STUDENT GOVERNMENT REFERENDUM ON GRAD, UNDERGRAD COUNCILS
APRIL 17, 2019 THIRD WEEK VOL. 131, ISSUE 35
Ex Hex performs at Thalia Hall. adrian mandeville
Law Profs Debate Obama Center Location in Jackson Park PAGE 2
Obama Presidential Center Rendering. courtesy obama foundation
Lightfoot Hires U of C Spokesperson as Comms Marielle Sainvilus Director PAGE 8
Taking Advantage of the Unknown
Muse Redeems Itself Live at the United Center
Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader in Home Opener
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THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Law Profs Clash Over Suit Challenging Obama Center Location By EMMA DYER Deputy News Editor Two Law School professors supporting opposite sides of a lawsuit surrounding the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) engaged in a debate and conversation at the Law School on Tuesday. The student organization Law of the Land hosted a debate between Lior Strahilevitz, who supports the current plans to construct the OPC in Jackson Park, and Richard Epstein, who supports the position taken by Protect Our Parks (POP), the environmental advocacy organization that is suing the City and the Chicago Park District. POP argues that placing the OPC in Jackson Park would be an “illegal” grab of public parkland. The Environmental Law Society and the Federalist Society co-hosted the debate. Strahilevitz and Epstein have had an ongoing dialogue regarding the POP lawsuit in relation to the public trust doctrine. They have filed opposing amicus briefs, with Epstein’s January 2019 brief directly responding to a November joint brief filed by Strahilevitz, UChicago Law professor Lee Anne Fennell, and other property law professors. The debate centered on the invocation of the public trust doctrine in the POP lawsuit and considered many past Chicago lakefront development cases in which the doctrine has been invoked. Epstein began the debate by providing a brief summary of the factors contributing to cases surrounding the public trust doctrine. The main principle of the doctrine holds as common law that the sovereign, or the body representing the public, retains in trust some resources, such as natural resources such as parkland or shoreline, regardless of the private ownership.
The public trust doctrine’s origins are centuries old, and it has most often been used in cases involving the navigability of waterways and other transportation pathways. To invoke the public trust doctrine, Epstein asserted that there must be a fair value standard, meaning the government must receive as much utility and benefit as the private entity gains from using the land. The precedent for determining cases in which the public trust doctrine may be invoked is seen as formalized in the 1892 case Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois. This historic case has particular significance to issues along the Chicago lakefront, as it affirmed that the state government holds permanent possession of all submerged lands. In Chicago, the notion of submerged lands as state property has permitted the addition of lakefill, which effectively increases the amount of developable land possessed by the state. Epstein and Strahilevitz both noted the instances in which the public trust doctrine has been debated— the construction of Lake Shore Drive and the museum campus holding the Field Museum, Alder Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and McCormick Place—are all seen as acceptable construction due to Chicago’s lakefront nature and the precedent of state control over submerged land and lakefill. Using the fair-value standard in the POP case is particularly necessary, according to Epstein, due to the potential conflict of interest presented by former president Barack Obama’s relationship with city officials. “It seems to me that this is a case in which the strict duty of fair value is appropriate for understanding the way in which the particular doctrine ought to be applied,” Epstein said. Epstein’s opposition to the OPC’s construction is founded in the use of Jackson Park as its
Professors Richard Epstein and Lior Strahilevitz courtesy of the university of chicago federalist society location and the lack of consideration for public trust doctrine. He argues Washington Park is a more suitable location that would not violate public trust doctrine and that would not destroy historic park land and would instead offer lower rent, a larger space, greater economic enhancement to the surrounding community, greater accessibility to roadways and public transportation. Strahilevitz countered Epstein’s sweeping motion to relocate the OPC to Washington Park by firing off examples of buildings constructed along the South Side lakefront that have been deemed acceptable, asking, “how can it be that Soldier Field is okay, McCormick Place is okay, the Museum of Science and Industry is okay, a drive is okay, a golf course is okay, a bridge is okay, and the Obama Presidential Center is not?” In a rebuttal, Epstein said the OPC is entirely different than those past situations, and asserted that the destruction of Jackson Park cannot be justified. “There is not a single social benefit that you cannot achieve
by building this in Washington Park,” Epstein said. Strahilevitz views Obama’s connection to the South Side and Chicago not as a conflict of interest, but rather as further justification for the OPC to have a place in that part of the city. “The Obamas have a special connection to Hyde Park, a special connection to the South Side, a special connection to the city of Chicago,” Strahilevitz said. He believes that Epstein’s argument that the Obama’s relationship with the city of Chicago may hold conflicts of interest unfairly applies “heightened scrutiny” to the Obamas in the process of trying to memorialize their legacy. In response to Strahilevitz’s view of Obama’s relationship to the South Side, Epstein replied, “When you’re dealing with the public trust doctrine, you are not dealing with the question of popularity.” But Strahilevitz continued to push back, noting the importance of community backing of the project’s figurehead. The role that community members play in this battle be-
tween forces surrounding the OPC construction is an oft-repeated point of discussion. In the question session after the debate, both were asked whether they believed a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) would affect the status of OPC construction in Jackson Park. Strahilevitz answered cautiously, saying that it is difficult legally to produce an agreement that will offer consistency over a shifting political environment and that does not have a strong stance for or against an agreement. By contrast, Epstein fully supports a CBA that would increase the standard of fair value under public trust doctrine and finds it “arrogant” of Obama to be so reluctant to offer to establish a CBA. Even so, Epstein acknowledged the difficulties that will be met practically in the installation of a CBA. “The difficulty is how you try and figure out how to negotiate it. Who counts as the community? Is it people on the periphery, is it people on the construction jobs, people who are going to be displaced?”
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Student Government Holds Referendum to Reduce Crossover Between Undergrad, Grad Councils By WILL TRLAK Senior News Reporter The Student Government (SG) General Assembly voted in early April to initiate a referendum proposing changes to the constitution that would alter the financial and working relationship between College Council (CC) and Graduate Council (GC), essentially reducing the amount and frequency of collaboration between the two councils. Elections and Rules Chair Taylor Fox, a third-year in the College, notified the student body of the referendum in an email on Monday, saying that
the referendum is a “first step in an ongoing discussion of what the relationship between College Council and Graduate Council should look like.” Four articles of the SG constitution are up for amendment with another up for repeal. The referendum proposes eliminating Student Government’s Finance Committee (SGFC) as a permanent Standing Committee between CC and GC. This would mean that CC and GC would no longer work jointly on allocating funding to student groups in the College and graduate divisions. A finance committee would still exist under CC by-laws, with
the constitutional possibility of establishment in GC. Currently, liaison positions are mandated by SG’s constitution to be elected in the spring of each academic year as decided by the Election and Rules Committee. The proposed referendum would allow the CC and GC to change the candidacy requirements for the Student Liaisons to the Board of Trustees. This change could make the candidacy requirements for CC Liaisons to the Board of Trustees different from those for their GC counterparts. Additionally, the referendum would limit the number of
Student Government Assembly meetings held jointly between CC and GC to once per quarter. GC would still be constitutionally required to meet four times per quarter outside of the joint meetings. In order to be put into effect, SG constitutional amendments require the approval of three-fifths of the student body voting in favor. The GC members who drafted the referendum (GC co-chairs Ryan Duncombe and Jenni Antane, and Graduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees Chris Stamper) expressed their reasons for supporting the referendum in a written statement
to The Maroon. They cited efficiency and undue burden on graduate students as factors. “These changes are the first steps of several that we hope to continue to make towards improving the function of Student Government,” they said. “Allowing CC and GC to more directly represent their own communities without requiring agreement from the other will improve both councils’ abilities to advocate for their own constituents.” Spring Elections will be held via Blueprint from Monday, May 6, through Wednesday, May 8.
Graduate Students Robbed at Taser-Point in Latest of 11 Recent Break-Ins By MATTHEW LEE Senior News Reporter Eleven apartment break-ins have occurred in Hyde Park in the past month, including two in which residents were threatened by a man armed with a Taser, Chicago Police Department (CPD) data shows. Graduate student Daphne Yu is one of the people whose home was invaded. She and her roommate Maggie Acosta, both graduate students at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA), told The Maroon they were robbed by an armed intruder while at home on Saturday, March 30. “Before I could fully figure out what was happening, he was already standing by me with the Taser,” Yu said. “He told me not to make any noise and
to unlock my phone. Long story short, he basically took my iPad, my roommate’s laptop, and her wallet and keys.” Yu and Acosta’s apartment was the 10th Hyde Park household to be robbed in the past month, according to CPD data. An 11th has occurred since. According to the Chicago Data Portal, a public database compiled by the City of Chicago that includes crimes reported to both CPD and the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD), eight burglaries occurred in Hyde Park over an 11-day span from March 13 to March 23. Three additional burglaries occurring on March 19, March 30, and April 6 are listed on the University of Chicago’s incident report, bringing the total number of burglaries to 11 over three and a half weeks.
