Halftime report

Some ongoing campus issues to keep in mind as the academic year reaches its midpoint.

By Maroon Editorial Board

With the academic year halfway over, the maroon Editorial Board would like to keep the UChicago community informed of a few issues that have shaped the past four months, the ongoing development of which will remain relevant well after the long-awaited snow has melted.

University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) protests

Since the protests and arrests at the UCMC’s Center for Care and Discovery over a week ago, the incident has rightly been a major discussion topic on campus. It is encouraging to see that Students for Health Equity, Southside Together Organizing for Power, and Fearless Leading by the Youth—the organizers of the original protest—continue to pressure the University to address the issues of police conduct, trauma care, and structural inequalities on the South Side, most recently with an anti-violence vigil last Friday. It was also encouraging to see, in an e-mail sent by Provost Rosenbaum, that we can expect faculty-led dialogue, a review of protest policies, and a discussion hosted by UCMC leadership on the Center’s role in providing health care on the South Side. However, such efforts mean little without widespread participation. Students, faculty, staff, and community members should continue to engage with these most important issues in the coming months.

CTA contract expiration

Though the recently introduced NightRide shuttle program has suffered much criticism, a potentially larger transportation issue looms—the University’s recent decision not to renew its contract with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), which supplied the #170, #171 and #172 routes free of charge to students. The official expiration of the partnership will come in August and is largely due to financial concerns. Though such considerations are no doubt valid, student concern is also warranted: The current CTA routes are already plagued by jam-packed buses, and any replacement will almost certainly have to provide equal capacity, equal access, and a tracking option on par with CTA’s Bus Tracker.

College admissions

The unprecedented number of applications for the Class of 2017 (30,369, a 20 percent increase from last year) is only the latest in a series of monumental developments in University admissions. Several large-scale changes—including the integration of CAPS (now Career Advancement) into the Office of Enrollment and Student Advancement, as well as its heightened relationship with the Admissions office—indicate that the University is increasingly concerned with being broadly marketable to prospective students. Though the exact impact of these new marketing strategies on campus culture is yet to be seen, the University’s image is undoubtedly being reshaped in a manner that merits continued, close attention.

Undergraduate housing

Now that current Pierce Tower residents have received official word on whether their houses will be absorbed into either International House or New Graduate Residence Hall, the possible consequences of the aforementioned admissions bonanza are on many students’ minds—not to mention that of the Office of Undergraduate Student Housing (OUSH). With Pierce’s imminent demolition, our campus is set to lose out on living space for over 250 students, as well as one of just three campus dining halls, until at least 2016. The unprecedented upward trend in applications and yield will have OUSH fighting—or even failing—to squeeze students in, unless it manages truly effective cooperation with the Office of Admissions. In addition, it remains to be seen whether Pierce residents will substantively influence the design of the new residence hall that replaces their uniquely built, well loved home.

The Editorial Board consists of the Editors-in-Chief and the Viewpoints Editors.