April 16, 2004

News Briefs

Model United Nations competes

A staff of 80 U of C students successfully ran the seventh-annual University of Chicago Model United Nations Conference (ChoMUN) this weekend, from April 8-11, at the Hyatt Regency downtown. There were 182 students from 17 different schools in attendance, including delegates from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, Harvard, Yale, Boston University, Stanford, Middlebury, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne, Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Pennsylvania, and Miami University of Ohio.

Harvard won the Best Delegation award, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania tied for the second-place "Outstanding Delegation" award.

—Rachel Levine

Dating gets speedy this

Students in the medical school are hosting a speed-dating fundraiser this Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. in Ida Noyes. Posters for the event said all proceeds will be used to deliver pharmaceuticals to Cuba. Participants will go on 20 five-minute dates throughout the evening. Prices are $12 for those attending alone, $10 for those coming with one friend, and $8 for those coming in groups of four or more. Giordano's pizza will be served. A round-robin dating event planned by Linn House for January 2003 was cancelled due to lack of interest.

—R. L.

Randel reviews Board of Trustees

President Don Randel updated students on the University's current agenda last Friday following the Board of Trustees' meeting.

Randel said the University faces a greater challenge to create better financial aid for graduate students. "Our financial aid is really not at the level of some of the institutions we compete with," Randel said, adding that health insurance is another issue for graduate students, because most of them are not on their parents' policies.

"This is an issue that Klass and the Provost are working on to find any improvements we can make," he said. Graduate student financial aid, according to Randel, has increased 10 percent in the last five years.

Randel also addressed University campaigning and gifts. He said the largest gift the University has received was a donation of $30 million from the Pritzker family. He said that despite the fact that the U of C does not receive as much money as other top universities, Chicago remains on par with these institutions academically. "We have not gotten mega-gifts on the level of, say, Johns Hopkins, yet scientifically we are going head to head with them every day," he said.

Another matter of contention was competition with other universities for quality faculty members. "The best institutions are all competing for the same pool of first class talent," Randel said. "What makes the U of C is the strength of its first class talent."

As per funding for facilities, Randel noted that, at the U of C, academics come first. "[Other institutions] spend lots of money on [things such as] a $40 million football stadium that they maybe use seven times a year," he said, adding that much of the University's costs were covered by philanthropy.

He also said that the U of C would hopefully be able to give out more grants rather than loans in the future. "Less endowment per student means we are more dependent on tuition, unlike Harvard, Yale, and other places," he noted.

—Isaac Wolf and Tara Kadioglu

Panel to address environmental

Scholars working in varied disciplines will discuss environmental rights in a panel titled, "Human Rights and Ecosystem Limits: Considering Legal Human Rights," to be held Friday at 6 p.m. in Swift Hall. The event will celebrate the tenth anniversary of former special rapporteur for environmental rights Fatima Ksentini's proposal for a set of "environmental rights." Delivered to the U.N. Commision on Human Rights in 1994, it was the first time the U.N. had received such a proposal.

A relatively new concept in the academic world, environmental rights serves as the merger field between human rights and environmental studies. Dinah Shelton of Notre Dame University, an international legal scholar, will provide a keynote address. The rest of the panel will include anthropologist Alaka Wali of the Field Museum, public policy expert Paul Friesema of Northwestern University, and conservation biologist Doug Stotz of the University of Chicago and the Field Museum.

The Norman Wait Harris Fund of the Center for International Studies, the Human Rights Department, the Environmental Studies Program, the chapter of Amnesty International at the University of Chicago, and the student-run Environmental Concerns Organization sponsored the event.

Those interested may view the website at rights

— T. K.

Red Line shuttle plan progresses

The Student Government Transportation Committee (SGTC) identified an acceptable vendor this week for its planned Red Line Shuttle, raising the possibility that the service may begin sixth week of this quarter. "We have a certain vendor in mind who'd meet all our needs without hiring drivers and insurance costs," Joe Anzalone, SGTC chair, confirmed.

The unidentified vendor gave SGTC a price estimate that is nearly $2,000 lower than the price cap previously suggested by University administration. The committee plans to meet Monday with administrators to secure funding for the project.

If funding is approved, SGTC plans to begin the service as a pilot program later this quarter. The shuttle would provide transportation between the Garfield stop of the Red Line and the Reynolds Club on weekend nights. This quarter, the program would run from Friday of 6th week to Saturday of 10th week.

Anzalone emphasized that a pilot program is important to the planning process. It will be an opportunity to "gauge community response and campus response," as well as allowing SGTC to identify any problems in implementation, he said. He added that further details and the full Red Line proposal could be viewed on the Student Government website, at

—Laura Lutz