As of April 12, the University has not issued a security alert about this string of break-ins. In a statement to The Maroon, Sabrina Miller, a spokesperson for the University of Chicago, contested this count of incidents. “So far this year, UCPD and CPD have received a total of two reports concerning home invasions in Hyde Park,” Miller said. “This is a category of felony offense in which an offender commits a residential burglary knowing that someone is at home, and in some cases interacts with or threatens the residents.” According to Miller, the other nine incidents do not fit the definition of a home invasion. Occupants were present in only two of the 11 recent reported incidents of breaking and entering in Hyde Park. Miller said that
the other nine incidents were instead classified as burglaries, a category of crime which refers to breaking and entering when no occupants are present. According to publicly available records of criminal complaints, Campus Safety incident reports, and interviews with victims, most instances involve an intruder taking advantage of a readily available access point—such as a broken gate or an unlocked window—often in the middle of the day. In at least two cases, an intruder was armed with a Taser and threatened violence. It is currently unknown whether or not these cases are directly linked. Information from the crime database showed there were 11 robberies throughout March 2019, compared to six break-ins
in March 2018. Several students targeted in burglaries feel that the University has been remiss in responding to these incidents, from failing to notify the University community of the recent wave in home invasions and robberies to inadequately caring for victims. Yu said she is frustrated with the University’s lack of communication regarding the issue. “A lot of the people I’ve talked to have had no idea this is happening,” she said. “Knowing about it would have—and has— changed how they behaved.” Miller, the Universit y spokesperson, stated, “UCPD has been in contact with the Chicago Police Department, the primary investigating agency, regarding these reports. Both CONTINUED ON PG. 4
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“They’re telling me that UCPD is paying attention, but you didn’t notice this car wrecked, stolen, parked haphazardly on my street, on my block that you’re patrolling?” CONTINUED FROM PG. 3
agencies will work with the community to help prevent further offenses and help identify anyone engaging in this activity.” Miller also said that the recent string of burglaries does not represent an “uptick” in crime. “There has not been an ‘uptick’ in robberies, though there have been some recent burglaries in the Hyde Park area,” she wrote. Yu said she believes robberies often surge around spring break, and said she feels frustrated that no security alert has been sent. “Moving forward, if you know that there is a peak in robberies around spring break, I feel like the campus, if they do care about student safety, should let the students know to be on high alert during that time. Whether or not the break-ins do happen, it’s a trend in past years. Let students know; be proactive rather than reactive,” Yu said. Miller said that a University-wide crime alert was unwarranted, given the majority of break-ins occurred off campus. “The University is committed to helping promote a safe environment on campus and in neighboring communities,” she wrote. “We provide information on crimes through multiple channels, including campus-wide security alerts, which are required by the Clery Act. The law requires a college or university to issue such alerts to its campus community when a specified crime occurs on or immediately adjacent to campus property and poses a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community. Crimes that occur off campus normally do not prompt a campus-wide security alert.” The Department of Safety and Security’s policy for issuing a security alert is available online. In addition to concerns over the University’s lack of communication with the student body, victims lamented a lack of care and structure in the University’s response to targets of crime themselves. Acosta, whose car keys, apartment keys, and laptop were taken, characterized the support provided by the University’s administration as slow and inconclusive. The fact that the stranger
had possession of her car and apartment keys added to her frustration with the University’s response. After the robbery, Acosta and Yu said they contacted the dean-on-call and the SSA dean. While Acosta said the deanon-call spoke to her promptly, she was frustrated by her experience with the SSA dean, who she said was unable to meet with her until three days after the robbery. “We went and talked to him, told him that we had pressing security concerns—the means by which the robber accessed the apartment still wasn’t fixed; the robber still had the keys to the entire apartment; and the robber had my car keys. He really couldn’t do anything for us on that front and suggested we go to counseling.” The SSA dean referred Acosta and Yu to College Dean of Students Michelle Rasmussen, who met with them three days later. Acosta and Yu met with campus security in the interim, but Acosta said that, “when we met actually with Dean Rasmussen, there was a lack of genuine concern. There was a discussion of what policy allows, a discussion of ‘on-campus and near-campus.’ I don’t think she really saw that we were there for our own immediate security concerns.” When asked for clarification, Miller stated that University policy mandated that “timely security alerts will be issued for all Clery Act crimes occurring in Clery Act geography, which are reported to Campus Security Authorities and considered to represent a continuing threat to the campus community.” A list of crimes named in the Clery Act includes “aggravated assault, arson, burglary, dating violence, domestic violence, hate crimes, motor vehicle theft, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, robbery, sex offenses (both forcible and non-forcible), and stalking.” The University defines Clery Act geography as “campus (including residence halls), non-campus buildings or property, and public property.” On Friday night, April 5, the same person who committed the robbery attempted to steal her car, Acosta said. According to Acosta, “He came back to
The gate through which an armed intruder entered in a recent home invasion. courtesy of maggie acosta
literally our location and was in front of our house again.” Though he managed to unlock the vehicle with the keys he stole earlier in the week, he was unable to operate the vehicle due to a club—a kind of steering-wheel lock—that Acosta had installed immediately after the robbery. “He took the car, tore off someone’s back bumper, wrecked it into at least two or three other cars because he can’t drive with the club, and just left it in front of a fire hydrant,” Acosta said. “The person whose car was most seriously damaged called CPD and filed a report, but CPD didn’t contact me. I had to call them again later to report my side. And when I called them, they had actually given me two parking tickets overnight—for being parked in front of a fire hydrant.” She continued: “That was frustrating because we had been told that security would be on high alert…. They’re telling me that UCPD is paying attention, but you didn’t notice this car wrecked, stolen, parked haphazardly on my street, on my block that you’re patrolling?” Acosta does not feel that the University has sufficiently addressed her concern that the burglar may come back. “Even since then all I’ve gotten is really just silence,” she said. “I told the deans about [the burglar] coming back for my car and I’ve gotten no reaction, other than one of the deans suggesting he’ll
pay for a parking ticket.” Miller, the University spokesperson, said, “In cases where students contacted UCPD or the office of Campus and Student Life, those offices responded the same day and offered support; in various cases this included an emergency grant to defray the cost of stolen property, an offer of free temporary parking in a University parking garage, and a temporary replacement laptop.” Victims were most frustrated with the fact that the University did not communicate the occurrence of the burglaries, both on-campus and off, to the University community, despite what they saw as a trend of 11 incidents over a short span of time. Miller said that, under University policy, a security alert is not called for. She pointed out that students, staff, and faculty members have access to two non–security alert notification resources—UCPD Crime Bulletin, produced daily, and Crime Notices, produced whenever they are necessary— that serve to alert community members to possible threats. But Acosta doesn’t think that these resources are enough. “As far as what’s happening right now, I think we’re missing the window for a security alert. The sense of a current threat is going to pass. I think we need to be responding right now,” Acosta said.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
University Hosts Israel Summit for Israeli Innovation By EMMA DYER Deputy News Editor The University of Chicago hosted day one of the Israel Summit at Chicago, a startup tech fair and speaker session. Saturday’s speakers included Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Danny Danon, Innovation: Africa CEO Sivan Ya’ari, and Director of International Relations and Development at the Israeli Mental Health Association Liron David.
Aimed at “[showcasing] the global impacts of Israel by highlighting Israeli innovation in the fields of technology, business and finance, medicine, humanitarian aid, and civil liberties,” the Summit introduced a broad spectrum of Israeli start-up projects. The day consisted of morning and afternoon speaker sessions with a tech fair over lunch. Morning sessions featured Innovation: Africa, IsraAID, and Save a Child’s Heart, followed by afternoon sessions with
J Street protesters outside Reynolds Club. courtesy of j street uchicago
medical training video game company Level Ex, drone insurance company Skywatch, Israeli startup network Spetz, a panel on business and tech, and housing shortage and gentrification response resource UpCommunity. A largely apolitical event designed for students to learn from and network with Israeli innovators, the Summit invited one speaker with known political affiliations, Ambassador Danon, who was met with protest. As Danon is a member of the rightwing Likud party, many oppose his rejection of a two-state solution and his stance on Palestinian rights. Six protestors positioned themselves outside Mandel Hall, where Danon’s event was to take place, with signs stating, “Danon does not speak for me.” Protestors were asked several times and eventually convinced by a professor to leave the event. Daniel Gutkind, director of speaker relations of the Israel Summit, said Danon was invited “because of the importance of his position as the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. and because of the ways in which he can speak to Israel’s humanitarian aid and technological success stories.” When inviting individuals to the Summit, Gutkind said they wanted people “who were deeply involved in Israel’s humanitarian efforts or its tech community.” Second-year Yakir Zwebner, director of the Israel Summit, said that the Summit in-
vited Danon to speak about his experiences “representing Israel and its important world impact on a global stage.” Danon’s remarks only lasted seven minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour morning session, which largely focused on Innovation: Africa, a nonprofit bringing Israeli solar and water technologies to remote African villages. The ambassador’s comments centered on the broad implications of those participating in the Summit for Israel as a force for global innovation. “Always people say, ‘You are the problem, you are the problem.’ Now they come to us to seek answers, and we are here to answer,” Danon said. Describing the success of Israel in a region that has political and economic challenges, Danon said, “It’s amazing and you can look it up on Google Earth, Google Maps—when you see the border, it’s green, and then you look at Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt—it’s undeveloped because we developed every inch of land and we continue to develop it.” Danon also shared his confidence in Israel’s future success as a global innovator. “The beauty of Israel is that despite those challenges and all those problems that we have, we are able to develop, we are able to think, we are able to be creative, and we are able to offer solutions to the world,” Danon said.
How Hyde Park Voted By ALEX DALTON, JACK CRUZALVAREZ, DIMITRIY LEKSANOV & PRANATHI POSA Maroon Staff Chicago held runoff elections last Tuesday after many races in February’s general election ended with no candidate receiving more than a half of the votes. These include the mayoral race and the treasurer’s race as well as some races closer to Hyde Park, like those for aldermen of the Fifth and 20th Wards. Read on to find out how the neighborhood voted in these hotly-contested elections. Mayor In a historic mayoral race, former chair
of the Chicago Police Board and Police Accountability Task Force Lori Lightfoot (J.D. ’89) defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (A.B. ’69, A.M. ’77). It was the first time that two African-American women were on the ballot for the office. Lightfoot won the runoff election with 74 percent of the vote. The breakdown of votes in the runoff varied greatly from the breakdown in the February general election. Lightfoot led the general election with 18 percent of the vote in a crowded field of 14 candidates, and she carried 11 wards all on the city’s north side. Preckwinkle followed closely behind with 16 percent of the vote and won clear majorities in six wards, including the Fourth and Fifth wards.
