VIEWPOINTS: The Maroon Editorial Board Should Endorse BDS PAGE 26
ARTS: A Retrospective From the Arts Editors
NEWS: Remembering Ilan Naibryf
CROSSWORD: Check Out bit.ly/UChiGrad22 for a Gradthemed Puzzle!
Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/chicagomaroon and follow @chicagomaroon on Instagram and Twitter to get the latest updates on campus news.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Editors’ Note Dear Class of 2022, Writing this letter—a letter written by editors of The Maroon for decades— hurts more than expected. The Class of 2022 ushered us into the magical, masochistic, and downright messy world that is UChicago. You were the savvy second-years who introduced reality to the fantasy written by When Harry Met Sally, US World News, and the admissions office. Nevertheless, you showed us the secret to enjoying our time here; to finding community and causes worth
fighting for. It’s hard to imagine this campus without you, but we know that it’s time for us to share you with the rest of the world. While no piece of writing could ever encapsulate the totality of your time here, we’ve tried to capture snapshots of the class of 2022. We hope this grad issue takes you back to first year and makes you excited about your future. Years from now, we hope this issue will serve as a souvenir, something to transport you back to now.
We would be remiss not to specifically thank the amazing graduating class of Maroon staffers. Your leadership sustained and guided this paper through the dark times of the pandemic. In the absence of our Ida Noyes office, you built community across time zones to not only keep the paper together, but grow it. You covered everything under the sun, and uncovered uncomfortable truths. Thank you to Adyant, Ruby, and Matt—our 2021–2022—slate as well as every other graduating Maroon staff
member for ensuring that generations of journalists to come will have a space to share their stories. With that, and maybe some teary eyes, we say goodbye for now. We would wish you luck, but we know you don’t need it. With gratitude, Yiwen Lu, managing editor and Gage Gramlick, editor-in-chief
NEWS Maroon’s Biggest New Stories This Year By ANU VASHIST | Senior News Reporter The 2021–22 academic year is one that constantly made headlines, as the graduating class’s time at UChicago have always been. From April 2021 to April 2022, in the span of 12 months, The Maroon collected nine stories that shaped our collective memories of the year. From The Maroon’s exclusive interview with President Paul Alivisatos before he started his presidency to the appointment of a new University of Chicago Police Chief, this collection covers the campus, Hyde Park, the country, and the world. April 2021: Paul Alivisatos Wants To Begin His Presidency by Listening The Maroon conducted a historic interview with Paul Alivisatos (A.B. ’81) in April 2021, which marked the paper’s first interview with a University president in recent years. Speaking of his goals as president, Alivisatos emphasized his commitment to listening to students, faculty, and South Side voices as he began his new position. The Board of Trustees elected Alivisatos as the 14th University President on February 25, 2021, prior to which he served as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley. A renowned chemist, his accolades include the National Medal of Science and the American Chemical Society’s Priestley Medal. He
was inaugurated at Rockefeller Chapel in autumn 2021. November 2021: U of C Students Relaunch Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign The Environmental Justice Task Force (EJTF) of UChicago Student Action relaunched a fossil fuel divestment campaign in fall 2021. Undeterred by UChicago President Paul Alivisatos’s statement that the University has no plans to divest, EJTF has circulated a petition and held teach-ins on environmental issues. January 2022: UChicago Among Universities Sued for Antitrust Violations at Federal Court The University of Chicago was one of 16 major universities named in a lawsuit for antitrust violations with regards to determining the amount of financial aid awarded to students. Five former undergraduate students of Duke University, Vanderbilt University, and Northwestern University are the plaintiffs, and they seek to represent all U.S. citizens and permanent residents who attended one of the 16 universities sued and received needbased financial aid since 2003. The class action complaint alleges that schools like UChicago “may or may not have followed a need-blind admissions policy through-
out the Class Periods, but during at least some portion of the Class Periods, they conspired with the other Defendants to reduce financial aid and increase the net price of attendance for their students.” February 2022: #CareNotCops Holds Rally to Protest Recent UCPD Shooting of Rhysheen Wilson After its founding in spring 2018, the student group #CareNotCops has continued fighting for the abolition of the UChicago Police Department (UCPD), increased community engagement, and better access to mental health resources. Since then, its work has included holding a weeklong occupation in front of Provost Ka Yee Lee’s house in September 2020 and a public safety forum at the same time as that of the Office of the Provost in March 2021. In winter 2022, they organized a protest in response to the UCPD shooting of Rhysheen Wilson. They gathered on the main quad in favor of increased investment in South Side communities and mental health resources, with organizations like Students of Disability Justice joining the protest. February 2022: Students for Justice in Palestine Take Their Advocacy to the Main Quad The UChicago chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organized events raising awareness about the occu-
pation of Palestinian people, including an installation on the main quad in February 2022. The RSO placed Palestinian flags and signs documenting the state of Israel’s and the Israel Defense Forces’s displacement of Palestinians. February 2022: Russian and Ukrainian Students Stage Protest in Quad to Raise Awareness of Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine Approximately two dozen UChicago students gathered on Harper Quad to lead a “Stop the War” protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They sought to raise awareness of the war and provide students a forum for discussion on Ukrainian-Russian relations. Organizers distributed homemade signs with slogans like “Stop Putin” and “I Stand with Ukraine” in addition to answering attendees’ questions about the issue. March 2022: Most Classroom Settings to Go Mask-Optional Starting April 4 In a UChicago Forward update sent Friday, March 18, the University announced that most classroom settings would be mask-optional beginning April 4. The decision followed the University’s lifting of mask requirements in most non-classroom indoor spaces on March 4 as well as the CDC relaxation of indoor CONTINUED ON PG. 3
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“The Maroon collected nine stories that shaped our collective memories of the year.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 2
masking guidelines and Governor J.B. Pritzker’s removal of the Illinois indoor mask mandate at the end of February. April 2022: At IOP Disinformation Conference, Obama Warns of “Anger, Resentment, Conflict, Division” Mon-
etized Online The University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, in collaboration with The Atlantic, hosted Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy. The conference featured politicians, journalists, and researchers such as Barack Obama, Maria Ressa, Amy Klobuchar, Frances Haugen,
Brian Stelter, Adam Kinzinger, and Anne Applebaum. April 2022: Lieutenant Colonel Kyle Bowman Appointed New UCPD Police Chief On February 25, Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Eric Heath
announced via email the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Kyle Bowman of the Michigan State Police as the Chief of Police for the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD). Bowman succeeded Mike Kwiatkowsi on April 4.
The Class of 2022’s Guide to the Gems of Hyde Park By CASEY KIM | Senior News Reporter Ascione Bistro 1500 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615 One of fourth-year Elly Choi’s favorite restaurants in Hyde Park is Ascione Bistro, an Italian-focused restaurant. With a full bar and patio, Ascione offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner menus. “I have fond memories of intimate one-on-one catch-ups, birthday parties, brunches with parents, and more,” Choi said. “The food is delicious, the ambiance is welcoming, and the staff is so kind. I will definitely miss Ascione when I graduate.” Deep Purpl – Acai Bowls 5229 South Harper Court, Chicago IL 60615 Booth School of Business student and College graduate (A.B. ’20) Hayton Oei had his first açaí bowl at Deep Purpl last August, and he has visited every day since. “My go-to order is the 20 ounce, which is the largest size. It’s 660 calories. It has strawberries, kiwi, bananas, blueberries, granola, goji berry, cacao nibs, and honey. Same order every day.” Located in Harper Court, “Deep Purpl is always crowded with students from the University and Kenwood Academy High School,” Deep Purpl employee Aanicia Sutton said. Sutton, a student at Chicago State University, has made smoothies and acai bowls at Deep Purpl for about four months. “It’s a really good dish, and I like to take some when I leave after my shift as
well,” Sutton said. “We’re almost at a year [since opening]. Deep Purpl is owned by a family from Brazil, which is where açaí comes from. It originates from Brazil. And that’s the aim, to bring it to Chicago and America.” Noodles Etc. 1333 East 57th Street #1724, Chicago, IL 60637 Emma Van Lieshout (’22) and her friends from her days at International House (I-House) have frequented Noodles Etc. Despite now living separately, they still keep their tradition and convene at Noodles Etc. to catch up. “When I lived in I-House my first and second year, my friends and I went to Noodles Etc a lot just because we didn’t want to walk all the way to Cathey [Dining Commons] sometimes,” Van Lieshout said. “I always get the Panang Curry.” Van Lieshout said she will miss Noodles Etc. after graduating as it holds the most memories of her time with her closest friends. Piccolo Mondo Restaurant & Bakery 1642 East 56th Street #1, Chicago, IL 60637 The Italian restaurant and bakery has been in the same location since 1985. Much of the menu is focused on Argentinian ingredients or dishes—Ben Whittaker (’22) enjoys and recommends the wide selection of Argentinian finger foods and pastries.
“I am Latin American, so I really love Argentinian food, and they have really good empanadas,” Whittaker said. “In fact, they’re the only empanadas I think you can get in Hyde Park. It is part of my heritage, and it was such a pleasant surprise to find that in Hyde Park. I thought coming to Chicago, I’d have to really venture far away…but it’s super close by, and the people are super friendly there.” Salonica Restaurant 1440 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 Whittaker has been going to Salonica since his first year at the University. For him and his friends, Salonica is “the spot.” The diner serves American comfort food, such as pancakes and burgers, as well as some Greek dishes like gyro and spanakopita. “The night before a bunch of us had to leave when the campus was shutting down because of COVID, we had one last hurrah that night before people were flying out and we made sure to have dinner at Salonica,” Whittaker said. “It’s a place that holds a lot of sentimental value, and the vibes are just great.” Lorenzo Orders (’22) also has a similar tradition with his friends, as they make sure to visit at the end of every school year. “I’m a big fan,” Orders said. “It’s nice and comforting. You know what you’re getting. It’s very lowkey, which is amazing, especially at the end of the school year.” Orders and his friends plan to visit Salonica once more before graduating.
