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|A daily newsletter by |
|Internal conflict, bad week, city bankruptcy, mystery meetings, the un-concession, drug ads, and Pitt's new arena. It's Monday. Welcome.|
|A rift between Penn State's faculty and leadership is widening around the issue of racial justice, with hundreds of employees challenging new President Neeli Bendapudi’s committment to the cause. |
More than 400 professors and lecturers have signed on to a letter questioning Bendapudi’s leadership on the issue and last week, faculty led a protest outside Old Main to voice similar concerns. Internal letters and emails between faculty and university leaders show private discord as well.
Read Spotlight PA's full report: Hundreds of Penn State faculty are publicly and privately questioning university leadership.
THE CONTEXT: The fallout comes after two high-profile decisions by Penn State officials last month: the canceling of a planned Center for Racial Justice, and the initial decision not to cancel an event featuring two far-right activists, only to later do so citing “the threat of escalating violence.”
In an email to Spotlight PA, Lisa Powers, senior director of university public relations, wrote that Bendapudi "remains firmly committed to the work that needs to be accomplished in our diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) undertakings, as well as anti-racism efforts."
President Bendapudi is expected to answer questions about her decision to cancel the center and the university’s response to the Proud Boys event and protest in a town hall with the faculty senate Nov. 18.
Read more: What past crises tell us about new PSU president.
|NOTABLE / QUOTABLE|
"We even blocked one registered Republican supervisor due to his going against our bylaws by public supporting a Democrat candidate."
—The Centre County Republican Committee announcing it will begin blocking non-Republicans from following the committee's Facebook page
|This is Spotlight PA's most important fundraising campaign of the year to sustain our nonpartisan, independent investigative journalism in 2023.|
The end of the year is the time to invest in the causes we believe in most. If you've benefitted from Spotlight PA this year, pay it forward and make a generous gift in support of our vital, independent journalism.
As a special bonus this week, all new monthly gifts will be matched 12X and all new one-time gifts will be TRIPLED.
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» WHAT’S NEXT? To help make sense of the election and what’s to come, join us Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. EST on Zoom for a free panel about who won, what they promised on the campaign trail, and how those plans might get implemented once they are in office. Register for the event here and submit your questions to email@example.com.
|Sunrise in Ambler, via Eric G.-S. Send us yours by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania. |
|MIDTERM POST-MORTEM: The Inquirer (paywall) reports that some inside Pennsylvania's Republican Party say leadership didn't do enough to thwart gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, who's blamed for the party's losses in other major races, including for U.S. Senate, which is due to remain under Democratic control. Meanwhile, Mastriano conceded his race Sunday, four days after Josh Shapiro was declared the winner.|
BANKRUPTCY CASE: A state-appointed receiver for Chester filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the city last week, via WHYY. "Since my appointment over two-and-a-half years ago, I have worked to avoid this day," the receiver, Michael Doweary, said. Doweary's projections have the city falling into a $46.5 million deficit in 2023 — $39.8 million of that attributed to past-due pension payments alone.
MEETING MINUTES: State Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D., Lehigh) insists a group formed to review purchase bids for the Allentown State Hospital property met several times. But the Morning Call (paywall) reports the Wolf administration said it didn't in denying a request for meeting minutes. The $5.5 million sale of the property to a friend and donor of outgoing state Sen. Pat Browne (R., Lehigh) is pending.
CONCESSION WITHDRAWN: Republican James May took back his concession in the 118th state House District over emergency and provisional ballots cast as a result of a paper shortage seen in Luzerne County on Election Day, per WFMZ. May said there were thousands of votes left to tally. His Democratic opponent, Jim Haddock, accused him of spreading unverified information about the count.
DRUG SCARE: The Mexican government is using video of homeless people and open-air drug users in Philadelphia in a national anti-drug ad campaign. Critics say the ads recycle scare tactics to generate "moral terror." In response to the campaign, which mentions no hotlines or treatment options, The Philadelphia Mayor's Office said it's hard to see the city "portrayed in a limited and negative light."
BIG LOSS: After becoming the first city to lose two major sports championships in a day, Philly has formed a support group, via WHYY.
PETA PITCH: Philly "Chicken Man" Alexander Tominsky isn't going vegan at PETA's urging. But he also says he may never eat a chicken again.
OFF AIR: The host of Pittsburgh public radio's Morning Edition, Maria Gabriel Scapellato, signed off for good on Friday. She's retiring.
'VICTORY HEIGHTS': Pitt has unveiled plans for a $240 million athletic center in Oakland. TribLIVE has a first look at "Victory Heights."
TAKE FIVE: Explore The Great Pyramid of Giza from the comfort of home with Harvard's virtual tour of the Egyptian landmark.
Unscramble and send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted
T N T C O I O D N R C I A
Friday's answer: Bluestocking
Congrats to our weekly winner: Mary Beth V.
Congrats to our daily winners: Barbara F., Myles M., Susan N.-Z., Susan D., Don H., Kimberly D., Wendy A., Lynne E., Elaine C., Craig W., David W., Dianne K., Bill S., and James B.