Newsletter for November 21

Campus opposition to the tax bill; laptops keep getting stolen from Bartlett; former dean of students running for state rep.

By Pete Grieve and Euirim Choi

At least four laptops were reported stolen over the past four weeks in the Bartlett Dining Commons from bags left unattended. The UCPD is investigating the wave of thefts.
Graduate Students United organized yesterday to urge senators to oppose the Republican tax bill and, specifically, the plan to treat graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income. The administration is opposing this part of the plan, in addition to a provision that would impose a 1.4 percent excise tax on investment returns of universities with the largest endowments.

  • UChicago tax law prof Daniel Hemel is quoted in a Brown Daily Heraldarticle saying that that the endowment tax is relatively modest, but the most likely to become law of the provisions in the bill that would affect higher-ed. “Graduate students themselves are a fairly potent political force,” he notes.

On Overheard: An e-mail posted to Facebook shows a University Theater official reminding members that the administration does not support trigger/content warnings. The e-mail says that these warnings should not be displayed in productions. As commenters quickly pointed out, President Robert Zimmer has said the University’s position on trigger warnings is that faculty are free to use them at their discretion (he sees it as it as an academic freedom issue.)
Grace Chan McKibben, who was University associate dean of students from 1998 to 2003, announced yesterday that she will compete in the 2018 Democratic Primary for State Representative of Illinois’ 25th House District.
Campus North won three awards from the Design-Build Institute of America. The residence hall was recognized for excellence in design, merit, and social responsibility/community impact.
Argonne National Lab interim director Paul Kearns was appointed as the lab’s permanent director last week. President Zimmer made the announcement: “We look forward to working with him on an ambitious program of research in science and engineering that helps address critical challenges faced by society.”

In Viewpoints
Editor Cole Martin writes in:
Viewpoints Editor Urvi Kumbhat discusses the implications of sexual harassment allegations surrounding a prominent University professor.
The Maroon Editorial Board contends that the Republican tax reform plan would make collegiate education effectively unaffordable for graduate students.
Contributor Eyjólfur Guðmundsson argues that Dean Boyer's annual South Side bike tour leaves out necessary and startling information about the role of prominent Senator and slaveowner Stephen Douglas in the University's creation.

Two new statements have been released since the publication of our story on an allegation that a UChicago professor mishandled a Title IX case at UC Berkeley 30 years ago when she was Title IX officer. The victim accused a now-retired Stanford professor of raping her and alleged that Frances Ferguson, now a UChicago professor, discouraged her from filing a report because she was friends with him, which Ferguson has denied. The new statements:

  • Kimberly Latta (accuser): “She was on his side…. I remember her adamantly commanding me ‘Don’t tell me his name….’ She discouraged me from filing a formal report by describing the process as involving a scrutiny that sounded more traumatizing than what I was already undergoing.”
  • Ferguson: “I respect that we remember some of these events differently, as I have described previously. I have always believed it is vitally important to approach reports of sexual assault or harassment seriously, fairly, and in compliance with the law, and I hope this discussion will encourage women who have experienced such behavior to come forward.”

A Law School clinic, along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will sue U.S. Steel over its violations of the Clean Water Act after Law School students uncovered that one of the company’s Indiana plants spilled toxic metals into a waterway. A lecturer at the Law School talked with us about the Law Clinic’s “jarring revelation.”
Three professors were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): physics professor Marcela Carena, astronomy professor Don Lamb, and math professor Panagiotis Souganidis

In Arts
Editor Alexia Bacigalupi writes in:
Lady Bird: Directed by indie darling Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird is a fresh and charming look into the turmoil and angst of adolescence

Teju Cole: Photographer, author, and New York Times critic Teju Cole explored the intersection of vision and writing in a packed talk at Loganlast week.
Next to Normal: UT’s Next to Normal is a nuanced and stirring portrayal of grief and mental illness.
Exhibit A: In Chicago for Thanksgiving? Offset a turkey-induced food coma with the annual Turkey Trot Chicago race or a stroll through the bustling Christkindlmarket.

In the Citizen Bulletin: Alderman Willie Cochran, who represents parts of Woodlawn and Washington Park, says his decision not to run for reelection is unrelated to the news of a 15-count federal fraud indictment. Subscribe to the Citizen Bulletin newsletter here for weekly updates on the activities of your elected officials.
We’re taking Friday off for Thanksgiving break. The newsletter will be back in your inbox next week.