Valois Restaurant 1518 East 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615 Open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and serving American comfort food, Valois has been a popular breakfast and lunch hotspot for many UChicago students. A favorite of President Barack Obama, the signature Hyde Park edifice has been part of the neighborhood since 1921. “I always take people to Valois when they come to visit me,” Van Lieshout said. “Great pancakes. My mom swears she can’t find any other pancakes that are better than Valois.” Valois accepts cash only and offers a ten percent student discount to those with student identification. “I can’t deny the appeal of trying to snag the table with Obama’s face on it,” Van Lieshout said. Paul Stacek, who will be graduating in fall 2022, appreciates the history preserved inside the beloved Hyde Park institution. As co-founder and president of the UChicago Real Estate Investment Group, Stacek has brought every single new member to Valois for coffee or lunch. “You sort of come into a place that is sort of frozen in time.… The menu, the prices seem to have stopped in time completely, and that’s really unique,” Stacek said. “You can’t get that experience at other places.” Valois’s ability to attract an eclectic crowd also adds to its charm, Stacek said. “We have international students from Hong Kong to locals who have been here for generations, bringing their kids to this restaurant, and college professors CONTINUED ON PG. 4
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“We asked graduating students about what some of their favorite Hyde Park businesses have been during their time at UChicago. Here’s what they said.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 3
or private equity CEOs who stop by to come here and eat,” Stacek said. “It’s just an incredibly unique place where all these different groups of people come together and sort of live and eat in harmony and peace.” Green Collar Cleaners 1314 East 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615 Stacek likes to get his dry-cleaning done at Green Collar Cleaners, where they promote eco-friendliness by avoiding certain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. “If you bring them the metal wire hangers, like a bag of them, they will let you spin the wheel and win an award,” Stacek said. “It’s funny, but they do it because they want to recycle those and not have those go to waste.” Hair Design International
1309 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 Whittaker highly recommends Hair Design International for those looking to be well-groomed—the business offers a variety of hair services, including trims, coloring, perms, waxing, and treatments. “My friends have always joked with me that I can never seem to get a good haircut except when I go there,” Whittaker said. “I’ve had this barber ever since I was little, and you feel kind of bad when you cheat on your barber, so to speak, by going to someone else. But it wasn’t until I came to UChicago that I had a valid excuse to get my haircut from someone that wasn’t him.” Powell’s Books 1501 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 Orders’s favorite Hyde Park business is Powell’s Books, a used-book emporium. “A real gem that I found my first year
was Powell’s,” Orders said. “It was absolutely amazing that I went there with some friends from my House because we did a bookstore crawl—we went to a bunch of them. I was shocked at how cheap the books were.” Orders has often gotten Christmas gifts from the store for his friends and family. “It’s just so cool,” Orders said. “You walk around and you’re like, ‘Oh, this looks so cool,’ and you flip it over and you look at the price and it’s like, ‘Oh, even better.’” Southspace Art Gallery 1109 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615 Located next to Insomnia Cookies and Te’amo Boba Bar, Southspace is an art gallery created and founded by Residential Heads at Campus North, Christian and Clara Clarke. “[The Clarkes] wanted a place to ex-
hibit student work and local artists, and some of my art is in there right now too,” Oei said. Christian Clarke said that Southspace was originally meant to be used as an art studio, but due to its large space, their goals expanded. They hope to “turn it into a gallery and also a community learning center for art and technology experiential learning,” he said. Southspace is currently open for events, but Clarke hopes to have more students and community members become involved and use the space. “Our goal is to find students and student groups who want to run their own events and art shows, tutoring, and workshops,” Clarke said. “That’s our main goal: to provide more opportunities for students and people in the community to use the space to keep it open more often.”
RSO Leaders Pass on the Baton By TOMAS VALLEJO | News Reporter From leaving campus abruptly in the middle of their second year due to the COVID-19 pandemic to having a late return to campus, the Class of 2022 has had a UChicago experience like no other. Nevertheless, its members still managed to leave a lasting impact on the College, especially through the Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) they shaped and led. From the day fourth-year Josselyn Navas arrived on campus, she sought to find a group that supported Latino students like herself interested in pursuing business after their academic careers. “My second year, [I] noticed that there was really a lack of resources and community for Latino people who were interested in business careers,” she said. To fill that void, Navas co-founded the Business Organization for Latino Development at UChicago (BOLD). Once she and fellow co-founder, thirdyear Diego Pizano, had established a team and gone through the school’s bylaws, the
stage was set. From the start, the pair aimed to create a space for Latino students to learn and master the skills needed to thrive in the business world. “This is a space where you can truly and fully bring yourself and all of your questions and not be judged,” Navas said. Fourth-year Parul Kumar, the co-president of the Phoenix Survivors Alliance (PSA) and former president of Undergraduate Student Government (having served from June to December 2021), left her own mark on campus. She spearheaded several projects, including the Survivor Fund, which Kumar said acknowledges “how costly being a survivor is.” The fund provides financial assistance to survivors of sexual violence and abuse for housing or therapy. Kumar expressed optimism that PSA would continue to provide a space for both healing and empowerment. Reflecting on her time in PSA, she noted how inspired she was by the valor and dedication of its mem-
bers. In particular, PSA has brought to campus The Clothesline Project, an initiative in which survivors hang T-shirts on clotheslines reflecting their personal experiences and accounts of survival. “Survivors at this university have continued to survive through the survival of those shirts and their stories.” Fourth-year Terra Baer knew that she wanted to be involved in sustainability efforts on campus as early as her admission interview in Berkeley, California. This led her to join the Phoenix Sustainability Initiative (PSI), which aims to improve sustainability on campus and in the Chicago area, during the autumn quarter of her first year. Baer did not join PSI for recognition; she simply wanted to pursue her passion and help others along the way. Baer has served as vice president for two years and co-president for one year at PSI, focusing much of her time on ensuring that the organization remains a space for student activists to make their voices heard. PSI has encouraged the University administration to
commit to sustainability measures. In 2020, Baer helped draft the University’s goal for a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2030, which will be accomplished by improving the energy efficiency of buildings on campus, scaling back gasoline consumption, and increasing its landfill diversion rate. In addition to working closely with President Paul Alivisatos and the administration, PSI collaborated with campus organizations like MODA, which is a student-run fashion magazine and blog designed to showcase unique talent and engage students in fashion dialogue. The two RSOs collaborated to organize a successful pop-up thrift shop in the Reynolds Club in winter quarter, which lasted three days. All proceeds from the event were donated to People for Community Recovery, a South Side environmental justice organization. Baer hopes that in the future, these collaborations will sharpen the University’s focus on sustainability, strengthen its commitment to carbon neutrality and divestment CONTINUED ON PG. 5
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“The Class of 2022 has had a UChicago experience like no other.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 4
from fossil fuels, and enable the expansion
of the Office of Sustainability. “Now is the time when we see both on campus and in the
world at large building a lot of momentum in the area of sustainability,” Baer said.
Terra Baer (left), Josselyn Navas and Diego Pizano (middle), and Parul Kumar (right). courtesy of connor lee and jordyn flaherty
“An Inspiring Personality”: Friends and Classmates Remember Ilan Naibryf, Student Killed in Summer Condo Collapse By OLIVIA CHILKOTI | Senior News Reporter and MICHAEL McCLURE | Deputy News Editor Editor’s note: The interviews for this story were conducted in the summer of 2021 but were regrettably not published at the time. On the eve of what would have been his graduation, The Maroon hopes to commemorate Naibryf. Class of 2022 student Ilan Naibryf was set to graduate from the University of Chicago this year. He died at age 21 in the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida, on June 24, 2021. Naibryf was pursuing a major in physics and a minor in molecular engineering at the time of his death. On campus, he was active in the Rohr Chabad Jewish Center, serving as the president of its student board during the 2020–21 school year. He also cofounded financial technology startup STIX Financials, which finished fourth in the finals of
the 2021 College New Venture Challenge. In conversations with The Maroon, several of his classmates at UChicago spoke to Naibryf’s care and consideration for his family and friends. Naibryf is survived by his parents, Carlos and Ronit, and his sisters, Micaela and Tali. His girlfriend of two years, Deborah Berezdivin, also perished in the condo collapse. She and Naibryf were staying at Champlain Tower to attend the funeral of a family friend. Often seen skateboarding around campus, Naibryf gained a reputation for his many inventions. Speaking to The Maroon fourth-year Austen Dellinger fondly recalled Naibryf’s attempt to create his own virtual assistant in the vein of Amazon’s Alexa product. “During sophomore year, he was really set on building his own Alexa,” Dellinger said. “One night he’d finally finished it and
he kept FaceTiming me every 30 minutes to have me ask Alexa questions.” During the video calls, Dellinger teased Naibryf by testing the limits of the virtual assistant using her Self, Culture, and Society course readings. “I was reading Marx and Hegel, so I kept being annoying and asking Alexa questions about Marx. And Ilan was getting so annoyed because Alexa didn’t know [the answers]. He kept trying to rephrase my question so that his Alexa could possibly answer them. I was messing with him, but it’s really amazing because he did create a basically functioning Alexa,” she said. Born in Argentina but raised in South Florida, Naibryf attended high school as a boarding student at the Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, graduating in 2018. While in high school, he also played on the youth men’s soccer team of Maccabi U.S.A., a national sports organization for Jewish athletes, traveling to Israel to participate in the 20th Maccabiah Games in July 2017.
At UChicago, Naibryf continued his soccer career by playing on and captaining the men’s club soccer team. He was also a middle-distance runner on the men’s cross-country team as a first-year. He worked as a tutor for the Computer Science Instructional Laboratory and at Regenstein Library’s IT Services TechBar. Naibryf’s other hobbies included photography, playing the guitar and ukulele, and traveling. In addition to a virtual assistant and a mini three-dimensional printer, Naibryf also built robotic prosthetic devices used by UChicago Medicine in its research. During their second year, Naibryf and classmate Juven Maetzu traveled to Boston and New York to present their work on a grant from the National Science Foundation, arranged through the Polsky Center. Naibryf entered the prosthetic device in the College New Venture Challenge in 2020, but he didn’t make it to the final round. The next year, he reentered the conCONTINUED ON PG. 6
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“He really enjoyed life, not just in a carefree way but in trying to really get the most out of life as much as he could.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 5
test with STIX, which he cofounded with Maetzu and fourth-year Ananiya Neeck. STIX was designed to allow its users to make payments using a debit card linked to their stock portfolios. Maetzu, who later became Naibryf’s roommate, remembers his exceptional drive as a budding entrepreneur and innovator. “He was driven not just to work hard and get good grades, like you typically see at UChicago, but to create something new. That’s why we created medical devices
when neither of us had any medical experience, or why he created a revolutionary fintech company when neither of us had any experience in finance. He wasn’t scared or intimidated. He was always driven to push boundaries because that’s what excited him about life,” Maetzu said. Rabbi Yossi Brackman of Chabad observed Naibryf’s joyous, zestful attitude. “He really enjoyed life, not just in a carefree way but in trying to really get the most out of life as much as he could. And whether that was his relationships or family or his work, he was always [living life to] the
Naibryf skating in Millennium Park in December 2018, during his first quarter at UChicago. courtesy of kyle ruark
fullest.” As a first-year, Naibryf became involved in Chabad, eventually rising to become president of its student board. Brackman said that Naibryf contributed greatly to Chabad, from welcoming new students to the Chabad community to stopping by on his skateboard to pick up dinner leftovers. “At Chabad, we try to create a very familial, home-like atmosphere, and he really gravitated to that,” Brackman said. “He was always positive. Sometimes if there was a new student, I would tell Ilan, ‘Please go welcome that student.’ He was one of the go-to people that I knew would sit down and make them comfortable.” Dellinger saw the same characteristic in Naibryf—a keen interest in getting to know people everywhere he went. “He had such a rare ability to connect with people, not only effortlessly, but to really mean it. There were no small actors in his life. Even if it was someone that he would see on occasion, every moment he had with people was meaningful,” she said. “I will always feel really honored to be privy to his mind and accomplishments, but that’s not what I feel [is] what he left [behind]. It was who he was as a friend and as a person.” Naibryf’s ability to connect with others also helped his roommate Conor Ching, a fourth-year, acclimate to UChicago after transferring to the school from the University of Southern California in 2020. Ching and Naibryf spent their COVID-affected third year bonding over cooking, a shared love for skateboarding, and everyday moments like throwing a football around their living room and talking about their future plans. “He would make sure to invite me or introduce me to different people, and that’s sort of how I got close to him. One of the greatest traditions that we had that really let me get close to him is he would always ask when I would want to eat lunch or dinner, and we would try to [synchronize] our dinner and lunch times every day in the spring quarter. So we probably had dinner together five out of seven nights in the week,” Ching said. “We’d either watch TV together or we would discuss whatever was happening in the world or just have random fun debates.”
