WINTERFEST EXPLORES NEW WINTER COLLEGE PROGRAMMING
FEBRUARY 17, 2020 SIXTH WEEK VOL. 133, ISSUE 16
CC Calls for Undergraduate Input in College Policymaking
By YIWEN LU News Editor
Undergrads Launch New Music Mag PAGE 7
In a resolution passed on January 19, College Council (CC) called upon the University to recognize an elected liaison between CC and College policymaking bodies like the Faculty College Council (FCC), which consists of 40 members of the College faculty who have legislative powers over the College’s academic policies. The resolution marked the first time that Student Government (SG) formally pushed for a direct increase of student representation in administrative decision making, according to Class of 2022 Representative Allen Abbott. The resolution, sponsored by five CC representatives and passed on a 12–3–1 vote, includes two proposals: requiring that administrators notify the chair of CC “of any proposed changes to academic
or campus life policy,” and creating an “Undergraduate Liaison for College Policies” as an ex officio member of the FCC and the Committee of the FCC, which consists of the Dean of the College and seven elected FCC members. The new liaison would serve a role simialr to the Undergraduate and Graduate Liaisons to the Board of Trustees, who regularly meet with the Board to discuss student life issues. Unlike the Board of Trustees, however, FCC oversees the academic policies of the College. The liaison would participate and speak at FCC meetings to provide the group with a student perspective. They would also sit on committees formed to investigate and propose specific policy changes, such as the committee formed in fall 2019 that reviewed and suggested changes to the academic calendar. The liaison would not have voting
power. In drafting the resolution, CC said that past decisions about policies in the College, including the changing of the Honors System and the academic calendar, did not account for public student comments. The academic calendar committee included two fourth-year students, and the University did not solicit community comments on the proposal despite the committee’s recommendation calling for “a period of public comments and conversations.” Abbott said that CC approached the provost’s office and the College dean’s office regarding the calendar changes, and was told that “there are not many additional discussions to be made” since the decision was made by the FCC. Despite a CC resolution and ad-hoc meetings with multiple FCC members, there was CONTINUED ON PG. 2
Former CTU President Karen Lewis Dies at 67 PAGE 3
VIEWPOINTS: A Year Into the Pandemic, Coming to Terms With Grief and Loss Is Essential PAGE 5
CTU and CPS Reach Deal to Reopen Schools PAGE 4
VIEWPOINTS: UChicago Must Devote Resources to Indigenous Studies
NEWS: Sonali Smith Is First Woman To Serve as Oncology/ Hematology Chief
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THE CHICAGO MAROON — FEBRUARY 17, 2021
CC Passes Resolution Calling for Undergraduate Liaison to Faculty College Council CONTINUED FROM COVER
no public comment period regarding the Honors System change in Fall 2019. “There’s been a trend over the past couple of years with us reaching out to the administrators about issues, and they say [that] there has already been a decision made by the faculty governing bodies,” Abbott said. Abbott and CC Chair Zebeeb Nuguse believed that the need for a formal way for students to engage with the FCC became clear in fall 2020 when the University refused to adopt an optin pass/fail policy for classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, CC contacted individual faculty members and convinced around 30 programs and departments to implement changes on the current departmental pass/ fail standard. The success of the pass/ fail initiative encouraged CC to push for more student input in faculty decision-making, according to Abbott. Since the passage of the resolution within SG, CC has contacted over a dozen FCC members. Abbott said he could not disclose the names of the faculty due to “the sensitive nature of certain decisions and discussions.” However, he said that the members he/ they spoke to were receptive to integrating an SG liaison into their decision-making process. Even though all members CC spoke to agreed that a student liaison would be helpful, they also expressed concern that the proposal gives the liaison too much decision-making power and thus outsize influence on University policies. Abbott clarified that SG does not
intend to usurp the FCC’s power. “This is not to say that Student Government will suddenly supersede, or that we are trying to start to make decisions ourselves on matters of academic policy,” he said. “Fundamentally, the University of Chicago is a faculty governing institution. All we’re asking for is to ensure that student input is there to inform the decisions of those faculty governing members who make those academic policies.” Since the proposal called for a non-voting position that focuses on communications between students and faculty governing bodies, Abbott believes that these concerns are largely resolved. “We just want student
perspectives to be factored into their analysis and decision-making early on, and that’s where we have seen a lot of agreement about the value of communication and informed decision-making,” he said. In the long term, CC is pushing for more students to be involved in the University policymaking process, Abbott said. Currently, the University’s primary student advisory group is the Maroon Key Society (MKS); to join, students must maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA, secure a faculty nomination, and be accepted by the administration. The eligibility requirements “inherently skew representation towards those from elite and normative back-
grounds. Marginalized students are thus significantly underrepresented in MKS and excluded from conversations surrounding the policy changes that disproportionately affect them the most,” CC wrote in the resolution. Liaison between student governments and university administrations has been implemented at other universities. The Academic Life Committee at Harvard’s Undergraduate Council works with the Dean of Undergraduate Education to develop academic policy changes. At Yale, an “Academic Director” from the student college council serves as a liaison to chairs of academic departments and oversees academic policy decisions.
