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151 N. Michigan Ave




Congrats! Felicitations! Class of 2021

We are so proud of you! “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

Maya Angelou

“Trouvez votre bonheur en vous-même.”

Albert Camus




ABBY WEBER University of Chicago Class of 2021

We are so proud of you! Love, Mom, Dad & Ellie Thomas Propson Class of 2021 Very proud of your accomplishments, be happy and enjoy your journey ahead! We are as excited as you are for your next chapter of life, and will always be behind you every step of the way!



Love Dad, Mom, Jeffrey and Family

Thomas, what an incredible 4 years! It seems like yesterday we dropped you off at I-House and here you are ready to begin another chapter at MIT. You have made us proud every step of the way and have made the most of every opportunity. All Our Love, Mom, Dad & Helen



Editor’s Note To the Class of 2021: What a four years it’s been. While this graduation season will not feature raucous parties, sentimental family reunions in Hyde Park, or drawnout speeches in 90-degree weather, we hope that you will find it no less special. Graduating from university is a momentous accomplishment—and graduating from the University of Chicago even more so. Those of us with time remaining in the College will miss your leadership on RSOs, late-night life tips, and, of course, the 2 a.m. problem set hints you so generously provided. The Class of 2021 is populated with our friends, mentors, former RAs, and

a number of phenomenal outgoing contributors to The Maroon. You introduced us to campus, recruited us for campus organizations, instructed us on the finer points of campus roofing and UChicago’s party scene, and served as a model of intellectual and personal tenacity as we navigated the pandemic together. We know that soon, you will be public servants, activists, artists, innovators, physicians, jurists, dealmakers, and leaders in every sector. Your choices will help define the future of your fields and industries. At The Maroon, we eagerly await the opportunity to write headlines about these groundbreaking accomplishments. Today, we feel lucky that we

also got to know you as meme-makers, Scav masterminds, Reg rats, Kuvia enthusiasts, campus baristas, and primal screamers. Thank you for bringing your creativity, humor, and sharp minds to our campus community: We have benefited from your presence here, and now the rest of world will benefit from your presence too. We also want to recognize that this class of Maroons is graduating into an uncertain economy and a world reeling from crisis. The Class of 2021 has the unique task of building postgraduate lives as the global community itself rebuilds post-pandemic. You might not know what comes next for you, and that’s okay. After all, you’ve already

made it through The Core, bar nights, all-night thesis sessions, econometrics problem sets, and fourth meals at Bartlett—sometimes in the same 24 hours. What could stop you? Wherever you may be reading this issue—at home, on campus, or somewhere else entirely—we hope that it gives you a moment amid the frenzy of graduation to reflect on these past four years. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the future, and we will be rooting for you every step of the way. Adyant Kanakamedala, Matthew Lee, and Ruby Rorty


Former Members of THE MAROON Share Their Plans for After Graduation By RYAN OWYANG Senior News Reporter As an unusual academic year winds to a close, graduating students are faced with a set of odd circumstances in planning what they’ll do after convocation. We caught up with four former members of The Maroon to see what their future plans hold. Emma Dyer, former Editor-in-Chief I am doing a master of science program at UChicago in biomedical informatics, and I’m also working at the hospital for the section head of gastroenterology, David Rubin. I’ll be the clinical research coordinator, managing clinical trials and keeping Rubin’s calendar and lab in order. I’ll be gaining experience and doing those things with the goal of applying to medical school. I’ll be here for two more years and I’ll hopefully matriculate to medical school in fall 2023. I’d planned to go to medical school since my freshman year, deciding not

to go straight through independently of COVID. But, my decision to stay at UChicago was because the University started the Rudolph Scholarship, which provides an almost automatic $15,000 scholarship if you are a graduate of the class of 2021. It was the most competitive financial aid for a master’s program out of the eight schools that I got into. The scholarship would not have happened without COVID, so it’s definitely helping me get my education at a much more affordable price and not making me move across the country to find a competitive program. Tony Brooks, former News Editor A few weeks ago, I submitted an application for the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School. It took some time to get all the paperwork together; the application package needed test scores, recommendation letters, physicals, and a whole bunch of other paperwork before it was ready to send in. I think I started working on it in August. I’ve still got another few months in limbo before the

Navy reviews all their applications and sends out acceptances and rejections. In the meantime, I’ll be working as an economics research assistant at Booth over the summer. With the rest of my free time, I’ll be going on some road trips to a few parks and national forests around the country before spending the better part of the next few years on a boat. There’s also a chance that they reject my application, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Darcy Kuang, former News Editor This fall, I will begin pursuing my J.D. at New York University School of Law. Becoming an attorney has been my dream since I was a child, so I am beyond excited to begin this journey. Since I came to America 8 years ago, I have only lived in the Midwest, so I really look forward to exploring the East Coast as well. Being a part of The Maroon has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at UChicago, and I am grateful for all the amazing, talented people I got to meet here in the past four years. Best of luck

to everyone! Matthew Pinna, former Viewpoints columnist I’m excited to accept, upon graduation, my commission into the United States Marine Corps. In between now and when I head over to Quantico for The Basic School, I’ll be working back home in New York for an AI startup that’ll help improve nonprofit fundraising and management. I’m also planning a sick road trip for my 21st birthday, so if anyone has suggestions, feel free to reach out. You can catch me cruising down East 55th in my car, alternating between blasting Gucci Mane and Ariana Grande. I’d like to thank all my Viewpoints editors for the amazing work they’ve done this quarter, both for other contributors and myself. The Maroon’s pretty cool, and I know you guys are all going to do great, even after my timeless words of wisdom no longer grace The Maroon’s pages.