But Ching, who called Naibryf “the best cook in the apartment,” also said Naibryf went above and beyond to help his friends. Ching told The Maroon about how Naibryf invited him to stay in the Chabad meeting room during finals week of spring quarter after their apartment, which lacked air conditioning, became uncomfortably hot. The next week, Naibryf cooked meals for Ching before moving out at the end of the academic year. “I was helping him move out, and he had a bunch of food left over, and he was leaving a couple days earlier than I was. And he decided to…cook it all up and just leave it for me, which was crazy,” Ching said. “I’d known him for less than a year, but…he didn’t have to do all of this stuff [for me].” Fourth-year Kyle Ruark met Naibryf during their first year, when both lived in Campus North Residential Commons’s Boyer House. Ruark recalled an outing downtown at the end of fall quarter during their first year, when Naibryf brought his new camera to take photos of his friends as they were skating around the Millennium Park Ice Rink. “It was a super simple night.… We’re ice skating, just having such a great time just being out,” Ruark said. “[Naibryf was] skating around with this new camera and taking pictures of everyone. There’s got to be a Google Drive folder somewhere of all the pictures that he took. It was just so much fun.” Ruark, a molecular engineering major, took several courses with Naibryf, and both played on the same club soccer team at UChicago. Those shared experiences allowed Ruark to see Naibryf as someone who brought enthusiasm and positivity to all that he did. “It really put a lot of things into perspective. That passion and that positive outlook on every aspect of life is something that I am hoping to take from Ilan and embody and put into everything that I do from now on because [he] was just such an inspiring personality, an amazing personality to be around,” Ruark said. “It’s hard to put into words how much that affects you and how special that is. But he was just the kid that you knew was so special.”
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Uncommon Interview: Outgoing USG President Allen Abbott BY YIWEN LU | Managing Editor Per tradition, The Maroon sat down with outgoing Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President Allen Abbott to discuss his time on Student Government (SG), COVID-19 challenges, the academic calendar, and his advice for the incoming slate. Abbott is a fourth-year majoring in East Asian languages and civilizations and Law, Letters, and Society alongside a joint master’s degree in international relations. In October 2020, Abbott was elected College Council Representative for the Class of 2022 by a tiebreaker vote between two write-in candidates. He was also appointed SG historian in February 2021 and served the position for the rest of the term. While on College Council (CC), he led the creation of a bill that would split SG into Graduate Council and Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and later served as the Transition Committee Chair once the resolution was passed. In June 2021, Abbott was elected USG’s Vice President of External Affairs and later spent a few months as the acting College Council Chair. In January 2022, Abbott became the president of USG for the rest of 2021–22, replacing Parul Kumar, who resigned the previous month. This interview was lightly edited to remove sensitive information and increase clarity. Chicago Maroon: What inspired you to get involved with USG? Allen Abbott: So I will be honest, nothing really inspired me to join the Student Government at the time. There were two people who decided to write me in [as a College Council representative]. I have strong suspicions of who they are, because they told me after the fact, and they did so of their own volition. I had no intention of running for College Council. And yet, somehow two votes were enough to get tied for the last seat on the council for my class, and I won the tiebreaker. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it worked out pretty well for me. It was somewhat rhetorically powerful to say that you are an elected representative of the class of 2022, which is about 1800 people. I realized very early on that
I can reach out to administrators about issues that I cared about or that the people around me cared about. And that was a gateway to be able to work on these issues. So the story of why I got involved in the Student Government is very different from what inspired me to actually start taking Student Government very seriously. You’re given a title; you’re given public trust in this, you know, representative-elected position, and you’re supposed to use it. That’s what inspired me. I just wanted to help people. CM: What do you see as your greatest success? AA: I think the Pass/Fail was the major initiative. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the greatest success. We’ve had a lot of successes, but it’s certainly what really demonstrated to the University, the student body, and certainly, I think, to people in Student Government that the organization that we’re in can matter and does matter. It was mid-November, and Naa [Asheley Ashitey], the College Council representative from the Class of 2021, whom I consider a mentor of mine–[she] really taught me a lot and showed me a lot of new perspectives about what it’s like to be a marginalized student at UChicago. She was the primary sponsor of this resolution for Pass/Fair grading during the COVID-19 pandemic. We sent it on to the [SG] executive slate at the time. We were meeting with Dean [Jay] Ellison and Dean [John W.] Boyer, who basically said that we don’t make college policies based on student petitions or student polling. It was very frustrating. I remember on a Zoom call with Zebeeb [Nuguse], the College Council Chair at the time, and Julia Brestovitskiy, College Council Representative for the Class of 2024 at the time, all of us were saying that there has gotta be a different way to approach this. In June 2020, just a couple of months prior, Tyler [Okeke] and Bianca [Simons], who were also on College Council at the time, had done this “Right to Grieve” campaign, where they had individually reached out to all of the departments for academic accommodations or academic adjustments for students during the era
following the death of George Floyd. So we took inspiration from that, and we spent our Thanksgiving break that year reaching out to every department and negotiating back and forth. We created a website overnight. I remember flying back home on a red-eye, and I spent the entire flight building a website to track all the different departments’ policies. We got Pass/ Fail adjustments for over 70 percent of the College and I think that was like the moment where a lot of people across the board started to take us a little bit more seriously. If we approach these sorts of issues that really matter to students strategically, we can get a lot done for students. CM: The initiative also inspired longer-term cooperation or relationship-building with the faculty council. AA: Yeah, about a couple of weeks or a month after the Pass/Fail initiative, I was the primary sponsor of a resolution about student input and it was one of my favorite resolutions that I’ve ever written. The core thesis was that the University heralds these values of free speech and faculty governance and open debate, and critical to all these elements of that is the Chicago principles or the Kalven report, which should be open discourse. However, the Pass/Fail initiative along with a long list of issues that students had reported was either not taken seriously by the University administration or was decided without meaningful student input. The other really big example is the academic calendar. In the resolution, we detailed what standards we would like to see for student involvement in University decision-making. An area that we identified that would be very strategic and important for students to have a closer relationship with was the various faculty governing bodies. They’re much more advisory than anything else at this point. But because the power of Student Government and the ability for Student Government to get things done at the University is very much in terms of consensus building and in terms of, you know, being able to talk to people in many different corners of the University and take information from one area and bring it to a meeting with another and facilitate those connections and put together a mosaic of different strategies, of different information, and of different stakeholders. And it’s through firm con-
nections and good working relationships with all these different governing bodies that we would be able to prevent something like the academic calendar from happening again because you would know about it before it was implemented. So we could address the situation before it was finalized. We can ensure that students are properly heard and we can influence University opinions respectively. CM: So what is it like doing all of this during COVID? AA: There are a lot of times that, such as when I had COVID, I felt very much alone in terms of support from the University. A driving force behind a lot of the work that myself and so many others in CC in my third year did was just trying to offer as much care and support and camaraderie to other students as possible. Working during COVID was very, very difficult. I will take the Omicron situation for instance. I was on a road trip to a very remote area with my family when I got an email from an administrator a couple of minutes before they went out to the entire University that was like, “just want to let you know that the University is going to be delaying winter quarter start for a week, and it’s going to be remote for the first two weeks of the quarter.” Most of USG basically had to disrupt their winter break to get involved in service and to try to help as much as possible. I think that Omicron was a really stressful period for a lot of people in USG–and it was supposed to be our time to relax and rejuvenate. But, it was the time when we really functioned like a well-oiled machine. Almost all of CC, the entirety of the cabinet, and various committees were involved in their piece. After Christmas weekend, we were having meetings on an almost daily basis with the epidemiological team, housing, dining, Campus and Student Life, the College, and people in the Provost’s Office. We were having daily meetings. We were contacting congressional representatives to try and make sure that COVID tests could reach students in the residence halls. The experience was both a blessing and a curse. It demonstrated the capabilities of Student Government and the passion that all of us have. When you join USG, it is more than just a resume booster. It’s more CONTINUED ON PG. 8
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“Our job is to represent students…our job is also to keep a hold of the big picture.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 7
than just saying you have a fancy-sounding Student Government position. You are able to raise issues that affect hundreds or thousands of students and positively benefit them. On the other hand, maybe this work can be done more efficiently by the University. Maybe it shouldn’t necessarily be [on the] students to figure out within 72 hours how to get high-quality masks that the University is recommending students wear to class but aren’t actually able to provide. CM: What do you see as the relationship between USG and the University? AA: Student Government is a strange place. Our job is to represent students, but our job is also to keep a hold of the big picture and to ensure that we are approaching what students want most strategically. That doesn’t always translate well between either side. We are the only student organization that is in this middle space, where we are formally recognized by the University as representatives of the student body, which confers a lot of access, but we also need to make sure that we are both fostering that relationship and also doing our jobs as representatives. So, it’s very tricky. This issue has come up many times.