Miles Burton The College Council resolution calls on the College to create an Undergraduate Liaison to the Faculty College Council. Miles Burton
Winterfest Offers Undergraduates Wide Range of Arts Events and Challenges By RUTHIE MITCHELL News Reporter
Chicago Studies and various art and humanities departments have com-
bined forces to put on the first-ever Winterfest, a series of creative challenges and events for all undergraduate students at UChicago during the winter and spring quarters. Winterfest of-
fers activities for students with a wide range of interests and experience in the arts. It’s an effort to provide fun, stimulating, and collaborative opportunities for students looking to exer-
cise their creativity or try something new. Five arts events make up the original programming for Winterfest. A CONTINUED ON PG. 3
THE CHICAGO MAROON — FEBRUARY 17, 2021
“That, at least for me, is very distinctly UChicago.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 2
creative writing challenge called the Decameron Redux gives students the opportunity to respond, in any genre or medium, to weekly prompts inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s collection of Italian tales, The Decameron. Students can also submit design ideas for light sculptures to be installed on campus in the Light Fantastic, or design a full-face mask for the Spring Forward pageant and procession. Other challenges are the Puzzle Hunt, which will resemble Scav and focus on puzzle solving, and the BrowserFest, a web browser design challenge. With the pandemic putting an end to formerly ordinary social occurrences—like bumping into a friend in the hallway after class—students have
been cut off from fun and social events. “Even when there are great things going on in the virtual space, people don’t know how to find them,” said Chris Skrable, Director of Chicago Studies and Experiential Learning in the College, who helped put Winterfest together. The Winterfest website gives students easy access to all arts and humanities events put on by the College during the winter and spring quarters. According to Skrable, Winterfest is an attempt to connect students to their peers and to UChicago culture. “There is a spirit of intellectual whimsy that I think pervades a lot of the Winterfest events, that, at least for me, is very distinctly UChicago,” he said. Chicago Studies is providing another piece of programming through
Winterfest: the Chicago Futures Project. This challenge will take place over spring break in a hackathon style. In slightly more than 30 hours, students will create their vision for Chicago 30 years in the future and then work backwards to outline a path to achieve it. As a small-scale version and alternative to this project, Chicago Studies will also be offering a “Design Your Life” (DYL) workshop series over spring break, in which a DYL expert will lead students in planning their own futures. To supplement these larger projects, Chicago Studies is hosting a series of virtual conversations with people from different business sectors in Chicago, including people from the Chicago theater, nightlife, small business, and music scenes.
One of the goals of Winterfest and the Chicago Futures Project is to “give students the opportunity to interact with either friends that they already know…or embark on projects with students that are not in their hall or house,” said Chris Wild, a Germanic studies professor and Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division. As a collection of primarily arts events and challenges, Winterfest is a testament to the position of the arts at UChicago and to the power of thinking creatively. “One of the wonderful things about art is that it allows us to assume agency and, in some sense, like the Chicago Futures design challenge, imagine otherwise,” Wild said. “We take the materials of the real world and reshape them. That’s what art does.”