In the runoff, Lightfoot saw a sweeping victory, picking up majorities in all 50 wards, including ones Preckwinkle had carried in the general election. Lightfoot was able to gain the support of the Northwest and Southwest sides of the city, which had been carried by Jerry Joyce in the general. Joyce, alongside Jesus “Chuy” Garcia gave key endorsements for Lightfoot. Although Preckwinkle hoped to find support in wards that Bill Daley carried in the general election with backing from other members of the Daley family, such as Cook County Commissioner John Daley and 11th Ward Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson, Lightfoot ultimately lagged in only 20 precincts city-wide. Hyde Park area races were more closely
divided between Preckwinkle and Lightfoot than those in other parts of the city, with Preckwinkle finding support in UChicago-dominated areas and the surrounding wards. Lightfoot took 66 percent of the vote in the 20th Ward and 54 percent of the vote in the Fifth Ward. Lightfoot also took 60 percent of the vote in the Fourth Ward, where Preckwinkle was formerly alderman. Besides second precinct in the 11th Ward, all the precincts that Preckwinkle carried in the runoff were within the Hyde Park area. The majority of support for Preckwinkle came from 11 of the Fifth Ward’s 41 precincts. This area includes precinct 27, which contains most of the University of CONTINUED ON PG. 6
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
“Voter turnout for the mayoral runoff was 35 percent, slightly higher than the near historic low of 33 percent in the general election.“ CONTINUED FROM PG. 5
Chicago campus. Preckwinkle also took 50 percent of the vote in the 20th Ward’s 34th precinct, which includes the University’s southernmost residence halls. Voter turnout for the mayoral runoff was 35 percent, slightly higher than the near historic low of 33 percent in the general election. City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, a former member of the Illinois House of Representatives, defeated outgoing 47th Ward alderman and University alumnus Ameya Pawar (S.M. ’09), with 60 percent of the vote to Pawar’s 40 percent. Although Conyears-Ervin carried 65 percent of the vote in the Fifth Ward, Pawar actually won a 72 percent majority in the ward’s 27th Precinct, which contains the southern section of Hyde Park and most of the University’s campus. Pawar served as a residential fellow at the University’s Institute of Politics during the fall of 2018, which may have given him familiarity with residents local to the University. Similarly, although Conyears-Ervin won 79 percent of the vote in the 20th Ward, she gathered just 58 percent in that ward’s 34th Precinct, which contains the University’s southern dorms and dining
hall. For Conyears-Ervin, the margin of victory in that precinct was significantly closer than that of all adjacent Woodlawn precincts. Overall, Conyears-Ervin received overwhelming support throughout the West and South sides, while Pawar carried much of the North Side, receiving 77 percent of the vote in the 47th Ward, which he has represented since 2011. Conyears-Ervin previously worked for Breakthrough Urban Ministries, a charity organization local to Garfield Park and the West Side. Pawar, meanwhile, has led and contributed to several initiatives local to the 47th Ward, including GROW47, which connects elementary schools in the 47th Ward to local high schools in order to create a consolidated neighborhood school community. During the general election, the margin between Conyears-Ervin and Pawar was significantly closer, with the two earning 44.3 percent and 41.6 percent of the vote. Fifth Ward The Fifth Ward aldermanic race is still too close to call a winner. Incumbent Leslie Hairston is in the lead at 50.64 percent, but only 174 votes separate her from her challenger, activist William Calloway. Calloway has not yet conceded. About 500 mail-in and provisional bal-
A flag waves in front of City Hall. adrian mandeville
lots are still waiting to be counted and the Calloway campaign is waiting for those results before conceding or asking for a recount. These ballots must be counted within two weeks of the election, which could delay the results of the race until April 16. The results are fairly close in nearly every precinct. The only precinct to give one candidate more than 65 percent of the vote is seventh precinct, where Hairston took 65.6 percent of the vote. According to current tallies, Hairston took most of the ward’s northern precincts, including Hyde Park, while Calloway took most of the southern precincts in neighborhoods like South Shore and Greater Grand Crossing, which are largely African-American and low-income communities. In February’s general election, thirdplace finisher Gabriel Piemonte carried many precincts on and around the University’s campus, including eighth, 19th, 27th, and 34th precincts. Although Piemonte has endorsed Calloway, Calloway is currently behind Hairston in all precincts that went to Piemonte except for the 19th, which Piemonte did not anticipate on election night. “I think people have really struggled going with a second choice and I think that’s always really hard,” Piemonte said on election night. “But I think there’s so much frustration with Leslie that I think people are making that jump.” Calloway did pick up many precincts he failed to carry in February. While most of his support in the general election came from a cluster of precincts southeast of Jackson Park in South Shore, he managed to flip all precincts in the southern part of the ward except for precincts 25, 28, and 30. He also gained a lead in some northern precincts like the fourth, 18th, 23rd, and 24th, which went to Hairston in February. Turnout for the runoff was 42.4 percent compared to 42 percent in February. 20th Ward Community organizer Jeanette Taylor won the 20th Ward aldermanic runoff with 60 percent of the vote, defeating nonprofit worker and former teacher Nicole Johnson. Taylor carried 32 of the ward’s 39 precincts, with her strongest support coming
from Woodlawn. Precinct 34, which covers the southern part of the University campus, voted for Taylor by a margin of 36 percent. Johnson’s strongest performance came from Back of the Yards and in her home neighborhood of Englewood. Despite Johnson’s strength in the area, Taylor won seven precincts which had belonged to Johnson in the general election: two in Washington Park, one in Back of the Yards, and four in Englewood. Johnson was able to flip only precinct 21, located in Back of the Yards. In the general election, which fielded nine candidates, Taylor and Johnson took 29 percent and 22 percent of the vote, respectively. Taylor won 21 precincts to Johnson’s 11. Most of the candidates who did not advance to the runoff threw their support behind Taylor, potentially contributing to her success in consolidating support. Taylor received on-campus support from UChicago Student Action (UCSA). Activists participated in phone banking, neighborhood canvassing, and on-campus initiatives. Third-year Julia Attie, a member of UCSA’s core team and co-chair of its Fair Budget UChicago Campaign, cited Taylor’s past alignment with the group’s agenda, specifically her support for the successful trauma center campaign, as a source of enthusiasm. “We were very excited to throw down on the 20th Ward election—especially since Jeanette has worked on the campaigns UCSA has historically worked on,” she said. Attie added that Taylor’s victory encourages progressive activism on campus. She told The Maroon that UCSA hopes to work with Taylor’s office in the future, including on plans to get the city of Chicago to establish an environmental justice agency. “Strong relationships with aldermen like Jeanette are integral for making that happen,” she said. Voter turnout for the runoff election was 28 percent in the 20th Ward, down from 34 percent in the general election, a figure which was itself a near historic low.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Alpha Sigma Phi Chapter Becomes UChicago’s 13th Frat By CAMILLE KIRSCH News Editor A chapter of the national fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi (Alpha Sig) has opened at the University of Chicago. The original UChicago chapter of Alpha Sig was installed on campus in 1920 but suspended in 1935 due to low membership. In the spring of 2018, UChicago students interested in reviving the chapter reached out to national headquarters to begin the recruitment process in coordination with expansion consultants Mike Carlo and Kyle Postal. This February, the chapter was officially installed under provisional status, a stage all Alpha Sig chapters go through during which they must meet national standards before becoming a full chapter. These include academic, financial, social, and membership standards.
The chapter currently has 15 members and is led by second-year Micael Guzman. Alpha Sig is now the 13th active fraternity on campus. Its installation follows the January opening of a chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) and December rechartering of Phi Delta Theta (Phi Delt). Prior to this academic year, no new frats had opened at UChicago since 2013, when Zeta Psi came to campus. In a written statement, Alpha Sig told The Maroon: “We chose to revive the Chi Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi because we believe that through our association with each other and with Alpha Sig, we can become stronger individuals and active participants in our campus community.” Fraternities at UChicago and nationwide have struggled with allegations of hazing, sexual assault, illegal drug use,
and alcohol abuse. When asked how the chapter plans to cultivate a safe fraternity environment, the brothers of Alpha Sig said they are focused on ensuring that brothers behave with integrity. “We approach many issues around fraternities, including hazing and sexual assault, as issues of personal integrity,” Alpha Sig said in a statement. “It goes without saying that we have strict policies against actions that harm other people in any way, but we believe that the key to helping these problems lies in the attitudes of the brothers themselves. We use our official policies only as a starting point. Through education, community engagement, and by creating a brotherhood that tries to do right by others, we believe that we can create change.” Alpha Sig did not respond to questions about whether current members were vetted for sexual assault allegations
or whether the frat plans to join Fraternities Committed to Safety. Current brothers said that the frat will welcome brothers of all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, political views, and sexual orientations. “[T]his diversity in thought and background is precisely what lets us take such a value-centric approach,” the chapter wrote. “The only factors tying us together are that we are all open, friendly, and motivated. Anyone who shares those qualities is welcome to help us in our mission.” Like other UChicago Greek organizations, Alpha Sig is not a recognized student organization, but it will consist solely of College students. Alpha Sig did not respond to questions about a potential fraternity house. The chapter is already holding social events and participating in philanthropy with its charitable partners.
Former Obama Advisor Tchen Urges Sexual Assault Awareness By GUSTAVO DELGADO News Reporter Tina Tchen, former Assistant to President Barack Obama and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, visited Ida Noyes Hall last Wednesday to speak on the topic of sexual assault awareness and prevention. Third-year Amara Balan, Chair of the UChicago Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Committee, organized the conversation as part of the University’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Tchen spoke of her experiences related to the development of equal rights for women and the fight against sexual assault regardless of circumstance. As to why Tchen had been chosen, Balan shared, “This year, the theme of SAAM as created by the NSVRC is ‘I Ask for Consent.’ Rarely do we talk about consent as it applies to more nuanced interactions…. Tina Tchen’s work with the White House [Council] on Women and Girls and her work with workplace sexual violence and collegiate sexual violence makes her particularly apt to speak on the subject.” “I’ve been at this work for probably nearly 40 years, but the statistics haven’t
really moved,” Tchen said, surrounding the importance of this year’s SAAM. “Nearly one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence that includes physical contact in their lifetime.” Tina Tchen’s battle for sexual assault prevention and reform began in Springfield, Illinois, in 1978 where, alongside many of her female colleagues, she pushed for Illinois to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which ensured equal rights regardless of gender in matters of divorce, property and employment. “Last year Illinois finally ratified the E.R.A…. We didn’t get it back then, [but the work] still imbued in me a commitment to gender equity and the protection of others.” She said that during her student life at Northwestern’s law school, “[Illinois’s rape laws] were among the most antiquated in the country.” “We rewrote our sexual assault laws,” Tchen said of her work on the Illinois Criminal Sexual Assault Act in 1984 alongside several institutions for sexual assault prevention and protection of women. “It’s hard to remember now, but sexual assault used to be defined in Illinois just as rape, which was defined as being commit-
ted by a man over the age of 14, against a woman, not his wife, by force and against her will.” Tchen made strides to change this definition of rape, as it excluded many groups of people whether they were male victims, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or married to the perpetrator. “We knew that there were gangs in Chicago that we had documented that knew those under the age of 14 couldn’t be charged with rape, so there was a gang initiation rite to commit a rape before they turned 14,” shared Tchen. Tchen spoke of her involvement with the Council on Women and Girls during her years in the Obama Administration. “The idea behind the Council on Women and Girls was to create a council of all federal entities…so that the president could charge all of them with addressing issues with women and girls.” This council dealt with issues ranging from rape kit backlogs to the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization in 2013. “I dwell on this for a moment because right now we are in the middle of the reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act, as it only lasts every five years,” highlighted Tchen. “If you want a
little bit of political action, now is the time to make sure the Senate takes up the act. The reason there is a stop limit is [because] it’s got a controversial provision that perhaps people convicted of domestic violence should not have guns, but the NRA doesn’t like it.” “I need to commend the University of Chicago because your office [dedicated to] sexual misconduct prevention and treatment is a great testament to the ongoing conversation,” Tchen said, following up with statistics in an effort to highlight how the issue of campus sexual assaults persists. “One in five women and six percent of men are going to experience sexual violence during their time in college.” “The more that we say that this is not the culture we want, the more powerful that change is going to be,” said Tchen, urging attendees to use their power to combat rape culture like the Time’s Up and It’s On Us movements have done. “I hope that people who attend our events see that sexual violence is something that can be explored through a variety of mechanisms,” Balan said after Tchen’s talk. “And more importantly, that sexual violence activism is something everyone can engage with in some capacity.”
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Mayor-Elect Lightfoot Hires New Health & Society Minor University Director of Public Affairs as Communications Director By EMMA DYER Deputy News Editor
By CAROLINE KUBZANSKY News Editor Marielle Sainvilus, University of Chicago director of public affairs, will be the communications director for mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot’s transition team preceding her May 20 inauguration, according to Politico and the Chicago Sun-Times. “Marielle’s strategic skills and extensive communications and public engagement experience in both the public and private sectors will be invaluable as we prepare to lead the City of Chicago,” Lightfoot said in a press release announcing the
transition team. The release says that Lightfoot’s previous communications director, Nadia Perl, has left “to pursue other career opportunities.” As director of public affairs, Sainvilus serves as a University spokesperson, works with other departments todevelop communications strategies, and manages sensitive PR situations. Sainvilus was the press secretary for the Chicago Public Schools before joining the News Office at UChicago. She previously served as communications director at the Illinois Department of Human Services, and
ty office of communications
assistant press secretary in the Office of the Governor of Illinois. As of Tuesday night, the University had not responded to a request for comment.
The University will offer a new Health and Society minor program beginning next fall, initiated by faculty in the Department of Comparative Human Development. The minor is open to students of all majors and intends to offer students the opportunity to explore the social, political, and economic processes that shape individual and population health. The minor requires Introduction to Health and Society, a new class being offered next year, as well as four approved Health and Society minor courses. Introduction to Health and Society will introduce students to research approaches in the social sciences, as well as feature various social scientist guest lecturers through-
out the quarter. “We are going to be trying to have some opportunities in addition to the classes which will be made available specifically to the students who will be doing this minor,” Faculty Chair of the Health and Society minor committee Eugene Raikhel said. The minor committee is currently exploring possible site visits, scholar talks, and master classes for students in the program. “We’re thinking about different kinds of more experiential learning opportunities we can offer,” Raikhel said. There will be an open house on the Health and Society minor, as well as other new social science minors being offered next fall, on May 8, 2–4 p.m. in the Social Science Research Building’s second-floor Tea Room.