THE MAROON’s Mix ’n’ Match: A Four-Year Retrospective By MAROON STAFF Compiled by Pranathi Posa 2017–18 GSU Celebrates Win, Admin Says Legal Fight Continues (October 19) Graduate students overwhelmingly voted to unionize after years of organization, with 1,103 “yes” votes and 479 “no” votes. After beginning the process of legally certifying the union through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Graduate Students United (GSU) eventually withdrew its petition to formally unionize, citing concerns that the NLRB under the Trump administration would use GSU’s petition to overturn pro-grad union precedents. During former President Donald Trump’s administration, the NLRB floated a rule that graduate students were not employees, but this rule was withdrawn after the Biden administration took office, once again creating an avenue for GSU to seek recognition through the NLRB. Pearsons, Who Pledged $100 Million to UChicago, Want Their Money Back (March 5) Brothers Timothy and Thomas Pearson donated $100 million on behalf of their family in 2015 to found the Pearson Institute, which would have hosted research on global conflict prevention. But in February 2018, the Pearson Family Foundation filed suit against the University for the $22.9 million it had already given, alleging that the University had not been meeting its obligations for developing the institute. Then in April,

the University denied the Pearsons’ allegations and filed a countersuit. Pearson family attorneys sent The Maroon subpoenas for documents in the ongoing lawsuit. The Most Well-Armed Woman in North: Here’s the Story Behind the Crossbow Meme (April 2) In March, a police incident report was posted to the Facebook group “UChicago Memes for Theoretical Midwest Teens,” detailing that a crossbow had been found in a student’s dorm room in Campus North residential hall. The owner of said confiscated crossbow, referred to in The Maroon as simply “M,” also voluntarily turned over a second weapon she had in her dorm room, a sword she referred to as “Dark Sister.” UCPD Officer Shoots U of C Student Wielding Metal Pole, Smashing Windows (April 4) University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) Officer Nicholas Twardak shot thenfourth-year Charles Thomas in the shoulder while responding to a report that Thomas was using a metal pole to break windows in an alley between South Kimbark Avenue and South Woodlawn Avenue. Body camera footage released by the University sparked debate and on-campus protests over Twardak’s and Thomas’s actions, especially after individuals close to Thomas said he was likely having a mental health episode. The incident led to the creation of #CareNotCops, which has been advocating for the defunding and abolition of UCPD ever since.

2018–19: Jewel-Osco Officially Opens in Woodlawn (March 7) After decades of Woodlawn being a food desert, a branch of the supermarket chain Jewel-Osco opened at East 61st Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue in March 2019. The first full-service grocery store in the area, Jewel-Osco’s grand opening was attended by former mayor Rahm Emmanuel. The store was expected to create almost 200 full- and part-time jobs for members of the Woodlawn community. UChicago Allegedly Favored Donors’ Children for Internship Funding as Students in Need Were Turned Away (March 15) Amid a national scandal surrounding college admissions at elite universities, The Maroon received emails sent in 2016 from a UChicago Career Advancement employee in which another staff member asked the employee to contact students that the office called “Special Interest Cases” (SIC). The messages, sent in 2016, said that “many of [SIC students’] parents are important supporters of Career Advancement,” both by financially and by connecting students to organizations. Lightfoot Beats Preckwinkle by Wide Margin to be First UChicago Alum, Black Woman as Mayor (April 2) After a crowded mayoral field was whittled down to two candidates for the April run-off, UChicago alumna Lori Lightfoot (J.D. ‘89) was elected the 56th mayor of Chicago, the first Black woman and openly lesbian woman to take the office. Lightfoot defeated her opponent, Toni Preckwinkle (A.B. ’69, A.M. ’77), by almost 50 percentage points. 2019–20 Trader Joe’s Opens in Hyde Park (October 21) Trader Joe’s took over the space previously occupied by the grocery store Treasure Island, which closed in late 2018. Located at East 55th Street and South Lake Park Avenue, it was the first Trader Joe’s to open on the South Side. Previous to its opening, the southernmost Trader Joe’s in Chicago was located in the South Loop. The grand opening was heralded by the Kenwood Academy marching band and approval from Univer-

sity and community members, including Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston. “A fait accompli”: How the central administration has consolidated power and deflected dissent at the University of Chicago (January 29) After obtaining documents pertaining to faculty and administrator meetings and communications, The Maroon examined the increased centralization of the University’s administration under President Zimmer. The series covers a range of issues, including the University administration’s handling of GSU, the minimized role of faculty in academic matters, and the loss of dialogue between Student Government and administrators. University of Chicago Announces Transition to Remote Learning for Entire Spring Quarter (March 12) In what went on to become a year and a half of remote learning, University President Robert Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee Lee announced that spring quarter would be conducted remotely in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in March 2020. Students living in on-campus housing were to vacate housing by March 22, the last Sunday of winter quarter. UChicago Students Nationwide Take to the Streets Following Death of George Floyd; South Side Community Groups Rally Support and Resources in as Protests Continue (June 11) In the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, UChicago students around the country participated in protests. In the South Side, community groups rallied to support those protesting. Organizations like Tenants United and GSU provided protective supplies and safety training. Experimental Station, a South Side nonprofit, found its community food program in high demand due to a temporary shutdown of grocery stores during the protests. Brave Space Alliance, the first Black-led and trans-led LGBTQ+ center on the South Side, organized jail support for protestors who were arrested in addition to providing a safe place for protesters who were stranded in Hyde Park after transportation shutdowns. CONTINUED ON PG. 7



