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April 3, 2004

Daily Pennsylvanian

With enthusiastic standing-room-only crowds at its spring show barely a month ago and the release of a new CD, the all-male a cappella group Pennsylvania Six-5000 would seem to be a guaranteed act in next fall's Freshman Performing Arts Night, which showcases Penn's most popular groups. But following the group's removal last week from Penn's Performing Arts Council -- the umbrella organization that represents more than 40 campus groups -- that may not be the case.

The group's dismissal was not without warning. The move was the culmination of a series of events, prompted by Penn Six's repeated absences from monthly mandatory PAC meetings. In accordance with the PAC constitution, after missing two meetings, Penn Six was placed on probation, and then, following further absences, the group has finally lost its PAC recognition. "Penn Six isn't mad at PAC, and we're not complaining that we were treated unfairly," said Penn Six Business Manager and College freshman Ezra Billinkoff. "We know we broke the attendance rules, and we know we were wrong, but we were still pretty hard hit."

Although members of the group said they understand and accept the reasons for their removal, many members are frustrated because while their infraction was merely technical, they are being punished with the same severity as a group might be that had violated school policies or engaged in financial improprieties. "Losing PAC recognition, for whatever reason, means that the group won't be scheduled for any fall performances," Student Performing Arts Coordinator Ty Furman said. "They will lose all privileges that come with being a member of PAC." Among these privileges are the right to perform at some of Penn's prime concert venues, the right to take part in Freshman Performing Arts Night -- a vital recruiting event -- and most importantly, access to the group's PAC funding, which currently remains frozen.

"Their punishment seems really harsh," said one member of a PAC a cappella group. "I really don't think it's fair that they are losing so many important privileges for such a minor infraction of the rules." Penn Six members are hoping that the sympathy and support from other members of Penn's performing arts community will lead to the group's re-recognition when they apply to be reinstated into PAC at its general meeting next week. "I have no say in whether Penn Six will be re-recognized," Furman said. "PAC is a completely student-run organization, and the students have yet to determine whether they are going to readmit the group or not."

The remaining 40-odd performing arts groups and the PAC Executive Board will decide Penn Six's fate. Members of Penn Six are hoping to appeal to these students and guarantee their readmittance by demonstrating their renewed dedication to the council. "We're definitely ready to prove to the school that we'd like to recommit ourselves to Penn's performing arts community," Billinkoff said. "We're hoping to re-enter PAC in April with a new sense of dedication and involvement."

The PAC constitution also calls for groups on probation to perform community service if they apply for readmission, for which members of Penn Six say they are prepared. "We feel we're really ready for a new level of involvement in the community," Billinkoff said. But despite Penn Six's application for reinstatement, the group is not guaranteed readmission into PAC. A negative vote at the April 8 meeting would almost certainly bar Penn Six from further campus performances and access to its PAC budget allocation until the next opportunity for re-recognition arises at the end of the fall semester.

Posted by acapnews at April 3, 2004 8:58 AM


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