Allen Abbott. courtesy of allen abbott
[The academic calendar] may be one of the worst decisions that the University of Chicago has made in recent memory. I’m glad that there are some administrators who are stepping up now and are realizing that this is a problem. Certainly, faculty are realizing this is a massive problem, and so it is starting to be taken more seriously. But the calendar is an example of a situation [where] USG is in the middle ground. We are just trying to get the University to agree to see a new committee to reevaluate the calendar [with the] benefit of hindsight and not even necessarily agree to any hard reforms. We are not necessarily pushing in these meetings that we are having weekly [that] we need to go back to 10 immediately. But we’re also very clear in saying that we are moderating our stance to try and meet you in the middle. But if I went and told students that all we’re pushing for is to have a reevaluation committee that might take a year to do its work, they will burn me at the stake, because students really need extra time right now. So that’s the thing: Even when we are trying to meet halfway in the middle and we are trying to be very reasonable, there are so many identifiable issues with the calendar with how the calendar is designed and implemented. It’s not just
a student issue. I think that we’re closer than ever to potentially getting what we’re asking for in the evaluation. It’s hard. It’s really hard because there are times when I just wish that we could take a much more extreme line that I know at the end of the day wouldn’t be productive. There are so many organizations that are valuable and necessary and that are able to take those harder lines that we are seeing. At the end of the day, we still need to be in that middle in that weird sort of nebulous in-between space in order to still be able to communicate the bigger picture. CM: What progress have you made on the academic calendar? AA: Really, it’s a question of “is the University going to listen to its faculty and students when 90 percent of them are saying that this is a really big problem?” I mean, we’re getting closer. We met with the committee in the [faculty] council a couple of weeks ago. And they heard us. A couple of them had students at the College and so they immediately understood what we were talking about in terms of how unique the burnout is now that [the quarter is] under 10 weeks, and just how much worse everyone’s mental health is. I think one of them said, “It’s very simple. You want the education that you’re paying for. We are getting 10 percent less education each quarter and the price is still increasing tuition-wise.” So, I mean, what the faculty were told was that the calendar reforms were a student-driven change, and the reforms being what the Roth report said about shifting from nine to ten weeks. And faculty were basically told that students really want these calendar reforms and that it’ll fix two pain points for faculty: it will remove the quagmire of people having to take early finals in spring because of early start dates for internships, and it will ameliorate the issue of students leaving early for Thanksgiving break. So faculty were like, “Okay, if students like it, and if it solves these two kinds of annoyances for us, then let’s go ahead and approve it.” So there was faculty support, certainly, for the calendar when it was implemented. But, I think a lot of people—just based on USG talking to over 60 departments this year—I think faculty realize [now] that when they approved the report, there was no public deliberation. If they
weren’t on these governing bodies, they weren’t asked. There is sort of an understanding that there was a mistake made with approving this calendar, especially once they hear about how little student involvement actually went into the calendar. The only students consulted in the calendar were the Maroon Key Society under the old model, which required you to have a very high GPA and you had to be nominated by a faculty member and then were hand-selected by the College. Even for the people on there, when the Roth committee came to the Maroon Key Society to ask them about their thoughts on the calendar, the questions were about, “do you like the quarter system?” It was not about the nine-week quarter. So there was no student review of the calendar. There were two undergraduates on the Roth committee, and one of them wrote a defective dissent about the reading period and how the reading period was essentially being demolished by the Roth Committee and how, you know, the University should take another look at how other universities handle reading periods. Nobody is. Half of the Roth report is actually saying that a lot of additional things need to be changed to make the nine-week quarter happen and even then, there’s a lot of evaluation that should go into seeing what the effects are. I think the University sort of pulled out the pie before it was finished. And so I think people are starting to realize that this is an issue. I think we’re having some inroads with some very high-level individuals, but there are also some other individuals who are at the center of the calendar who really don’t want to talk about the issue and that’s really frustrating. When we met with President [Paul] Alivisatos in March, we printed off 100 pages of information on everything that USG was doing where we featured the calendar prominently. Something that we included is these archival documents of the first time when UChicago considered the academic calendar. It was in 1983, two years after President Alivisatos graduated. Something that the spokesperson of the Faculty College Council at the time wrote was, “our proposal clearly envisions a reduction of workload by 1/10 of spread more evenly in fall and in winter when CONTINUED ON PG. 9
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“Student Government is…taken seriously by a lot more people than it was.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 8
problems of adjustment and of our environment are the most pressing. We see no virtue in tampering with the calendar, for the results will simply be the ten weeks’ worth of assignments being crammed into nine teaching weeks. Indeed, such a prospect can only exacerbate what we believe to be a serious problem for both faculty and students.” After this report was released in 1983, the faculty governing bodies thinking about this calendar change worked with the Student Government at the time to create some public town halls and spaces for deliberation. By the end of that academic year, this nine-week quarter proposal was rejected soundly because of faculty and student resistance to cramming everything into nine weeks. Instead, the four-day full reading period that we used to have was created as a result. You read that quote, and that could totally apply to the current situation, but we haven’t learned from the past. We’re making the same mistakes that we almost made in 1983. The only reason why we’re making them is that we are not doing what the University of Chicago is purportedly meant to do, which is to uphold the Chicago principles.
CM: What’s your advice to the incoming USG slate and cabinet members? AA: Be observant, be tenacious, and hold yourself accountable to your peers. So much of the Student Government is about taking initiative. If I could do things over again, something that I wish I would have developed in the organization was to archive our institutional memory. There’s still a lot of room for growth there. There are some people who are naturally willing to create space for themselves and to initiate big changes, and that’s sort of like what happened with the transition committee last year. There is a group of us, myself, Julia, and a couple of others on the transition committee, who saw that there are some very big avenues for reform and structures for Student Government. So we created the transition committee, and that was very much unprecedented. We were learning as we were going. So some people are naturally good at that. But there are also a lot of very talented people, especially coming in new to this giant organization, where it’s not always easy to be able to create that space yourself, especially from an intersectional perspective. I’m very confident working and being motivated and driven, as a white guy. That’s not the same for all identities.
That’s not to come off as patronizing or anything, but USG needs to be aware of gender and racial dynamics. We have the Committee on Marginalized Student Affairs working on a marginalized student report right now to see how USG internally can be better to make the space better. Something that I’m really proud that we did last year was that we named three awards that are going to be perpetual each year after three marginalized students who did incredible work for our University and for Student Government. Jahne Brown, who was the president in my second year, 2019–20. Zebeeb, who was on Student Government for three years, including College Council Chair 2020–21. Then Naa, who was a College Council representative last year. They all inspired a lot of people, myself included, to really see more and do more in Student Government. But they left a very imperfect institution, and I’m going to leave a very imperfect institution. So we all need to be more mindful about how we work with each other, and how we ensure that we can uplift everyone. Student Government is in a position now where it’s taken seriously by a lot more people than it was when I came in. We are not always effective. We fail many times at
achieving our goals, but we are also very successful a lot of times when it matters. So it’s just a matter of finding ways of improving inclusivity and that doesn’t have to come at the cost of our mission. I don’t have all of the solutions. And I’m not going to have all the solutions by the end of June and nobody will have all the answers. But it’s about trying to create an environment where as many people as possible might have pieces of the answer and can feel comfortable contributing those elements to improve the organization for the better. So just to recap, the key is to be cognizant of the people you’re working with and try to uplift them and try to support everyone. At the same time, be ambitious. Recognize that you need to collaborate with the University in order to fulfill your mission. And you need to work with administrators. All of them are very well-meaning even if there are a lot of things that I would like to see different or most students would like to see different. Just recognize that there is a balance. It’s okay to be in a partnership with University offices and administrators, but also there is a need to push them in areas where you’re not seeing enough action.
Get To Know This Year’s Graduation Speakers Samira Ahmed, Wendy Freedman By KAYLA RUBENSTEIN | Senior News Reporter Known for her novels Love, Hate & Other Filters and Internment, New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed will give the Class Day speech Friday, June 3. The following day, astrophysics professor Wendy Freedman will deliver the Convocation Address. Samira Ahmed, A.B. ’93, M.A.T. ’93 Samira Ahmed did not originally plan to go into writing, but her undergraduate years at UChicago piqued her interest in literature. Ahmed graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and a joint Master of Arts in teaching.
At UChicago, Ahmed was very involved on campus. From serving as a founding member of the Muslim Students Association to writing for an Asian American creative journal called Rice and Beans, she enjoyed her time at the College in terms of both extracurriculars and academics. One of her favorite memories is camping on Harper quad when students were assigned a number in line to sign up for the next quarter’s classes. Missing your turn meant losing your spot in line; to avoid this, many students set up tents. As a high school English teacher, Ahmed recognized the value of young
adult literature, which inspired her to become an author. “It is this amazing interstitial space when you write for young adults, because a lot of times people refer to college as not the real world, the real world is after college. But I think that college is the real world,” Ahmed said. “It’s one that’s full of complexity and tough decision making and a lot of interesting questions. It’s sort of the ultimate growth mindset space, and I just am fascinated by that and love writing to that.” When Ahmed received the email from Dean of the College John Boyer asking her to be the Class Day speaker, she originally thought it was for a different purpose. “I actually initially saw
the email from Dean Boyer and thought it was a fundraising email. But I read it and then reread it. I was a little bit gobsmacked,” Ahmed recounted. “I was surprised and also deeply honored by it. It’s a privilege to be able to speak at my alma mater, but also what a privilege it is to speak to young people who are graduating.” Throughout her career, Ahmed never forgot the lessons she learned at the College, lessons she hopes to share with the graduates in her Class Day speech. “I want graduates to understand how important some of those ‘habits of mind’ that are created in the College and through the Common Core are for the CONTINUED ON PG. 10
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“At Convocation, Freedman hopes to provide perspective.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 9
world, beyond the walls of the University of Chicago,” she said. “I hope that they will use those tools and use what they’ve learned to change the world around them for the better.” Wendy Freedman, John and Marion Sullivan University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics At Convocation, UChicago astrophysics professor Wendy Freedman will talk to graduates about the growth of ideas. But in her day job, she studies the growth of something far larger: the universe. At the University of Toronto, Freedman originally planned to focus on biophysics. However, in college, she gravitated more towards astronomy than
biology. “When I learned about finite travel time, that what we’re seeing when we look at distant stars or distant galaxies is those objects as they were when the light left them, I became aware of the vastness of astronomical distance,” she said. “I switched majors and haven’t looked back.” After graduating, Freedman researched at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California with a focus on the expansion of the universe. She studies this by calculating how far away galaxies are from Earth, a measurement she has spent most of her career trying to refine. In 2001, she led a team that settled the debate of the expansion rate, or age of, the universe. Her team narrowed the universe’s age from a range of 10 to 20 billion years old to a more
precise estimate of 13.8 billion years old. Freedman later became the director at the Observatories for 10 years, during which she led an international project to build the 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope, one of the world’s largest optical telescopes. It is currently under construction in Chile. A decade into the role, Freedman received an offer to teach at UChicago, a position that would allow her more time to focus on her research and connect with a new generation of scientists. In her research, Freedman has continued to focus on measurements within cosmology. Her research group has been awarded time on the recently-launched James Webb Space Telescope in NASA to collect distance data. However, the switch to academia has
introduced her to a whole new world. “The focus in an academic department is very much geared to teaching and the students. And that’s very new for me,” she said. “For me, it’s a whole new challenge, and it’s an exciting one. I really like this part of it.” At Convocation, Freedman hopes to provide perspective. “It’s been an unusual time that we’ve been through,” she said. “There’s a sense in which it’s a difficult time, but it’s also a time of real opportunity, collaboration, and cooperation. I’m trying to weave together these different concepts [...] and it did involve examining our assumptions and realizing that there were data and ideas that weren’t very good. That willingness to have to remain open to new ideas is what I’m heading toward.”
Fourth-Year International Students Navigate Visa Uncertainty Post-Graduation By TARYN KIM | News Reporter and JINNA LEE | News Editor As the school year comes to a close, fourth-year students are faced with the difficult decision of where to live and work. For international students, visas and living away from home complicate these questions. Brandon Zang is a fourth-year international student with Canadian citizenship who was born in Tianjin, China. Upon graduating, Zang will begin his Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting at Boston University. As an aspiring writer, Zang hopes to base his career in New York, but live in Canada as he works. Many other Canadian artists also choose to go back and forth because Canadian citizenship grants free passage to the United States without the need for a visa. Zang has many reasons for wanting to return to Canada. He finds New York an expensive, daunting city and prefers the smaller-scale feel of Vancouver. Canada’s population is also 17.7 percent Asian, which is more than two
times higher than the US’s 7 percent. “It is genuinely much safer. [As an Asian], I feel much more safe, more secure in a place like Canada,” Zang said. In the U.S., Zang has run into difficulties while pursuing a career in the arts. “From a visa perspective, it’s much easier to apply for a work visa, H-1B visa, or to get sponsorship for that kind of visa when you’re working in a career that is somewhat sponsored by the government,” Zang said. “It’s easier for people who are working in finance, tech, or academia to be able to get those visas.” There are a few visa options specifically designated for artists. However, the O-1 visa requires demonstration of extraordinary artistic ability on the national or international level, while the P-2 visa does not authorize its holders to work any jobs outside of the art industry. Zang describes working as a theater artist without a separate day job as “impossible” financially. Thus, most artist visas are a short-term solution. Zang said, “From a primarily financial per-
spective, it makes so much more sense to live in Canada.” Zang’s decision to stay in the U.S. for graduate school comes down to its affordability and prestige. Zang is one of five students to be admitted into his program at BU, which accepts students every two years and fully sponsors them with an additional living stipend for the entire three years. “While I have the student visa to be able to live and somewhat work in the States, and with the University paying for a lot of things, I can actually afford to make connections and start getting my career off its feet while I’m in grad school,” Zang said. Leandra Wilson-Patrick is a fourth-year international student with a Barbados and United Kingdom dual citizenship. After graduating this past March, Wilson-Patrick began working at a biotech company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, doing cutting-edge oncology research as a research associate. However, due to the limitations of her student visa, she has struggled to find stability in the U.S.