Looking Back on Four Years of MAROON Headlines CONTINUED FROM PG. 6

2020–21 President Zimmer to Step Down After 2020-21 School Year, Transition Into New Role as Chancellor (August 22) After a 15-year tenure, University President Robert Zimmer announced that he would be stepping down as president and transition into the role of chancellor of the University before the start of the 2021–22 school year. The position of chancellor has not been used by the University for over 60 years, and according to the email announcing the change, Zimmer’s assumption of the role is not a permanent reinstatement of the position in University governance. Academic Credit for Transfer Students Delayed for Months, Resulting in Uncertainty About Pre-Registration and Graduation Requirements (October 19) Last year’s cohort of transfer students experienced disorganization and monthslong delays in transferring class credits to UChicago, resulting in students being asked to pre-register with little certainty over their transferred credits and with fears of delayed graduation. Many members of the unusually large transfer cohort—75 students, compared to the usual 20—waiting for departments to complete their course credit evaluations found themselves receiving in-

complete or missing evaluations. First-Years Reflect on a UChicago Experience Shaped by COVID-19 (November 2) While students of all class years have been allowed to return to campus, the majority of traditional offerings, including classes, Registered Student Organization (RSO) meetings, and O-Week programming have gone virtual. This has left first-year students facing new challenges, from making friends to finding study spaces. However, they have also taken it as an opportunity to explore campus and the city of Chicago. Paul Alivisatos Selected as University’s 14th President (February 26) Nearly six months after University President Robert Zimmer announced that he would be stepping down from his post, Paul Alivisatos, former executive vice chancellor and provost at University of California, Berkeley, was named the 14th president of the University. Alivisatos will take office on September 1. University Aims for Full Return to Campus by Autumn Quarter (March 29) President Robert Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee Lee announced that the University is planning to hold the 2021–22 academic

year entirely on campus. This would entail a return to full-service housing and dining, a majority of classes being held in person, the resumption of study-abroad programs, and in-person academic and career advising alongside virtual appointments. The reopening is, however, contingent on a high rate of vaccination within the University community, continued adherence to precautionary measures in line with government guidelines, and low rates of infection in Chicago. 97 New COVID Cases Identified Amid Recent Spike Associated With Off-Campus Parties (April 9) Off-campus parties and traveling during spring break resulted in the University’s first concentrated outbreak of COVID-19 among residents of on-campus housing. In response to the outbreak, the University instituted a stay-at-home order that lasted from April 7 to April 20 in order to contain the spread of the virus. Following the announcement, College Council (CC) released a statement urging administrators to consider repercussions for individuals that had violated the UChicago Health Pact and pushed for the University to recognize Greek Life on campus. After One Year of Remote Learning, International Students Continue To Struggle With Taking Classes Overnight

(April 13) The sudden closure of campus in March 2020 due to the pandemic forced many students back home. International students who are learning from halfway around the globe face difficulties with attending synchronous classes and turning in assignments on time while maintaining regular sleep schedules. While individual professors have made attempts to accommodate those far from Hyde Park, international students’ struggles with remote learning have found little traction among University administrators. College Council Report Recommends Immediate Return to 10-Week Quarters (April 21) In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University accelerated its timeline to switch to a nine-week quarter, a change that was originally scheduled to take place in autumn 2021. The schedule change was intended to increase students’ access to summer opportunities that begin in June. However, the switch has been met with widespread dissatisfaction from the undergraduate student body, and in a CC report sent to the University administration, undergraduate student satisfaction with the 2020–21 academic calendar was only 38 percent.

Fourth-Years Enter an Uncertain and Competitive Graduate School Application Cycle By LUKIAN KLING Senior News Reporter For prospective graduate students on campus, completing this quarter will represent but a small break in their academic careers. As the pandemic wears on and other life circumstances change though, some students have rethought or changed their plans. Sam Landon, a fourth-year studying history and religious studies, intended on going to graduate school next fall, but he changed his mind when he found out some of the schools he was interested in were not considering applications due to the pandemic. Now, he plans to take a gap year. “Some grad schools I was planning on applying to were

not accepting any applications for this upcoming year,” he said. “I [also] wanted more time to consider and discern exactly what I wanted to do.” The University of Chicago’s own law school was among the schools that stopped accepting applicants for some of its programs this year. Its master of legal studies program will not accept any applications during the 2020–21 admissions cycle, although the Law School plans to reopen applications for the program in early 2022. Some other students reconsidered their options during the pandemic but wound up sticking to their original plans. Fourth-year Jack Schwab is seeking a master’s degree in urban planning and will be attending grad-

