Newsletter for February 17

Obama stops by Hyde Park for presidential library planning; IOP event with Corey Lewandowski draws protest; Seminary Co-Op plans financial recovery.

By Sonia Schlesinger, Pete Grieve, and Adam Thorp

Good (warm) Friday morning. It’s seventh week. 

“U of C Community Protests Outside Lewandowski Event; ‘Combative’ Questions Inside,” by Alex Ward, Feng Ye, and Lee Harris, The Chicago Maroon: “Although the event was closed to press, several students spoke about the conversation as they left…. A student who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he was surprised at how much Lewandowski was willing to share about his time as campaign manager. ‘He admitted that Trump doesn’t understand how his tweeting has global impacts. He said that. I thought another remarkable moment was when he said he had absolutely zero communication with Russian officials, anybody in Russia, at that time,’ the student said.”
The Washington Post’s Bob Costa interviewed Lewandowski. This is what he had to say to us about the event being off the record: “I think a lot of this is imperfect because it’s healthier to have public discussions on the record. But I do see the value in having controversial figures have candid discussions with students as well…. As a reporter, I had no expectation that it was off the record. I assume everything’s recorded.” (

Barack Obama was in Hyde Park on Wednesday to discuss plans for the presidential library. From the Tribune: “The presence of [Rev. Richard Tolliver, pastor at St. Edmund's Episcopal Church] and [Rev. Torrey Barrett, executive director of the KLEO Community Family Life Center], leaders in the Washington Park area, was significant. That historic park lost out in the bidding for the library, and planners have said efforts would be made to extend benefits to that community.” ( DNAinfo: “[Tolliver] said Obama was clear he would be involved personally in the library project…. ‘He said that he planned to be personally engaged and in town frequently—once a month,’ Tolliver said.” (
This came after Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston released a letter on Monday urging the Obama Foundation to be more open about its plans for the library. (

This evening, Trayvon Martin’s parents are giving a talk at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Washington Park. Tickets:

“The Seminary Co-Op Plans Financial Recovery,” by Tyrone Lomax, The Chicago Maroon. “…changes include buying directly from publishers instead of wholesalers, prioritizing events to be both culturally diverse and financially profitable, shifting toward a fundraising business model, developing a blog, and launching a podcast in the spring.” (

Last night, the local chapter of the Indivisible movement had a meeting at the First Unitarian Church of Hyde Park. The activist group is resisting the Trump administration, “with a focus on congressional action,” according to the Hyde Park Herald. The group tweeted a photo of the meeting:

Theta’s Mr. University fundraising content is live. The event is March 2. (

In Arts
Grace Hauck writes in:
Last weekend's Chicago Folk Festival welcomed musicians from around the world to play in Mandel. (
The Chicago Swing Dance Society celebrated 20 years of Java Jives in C-Shop last Friday. (

In Viewpoints
Sarah Zimmerman writes in:
Trump supporters are hypocritical, says columnist Felipe Bomeny. While they’re more than happy to defend the First Amendment when controversial speakers are protested on college campuses, they tend to look the other way when their president’s cabinet blurs the line between church and state. “Trump’s supporters, in picking and nitpicking only certain elements of free speech to uphold, are not the First Amendment defenders they make themselves out to be,” he writes. (
Columnist Brian Dong believes that the current tipping system in the service industry should be abolished; he contends that it is only fair that tipped workers are “given the same legal treatment as those in other industries.”

“[Eighteen] percent of tipped workers in states where restaurants just pay the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour are in poverty compared to seven percent of non-tipped workers who receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25,” he writes. (

February 20, 6:15 p.m.—The IOP will host a discussion with Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic. RSVP online. More on our events page here:

Chicago Letters
Max Bloom places the race for Fourth Ward alderman in context in this week’s South Side Weekly. (
Scientia, the University’s journal of original undergraduate research, published its winter issue Wednesday ( In the issue: professors on their work on yeast and excited state dynamics; undergraduate researchers on the effectiveness of a tumor suppressor; “A Freshman Introduction to Gauge Theory.”

In the News
University professor and paleontologist Neil Shubin has just returned from his first ever Antarctican fossil-hunting expedition. “This is one of the most fossil-rich areas I have ever worked in,” he told Chicago Tonight. “We found small fossils, we found large fossils. We found fossils from all different kinds of fish almost from the first day in the field. It was truly remarkable.” (
Members of KAM Isaiah Israel Synagogue, which borders the Obamas’ street, are sick of high security at the intersection of Hyde Park Boulevard Greenwood Avenue. But neighbors worry that without it the street will become a tourist destination. (
The protests around Corey Lewandowski’s presence on campus attracted a fair amount of attention. Reporting by NBC ( and the Tribune ( Commentary from the Tribune ( and the Sun-Times (
By Pete Grieve (@Pete_Grieve)Sonia Schlesinger (@SoniSchlesi), and Adam Thorp(@AdamKThorp) | Feedback via email to