A blue door with a grid of overlapping metal and carved parts in front of it.
Distinctive door design on Fitzwater (Instagram/@jrwvk)

Penn faces two student unionization efforts amid campus surge

Graduate student workers at the University of Pennsylvania are the latest group to join the wave of labor organizing spreading through higher education. 

  • One of a mounting pile of labor disputes at Penn — including with undergrad resident advisors, resident physicians at HUP, and staff at Penn Museum — this is the grad students’ third attempt to unionize. 

It comes on the heels of a surge of labor actions at universities across the region, Ben Seal reports for Billy Penn.

Members of GET-UP rally on Penn’s campus, asking the university to voluntarily recognize its union. (Courtesy GET-UP)

The Philly doctor who shoplifted a huge collection of stolen art

In 1985, the FBI raided a Philadelphia condo. It was covered in fine art — pieces by Rodin, Picasso, de Kooning — but there’s a twist.

  • Much of the art was allegedly stolen. Frank Waxman, born, raised, and educated in Philadelphia, made a living as a doctor. But he had a thing for art and amassed a collection of 150+ small pieces…by shoplifting them.

A journalist at the time called it “the largest known collection of stolen art in the world.” In the latest Headlines of Yore, Avi Wolfman-Arent has the story.

A 1982 New York magazine cover highlighted the astonishing case of Frank Waxman. (New York magazine via Google Books)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

•  New TV ads attacking mayoral candidate Helen Gym were largely funded by conservative billionaire Jeff Yass, a longtime proponent of school privatization. [Inquirer$]

• Should the city loosen requirements for police oversight board staff to provide more flexibility in hiring? Philly voters will decide. [Billy Penn]

• Channel 57 (WPSG-TV), which is owned and operated by CBS parent Paramount, is dropping its affiliation with The CW network this September, and will become an independent station. [Hollywood Reporter]

• The first-ever citywide Drumlines Exposition took place last week, giving over 100 student drummers from more than 20 schools a chance to showcase their skills on stage. [Chalkbeat]

• Calling all lifeguards! This is the last week to get a $500 bonus if you sign up to work at Philly public pools this summer. [Phila Gov/Eventbrite]

• Aaron Nola is a great pitcher, but flawed — and anything can happen. His legacy with the Phillies, writes Hittin’ Season’s Justin Klugh, hangs in the balance of every pitch. [Billy Penn]


Aiming to make the handover to his successor easier, Mayor Kenney today signs an executive order formalizing a transition committee for the next mayoral administration (11 a.m.). The director will be longtime Kenney admin staffer Lyana Cuadrado, who’ll be joined on the team by the Committee of Seventy’s Ashley Session and others to be announced. 

It appears to be a novel step that builds on the work Mayor Nutter did back in 2015, when he appointed Karen Stokes to create a “transition template” for Kenney’s ascension.


🎸 The Mt. Airy Art Garage hosts live music every second Tuesday, and this month’s performer is Raji Malik playing acoustic guitar. Entry is $15, or $10 for members. (6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 9)

🌃 Party under the stars next to Independence Hall at Stratus Rooftop Lounge’s spring extravaganza, this year themed as “Hollywood Glam by the Decades.” Admission is $20, or spring for the $100 VIP with open bar. (5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Thursday, May 11)

🥨 Teutonophiles can discuss the state of U.S.-German relations with the consul general in a conversation led by WHYY’s Maiken Scott. There’s a German food and drink tasting after the talk. Tickets start at $35. (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11)