uate school in New York next fall. Though he ultimately wound up deciding to continue his education, the pandemic made him rethink following up four years of undergraduate studies with more school. “I was on the fence between going straight through or taking some time, but COVID made getting a good job or going overseas much more difficult and simultaneously made applying to grad school very easy with test waivers,” he said. Schwab was not the only one to make this calculation; UChicago Law School saw a 30 percent increase in applications this admissions cycle. Ann Perry, associate dean for admissions at the Law School, told The Maroon that this was consistent with na-

tionwide trends in law school applications. She attributes the uptick to a variety of conditions over the past year, both logistical and political, that made the prospect of going to law school more appealing. “The ease of the LSAT test being able to be taken at home was a helpful factor in the increase in applications,” she said. “I also think that everything going on in our country, with social justice and elections, could have spurred interest in law.” The University’s Booth School of Business, which was one of only two top 25 business schools in 2019 not to see a decrease in applications, also saw a significant increase in applications the next year, going from 4,289 in 2019 to 4,909 in 2020.



Congratulations Jessica Michelle! Majors in Psychology and Comparative Human Development Minors in Jewish Studies and Education & Society Jessica, We are all so proud of you and we can’t wait to see and be part of the wonderful things that you will do in your life. Keep on being the amazing person you are. We wish you success upon success with lots of health and happiness mixed in! Much love, Mom, Dad, Samantha, Rebecca and Hillary

Congratulations, Nadia Redza, Class of 2021! We are always so proud of your achievements. Love Mummy, Daddy & Nina.

Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Courageous



CONGRATULATIONS!!! We know you’re a stellar student, but we love how you’ve also followed your passion through involvement in student health and wellness, student government, as well as other activities! You’ve tried new things and met so many incredible people during some very challenging times. We are so proud of the woman you’ve become! We love you so much and can’t wait to see all that the future holds for you! Love, Mom, Dad, Ron, Grace and Ethan



“Do anything, but let it produce joy.” --- Walt Whitman

Julia Fischer

Class of 2021

Dear Julia,

We love you, we are proud of you and we wish you every success! Love, Mom, Dad, Sophia and Aspen


Graduate extraordinaire, big brain physics major, pandemic survivor, hilarious, Harry Potter devotee, avid reader, pierogi lover, Gillmore Girls binge watcher, good friend, kind, social activist, world traveler, exceptional daughter, joyful, lover of life, California girl, and did I tell you she was fluent in French. We are so proud of you! We love you so much! We recognize and celebrate the work you did to get here. Tim and Debbie

Congratulations Andrew Meier Dietz!! We are so happy for you and proud of you! Love, Mom, Dad, Rachel, Claire and Leo



VIEWPOINTS One Thread Throughout the Before and After Times Reflecting on my time in the College, it’s clear that kindness makes all the difference. By OREN OPPENHEIM What ties together my time at the University of Chicago? I’ve been thinking over that question a lot as I crawl, in denial, toward the end of my undergraduate years here. But it’s tough to unify an experience that was shattered in two so dramatically for me and so many others. I mean, lots of people joke about the “before times” nowadays—the days before COVID-19. “Remember when we went to restaurants?” we laugh. “Who else misses

falling asleep in class?” we ask. Then we adjust our headphones and sit up straight as we click the button in Google Chrome that opens Zoom. We crossed the point of no return over a year ago, and this is just the world now. But when I look back, my time at UChicago feels irrevocably bifurcated between the before and the after times. Not evenly—the pandemic erupted during my third-year spring— but still very much divided. I think of late nights in the Reg, working on papers and

Matthew Lee, Co-Editor-in-Chief Ruby Rorty, Co-Editor-in-Chief Adyant Kanakamedala, Managing Editor Suha Chang, Chief Production Officer Charlie Blampied, Chief Financial Officer The MAROON Editorial Board consists of the editors-in-chief and editors of THE MAROON.


Peyton Jefferson, editor Pranathi Posa, editor Yiwen Lu, editor Kate Mabus, editor Laura Gersony, editor Nick Tarr, editor GREY CITY

Alex Dalton, editor Avi Waldman, editor Laura Gersony, editor VIEWPOINTS

Gage Gramlick, head editor Elizabeth Winkler, associate editor Kelly Hui, associate editor ARTS

Gabi Garcia, editor Veronica Chang, editor Wahid Al Mamun, editor SPORTS

Alison Gill, editor Thomas Gordon, editor Ali Sheehy, editor COPY

Rachel Davies-Van Voorhis, copy chief James Hu, copy chief Cynthia Huang, copy chief Gabby Meyers, copy chief Charlotte Susser, copy chief


Matthew Chang, head of production Riley Hurr, design associate Arianne Nguyen, design associate Eren Slifker, design associate BUSINESS

Graham Frazier, director of strategy Astrid Weinberg, director of marketing Michael Cheng, director of marketing RJ Czajkowski, director of development Dylan Zhang, director of operations WEB

