October 27, 2019

Provost Trumpets Changes to Ph.D. Programs; New Deal in School Strike; Trump Heads to Chicago | Newsletter for October 28


Matthew Lee / The Chicago Maroon

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Good morning. It’s fifth week—midterms (and Halloween) draw near. 👻

Major changes to Ph.D. programs, announced by Provost Daniel Diermeier earlier this month, took faculty members in the humanities and social sciences by surprise. The overhaul, which will take full effect in the 2022-2023 school year, includes caps on total enrollment and guaranteed funding for the duration of Ph.D. students’ programs.

  • A humanities professor told The Maroon that according to the Dean of the Humanities, the division is likely to contract significantly, becoming “on the order of 25 percent smaller” relative to the current size.
  • “Am I going to have to advocate for my students’ having another year, against my colleagues’ and their students?” a professor in the Humanities Division asked. “Structurally, there’s going to be competition.”
  • The Council of the University Senate, which consists of 51 elected faculty members, was not consulted or informed about the changes before Diermeier announced them. Several faculty senators expressed frustration with this: “If you look at the bylaws of the Council, it is very clear that something like this would have to go up for a vote,” English professor Zachary Samalin said.
  • Diermeier’s changes also recast teaching requirements as “mentored teaching opportunities.” Some, including members of Graduate Students United, see this shift as a cynical attempt to make teaching look more like training, and less like work.

New deal in school strike: The union for around 7,500 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) support staff was reviewing the final terms of a deal Sunday night, after striking alongside public school teachers. Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the deal outside City Hall on Sunday.

  • The deal’s specifics will be announced upon ratification by the union of support staff, Service Employees International Union Local 73.
  • Classes remain canceled as teachers continue to negotiate with the City.

Adrián Mandeville / The Chicago Maroon

President Donald Trump is headed to Chicago today, in his first visit since taking office. Trump will speak at the convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, held at McCormick Place, before attending a campaign fundraiser at Trump International Hotel & Tower.

  • Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson announced he will skip seeing Trump at the police chiefs’ convention. “We need immigrant communities to trust our police department,” Johnson said on Saturday.
  • Expect protests: Groups including Indivisible Chicago and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights are planning rallies throughout the Loop, as well as outside Trump Tower. This is in addition to rallies for the ongoing CPS teachers’ strike.

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Uniting the South Side with produce: A campaign by the nonprofit Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN) aims to bring bring fresh produce and healthier food options to corner stores on the South Side, many of which are owned by Arab immigrants.

  • Corner stores are primary sources of food in many South Side neighborhoods, underscoring the importance of improving relationships between Arabs and their customers—primarily African-American and Latino residents.
  • Eric Rodriguez, food systems coordinator at IMAN: “The more that people began to tell each other their history, I’ve seen that they begin to treat each other better and more like family....I’ve also seen people trying to become bilingual and practicing languages.”
  • Check out our video and accompanying feature story, which were part of last week’s food issue. 🎥

Harris School professor James Robinson’s new book The Narrow Corridor, co-authored with MIT professor Daron Acemoglu, discusses the necessary conditions for a society in which liberty exists. He spoke to The Maroon about the book’s thesis, that liberty is a product of a continual tension between the power of state and society.

In Arts

Editors Perri Wilson and Jad Dahshan write in:

The Lyric Opera’s first production of Verdi’s Luisa Miller in over three decades was a memorable occasion. Having a standby singer in a performance, while uncommon, is not rare. But, having two standbys—and two standbys who outshine the stars they replace—is quite rare indeed.

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