Title IX Panel Discusses University Policy, Trends, and Resources By BRAD SUBRAMANIAM Senior News Reporter An administrative panel on Title IX resources said the number of sexual assault reports on university campuses spiked following recent nationwide sexual assault controversies last Friday at the Bartlett Trophy Lounge. It also clarified the University of Chicago’s sexual misconduct disciplinary policies. The panel noted a growing trend in the number of reports filed over the past several years, especially during several moments of nationwide controversy. “National influence and conversation impacts conversation and reporting on campus,” said Shea Wolfe, deputy Title IX coordinator for students. “Fall of ’17 hit, and the Weinstein scandal broke. Immediately thereafter, [we] and our peer institutions saw a rise in sexual harassment reports. In September of 2018, we
had the Kavanaugh hearings. We saw an increase [at] that point [in] time in sexual assault cases that were being reported,” said Wolfe. She also clarified that some students reported directly because of national events, stating, “I had a number of students saying that ‘Because of the Kavanaugh hearings, I’m coming in to report.’” “I would like to think that there is a destigmatization of seeking help now, and I’m hoping that’s part of this—that we’re broadening the definition of trauma,” added Tracie Pape, a licensed clinical social worker at Student Health and Counseling Services. Though Wolfe was unsure how University policy could change due to the Department of Education’s regulations in the future, she said that “Nothing is currently being changed.” “We are working at a really influx time right now. We are under draft regulations under the De-
partment of Education, we are waiting for finalization of those regulations…. We don’t know what those final regulations are going to look like or how that will affect [University] policy.” The panel, hosted by the UChicago Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Committee, also discussed common misconceptions of the University’s disciplinary policy. “Our policy is not based on the legal system. Our goal is to understand people’s experiences, and then filter that through the University’s policy,” said Jeremy Inabinet, associate dean of students in the University for disciplinary affairs. Panel members discussed difficulties in making clear that complainants are able to decide for themselves whether or not to proceed with disciplinary action after reporting an incident. Wolfe added, “It’s important to clarify for students that just
because something is reported to [the Office of Sexual Misconduct and Support], it doesn’t mean there is a formal investigation.” Inabinet and Scott Snyder, chemistry professor and faculty chair of the University-wide Student Disciplinary Committee, described the investigative process that is initiated when a formal complaint is submitted to the disciplinary office. “Both students are required to submit a written statement, then we’re going to contact any witnesses and gather any information that might exist. We then package that in an investigation report,” said Inabinet. Snyder added that formal complaints require going through a hearing process with both the complainant and respondent in order to impose disciplinary action. Snyder also said that disciplinary decisions are not based on a legal standard. “The standard for whether there is a viola-
tion or not is based on the ‘more likely than not standard,’ meaning just any degree more than 50 percent,” said Snyder. Pape also emphasized the importance of students taking the initiative to reach out to available support services at the University. “I think one of the misperceptions I see is that [students] believe their experiences aren’t severe enough to seek counseling,” Pape said. The panel spoke about the resources available to students, such as short- and long-term therapy, academic and housing accommodations, and on-call and walk-in therapy resources. Friday’s panel was part of a series of events hosted by the Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support, for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Additional events include consent, intervention, and support workshops, which will be held on April 23 and 25.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Moving Forward, Alone despite not joining wave of universities against climate change, university pursues its own measures By RORY NEVINS Grey City Reporter
Sitting at the head of a long table dominating the small Student Government (SG) office, thirdyear Kimika Padilla answered questions about environmental policy with expertise and discretion, befitting her position as chair of SG’s Committee on Campus Sustainability. Although she applauded many of the University’s sustainability measures, Padilla, an environmental activist and third-year environmental and urban studies major, related a degree of dissatisfaction. “In many ways we are moving in the right direction,” she said, “but certainly not fast enough.” Second-year Perrin Davidson, an activist and president of the Environmental Research Group, told The Maroon a similar story. He spoke highly of the University’s on-campus goals and the research it supports, but insisted that it was important to go further. The next step, he said, was to take the “momentum that has already been gained and using that and going forward.” The groundbreaking 2018 report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected dire climatic consequences by 2100 if anthropogenic effects are not rapidly curbed. Well-aware of the poor landing record of such prophecies, the report’s authors summarized four of the possible model pathways the world could take in reaction. The four paths (P1–P4)
which the report detail all eventually mitigate greenhouse emissions and keep warming close to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but the route they take—how much work is left to future generations, how much destructive temperature overshoot slips through—varies. Perhaps, as in the IPCC’s P1, the world will throw itself into action, invent new technologies and implement old ones, move decisively and minimize the damage. Perhaps it will follow P2: improve, not explosively, but improve little by little nonetheless. Perhaps the world will act like it has always acted, glancing at warnings and continuing on its stumbling way down P3. Or perhaps the last path, P4, will be the reality; science will go largely unheeded, and sustainability will not rise above the clamor of other concerns until it is almost too late. The University of Chicago has walked a fine line with respect to climate change. For years, it has made a policy of not speaking out or advocating organized action to address anthropogenic climate effects. This silence, however, has not been coupled with inaction. Activists often find their calls for the University to step into a role of global advocacy frustrated, but the University’s on-campus initiatives indicate some commitment to internal improvement. Consider the years preceding 2015, when a wave of campus-wide activism pushed for the University of Chicago to divest its endowment, valued at $7.9 billion as of 2018, from fossil fuel businesses. President Robert J. Zim-
mer responded with an invocation of the Kalven report, a move that froze over most on-campus fossil fuel divestment activism. The story of the University’s unique relationship with sustainability begins during the Vietnam War. In 1967, as a response to years of student activism, University President George W. Beadle convened a council. The product of that council—the Kalven Report— has since guided administrative decision making to this day. It concludes that the University’s role as a bastion of intellectual diversity prohibits political action except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. This principle, with all its space for fiat on what is political and what is extraordinary—in other words, case-bycase decisions of what constitutes “paramount value” to the University—has served as a perennial justification for the administration and as a complicating factor in activism projects involving the administration. The Kalven Report and the institutional values it represents so thoroughly quashed the most recent environmental divestment movement that even some of the University of Chicago community’s most vocal sustainability leaders have made a tactical retreat from divestment, choosing instead to focus on areas where the University is more receptive. Padilla told The Maroon, “Honestly, I’m not super interested in [divestment]. I think that it is a relevant topic that should be explored, but it’s not a priority. I
think that there are other, really tangible things that the University could be doing on campus to demonstrate and tangibly improve sustainability.” Professor Benjamin Morgan, who teaches a literature class with a focus on climate and is involved with sustainability activism, expressed to The Maroon his dissatisfaction with this state of affairs. “The fact that carbon emissions are causing global warming,” he said, “is not a ‘viewpoint’ as described in the Kalven Report. I would think that the University can take actions to mitigate climate change, including divesting from fossil fuels, without coming into conflict with the report’s injunction against ‘expressing opinions on the political and social issues of the day.’” Morgan reiterated his support of divestment, stating, “In 2016 I signed a letter stating, in part that ‘because of the universal and existential nature of the threat climate change poses, we are not only compliant with but compelled by the Kalven Report to take action.’ I still hold that view.” Such arguments have done little to sway University decision-making. In the same interview with The Maroon, after first citing the Kalven Report in relation to fossil fuels divestment, President Zimmer noted that he had already heard a contention similar to Morgan’s, and had already rejected it. “I appreciate and admire that
people went through the effort of making those arguments, and just because you make an argument doesn’t mean people accept it,” he said. The University of Chicago has shown an intractable commitment to avoid tying itself to major national or international pushes for sustainability. At the same time, however, it has been incrementally working toward environmental responsibility within its own campus borders. Unlike the 348 universities which signed the “We Are Still In” declaration to “not retreat from the global pact to reduce emissions and stem the causes of climate change,” the University of Chicago has kept mostly quiet on the issue of the climate. The same statement which demurred from explicitly supporting global initiatives points to the University’s own on-campus sustainability initiatives. In a June 8, 2017 statement published amid an international movement for universities and other institutions to reaffirm commitment to the Paris Agreement’s terms in the wake of the United States’ proposed withdrawal, the University of Chicago touted climate research occurring under its auspices, and acknowledged that “this awareness is instantiated in widespread participation in the Paris accords.” The University published its “Sustainability Plan” in November of 2016, detailing nine areas of sustainable action on which CONTINUED ON PG. 10
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“Hope is something that is really important...when you are tackling a huge issue.”
Members of the Phoenix Sustainability Initiative (PSI) at work on one of the group’s service projects. courtesy of psi. CONTINUED FROM PG. 9
the University of Chicago claims to be progressing: reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions, constructing new buildings with sustainability in mind, improving transportation, reducing waste, using local food, maintaining green space on campus, conserving water, considering the impact of goods and services in the University supply chain, and building awareness. The 2016 plan provided goals and “next steps” in each of the nine areas, as well as data for each area. A 2016 UChicago News article by Greg Borzo announced the release of the plan, noting that “the office plans to publish annual updates to the baseline report.” However, the sustainability plan linked to on the index page of the University of Chicago sustainability website remains the version initially published more than two years ago. The site contains two additional reports published in 2017 and 2018, although both are far more technical and focus exclusively on greenhouse gas reduction. The University did not respond to an inquiry asking whether these two reports were intended to constitute the updates to the sustainability plan. The 2016 plan sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent before 2025, compared to a baseline composited of 2012 to 2015. The 2018 report on greenhouse gases indicated that the University had reached six percent reduction as of 2017. Davidson told The Maroon that he
thought the greenhouse gas reduction goal was “somewhat lofty.” Padilla, on the other hand, said that she saw “room in some cases to make [the University’s goals] more ambitious, but,” she noted, “it is really hard to tell how much progress has been made on those goals because of lack of transparency.” Differences in baseline years and target years, among other reporting metrics, make it difficult to compare the University of Chicago’s progress to the IPCC report or similar international goals. Additionally, the emission structures and goals of a University versus a nation are starkly different. The IPCC’s optimistic but recommended path calls for emission reductions of more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2030 levels. P3, which the IPCC characterizes as a “middle-of-the-road scenario,” shows a reduction of more than 35 percent from 2010 to 2030. The University’s current commitment is most in line with increase in temperature just below two degrees Celsius, which the IPPC matches to a scenario in which “emissions are projected to decline by about 25% by 2030.” The half of a degree difference between a 2 and 1.5 degrees Celsius increase is a crucial one. “Future climate-related risks,” it concludes, “depend on the rate, peak and duration of warming. In the aggregate, they are larger if global warming exceeds 1.5 °C before returning to that level by 2100 than if global warming gradually stabilizes at 1.5 °C, especially if the peak temperature is high (e.g., about 2 °C).”