Karen Lewis, Former CTU President, Education Advocate, and Hyde Park Native, Dies at 67 By MICHAEL MCCLURE News Reporter
Karen Lewis, who gained national attention for spearheading a weeklong teacher strike in 2012 while serving as president of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), died on Sunday, February 7, after a battle with brain cancer. She was 67 years old. Lewis’s death came amid negotiations between the CTU and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) over the reopening of the city’s classrooms for in-person learning. A child of CPS teachers, Lewis grew up on the South Side of Chicago and attended Kenwood High School in the late 1960s. While at Kenwood, she boycotted school for several Mondays, demanding more Black teachers and administrators in the school, the incorporation of Black history into the curriculum, and better facilities at Chicago’s predominantly Black schools. After her junior year, Lewis left Kenwood to attend Mount Holyoke College. She transferred to Dartmouth College in 1972 and graduated in 1974
as the only Black woman in her class. Lewis lived in Oklahoma and Barbados before returning to Illinois to attend medical school. Feeling unfulfilled, Lewis left medical school in 1987 and took up a substitute teaching position at Sullivan High School in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Although Lewis did not intend to pursue a career in education when she started at Sullivan, she grew to love her job. Lewis taught for two more decades at Lane Tech College Prep High School and at King College Prep, where she took on a more active role within the CTU. In 2008, Lewis became cochair of the newly formed Caucus of Rank-andFile Educators (CORE), a group of Chicago teachers and education activists fighting school closures. She served as a spokesperson for CORE, drafted its constitution and bylaws, and chaired meetings with community groups. Lewis was elected CTU president in 2010, a position she held until her retirement in 2018. While the previous leadership group, United Progressive Caucus, capitulated to corporate forc-
es and the Chicago Board of Education, Lewis and CORE returned to the aggressive campaigning in which the CTU had engaged under Jacqueline Vaughn’s leadership two decades prior. In the first year of Lewis’s tenure, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel passed Illinois Senate Bill 7, which required the CTU to receive approval from at least 75 percent of CPS teachers in order to authorize a strike. Lewis’s impassioned speeches at CTU rallies prompted almost 90 percent of teachers to vote in favor of a strike in June 2012. In September of the same year, more than 25,000 CPS teachers joined Lewis on the picket lines for Chicago’s first teacher strike in 25 years. Their efforts resulted in pay raises for district teachers and the rehiring of veteran teachers who had been laid off due to school closings. The success of the strike also sparked Red for Ed, a nationwide movement wherein teachers went on strike for better working conditions and higher pay. At a University of Chicago event in February 2013, Lewis emphasized her support for UChicago’s educational
model. “I truly believe in a liberal arts education, and I know how important it is in making your life special,” she said. But Lewis did not see the same benefit to privately operated, publicly funded charter schools, including the UChicago Charter School (UCCS), which comprises three campuses on the South Side. In an interview with The Maroon in 2013, Lewis claimed that schools like UCCS “aren’t all that necessary” when public education is properly supported. Lewis considered a mayoral run in 2014 in an attempt to unseat Emanuel, with whom she frequently sparred in public, but opted against it after receiving her cancer diagnosis later that year. The CTU released a statement following Lewis’s death, calling her “a rose that grew out of South Side Chicago concrete.” “Karen taught us how to fight, and she taught us how to love,” the statement read. “Chicago has changed because of her. We have more fighters for justice and equity because of Karen and because she was a champion—the people’s champion.”
