they will decide to avoid making a choice altogether.

    Such behavior is an analyzed in "The Paradox of Choice," a new book by Swarthmore researcher Barry Schwartz in it, Schwartz looks at how humans (and organizations) respond to different choice-ridden scenarios and at the strategies, often unconscious, they use to make choices rather than becoming paralyzed by indecision. Such thinking also leads him to some serious social questions. …




The Fort-Worth Star-Telegram

Headline: Many happy returns

25 April 2004



    Linda Pool can still smell the biscuits baking in the old wood stove, hear the smack of the screen door as she and her cousins darted in and out of the log cabin, and taste the sweetness of the wild raspberries she'd just picked along Willow Creek Road.  She remembers it all like it was last summer. And in a way, it was. … Travelers today have a world of choices. Yet some families choose the familiar and return to the same place year after year.

    What they're returning to, in many cases, is a simpler time. The familiarity breeds a slower pace -- no one feels pressured to knock off an ambitious sightseeing list. It's less about doing, and more about being -- spending time together and in nature, enjoying simple pleasures and creating memories.


    Travelers today have an unprecedented number of choices. Too many, in fact, says Barry Schwartz, a psychology professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less (Ecco, $23.95). In his book, Schwartz argues that numerous choices can overwhelm consumers -- so they feel paralyzed instead of liberated.  …




Chronicle of Higher Education 

Headline: Students and Alumni of 22 Colleges Push for Socially Responsible Investing of Endowments

Friday, April 23, 2004



Students and alumni at 22 prestigious colleges and universities announced on Thursday that they were forming a new activist group to promote socially responsible investment policies for American colleges' endowments. The Responsible Endowments Coalition, as the group is known, was originated by students at
Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Barnard, Swarthmore, and Williams Colleges. Membership now includes both students and graduates of institutions such as Amherst, Boston, and Carleton Colleges, and Brown, Columbia, and Yale Universities.
    A few institutions, though, have made the connection. About five years ago, students at
Swarthmore College pushed it to establish a committee on socially responsible investing that provides advice on shareholder-resolution votes. The committee, which includes students and members of the investment office, seeks to promote equal-opportunity employment policies, global environmental initiatives, and worldwide labor standards. Most recently, it has begun pushing for disclosure of political contributions by companies in which the college has invested.
Swarthmore has also introduced shareholder resolutions of its own, including one that led the Lockheed Martin Corporation to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, said Suzanne P. Welsh, the college's treasurer and vice president for finance.




Sacramento Bee

HEADLINE: UC Merced: Boondoggle or beacon - or maybe both

April 28, 2004, Wednesday METRO FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 865 words

BYLINE: Peter Schrag



   The University of California at Merced, now going up in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, is a moving example of good people - many of them academic stars - trying to implement what many others think is a lousy idea in the wrong place at the wrong time. Senate President Pro Tem John Burton called it the "biggest boondoggle ever," a project pushed through a reluctant Legislature by real estate promoters and other regional boosters more interested in development than in higher learning.


    And why another standard-model UC research campus? More opportunities certainly are needed to accommodate undergraduates, but then why not create a quality undergraduate general education campus - a Dartmouth, or maybe several - without the fiscal drain and high costs of a graduate program?

   The last time that was tried was in the 1960s, when then-UC President Clark Kerr conceived UC Santa Cruz as a cluster of liberal arts colleges, each roughly on the model of Swarthmore, where Kerr himself went. But UC's institutional pressures eventually turned Santa Cruz into another standard UC campus. …




Scripps Howard News Service

HEADLINE: UC Merced - Boondoggle or beacon - or maybe both

April 28, 2004, Wednesday


LENGTH: 845 words

SOURCE: Sacramento Bee





   The last time that was tried was in the 1960s, when then-UC President Clark Kerr conceived UC Santa Cruz as a cluster of liberal arts colleges, each roughly on the model of Swarthmore, where Kerr himself went. But UC's institutional pressures eventually turned Santa Cruz into another standard UC campus. …




The Times Union
(Albany, NY)

HEADLINE: Reality awaits freshmen on college campuses

April 28, 2004 Wednesday THREE STAR EDITION


LENGTH: 608 words



   April is a remarkable month for college admission deans. We have admitted what we hope is our next class and, as we wait for the deposits to roll in, we host receptions for admitted students, hear appeals from candidates who were not admitted, and we begin the process of recruiting the next class -- before we have our fall freshman class "put to bed."