Firat Ciftci, lead developer Kate Hu, developer Joshua Bowen, developer Perene Wang, developer Editor-in-Chief: Newsroom Phone: (312) 918-8023 Business Phone: (408) 806-8381 For advertising inquiries, please contact or (408) 806-8381. Circulation: 2,500. © 2021 The Chicago Maroon Ida Noyes Hall / 1212 East 59th Street Chicago, IL 60637

glancing up too often from the workspace tables to see if I’d spot any other familiar faces. Or looking around the crowded Hillel social hall on Friday night, trying to find a seat for the Shabbat dinner and hoping I won’t miss all the food. Or rushing around campus to report on a Maroon story, then winding my way through the labyrinth (of Ida Noyes’s basement) to the newspaper office so I could work on a story or an editing shift with my colleagues and friends. It’s all memories now. Sometimes it feels ephemeral, as if none of it ever happened. As if it was all some sort of pleasant dream. If it was, then we all awakened into a nightmare in the “after” times. I remember struggling to adjust to Zoom classes, the breakout rooms and awkwardness of being on camera exacerbating my anxiety after I had just begun to address it. Pretending that my home’s living room was “the quad” even though I wondered if I’d ever walk across those stone paths as a student again. Coordinating Maroon articles and editing over Slack without the comfort of in-person camaraderie and advice. With the entire world roiling in the background in a way none of us had ever experienced. How do I tie this all together? There’s no neat answer. But for some reason, the thread that I feel binds these two epochs of my UChicago time together, however messily, is kindness. During the “before times,” I often found myself submerged

not only under the workload of my Core and major classes, but under expectations and demands from communities I joined early on. That included the Yavneh Modern Orthodox Jewish community, as I committed to coming to daily prayers and realized that I had forgotten how to easily wake up early. It included The Maroon, where I committed to articles without realizing how arduous the reporting process could be. And it included being a part of a broader campus community often wracked by drama, or sadness, or disarray. Thanks to the kindness of others, though, I made it through. The friends I made here, for instance, were always interested and excited to hear me talk about keeping Kosher and Shabbat—never judgmental or dismissive. A professor opened a class soon after a student’s death by reminding us that our mental health and time to grieve was more important than any Core book. Many of my housemates showed up and cheered me on as I stammered through a fundraising auction in the lounge. And upperclassmen were willing to give me tough love on an essay draft or encouragement during periods where I felt utterly burnt out. And then came the after times, after the pandemic began. “The University of Chicago Online,” I joked with friends. But the novelty of Zoom school wore off after a few minutes, and each day I confronted the new world and its reality. Yet, once again,

sparks of kindness: Professors lessened our workloads and sent condolences after a death in the family. UChicago friends stayed connected through Facebook and Instagram, and they made time to listen to me over the phone when I needed to talk to someone. Classmates tried to interrupt the silence in Zoom breakout rooms, and I found joy and laughter in the offthe-cuff conversations that resulted. And whether I was at home or in Hyde Park, seeing the many mutual aid efforts focused on the campus and broader community inspired me to see the brighter side of things. (I didn’t engage much with UChicago Mutual Aid formally besides some Facebook posts, but I hope what I occasionally wrote at least helped someone out—and I’m grateful for all of the advice people gave me through that page. Turns out kindness still exists in Facebook groups.) Since this essay is in The Maroon, I’ll also share this: the Maroon staff has shown me tremendous kindness as well during both the before and after times. During the before times—and I say this without wanting to dredge up too many difficult memories—when challenging editing questions or ethical quandaries came up at the paper, I always had fellow reporters and editors with whom to talk things out. During COVID-19, when my grandfather became ill from the virus, my fellow editors understood when I CONTINUED ON PG. 12



And then came the after times, after the pandemic began. “The University of Chicago Online,” I joked with friends. But the novelty of Zoom school wore off after a few minutes, and each day I confronted the new world and its reality. Yet, once again, sparks of kindness: Professors lessened our workloads and sent condolences after a death in the family. CONTINUED FROM PG. 11

admitted that I’d have to take a step back from my editing duties. When my grandfather passed away and I knew I’d have to leave The Maroon for a while, they understood. Instead, they sent me messages of love and support, reminding me that as much as I valued the paper, the paper and its staff also

valued me. Maybe I’m looking at my time at UChicago with too much nostalgia. Maroon-colored glasses, if you will. I’ve had tremendously difficult times over the past four years, and there’s much that I wish had gone differently. Or that I had done differently. At the same time, we’ve been

through more than a year of crisis. It’s often been challenging to find hope and optimism when late nights in the Reg or meetups at Hallowed Grounds now just feel like f leeting dreams and Zoom school is staring me right in the eyes. But I want to find the bright side of things wherever I can. And, for me, that means

finding the thread of kindness that ties together my entire UChicago experience. Writing this column is just a small way of saying thank you. Oren Oppenheim is a fourth-year in the College. He wrote and edited for The Maroon from 2017 to 2020.

Rereading My Relationship With UChicago A former editor of Viewpoints reflects on four very different years in the College By ALEXA PERLMUTTER In my first three years of college, I read Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl three times. First, it was in my first-year humanities sequence, Reading Cultures. A new transplant in Chicago at a new school (college, finally!) and living away from home for the first time, I was nervous and worried about succeeding academ-

ically. Sitting in one of the armchairs in South’s study lounge, I read slowly and carefully, armed with a black pen, which I used liberally, underlining a sentence or two on every single page and writing detailed notes in the margins. It took me hours to get through 50 pages. In class, we focused on paratext and how the publisher’s introduction by Lydia Maria Child frames Jacobs’s narrative and offers it legitimacy among a

