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OP-ED: Penn Should Use El Chapo’s Drug Money to Renovate DRL


Photos (with edits) by Son Nguyen / The Daily Pennsylvanian and Ted Psahos / CC0

Infamous drug lord Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo, was recently apprehended and found guilty on all charges. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has proposed using the drug lord’s illicit $14 billion fortune to fund the construction of a wall on the southern border.

I have a better idea: use it to finally renovate DRL.

Look. DRL is the ugly, grimy, terribly-designed elephant in the room. It’s the single worst building at Penn. Where are the bathrooms? What’s with that weird bench in the lobby? Why do those awful urinals keep appearing in my nightmares? 8 a.m. math recitations are bad enough without having to spend them in the Twilight Zone.

We’ve accepted DRL and all its flaws as part of the Penn experience, just like sleep deprivation and depression. But I say enough is enough.

I have a long, long list of improvements I’d like to see, and I’m sure every Penn student has their own. Honestly, I don’t know if “renovation” is even the right word. We might just have to tear the whole building down and start over.

Sure, there would be some drawbacks to renovating DRL. Penn could no longer use it as a haunted house. That one family would have to move out. Any money spent on renovating DRL is money the university can’t use to build the next New College House. I still think it’s worth a shot.

Is $14 billion even going to be enough to make DRL inhabitable again? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll never know unless we try.