THE CHICAGO MAROON — FEBRUARY 17, 2021
What the Tentative Plan for Reopening CPS Contains By PRANATHI POSA News Editor
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS)’s plan for reopening schools passed this week with 13,681 CTU members voting in favor. 20,275 of the union’s 25,367 members cast ballots. The plan comes after weeks of negotiations between the CTU and CPS regarding what it would take for the CPS to reopen safely and whether the district should reopen for in-person learning at all. Pre-K and cluster classroom staff briefly returned to schools on January 15 despite CTU criticism that the reopening plan failed to adequately ensure the safety of teachers and students. Those unaddressed criticisms caused CTU to vote in favor of having staff work remotely through the bargaining process between CPS and CTU, resulting in CPS reverting to remote instruction since January 27. Under the new plan, pre-K and cluster staff and students resumed in-per-
son school on February 11. This will be followed by kindergarten through fifth grade returning on March 1 and sixth through eighth grade on March 8. It is unclear, however, exactly how many students will return to school. The original January reopening had 5,225 pre-kindergarten and special education students returning to classrooms. According to intent-to-return forms administered in December to parents of CPS students, 77,000 indicated they would send their children back to in-person school, but that number had already dropped to 67,000 come January. The new plan includes greater provisions for providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all teachers and stricter testing protocols. It also presents a vaccination program for CPS employees. Under the program, CPS will provide 1,500 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to staff each week, which will increase at pace with the vaccine supply in Chicago. These vaccines will be acquired and rolled out
through two programs, the first being Protect Chicago Plus, the initiative created to ensure that vaccine rollout prioritized communities in Chicago that have been hardest hit by the virus. The second involves a partnership with health providers to give vaccination priority to CTU members. Vaccinations will be administered to CPS employees returning to school beginning on or shortly after February 8 using a priority list, with the first dose going first to CTU members in the highrisk age and demographic groups, next those who work in the 10 zip codes with the highest COVID-19 rates, and then those who have accommodations for receiving the vaccination before resuming in-person work. The priority list will be used for each following phase of returning more grades to in-person schooling. Those accommodations range from individuals who live in households with high-risk members to those who will have challenges finding childcare. Employees who do not qualify for any accommodations have the option to take
job-protected unpaid leave with benefits for the quarter and remain eligible for vaccinations under the vaccination program for CPS employees. A separate letter that accompanies the plan reinstated CTU members who have been locked out of CPS digital accounts and are no longer receiving pay because they did not show up to work in person. Disciplinary action against those who worked remotely without permission or being absent without leave has been dropped. This also extends to CTU members who are currently being investigated for matters related to “communications with parents” but have not yet received formal disciplinary notices. However, the reinstatement provision does not recompense CTU members for the time that they were locked out. Additionally, discipline in cases where CTU members have already received notices will not be dropped and instead addressed through the usual disciplinary, grievance, and arbitration processes.
Sonali Smith Becomes First Woman To Be Appointed Chief of the Section of Hematology/Oncology at UChicago Medicine By LUKIAN KLING Senior Reporter
Sonali Smith, a UChicago Medicine staff member for more than 20 years, was appointed chief of the section of hematology/oncology on November 1, 2020. She is the first woman to be appointed to the position. “I’m so honored and excited,” said Smith about her new role in an interview with The Maroon. “I believe so strongly in this section and this University that to be given this opportunity is incredibly humbling.” Smith, who is recognized around the world as a leading expert on lymphoma therapeutics and who has been director of the lymphoma program at UChicago Medicine since 2011, is uniquely qualified for the position, though she didn’t actively seek it out.
As section chief, she will manage a team of more than 40 full-time and 180 overall faculty members, in addition to directing clinical and research pursuits at large. “[Section chief has] been a privileged position in the sense [that] you get to contribute to the direction of where the section is going on,” said Smith. “I’m really excited to be able to shepherd the field within our institution.” Speaking on her status as the first woman to take on the role, Smith said, “I am very grateful to the selection committee, [for them] to really look at the person, the accomplishments, and be able to be selected amongst the pool of people who were looking at this position.” Despite her appointment to the role, gender disparities are still a significant problem in medicine according to
Smith. “I think women are underrepresented at almost every level of academic medicine. There’s a lot of data that 50 percent of medical students today are women but only about 15 percent are deans and only about less than 20% are section chiefs like I am. And that’s something that I think should change because it doesn’t really reflect society, so I am very honored to be a part of that movement.” Smith also shared thoughts on how to increase the number of women who take on leadership roles. “It has to be an active process. There have to be role models—if you don’t see it, sometimes you don’t think you can be it. But it also takes active support and acknowledging that there’s a lot of unconscious bias against women that adds up over time and makes people feel like [they don’t] deserve to rise in the field. And
that active support and active awareness comes from both men and women,” Smith said. In transitioning to the new role, Smith will be facing new challenges. “One of the challenges with medicine is that I’ve never had training in management. This is academic medicine— we don’t do an M.B.A., we don’t do HR, we don’t do these things, so you learn by trying to put structures in place so that people feel like they are a part of a team,” Smith said. During her first few months as section chief, Smith said she has already “learned a lot about administration, contracts and negotiations, how to hire people, which I’ve never really done before, and seeing how each piece comes together to run a successful medical center.”