In separate interviews with The Maroon, student sustainability leaders Padilla and Davidson emphasized that they recognized and respected the University’s efforts, but neither was entirely satisfied with what has been accomplished so far. “As a student on campus, and as an environmental leader on campus,” Padilla said, “there is always this dual role I want to play of recognizing what the University is already doing and also of pushing the envelope on what more can be done.” Davidson echoed this sentiment, and elaborated on why he feels that it is important for student activists to be understanding of the University’s pace of progress. He pointed out that students “are sprinting a marathon every single quarter. We are completing a ton of course work; everything is happening on an immensely fast time scale.” His experience working with the University taught him that administrative bureaucracy moves at a much slower pace. “That is really important to understand,” he insisted. Davidson believes that student activists who recognize this and “start the conversation in a positive way rather than start the conversation in a demeaning way” will be much more successful. “The University has demonstrated— through programs like the green buildings initiatives—a commitment to sustainability,” Padilla said. “There needs to be a lot more resources and frankly, a lot more man power put into it.” She pointed out that “the Office of Sustainability is a relatively small group embedded under Facilities Services. I would like to see more people, more administrators, and the University more explicitly dedicated to sustainable initiatives.” Padilla followed up the critique by noting she would also “like to see more transparency.” The University did not respond to a series of requests for comment from The Maroon. Padilla told The Maroon that, while she had on occasion been informed about the workings of the University’s decision-making process, she did not feel that students were commonly in the loop when decisions were being made. “The decisions are typically made before students are involved in the communication process,” she said. She referenced a meeting between the division of Facilities administration re-
sponsible for the construction of the new Woodlawn Commons, and the Sustainability Czars—a new house council position run by the Student Government committee which Padilla chairs. Padilla explained that the Sustainability Czars “were able to meet with the Capital Projects team and understand and ask follow up questions on how sustainability was incorporated into the planning of the new dorm building.” “It was great that they were able to share that information and were willing to come talk to students, but I also think that obviously those decisions were already made before students were involved,” Padilla said. Despite the setbacks and frustrations, neither Padilla nor Davidson has lost hope. Padilla said that “hope is something that is really important to have when you are tackling a huge issue, and frankly one that is beyond the scale of any one person, organization, or even country.” Davidson related his optimism to a belief that people are less likely to join the movement if they are only inundated with negative messaging. People need to know the prognosis, he said, but “we need to go about communicating those ideas in a way that activates and enacts people.” Padilla explained that for her, “the biggest concern is not that we don’t have the science and the technology. I think the science and technology is there, and it is also being developed. But really, what the future holds and the challenge that we as a society, and very individually as students who are going to be the future, need to address is connecting science and technology to implementation.” This implementation, Padilla said, was where the University could play a role. “That requires political will both in the public and the private sector, certainly starting at an institution like the University, but really expanding beyond that to encompass the institutions that are making decisions and the people that are making decisions.” For his part, Davidson urged awareness and action. “Your voice can always be heard on campus. You are a student: You have a voice. That’s it,” he said. “That’s how this works, even while it might not seem like it. Join the Environmental Justice Task Force. Join the Phoenix Sustainability Initiative. Join the Environmental Research Group.”
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
What’s Really Going On: The RevCom Party Outlook this group’s philosophy has nothing to do with dining hall dust-ups .
Students hold an American flag while banned RevCom Party member Noche Diaz gives a talk on the quad. feng ye
By JOSH VILLERS Grey City Reporter
Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) members, or RevComs, as they are colloquially known around UChicago, are nothing if not devoted. Among campus protesters, they’re something of a staple. They stand outside the Reg, inside Reynolds, and sometimes on the quad. Knowing of them is common, knowing about them less so. Among their most well-known exploits is one of their members standing on a table in Baker back in 2016, upsetting a student’s bowl of cereal—and the student—in the process. The Maroon’s editorial position back then was clear enough. In the annual “What We’re Thankful For” editorial, the Board expressed gratitude for “Revolutionary Communist Party member Noche Diaz, who heroically stood on a table in Baker Dining Commons and overthrew the entire system. Thanks, RevCom!” Most people’s thumbnail sketch of the RevComs on campus seemed to be either one of two things, then: At best, a group known of but not known about; at worst, the butt of a joke. But in a political climate where groups like the Democratic Socialists of America
(DSA) are rapidly growing in membership, where do democratic socialists’ revolutionary “counterparts” fall? The RevComs are persistently on campus, despite lukewarm reception by students and hostile reception by the administration. So, what do they hope to do, and what gripes do they have with more widespread socialist organizations? To a certain extent, the RCP’s alienation from mainstream socialism could stem from the fact that, in many ways, it’s rooted in an era different from a lot of modern leftist organizations. The RCP itself grew out of a number of Maoist and leftist groups of the ’60s–’70s counterculture, like Students for a Democratic Society. Bob Avakian—called “the Marx of our times” by Lucha Bright, a member of the Revolution Club Chicago whom I spoke to—slowly became the group’s sole leader as other leftist groups splintered from the party. Today, Avakian serves as the formal, theoretical, and cultural core of the organization. RevCom’s T-shirts, posters, and website all frequently extol his books on communist and revolutionary theory, and depict him in a similar style to Russian and Chinese communist propaganda posters of Lenin and Mao. In one of the RCP’s higher-profile moments, a party member, Gregory Lee John-
son, initiated the landmark 1989 Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson after burning an American flag during a political demonstration. The Supreme Court ruled that flag burning was part of protected speech. More recently, widespread claims of an impending “Antifa takeover” in November 2017 were inspired by the RCP-led Refuse Fascism protests. I spoke with two RCP members recently: the aforementioned Noche Diaz and Lucha Bright. They showed up to Pret a Manger in distinct, Impact-font Revolution Club T-shirts and badges, sporting slogans about the revolution, Bob Avakian, and “sleepwalking through a nightmare.” We discussed what brought them to Chicago, their goals here and nationwide, and their thoughts on the mainstream American political climate. Noche Diaz spoke quickly when talking to me—caffeine, he said. But his rapid speech also showed a kind of fluency in RevCom rhetoric and ideology rather than a caffeine buzz. Bright was much more soft-spoken than Diaz, and, more often than not, Diaz led on the questions. But if there were disagreements between them on ideology or rhetoric, they didn’t show. Neither Bright nor Diaz originally joined the RCP in Chicago. Instead, they’ve come and gone from the city as the RevComs have needed them, traveling to the RCP’s various chapters—Berkeley, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York—to advocate and evangelize for communist revolution. Chicago’s history of racial tension and class conflict made it an obvious choice for activism, Diaz said: He perceived a pitting of marginalized groups against each other, keeping them attacking each other instead of the current system. “I came to Chicago because the whole world is talking about how Chicago is known for police getting away with the murder of Black and Brown people, and the very people who are the targets of that— especially the youth, Black and Brown youth—are caught up killing each other, instead of going up against the real enemy, which is this system and those who enforce it,” Diaz said.
If RevCom is in Chicago because of its history with police brutality, said Diaz and Bright, the party is on campus because of UChicago’s status as an elite learning center—one that, in their eyes, is being put to waste. “That [intellectual education] can serve either getting rid of this system or keeping it going, and there is not on this campus an actual alternative to how this world is,” Diaz said. Marx is taught at UChicago, he explained, but for the duplicitous goal of bettering and reforming capitalism, not overthrowing it. “There’s a lot of people talking about wanting to take back America from Trump and the fascists, there’s a lot of people who talk about trying to make America better, there’s even some people talking about trying to make America socialist. But we want a world without America and everything it stands for.” Climate change, white supremacy, patriarchal society, suffering in less developed countries—none of it is being properly addressed by study at the University, according to Diaz. Diaz continued, “All that capacity people are developing, it’s not being put to work on confronting the problems that humanity is facing.” “People are caught up in doing good work to help some people that are suffering, or maybe good work to contribute to some things,” but it’s all, in short, half measures, since none of it goes directly toward overthrowing the underlying causes, he said. But the members of the RCP aren’t here to organize for campus issues. They’re here to organize for nationwide revolution. Anything less is misdirected effort. If there were a through line to Diaz and Bright’s responses, it’s that the RevComs are one of the only political or activist groups doing the truly meaningful work. Diaz will repeatedly emphasize the importance of overthrowing “the whole system”—capitalism and the U.S. government alike. “We’re not coming here to try and figure out what’s wrong with this campus… including things that might be worth fighting around, but that’s not the key thing that people need to be involved in.” CONTINUED ON PG. 12
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“If everything needs to go, anything less is coming up short.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 11
ther unleashing Ku Klux Klan–type terror on people and resurrecting old and ugly about this country, that never really went away in the first place,” he told me. The present situation, Diaz thinks, is a result of prioritizing short-term issues instead of overhauling society. Even organizing for one’s own immediately-impactful issues seems to be a distraction in the view of the RCP. “Most of what you see is, people go to somewhere like [UChicago] or some community and get people involved in what’s affecting them immediately. But we need to go to everybody and actually talk to them about the whole world, and what’s going on there,” Diaz said. The RCP’s suspicion of things like charitable work and short-term organizing act as symptoms to its own diagnosis that the main thing in the way of revolution is ignorance. There are a lot of people who “care about the right things” in the U.S., but they’re still too Americentric in their view. “Even people who want to do good are thinking about everything in terms of what’s in it for Americans,” Diaz said. The entire idea is that the system is so fundamentally broken that if just a sufficient number of people were made aware, the revolution would come from there. Thence the RCP could finally put into practice all of Bob Avakian’s theories on governance, and on carrying out a successful revolution—not like the failed or backpedaled revolutions of the ’60s and ’70s. Diaz doesn’t give too many specifics as to how, exactly, the revolution would come about, but, if nothing else, he does express
If everything needs to go, anything optimism. It’s a matter of “[removing] the less is coming up short. It’s the ideological blindfold and seeing the cracks in the wall. chasm that separates groups like the RCP It’s not all powerful. These motherfuckers from, say, the aforementioned DSA. That who run this system, they’re not all-powerdivide means that trends like fewer young ful…and they’re sitting on top of a volcano people favoring capitalism and more of that could erupt underneath them if we go them favoring socialism don’t necessarily to work,” he said. herald good news for RCP devotees. Diaz But disagreements on means to an end describes some of them as “phony socialists aren’t the only things that have alienated and wannabe Marxists.” the RCP from the modern left. At UCLA this The way Bright puts it, young peo- past February, a Revolution Club Los Angeple gravitating to democratic socialists les member was escorted off the stage at an like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Oca- open mic poetry event after he began readsio-Cortez is “really fucking harmful.” To ing a graphic poem about violence against the RCP, politicians like Bernie Sanders and women around the world. The discomfort Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are just playing came from the fact that the reader, a white a game of bait-and-switch, luring young American man, was reading graphic poetry people back into parties and institutions about experiences that were not his. As he that they might otherwise distrust with was escorted off the stage, he began decrypromises of left-wing change. They’re de- ing intersectionality and identity politics. laying a vital revolution, if anything. Bright In FEM Magazine, a campus feminist pubcalls them and their policies “solutions that lication, UCLA fourth-year and Dialogue are non-solutions.” editor for the magazine Gabriella Kamran I asked them what they thought of social wrote, “Only a white man’s worldview could or charitable work in particular, given his- select class and imperialism as the only reltorical instances where radical left groups evant axes of oppression; only a white man mixed social work with their political work, could fail to understand that race, gender, such as the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast and sexuality are the raw material for our for School Children initiative. Diaz and capitalist and militaristic institutions.” Bright said that this would be counterproThe RCP views his escort off the stage ductive to the RCP’s mission of complete as censorship, and the focus on his identity societal revolution. Donald Trump’s pres- as a white man as beside the point. Tala Deidency, Diaz reasoned, was the result of loria of the Revolution Club in Los Angeles the fact that the underlying afflictions of wrote in response to those discomforted by American society aren’t being addressed. the poem’s reading by a white man, “How “Changes in the immediate term [like so- 4/2/2019 cial work] have left this system in place, and now here we are, in 2019, talking about an open white-supremacist fascist at the head of the government of the United States, fur-
convenient it is for this system when we can only speak from our own experience, never stepping out of our lanes to empathize with those on whose backs we are living, and instead censoring the telling of their stories in the name of preserving a safe space. A ‘safe space’ which, by the way, you are able to carve out BECAUSE of the imperialist position of the U.S. in the world.” The RCP didn’t seem to change much as a result of that altercation. They stick around from an organizing perspective, even after legal threats and legal action, including felony charges for a member after a Reynolds Club protest in 2018. It seems, at least in this instance, to be a similar case ideologically. Their responses to the incident at UCLA did not backpedal, apologize, concede, or admit error. If anything, the Revolution Club in Los Angeles doubled down. They showed up to the UCLA campus the very next day and posted the censored poem on walls across campus. The posters called the hosts of the open mic “Identity Politics Hustlers.” They went to public spaces on campus and agitated, drew crowds, and argued. At the end of the interview, before I turned off the recorder, Diaz leaned in to give a few closing words. He wanted to reiterate his point about college students. “Wake up, students! And I don’t mean that…fake woke shit. I mean actually, wake the fuck up.” untitled - Vectr