“I can’t make plans past the year,” Wilson-Patrick said. “In a year, my student visa extension will run out and I will have to apply for either an extension or a work visa.” Wilson-Patrick’s limited visa options are coupled with high renewal costs and heavy administrative paperwork—her last visa extension cost over $400. Wilson-Patrick now works at a company that includes coverage for almost all student visa extension and work visa costs, but non-student visas are hard to obtain. H-1B work visas, along with green cards, are acquired through a lottery process and not guaranteed to all. “It was really tough for me to not just move to the U.K.,” she said. “It’s a system that I’m more familiar with, and I don’t have to pay for a visa. I can just go.” Ultimately, the career opportunities in the U.S. made Wilson-Patrick decide to stay. “Something I don’t think people who are from the U.S. realize is just the wealth of opportunity [that exists here]. I couldn’t do this position in the U.K. starting as an intern…the pros outweigh the cons of constantly emailing the imCONTINUED ON PG. 11
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“Due to the limitations of her student visa, she has struggled to find stability.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 10
migration services and making sure my status is up to date.” Still, the job search isn’t easy with unique barriers that international workers face. “There’s a question on every job application form that will ask if you now or in the future require an H-1B visa sponsorship,” she said. “It does feel like a weed out question for some applicants.” During the job search, Wilson-Patrick also had to take into consideration the proximity of Barbados to her work location in the case of a family emergency. “When I applied for this job, the first thing I did was look at flight schedules,” she said. Currently, however, the unpredictability of her student visa status keeps Wilson-Patrick from visiting home. “The easiest thing to do on a visa is to stay put in the U.S. and not move,” she said. Wilson-Patrick recommended that other international students apply early for Optional Practical Training (OPT), a work authorization for international students who have been full-time students. “You can apply for OPT, the visa extension, three months before your graduation date. Even if you don’t know where you are going to work or what you are going to be doing, the second that becomes available, you need to apply,” she said.
Jeong Whan Lee is a fourth-year international student with Korean citizenship. After graduation, Lee is headed for San Francisco, where he will be working in shareholder advisory at an investment firm called PJT Partners. Lee plans on remaining in the United States for a few years before making a long-term decision about where to live. Like Wilson-Patrick, Lee shared that there are “so many things that you can do in the U.S. that you’re not able to do in Korea, and the amount of opportunities in terms of quality and quantity [in the U.S.] is incomparable.” For Lee, the main drawbacks to living in the U.S. are the high cost of living and being away from family. He also struggled to find a company that would sponsor his visa. According to Lee, a visa-friendly company “is something you have to look for as an international student, because if the company does not sponsor your visa, there’s almost close to 0 percent chance that you will get the job offer.” Although Lee is hesitant to work towards an American citizenship because it will mean relinquishing his Korean citizenship, he envisions potentially trying for a green card, which will allow him more permanent residence in the U.S. while maintaining Korean citizenship. Lee shared that the Office of Inter-
national Affairs (OIA) was instrumental in assisting with the administrative side of the visa process, supporting him through the OPT and Curricular Practical Training—temporary employment authorization for non-immigrant foreign students. However, in terms of securing his job, he said, “it was just me versus the whole job market.” Lee turned to fellow international students and networking events at UChicago to assist him with the job search process. He suggests that UChicago provide more support to international students by pairing them with a professor of a specific field to build long-term plans. Emma Yan is a fourth-year international student who grew up in Shanghai, China. Unlike some of her international peers at UChicago, Yan was not enrolled in any international program in China and went through the Chinese high school curriculum. After graduation, Yan will head to Columbia University to pursue a Master of Public Administration. She hopes to one day work in multilateral development banks or think tanks to help with policy design, research, and implementation. Though pursuing work in the public and international sectors, Yan is not sure what part of the world her career will take her. Students who plan to work
in international organizations usually try to obtain a G-4 Visa. “This basically means that you can work anywhere, but you can switch it back to the H-1B or a visa for the private sector,” she explained. The caveat, however, is that you can only make this switch once, meaning that students are committed to the sector they initially choose. In international relations work, the main barrier for international students is that many federal positions require citizenship. Yan says that with trade relations and national security in particular, governments, including the U.S., are strict about citizenship. However, Yan’s career goals are not centered around working in the U.S. “I’m not interested in serving the U.S. government,” she said. “My whole vision and purpose is more directed to the developing world.” Yan echoed Lee’s sentiment that the OIA offers helpful support for international students. Yan attended office hours at the OIA and talked to professors and recent graduates about her job search process. Her advice for international students hoping to work in development research or international organizations is to explore the International Development Society at UChicago, which holds panel discussions with economists, World Bank employees, and other seasoned members of the field.
(From left to right) Brandon Zhang, Leandra Wilson-Patrick, Jeong Whan Lee, and Emma Yan. courtesy of brandon zhang, leandra wilson-patrick, jeong whan lee, and emma yan
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Congratulations Sabrina. We are so proud of the woman you have become. Love Mom, Dad and Spencer
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
VENI VIDI VICI
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Proud does not even begin to describe how we feel about your accomplishment! It was not easy but YOU did the work! We love you! Mom, Myles and Pawpaw
Mia, Congratulations to my first Grandbaby. I am so proud of you! You are going to be a great force on the world. Love you, Bibi
To my GNOAT! Uncle Ra-Ra is so proud of the young woman you have become, keep striving. Keep making the ancestors proud ! Love Uncle Ra-Ra Happy Graduation Day Mia! Love Gigi
Mia we are very proud of your accomplishments thus far. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead for you. We love you so much and congratulations! Auntie Rick Rick and Nicki
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Being Black at UChicago Black History Month is a time to reflect and honor the legacy of Black people in every facet of American Society, but how has UChicago treated its Black students in the past and present? By SOLANA ADEDOKUN | Grey City Reporter One of my fondest moments at UChicago was the day my class finally got to walk through Hull Gate, officially welcoming us as full members of the University community. The sky was a bright blue, but everyone’s faces were brighter and there wasn’t a person you could find that wasn’t decked out from head to toe with UChicago merch. As I looked around trying to find my friends, and later as I walked down the Quad, I noticed something that stuck out to me more than it had before: there were barely any Black people there. When I accepted my offer of admission to UChicago, I was well aware that it was a predominantly white institution, but that fact had never hit me as hard as it did in that moment. From then on, I looked more closely in my classes, campus cafés, and common areas to see if I could find any Black people, but, more often than not, I was one of few Black people—or any people of color—in an overflowing sea of white people. I started to ask myself questions. Why were things like this for Black students at UChicago? Had other Black students felt this way before me? Was my experience not unique? So I went digging. The story of Black students at the University begins not at its founding, but rather before the University of Chicago was even conceived. It starts at the University’s precursor, the Old University of Chicago, which was founded in 1856 by Baptists and located on 35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. It initially was not an integrated school, but it slowly started enrolling small numbers of Black students and women directly after the end of the Civil War. Because of the financial problems that plagued the Old University of Chicago, the present UChicago was found-
ed as a different legal entity to avoid further complications, though UChicago did accept some of the old university’s alumni as its own. Something that did cross over from the Old University of Chicago to UChicago was the allowance of women and people of all races to enroll. The Baptist leaders of the Old University held a strong commitment to human equality. Moreover, the Old University was relatively supportive of abolitionist ideals, hosting a speech by Union general S. A. Hurlbut arguing that everyone, even former slaves, should be educated. These two factors allowed small numbers of Black students to enroll in the Old University. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly who the first Black students at the University were and when they enrolled because UChicago did not organize student lists by race until sometime between 1908 and 1915, around 20 years after the University was founded. The earliest Black undergraduates found from the University Registrar include Cora Jackson (1896), James Garfield Lemon (1904), and Georgiana Simpson (1911). Despite the progressiveness of the University, social life for Black students was difficult. Danielle Allen, the curator of the exhibit Integrating the Life of the Mind: African Americans at the University of Chicago, 1870–1940, aptly wrote that “African American students at the University of Chicago… were integrated into the intellectual but not the social life of the institution.” For example, a Black student, Cecilia Johnson, was falsely accused of attempting to pass as white to join a sorority, but was outed by another student for being Black and temporarily left the University. Another student, Georgiana Simpson, had her
permission to stay in campus dorms revoked by then–University president Harry Pratt Judson after protests by white, Southern students. However, the following decade brought a change to the University. After taking office in 1923, the new president, Ernest DeWitt Burton, started to consider the possibility of integration. He led the development of a new policy on campus that allowed Black students to stay in the dorms. Because of this, attitudes towards integration began to warm. Black and white students took part in clubs together and even created a club called the “Interracial Group.” This pro-integration sentiment continued through the 1940s, and by 1943, at least 45 Black students earned Ph.D.’s from the University, more than any other university in the world. After hiring Allison Davis (Ph.D. ’42) in 1948, Black faculty became increasingly normalized at non-Black colleges. Many Black alumni would later encourage students to attend the University for graduate school. Michael Dawson, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science and the College at UChicago, shared in an interview what it was like to be a Black student at an elite university in the latter half of the 20th century. Having moved from the South Side of Chicago to Stanford for school, which at the time had fewer than twenty Black students, Dawson found the nearly all-white campus very difficult to adjust to. “When I reached Palo Alto, I asked my father to go home because I had never been to a place that was that white,” Dawson said. The difficulties of studying at a predominately white institution (PWI) was not only isolating, but extremely dangerous for Black students. Across the country, the zeitgeist in
the 1970s and early 1980s was one of hostility and fear directed towards Black students. Dawson shared how Black women’s dormitories were burned down (with no injuries), a car that he was in was almost run over on the street while trying to attend a party, and a Black male student was beaten up for dating a white woman. “The stories sound almost apocryphal, but they were [a] part of our experiences we had to deal with…there was hostility and occasional violence, but it was also a period where there’s a lot of intense interactions between student protesters and police as well.” Dawson said. Though Dawson has been in higher education for several decades, becoming a member of the campus community in 1992 as a faculty member, he believes that being Black in higher education is difficult, but not as difficult as it used to be. “For example, I was taking courses in computer programming in computer science, and I didn’t have any problems with the professor, but other students want to know why I was there. I think it’s the experience of many students of color and probably many women as well…that you have to prove you belong to a significant degree,” Dawson said. In short, though the late 20th century saw many violent reactions to integrating Black students into higher education, American universities’ relationships with Black students improved somewhat by the turn of the century, leading to a better environment for Black students to learn, including at UChicago. Now that I was more familiar with the University’s past relationship with Black students, I wanted to answer a few questions: What is it like to be Black at UChicago today? Has the treatment of Black students CONTINUED ON PG. 16
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“Black students at UChicago face difficult, unique pressures.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 15
changed? For many Black students, UChicago at times can still feel like an isolating experience. However, students like Marla Anderson, a fourth year in the College and president of the Georgiana Rose Organization (GRO)—named after alum Georgiana Simpson, who was the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in the US—have carved out spaces not just for Black students, but for those at the intersection of being Black and being a woman. GRO was founded last year as aRecognized Student Organization (RSO) that focuses on the well-being of Black women as well as giving Black women a space to be themselves. The organization grew out of Anderson’s love and appreciation of the community of Black women she met when she came to UChicago. A first-generation Jamaican-American undergraduate, Anderson said, “My life has always been full of Black people. So regardless of [what] I really understood or knew, these tended to be the people that were in my support system.” “There’s never been a lack of amazing Black people and Black women at UChicago…I would love for the [rest of the] University to see more of the amazing things that Black women are doing here. And sometimes that gets overshadowed because with so many people in the room.… A lot of times when we’re the only ones in the room, [there are] higher chances for our voices to get heard,” Anderson said.