THE CHICAGO MAROON — FEBRUARY 17, 2021
VIEWPOINTS Good Grief: Processing Loss in a Pandemic It can be hard to find time and energy to grieve properly, but it is possible—and essential—to do so. By SYLVIA EBENBACH Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic about a year ago, grief from the tragic loss of life has been widespread and ever-present. During this crisis, everyone has been impacted by loss, either directly or as part of a larger community. At the beginning of this quarter, our very community was devastated by the sudden loss
of a student. As school and work continue, students in the UChicago community have little time in their demanding schedules to understand loss and to heal properly. But grief is an essential part of healing, and there are ways to facilitate the process despite the other obligations college students face. Aside from a lack of time, the restrictions on gatherings due to
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COVID-19 make it more difficult to rely on traditional means of grieving. Funerals, religious services, and visits to loved ones in the hospital are far more difficult, if not impossible. Without in-person support from family and a community, people may feel like they have to face their pain alone. The sense of isolation that may have existed prior to the loss is likely intensified. On top of that, UChicago’s mental health resources have not always provided enough help to students. To make up for that lack of support, students have had to fill the gap with independent research and projects. UChicago should provide resources to help with the grieving process that are more attuned to student needs and schedules. Even so, there are ways to seek out support despite the loneliness of the pandemic. For students experiencing grief or mental health issues, there are some good places to start. UChicago Student Wellness has a variety of options depending on specific needs and preferences. Let’s Talk is an informal drop-in service (now held virtually) for students unsure about regular therapy sessions. There are also resources at UChicago Spiritual Life for students who have experienced loss. For more options, this article gives a run-down of UChicago’s offerings. While the topic often feels uncomfortable, delaying or avoiding the anguish following a hardship prevents long-term healing and growth. Given the stigma within the United States surrounding conversations about mental health, it is not surprising that we feel discomfort discussing emotions af-
ter a loss. We need to include grief when we normalize discussions on mental health. Although individuals may experience it in slightly different ways, grief is a natural process that affects everyone, and it should be treated as such. One helpful framework through which grief can be understood is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s “stage theory,” which she first developed while working as an assistant professor of psychiatry at UChicago. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. While not everyone may experience all the stages or experience them in that order, understanding that individual responses to grief are normal and change over time helps to conceptualize it as a healing process rather than as a weakness or an obstacle. David Kessler, a grief expert, adds a sixth stage called “meaning.” After undergoing acceptance, the process of “meaning” includes continuing with life and finding happiness after loss. As far as an approach to the process, Kessler recommends, “Let yourself feel the grief and keep going.” In addition to this general framework, there are other specific, meaningful ways to create space for mourning while still going on with our lives. According to Jessica Jacoby, director of clinical social work at UChicago Medicine, it’s important to engage in selfcare, such as going on a walk, journaling, and other relaxing activities. When the distress becomes overwhelming, she recommends naming those feelings and practicing mindful breathing. Other ideas include honoring the memory of
loved ones with virtual gatherings and reaching out for help when needed. In order to find time in a busy schedule for these practices, it may be helpful to schedule a specific time during the day dedicated to those activities. There are many ways to understand grief through a psychological lens, but that should not distract from the reality that it is utterly difficult. Mourning a loved one while navigating sadness, anger, confusion, and even guilt is not easy to manage for anyone. There is no reason to downplay its intensity and impact on everyday life. While the inclination at a rigorous college may be to push through the pain, it’s beyond important to acknowledge how hard it is, not only for personal well-being, but for the benefit of our community and society, which is now experiencing loss all the time. It’s important to know how to support friends and loved ones who are experiencing grief. Since everyone processes loss differently, the main goal should be to respond to their comfort level rather than to project personal opinions onto the situation. For instance, instead of trying to find the silver lining of the situation, acknowledge how they feel about it and accept the reality that it is a difficult situation. Giving people the space to talk about how they feel or just letting them know that they are cared for can help with the grieving process. A good way to begin normalizing and understanding the complexity of feelings surrounding grief is to seek out what is already out there. Terrible, Thanks For CONTINUED ON PG. 6
