JEWEL-OSCO OFFICIALLY OPENS IN WOODLAWN
MARCH 13, 2019 TENTH WEEK VOL. 131, ISSUE 32
Prof Stone Won’t Say Epithet After Frank Talk with Black Students adrian mandeville
“I listened and changed my mind. That’s what free speech is all about.” Rorty: Anxiety Abounds on Campus PAGE 13
Fatimah Asghar and Parul Sehgal on South Asian Stories PAGE 10
Maletich Jumps to Title Track and Field Championships PAGE 16
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THE CHICAGO MAROON — MARCH 13, 2019
Jewel-Osco Officially Opens in Woodlawn
Outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel cuts the ribbon at the opening of Jewel-Osco, at the corner of East 61st Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue. adrian mandeville By WILLIAM YEE News Reporter In a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Thursday morning, supermarket chain Jewel-Osco officially opened its new, 48,000 square-foot location on the corner of East 61st Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue. Woodlawn is considered by many to be a food desert, an urban area with limited access to affordable and healthy
fresh foods. Jewel-Osco is the first full-service grocery store to open in Woodlawn in over 40 years. The full-service grocery store and drive-through pharmacy are a project over two years in the making. The Jewel-Osco opening is expected to create 200 full- and part-time jobs for residents of the Woodlawn community. The store has also brought in more than 30 local and minority-owned vendors to sell produce.
Standing before a crowd of 150 people squeezed between aisles of fresh produce and ready-to-eat meals, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Yes, this is a new grocery store. But when we cut this ribbon, we’re opening up so much more.” He praised the MetroSquash Center, plans to renovate the Garfield Green Line CTA station, the incoming $30 million housing complex on East 63rd Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue, and the new UChicago Charter School’s Woodlawn campus as other local projects intended to spur urban renewal. When asked if he would be willing to comment on the potential impact of the new grocery store, Emanuel told The Maroon, “Probably not.” He said that the opening of the Jewel branch helps begin to address food deserts as one of the pressing issues in the Chicagoland area. “It is unacceptable that some families drive over a mile to get fresh produce for their kids. Today, we are beginning to right that wrong.” Emanuel took a moment to thank and reflect on the service of Jewel-Osco’s former president Doug Cygan, who died in 2018 at the age of 55. Cygan played an instrumental role in delivering a branch of the chain supermarket to Woodlawn. Emanuel added that the Jewel is the 11th new grocery store on the South Side, a reflection of the work of the Woodlawn residents. “You have been persistent, you have been outspoken, and this is your victory,” he said. The mayor also noted that
the store is one of many new additions in his larger economic revitalization plan for Woodlawn, which has transformed from “a $30 million investment to a $400 million opportunity.” There were 40 people waiting for the doors to open this morning at 6 a.m., according to Jewel-Osco president Paul Gossett. During the grand ceremonial opening, Jamya Stewart, a 13-year old MetroSquash student, said, “This store will bring a new sense of pride to the community. It will allow our youth to make better choices and the community to flourish.” Margaret Brewer, a Woodlawn resident since 1955, agreed. “Woodlawn has been a food desert for the longest time, and today that changes,” she said. “We are helping to write a new chapter for Woodlawn.” The Jewel is stocked with organic produce, a variety of grab-and-go meals, and a pharmacy. Its deli also includes Kosher-certified meats and poultry, notable given the relative lack of options elsewhere in the Hyde Park area, which has a substantial Jewish population. At 10:30 a.m., with the backdrop of a sparkling red, white, and blue Woodlawn sign, Emanuel, flanked by financial stakeholders and store executives, cut the ceremonial ribbon to welcome the newest Jewel-Osco branch to the community.
After Stirring Speeches by Black Law Students, Free Speech Prof to Stop Saying Racial Epithet in Class By ELAINE CHEN Deputy Editor-in-Chief Elect Law professor Geoffrey Stone had been saying a racial epithet in his First Amendment class for over 40 years to explain the “fighting words” doctrine. After a spontaneous and emotional conversation with several Black Law students in the Law School’s main lounge last week, he has decided to stop. Following heated discussions about
a recent op-ed sharply critical of Stone’s use of the slur, several members of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) decided to demonstrate in the main lounge last Wednesday. In addition to protesting Stone’s use of the racial epithet, BLSA members wanted to share their frustration after years of trying to push forward various diversity initiatives through the Law School administration. What began as a small demonstration of 15 BLSA members grew to a crowd of
almost 200 students and faculty members. When Stone happened to walk in during the demonstration, BLSA members asked him to listen as they explained in impassioned speeches the harm that hearing the word in class can cause. Less than an hour later in lecture, Stone announced that he would no longer say the word in class. The decision marks a shift in the perspective of Stone, a former dean of the Law School and provost of the Univer-
sity, who has written extensively about protecting free speech rights and chaired the committee that drafted the University’s Chicago Principles document on free expression in 2014. It also marks a departure from how University administrators have interpreted the University’s avowed dedication to free expression. Administrators have generally held that students’ emotions are not a sufficient reason to limit information. CONTINUED ON PG. 3
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In 2016, Dean of Students John “Jay” Ellison wrote in a letter to the then-incoming undergraduate Class of 2020 that as part of committing to academic freedom, administrators “do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings’” and “do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces.’” Stone claims that national and on-campus calls to limit the use of the word in academic settings have grown more vocal in recent decades, but that he was not influenced by public backlash, and instead made his decision after witnessing and hearing the strong emotions of the law students who talked to him. Stone’s Long-Running Use of the Word Stone is currently best-known as one of the foremost free speech scholars nationwide. Last December, he published his most recent book on the evolution of free speech doctrine. The book was co-authored with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, who has taken a stance on free speech similar to that of UChicago President Robert J. Zimmer. For over 40 years, Stone has been telling the same anecdote to his First Amendment class and at guest lectures at other schools when teaching the fighting words doctrine. This doctrine holds that expressions of words that incite violence are not constitutionally protected by the First Amendment. Stone would tell the anecdote as follows: In class over 40 years ago, a Black student said that the fighting words doctrine is outdated because words long deemed as “fighting words” no longer provoke violence. A white classmate then called the Black student the epithet, saying, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” This prompted the Black student to reach over and grab the white classmate by the neck. Stone believes the white student’s use of the epithet and the Black student’s response in that moment precisely demonstrate the continued relevance of the fighting words doctrine. In an interview with The Maroon late last week, Stone explained why he had been using the full word when telling the anecdote. “It’s important, if you’re teaching a le-
gal concept, to use the words that are the subject of the legal prohibition and to ask, ‘should they be [legally prohibited]?’” For Stone, an important part of discussing why certain words are prohibited is to confront the harm that they can cause by saying the words in full. “It’s utterly inexcusable to use the word for the purpose of degrading and insulting someone, but it’s a word that exists in our history, in our society, in our law, and you need to address it,” he said. “Not addressing it is almost failing to acknowledge how ugly and how offensive it is.” He added that limiting the use of the word has broader implications, saying, “Once you say you’re not going to say this word, you’re inviting endless discussions about any other words on the list, the concepts on the list, and what else offends or upsets people.” Stone said that his past stance was consistent with the norm of other contemporary legal scholars, citing Randall Kennedy, a Black professor at Harvard Law School. Kennedy wrote an op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education last month criticizing the administration of Augsburg University in Minneapolis for suspending a professor who said the racial epithet in class when discussing literature by James Baldwin, and has also written a book specifically about the word. “Until relatively recently, the word didn’t have the same inflammatory quality as it’s come to have,” Stone said. He mentioned that he had asked Black students about his use of the word in the past and they “thought it was a powerful example.” Kamara Nwosu, vice president of BLSA, said in an interview with The Maroon that students are often intimidated to confront professors about their teaching. “Almost every single professor is at the top of their field, and when you’re trying to break into these fields academically or professionally, you would be more cautious in your interactions with professors,” she said. “You’re not going to want to outright criticize them.” In the same interview, BLSA President Amiri Lampley challenged the notion that the word has only grown