Second year Daisy Okoye is a part of Women+ In Law (WIL) as the Chair of the Service Committee. Though WIL is not a RSO that focuses solely on Black women, Okoye actively works to make the organization a more welcoming space for Black-identifying individuals. “It is really important that we continue to not just bring in Black individuals during Black History Month. We should be seeing Black women every month. Making [WIL] more inclusive and accessible [will be] continuing to bring that life in that joy and that humor through the personalities and lived experiences of Black lawyers,” Okoye said. Similar to the struggles Okoye noticed that Black lawyers face, Noah Tesfaye, thirdyear student and writer for The Maroon and South Side Weekly, described being Black at UChicago as dealing with “a whole host of contradictions.” “You are a Black student at a university that has had a history…in exploiting and gentrifying neighborhoods surrounding the university.… There’s the second [type of racism] that you have to deal with…like, professors not thinking you’re that smart or that bright like that. You also deal with racism from my peers and in terms of people doubting your intelligence, but also saying pretty awful things to you or about you,” Tesfaye said. Tesfaye often covers issues of race in his articles, deriving many of his beliefs from radical Black thinkers. In other words, he
Congratulations Chrissy, we are so proud of you! Keep searching for the best views. Love Mom and Dad
prefers to tackle problems in terms of addressing the material and physical issues of Black people. This approach informs Tesfaye’s work as a journalist. For example, Tesfaye has covered issues relating to housing displacement of Black people, over-policing, and, currently, radical and revolutionary organizations like the Black Panther Party. Though many Black students have tried to carve out spaces for themselves through RSOs or writing, the Organization for Black Students’ (OBS) presidents Esi Koomson and Jackson Overton-Clark are also calling on the University to truly make UChicago a welcoming campus for Black students. The first step, they say, is listening to Black UChicago students themselves. “I think the university loves [to] push that idea of being diverse, [b]ut when it comes to the inclusion, part of diversity inclusion, that’s where they lack.… I know there are certain places on campus that are trying to provide spaces for us, [b]ut sometimes we seem to be treated almost like an afterthought,” Overton-Clark said. Ultimately, there is not just one experience of Black students on campus. But across my interviews, a common theme emerged: Black students at UChicago face difficult, unique pressures. Not only do many of us face pressure from our parents at home, but we have to constantly challenge and push ourselves to be as good as or exceed our peers just to feel like we deserve to be here. On top of all that, we constantly have to work
against the fact that the University only wants us here to look diverse, but not necessarily integrate us in the life of the mind. Yet despite all this strife, a proud, strong, and tight-knit community has emerged stronger than before. When I finished walking through the gate during my class walk day, the first set of arms that came up to me were my parents who hugged me, took pictures, and told me how proud they were of me. Like my parents, UChicago’s Black community is exciting and vibrant, and most of all, welcoming. For any future Black students: This journey is a tough one, but there is not only a space for you, but there is a community and home where you can feel accepted and heard. “You have a community. I know sometimes it might feel lonely coming into Chicago as a PWI. It might feel like you’re the only Black person on campus.… [J]ust look for your community. Because there is a community, whatever it is that you want to do, whether it’s Black students in STEM, whether it’s OBS events, whether it’s ACSA [African and Caribbean Student Association], whether it’s Black Law Students [Association], there is a community for you, so don’t be afraid to reach out,” Koomson said. “We grew up hearing it takes a village and it really does. I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of really amazing Black people in that village. And when I came to UChicago, my village also was Black people,” said Anderson.
Class of 2022. So proud of you darling.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Lovely Ana Impressive story you’ve written so far! Can’t wait to see what you do next. Your intelligence, your talent shine like a star. Impressive story you’ve written so far! Concerned with justice and raising the bar. Committed to being your personal best. Impressive story you’ve written so far! Can’t wait to see what you do next. Congratulations to you, Lovely Ana! We are so proud of you. Much love, Your stepmom and dad
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
ADAM NICHOLAS KELLER “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain
Congratulations Adam! We are so proud of you and love you with all our hearts. - Mom and Dad
Congratulations Josh. We are so proud of you. The hard work has always paid off and fun never dies when you are around. - Mom, Dad and Jake
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Veni, Vidi, Vici, or How I Claimed a Space in Classical Studies for Myself Even though Classics is often used to justify modern-day bigotry, I helped create a more diverse and welcoming field in my four years here. By BRINDA RAO Content Warning: The following submission contains mentions of sexual assault. Whenever I tell people that I study Classics, I am often met with the same barrage of questions: Why do you study dead languages? What will you use that for? And of course, not to be forgotten is the ever-promising “what jobs can you even get with a Classics degree?” While
these remarks bothered me as a first-year, over the years they’ve come to be comforting reinforcements of why I chose the Classics major. Contrary to popular belief, Classics is not dead, but rather an intrinsic part of everyday life. Throughout my time at UChicago, by studying Classics, I have found that I’ve been able to open a connection to the past, reviving its memory and learning the many lessons it brings. Initially, I continued a sev-
Gage Gramlick, Editor-in-Chief Yiwen Lu, Managing Editor Matthew Chang, Chief Production Officer Astrid Weinberg & Dylan Zhang, Chief Financial Officers The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the editors-in-chief and editors of The Maroon.
Kate Mabus, editor Tess Chang, editor Anushka Harve, editor Jinna Lee, editor Rachel Wan, editor Nikhil Jaiswal, editor
Rachel Davies-Van Voorhis, copy chief Gabby Meyers, copy chief Skyler Lorenty, copy chief Michael McClure, copy chief Arianne Nguyen, copy chief
Arianne Nguyen, head of production Eric Fang, deputy designer Luke Laurence, design associate
RJ Czajkowski, director of development Michael Cheng, director of marketing Graham Frazier, director of strategy
Firat Ciftci, lead developer Joshua Bowen, developer Perene Wang, developer
Editor-in-Chief: Editor@ChicagoMaroon.com Newsroom Phone: (312) 918-8023 Business Phone: (408) 806-8381
Alex Dalton, editor Laura Gersony, editor Milutin Gjaja, editor Kelly Hui, head editor Elizabeth Winkler, head editor Ketan Sengupta, associate editor Isabella Cisneros, editor Angélique Alexos, editor Alison Gill, editor Ali Sheehy, editor Finn Hartnett, editor
For advertising inquiries, please contact Ads@ChicagoMaroon.com or (408) 806-8381. Circulation: 2,500.
© 2022 The Chicago Maroon Ida Noyes Hall / 1212 East 59th Street Chicago, IL 60637
en-year-long study of Latin for the simple reason of wanting an early class to drag me out of bed every morning. I mistakenly thought I would be comforted by the familiar verse of Virgil amid the unfamiliar newness of college. However, my comfort was soon replaced by a startling awareness of the parallels between fabled myths and modern-day events. The injustice of ancient rapes and violations was revived in 21st-century newspaper headlines. While translating the ethnocentric narrative of Julius Caesar’s De Bello Gallico, I simultaneously witnessed the rise of xenophobic hate crimes during the pandemic. I studied the Roman civil wars against the backdrop of the January 6 Capitol insurrection. My study of the classics was not an easy voyage, but rather an eye-opening exploration of how our world is rooted in a historic cycle of the same devastating mistakes. Despite my love for ancient history and literature, I was hesitant to declare a Classics major. In modern times, the field of classical studies is mired in controversies regarding its use to justify racially charged crimes, xenophobic values, and a hateful culture of non-acceptance. As a woman of color, I was devastated by the realization that my academic hearth was a field used by white supremacists to justify bigotry CONTINUED ON PG. 21
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“Through my B.A.thesis project, I sought to champion the growing accomplishments of female classicists alongside using classical literature as a mechanism to commemorate the dead.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 20
and violence. During my second year, though, my hesitance was met with the realization that the classics did not belong to those hateful views. In spring of 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, I began an independent translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses at my family’s home in New York. Sitting in the living room, I began my work in front of a s culpture of Apollo and Daphne that had been placed on the coffee table in homage to my brothers’ and my high school study of Latin. The sculpture is a replica of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne, a Baroque-era sculpture aestheticizing the moment Daphne transforms into a laurel tree and escapes Apollo’s grasp. As I unraveled lines of verse, I soon realized
that Ovid was lamenting Daphne’s plight, using poetic forms like chiasmus to emphasize and condemn Apollo’s sheer power over her while also celebrating her strength in choosing to forgo a human form to express agency. By reviving the original lines of Apollo and Daphne, I learned that our society has lost the story’s message in translation. Bernini, among many Renaissance and Baroque thinkers, romanticized the story of Apollo and Daphne despite its horrific subject matter: a girl moments away from being raped. Apollo and Daphne is not the only example of a translation gone wrong. The historic proclivity for idealizing the classics has obfuscated the valuable lessons we can learn from the field. Moreover,
I soon recognized the role women had had in recasting the entire field, studying the works of contemporary classicists like Alice Oswald, Anne Carson, and our own faculty at UChicago. Between office hours, coursework, and even research with instructors like Michèle Lowrie and Catherine Kearns, I was challenged to stake my own claim and space in Classics. Whether it be the encouragement to apply for fellowships or the introduction to new and exciting interpretations of classical literature, these professors wholeheartedly welcomed me into the Classics community. I became determined to contribute however I could to this growing tradition of making classics a more inclusive and diverse space. I pursued my final year as a
Classics major with this idea in mind. Through my B.A. thesis project, I sought to champion the growing accomplishments of female classicists alongside using classical literature as a mechanism to commemorate the dead. I studied the Iliad through the contemporary lens of Alice Oswald’s Memorial, an equalizing translation of the Iliad, and the Say Their Names movement, a social memorial for Black victims of police violence. In doing so, I revived classical literature’s immense capacity for memorializing and democratizing the dead, while also working to counter the racially exclusionary contemporary applications of Classics. Throughout this year, I also worked with a team of fellow Classics majors to launch Animus, the University’s first un-
dergraduate classical studies review journal. In this space, we were able to work with writers from universities around the world, creating a platform to promote diverse and underrepresented voices in Classics. As I leave UChicago, I know that I will not leave the lessons from Classics behind. While I head into a consulting career that seemingly has nothing to do with Classics, I will take with me the awareness and skills to make my professional journey an inclusive one. I am proud to have taken a small step in making one of the most exclusionary and misused academic fields a bit more welcoming and diverse. Brinda Rao is a fourth-year in the College.