THE CHICAGO MAROON — FEBRUARY 17, 2021
“While the topic often feels uncomfortable, delaying the anguish following a hardship prevents long-term healing.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 5
Asking is a podcast hosted by Nora McInerny that explores topics of grief and loss. She shares stories from her own life and invites guests on to the show to share their experiences. Another resource is The Midnight Gospel, a show on
Netflix based on Duncan Trussell’s podcast, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour. The Midnight Gospel features a similarly weird and colorful artistic style to its co-creator Pendleton Ward’s show Adventure Time while exploring topics such as love, life, and death. There are
also books like Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief by Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner and Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss by Patrick O’Malley and Tim Madigan. While the time and thought re-
quired to grieve may seem daunting, it is necessary for mental and emotional health. Although the context of the pandemic often feels uncontrollable on an individual level, the manner in which each of us responds to loss can be hugely beneficial to ourselves and our
loved ones. As busy as UChicago students are, we shouldn’t hesitate to seek support and take the time to grieve. Sylvia Ebenbach is a third-year in the College.
Not a Footnote: Indigenous Studies Deserve More We need to center Indigenous histories in our education and our activism By JULIA SPANDE It seems no fourth-grade class can exist without a tone-deaf lesson ascribing primitivity to Indigenous people. In my New York public school, the gist of the lesson was this: There were some people here before Henry Hudson, they ate corn and lived in harmony with nature, and the cool cat Europeans asked everyone to move before they built New York City. Our music class featured some (doubly tone-deaf) chanting about the Iroquois Confederacy, Thanksgiving was greeted with construction-paper headdresses, and Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims made an appearance in Story Circle. Then, we measured the density of a marble, that one kid ate a glue stick, and we moved on. As a white woman, I had the luxury of ignoring modern Indigenous struggles until my early teens. I started unlearning my elementary school lessons once #NoDAPL protests at Standing Rock flooded my Twitter feed. Trapped in a movement constantly being weighed down by existentially terrifying statistics, I found that recentering my relationship with climate justice around Indigenous folks and Indigenous issues renewed my passion for the cause. Pre-Thunberg, pre-AOC, pre-Sunrise Movement, and pre-every other figure
that forced climate activism into the mainstream, the raised fists and snow-covered banners of Standing Rock spoke to teenage environmental justice advocates across the country. When I began university, I hoped to study Indigenous culture further. UChicago has not made this easy. Throughout my courses—even those that boasted a concentration on race and discrimination in the Western world—I encountered the same unstudied and unspecific treatment of Indigenous Americans as I did in elementary school. At UChicago, Native Americans are seen as footnotes within larger histories and dynamics—one week in a class on American colonization or a footnote in an environmental justice lesson. Even justice-oriented professors rarely mention Indigenous people beyond the token I in BIPOC. Individual professors’ roles in Indigenous Studies is important—professors Teresa Montoya, Mareike Winchell, and Edgar Garcia center their classes on Indigenous history—but the general lack of emphasis on Native Americans is a university-wide problem. UChicago has not allocated the teaching or financial resources for a Native American studies department. Despite the specialization being listed as a concentration with the comparative race and ethnic studies (CRES) major,
there are no designated courses in Native American studies offered this quarter. In fact, across the past 18 quarters (as far back as my.uchicago’s class portal shows), there have only been six classes with an explicit primary focus on Indigenous people in the United States. A few more were planned according to the catalog released annually, but only six made it to the registration portal. Considering the CRES major requires four classes concentrated on a specific topic and UChicago students cannot study for more than 13 quarters barring extenuating circumstances, students functionally cannot major with a concentration in Native American Studies. Also, while many other racial and ethnic groups have dedicated civilization sequences available to all students through the Core Curriculum, there is no option for students hoping to study Indigenous history. Instead, Indigenous folks make mere guest appearances in Colonizations I and America in World Civilization I. The University has both discounted the role of Native Americans in history and student interest in studying that history. If we want to know why the university has minimized Native histories and narratives, we can assume the usual cocktail of racism and colonialism. As Kelly Hui wrote in her November article,