BLSA protests Stone’s use of the word in the Law School main hallway. courtesy of blsa inflammatory in recent years, saying, “Generations before us may not have felt that open to speak out about this, and had bigger problems to fight than the N-word.” Lampley and Nwosu, who had heard from other students about Stone’s use of the word in January, had brought it up with Charles Todd, the dean of students in the Law School. Lampley said that Todd told them that administrators “can’t take a stance and can’t reprimand faculty for the speech they decide to use as long as they’re not disruptive to the Law School.” Black Law Students’ Exercise of Speech Members of BLSA have long been frustrated with the Law School administration’s lack of commitment to fostering more supportive cultures and practices at the school. Lampley cited the University’s inaction toward a campus debate group’s publication of a whip sheet that said immigrants bring “disease” into the body politic. Nwosu noted that the administration has held listening tours to develop diversity recommendations, but “none of them have been truly implemented in the classroom, in class offerings.” BLSA members ultimately decided
to demonstrate last week after seeing reactions to an op-ed in The Maroon criticizing Stone’s use of the word. After the op-ed was published last Tuesday, the author—second-year Law student and third-year Harris student David Raban— sent it to a GroupMe chat of Law School students. A debate erupted in the chat on why discussion of Stone’s use of the word was necessary. Lampley said the debate showed her that among some students there is “insensitivity and ignorance surrounding...the history of the N-word, how its use has been used to segregate and denigrate people for years.” The GroupMe debate prompted BLSA members to stage an impromptu demonstration in the main lounge the next morning, Lampley and Nwosu said. They wanted to incite the administration to act and also show other students what Black students’ experiences at the Law School have felt like. At lunchtime, Stone happened to pass through the main lounge to buy lunch and several BLSA members asked to speak with him about his use of the word. They sat down, and in the ensuing 30-minute conversation, which drew nearly 200 students and faculty members, Stone listened to BLSA members explain at length the harm that hearing CONTINUED ON PG. 4
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the epithet in class can cause. They told Stone that his use of the full word “is not as effective as he wants it to be,” Lampley said. They stressed to him that “it actually damages and disrupts and distracts students from learning which outweighs the benefits he thinks he gains from it.” Lampley said that in response to Stone’s claim that students need to understand the gravity of the word, BLSA members told him, “We totally understand the immensity that the word carries.” “Anyone can understand the impact of the N-word without explicitly saying it.” In an e-mail summarizing the discussion, Lampley said that BLSA members also told Stone, “The culture that has allowed this tradition to go on without denunciating its practice, speaks to the entrenched systemic racism woven within the fabric of the University and America.” Lampley continued in the summary, “Contrary to what
Professor Stone or other proponents of the Law School’s free speech policy might believe, we actually encourage and have requested, time and time again, more opportunities for civil, public discourse, engaging with contentious topics that address sexuality, gender, and race, that recognizes America’s legal history of oppression and inequitable practices.” By the end of the conversation, emotions were high and several students were in tears. Stone said that he would consider whether to stop saying the word. Stone’s Reconsideration After talking with the Law students, Stone had less than an hour before his First Amendment class. He said he ultimately decided that “though there was value in using the word, this was a situation where the cost was greater than the benefit.” “I never appreciated, before, the extent to which [hearing the epithet] was disconcerting and painful,” Stone said, add-
ing that the conversation in the lounge “gave me a very different understanding that these arguments are not just political correctness, that there’s really something powerful there, and I found that very moving.” “It’s not essential,” he said he realized about saying the word. “It’s the distinction between useful or important and essential. There are lots of things that you don’t do in a classroom as a teacher which might be useful, but you don’t do them for whatever reasons.” Stone added that he considered his decision through a personal lens. He said he has two half-Black grandchildren and he realized he would not want his grandchildren “to have to face this reality and sit there and go through what these students are going through.” Though Raban’s op-ed did raise strong criticisms against Stone, Stone maintains that he decided to stop saying the word not in fear of public backlash, but after being persuaded by the Law students in the lounge. “They had the opportunity
to say what they had to say to me, and did it so effectively,” he said. “I listened and changed my mind. That’s what free speech is about.” In lecture, he announced to the class that he would no longer say the full word and tell the anecdote in class anymore. He told The Maroon that if the word comes up in his class, he “will refer to it as ‘the N-word.’” Asked for comment on Stone’s past use of the word and his change of mind, the University said in a statement to The Maroon, “We believe universities have an important role as places where controversial ideas can be proposed, tested, and debated by faculty and students. Faculty members have broad freedom in the choice of ideas to discuss in the classroom and in their expression of those ideas, and students are free to express their views on those subjects.” Nwosu said she has a “mixed bag” reaction to Stone’s announcement that he would stop saying the word. She said she believed BLSA had “achieved something small,”
but was disappointed that Stone had only announced his decision in class and had not officially communicated to BLSA his decision. “This was a conversation with BLSA members, so I hoped he would articulate to us directly,” she said. She would have liked if Stone had “called up the dean of the Law School to have a conversation with members of BLSA, maybe also the dean of students, just to wrap up the whole situation.” “That would have been a nice wrap up.” Editor’s note: The Maroon avoids gratuitous use of racial slurs. We publish such words only when they are essential to understanding the story. We did not publish the epithet in question in this article because the article provides sufficient context. The Maroon quotes sources verbatim. Where we have styled the epithet as “N-word,” this is a direct quote — that is, we are quoting people who said “N-word” in interviews.
Miriam’s Café to Close Temporarily for Renovations By DARCY KUANG News Reporter
Miriam’s Cafe has been in operation for 19 years. courtesy of university of chicago
Miriam’s Café at the Smart Museum will temporarily close on March 15 after 19 years of operation, due to renovation plans. According to Michael Christiano, the museum’s deputy director, the original plan was to continue operating Miriam’s Café until renovation starts, likely in summer 2021. However, a recent health inspection mandated that the café must have running water in order to remain operational. According to Christiano, running a water line from the kitchen to the café
is too intensive a project to complete before renovations begin. “We would have to break up the entire lobby floor,” Christiano explained, “It feels inhibitive to do that work when we already have renovation plans in the near future. Therefore, the Smart has come to the difficult decision to close Miriam’s Café at the end of the quarter.” The planned renovation will involve substantial facility upgrades to the lobby and Miriam’s Café. The last major renovation in the Smart Museum took place in 1999. “We want to renovate the lobCONTINUED ON PG. 5
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by so that the entire experience of the museum when you enter feels more hospitable, engaging, and accessible,” Christiano said. Part of the renovation plan is also to remake Miriam’s Café by providing more comfortable seating, a better-functioning kitchen, and more food options. The Smart hopes that these changes will create a friendlier space and allow patrons to linger longer at
the museum. Kate Kelly, guest services and operations manager, has spoken to the café staff and offered them paid positions at the Smart Museum. “It felt really important for us to create an opportunity for the baristas to find employment within our system, because they are an important part of our community,” Christiano said. The Smart staff is thinking
about plans to repurpose the café space. Christiano told The Maroon that the Smart wants to use the area to display more art or for other functionality. “It is important for us to charge the space [of Miriam’s Café] in a new way so we could keep the energy of the space,” Christiano said. The Smart plans to reopen Miriam’s Café after the renovations in summer 2020.
Soul Food Restaurant Opens on 53rd By LEE HARRIS Editor-in-Chief Elect The Soul Shack, a soul food restaurant offering classics ranging from jerk chicken to fried green tomatoes and lemon pepper fried okra, opened today at the corner of 53rd Street and Kenwood Ave. The restaurant is the latest undertaking of the owners of Mikkey’s Retro Grill and LiteHouse Grill, and replaces the space’s previous occupant, Wingers, a diner that closed last year. Main course options include a
$15 chicken and waffles plate, $32 ‘Lollipop’ lamb chops, and a $42 surf and turf. The Soul Shack is the second soul food restaurant to open on 53rd street in recent months, after high-end Virtue replaced A10 on South Harper Avenue late last year. The Soul Shack will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight. Owner Rico Nance did not respond to The Maroon’s request for comment.