Let Me Brag About Us for a Moment It’s cheesy, it’s cliché, but I’ve embraced it— it really was all about “the friends we made along the way.” By OLIVIA MORKVED If I had to chalk up my positive experience at UChicago to solely one factor, it would be the infectious excitement of my peers. The manner in which UChicago students strive to be lifelong learners, along with their desire to uplift others’ pursuit of learning alongside their own, has profoundly molded my time as an undergraduate. Though I am not intentionally trying to parrot a
UChicago admissions session, these things must be said. Let me brag about you, Class of 2022, for a moment. When we arrived at UChicago four years ago, we were thrown into a kaleidoscope of people. Every new class, RSO, event, and encounter meant chances to make new friends from every corner of the world with an ever-expanding array of interests and language backgrounds and cultural heritages. These new friends wanted not
only to explore the whole “life of the mind” motto but to encourage everyone around them to explore it as well. My first year was filled with a never-ending stream of riveting House table conversations (shoutout to DelGiorno House!). Someone would toss in a Kant quote amid a heated debate on whether or not the chicken was good at Cathey that day. We would analyze religion in one breath and memes in the next. Two students would dissect a
Math 160s proof while the students next to them, with great seriousness, would debate the ethics of the world portrayed in Mario Kart. A conversation on what makes the second Captain America movie a compelling political thriller would effortlessly flow into a parlay on modern American policy. Each meal was filled with infinite chances to discuss, dissect, debate, and most importantly learn from my peers regarding both the silly and the sacred.
My time at UChicago can also be described as one long series of being constantly taken aback by the casual brilliance of my friends. You know how it is with your friends—you joke around, you do dumb things together, you laugh with and alongside one another. A group of UChicago friends is no different. But at any moment, someone effortlessly multiplies two giant numbers in their head or mentions some research work CONTINUED ON PG. 22
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“As UChicago students, we’ve all been, or will be, in the same boat…. What a blessing it is to have peers who want to see you succeed and reach your goals but who will also encourage you to rest when needed.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 21
they did under a big-name professor or launches into striking commentary on Plato or accidentally lets slip the fact that they know three languages and are learning a fourth, and I catch myself thinking, “Oh yeah, you’re a brilliant person! But I forget this constantly because we just goof off when we’re together!” This has been my experience over and over again. I’ve come to realize that my UChicago peers have what I would describe as a scrappy curiosity: a determination to learn more about the world for the pure attainment of knowledge itself. I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be among such bright minds, even amid our everyday goofiness. I can only hope I’ve amazed my own friends for even a fraction of the number of times they’ve amazed me. A few acquaintances at other universities have told me they spend the majority of their time with other students in their major. Though this is by no means the rule—there are athletics and clubs and such—it’s easy to isolate yourself from people outside your field of study. This is not the case at UChicago, where majors freely mix and mingle. Here, it’s almost impossible to form a tight social bubble with people only in your major. I, a computer science major, would point to the following as some of my closest friends: a creative writing major with a penchant for theological discussions, a chemistry premed who speaks four languages, an aspiring architect and city planner, an English-turned-biology major,
and a physicist who’s learning a dialect of Ancient Greek for fun. A conversation with any one of them continuously expands my horizons and plops in front of me the opportunity to think outside my areas of interest. I came into college confident in my identity as a STEM–oriented student, but being surrounded by peers who are so eager to mix unconventional interests made it easier for me to let my own barriers down. I learned to feel just as comfortable debating the writings of St. Augustine in Hum as I was cranking out a CompSci assignment. At the end of my first year, a shared interest of my roommate and me led both of us to take a linguistics course together, despite the subject being completely outside either of our fields. As the years went on, when it struck my fancy to begin learning a dialect of a language of antiquity, I jumped in, inspired by UChicago friends who had done the same. At one point in my undergraduate career, I found myself reading theological treatises alongside Master of Divinity students in one class and then writing proofs on the time complexity of algorithms in the next. Sometimes it almost felt like a walking jumble of interests. Instead, I felt at home among you all as just your average UChicago student. I have you, Class of 2022, to thank for this. This is not to say it’s all sunshine and roses here. I am writing this while experiencing a season of immense burnout. As my college journey comes to an end, I’m only now realizing how hard a hit my mental health has taken from the breakneck
KIRA DAVIS speed of a constant stream of deadlines and sleepless nights. Nevertheless, even now, while I recover from a mild case of help-I’ve-crashed-andburned-out-hard, there’s no comfort greater than the genuine support from the friends I’ve found here. As UChicago students, we’ve all been, or will be, in the same boat at one point or another. What a blessing it is to have peers who want to see you succeed and reach your goals, but who will also
encourage you to rest when needed. Who cheer you on in your successes, but who also know that there’s a difference between meaningful striving and striving after the wind. And so my four years here draw to a close. But not so with the friendships I’ve made with so many quirky, lovable, goofy, oddball UChicago folks—those are only just beginning. Even as we prepare to scatter across the country, we’re only a phone call away from exegeting a reli-
gious text together, nerding out over the literary merit of a new movie, cracking jokes about LaTeX, or breaking out the Hobbes references. It’s cheesy, it’s cliché, and UChicago could totally quote me in their next info pamphlet. But to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Olivia Morkved is a fourthyear in the College.
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
There and Back Again: Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning’s End It’s reassuring to navigate life off of a script you’ve written for yourself. But it’s also OK to throw the script in the bin and step away for a bit. By ALEXANDRA FIORENTINO-SWINTON This June, I’ll return to UChicago for the first time in two years to graduate. In March 2020—which now feels like a lifetime ago—I was one of many second-years feeling the relief of finally settling in, diving deeper into budding interests, expanding my circle, and getting ready for a lovely spring quarter spent sitting on the quad with my friends and constantly over-indulging on iced coffee. I was a chronic planner: spring quarter would have cute, #collegiate vibes, and I’d wrap up my second year living, laughing, and loving before I left for my year
abroad in London. Then, after my glamorous year abroad, I’d triumphantly return for my fourth year—21, flirty, and thriving. 2020, it turned out, had other plans. I appreciate that UChicago didn’t dangle the carrot in front of our faces when it announced that we were being sent home as the pandemic struck America, unlike some other schools who claimed quarantine would be nothing more than a two-week respite from college. Rather, our administration was considerate enough to disembowel all of my plans in one fell swoop, which proved far more emotionally convenient! It also made that last week of winter quarter all the more reverential,
and I spent it hitting all of my favorite spots on campus and having endless heart-to-hearts with my best friends. We had a bonfire at the Point, we sang along to “Closing Time” as Hallowed shut its doors, and we cried on the fittingly rainy day when the last of us parted ways. I’m particularly glad to have had that time because it was the last time I’d do any of those things. In April 2020, an unexpected death in my family blew up the “old world” that I’d promised myself I’d jump back into come next September. Death lingered constantly at the periphery of my personal sphere—and it wouldn’t stop anytime soon—but that was the moment that I let go of all of
the convincing I’d done to reassure myself that I’d just go back and press play on my old life heading into my third year. While everyone was at home for spring quarter, that loss felt easier to deal with, knowing that everyone was isolated and dealing with something. Misery craves company. But by the time autumn quarter rolled around, and UChicago did, in fact, unpause, I felt stunted and upset and afraid. I wasn’t ready to adjust, to let go of my fantasy of pressing play, and I couldn’t understand how some people were able to. Instead, I just turned off the whole movie. I completed the entirety of my third year remotely from Philadelphia, doing the best I could to feel connected through the friends I made—miraculously, given the circumstances—in classes and through a few extracurriculars. In particular, I owe a big thank you to all of the wonderful writers and creatives of MODA Blog, of which I became co–editor in chief, as much of my time at home was spent either writing, editing, or talking with other writers about their work. It had always been one of my favorite parts about my UChicago experience, and helping to curate that environment and keep things going certainly helped to keep me afloat and plugged in. I thought I was at a standstill, but I was just moving forward in a different way than I’d planned. I was unwilling to accept that things weren’t going to snap back in place after that magical end point of the pandemic. It’s quite hard to remember that your life is constantly happening, even when you think you’re simply paused, waiting for that next big thing you
want to come to fruition. If I’ve learned anything over the last two years, it’s that the waiting is the living. When the vaccines rolled around last spring, and it became clear that UChicago was going to be back in person for my senior year, the two back halves of my original Game Plan (the actual title of my Google Doc with the plan in question) came into conflict. I was faced with the choice to go back and press play on the original movie of my life that I’d planned—granted, with a few acts left on the cutting room floor—and return triumphantly to UChicago, or to complete the yearlong study abroad program that I had been able to defer due to the pandemic. The choice was complex, and I’ve gone back and forth in my self-psychoanalysis about my true motivations. Did I not go back to Chicago because I realized it would be starting a new movie rather than pressing play? That people had moved on with their lives— lives that I wasn’t a part of—and that things wouldn’t be the same as I left them? Was I going toward something shiny and new, or away from facing the changes that I’d inevitably need to reckon with? I confess, I think it was a bit of both, but I certainly don’t regret my decision. “Study abroad changed my life” is perhaps the most insufferable phrase to ever grace an admissions pamphlet, but I can’t exactly say it isn’t true. After the suffocating insularity of 2020–21, to say that this year has felt like a breath of fresh air doesn’t cover it. A lot of people take the opportunity to be someone totally different when they are CONTINUED ON PG. 24
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“Life is far too short to not write yourself your own happy ending.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 23
given a chance to start over (“new place, new me”), and my vision of going abroad certainly initially held the same ideas. I’d be cooler and wilder and more liberated than ever before, hence the aforementioned visions of glamor. But I think my experience did the opposite: it stripped me down to my most essential. It made me realize that you take yourself everywhere you go, no matter where you are or who you’re with or what you go through. That was a huge relief after feeling somewhat numb and detached during my time at home. It showed me that there are certain kinds of people—kind, generous,
hilarious, loving people—that I’ll always be drawn to and befriend, across any countries or cultural contexts. Just a few weeks ago, a dear friend and I went to dinner and a movie on the second anniversary of my devastating loss, and I let myself cry on her shoulder while walking down the streets of London. Embarrassing, but kind of beautiful. My experience here helped me understand that certain doubts and fears don’t matter. The brief, self-contained nature of studying abroad left me no time to indulge in them. I’m both excited and nervous to come back to UChicago. There are people I wish I’d stayed in bet-
ter touch with, but I don’t think it could have gone any other way. I wasn’t ready to let go of how things could have been, and everything related to UChicago was a reminder of a fractured future and the sadness that accompanied it. But I’ve grown to cherish the time we had—now crystallized in my memories—rather than bemoan how much more was possible, and I’ve been emerging from the periphery to tell people how much they mean to me. I’m sure it’s getting a bit annoying at this point. My “triumphant return” will finally come after twenty-seven months away from this school, over which I joined and quit at least six
different extracurriculars in an attempt to expand my horizons. I seriously decided (and then un-decided) that I was going to become a journalist, and then a lawyer, then a butcher, then a baker, and finally, a candlestick maker. I got published. I moved almost 4,000 miles away. I became a club leader and unceremoniously stepped down because of the distance. I got a job. I don’t know if any of these anecdotes particularly qualify me to give any advice, but if you’ll indulge me in providing some, it’s this: Plans are great, and it’s reassuring to navigate life off of a script you’ve written for yourself. But it’s also okay to throw the script in the bin and step
away for a bit. Like I said, life will continue to happen while you take a pause, but the key part is that the change you might dread will inevitably come anyway. If I had gone back to do my third or fourth years at UChicago, I’d end up missing my friends after graduation anyway, and I’d inevitably have to start over in the real world. Every experience is finite, which is what gives it value. So don’t worry about what you’ll miss—life is far too short to not write yourself your own happy ending. Alexandra Fiorentino-Swinton is a fourth-year in the College.