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THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
IfNotNow to Hillel: It’s Time to Cut Ties with Birthright In Light of Birthright’s Consistent Failure to Consider the Concerns of Young Jews, IfNotNow UChicago Urges UChicago Hillel to End Its Relationship With the Multi-Million Dollar Institution By IFNOTNOW UCHICAGO More than 100 young Jews from across the country, among them UChicago students, gathered at Birthright’s New York City headquarters last Friday, April 5 to urge Birthright to confront the crisis of the Israeli occupation. Instead of engaging, Birthright arrested 15 Jewish students, continuing their pattern of hard-hearted obstinance in the face of earnest appeals from our generation. Indeed, over the past year, young Jews have been demanding that Birthright stop hiding the daily nightmare of Palestinian life under occupation. With Friday’s arrests, Birthright has revealed its raison d’etre: ensuring that the occupation continues indefinite-
ly with the full support of American Jews. In light of Birthright’s entrenched pro-occupation agenda, UChicago Hillel, which runs Birthright trips every summer, must cut ties with the organization. Birthright is one of the Jewish community’s most heavily-funded institutions. Founded in 1999, it brings upwards of 40,000 young Jews on free 10-day trips to Israel every year. On these trips, Birthright promises young participants a chance to connect more deeply to their Jewish identities. In reality, Birthright is a bribe bought and paid for by the Netanyahu administration and right-wing donors like Sheldon Adelson. In light of its sources of funding, Birthright’s pro-occupation agenda is no surprise. The institution de-
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liberately lies to its participants about the nightmare of life under military occupation for millions of Palestinians. Birthright requires each group to spend days with active IDF soldiers, building deep, personal connections between American Jews and the Israeli military. Palestinians are reduced to abstract security risks, if their existence is acknowledged at all. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem—now more than 50 years old—denies Palestinian civil, political, and economic rights. While Israeli citizens cast their ballots in Tuesday’s election, nearly five million Palestinians living under its military rule were denied the privilege. Estimates suggest that Israel arrests between 800 and 1,000 Palestinian children each year, some of whom are not even teenagers, with about 270 in Israeli prisons at any given moment. Since 2007, Israel has imposed a land, air, and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, restricting the flow of essential goods and human beings and thereby creating a humanitarian disaster. This, and the tacit support it receives from many American Jews, cannot continue. In recent years, young Jews from across the country have increasingly asked Birthright to stop concealing these facts from its participants. Some, frustrated by these elisions, chose to walk off their trips this past summer and winter. Months later, Birthright did respond, but not by acknowledging the reality of the occupation; instead, the organization changed its code of conduct to prohibit participants from “hijacking” the conversation. Apparently, to Birthright, earnest, critical questions about the Annexation Wall and checkpoints constitute “hijacking.” From our own personal experiences, the Jewish community has always considered passionate discussion to be a virtue, not a vice. At UChicago, Jewish students delivered a box of letters to Hillel asking them to implement basic changes to their Birth-
right trip—showing participants a military checkpoint from a Palestinian perspective and touring the occupied West Bank city of Hebron with the anti-occupation Israeli organization Breaking the Silence. When we didn’t hear back, we attended an open town hall meeting at Hillel where we again raised our concerns. Student-leaders in Hillel heard us out, but the true issue became clear: Hillel would be unable to organize a trip that showed the truth of the occupation, so long as that trip is organized through Birthright. For this reason, we turned to Birthright itself last Friday, only to be met with squad cars and handcuffs. For months, we have given Birthright a chance to join the growing consensus of young Jews who know that visiting Israel without grappling with the occupation is like visiting the Jim Crow South without acknowledging segregation. Over and over, Birthright has proven that it has no intention of changing. And indeed, it has shown that education about the occupation is deliberately omitted by the design of its enterprise. It is clear that the Jewish community has a choice to make. We are calling on young Jews to sign a pledge promising not to go on Birthright trips, and instead join us in building a vibrant Jewish future based on freedom and dignity for all Palestinians and Israelis. Many Jewish students at UChicago already refuse to go on Birthright, knowing that Jewish identity need not come at the cost of our progressive values. Additionally, we call on American-Jewish institutions to cease all cooperation with Birthright. We celebrate UChicago Hillel as an invaluable resource and trusted steward of Jewish life on campus. To represent UChicago’s Jewish population, and do right by our Palestinian siblings, Hillel should demonstrate moral leadership and heed the call. Hillel, it is time to end your relationship with Birthright.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Taking Advantage of the Unknown Thinking Carefully About Your Course Plan and Job Experiences Will Pay Off, Even If You Don’t Have a Perfect Plan
One of the most delightful ways to figure something out is after it has essentially lost all relevance. Case in point: realizing how you should’ve handled this whole “college” thing only when it’s finally drawing to a close. My consolation here is that I know I’m not the only one who showed up on campus as a first-year with absolutely no clue what was happening. Everyone knows the telltale signs: students cycling through majors on a near-weekly basis or having a momentary existential crisis that leads them to the listservs for creative writing and physics and Medieval studies. If you were to audit everyone’s transcripts and resumes, you’d probably find yourself sifting through track records more suggestive of repeated identity theft than cohesive planning.
That’s understandable. It’s not sane to expect 18-year-olds to know exactly what they’re going to do or how they’re going to get there. It’s probably not even sane to expect 18-year-olds to fully grasp how college will be materially different from their prior educational experiences. And for the most part, that confusion is resolvable. Students tend to find a sense of direction, although what others pitch as “finding your way” can feel in practice more like “bumbling toward adequacy.” Still, there are a few things I wish I’d known earlier. Foremost among those is that if you dabble, dabble with purpose. As a firstyear, you’re barraged by encouragement to experiment: in coursework, in extracurricular activities, in fundamental interests. And that’s mostly great. The problem is that it becomes easy to view good classes strictly as 10-week splurges into interesting, discrete topics—not as stepping-stones to higher-level work, as experiences that speak to each other, or
as investments that pay longer-term dividends. The impulse to sidestep classes that sound informative but dull is fairly strong; likewise, with the impulse to register for zany classes for the sake of zaniness alone. But that may not be how you get the most from your education. Exciting course titles, after all, don’t always make for good coursework, and there’s nothing inherently contradictory about a class that’s both unexciting and invaluable. If I were to single out the handful of classes that taught me the most, I’d have to acknowledge the fact that I worked very hard to get out of several during the pre-registration period. The courses that contributed the most to my own education, for instance, were on topics like data construction and interpretation (glamorous, right?), which I stumbled into accidentally and spent several weeks trying to swap out of. Like many of my peers, I initially shied away from those kinds of courses. They don’t exactly sound exciting, after all, even though the payoff—not just in terms of professional or technical skills, but in terms of thinking as well—is immediately obvious. There’s a temptation to ignore those dividends in favor of unusual-sounding course titles. It pays to approach these choices more methodically. A wild thought: maybe even have a rough plan for what you want to get from your coursework (whether it’s a deep dive into a specific area or an effort to try out several), understanding that a first-year’s grand plan is likely to be significantly revised or discarded outright. Even a simple step (like writing down the classes you plan to take) can be revelatory. By contrast, if I had to name my own ultra-precise, first-year enrollment strategy, I’d call it “scattershot.” It’s also easy to become convinced that the bulk of your learning happens on campus and in classrooms. But, academic-year internships are underrated, and often not for the reasons you’d expect. Everyone’s very familiar by this point with the insane scrum for summer internships; it seems you’re expected to
have lined up all of your summer gigs by September (of your freshman year. Of high school), and your post-graduation job, too. We sometimes neglect academic-year internships. I was convinced that taking an internship during the academic year was a surefire way to sacrifice my grades to long hours of unpaid coffee fetching. But it’s not as if employers can only dredge up interesting work for their interns between June and September. There are plenty of interesting opportunities out there, especially in a city as big and vibrant as Chicago, and flexible scheduling as well. Of course, although there’s always an acute risk that a nice-sounding position will turn out to be a living hell (hello, nearly every remote publishing gig out there), many are worth pursuing. But even if you’re not saving the world with the ACLU or minting new millionaires with Bain, the experience can be rewarding—what makes a good internship, ultimately, isn’t the prestige of the office, but the kind and quality of work an intern gets to do. Plenty of us understand that well—I found that the odd-job internships (working for a tiny nonprofit, or a small unit of government like a park district) were the most meaningful. Academic-year internships are also usually less competitive, and when relevant experience is a prerequisite for every other thing you’re pursuing, they can make a difference on a resume. “Have a plan” and “get experience” isn’t earth-shaking advice. But many students show up on campus wavering between areas of study that seem to be miles apart, like art history and molecular engineering. For these students in particular, planning and experience can make the difference in finding some sense of direction—a fact that’s easy to lose sight of when it’s so tempting to treat college like some extended high school summer program. Natalie Denby is a fourth-year in the College.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Tarver Offers Inadequate Explanation for Rent Control Shift 25th District Residents Deserve a Better Reason for Their Representative’s Apparent Flip-Flop. By SAM JOYCE This time last year, rent control advocates seemed to be winning every battle in Chicago. Voters elected Curtis Tarver as the next state representative of the 25th District, and, like every other candidate on the ballot, he had pledged his support for lifting the state’s ban on rent control. Moreover, voters in 77 precincts across nine wards— including the Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Wards, which overlap the 25th District— were asked whether they supported lifting the ban on rent control. 75 percent voted in favor. In election after election, rent control had the momentum: People overwhelmingly supported it, and they sent representatives to Springfield who pledged to translate that demand into law. That momentum carried through to
last month, when Rep. Will Guzzardi introduced legislation that would overturn the 1997 Rent Control Preemption Act and allow municipalities to choose whether or not to enact rent control. This legislation repeals the state ban on rent control and gives municipalities the freedom to regulate residential and commercial rent prices. This broad category includes everything from regulations that limit the increase in rents to the rate of inflation to arrangements that allow landlords complete freedom to increase rents, but only after the current tenant moves out. Most rent control policies are best when they are city-specific—a rent control policy that makes sense in one city might not necessarily make sense in another. Crucially, Guzzardi’s bill did not require cities to implement any particular form of rent control;
it simply offered them the option, instead of prohibiting all forms of rent control across the state. This legislation, grounded in the common-sense principle that cities should have the authority to decide what makes sense for themselves, appeared to be headed for success in the Democratic-controlled legislature. Governor J.B. Pritzker had already pledged his support for the measure. Two weeks ago, however, the bill died in subcommittee. Two Democrats, including Rep. Tarver, joined the committee’s Republicans in voting to kill the bill. This, understandably, upset community groups who supported Tarver because of his previously stated support for rent control. During the campaign, he had made no secret of his support for rent control: He publicly stated his support for lifting the ban at a candidates forum in January, and took to Twitter to relay the story of an elderly man forced out of his apartment by rising rents, concluding with “Rent control is necessary.” Tarver now claims he “never” believed rent control was necessary, saying that a staffer posted the tweet, which was published on a first-person account posted under Tarver’s name. After labeling constituents who asked him to explain his vote as “trolls,” Tarver sat down with the Hyde Park Herald to explain why he was for rent control before he was against it. Despite previously blaming his staff, Tarver now seemed to accept that he had been on record supporting rent control, telling the Herald, “If I said I was in favor of rent control, then I said it.” Left unclear is exactly how to reconcile Tarver’s two stances: Did Tarver lie to community groups at the January forum? Did he forget that he made this commitment? Did he gen-
uinely change his mind? Why did he blame his staffer for his own public statements? Why did he throw his staffer under the bus for what turned out to be his own flip-flop? Tarver went on to explain why he opposed rent control, citing high rents in rent-controlled cities like San Francisco and his support of other policies that would help low-income tenants. Fair enough. But, the vote on Guzzardi’s bill wasn’t a vote for or against rent control—instead, it was a vote on whether Chicagoans, Rockfordians, and Peorians should be able to democratically decide on whether they want rent control, or if the State of Illinois should make that decision for them. Every precinct in the 25th District that voted on rent control last year voted in favor of lifting the ban. Voters in the 25th District thought they were getting a representative who agreed with them. Instead, Tarver has reversed his position and, for a reason that is still not quite clear, voted against a law he had claimed to support. Rather than owning up to his shift in perspective and offering an explanation for it, he responded by blaming a staffer and claiming his concerned constituents are Internet trolls. Tarver has apologized for his tweets, but the people of the 25th District are still waiting for a real explanation on why Tarver thinks any of this is acceptable. His constituents voted overwhelmingly in favor of lifting the ban on rent control, and Tarver was elected on a promise to follow through on this demand. There is one easy resolution to this ongoing debacle: Tarver can work to bring the bill to the House floor. If not, the voters of the 25th District would do well to consider replacing him with someone who will. Sam Joyce is a third-year in the College.