Sophia King Looks Ahead to Next Four Years By PRANATHI POSA News Reporter Incumbent Fourth Ward Alderman Sophia King will soon assume her first full term as alderman. First appointed by mayor Rahm Emanuel among 18 applicants in 2016, King kept her position after winning a special election in 2017 on a platform of education, public safety, and economic development. Last month, she won in city elections against her sole challenger, attorney Ebony Lucas, by over 30 percentage points. The Maroon sat down with King to discuss her goals for the next four years, and what she has accomplished in her last two and a half years as alderman. “I am very humbled that my constituents have faith that what we’ve been doing has been something that the ward has needed,” King said. When asking about her plans for the ward, Kings said that “some of the priorities that I spoke about in 2017 are
still the same today. I can talk about what we’ve done and how we’re going forward in the same breath.” In her time as alderman, King has spearheaded initiatives such as renaming Congress Parkway, a major street in the South Loop, to Ida B. Wells Drive after the African-American female journalist. She also pushed forward a mental health task force focused on expanding mental health services, which many have claimed were lacking after half of the city’s mental health clinics were shut down in 2012. Upon mentioning these achievements, King directed the conversation to other initiatives she’s worked on: “I like to put [the above achievements] in perspective because I think we’ve done a lot in a short period of time,” she said, referring to her two and a half years in office. Projects like 4400 Grove, a mixed-income housing complex, is spurring the Fourth Ward’s economic development, King said. 4400 Grove, which will
Sophia King will soon assume her first full term as alderman. adrian mandeville ultimately have 84 combined apartments and 15,200 square feet of retail space, broke ground on February 20. King said the project has “80 percent minority participation and 65 percent African-American participation, which is generally unheard
of in the city.” King said she’s also been championing projects for neighborhood schools within the ward out of her belief that “there is nothing that really drives economic development like a strong neighborhood school.” Reno-
vations at the local Kenwood Academy High School make up one such project that King hopes will help Fourth Ward students succeed, “so that what’s on the outside will reflect what’s on the inside, which is great education CONTINUED ON PG. 6
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and great students.” King also discussed other topics that were hotly debated leading up to the February elections. King currently supports aldermanic prerogative as a way to have say over these kinds of developments, recent scandals around the power notwithstanding. Aldermanic prerogative is an alderman’s unwritten power to have final say over zoning and development within their ward. She referenced her ability to reject plans for a casino in her ward, and stated that while she believed the recent scandals were a result of abuse of power, she didn’t see prerogative as the root issue.
“I as alderman represent the voice of the community, and if I’m doing my job well I understand [Fourth Ward residents] better than the mayor who has to think more globally,” she said. However, she said that she believes “there should be ordinances that are either changed or introduced that mitigate abuse of power, and that’s a different story.” King spoke in a similar way when discussing tax increment financing (TIF) reform. TIF was implemented under Harold Washington in 1986 with the intention of “spur[ring] development in economically depressed and under-resourced areas.” According to King, the program has “not been used as [Washington] intended,” but she still believes
that it should not be completely done away with. Instead, King’s ideas on TIF reform focused on the shortcomings of distributing TIF funds. “You could have a TIF in an area that may spur more increment and right now you can only use that money back in that area. If you’ve got a TIF in downtown Chicago or near there and it spurs increment, then it’s used back in the area that doesn’t really need it.” She went on to suggest that instead the law could be changed “to say if you increased increment in an area that is not blighted then you could take that and move it somewhere else.” King also takes a measured approach to recent proposals on the state level to
legalize marijuana. While she supports its legalization and believes that it will bring good revenue to the community, she added, “I would definitely make sure that the incarceration around marijuana is looked at [if it were legalized].” Referring to the April 2 mayoral election, which will be a runoff between candidates Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot, King expressed strong support of the former. King is also optimistic about the direction that the city will take after the election, saying that she felt it was “a testament to the city that [it] overwhelmingly chose to pick two African-American women, one of whom will lead them.”
The Cultural History of Mankind? New Takes on Some of the Core’s First Aims By OREN OPPENHEIM Grey City Reporter
It’s your first day of classes at UChicago. You’re still recovering from the information overload of O-Week, and end up winding through the quad as you try to find Cobb Hall. You stumble upon the building and make it to the third floor with just two minutes to spare until Readings in World Literature starts. The professor hasn’t arrived yet; you look around and find an open seat at the other side of the room, in between two unfamiliar students. All the tables are arranged to make a rectangle, so everyone in the class can see everyone at once. It’ll be tough for you to zone out in this Panopticon—but you don’t know that word yet. You scuttle over to the open seat and sit down, hoping you weren’t supposed to read something before class.
Every student of the College at the University of Chicago takes at least two humanities (Hum) and three social science (Sosc) core classes as a backbone to every student’s time at the University. The discussion-centered, analysis-heavy Hum and Sosc Core classes cover a diverse range of material, and each has its own focus within their fields. Power, Identity, and Resistance, for instance, covers a different swath of the social sciences than Classics of Social and Political Thought; Media Aesthetics and Readings in World Literature are both humanities classes but speak to different types of media. Yet the pioneers of the humanities and social science Cores created the original courses in 1931 with more specific aims in mind. What were those original aims, and how do some of today’s Hum and Sosc Core classes speak to them?
The Maroon looked into the early history of the Core and spoke with four then-Core chair professors in order to figure out how those aims speak to the Core today. (Core chairs are professors who guide the curricula of a specific Core class for the quarter.) “Distinctly Something More”: How the Core Began The early aims of the Hum and Sosc Cores are connected to their founding. According to College Dean John Boyer’s The University of Chicago: A History, in the late 1920s, student enrollment at the University of Chicago’s undergraduate colleges had grown so large that more graduate and temporary teachers had to step in to teach classes. (Before President Robert Maynard Hutchins reorganized the entire University in the 1930s, UChicago’s undergraduates were grouped into three different colleges.) Graduate
and temporary teachers taught 94 out of the 124 sections for some 34 courses. Students complained about the quality of their education; less academically qualified students were admitted, and there were even rumors that the University was thinking of shutting down the undergraduate schools entirely. At the time, each academic department chose how to structure its own classes. “The Dean of the Colleges never knows what is to be our program for any quarter until the time schedule is in print,” Dean of the Colleges Chauncey Boucher wrote in 1928. Without a framework for each department to follow, classes were inconsistent in quality, and there was no coherent path of study for undergraduates. Boucher’s proposed solutions to these issues, which he developed over the rest CONTINUED ON PG. 7
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of the decade, included attracting more academically talented students to UChicago’s College and forming a more coherent, structured curriculum beyond the jurisdiction of individual departments. On May 7, 1928, Boucher presented a wide-reaching reform plan to the University Senate that called for, among other reforms, a junior college, “general education competency exams” to monitor students’ progress, new specialized courses, and most importantly, “the revision of the curriculum for the first two years of the undergraduate work centered on the development of broad survey courses in place of ad hoc departmental offerings,” as Boyer puts it. In other words, he called for a coherent course of study for undergraduates, using survey courses that would give students a broad overview of the topics at hand. In 1929, Hutchins became president of the University, and Boucher convinced him to back the proposed new curriculum along with other administrative reforms Hutchins was helming. One of these was the separation of the University into distinct graduate divisions and an undergraduate College. In December 1930, Boucher led a committee that created a brand-new College curriculum, with four “general survey courses” as its centerpiece. According to Boyer’s monograph, A Twentieth-Century Cosmos: The New Plan and the Origins of General Education at Chicago, “Boucher adapted and expanded the structural idea of an interdisciplinary, trans-departmental ‘survey course’ for freshmen” that began in 1934. The courses would not be graded but would have “six-hour final comprehensive exams administered by an independent Office of the Examiner.... Students could pace themselves through the curriculum, taking the final comprehensives whenever they felt prepared to do so.” The survey courses were referred to as “Introductory General Courses,” and Boucher later wrote in his 1935 book The Chicago College Plan that the name was intentional. “Our new courses were to be a further development of the basic idea of the survey course, but were to be distinctly
