Welcome—or as it may be, welcome back—to the U of C. Given the many changes that are always happening at our University, there are a few topics that warrant mention for both new and returning students. Whether you need an introduction or merely an update, listed below are a few of the more contentious issues campus faces, ranging from the promises of Student Government to the creation of a new shuttle system. As the year progresses, the Maroon editorial board will keep its eyes on these issues and more, and we encourage you to do the same.
In the wake of last year’s Pierce plumbing debacle, which garnered attention across the city, the University acknowledged the need to replace the outdated residence hall. While a new dorm is now officially in the cards, it remains unclear where the 250 or so students housed in Pierce each year will be placed once the tower is closed and construction gets underway. With the 1,500-strong Class of 2016 now on campus and additional houses already springing up in New Graduate Residence Hall and I-House over the past two years, it looks as though the next several years will truly test the U of C’s four-year housing guarantee.
The University this year followed through on plans to replace the much-maligned SafeRide shuttle service with a pilot program it claims is shaped heavily by student input. NightRide, as the program is known, aims to replace its on-demand predecessor with more frequent nighttime shuttles scheduled to follow fixed routes through high-traffic areas. The new system appears to have done away with the inefficiency of SafeRide, but it remains to be seen whether it will succeed in providing safe, timely, and convenient transit.
It’s now been more than a full academic year since students voted in favor of the creation of a Socially Responsible Investment Committee (SRIC), but no effort to actually create such a body has succeeded. Administrators have thus far demonstrated an unwillingness to lend any authority to student concerns regarding University investments in firms with checkered labor, environmental, and human rights records, including companies that do business with the Sudanese government. Nonetheless, student support for a SRIC remains, even in the face of the University’s commitment to the Kalven Report’s recommendation of political neutrality.
By now you’ve probably noticed that CAPS is now known as Career Advancement, and that the first “C” in CCI—Chicago Careers In...—has become a “U.” All of this has something to do with the fact that Dean of College Admissions and Financial Aid James Nondorf has taken on the additional role of Vice President for Enrollment and Student Advancement. Under Nondorf’s direction, the U of C’s reputation has surged upward in the eyes of high school seniors the world over. If early changes are a sign of things to come, the U of C is likely in for even more careful image shifting.
This year, Student Government will be run by Connect Slate. The diverse slate ran on a platform centered on bridging the alleged gap between the undergraduate and graduate student communities, increasing SG transparency, and resolving campus transportation woes. Led by third-year law student Renard Miller, the executive slate won in an election with an overall 12 percent increase in voter turnout, driven by an unusually high level of grad student participation. Breaking through the traditional apathy of the student body towards its elected representatives, however, will be no easy task.
The Editorial Board consists of the Editors-in-Chief and the Viewpoints Editors.