NEWSLETTER

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April 28, 2019

IfNotNow Sit-In at Hillel; Hairston Talks CBA; Grad Unionization Heats Up | Newsletter for April 29


Protesters with UChicago IfNotNow sit in outside UChicago Hillel to protest Birthright.

Adrián Mandeville / The Chicago Maroon

By Elaine Chen    and Lee Harris   

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Good morning. It’s fifth week.

Activists from IfNotNow, a progressive Jewish organization, held a sit-in outside UChicago Hillel last week to demand that the organization stop taking students on sponsored trips to Israel through Birthright.

  • Activists camped out on Hillel’s lawn from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday midday.
  • The sit-in represents an escalation of IfNotNow’s campaign, following a series of actions designed to bring attention to Birthright’s representation of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Where previous IfNotNow demonstrations demanded that Birthright trips be modified to include Palestinian perspectives, Tuesday’s demonstration called for an end to Hillel-sponsored Birthright trips altogether.
  • In an op-ed published in The Maroon on April 12th, IfNotNow argued that it is time for “American-Jewish institutions to cease all cooperation with Birthright.”
  • Rabbi Anna Levin Rosen emphasized Hillel’s continuing support for the Birthright Israel program, saying in a statement to The Maroon: “we know that Birthright Israel is a key program for engaging students in Jewish life and building a strong Jewish community on campus.”

Grad unionization heats up: Across Chicago, graduate students at private universities are intensifying their efforts to negotiate with administrators—even as President Trump’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board make them wary of formally petitioning for recognition.

  • At Loyola: Three graduate and four undergraduate students at Loyola University were arrested during a sit-in protest April 15. Following that protest, graduate students held a mass walk-out on April 24.
  • At Northwestern: Members of Northwestern University Graduate Workers have not held a union election, but earlier this month held a demonstration over the issue of sixth-year Ph.D. program funding.

UChicago Labor Council, a newly formed coalition of worker unions at the University, will hold a May Day March on International Workers’ Day—this Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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The Budlong, a fried chicken chain with locations in Chicago and Denver, will open its first South Side location in the space currently occupied by BBQ Supply Co., Chicago Eater reported.

Newly reelected Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston held her first meeting with constituents since she was declared on Tuesday to be the winner of a long runoff election.

  • Activist Will Calloway, Hairston’s runoff challenger, has petitioned for a vote recount. The Board of Elections will hold a status hearing this Thursday.
  • On CBA: Hairston affirmed her support for a Community Benefits Agreement, and said she would meet with newly-elected 20th Ward Alderman Jeanette Taylor to discuss neighborhood mobilization efforts.
  • Hairston stressed that she shares the community’s concerns over displacement: “I don’t want to be put out of my house either…. I too have to worry about not having enough money to pay my taxes.”

Following terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the South Asian Students Association held a vigil on the main quad on Thursday.


In Arts:

Editor Perri Wilson writes in:

The Chime of Heart Trio, which includes UChicago second-year Jacob Walter, has released a music album to help fund the de-mining of Cambodia.

The African Caribbean Student Association’s 15th Anniversary Culture Show highlights the diversity of African and Caribbean cultures.

“The theme for the show this year was ‘gold,’ which third-year co-president Layla Al said was meant to be ‘timeless and big enough to encompass what this year meant for [them].’”


In Viewpoints:

Editors Alexa Perlmutter and Zahra Nasser write in:

Columnist Natalie Denby points out the flaws in equating rankings and admissions statistics to the quality of a university, arguing that much of what makes up an undergraduate experience is not measurable.

Columnist Lucas Du argues that the academic advising office can greatly improve its services for students, primarily for first-years learning to navigate academics and college life.


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