something more: they were to be broader in scope…less superficial than the survey courses of the then prevailing type,” he wrote. According to A Twentieth-Century Cosmos, Boucher convinced the prolific and recently retired European civilization historian Ferdinand Schevill to return to UChicago in order to create the new humanities survey course alongside Arthur Scott, professor of history, and Hayward Keniston, professor of Spanish and comparative linguistics. As for the social sciences, three professors came together to form that subject’s new survey course: economist Harry Gideonse, political scientist Jerome Kerwin, and trailblazing urban sociologist Louis Wirth. “The intellectual, emotional, and artistic values in life”: The Aims of Humanities, Then and Now In their “Preliminary Report of the Committee in Charge of the General Course in the Humanities,” Schevill, Scott, and Keniston stated that the goal of their humanities course was to introduce undergraduates to “the cultural history of mankind as a continuum and as a whole.” This cultural history encompassed both arts and ideas, mainly from European thinkers; students read classics such as the Odyssey and works by Shakespeare, Voltaire, Darwin, and many others as part of the survey course. In the “Preliminary Report,” the trio discussed the humanities survey course’s aim of using “history as a foundation and framework for the presentation of the religion, philosophy, literature and art of the civilizations which have contributed most conspicuously to the shaping of the contemporary outlook on life.” In an interview with The Maroon, Samantha Fenno, lecturer in the humanities division and Core chair of Hum Core sequence Human Being and Citizen (HBC), weighed in on Schevill’s claim about the humanities as cultural history. “My understanding of the origins of HBC was that it really was trying to do a cultural history of mankind as a continuum, so it started with [the biblical book of] Genesis and led up to the present moment,” she said. HBC was created in 1977 by professors Amy and Leon Kass; according to
Louis Wirth, a founder of the Core, in class. courtesy of university of chicago archives Fenno, many of the texts in HBC and in humanities courses in general are meant to remain constant throughout the years, though there is some leeway to addition and subtraction in the syllabus. In today’s HBC, “history is [still] important…. Aristotle and Dante and Homer engage with the human condition in ways that still speak to us,” Fenno said. But unlike the chief emphasis that the Hum Core and HBC once had on history, “the way that we engage with the text... has a more critical dimension to it [nowadays].” In response to Schevill’s aim of the humanities to expose undergraduates to “the cultural history of mankind as a continuum and as a whole,” Classics professor Sarah Nooter, who developed Poetry and the Human (PATH), the newest Hum Core class, said that aim is clearly
very historically determined. “There is a lot of history in PATH,” she said, “but [the course] also aims very purposefully to not suggest that it’s offering some sort of ‘cultural evolution.’” Another critical glimpse into the original aims of the humanities and social sciences at UChicago comes from the syllabi for the subjects’ first survey courses—full books with many of the required readings included inside, along with lists of books to read for the course. (Old University syllabi can be found in the Regenstein Library bookstacks.) The preface of the Introductory General Course in the Humanities syllabus proclaims that “our particular course in the humanities deals primarily with the intellectual, emotional, and artistic values in life. For the most part we limit CONTINUED ON PG. 8
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ourselves to the background of our own Western type of civilization, without denying the interest and importance of other (notably the Asiatic) types.” In more recent decades, Hum courses have expanded beyond the Western canon, yet face challenges in balancing the drive for inclusion with the desire to retain the established works. “I think there is an attempt to be more inclusive, that is, to work outside of the canon,” Nooter said when asked about the recent evolution of humanities at UChicago and attempts to bring in new authors. “It’s tricky, because these [works already included] are great works, and it’s hard to do the subtraction work, hard to add in new work.” In her talk with The Ma-
roon, Fenno emphasized the collaborative and constructive aspects of studying the humanities in addition to its inclusion of historical canons. “Humanities is at its core an activity,” she said. “When we’re asking what makes a good human being or citizen, and what’s the difference, we’re doing the humanities; we’re not just looking at something that somebody in the past wrote, and only trying to understand what they’re saying.” She recognizes that this is one of many different perspectives on the humanities. “An older, ‘great books’ [perspective] might be that we read these old texts because they have something to teach us, and our primary inquisition is a respective one towards the text,” she said. But in recent years, Fenno’s seen the study of humanities fo-
cus more on “the way we understand what it is that we’re doing, what we should highlight from the texts and traditions we’re entering.” “Contrast the social order...with contemporary society”: Studying the Social Sciences, Past and Present In the first edition of the syllabus for the Introductory General Course in the Social Sciences syllabus, edited by Gidonse, Kerwin, and Wirth, the preface sets forth a specific set of aims for the course: “We propose to study economic, political, and social institutions in the perspective of the industrial revolution. We shall contrast the social order that preceded the industrial revolution with contemporary society and trace the processes of transformation by which these changes were brought about, with a view to providing a suitable background for the understanding of the major social problems of the present day.” The chapters that divide the syllabus reflect this, from “the development of the present economic order,” “the industrial revolution and social change,” and “modern industrial society.” The course also addressed government’s role in society via topics such as “the administration of the modern governmental structure” and “popular control of governmental functions.” The course’s reading list included many American works not contained within the syllabus book, such as Herbert Hoover’s American Individualism (1922) and Norman Thomas’s America’s Way Out (1931). Nathan Tarcov, who was the autumn 2017 Core chair for Classics of Social and Political Thought, told The Maroon during an interview that he thinks that sort of industrial revolution-based lens appears more in the third quarter of Classics,
which includes readings by Karl Marx and other postindustrial revolution thinkers. Akin to many older University courses, the original social sciences course was mostly focused on Western civilization and a Eurocentric view of the world, even while including American works “in a bow to Schevill’s notion that America was also a part of Western civilization,” as Boyer puts it in A Twentieth-Century Cosmos. The course insisted, according to Boyer, that “European civilization itself bore within it the fate of modern man, and that in studying this fate, American university students would come to appreciate and analyze their own situations more acutely and self-consciously.” Nowadays, Sosc professors have made efforts to broaden the syllabi to more diverse voices. Tarcov told The Maroon that his section of Classics also includes writings by ninth-century scholar Al-Farabi, who lived in Baghdad and Damascus. “I think that it’s important to include political philosophy in the Islamic world in that survey…. In the ninth to 10th century, the tradition of Western political philosophy was much more alive in Baghdad and Damascus than it was in Europe,” he said. But Tarcov also spoke to the philosophy behind classical and early modern thinkers. “They are, in a way, the founders of a tradition of Western political thought. They set up many of the issues and challenges that later thinkers address,” he said. “I’d also say that really so far as people—postmoderns or something else—try to have a critical stance on modernity. I think it’s very helpful to have a sense of premodern thought, of what it was that people like Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, were breaking with, were arguing against. For that purpose, reading [thinkers]
like Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, is indispensable.” In his talk with The Maroon, Gary Herrigel, political science professor and Core chair of the Sosc sequence Power, Identity, and Resistance, addressed the interaction between Western and non-Western works, and why both have a place in Power, which seeks to expose students to a number of interpretations on a few basic relationships between an individual and a state. “There’s a kind of historical significance to some of the primary works that deal with power, that are associated with the emergence of the West. Those works articulate very specific cultural and geographic and historical conceptions of what the political should be, and what liberty is, what’s rational and what’s not,” Herrigel said. “We expose students to those ideas and then we spend the winter and the spring reading criticisms of those basic ideas…. We also read works from the nonWest, alternative conceptions of the political, and what’s just, and what’s right, what’s rational.” The original survey course emphasized the development of critical thinking among students. In correspondence between Scott and Boucher, Scott wrote that the course would not only teach about European culture and showcase its “practical value to young people presently to be adult members of twentieth century American society,” but would also foster “straight and independent habits of thinking, as by-products of which it may fondly be hoped that a more critical, rational, tolerant, and broad-minded attitude may be fostered.” Boyer’s A Twentieth-Century Cosmos says that this manifested itself in a course that was “replete with facts and dates, but CONTINUED ON PG. 9
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also had a more ambitious agenda in that it hoped to encourage analytic study skills and intellectual self-confidence among its students.” Herrigel echoed these themes when discussing the modern Power course and the tension between telling students distinct principles or letting them work them out for themselves. “We just do the latter,” he said. “The whole point is that there are, out there in the world,
very deeply held normative values…. We need to be able to negotiate those, and to sort of live in a world in which being able to dispassionately and with reason deliberate about particular problems from different points of view.” Former Deputy News Editor Feng Ye contributed reporting. Editor’s note: The Core chairs quoted in this article were interviewed in autumn 2017 as research for a piece that was not published.