   My guidance counselor friends from across the country tell me that, by all accounts, this has been one of the most competitive years ever for admission to college. This point was brought home to me recently at an admitted-student program on campus.


   As the student said with rare candor, "Well, now I have to fall in love with Union, I guess." His parents looked at me, hoping I was offended. But I wasn't. He should fall in love with Union, or somewhere, because Swarthmore (the college that wait-listed him), probably won't admit any more students this year.




Morning Call
(Allentown, PA)

HEADLINE: Family may have an ally in creation of arts center

April 27, 2004 Tuesday SECOND EDITION


LENGTH: 822 words

BYLINE: By Steve Wartenberg Of The Morning Call


   Like so many parents who lose a child, Linda Stauffer wanted answers to questions for which there are none. "Why Katie?" she asked over and over. "She never did a wrong thing in her life. She was kind to everyone."

   On March 8, 2003, while on her way to Florida with her boyfriend to visit his parents, Kathryn "Katie" Stauffer was killed in a car crash. She was 19, a Quakertown Community High School graduate, a student at Swarthmore College, an outstanding student and swimmer, a talented musician and artist. The two others in the car survived.


   What is also important is creating the Kathryn Stauffer Arts Center. Stauffer, her husband, Carl, and daughter, Christine, 23, who live in Haycock Township, are spending $200,000 of the insurance settlement from Katie's death to start the arts center. …



The Record
(Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario)

HEADLINE: Please hang up and don't try your call again

April 22, 2004 Thursday Final Edition


LENGTH: 1027 words





   It's not exactly a backlash, but there are a growing number of places around Los Angeles -- from sushi bars in the San Fernando Valley to Zipper, the modernist general store on fashionable 3rd Street in West Hollywood -- trying to get you off the phone.



   In fact, we live, increasingly, not so much in cities or towns but in our own nameless "floating worlds," in the words of Swarthmore College psychology professor Kenneth Gergen. The cellphone is only one instrument of this floating world. …




Chronicle of Higher Education

Headline: Disappearing Act

April 30, 2004

Section: The Faculty

Volume 50, Issue 34, Page A10



     Through the blurry glass of the classroom door, a professor can be seen at the front of the room. It is a woman, but the thick window obscures any clues about how old she is or how tall or what color hair she might have. Maybe brown. She's the Invisible Adjunct. Or at least, she used to be. After five years of being an adjunct and a year after starting one of the most popular academic Weblogs, she is giving up and getting out. More than a decade after entering graduate school with great promise, she hasn't landed that full-time, tenure-track spot she dreamed of. So although she's unsure what comes next, she is quitting the academy and shutting the blog down.
    She hoped for maybe 20 readers. Within a couple of weeks, the comments starting pouring in. Eventually, she was spending hours on it every week, reading hundreds of e-mail messages, and had 18,000 visitors a month. "She became suddenly a place where many people who were having an experience in isolation, thinking it was just them, discovered they suffered from a condition," says Timothy J. Burke, an associate professor of history at Swarthmore College and a popular academic blogger himself. …



The Sunday Telegraph

Headline: Find happiness by settling for second best

25 April 2004

News: Science

By Robert Matthews


    According to Tesco's financial results published last week, the supermarket chain made pre-tax profits last year at the rate of pounds 4 million a day. It hasn't made a penny piece out of me; I would rather saw my own head off than shop in its sprawling stores, which offer so much stuff in such variety that deciding what to have gives me a migraine before I've left the veg section.

    In everything from holiday destinations to pizza toppings, consumers are now presented with a plethora of options. The companies offering them seem to think that this is A Good Thing, but I beg to differ - as does the psychologist Prof Barry Schwartz of Swarthmore College. In the April issue of Scientific American, he outlines the results of studies suggesting that much of the discontent experienced by people today stems from the sheer level of choice available.  

