NEWSLETTER

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April 18, 2019

Student Government Referendum; Julian Castro Comes to IOP; New Fraternity

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Good morning. It’s third week.

The student body will vote next month in a referendum that would reduce collaboration between Student Government’s College Council (CC) and its Graduate Council (GC).

  • The GC members who drafted the referendum told The Maroon that they believe it will increase efficiency and reduce undue burdens on graduate students.
  • Among other changes, the referendum proposes eliminating the Finance Committee as a permanent Standing Committee between CC and GC. This would mean that CC and GC would no longer work jointly to allocate funding to student groups in the College and graduate divisions.

Law School professors Lior Strahilevitz and Richard Epstein engaged in a lively debate on Tuesday on the legal basis for the proposed location of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Jackson Park.

  • The professors have filed opposing amicus briefs in a lawsuit filed by local environmental advocacy group Protect Our Parks (POP). In its lawsuit, filed against the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District, POP alleges that building the OPC in Jackson Park constitutes an “illegal grab” of public parkland. Epstein backs POP’s lawsuit; Strahilevitz supports the OPC’s current plans.
  • The Obamas . . . are, maybe, the only thing that, overwhelmingly, Chicagoans can agree upon,” Strahilevitz said. He countered Epstein’s argument that the Obamas’ relationships with city officials may hold conflicts of interest, saying this unfairly applies “heightened scrutiny” to their legacy.

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Julián Castro, presidential candidate and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, discussed his bid for the Oval Office at the Institute of Politics on Tuesday.

  • Citing his experience as former mayor of San Antonio, Castro said he would bring a pragmatic attitude to the top job. “I think the reason you’re seeing people gravitate towards mayors is because being mayor is all about cutting through the crap and getting things done,” he said.
  • Speaking of mayors: South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg, who also spoke at an IOP event in February, formally launched his presidential bid on Sunday. One of several midwesterners in a crowded field, Buttigieg’s campaign will include a small office in Chicago.

 

National fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi (Alpha Sig) has a new chapter at UChicago, making it the thirteenth frat on campus.

  • The original UChicago chapter of Alpha Sig was installed in 1920, but suspended in 1935 due to low membership.
  • The chapter currently boasts 15 members.

The University’s director of public affairs, Marielle Sainvilus, will serve as the communications director for mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot’s transition team preceding her May 20 inauguration.

  • “Marielle’s strategic skills and extensive communications and public engagement experience in both the public and private sectors will be invaluable as we prepare to lead the City of Chicago,” Lightfoot said in a press release.

Day one of the Israel Summit at Chicago took place Sunday on campus.

  • The largely apolitical event, which included a start-up tech fair and speaker session, did feature one speaker with political affiliations: Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
  • Danon’s speech was met with some opposition: Protestors stood outside Mandel Hall with signs stating, “Danon does not speak for me,” in reference to the ambassador’s stance on Palestinian rights and rejection of a two-state solution. Danon is a member of Israel’s right-wing Likud party.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month comes to campus this month with a wide-ranging slate of panels and workshops. The programming is spearheaded by SG in conjunction with the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support.

  • At an administrative panel on Title IX resources held last Friday, deputy Title IX coordinator for students Shea Wolfe stressed that the University does not currently plan to alter current Title IX policy amid changing federal regulations. Wolfe also said the number of sexual assault reports on university campuses has spiked since 2017, following nationwide sexual assault controversies.
  • Tina Tchen, former assistant to President Barack Obama and chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, delivered the keynote address last Wednesday. She elaborated on her long career in women’s advocacy, which began in 1978 with her work pushing for Illinois to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment. (The state ratified the amendment last year.)
  • “I’ve been at this work for probably nearly 40 years, but the statistics [on sexual violence] haven’t really moved,” Tchen said.
  • The former aide to the Obamas has been in the news recently, as some have raised questions about her communication with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx days prior to the prosecutor’s controversial decision to drop all charges against actor Jussie Smollett.

Viewpoints:

Editor Alexa Perlmutter writes in:

Columnist Sam Joyce points to the inconsistencies in Rep. Tarver’s stance on rent control and calls for explanation.

Columnist Natalie Denby argues that there are ways to be productive and strategic about your time in the College without having everything figured out.

Grey City

Editor Caroline Kubzansky writes in:

Grey City reporter Rory Nevins, investigating the University’s approach to fighting climate change, found a sometimes frustrating, but always individual agenda with complex roots.

You may recognize members of the Revolutionary Communist Party from a cereal smackdown two years ago, but Grey City reporter Josh Villers wanted to know: who are the RevComs, really? And what do they have to say?


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