Financial Markets and Moral Inquiry a symposium
Wednesday, March 20 | 5:15pm Ida Noyes Hall | Max Palevsky Cinema Cardinal Peter Turkson
Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Associate Professor of Theology and Economics at Villanova University
Vice Chairman of PIMCO moderated by Maureen O’Hara Robert W. Purcell Professor of Finance at Cornell University Free and open to the public. Reception to follow. Part of the Lumen Christi Institute’s Ninth Conference on Economics & Catholic Social Thought Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should call 773-955-5887 VISIT WWW.LUMENCHRISTI.ORG TO REGISTER
THE CHICAGO MAROON — MARCH 13, 2019
Fatimah Asghar and Parul Sehgal on South Asian Stories By BRADLEY TIAN Arts Reporter
Poet and screenwriter Fatimah Asghar joined The New York Times book critic Parul Sehgal at Reynolds Club last Thursday to discuss immigrant isolation and how it has shaped the literature of the South Asian diaspora. The event was sponsored by the UChicago South Asian Students Association (SASA) and moderated by alum Mimosa Shah (A.M. ’12). To preface the talk, Asghar performed a selection from her debut poetry collection, If They Come For Us. The poems narrated struggles of intergenerational trauma and violence that American history fails to acknowledge. They drew upon her own experiences as a Pakistani-Kashmiri-American immigrant, but she never intended to author what she called a “diasporic book of loneliness.” Instead, her story simply manifested itself in her writing through a process of “inhabiting herself.” She encouraged other women of color, whose writing is so often pigeonholed into representing an entire community, to do the same. “The work of writers of color in general is just treated like sociology and not art,” Sehgal said. As a literary critic, she has set a goal to get readers to approach such works on their own terms. Part of the
problem is that publishers pressure authors into writing the same types of cultural narratives because they sell; disruptive forms and unfamiliar perspectives are seen as too risky. Fortunately, the genre of the “immigrant novel” has begun to diversify in recent years. Diasporic literature has historically been colored by the optimistic side of the American Dream. Although characters arrive by boat to a foreign land, where they must adapt to local food and nobody knows how to pronounce their names, they overcome the difficulties of integration and find a way to thrive in a new community. In recent years, however, Sehgal has begun to see nihilistic stories that are not about integration, but rather the “soul murder of migration”—those who come and do not survive. These are the unsettling stories that no one records and no one likes to hear, but Sehgal welcomes them because they need to be told. Still, she wishes that South Asian–American writers were more willing to subvert the genre of the conventional social-realist novel. Asghar’s writing is precisely the type of form-shattering experimentation that Sehgal would like to see. Unfortunately, her daring style wasn’t always a smooth road to success: Asghar recounted dropping out of her M.F.A. program because people were uncomfortable with her poetry. Readers and
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publishers expect South Asian writing to be inherently political and culturally “authentic.” Asghar certainly does not shy away from politics in her writing—she mentions the Muslim travel ban in her book, for example—but she notes that it does not stem from wanting to be political or to attract attention. Most writing is political to an extent, and the ability to ignore politics in daily life is a privilege limited to a select few. But for both speakers, political engagement extends far beyond their work. “Writing is not where I’m doing my fighting. Where I’m doing my fighting is where I donate my money, and when I roll out to protest,” said Asghar. Sehgal agreed that activism requires not only
discourse, but action. Ultimately, Sehgal and Asghar suggest that writers of color should strive for authenticity to themselves not to a political cause or their entire community. Asghar recognizes that this advice may seem contradictory, as the purpose of publication is to reach an audience and inform them of new opinions, criticisms, and messages, possibly changing their worldview in the process. But from her perspective, writing for readers and writing for oneself are not mutually exclusive. “You can write with the idea that there will be readers and still be authentic to yourself and your experience if you’re authentic to the idea of wanting to connect.”
The Strange and Metatheatrical Don Gil By KENJIRO LEE Arts Reporter
The first indication that Don Gil of the Green Breeches is not your average University Theater (UT) production comes when the actors hand you a beer as you walk in. Don Gil of the Green Breeches is a 17th-century comedy by Tirso de Molina that follows familiar themes of mistaken identity, role-reversal, and cross-dressing. Dona Juana (Hana Eldessouky), jilted by her lover Don Martin (Gabriel Rourke) for the wealthy Dona Inez (Elizabeth Price), follows him to Madrid to get payback. She plans to dress as a man in a pair of green breeches and use the name “Don Gil,” the same name
that he is using to woo Dona Inez. The requisite chaos ensues. This production, using a contemporary translation by English playwright Sean O’Brien, was perhaps one of UT’s strangest offerings this quarter. Not because the play itself was strange (Grenadine has it beat on that end), rather the production itself felt like a fish out of water. Don Gil was staged in Logan 501, a classroom that doubles as a performance space, which is often used by outside theater groups like Commedia and Iris but rarely by UT for their major productions. Though the audience mostly remained separate from the action of the story, the characters seemed almost constantly CONTINUED ON PG. 11
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aware that there was a large crowd of people watching them and occasionally interacted with audience members as they saw fit. It is clear that this production did not want us to take the play seriously. The preshow announcement emphasized that we were not about to see “high art,” nor should we expect that. The actors encouraged the audience to react, and their performances very clearly fed off of those reactions, creating an overall sense of “all of this is really happening in the moment.” This made for big laughs when something unexpected happened, be it audiences reacting differently to something or the actors adjusting their performances to match the audience’s energy. On the night I attended, an actor knocked over a flashlight prop during a scene and seamlessly accused me in-character of the wrongdoing.
To have this level of metatheatricality and comedy in a UT production is a breath of fresh air in what has been a season of relatively darker shows. That being said, the method is not perfect: Though the performances were packed with a wealth of enthusiasm that made them entertaining regardless, lines were occasionally muddled due to the amount of noise going on from other actors and from the audience. Most of the laughs came from the occasionally anachronistic remarks the actors threw in, or the hilariously over-the-top reactions to certain events, which kept me laughing but felt increasingly gimmicky as the show continued. Again, this show made it clear that it was not aiming for sophistication, but there is a limit to how much you can play up the same joke before it starts to feel old. Still, at the end of the day, Don Gil had something I think all shows should have:
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personality. It knew what it wanted to be—a night of entertainment and laughs that didn’t take itself too seriously—and it did just that. True, some of that personality seemed to
rely heavily on actors screaming a lot, but then again, isn’t that what dramatic theater ends up being most of the time?
Machineheart Cranks It Up at Bottom Lounge By SYLVIA EBENBACH Arts Reporter
If you’re looking for a hypnotic, celestial, and soulful sound, look no further than the band machineheart. Founded in 2014 by bassist Jake Randle, drummer Harrison Allen, and guitarist Carman Kubanda, all from Tacoma, Washington, the group later added lead singer Stevie Scott from Los Angeles. In 2017, the band was a Top 5 Spotify Emerging Artist, and having changed record labels multiple times over the years, it is currently signed with Nettwerk Music Group. Machineheart recently released its debut album People Change—a testament to its gift for synth pop and indie electronic music, which it certainly demonstrates in live performance. On Saturday, March 2, machineheart performed at the Bottom Lounge as the opening act for You Me At Six. The audience was mostly composed of people in their late twenties and early thirties; not exactly the fan base one might expect. The small stage made it hard to see over the standing room–only crowd. The whole setting had an uncomfortable ambiance. However, as soon as machineheart played its first note, the audience went silent. Scott started singing, and everyone’s jaws dropped. Scott’s voice was resonant and melodic. She sung with her hands in the air as if
courtesy of machineheart
channeling some higher power or experiencing an astral projection on the stage. It may have appeared somewhat excessive, but her grand gestures livened the performance and gave her millennial Stevie Nicks vibes. Randle, Allen, and Kubanda created melodies and beats that went straight to the soul. The band was laid back (the drummer even drank a beer in between songs), but visibly passionate about its art. The band’s performance of “Who Said,” from their new album,
was moving and highlighted Kubanda’s talent on the guitar. The upbeat song “Stonecold” energized the crowd and made the small venue feel far bigger. The members of the band leaned on each other, feeding off one another’s energy as their music swelled in the room. Once they had finished their set, the audience was left wanting more. The entirety of their new album is full of songs that are all too easy to obsess over. The first line from
“Peace of Mind”—“Is it any wonder we’re headed for the eye of the storm?”—is a question that could be readily applied to this phenomenon. In fact, I was surprised that I had not heard of them before—but it’s no wonder: They don’t even have a Wikipedia page! Machineheart has been around for a while, but its new music is bewitching, addicting, and inspiring. Its secret recipe of echoing vocals, melody, and rhythmic pulses are all the ingredients for indie stardom.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — MARCH 13, 2019
The Fight to Be City Treasurer: Why You Should Care
The remaining candidates for city treasurer have bold plans for reform, making the close election worthy of your attention. By ALEX BISNATH On April 2nd, 10th District State Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin will face off against 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar (S.M. ’09, A.M. ’16) in a runoff election for Chicago treasurer. Both candidates received over 40% of the vote in the initial February 26 election, so it’s bound to be a close race. Here’s why you should care. For those unfamiliar with the responsibilities of the job, the treasurer primarily manages the City’s investment portfolio, which is worth almost $8 billion.
