March 2, 2021


9:25 p.m.

Announcing UChicago's New President; Protest at Lab School | Newsletter for March 3

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Good morning. It’s eighth week. Try to enjoy the least before finals. ☕

The Board of Trustees elected Paul Alivisatos (A.B. ’81) as the 14th President of the University of Chicago. Joe Neubauer, chair of the Board of the Trustees, announced the decision this morning in an email to the university community.

  • Alivisatos currently serves as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley, a position he has held since 2017. Prior to that appointment, he held a number of positions at UC Berkeley, as well as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
  • Alivisatos will take over from President Zimmer, who will transition to his new role as chancellor of the University on September 1.
  • Last June, Zimmer announced that he would step down as president a year ahead of schedule, citing health concerns.

More than 100 Chicagoans have participated in a hunger strike to protest the relocation of metal recycler General Iron, the operations of which had raised awareness about the dangers of air pollution.

  • Several hunger strikers haven’t eaten in three weeks, and others have joined for brief “solidarity fasts.” Among them was UChicago second-year Alexis Florence, who joined the hunger strike for 24 hours on February 16.
  • Activists are also circulating a petition demanding that Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady deny General Iron’s permit to develop on the Southeast Side.
  • The increased volume of diesel traffic in the area also poses a risk of emitting particulate matter. Experts said that there is a risk that these issues would also be present in larger trucks servicing the facility on the Southeast Side.

UChicago Laboratory Schools parents and students held a demonstration on Thursday, February 25, at the Lab School’s campus, demanding that school administrators release a plan for the imminent resumption of in-person classes at Lab.

  • The petition demands that the Lab School return third through fifth graders to full-time in-person instruction by March 1. Ultimately, the petition calls for all grades to return to full-time, in-person learning by fall 2021.
  • About 50 parents and students gathered outside the Lab School’s Blaine Hall. A variety of speakers spoke about students’ deteriorating mental health and focus as the school’s remote learning curriculum approaches its one-year mark.
  • Director of Administration and Operations at the Offices of the President and Provost Maria Romanucci promised to deliver a printed copy of parents’ requests to Provost Ka Yee Lee, who oversees all University affiliates in her position.

A new study led by UChicago Medicine researchers has found that COVID-19 research often does not include the populations most vulnerable to the disease.

  • This study is part of a growing body of academic research showing that long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.
  • The study also suggests that patients from racial and ethnic minorities, pregnant women, and children are underrepresented in ongoing COVID-19 treatment trials.

At a Chicago Economics Forum event, Economics Professor Pablo Peña discussed how economics can be used to understand patterns of marriage, “a very Chicago topic.”

  • Peña discussed assortative matching in dating, an efficient process that allows people to best maximize each others’ utility when they are suited for one another.
  • When it comes to online dating, Peña pointed out that it leads to a trend of casual dating. As a result, people are more likely to engage in dating as an end in itself rather than a means to find a spouse—a negative in his opinion.

The Jane Project, an anonymous question-and-answer hotline for students seeking reproductive health tips, launched this month. The Jane Project is one of three current initiatives of UChicago’s student-run Planned Parenthood chapter, Project Reproductive Freedom (PRF).

  • The motivation for the Jane project came from the results of a student survey regarding University’s information-sharing on contraception and abortion resources. The name of the project was derived from the plaintiff's pseudonym “Jane Roe” in the landmark “Roe v. Wade” case.
  • Moderators have responded to almost 10 questions on the Facebook page submitted anonymously. These questions depend highly on individual circumstances, which require moderators to research and learn themselves in order to provide accurate information.
  • Other projects PRF has developed include a menstrual destigmatization campaign on Instagram and a menstrual product drive. Since its conception in 2017, RPF has endeavored to spread knowledge and advocate for reproductive freedom on campus.

All students who did not opt out by March 1 are going to have a UChicago Medicine (UCM) medical record created for them in preparation for Phase 2 of vaccine distribution, which would allow students to receive vaccines from the on-campus clinic.

  • An on-campus vaccine clinic will open to all eligible members of the University community through Phases 1c and 2, upon approval from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
  • Students who do not want UCM to create a medical record for them must opt out by 5 p.m. on March 1. Creation of a medical record does not obligate any student to receive the vaccine, but any student who opts out of a UCM medical record will not be eligible to receive a vaccine from the University’s on-campus clinic.
  • Students who are enrolled in the surveillance testing program or who have previously been UCM patients already have a medical record through UCM’s MyChart patient portal. Once a medical record has been created, students will be able to use MyChart to schedule their vaccination appointments and access any other medical records.


In Viewpoints
Editors Ruby Rorty and Gage Gramlick write in:

Columnist Ketan Sengupta argues that the Chicago principles, as controversial as they can be, are essential to healthy and safe discourse on campus.

Columnist Manya Bharadwaj defends Delta Gamma, citing its commitment to constant institutional improvement and capacity for community building.


In Arts

Editor Alina Kim writes in:

Second-year Reese Klemm is the newest member of the UChicago YouTube scene.