Northern, white audience. I was too embarrassed to admit that I failed to even notice this two-page introduction, inadvertently skipping over it entirely. The next year, I read Incidents again in an eight-person English seminar called Incarcerated Life, which met in a tiny room in Wieboldt Hall. Though I was the only second-year enrolled in the class, I had grown more confident in my critical reading and ability to analyze, though I took cues from my older classmates about when I should speak, only raising points that related directly to what they said, never steering the conversation in a new direction. Sitting in the Harper reading room, I opened my copy of Incidents that I so heavily annotated in black the year before. I chose a red pen from my pencil case and this time marked only the passages that I felt were important. In class, we talked about slavery as an early iteration of the modern prison and the different modes of surveillance to which Jacobs was subject. When it was relevant, I made a nervous observation about the paratext; it was half my own thought and half paraphrased from my Reading Cultures professor. In my third year, I read Incidents

for the last time in a class called Race and Space. As my friends gossiped and cooked dinner in the kitchen, I lounged on our sofa and reread the book quickly, guided by my past selves’ marginal notes. I marked in blue ink the pages related to descriptions of the natural environment and constructed physical spaces. In class, we talked at length about the chapter called “The Loophole of Retreat,” which refers to the small garret above Jacobs’s grandmother’s shed, where Jacobs spends seven years hiding from her master. The space is a loophole for Jacobs because it is an escape from daily abuses at the same time that it is a jail cell so small that she can’t even stretch her legs. I directed the class to a passage wherein Jacobs bores small holes in the wall with a gimlet so she can see her children playing outside, and I noted the ways in which it marked a shift in power relations, a reversal of the white gaze, and (recalling all I had learned about prison apparatuses the year before) perhaps a new formulation of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon. This year, my last at UChicago, I did not take a class that assigned Jacobs’s CONTINUED ON PG. 13



Several weeks ago, I turned in a thesis to the English department of which I am truly proud. CONTINUED FROM PG. 12

text. I might have read the book on my own for symmetry’s sake, but I couldn’t. My well-worn copy of Incidents—replete with black, red, and blue annotations— is on a bookshelf in my apartment on South Woodlawn, where I left it last March—that is, March of 2020—when I flew out of Midway Airport for what I thought would be a two-week spring break. I haven’t been back to Chicago since then. Alas. As a writer and a humanities student, I read deeply into everything, and I’m always a sucker for a good literary device. For those of you who’ve taken a different academic path that doesn’t require you to cut up every sentence you encounter with a sharp blade, I’ll make it easy: My dynamic relationship with Incidents is a metaphor for my dynamic relationship with UChicago over the past four years. Every time I read Incidents, I did so differently and with more maturity, confidence, and thoughtfulness. What began as a compelling slave narrative became a multifaceted textual object as I learned how to recognize its complexities and nuance. Each subsequent year, certain parts of Incidents fell away and other parts came into focus, the typeset ink seemingly shifting

on the page before my eyes. My time at UChicago feels the same—and that’s how it should be. First year, UChicago meant nights in the Crown House lounge partaking in study break and watching movies, exploring the city for the first time via CTA, and standing in line for upwards of 30 minutes for Cathey’s pasta bar. Second year, UChicago was deciding to be an English major and falling asleep with a novel against my chest every night, tagging along to my friends’ sorority formals, and biking up and down the Lakefront Trail. Third year, UChicago became late nights in the Ida Noyes basement producing The Maroon, calling our landlord about a persistent rat problem, and cherishing my ability to recognize almost everyone in my English seminars on the first day of a new quarter. And then there’s fourth year. This year, I had planned to supplement my close circle of friends with graduate students as I worked toward my M.A. in the Humanities as part of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, a four-year dual degree. I had envisioned biweekly train rides to Andersonville with my roommates to visit our favorite bookstore. I imagined taking my graduation photos on the picturesque

quad. None of those things happened. For a myriad of reasons, I decided to attend school remotely in the fall from my parents’ house in Washington, D.C. Fall turned into winter, which turned into spring, and I am still here. Just as I learned to read Incidents differently as I matured as a student, I have learned how to be a UChicago student differently as I adapt to this pandemic and now, hopefully, this post-pandemic lifestyle. Specifically, this year, I have embraced the only part of the community to which I feel tethered: my coursework and the classroom, albeit a virtual one. UChicago has been distilled down to academia alone. Separated from campus and my social group, I seek solace in my classmates and my professors. The hours that I’m in class are truly the highlight of my week, my way of staying connected. This year, UChicago is thesis workshops with my MAPH precept via Zoom, meeting my new graduate classmates in breakout rooms, finishing a novel and telling my mom, rather than my friends, what I’m excited to discuss the following day. Several weeks ago, I turned in a thesis to the English department of which I am truly proud. At my parents’ house, no longer responsible for shopping or cooking for myself, and with very few social obligations, I was able to devote my entire self to this project for the past few months, and I can honestly say that my paper is better for it. I can’t know what the final product would look like if I was writing it amid the chaos of typical college life, but I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d have the focus to recreate the nuanced work I did from home. For three years, I flourished, struggled, and matured on UChicago’s campus, and for one year, I did so from another place. I am thankful for all of these years—and all of my readings of Incidents. Alexa Perlmutter is a fourth-year in the College, a master’s student in the humanities, and a former editor of Viewpoints.