Most of the City’s funds are invested in bonds and securities, the returns from which are used to fund City projects. The treasurer also oversees the City’s escrow and operating funds accounts, in addition to handling investments for the City’s pension funds, such as the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund. Although the treasurer is an elected official, this is the first time there’s been real competition for the position since 1999. As such, this is a crucial time for the role to receive citywide attention; in recent years, Chicago’s financial situation—along
Pete Grieve, Editor-in-Chief Euirim Choi, Editor-in-Chief Katie Akin, Managing Editor Lee Harris, Editor-in-Chief-Elect Elaine Chen, Deputy Editor-in-Chief-Elect Deepti Sailappan, Managing Editor-Elect Peng-Peng Liu, Chief Production Officer The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the editors-in-chief and editors of The Maroon.
Deepti Sailappan, editor Camille Kirsch, editor Lee Harris, editor Jason Lalljee, editor Tony Brooks, editor Elaine Chen, editor
Patrick Lou, copy chief Katrina Lee, copy chief Mohammed Bashier, copy chief Kuba Sokolowski, copy chief Olivia Shao, copy chief
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with that of Illinois as a whole— has been dire. In 2017, the City’s debt reached $20.2 billion, up almost $8 billion from 2000. Even more frightening is that the City currently owes over $220 billion in pension debt liabilities, leaving each Chicagoan with more than $75,000 in public debt. Public officials have been responding to the debt crisis by slashing budgets and laying off hundreds of employees. Alarmingly, Chicago Public Schools has been borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to pay off immediate expenses—a strategy eerily similar to what almost brought New York City to bankruptcy in the 1970s. Although the treasurer can’t fix these problems singlehandedly, the office has the power to significantly impact economic stability citywide, which would lighten the financial burdens facing Chicago taxpayers and ensure that City workers receive their hard-earned pensions. Both candidates in this year’s race have bold plans, challenging the common notions of what the treasurer can and can’t do. Conyears-Ervin plans on moving the City Council Office of Financial Analysis under the treasurer’s control, allowing her to act as an “independent watchdog of taxpayer dollars” and ensure City fi-
nances are managed responsibly. She plans to make government more transparent by auditing City departments and by working more closely with the mayor and city council. These measures could make meaningful progress in beating back the corruption that has infamously plagued the city throughout its history, ensuring that public money is used to help taxpayers as effectively as possible. Pawar has his own ideas about how to help taxpayers. Most notably, the alderman plans on establishing a public bank that would use public funds to support marginalized communities. This is a bold idea; the only public bank currently operating in the U.S. is the Bank of North Dakota, originally founded over one hundred years ago to help shield farmers from predatory lending practices. In addition to the lack of precedent for public banking, Pawar’s opponents have also cited the potentially high cost of the project as a source of concern. But there is just as much reason for optimism as worry; if all goes according to Pawar’s plan, the bank would be able to refinance student loans at 5 percent interest. This would motivate college students to stay in the city, while providing them with more spare
cash to put back into the economy. The bank would also finance affordable housing, offer loans to local businesses, and fund infrastructure projects. This type of optimism is nothing out of the ordinary for Pawar. He’s said he would make it a priority to develop Chicago’s version of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal—which would move the city towards more carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly investments—promising to release a report on a Green New Deal for Chicago in his first 100 days in office. Pawar’s commitment to such bold action makes him worth backing in this election because it suggests an underlying vision of what the office of city treasurer could be: an engine for change within the city of Chicago instead of just an indistinguishable part of the larger bureaucracy. With such ambitious candidates, the position of city treasurer will likely undergo historic change right in front of our eyes—regardless of who gets elected. So, if you’re not already fed up with election coverage, this race is one that you should definitely keep your eyes on.
Obama Needs Archivists By MAROON EDITORIAL BOARD In May 2017, the Obama Foundation issued an announcement that will set the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Jackson Park apart
from every previous presidential library. The OPC, the Foundation announced, will not house a research archive of documents, letters, and personal memorabilia from the former president’s time in the White House, breaking a longstanding
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(NARA), released last month, provides more details. The Obama Foundation will pay the costs associated with digitizing around 30 million pages of unclassified documents for public viewing. These records will then be available online through NARA, which has maintained oversight of all previous physical presidential libraries and museums. Digitization will certainly increase public access to the records of Barack Obama’s presidency, since viewing the documents will no longer require one to physically visit the Center. However, the lack of a physical presidential library at the OPC, in addition to digitization, will hamper the creation of a public history of the Obama years. This decision also sets a risky precedent for future library projects. First, the move to a digital-only presidential archive will make it significantly harder for historians to study the Obama years. Digitizing the Obama records at the cost of a physical library means that there will be fewer trained staff and archivists on site to familiarize researchers with the massive collection of records. Additionally, unlike a digital database, an in-person trove of artifacts encourages future donations of far-flung but relevant materials: family possessions, papers and photographs owned by cabinet members and aides, and contemporaneous federal government
documents. These sources, crucial for a nuanced understanding of any presidency, are near-impossible to collect online. The consequence of this is that future researchers looking to study the historic tenure of the first Black president may never be able to locate them. Moreover, one of the major functions of a presidential library is to craft a fair and accurate history of a presidency. The public, not Obama, officially owns presidential archives. That’s why NARA— not a private foundation—should be in charge of collecting and maintaining records. Richard Nixon’s library was originally operated privately, outside of the NARA system, and thus portrayed the presidency in a highly favorable light. When NARA took over in 2007, director Tim Naftali took steps to both remove the partisan slant from museum depictions of Watergate and increase public awareness about the scandal’s complexities. In the past, NARA-run presidential libraries have shown themselves to be research powerhouses that have redefined public conceptions of presidents. Records at Lyndon B. Johnson’s NARAled library in Texas, for instance, first revealed the strife within the White House offices ahead of Johnson’s announcement to escalate the Vietnam War—even though Johnson himself had always tried to portray a united front.
For the OPC to fulfill its role as a public asset and civic resource, the Obama Foundation should follow the precedent set by previous presidential centers and maintain a traditional presidential library, run in conjunction with NARA, within the OPC’s sprawling complex. The Foundation’s intent for the OPC didn’t always exclude historical research. Early indications before May 2017 had pointed in the opposite direction, in fact, offering no reason to believe that the OPC would radically undermine the concept of a publicly administered presidential library. In the summer of 2016, NARA hired a museum specialist, supervisory archivist, archives technician, and three archivists (all of whom have either now been unhired or face uncertainty about their positions) and prepared to hire a library director, all apparently with the President’s approval. In November 2016, military convoys began shipping documents and artifacts from Washington, D.C., to a warehouse in Hoffman Estates, part of the northwest Chicago suburbs. Why did the Foundation change its mind? It’s possible that a NARA-staffed research center seemed too costly. At the end of the George W. Bush administration, regulations about presidential libraries were changed so that all future presidents who want NARA-partnered libraries would have to raise 60 percent of the cost of building the library to en-
dow a fund for future renovations. It’s worth noting, though, that the $500 million price tag for the OPC is significantly greater than that of any past library. So far at least, it seems that fundraising hasn’t posed a problem for Obama. We argue that the value of having a NARA library at the OPC is worth the extra cost and would only enhance the presence of the other community-focused facilities at the OPC: the museum, athletic center, gardens, and more. The OPC’s existing expansive budget and sprawling 19-acre site plan likely includes potential places to cut down if cost is the driving factor in the Foundation’s decision. Digitization on its own isn’t evil, to be sure. But digitizing records at the expense of a physical archive comes with significant challenges, namely that several records will be excluded entirely and that Obama’s presidency, without the influence of non-biased NARA archivists, will be portrayed in an inordinately positive light. The Foundation’s refusal to give NARA say in the OPC’s operations fits into its broader insistence on complete autonomy and unilateral decision-making for the Jackson Park facility. Nonpartisan history is too important to sacrifice. For this reason, the Maroon Editorial Board supports NARA presence at the physical Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.
