NEWSLETTER

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April 6, 2021

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4:35 p.m.

UCPD Pursues Re-Accreditation; Students to Vote to Split SG | Newsletter for April 6

By Matthew Lee    and Ruby Rorty  

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Good morning! The sun is shining, the quad is busy, and the weather is warming up at last. You can read our digital edition here.

The University reported 52 new cases of COVID last week, up from 35 cases the previous week. The update follows UChicago’s week-long spring break during which University officials urged community members not to travel outside the Chicago area.

  • The overall positivity rate of last week is 0.39 percent.
  • The University also launched a dedicated vaccine clinic for University personnel. The University announced that, as of Friday morning, it had issued vaccine scheduling appointments to approximately 16,000 of an estimated 20,000 people who are eligible to receive a vaccine during Phase 1c.
  • UChicago is also vaccinating all students who will receive a W-2 form from the University for paid spring quarter duties under Phase 1c.

Assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) will determine whether to renew the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD)’s CALEA certification in a process that begins on April 12.

  • As part of CALEA’s review process, the public is invited to speak to accreditation assessors by calling (773) 834–4755 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13.
  • CALEA, which bills itself as “the gold standard in public safety,” requires agencies to meet a variety of standards, ranging from regulations about the oath of office to policies about field conduct, such as “vascular neck restrictions” (4.1.6) or “mental health issues” (41.2.7).
  • In the past, student activists have raised concerns about UCPD at CALEA’s open forums. In 2017, members of Students Working Against Prisons questioned the lack of transparency and publicizing in CALEA’s review process.

Student parents have a different set of needs from many of their peers: they require financial support to meet both their needs and their young children’s needs, and they balance school along with their parenting obligations. The Maroon looked into the impacts of the pandemic on student parents at UChicago.

  • During COVID-19, there has been an increase in student parents seeking out mental health resources. Generation Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to this population, said that there was a 30 percent uptick in requests for mental health meetings.
  • The University gives parents $2,000 a year for child care, which only covers a few months. Student parents said that the University could better support them by providing University-sponsored child care.
  • UChicago’s Graduate Student Union has also been trying to help student parents on campus get increased accommodations from the University.

Student Government (SG) elections during April 21–23 will include a vote on a referendum to split the College Council (CC) and the Graduate Council (GC), reshaping the current SG into separate undergraduate and graduate student governments.

  • If passed, the new SG structure will become effective on June 21, the first day of summer quarter. 
  • Elections will be conducted as usual for the executive slate, community and government liaison, graduate and undergraduate liaisons to the board of trustees, and CC. However, the specific roles and titles of the elected executive slate are likely to be different at the new Undergraduate Student Government (USG).
  • A transition committee consisting of eight CC members was created to recommend constitutional amendments for the USG and help navigate issues during the first year of USG.

U.S. News & World Report named UChicago’s Booth School of Business the third-best M.B.A. program in the nation and UChicago Law School the fourth-best law school, per the 2022 Best Graduate Schools rankings released on Tuesday, March 30.

  • The rankings of both schools remained unchanged from last year. However, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, which tied with Booth in the 2021 rankings, fell to fourth place.
  • UChicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, meanwhile, was ranked the 17th-best medical school for research in the nation.

Chartwells Higher Education will replace Bon Appétit Management Company as UChicago’s new food service provider starting July 2021. Chartwells will serve University dining halls, academic cafés, and retail markets.

  • Chartwells has pledged to purchase 30 to 40 percent of ingredients from minority- and women-owned businesses and enterprises in surrounding neighborhoods.
  • University administrators emphasized that there would not be layoffs of current dining employees, who would have the opportunity to discuss with Chartwells their plans to stay in their jobs. Chartwells also committed to paying all staff at the current rates.

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In Viewpoints

The Editorial Board writes in:

In a five-part series, the Editorial Board examined the University’s relationship with the South Side and suggested some ways to improve it.

  • In the series’s introduction, the Editorial Board explains that it stepped beyond its usual commentary role by interviewing locals, activists, and University administrators in order to better capture the effect of the University of Chicago’s decisions on the South Side.
  • The Board argued in the series’s second editorial that the University should make Southsiders feel more welcome on campus by offering them access to the libraries, professional services, and other UChicago resources.
  • Turning its eye beyond campus, the Board argues that the University must sponsor affordable housing and expand its residential loans program to lower-paid contract employees in order to correct for the historic harms it perpetrated. 
  • The Board continued by arguing that the University should fund a Reparative Justice Center governed by a coalition of community organizations to give Southsiders a say in the University’s community-building projects.
  • The Board concluded the series by reflecting on its role in reporting on the relationship between the University and the South Side and how it can improve its newsroom and coverage by becoming a more diverse, equitable, and welcoming institution. 

Editors Gage Gramlick and Elizabeth Winkler write in:

Columnist Noah Tesfaye calls for the immediate establishment of a critical race and ethnic studies department.

Following the leak of Maroon articles to The Shady Dealer, columnist Andrew Farry argues that both publications should learn to take themselves less seriously.

Columnist Maya Ordonez urges all community members, regardless of academic interest, to take advantage of the University’s vast archival resources.

As climate change persists, columnist Nischal Sinha calls on the University to expand the size and scope of the Office of Sustainability.

Columnist Rachel Ong calls on the University to reconsider its lack of Asian-American studies

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In Arts

Editor Veronica Chang writes in: 

The Smart Museum featured the works of American artist, activist, and former UChicago student Erika Rothenberg in a recent web retrospective.

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In Grey City

Editor Avi Waldman writes in:

For children and parents enmeshed in Illinois’s foster care system, the past year has placed additional stress on child welfare services and highlighted the system’s failures. In the first of a three-part series, Grey City examines how the experiences of children, parents, and child welfare workers have been reshaped by the pandemic.