ARTS youre muted: BA Thesis Show By JAD DAHSHAN Arts Contributor

Currently installed at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, this year’s B.A. Thesis Exhibition sits dormant as the campus population waits for the University’s stay-at-home order to be lifted, at the time of writing. Despite this, it is anticipated that as COVID-19 cases dwindle, the show will be open to students. Exhibiting work by Ana Liu, Andrea Grant, Ashanti Owusu-Brafi, Evelyn Shi, Everett Black, Hurston Wallace, Jessica Vanahill, Jon WuWong, Maggie Hart, Martin Girardi, and Yolanda Dong, youre muted comes after an unprecedented year in arts pedagogy. Having been scheduled to welcome the public on Friday, April 9, the exhibition opening was postponed by a week as the University instituted a stay-at-home order in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases on campus. The lingering party and travel-induced surge of infections led to the new April 16 opening being pushed back as well. At the time of writing, it is hoped that students will be able to see their peers’ work in person by Wednesday, April 21, and that the exhibition will not meet the same fate as last year’s canceled B.A. and M.F.A. Thesis shows. Even with some optimism that it will be seen by people in the flesh, youre muted does not put up any airs of pre-COVID

normalcy: The very title and distorted, glitched-out promotional graphic speak to its conception and reception during a time that is highly mediated by Zoom and similar technologies. Despite this and the probably low number of in-person viewings in the coming weeks, the exhibition does include a myriad of works that reward close looking. In speaking with a few of the exhibiting artists, it was clear just how much the experience of working through the last year of the visual arts major was diluted by the pandemic, despite some lucky allowances. Unlike previous generations of graduating seniors, Class of 2021 artists could not share studio space and work together in the same way. According to some, the loneliness of asynchronous viewings and the awkwardness of virtual critiques made for some frustrating experiences and often dramatically different perceptions of the art. Naturally, this is also true of the exhibition they have diligently installed, which encompasses a wide array of practices, ranging from the sculptural to the painterly to the digital. Maggie Hart’s assemblages, for one, combine found objects and hardware store media to generate highly affective and tactile experiences. Perhaps similarly to the way the Zoom tile came as a head-splitting, eyeball-drying perversion of the window, “Replevin” offers viewers a window frame that is degrad-

ing, mutating, corrupting. (However, this might be reading too much into the work through COVID-tinted sunglasses). Hart’s other sculptures also take objects that constitute the home, such as windows, chairs, and tables, and “disembowel” them, to borrow a word from the artist, upsetting their functionality within domestic space. In “Scab-picker,” a thin, shaky skeleton resists the weight of several oozy stalactites dripping downward as if to close a wound never left at peace. Directly referencing the University’s Student Disability Services homepage, “appropriate reasonable accommodations” reifies the learning difficulties experienced within a structure built to cater to neurotypicality. Ana Liu’s work, by comparison, veers somewhat from Hart’s: The three-dimensionality of sculptural work in space is collapsed to the illusionistic plane of the canvas, and a very tactile abstraction is supplanted with deeply contrived symbols. In Liu’s paintings and weavings, mythical, chimeric creatures are cast against the eternal dichotomies of light and dark, safety and danger, and others. Set in classic American suburbia, an archetypical drama unfurls. Here, a half-serpent, half-human figure reminiscent of the ancient Greek Lamia lies prone under a beam piercing through the sky; and there, something between a deer and a snake is splayed out, bleeding before a damning pair of headlights.

The artist’s diptych of paintings is done in oil on canvases primed with neon yellow instead of the conventional white, allowing them to glow from within even while depicting nocturnal scenes. Influenced by ecocritical thought, Everett Black makes work that thinks through human and non-human ecologies as well as the ways we relate to the environment. In addition to some more sculptural works incorporating materials like coyote skeleton and porcelain, Black also has a multimedia work on display which includes video and ruminates on perception and line. Meanwhile, Ashanti Owusu-Brafi also draws on natural materials such as skulls in addition to burnt canvas and human blood to create what the artist terms “sculptural collage” works that meditate on indigeneity and lineages, as in the work “Trust Totem (Generational Trauma Without the Ancestral Knowledge).” In spite of the vast rift between viewing art online and looking at it in person, the work on display at this year’s B.A. Thesis exhibition offers compelling and thought-provoking experiences regardless of the viewer’s location. youre muted was on display at the Logan Arts Center through Saturday, May 9.

SoundCloud Rappers, Serial Killers, and Song By NATALIE MANLEY Arts Contributor

What do you get when you throw an annoying SoundCloud rapper into a murder mystery? Or when a kooky librarian, the rapper’s crazy ex-girlfriend, two young lovers, and a serial killer all live on the same floor of an apartment building? Surely nothing other than graduating third-year Devin Haas’s miniature whodunnit musical It’s Curtains.