Anxiety Abounds on Campus University must take steps to mitigate UChicago’s notorious stress culture.
When I was five, my family went to the beach for 27th time since the year before, when I started counting. My mother swam out to the far buoy; my
father read in a foldout chair. I played only-child tag, fleeing waves before the cold water reached my ankles until, exhausted, I paused to watch my mother swim back and forth. Then, I had a thought. What if she drowned? What if I never talked to her again? Would it be my fault for even thinking it? These thoughts compounded as bad
thoughts do. I think about anxiety in terms of ants—and not just because of the skin-crawling and picnic-ruining or because psychologists call Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). Anxiety is a stubborn infestation. Where there are ANTs, there are more ANTs. Soon, a hostile takeover is afoot, black bodies spill across the floor, and you can’t step off your bed for fear of drawing the attention of an army.
Ask anyone with anxiety and they might share a similar story—their first memory of an ANT invasion. In manageable cases, anxiety is a double-edged sword: both a frustrating obstacle and an adaptable tool for success. Words like “perfectionist” and “go-getter” are frequently code for people with high-functioning versions of disorders like anxiety, OCD, and depression, and thus it is CONTINUED ON PG. 14
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no coincidence that so many of us end up at elite institutions. Colleges like UChicago and its peer institutions are happy to claim these achievers, but then fail to provide support when those same students struggle with mental health on campus. Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses, and schools seem more likely to respond with suicide nets than with preventative care. Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that some members of the Class of 2022, after meeting online last year, formed support groups in anticipation of mental health struggles come September. More than SAT scores, GPAs, or extracurriculars, what many of us have in common is that we’ve spent high school performing a balancing act to manage and master our individual ANThills. Now, with classes underway, we find ourselves members of a culture in which ambition is a cardinal value and balance is frequently dismissed as unambitious. We’re left with a paradox: The perfect UChicago student is happy, on top of things, and neurotypical, but to succeed at this school seems to require social withdrawal, caffeine reliance, and frayed nerves. As myriad student voices name this issue and demand institutional change from within publications, RSOs, and Student Government, UChicago responds with Band-Aids, not cures. We get study breaks, yoga classes, and educational pamphlets, but are simultaneously hit with greater academic pressure than ever. As one first-year physics major said, “While the school frequently pushes initiatives to supposedly address mental health, the
structure, speed, and grading format of many courses directly contradict these efforts.” For example, the physics department now “strongly recommends” that incoming physics majors complete the honors physics sequence during their first year at the College, regardless of their test-based placement and background in the subject. Students from high schools that did not offer the prerequisites are left feeling that unless they take a class for which they’re unprepared, they will likely not be able to pursue the major and, by extension, their chosen career path. This is the UChicago way: Make it impossible for students to choose the less ambitious path without feeling ashamed, but ensure that they simultaneously feel empowered by the false choice—after all, is uniform honors enrollment not evidence of our school’s academic and intellectual rigor? Meanwhile, support provided to students, particularly first-years, is far from ideal. My academic adviser, for example, left mid-year, as did multiple other advisors charged with guiding the Class of 2022 through Core requirements and their first year in the College. Although they were eventually replaced, this created a gap in student access to trusted help during an essential adddrop period. Although access to mental health professionals through the University’s counseling is essential, students report difficulty getting appointments. A first-year English major I spoke to told me that “though Student Counseling Services and Student Disabilities both try their hardest to provide for students, they are severely understaffed, and the sheer volume of those seeking help far exceeds their capacity.
The University also doesn’t do enough to publicize its health resources, especially to international students and students coming into the College without a mental health diagnosis.” A second-year studying anthropology added, “Our student counseling services are much less staffed than at peer institutions, and the University mostly does fake things like giving us a day of therapy dogs rather than doing substantive things to reduce the problematic stress culture.” What I would like to see from our school is a greater commitment to cultural
change, as opposed to mere lip service. Expansion of the peer counseling program, conversations about stress management with more available and committed advisers, and a mental health–focused review of the school’s major and Core requirements seem like good places to start. I know that when pressure builds in my chest after a harrowing exam, or when I start my fourth cup of coffee of the day to make sure I can stay up long enough to finish an essay, it helps me to take a deep breath and remind myself that I came to the University of Chi-
cago in the hope that one day, I can use the skills and network I gain here to make the world a better place. I have said this before, but it warrants repetition: Our school succeeds when its students go on to do great things in the world—discover cures, spur social and political movements, create life-changing art. That is only possible when the school that chose us for our drive, passion, and ambition recognizes the struggles that can accompany these qualities and gives us the tools we need to succeed.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — MARCH 13, 2019
SPORTS Globe Trotting or Globe Running: Can Student-Athletes Study Abroad? By BRINDA RAO Sports Reporter
The prospect of studying abroad has tempted students across all ages and places. With such programs offered during all quarters, UChicago students are presented with ample opportunities to leave Hyde Park. However, students have to consider how a quarter abroad will fit in with sequences for the Core and majors as well as internship recruitment season. Student-athletes have the additional complication of fitting study abroad programs into their athletic schedules and their identity as athletes. They leave behind reliable teams, coaches, and training to pursue studying abroad. While one of the appeals of studying abroad is the prospect of exploring a foreign environment, student-athletes have to consider if this alien experience will provide a platform to continue a familiar pattern. Student-athletes have the pressure of considering the timing for their seasons when applying to study abroad. Most athletes at UChicago are in season for a quarter and a half. When they’re not in season, they have preseason and postseason, two
important times to stay in shape. This presents the unique challenge of applying to programs that are out of season and will simultaneously allow them to continue training while away. Third-year pole vaulter Michelle Biesman did a Civ sequence during fall quarter in Pune, India. She explained, “We compete winter and spring quarters so some people will train during fall preseason, compete during winter quarter and go abroad spring quarter. Four people on the team went abroad this past fall, myself included. Two of them are securing spots for nationals despite missing preseason. While you miss the training, you can do the training on your own.” Student-athletes must also recognize if the program they’re applying to will allow them to train while abroad. Coaches support athletes’ going abroad, but expect them to stay committed to the team by doing some form of modified workouts to stay in shape. This consideration can restrict the types of programs student-athletes apply to. Some programs, centered in urban areas, are better equipped to facilitate this consideration. Biesman was able to find a track and gym near the university she studied at while abroad to stay in shape.
Second-year distance runner Jordan Olson is currently studying European civilization in Paris, France. He shared, “Some of the drawbacks of studying abroad as an athlete are trying to stay in shape while on your own and missing time exploring the city in order to workout. Working out on my own every day in Paris can get monotonous and makes it harder to stay motivated. Additionally, while people often go out to cafés or museums after classes, I tend to go back to the dorms so that I can run. Doing that everyday really takes away from the time I could be exploring the city.” Being abroad changes the way student-athletes define themselves as student-athletes. A key element in being a student-athlete is the camaraderie and support from a team. Most teams at UChicago operate like families. They share intimate team dinners and study sessions that give student-athletes a sense of security. While abroad, athletes lose this connection while their teams continue on in Chicago. Students have noticed that they identify less strongly with the athletic community while abroad. Olson said, “In Chicago, I spend almost all my time with the team, whether it be working out, eating, or just hanging out.