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THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Why Athletes Leave UChicago Varsity Sports By BRINDA RAO Sports Editor
The exacting expectations of being a varsity athlete often cannot coexist with other aspects of college life. Alongside daily practices and lifts, student-athletes have to give up weeks of summer break as well as entire weekends during the school year to compete. When making their social and academic schedules, athletes always have to put in extra effort to consider their athletic commitments. As a first-year, there’s novelty in taking on the demands of such a balancing act. However, as athletes get older, they have to find room for internships and the realities of a post-UChicago future. When reflecting on leaving their sport, one former athlete said, “It came down to how busy my schedule was getting. It was making it really hard to enjoy tennis knowing I had a thousand other things to do. Eventually I began to dislike it. I was getting worse with my level of play and it was painful to be out there, knowing I was capable of more but unable to fix it. Because of my decline in level, everything started to fall
apart: my confidence, my love for the game, my dedication and determination, and my competitiveness.” Second-year Jaida Kenana, a former member of the women’s basketball team, said, “Once you’re not 100 percent all in the sport it makes it difficult to go every day. You spend so much time consumed with the sport. If the sport is not what drives you it becomes hard to stay in. It’s not fair to the team if you’re not 100 percent all in; they deserve 100 percent hard work and focus from you.” Time is of the essence at UChicago. There are never enough hours in a day to keep up with the endless possibilities of academic and social opportunities. Athletes dedicate hours a day to practices, lifting sessions, and competition. As student-athletes at a university that demands the most academically, these individuals lose out on pursuing other passions and interests. A third-year who left the women’s tennis team explained, “I’ve gained so much time to do other things I love like art or dancing or rock-climbing. I have more freedom to do things that I enjoy and pursue other things I love that I can do even after I graduate from college.”
At the same time, student-athletes face the challenge of leaving behind an essential part of their identities when quitting a sport. The majority of student-athletes at UChicago arrive on campus with years of prior competitive experience. Giving up their identity as a student-athlete means leaving behind a time-tested beloved activity and community. One former student-athlete acknowledged, “I’ve also given up on a lot. I feel like I gave up on myself and my athletic abilities, even though I know it was the right thing to do. I feel I gave up on my team and my coach, as well as others that helped me get to college athletics.” While former athletes give up the perks of athletic lockers and training rooms, a lot of the benefits of being a student-athlete stay. Kenana reflects, “From my time on basketball, I’ve gained form of assurance and agency of how I act on campus. When you’re on a team you represent the team and UChicago. I carry myself differently and always will.” Perhaps, as former athletes have noted, the community that they gain through their sport does not leave them.
Many teams are built on strong connections between students from all years and walks of life. While former athletes miss out on daily practices and competitions, many are still included in team bonding activities. Kenana comments, “The team is inspirational and a strong community. I am still part of the community but it’s different than going to practice every day—once you’re out of that, it’s not the same. But I haven’t lost my relationship with the team.” The decision to leave a varsity sport is a heavy one. Athletes gain a sense of identity and community through their sports. However, the physically and mentally demanding schedule of being a student-athlete often hinders endeavors to explore other interests. While some athletes fall out of love with their sport, others have to decide whether committing to a varsity team allows them to prepare for their future beyond college. Regardless of whether they stay on their team or not, athletes at UChicago remain connected to their sports and their tight-knit communities in a novel way.
Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader in Home Opener By MATTHEW LEMAN AND MATTHEW LEE Sports Reporters
Maroon baseball knocked it out of the park against Grinnell College, setting off the 2019 home season on a great note with a pair of stunning victories: 12–5 and 20–1, respectively. The inaugural series of two games was played at home in back-to-back matches on Saturday. Though Grinnell led 2–1 in game one, their satisfaction was short-lived: The Maroons scored seven runs in the fourth inning in a display of offensive prowess that would become a constant for the rest of
the match. The fifth inning saw three more runs; an additional run was tacked on by the end of the eighth. Standout performers for the day were a trio of strong pitchers. Relief pitchers second-year Zach Morochnik, whose two-inning stint yielded two strikeouts and no hits; and second-year Chandler Yu, whose first appearance for the Maroons began brilliantly with four strikeouts and no hits, are especially notable. Starting pitcher and fourth-year Brenton Villasenor also performed admirably, amassing six strikeouts to five hits, a run, and three walks in four innings. Offensively, fourth-year Brady Sarkon led the way as he totaled an impresCONTINUED ON PG. 17
Brian Lyle, left, and Ian Bohn. courtesy university of chicago athletics
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Maroons Dominate with Strong Offensive Mentality CONTINUED FROM PG. 16
sive two RBI and a double through 17 total team hits. Game two was significantly less contentious from the start, as the Maroons instantly announced their presence with a 17-run, 15-hit offensive onslaught in the bottom of the first. In an inning where Chicago sent 21 batters to the plate, the first 10 Maroons got hits, chasing Grinnell’s starting pitcher from the game after only a third of an inning. The barrage featured three hits from third-
A PUZZLE OF ICE AND FIRE By KATRINA LEE
year Payton Jancsy, RBI triples by fourthyear Josh Parks (his second of the day) and second-year Brian Lyle, as well as the highlight of the afternoon: a mammoth two-run home run over the center field fence from first-year Carson Weekley, sending the Maroon dugout and bleachers into a frenzy. Chicago’s historic heroics at bat should not overshadow the masterful Maroon pitching, which held the Pioneers to one run and four hits over the seven-inning, score-shortened game. Third-year starting pitcher Jacob
Across 1. Name for a dog 5. Ancient Roman port on the Tiber 10. A speaker of 20 Across 14. “That ___ you!” 15. Kevin who played a T.V. Hercules 16. Like Han or Ben 17. Shelf for spices
Petersen dominated in his three scoreless frames, and four Maroon relievers (thirdyears Daniel Smith, Patrick Rogers, and Patrick Murphy, in addition to fourth-year Ravi Bakhai) combined to allow only two hits over the final four innings. Speaking after the game, head coach John Fitzgerald was impressed with the patient offensive mentality that sparked Chicago’s first-inning eruption: “Our approach of hitting the ball where it was pitched— driving it up the middle, opposite field—led
18. Pandemonium 19. Site for bidding 20. With 18/39/59 Across and 31 Down, a “Game of Thrones” quote that hints at the vertical parts of this puzzle’s theme. 21. “For ___ the Bell Tolls” 22. Popular web browser 24. Big birds that share the name of a Titaness
us to score runs. Everybody was extremely dialed in, and that obviously can be a bit contagious for the rest of the lineup.” The Maroons kept their blistering hot offense alive against division rival Lawrence University in a home doubleheader on Tuesday, April 16. With wins, 10–8 and 12–2, Chicago extended its win streak to six. The team will take on Ripon in a four-game series split over Thursday and Saturday for their next action.
