Newsletter for August 30

University involved in key Obama-backed nonprofit; New food options for Hyde Park; Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book talk

By Pete Grieve and Euirim Choi

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Good morning.
An Obama Foundation–backed nonprofit that will facilitate community engagement with the Obama Presidential Center named its board yesterday. Obama’s former Education Secretary Arne Duncan is a co-chair of the 25-member board. The University will be represented by Susan Sher, a senior advisor to President Zimmer who led the University’s campaign to have the library built on the South Side.

  • The Woodlawn, Washington Park and South Shore Community and Economic Development Organization’s purpose is to “ensure that opportunities related to the development of the Obama Presidential Center are leveraged to benefit the residents and local economy in the surrounding community.”

Turnover at the IOP: In July, the Institute of Politics announced that Adrian Talbott would replace Steve Edwards as its executive director, after Edwards left to take a leadership position at the WBEZ radio station. Yesterday, IOP director David Axelrod said in an e-mail to the IOP community that Talbott, a director at the University’s Office of Civic Engagement, would not be taking the position for personal reasons. Matt Jaffe, who has handled communications for the IOP and produced the Axe Files podcast, will fill the role while the IOP conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.
Complainant requested to withdraw Title IX complaint: A previous edition of the newsletter noted that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights closed a Title IX investigation at the University this month through “administrative closure.” A new document shows that the complainant had requested to withdraw the complaint, and the OCR agreed to close the investigation after determining that “there are no systemic issues pending that were raised by the complaint allegation.” Two other investigations remain open.
Restaurant changes:

  • Pret A Manger is replacing Einstein Bros. Bagels, and dollar milkshakes are moving to Hutch. Pret will open in Reynolds Club on September 14, according to a new press release. The sandwich chain is opening locations at a number of campuses this fall through a partnership with Bon Appétit.
  • BBQ Supply Company is opening on 53rd Street in Yusho’s old location. The restaurant’s other location is in the West Ridge neighborhood on the north side.
  • Antonis II Grill, a Greek restaurant, will open in the space where Pepe’s Mexican Food was located.
  • Eto’o Modern Asian Cuisine, new restaurant next door to Shinju with the same owner, had its “soft opening” yesterday. The building was previously occupied by Litehouse Grill. 

Econ chair calls for p-value “revolution”: John List is among a group of prominent academics proposing that the default p-value threshold for statistical significance be changed from 0.05 to 0.005.

President Zimmer’s response to Charlottesville was too little, too late, argues columnist Jay Gibbs: “Each time the actions and opinions of racists are sanitized as merely ‘offensive,’ hatred is normalized.”

First investment by University’s startup fund: Explorer Surgical, a company that aims to facilitate the operations of operating rooms with the help of devices like tablets and phones, has raised $3 million dollars, $500,000 of which came from the University’s new Startup Investment Program. The investment was the first of its kind for the program.

  • Last December, the University allocated $25 million from its endowment to form an investment fund that would invest in startups led by faculty, students, staff, and alumni. The fund is managed by the same University team that manages the endowment.  

Studio Gang’s Hyde Park tower tops out: “Solstice on the Park,” a planned 26-story residential tower situated just north of Jackson Park, has reached its full height. The tower, slated to open in 2018, is Studio Gang’s third tower in Hyde Park, following Campus North Residential Commons and City Hyde Park.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is giving a book talk in Rockefeller Chapel on October 16. Tickets are $32 for students.
Russell Ainsworth, an attorney with the Law School’s Exoneration Project, is representing a man serving a life sentence for a rape and murder that new DNA evidence suggests he may not have committed. Ainsworth told the Tribune last week it is a “tragedy” that his client must stay in prison while prosecutors re-investigate the case.

If you haven’t snapped a pic at Takashi Murakami’s The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg at the MCA, it’s high time to do so, writes Mimansa Dogra. The colorful, eclectic exhibit runs through September 24; admission free with your UCID.

Third term for press director: Garrett P. Kiely has been appointed to serve his third five-year term as the director of the University of Chicago Press.

  • In context: We reported a few weeks ago that the Press, the largest of its kind in North America, has faced financial difficulties in recent years, due to the general decline of the print industry. 

Harris dean moves in: Katherine Baicker, the new dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, has purchased a $1.68 million home in Kenwood, the Tribune reports.

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