But in Paris, my social life no longer revolves around those who I run with every day. In this sense, I have more of an identity outside of running than before.” Biesman, however, feels that her identity as a student-athlete gave her reassurance while in a foreign environment: “If I felt unsettled, I could do a workout and it cleared my mind and grounded me. I could fall back into being a student-athlete for a self-routine.” Ultimately, being abroad gives student-athletes the platform to see UChicago’s academic experience in a new light. Third-year swimmer Michaela Mullison went abroad last fall to study neuroscience in Paris. She explains, “Swimming was not my top focus when I was abroad and that’s okay. You are a student-athlete instead of an athlete-student…being abroad makes you more free to experience UChicago in a similar way to everybody around you.” While studying abroad adds yet another dimension to the already numerous ones of being a UChicago student and UChicago athlete, it also allows student-athletes to step back for a moment and gain a unique experience as both students and athletes.
Lacrosse Remains Undefeated By MATTHEW LEE Sports Reporter
The second weekend of March went brilliantly for UChicago’s women’s lacrosse team with two wins secured against the rival Albion Britons and Kalamazoo Hornets. First was Friday’s hard-fought 13–10 victory against Albion. The Maroons entered the match undefeated at 3–0, the Britons not far behind at 2–1 on the year. It was no surprise, then, that the match began on a competitive note—despite Maroon first-year Karina Schulze netting the first goal—with Albion taking a 3–1 lead. The Maroons quickly claimed the lead, however, after first-years Lally Johnson and Schulze combined for three unanswered goals: two from John-
son, one from Schulze. The match would bounce back and forth similarly throughout. Albion quickly responded, tying the game at 5–5, before the Maroons found the net four times in succession to set the score at 9–5. The tenacious Britons rallied, however, and reduced the deficit to 9–8; UChicago then responded in kind, scoring thrice to lead 12–8. Albion’s hopes were lifted, however, when a pair of goals left them down only two at 12–10; yet it was first-year Abbey Pouba who had the last laugh, scoring a dagger to end the match—and the Hornet’s hopes of victory—at 13–10. UChicago’s play on Friday was dominated by an aggressive offense. The Maroons attempted 40 shots—17 more than the Hornets. Friday’s goal-scorers were Johnson with four goals; Schulze with
three goals; first-year Ali Sheehy with three goals; first-year Anne Sensenig with one goal; first-year Abbey Pouba with one goal; and third-year Maya De Jonge with one goal. Diametrically opposed to the hardfought win against Albion was the Maroon’s match against Kalamazoo, a rout that ended 17–6 in UChicago’s favor. The game got off to a lightning start for Pouba, who scored a hat-trick in the first minute of the game. The Maroon’s shock-andawe performance set a strong precedent throughout the remainder of the game; by the interval, the match was 10–4, a figure that was increased to 14–4 just minutes into the second half. The Hornets attempted to save some degree of face with a free-position goal, leaving the game at 14–5, but the Maroons were quick
to pump the brakes with two additional goals. The match ended 17–6 after a final goal by UChicago team captain De Jonge. Sunday’s game was marked by an exceedingly efficient Maroon offense. Chicago amassed their 17 points in just 34 shots, recording an aggregate shootscore percentage of 50 percent. Scorers on Sunday for Chicago were predominantly the team’s most junior members: Pouba with five goals; Schulze with four goals; Johnson with two goals; first-year Isabelle Moran with two goals; first-year Audrey Kaus with one goal; Sheehy with one goal; Sensenig with one goal; and De Jonge with one goal. The Maroons left the weekend 5–0 on the season. They next play Linfield (currently 0–1) at Stagg Field on Sunday, March 24.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — MARCH 13, 2019
Maletich Jumps to Title By THOMAS GORDON Sports Reporter
This past weekend, the track and field teams competed in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships near Boston, Massachusetts. It was an extremely successful meet for such a young group, and in perhaps one of the biggest upsets of the entire meet, the Maroon women achieved their seventh overall national championship in an event. As third-year Laura Darcey put it, “Isabel Maletich finished day one with an enormous jump in the long jump to become the national champion as a first-year, something that almost never happens.” Maletich bested her personal record by an insane margin of 0.29 meters, or over 11 inches. She came into the meet as the 18th seed, so to call this result surprising is an understatement—it was a great achievement. Darcey finished 10th, just below an All-American spot in the pentathlon, an impressive performance as well as she was seeded 19th. First-year Kaitlyn Van Baalen
Wrestlers Make History
narrowly missed out on making the finals in the 800-meter, but also had a great performance for a first-year. Overall the first day was full of welcome surprises and solid results by the Maroons. On the second day of the meet, UChicago brought home four more All-Americans to cap a successful indoor season. As Darcey described the action, “[Second-year] Sophie Elgamal ran in the final of the three-kilometer and stormed past competitors in the last 400-meter to take the third-place position. Isabel Maletich competed in the triple jump finishing sixth. Alex Thompson and I competed in the high jump, finishing eighth and sixth respectively.” This rounded out the four All-American performances. The UChicago women’s team finished the meet in sixth place out of 109 teams, their second-highest ever finish. Moreover, Darcey has high hopes for the future of the program. She said, “We have a relatively young team so we are looking forward to outdoor nationals and next year to see if we can place even higher!”
Second-year Sophie Elgamal runs in the 3,000-meter final. courtesy of uchicago athletics
UPCOMING GAMES SPORT
Softball Swim & Dive Baseball
OPPONENT Carthage NCAA DIII Schreiner
March 13 March 20 March 23
By DIESTEFANO LOMA Sports Reporter
This past weekend, with the conclusion to the Division III Wrestling Championships, third-year Kyle Peisker and first-year Ben Sarasin brought back All-American finishes to the University of Chicago wrestling program. Sarasin arrived here by winning the 174-pound bracket. Peisker earned a bid to the National Championships by placing third in the 184-pound bracket. On the first day of the competition, the two Maroon competitors each engaged in three grueling battles. Sarasin started off strong, receiving a 7–4 decision victory over his opponent. Despite falling in his second match by a 9–5 finish, Sarasin bounced back with a dominant 10–5 victory, which sent him to the quarterfinals the following day. Peisker’s journey for glory didn’t come without a roadblock, in the form of a loss, where he was pinned in 1:27. This loss didn’t deter Peisker, who ended the day winning his next two matches by a 9–1 major decision and a 7–5 decision. This guaranteed both competitors top-eight finishes for the whole tournament. This was an especially astonishing feat for Sarasin, who is now the third first-year to make the All-American podium. As the second day of the National Championships rolled along, the duo came in motivated to leave their mark. In the
Third-year Kyle Peisker and first-year Ben Sarasin. courtesy of uchicago athletics
3 p.m. TBA 12 p.m.
184-pound weight class, Peisker defeated Josh Edel of Coe College with a 9–3 decision. Ultimately, he was pinned by his next opponent, representing Johnson & Wales University. To close off his run, Peisker took home a fifth-place award for his weight class, after a medical forfeit from his opponent. He ended this year with a 36–7 record. Sarasin, who wrestled in the 174-pound class, competed against Tanner Vassar of Augsburg University. The hard-fought match ended in Vasser prevailing with an 8–6 decision. He was able to overcome his next opponent in order to capture seventh place in the tournament. Sarasin concludes his season with an impressive 32–8 record. With a talented squad that is only getting better, the wrestling team conclude their season preparing for the next one. Despite not having progressed further in the tournament, Sarasin and Peisker proudly represented UChicago and are even more motivated to outdo themselves. When asked about both Maroons’ performances, head coach Leo Kocher said, “Ben and Kyle rose to the occasion for this national competition. Ben battled hard in his losses and wins—being able to bounce back from a loss is crucial to reaching the podium. Kyle was not seeded to place in the top eight, but his fifth-place finish surpassed both wrestlers that placed ahead of him in our regional two weeks ago. That is a timely turnaround.”
Track & Field Wrestling Women’s Lacrosse Baseball
SCOREBOARD W/L N/A N/A W W
NCAA DIII NCAA DIII Kalamazoo Thomas More
sixth place 24th place 17–6 6–2