26. “Got it!” 27. How-___ 28. Italian conductor Claudio 30. Ella Fitzgerald’s “A Ship Without ___” 32. Peach’s companion 33. cs.uchicago.edu and english.uchicago.edu, in relation to uchicago.edu 38. (0, 0): Abbr. 39. Mayhem 40. Type of attack that tries to overwhelm a site with traffic 41. Figurative 43. “Methinks thou ___ protest too much” (Hamlet) 44. Social realist painter Ben 45. Once-trendy shoes with wheels 47. This year’s Chinese zodiac animal 50. Google:Android::Apple:___ 51. Fathers in Italy 52. Line of Mercedes sedans 54. “Relatable” 55. The end of a British series 58. Bangkok languages 59. Anarchy 61. It comes before visions and marketing 62. A few feet 63. Note for sopranos 64. British bum 65. Waze suggestions: Abbr. 66. Imprecise recipe unit 67. Not new Down 1. She might give you the time of day 2. Unpaid T.V. ads 3. Try-hard film released just before awards season
4. “Tik-___” (Ke$ha) 5. See 20 Across 6. Districts in Manhattan and London 7. Cable car 8. Nigerian native 9. See 20 Across 10. Slangy name for a liar 11. Automaton 12. Battle site to remember 13. Ida ___ Hall 21. Marry 23. Band of sisters from L.A. 25. Felt bloated 26. “Same here.” 28. The heart of the matter? 29. Put to sleep 30. “Were you born in ___?” 31. See 20 Across 34. Exclamations akin to “yikes” 35. Like the Israelites, with respect to a golden calf 36. Prying 37. Concordes: Abbr. 42. Letters before chis 46. Teacher’s deg. 47. A speaker of 20 Across 48. Apple’s old messaging app 49. Angry look 51. “___ Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin” (1997) 53. Assists 54. Slogan on red hats: Abbr. 56. The end of some ultimatums 57. “No good ___ goes unpunished.” 60. Took cover 61. Greek letter loved by St. Francis (for its resemblance to a cross)
THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 17, 2019
Muse Redeems Itself Live at the United Center By WAHID AL MAMUN Associate Arts Editor
Earlier this year, I put out a scathing review of Muse’s latest album, Simulation Theory, criticizing its overuse of heavy and serious concepts at the expense of substance. I still stand by this indictment. However, as front man Matt Bellamy emerged from beneath the United Center stage in a sequined bomber jacket, surrounded by a coterie of fluorescent trombone players, I faced a crisis of faith. And so I’ll give Muse this—for all I think of its latest records, I cannot deny that it is still the undisputed champion of musical spectacle. Its set last Friday, the last American show of the Simulation Theory World Tour, was a tour de force of maximalist grandeur. It is impossible to have come out from Muse’s show feeling anything short of absolute euphoria. Of course, expectations for any performance by a band as big as Muse are astronomical. This was abetted by a riveting opening set by Walk the Moon, who is well established in the indie pop scene. In between rollicking performances of well-worn hits like “Anna Sun” and “Shut Up and Dance,” front man Nicholas Petricca hyped up the crowd, exclaiming, “We are just like you—we have grown up listening to and loving Muse.” And boy, did Muse deliver. This group has had over a decade to perfect the art of live performance. At its core, this rests
on excellent technical performances by each and every member of the band— bassist Chris Wolstenhome’s muscular riff for “Hysteria” was undoubtedly one of the night’s musical highlights. The fact that Muse reached deep into 20 years of discography with songs such as Origin of Symmetry’s “New Born” and “Plug In Baby” and still failed to put a foot wrong is a testament to its extraordinary technical nous. This is a band that ages like a fine wine on stage. Matt Bellamy deserves special praise in this regard. It is nigh impossible to register that he is already over 40 years old—all night, he ran full pelt up and down the catwalk stage, obliging to take selfies with screaming fans, all while maintaining his signature operatic vocal delivery style. He had the crowd eating from his hand—most notably when, while performing “Uprising,” he managed to get the audience to pump their fists and sing the rebellious lyrics of the song’s chorus in perfect unison with no more than a flick of his wrist. The quintessential Muse live experience extends far beyond the music itself. It is an overwhelming experience of theatrical transcendence, perhaps best captured by Bellamy playing the guitar solo for “Supermassive Black Hole” with his tongue. And perhaps the standout feature of the night was the intricate attention paid to every last detail of the set design. The aforementioned coterie of trombone players underwent many
Muse performed their last American show of the Simulation Theory World Tour. courtesy of sz-magazin costume changes throughout the night, wearing outfits as various and ridiculous as astronaut suits, scuba gear and LEDlit helmets. All of this did much to reflect the ’80s retro-futuristic artistic vision of Simulation Theory. Chris Willman of Variety magazine perhaps expresses it best when he says that watching a 2019 Muse concert is akin to watching “Tron on Ice.” And so, I have come to the point of the article where I have to admit that any words I use to express the sheer incredulity and magnitude of the night’s set design will always fall woefully short of real life. I could describe how the as-
tronauts were suspended trapeze-like from the ceiling during “Break It to Me.” I could talk about the extras in life-sized Transformers costumes. I could probably write a miniature treatise on the 30-foot-tall animatronic, helmet-clad skeleton that emerged behind the band during the encore, and the visceral horror and awe that this skeleton inspired in me. But I have neither the retail space nor the appropriate vocabulary to do so. In short, you had to be there to appreciate anything I just said. And that, to me, is the highest praise that can be afforded to a live performance.
Now With International Fame, Kim’s Convenience Strikes Again By KENJIRO LEE Arts Reporter
After two successful seasons on Canadian television, Kim’s Convenience came onto U.S. audiences’ radars rather abruptly last summer when the series debuted on Netflix. Embraced by Korean-American viewers for its intensely relatable depiction of the lives of an immigrant family, the show’s strong humor and universal themes appealed to a
wide audience, elevating the half-hourlong Canadian sitcom to international success. For the American audience, waiting for the third season to drop on Netflix was a torturous eternity. But as of April 5, the wait is over. Following last season’s rather abrupt finale, in which Jung and Shannon’s will-they-won’t-they relationship hit a snag after Jung and his father Appa’s attempt at reconciliation was spoiled by their pride, this season seemed fat-
ed for a dramatic start. This made the premiere episode, “New Appa-liance,” a welcome return when it turned out the central conflict was Umma, Jung’s mother, shopping for a new dishwasher and Appa, owner of the eponymous grocery store, haggling for a good price. On paper this seems an odd choice to begin the series a year after the last installment, but the episode seamlessly incorporates typical Kim family shenanigans into the aftermath of the season two
finale. There was also a touching final scene in which Jung and Appa tentatively make up (made hilarious by Umma, who is too distraught over the two of them breaking the new dishwasher to appreciate this). Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon’s chemistry, honed since 2011 when the Kim family debuted in Ins Choi’s original play Kim’s Convenience, was on full display this season. Some CONTINUED ON PG. 19
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of the strongest storylines came from Umma and Appa’s various antics in and around the store, including a stereotypically “Appa” storyline in which he schemes to steal the Wi-Fi password from the fitness center next door, or one in which Umma had to fix all the signs in the store after Appa made an embarrassing spelling error. This season also took the time to give the audience some moments of genuine heart between the two, though not without some of the show’s trademark light humor thrown in for good measure. In “Open Kimunication,” a highlight of the season, the two ended up in a couples counseling session led by Pastor Nina, where Appa has a breakthrough about his childhood and is (somewhat unwillingly) pulled into a healing circle. Even among a strong supporting cast, Pastor Nina stands out. After making a lasting impression in her debut last season, Amanda Brugel’s character has integrated herself nicely into the Kims’ lives, featuring in some of the season’s funniest plotlines. Possibly the best one is in “Thy Neighbour’s Wifi,” where she ends up as a guest at the Kims’ viewing party for Korean dramas and is indoctrinated into the genre. Andrew Phung’s Kimchee also got some strong development this season: Now promoted to assistant manager (Jung’s old position)
at Handy, Kimchee gets a taste of some real responsibility and the various pitfalls that come with it. The surprisingly touching episode “To Him It May Concern” reads like a typical sitcom and involves a visit from Kimchee’s mother, during which he tries to hide his continued friendship with Jung from her. Things started to become less entertaining and more annoying with Jung’s sister Janet’s storylines. Although Andrea Bang’s performance is, as always, excellent, her character’s experiences this season seem centered on the recurring theme of getting into trouble due to some miscommunication or her own selfishness. It’s clear that this served to portray the pitfalls of becoming independent, but it was frustrating to watch Janet get stuck in more or less the same situation every episode. She did have some great moments, though, including a climactic scene in the finale that served to end an otherwise lackluster storyline involving her and her former boyfriend Raj, and a touching subplot in the premiere where she tried to change her name to make herself more unique. Otherwise, her character felt stagnant for much of the season. The same can be said about Simu Liu’s Jung: Again, Liu’s performance is amazing, but this season was missing real consequences for Jung’s actions in the season two finale, and continued
Jean Yoon, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Andrea Bang play the Kim family in the hit Canadian TV show. courtesy of netflix communication with Appa after they tentatively made up in the premiere. The episode “The Kim Cup” offered a glimpse at their continued tensions, but was the only moment besides the premiere in which the two interacted. Still, Liu’s chemistry with Nicole Power’s Shannon continued to entertain. Despite some lows, this season of Kim’s Convenience is ultimately full of highs. The lead cast continues to convincingly depict the daily lives of a Korean immigrant family, while the show’s spot-on humor offers laughout-loud moments in every episode. It was nice to see the subtle touches the
writers added as a way of recognizing their representation-mindful audience, including a fun sequence delivered almost entirely in Korean and a moment where Appa and Umma, after spending a whole episode arguing about spelling English words, genuinely forget what a word means in Korean. Though some of the show’s more dramatic themes from last season got buried, Kim’s Convenience delivered a season of humor and heart. Next year, American viewers will surely be waiting torturously, once again, for the season to finish airing in Canada so that it can drop on Netflix.
Ex Hex Proves That Nostalgia Is Still Cool By ZOE BEAN Arts Editor
As Ex Hex took the stage at Thalia Hall last week, pink and purple lights bounced off a glittery, reflective backdrop to illuminate the crowd. The most ardent fans, pressed against the barrier, were bathed in the glow, which created halos that framed their salt-and-pepper hair. Yes, the majority of the crowd looked like they would never really know how to use Facebook no matter how long they’d had it. That is to say, they were somewhere near their forties. It makes sense—Ex Hex’s appeal revolves around alt-rock legend and guitar prodigy Mary Timony. Previously a
member of Helium, Autoclave, and Wild Flag, most of her fans have been with her since her tenure in the former, back in the ’90s. That’s fine! Ex Hex has a more synth-heavy, ’80s-rock feel, which probably resonates with people who have actually experienced the ’80s. It would be easy to call Timony a has-been, and to write Ex Hex off for trying to recreate a scene that you just can’t recreate—not in a venue as impeccable as Thalia Hall, nor with the type of crowd Ex Hex attracts. But it seemed, as the show went on, that everyone was happy to be there sober, swaying benignly, enjoying an inarguably talented band and their music. So maybe there are no has-beens—only musicians CONTINUED ON PG. 20
Ex Hex performed at Thalia Hall. adrian mandeville
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who have transformed a nostalgic sound into something else, distinct yet reminiscently good. Ex Hex made their debut in 2014 with their album, Rips. Those 12 tightly-wound tracks fueled several successful years of touring. The album might be a surprising contrast for fans of Timony, whose sound was previously very different, but it’s upbeat enough to reel them in anyway. “Don’t Wanna Lose,” the obvious standout, is a frenetic, melodic introduction to the group’s sound. However, their new album, It’s Real, unwinds a little. It’s clear that the group has relaxed into a more garage-rock tone, but their technical skills and ’80s aesthetic keep the act from becoming too disheveled. Moaning, a post-punk band from L.A., opened for Ex Hex. They were visibly younger and more male than the main act, but evoked a similar sense of recreating an “unrevivable” scene. Their angsty, explosive set was spot-on, and clearly resonated with the audience. They were probably a perfect, if not obvious, choice
to open for Ex Hex. In a way, they both performed the same sleight of hand: borrowing heavily from nostalgic genres. Despite being a truly solid act, Moaning was a bit eerie, in that they were in their twenties and were regurgitating a very modern version of post-punk to people who have probably witnessed the birth of this genre. They were aware of this, though, and fearlessly put forth a mushier version of punk than what the crowd would have been used to. At one point, the lead singer, Sean Solomon, sat on the edge of the stage and candidly delivered a break-up song as if he was hashing it out in that moment. By the end of the song he sang to the lights above him while lying on his back. His soft-boy bowl cut and clean-shaven face added to the juvenile vulnerability of this moment, one of the most honest of the whole set. He was acting his age, which felt more nuanced than the band’s earlier, more literal take on the genre. Moaning was an unexpected gem, but Ex Hex was better, in the savory, intangible way that an experienced, technically
strong band is. Lead singer Mary Timony and bassist Betsy Wright came out in leather skinny jeans, patterned shirts, and ankle boots. Aging female rockers don’t often get the same evergreen spotlight as their male counterparts do. Rath-
er than judging American Idol, they must settle to make occasional TV appearances on shows like The L Word and Portlandia. Nonetheless, many rock legends like Timony keep innovating—a silver lining in this patriarchal gray cloud.