    One of the great social paradoxes of our time is that as personal wealth and consumer choice have increased, levels of personal happiness have failed to keep up. One possible reason is that this greater wealth has also brought about more choice - and thus more potential for making a dud choice, and moaning about all the opportunities missed as a result. …



The Philadelphia Daily News

Headline: Col. Paul Schreiber, Marine, Mummer  

29 April 2004




    PAUL K. Schreiber was a highly regarded Marine officer, but he loved to come back to Philly every New Year's Day to march with the rowdy Froggy Carr Comic Brigade in the Mummers Parade. Although Schreiber grew up in Mayfair, he spent a lot of time in the famous Two Street neighborhood in South Philadelphia, where his mother came from and relatives still live, and he relished the Mummer ambience that pervades the area.    
    But somehow his credentials as a Marine and a
Swarthmore College graduate seemed incompatible with Froggy Carr, a wench outfit and one of the parade's wildest aggregations.  But Schreiber loved it.


    Schreiber was so highly thought of in the Marine Corps that he was promoted from lieutenant colonel to full colonel on his deathbed. He died Monday in the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland with some 25 family members and friends crowded into his room. He was 47.
    Paul Schreiber, whose nickname was "Dutch," was born in
Philadelphia to Paul and Ellen Schreiber. He graduated from Father Judge High School, where he played end on the football team. He also played football at Swarthmore College and excelled academically. …




April 23, 2004 Friday


LENGTH: 4391 words





   MR. MCLAUGHLIN:  The Chinese riddle.  China is red hot.  … How will Americans feel when they are living in the shadow of the world's number one economic superpower, not the U.S.; when the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency of choice and the Chinese yuan is?  We'll ask Clyde Prestowitz.


   MR. PRESTOWITZ:  I am supporting Senator Kerry.  Yes, that's right.

   MR. MCLAUGHLIN:  And you're going to work for him?


   MR. MCLAUGHLIN:  Do you think John Kerry is bad for business, as many people believe?

   MR. PRESTOWITZ:  I think John Kerry would be good for business. I think the current situation that we have is really bad for business, so I think Kerry would turn things around.


   Born: Wilmington, Delaware.  Sixty-two years of age.  Wife: Carol; one daughter, two sons, four grandchildren.  Presbyterian. Republican.  Swarthmore College, BA.  University of Hawaii, MA. Wharton School of Business, MBA.




The Times Union
(Albany, NY)

HEADLINE: Video gamers have better shot at success

April 25, 2004 Sunday THREE STAR EDITION


LENGTH: 1239 words

BYLINE: Daniel Rubin; Knight Ridder




   For him and others in his generation it can be said: Everything they know, they learned from video games. And that might not be so bad. While much parental sleep has been lost over whether video games are a colossal waste, a growing body of work looks at games as serious, educative, even key to success in an information age.

   Researchers are finding players can make sharper soldiers, drivers and surgeons. Their reaction time is better, their peripheral vision more acute. They are taking risks, finding themselves at ease in a demanding environment that requires paying attention on several levels at once.


   Justin Hall, a gaming consultant who began posting a Web log while studying at Swarthmore in 1994, credits games for teaching him morality. Hall – who once gave an address to game developers titled "How has inventory management in computer role-playing games affected the way I pack?" -- says Richard Garriot's "Ultima IV" game helped him grasp that good behavior sometimes means choosing between competing virtues. …



Charleston Daily Mail
(West Virginia)

HEADLINE: Our views - Kanawha School board

April 23, 2004, Friday

SECTION: Editorial; Pg. P4A

LENGTH: 359 words

BYLINE: Dmedit


   SOMETIMES it seems the headline should read, "Brouhaha breaks out at Kanawha County Board of Education meeting." But despite it all, the schools are getting better.


   To keep the progress going, the Daily Mail endorses the re-election of John Luoni and the election of newcomer Tifney Terry. No current member has served longer than Luoni, 50, of Charleston, who is seeking his fourth four-year term. He is an independent voice of reason. Luoni was valedictorian at Stonewall Jackson High, graduated from Swarthmore, and earned a master's in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. …



The Washington Post

HEADLINE: Robert Simpson Dies at 65 - NIH Lab Director, Professor

April 29, 2004 Thursday 

SECTION: Metro; B06

LENGTH: 517 words


    Robert T. Simpson, 65, who was the director of a biomedical research laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda for 25 years, died of a subdural hematoma April 21 after a fall at his home in Lemont, Pa.  Dr. Simpson was an international leader for more than 35 years in research on chromatin, a fundamental component of chromosomes, and its role in gene regulation. Dr. Simpson was at the NIH from 1970 until 1995, when he became the Verne M. Willaman Professor of Molecular Biology at Pennsylvania State University. 