just as we “cannot ‘decolonize’ spaces built upon oppression,” we cannot expect UChicago to grapple with its colonialist existence in a meaningful way without constant student pressure. In order to create space for Indigenous studies, students need to push for the program with the same fervor used for other racial justice campaigns. The #EthnicStudiesNow and #CulturalCentersNow campaigns launched by UChicago United have consistently and passionately advocated for a CRES department and designated cultural centers for Black, Asian, and Latinx students. Several student groups have rightly decried the destruction that the University wrought on Black and Brown communities in Chicago’s South Side and advocated for active anti-racism through action and education. But rhetoric centering Indigenous folks remains mainly absent from the same activist circles organizing around other pressing racial justice issues. The same students who can wax rhapsodic about police abolition are often less informed about the Land Back movement to repatriate Indigenous lands, an important facet of police abolition. Land acknowledgments, common practice in most justice-oriented groups beyond campus, are rare; in the two and a half years I have attended UChicago, I have
been to two group events that acknowledged the area’s first inhabitants, and only one was run by a campus organization. Chicago is not the result of one instance of colonization. Chicago’s history is marred and defined by the 1832 Black Hawk War and the Indian Relocation Act of 1956 just as it is by the 1919 Red Summer, and the city’s continued history of segregation, police brutality, and institutional racism. The sooner both students and the school acknowledge this fact, the sooner non-Indigenous students can serve as effective allies to Indigenous movements. It is also not enough to ignore Indigenous people or burden them with our ignorance while we wait for UChicago to create a legitimate Native American studies department. How many of us have warped histories to unlearn or wide knowledge gaps to fill? As non-Indigenous people, we have to put in the time to educate ourselves. There are abundant resources on Indigenous history in Chicago (and here and here and countless other places) and the current work of Indigenous activists. Rosy glasses and Squanto (real name Tisquantum) picture books won’t cut it, not in fourth grade and certainly not now. Julia Spande is a third-year in the College.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — FEBRUARY 17, 2021
ARTS Firebird Spreads Its Wings: Daniela Brigatti and Sha Frasier on UChicago’s Up-and-Coming Music Magazine By NATALIE MANLEY Arts Reporter
For the past 11 months, campus has been rather…quiet. Music halls and theaters have remained vacant, rehearsal spaces have moved online, and concerts and performances have been postponed indefinitely. Although in-person music has essentially come to a standstill, UChicago musicians and music enthusiasts like second-years Daniela Brigatti and Sha Frasier have found other creative ways to share their passions with the world. Since fall quarter, Brigatti and Frasier have been hard at work planning content, recruiting new writers and members, and seeking RSO status for UChicago’s newest music-focused student magazine: Firebird. Originally conceptualized by Brigatti, Firebird will feature everything from albu and song discussions to features on student musicians and concert reviews. “We saw this gap in the student-run publications…. There’s not really a publication dedicated to solely discussing music news, and reviewing albums and featuring student artists and reviewing concerts when that can happen again,” Frasier told The Maroon. “We wanted to fill that space and with something that does all of those things, while getting at that basic goal of discussing why music is so meaningful and important to us.” Brigatti added, “We both love music so much. We live and breathe music. To have a platform on campus for people to just talk the way we do by writing articles or reading articles, and to just have that community of people who are as passionate about music as us was just really attractive.” The name of the publication was in part inspired by this fiery passion for music that Brigatti and Frasier feel so many students on campus have. Paired with the fact that the University’s mascot is a phoenix, and that music—like a
From left to right: Sha Frasier and Daniela Brigatti. courtesy of daniela brigatti. phoenix—seems to be born and reborn time and time again, it was enough to convince Brigatti and Frasier that the name “firebird” was a perfect fit. “The whole symbolism behind this mythical creature is that it dies and is reborn,” Brigatti explained. “I think we often have conversations about how cyclical music is and [how] arts and pop
culture can be, and I do think that music is something that’s never going to die. I think there’s something about that that kind of transcends time.” Frasier gave the example of disco music. Immensely popular in the 1970s, the genre has since made a comeback in the music of contemporary artists such as Daft Punk and Dua Lipa.
