Newsletter for June 14

Admissions prompts; Student library workers unionize; and David Brooks’ speech

By Pete Grieve and Euirim Choi

Subscribe here to receive this newsletter in your email inbox.

Good Wednesday morning. It’s summer. 
2017–18 College Admissions prompts are out. This one might be the weirdest:

  • “Due to a series of clerical errors, there is exactly one typo (an extra letter, a removed letter, or an altered letter) in the name of every department at the University of Chicago. Oops! Describe your new intended major. Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore?”

** Full list here.
Trauma Center launch date unveiled: University of Chicago Medicine announced last week that its long-awaited adult trauma center will open in May 2018, while its expanded emergency department will begin to accept patients even earlier in January. The University has been preparing for the launch of these new services over the past few months, efforts which included appointing the famed surgeon Selwyn Rogers as the director of the adult trauma center earlier this year. 
Statement on Paris questions: The University of Chicago is not a member of a coalition of hundreds of colleges that is opposing the President’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. In response to questions about this, a spokesperson released a statement on the University’s efforts to combat climate change that is much less political than what other universities have put out.
The University's budget: Provost Daniel Diermeier explained his efforts to restructure the University’s accounting approach in an interview with The Maroon. Asked about possible upcoming budget cuts, he did not deny that divisions are having their budget targets reduced. He would not put a number on any changes.
Student library workers unionize: Sixty seven library workers voted for, 13 voted against. Turnout was pretty low: only 38 percent of eligible voters.
David Brooks (A.B. ’83) gave the first Class Day speech last week, and he encouraged the seniors to “fool around” in the stacks of the Reg before the next day’s Commencement ceremony. The one thing he never learned in the College, he said, was intimacy.

  • “Go to the Regenstein with a special friend in your life, find the spot deep in the stacks where Nietzsche’s Death of Tragedy is found…. But don’t open the book. Take off some of your clothes and fool around.”

Major gift for the arts: The University received a $2-million grant from the Efroymson Family Fund to support University of Chicago professor Theaster Gates’s proposed Green Line Arts Center. The planned center would be located on the Arts Block in Washington Park, where the University aspires to develop a major arts and culture corridor. The grant, however, is contingent on whether other donors match the $2 million amount.
In Memoriam: Anne Pippin Burnett studied and taught Greek poetry at the University for more than 30 years. She died late last month in her home in Kingston, Ontario. She is remembered in an obituary released by the University News Office.


Editor Cole Martin writes in: 

In an anonymous contribution, a third-year in the College takes issue with the University's handling of her sexual assault. Ultimately declaring it her personal mission to advocate for survivors like herself, she writes "If the University of Chicago truly believed in enriching the knowledge of all its students, it would fix its broken system. If it will not, hopefully the [Office of Civil Rights] will have the tools to force it to, and soon."

Comey & the University of Chicago: The Chicago Tribune interviewed people who knew James Comey when he was at the Law School for a story before his Senate testimony last week. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who was in Comey’s class at the U of C said she didn't remember him talking about politics. “He just did not wear that on his sleeve. Maybe he knew he was going to be the FBI director when he was 25.”
Special counsel & the University of Chicago: special counsel Robert Mueller has hired Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben (A.M. ’78), who has a Masters in Social Sciences from the University, to work on the investigation into possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. The Lawfare Blog writes that Dreeben is “is quite possibly the best criminal appellate lawyer in America” and that his hiring was the worst thing to happen for the President last week.
Obama library might expand to the Midway: Survey crews attempting to determine the appropriate location for parking facilities for the upcoming Obama Presidential Center have included the eastern section of the Midway Plaisance on the list of possible locations, according to DNAinfo. Obama had stated that the Midway might be a good location for an underground parking structure in an event unveiling the design for the Center in May. The former president, however, said that his foundation would not be paying for the construction costs of such a structure, which is expected to be expensive.
Contract disagreement between UnitedHealthcare and UCM: Due to a contract disagreement between the insurer and the hospital, around 8,000 patients of the University of Chicago Medical Center and the University of Chicago Physicians Group insured by UnitedHealthcare, the state’s second-largest health insurance company, may be forced to switch doctors this summer, according to the Chicago Tribune. While both sides admit that they are still negotiating, University of Chicago Medicine notified patients last week that if an agreement is not reached by June 30, UnitedHealthcare customers would have to pay out of network rates to access care in their medical system.
23-year-old killed two blocks south of campus: A 23-year-old man was shot and killed south of campus last Thursday night. A vigil for the victim, former college football player, and teaching assistant Xavier Joy was held at Fiske Elementary School in Woodlawn. The Chicago Police Department is investigating the murder.
Chicago Letters: Blacklight’s recently published activism issue mixes poetry with a political program: One page is dedicated to a full reprint of the demands issued last month by UChicago United. Blacklight is the magazine of the University’s Organization of Black Students.

Feedback via email to