Newsletter for February 16

Bannon teach-in today; GSU withdraws NLRB case; Business econ major vote delayed

By Tyrone Lomax, Pete Grieve, and Euirim Choi

Good morning. It’s seventh week.

What’s next for GSU: An attorney for the University’s law firm Proskauer Rose LLP called the grad union’s withdrawal of its NLRB certificate of recognition a “surrender” in an interview with Politico. But it may be a shrewd sacrifice. GSU is ditching the NLRB process along with grad unions of several other campuses—and more withdrawals are expected soon—in what seems to be a coordinated effort to deny the new Republican-majority NLRB the chance to overturn a key pro-grad unionization precedent.

— GSU media representative Grant Macdonald told The Maroon that the plan is to aggressively pressure the University to voluntarily recognize them. When asked if he was suggesting that a strike is on the table, he said, “No, I’m not…. GSU will have a lot of discussions. We’ve already been having discussions.”

Business major vote delayed: Faculty members of the College Council postponed a vote on a proposal to create an undergraduate business econ major. Council members deliberated for nearly two hours in a closed-door meeting in Stuart Hall but emerged without a decision. The vote will likely take place at the Council's next general meeting on April 10. “This delay will give us time to better understand what's at stake,” one professor told us.

This professor is writing a half dozen blogs a day to an audience of more than 50,000 subscribers at site called Meet Jerry Coyne: the University’s most prolific and provocative emeritus blogger.

Mathematicians win prestigious prize: Professors Alexander Beilinson and Vladimir Drinfeld won the Wolf Prize in Mathematics “for their groundbreaking work in algebraic geometry, representation theory and mathematical physics.” They will share the $100,000 that comes with the prize.

Bannon teach-in: Today at 5:30 p.m., campus organizers are discussing “University of Chicago’s invitation to have Steve Bannon speak, the value it places on White Supremacy, and why we oppose it.”

The Law School’s conservative parliamentary society is deactivating as a registered Law School Student Organization, or LSSO, and is returning its funding to the Law Students Association. It’s a largely symbolic move, as the Edmund Burke Society likely gets most of its funding from other pools.

Museum receives big gift: The Feitler family donated $5 million to the University’s Smart Museum of Art, one of the largest gifts to the museum in history. The money will go toward the establishment of the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry.

Update on New Dorm: Woodlawn Residential Commons is currently planned to have one residence hall and two distinct sections, like the East and West halls of Campus North. Richard Mason, assistant vice president for campus life and associate dean of the College, said it’s scheduled opening date is 2020.

The Institute of Politics announced eight new members of its Board of Advisors, including former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and conservative Times columnist Bret Stephens. Stephens’s most recent provocation was a column called “The Smearing of Woody Allen” that was criticized by Dylan Farrow, as it tried to discredit her story.

In Arts

Editor May Huang writes in:

Much Ado About Nothing, presented by The Dean’s Men and University Theater at the University of Chicago, is predictably funny, albeit often unsurprising. Watch it tonight at 7:30 p.m. or tomorrow at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Last weekend, the Folklore Society organized the 58th Annual University of Chicago Folk Festival, featuring some of the best folk musicians in the country and welcoming audiences both young and old.

Phantom Thread may be Daniel Day-Lewis’s last film, and certainly leaves a lasting impression—the film has been nominated for six Academy Awards.

A Chicago-based HQ2: Last month, Amazon released a list of potential cities—including Chicago—to build its new headquarters (“HQ2”) in. One group, ANSWER Chicago, is protesting the selection of Chicago, arguing for better allocation of the funds supporting the buy and more transparency about the bidding process.

— Lucy Parsons Lab (LPL) recently filed a lawsuit against the Mayor’s Office for violating mandates set by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Last November, LPL sent a FOIA request asking for details about the city’s bidding, but received a delayed and incomplete response.

— LPL Director Freddy Martinez: “Our fight is about finding details of the bid. The lawsuit is part of a larger context, where we see investment in certain parts of the population of Chicago and disinvestment from everyone else.”

Law professor Eric Posner co-wrote a controversial Politico article on Tuesday outlining a system in which individuals could sponsor immigrants. Originally titled “What If You Could Get Your Own Immigrant?”, the piece was changed to “better reflect the authors’ intent”, according to the editor’s note. When asked to respond to the criticism, both authors declined.  

Hoda Katebi, a University graduate, alleges that WGN News altered the conditions of an interview. Last month, Katebi wrote a piece on how her first interview, instead of focusing on her fashion book, contained political overtones driven by both anchors. She argues that WGN then offered a second interview, but later changed it to an online-only feature about microaggressions, because they “didn’t trust” her.

In Viewpoints

Editor Cole Martin writes in:

Contributor and University professor Yali Amit condemns the University's “desperate attempts to prevent unionization” of graduate students.

Columnist Natalie Denby contends that Chicago's segregation, rather than solely a consequence of historical discrimination, is perpetuated by modern policies.

The University of Chicago Advocacy Chapter of the American Association of University Professors criticizes the University administration for their continued refusal to bargain with Graduate Students United.

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