“There’s something to be said for how popular music is sort of similar to a phoenix,” he added. Although the details are still in the works, Brigatti and Frasier hope that the first issue of Firebird will be released online at the beginning of spring quarter, with monthly issues to follow CONTINUED ON PG. 8
THE CHICAGO MAROON — FEBRUARY 17, 2021
“[Firebird]’s not just for musicians, or just consumers of music, it’s for everybody.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 7
soon thereafter. Given that the magazine is still recruiting new members and waiting for official RSO status and funding, the two cofounders thought it would be best to temporarily stick with the online format but hope to make the most of the situation with a robust social media presence. Online polls, album release news, and frequent posting on both Facebook and Instagram will all be a part of the magazine’s effort to drive up online student engagement while live on-campus music programming remains sidelined by the pandemic. A musician herself, Brigatti hopes that Firebird will be a way for student musicians and music and art lovers to
connect and come together in what is otherwise a very academically focused campus community. The University of Chicago, Brigatti feels, may not be an arts school, but it certainly isn’t lacking in people who are passionate about music. “Being here is very weird as an artist or an artistic person because we’re not a very artsy school,” Brigatti told The Maroon. “We’re very focused on theory and there’s a big emphasis on STEM…. But at the same time, a big part of my network here and the people I’m friends with are all artists…. There definitely are a lot of ways to get involved with other people in the arts. Yes, [UChicago is less artistic] than other schools, but I
think that’s why having an RSO specifically dedicated to music is more important at a place like here than at a place with a bigger music program.” Though Frasier, on the other hand, is not a musician himself (more of a self-proclaimed “music enthusiast”), he owns more than 160 vinyl records and loves talking about all things musical. “I think the reason why I had this idea, why immediately it was me and Sha doing this, is because Sha is a musical god,” Brigatti said of Frasier. “He doesn’t play instruments or anything, but he knows everything about every song that has ever graced the earth.” She added, “What’s so cool about this partnership is that I’m a musician
and he’s a music consumer, and I think that’s so key to what Firebird is. It’s not just for musicians, or just consumers of music, it’s for everybody. Everyone listens to music. Everyone. And [it’s] such a crucial part of all of our lives, and it’s formative and informative…so anyone should join Firebird—you don’t have to know anything about music, you just have to like it.” You can learn more about Firebird by following them on Instagram (@firebirdmagazine) and Facebook (Firebird Magazine), or you can email Daniela Brigatti (email@example.com) or Sha Frasier (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Valentine’s Day By CHRIS JONES AND NISH SINHA Across 1. Sparsely-populated time zone 4. Common website revenue source 7. Place to obtain element 4? 10. Adorable like a ziggurat? 13. Competition for some poli. sci. majors 14. No Clue 16. Namely, sugary? 17. Crabs? 18. Unit at the LHC 19. “___ I may...” 21. Mormons (Abbr.) 22. Dreamers’ org. 25. Obtain 26. Gratis 28. Where to read the messages in 7-, 10-, 16- , 17-, and 33-Across 31. School governing grp. 32. Fannie ___ 33. Apropos words of affection 37. “No biggie” 38. Drama, chess club, track-andfield, etc.
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