    Dr. Simpson's research, published in more than 120 papers, established numerous precedents in the discovery of important structure/function relationships in chromatin proteins. His early biochemical and biophysical studies of chromatin structure and composition were landmark papers that, two decades later, are regularly cited in published articles. 


   Dr. Simpson was born in Chicago and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1959. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1963 and was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national honor medical society. He received a doctorate in biological chemistry from Harvard University in 1969, after which he joined the Public Health Service and served at the NIH. He retired from the service as a captain in 1994.  …




Roanoke Times & World News


April 27, 2004 Tuesday Metro Edition


LENGTH: 814 words

BYLINE: Staff reports




   Generals to host NCAAs

   Washington & Lee was one of eight schools chosen to host first and second round matches of the NCAA Division III championships. The Generals (21-3) will face Mary Washington (8-8) in the first round at 1 p.m. Saturday, while Swarthmore (14-2) faces Salisbury (7-5) on the upper courts at the same time. …



Morning Call
(Allentown, PA)

HEADLINE: Muhlenberg men win Centennial Conference golf title

April 26, 2004 Monday FIFTH EDITION


LENGTH: 370 words

BYLINE: The Morning Call



   Muhlenberg's Schmidt reached pair of tennis finals: Muhlenberg's Amy Schmidt, the No. 8 seed, won four matches before falling in the finals of the Centennial Conference Individual Tennis Championships Sunday.

   Schmidt lost 6-3, 6-4 to No. 1 seed Anjani Reddy of Swarthmore in the final.

   Schmidt and Gena Ross reached the doubles final, where they lost to the top-seeded tandem of Ne'ko Browder and Shoko Nakamura (Washington) 7-5, 6-2. …


The Baltimore Sun

HEADLINE: Redd gives Cornell 12-11 win over Princeton in overtime

April 25, 2004 Sunday FINAL Edition


LENGTH: 696 words




   McDaniel 18, Swarthmore 9: Lindsay Ricks scored four goals, helping the host Green Terror (11-2, 7-1 Centennial) break open the game against the Garnet Tide (8-7, 2-6). …




The Capital
(Annapolis, MD)

HEADLINE: Women's Lacrosse:Arundel grad sparks Limestone

April 25, 2004 Sunday


LENGTH: 381 words



   McDANIEL 18, SWARTHMORE 9: Lindsay Ricks scored four goals to lead the Green Terror to the win. …


The Capital
(Annapolis, MD)

HEADLINE: Schultheis, Stoll direct AACC to split

April 25, 2004 Sunday


LENGTH: 443 words


   McDANIEL SOFTBALL: McDaniel College posted five runs in the fifth inning, however, the run in the second was all the Terror would need to knock off Swarthmore in the opener of a Centennial double-header. The Green Terror posted back-to-back shut outs against the Garnet Tide taking the first game 7-0, and closing out the twinbill with a 1-0 win. …



The Evening Sun
(Hanover, PA)

HEADLINE: Blankenship nears mark, Bullets finish 9-0 in CC

April 25, 2004 Sunday


LENGTH: 711 words


   McDANIEL 18, SWARTHMORE 9: Eleven different ladies scored for the host Green Terror. …





April 24, 2004, Saturday


LENGTH: 546 words



   Men's Golf

   Franklin & Marshall freshman Carson Croom fired an opening-round 74 Friday at Eagles Landing Golf Course in Ocean City, Md. to move into second place after one day of the Centennial Conference Men's Golf Championship.

   Kevin Philipow (76), Ben Madonia (78) and Dan Eggertsson (78) rounded out the Diplomats' 306 teams score, which left them two shots ahead of Swarthmore (308) and four ahead of Muhlenberg (310). …