Featured in New Work Week—the College’s Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) department’s week-long event that showcases the work of students graduating from its major and minor programs—It’s Curtains was Haas’s final B.A. project for his TAPS minor. Like most projects featured in the second virtual iteration of New Work Week, It’s Curtains was performed as a script reading over Zoom and featured fellow TAPS students Alessandra Tufiño, Ryan Mur-

phy, Liz Ombrellaro, Alisa Boland, Laura Mahaniah, and Hannah Wilson-Black. The piece was directed by Lara Sachdeva, stage-managed by Ryan Murphy, and written by Haas. For Haas, despite the fact that his work was performed virtually, the experience of writing a piece and having it interpreted by others was still incredibly fulfilling. As a self-described “indecisive perfectionist” whose work rarely sees the light of day, it was a nice change for Haas

to see his work come to life on a “virtual” stage. Haas told The Maroon, “This was a cool experience for me because this meant actually working with a team of people to perform my work, and I think I learned a lot about the creative process through it. Obviously, seeing actors take words that I had written and might have imagined being said in one way or another, then breathing new life [into] them CONTINUED ON PG. 15



“I was going into this from the perspective of a writer who wanted to learn about my work...” CONTINUED FROM PG. 14

was very fulfilling.” Additionally, the transition to an online format was not that much of a change for Haas. His previous theatrical writing experience has been mostly based around Theater [24] productions (an annual festival of plays conceptualized, written, produced, and rehearsed all in the span of 24 hours), which in the past year has migrated to Zoom. “I don’t have as much experience with in-person productions as some people,” Haas explained. “For me, that almost made the idea of Zoom productions seem less jarring because I was coming at them from a place of less experience. [I didn’t need to] find a way to adapt live in-person staging and blocking to Zoom because I didn’t have much experience in them to begin with.” What Haas does have experience with, however, is songwriting. It’s Curtains was

originally written as a musical born out of a collection of songs Haas wrote for a class, but on Zoom, most actors simply read their lines given the rehearsal time constraints and the fact that, as any musician or performer can attest, performing music on Zoom is nearly impossible. “[The non-musical format] changed it, but I think I still learned,” Haas admitted. “These were songs first, and then I wrote dialogue later, but I have much more experience with lyric writing than I do with composition anyway. Luckily the lyrics could be kept, but instead of being sung they were spoken.” Overall, Haas is grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow as a writer from this experience, even if it might have looked quite different had it occurred in person. Haas told The Maroon, “Obviously there were things that were done differently than they would have been in another world, but I wasn’t

even thinking ,‘Oh, I wish this could have been done in person’ because I was just thankful that it could be done at all. I was going into this from the perspective of a writer who wanted to learn about my work and what should be changed, what some strengths were, [that sort of angle]. I think even just having a script reading over Zoom has been immensely, immensely helpful.” He added, “I am also hugely appreciative of the talented group of actors and [creative team] that helped make it happen.” Eventually, Haas plans to go back and revisit It’s Curtains and incorporate some of what he learned from New Work Week. For now, after having worked on the project for so long, he’s ready to set it down and move on to other projects and pursuits. Haas will be graduating early with the Class of 2021 this spring as an anthropology major and a TAPS minor and will be entering a one-year master’s program this fall. Nevertheless, he’s certain that writing creatively will continue to be a part of his life. “I don’t think that I want to do a single thing for my whole life,” Haas explained. “I do think that writing is something that I want to continue to do in my free time, no matter what my official job is. Hopefully, I would love to work in [the theater industry] at some point in the future depending on how things play out.”

Though working in the theater industry is not in Haas’s immediate sights, he is still incredibly grateful for his experience in TAPS and the opportunity he has had to tell stories throughout his time at UChicago. “I think that storytelling is really important on an individual level but also on a broader level,” Haas said. “I really, really, really enjoy writing, no matter how good my writing is. It helps me think through themes and ideas, and if nothing else, it’s just a good outlet. I’m very glad that in my time as an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to take some classes from some very talented writers and learn more about the craft. I obviously have a long way to go, but I have really appreciated all of the experiences I have gained and all of the time and effort that others have put into helping me grow as a student and a writer throughout my journey.” Devin Haas would like to extend a special thank you to Tiffany Trent, Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, and Scott Elmegreen from the TAPS department as well as the entire cast and creative team of It’s Curtains and the members of his B.A. colloquium. You can view and learn more about the works presented in New Work Week 2021 here.



Congratulations! ALESSANDRO RUBINI CLASS OF 2021 May this major milestone mark the beginning of a brilliant future. Continue with your dreams...we are so proud of you! Mum + Dad

Selin Ege Yalcindag! Congratulations on all you have accomplished. You make us proud.

Love, Mom, Dad & Emre




Class of 2021!



Congratulations Jessica! We are so proud of who you have become, and, we have every faith in how you far you will go. With love and big hug, Mom & Dad.

Congratulations Tony Brooks!!

We re so proud of the man you ve become and all you ve accomplished during your 4 years at UChicago. You have a bright future ahead! Love, Mom & Dad Nick Danny & Tara Mary-Cate

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shade of the Almighty says to the Lord, “My refuge. my stronghold, my God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91: 1-2



Congratulations! David H. Clarke University of Chicago Class of 2021 We are so proud of you! With love, Mom, Pop, Diego & the whole family!

Dear Emma, We are so proud of you and all you have accomplished. Congratulations! Love, Mom, Dad, & Lilly



Dear Boo, Congratulations! We are so proud of you for graduating from the University of Chicago. You have brought nothing but pride, honor and a love for the color maroon to this family. Through a pandemic, social movements and your student government presidency, your leadership shone through. We have no doubt that your star will continue to shine bright as you embark on the next leg of your journey. We will continue to stand with you while giving you all the support and love you need. We are with you every step of the way Rainey Rave and remember “You are your greatest investment. Be happy, be bold, be loved, and be yourself, for great things are in store for you.” We love you, Mommy, Daddy, Synclair, Taylor and family

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