Why UChicago (Revised) The University’s greatest assets are the people that call it home. By JUSTIN SMITH Around campus, I’m probably best known for being the guy who does “everything”—a quadruple major who holds two campus jobs and leads over a dozen campus organizations.
But despite the 51 classes I’ve taken in my four years here, I’ve probably retained around a grand total of one quarter’s worth of actual information, and only one of my clubs will actually be “useful” in my career after I graduate. And yet,
I’d do it all over again. I’d take every class, join every club, and relive every experience, challenge, and mistake. But if none of it was useful, then what was it all for? At risk of sounding cliché, in the end it’s all about the people––the incredible, unusual, brilliant, talented, and truly uncommon friends who lived through it all with me. W hen I first got into UChicago, I i m me d i at e ly (or, as my friends say, neurotica lly) went on Blueprint and made a list of every club that interested me, a long w ith
their membership requirements, meeting times and locations, and any information I could find about them online. While writing this op-ed, I decided to find that list buried in my laptop files. It was 62 clubs long. Some of the 19 organizations I’ve led and been a part of during my time at UChicago––like the Sailing Club and Oeconomica––are at the top of that list, with paragraphs of information. Others, like The Derivatives Group and The Applied Math Club, didn’t exist yet. Others still, such as Make Chicago Smile and PARR, weren’t even interests of mine at the time, but rank among the RSOs I care most about by the end of my time here. The sole unifier between the clubs that I joined, the clubs that I stayed in, and the clubs I care so much about today are that they all shared a strong sense of community and belonging. Most of my clubs are not just
weekly meetings. They’re outings into the city, conferences, events, and parties. While caring about the organization is our mutual connection, each group of friends extends outside the organization as well. That’s not to say that it was always easy, always fun, or that everyone always gets along. I’ve done everything from organizing five-figure events to trying to coordinate sending a dozen students across state lines, all while balancing four to five classes per quarter in the often overwhelmingly difficult (and now even further shortened) quarter system. Funding and supply orders have fallen through at the last minute, team members have no-showed without warning, and yeah, sometimes you argue about stuff that really just doesn’t matter. Honestly, given how heterogeneous some organizations here are, I’m surCONTINUED ON PG. 25
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“Figuring out how to finish a quadruple major in four years was, as one might expect, a real struggle at times.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 24
prised it doesn’t happen more often. At the end of the day, though, no one remembers the time they had to spend submitting their 15th reimbursement request of the week. Some of my favorite memories from my RSOs were bonfires at the Point, apartment parties, and ordering pizza to whatever room we could book while planning our next event, and I’ll hold onto those memories forever. Figuring out how to finish a quadruple major in four years was, as one might expect, a real struggle at times. Despite the late nights and long hours, it’s an experience I’ve always looked fondly upon (and only occasionally regret). Among the highlights were the one quarter I had to take four math classes at the same time, my finals week tradition of convincing myself it’d all be over if I gave up and studied philosophy, and figuring out how to stay on track after not getting more than a single class during pre-reg for the fourth quarter in a row. That being said, I can honestly say that in every class I’ve taken, in every RSO I’ve joined, and in every guest lecture series I’ve made the mistake of attending, I have made real, lifelong friends: people I plan to be in contact with years down the road. W het her it ’s pu l l i ng all-nighters to finish problem sets in the Sky Lobby because we got kicked out of the Reg at midnight or getting drinks to celebrate getting 50%s on our statistics midterms—because that was still somehow 20 points above the class average— the difficulty of UChicago’s courses only brought myself
and some of the people I now consider my best friends closer together. Each study session was a chance to compare music tastes or reward ourselves with a fifth game of pool for completing the first problem of our 30-problem assignment. Every class was a chance to study and get to know one another, and to extend what should have been an hour-long assignment into a day-long activity because we were too busy watching conspiracy YouTube videos in the Reg A-level on full blast. Many of my best friends and roommates are people I happened to sit next to on the first day of a class, despite having nothing in common besides the row we shared that day. And while classes like Honors Abstract Algebra II and Multivariate Statistical Analysis may seem like a drag (and, truthfully, they often were), they were still true learning experiences, irrespective of course material or content. I met friends in my fields that helped me work through dozens of dead ends in my studies, encouraged me to push myself past what was required, and were genuinely excited to discuss a subject for hours with a friend who was excited about the same theories and models they were. It’s often not even for personal growth either—I have a weirdly large number of friends who genuinely care about Gödel’s incompleteness theorems because they just find them interesting and are willing to rant for as long as it takes for you to understand why. It’s reassuring to know that if necessary, I always have someone in my corner to help me out with my studies if I get stuck, and that my studies can continue after I graduate with
ISABELLA LIU or without graduate school just by spending time with the same people I already see every day. I hope all of these experiences are able to encompass why I put all this time into these classes and activities and why I do so much of what other people might call work. Because while I have pulled many, many all-nighters (I’m pulling one right now trying to finish this op-ed), I’m thrilled to do every single thing I do because none of it feels like “work”
to me. Every club memory— whether it’s teaching others to sail on Lake Michigan, pouring endless hours into prod night for this newspaper, putting on a wellness event in Ida, or “politely” debating a resolution in Stuart—is filled with people I genuinely care about and enjoy spending time with. Each class, each study group, and each organization is of course a way for me to get closer to my degree but, more importantly, to help other students, bene-
fit the local community, and accomplish something meaningful while hanging out with my friends. This is also why you won’t really find a theme in what I do, and why none of it needs to be “useful.” The clubs that I have cared most about during my four years here span quantitative finance, health and wellness, community service, journalism, spatial data science, economics, club sports, and politics. That’s beCONTINUED ON PG. 26
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“I believe that The Maroon has institutional privilege in this matter because it is capable of influencing the public opinion on campus.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 25
cause, while I originally joined each club for its purpose and took each class for its content (or to complete the quad major requirements), I stayed in each one because of the people I met—and the friends I made. So to sum it all up, I enjoyed every single thing that I did in
my four years here because of the amazing people I got to do it with. This probably isn’t a function of what I chose to do in any capacity—honestly, I’m sure I would have met amazing people here doing almost anything. This is a function of the people this University attracts. Despite its flaws, this Universi-
ty manages, year after year, to attract the kindest, smartest, most interesting individuals I’ve ever met. My friends are computer scientists who also take professional grade photographs, classics students engineering revolutionary technology, and online chess-obsessed economists. They’re neurobi-
ologists who love bathhouses, political campaign staffers who run our biggest campus events, and finance bros who make fantasy football their whole personality once a year. They’re future doctors who never grew out of their theater nerd phase, professional chefs who present advocacy work to
the UN, and English teachers who collect swords. Yet despite their varied interests (and trust me, I did none of them justice in this article), they all have one thing in common—they’re the best friends I could have ever asked for. Justin Smith is a fourth-year in the College.
The Maroon Editorial Board Should Endorse BDS The Maroon Editorial Board should follow the Harvard Crimson’s recent move and voice its support for the BDS movement and Palestinian liberation. By ANONYMOUS On April 29, The Harvard Crimson published an editorial in support of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. In this piece, The Crimson’s editorial board endorsed the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee’s efforts to call for an end to the apartheid regime and Israeli settler colonialism in occupied Palestine. The Crimson’s support for BDS, rather than coming from a mere ideological leaning, is rooted in the newspaper’s beliefs in freedom, justice, and equality for everyone. These three principles are the foundational tenets of BDS, which follows the boycott movements that emerged in apartheid South Africa. The BDS movement pressures multinational corporations to divest from Israeli operations, urges governments and international organizations to impose economic sanctions on Israel, and calls upon individuals to boycott Israel academically, economically, and politically. The goal of this pressure is to
call for an end to an apartheid state so that people with different ethnicities and religions can live equally together under a free Palestine. Freedom cannot be achieved with the existence of an open-air prison. Equality can’t be met simultaneously with an Apartheid Wall. Justice cannot be enacted when Palestinians are denied the right to return to their indigenous lands. Put differently, freedom, justice, and equality cannot exist without a free Palestine. Therefore, The Crimson saw it as essential to announce its support for the movement. I believe The Chicago Maroon should follow the same path. It is vital to state that the Maroon Editorial Board has not engaged with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) or other Palestinian movements from an institutional perspective or even expressed its opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and as a newspaper, it has historically published anti-Palestinian and Zionist opinions. However, this stance is changing slightly. Unlike The Crimson’s editorial
board and opinion team, which before this groundbreaking reversal had publicized and voiced opposition to BDS and the liberation cause, The Maroon has taken steps to address this crucial issue, for example recently, when Viewpoints head editors deleted and apologized for a recent anti-Palestinian and Zionist op-ed. Additionally, The Maroon has published opinions in support of Palestine and the BDS movement. I highlight The Maroon’s progressiveness compared to The Crimson’s to point out its potential to follow the same path as The Crimson by publishing an editorial in support of BDS and Palestinian liberation. Support for BDS means not only a free Palestine but also protection for those want to speak up against Israel—whether by condemning its injustices as a settler-colonial state or highlighting its pitfalls—without facing repercussions in a country where Israeli lobbyists have close ties with the government, business owners, and educational institutions. For example,
Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of BDS, was banned from traveling on various accounts. Similarly, students who openly support BDS have faced repercussions from their universities. Employees, a journalist specifically, have been fired from their jobs. Even in the United States, there has been a general crackdown on pro-Palestinian public figures and movements. We can’t turn a blind eye to everything that is happening in front of our eyes. We can’t deny the existence of the continuous demolition of Palestinian homes and the displacement of families or the hundreds of Palestinians who were killed or who lost their lives in Israeli prisons. As this is my last quarter at UChicago, I wanted to write about Palestine in The Maroon. However, I decided to write anonymously because, as I indicated in the previous paragraph, students who are openly pro-Palestine are usually harassed, which can put their futures in danger—especially at an influential university in the United States that has ties to
Israel. Maybe this column will demonstrate to others the dangerous consequences of speaking out in the “free country.” And maybe this column will pressure American universities, journals, corporations, and institutions to be more accepting of free speech—even on this issue. I believe that The Maroon has institutional privilege in this matter because it is capable of influencing the public opinion on campus. I hope this column will pressure The Maroon to take more pro-Palestinian stances. Its endorsement of BDS and a free Palestine could convince other students to take part in the Palestinian liberation movement in general and BDS in particular. Its endorsement would also pave the way for a safe environment for individuals who are associated with the movement and for freedom, justice, and equality to exist. The author has requested anonymity out of fear of harassment and retribution.
M 1.6 MILLION YEARLY ONLINE READERS
ISSUES PRINTED WEEKLY
12,000 NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS
ADVERTISE WITH THE MAROON. EMAIL ADS@CHICAGOMAROON.COM WITH INQUIRIES
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Class of 2022
Congrats, Sophia Fischer!
Congratulations Harry ! We are excited for your next adventure. We love you to the moon and back! -Mom, Dad, Bob, Nicole, Lucy and Sophie
Congratulations on your huge accomplishments at UChicago, glamour girl! Soph, we are so proud of you! Love always, Mom, Dad, Julia and Aspen
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
ARTS Ye Olden Maroon Voices: With Love, the Former Arts Eds By ALINA KIM VERONICA CHANG and WAHID AL MAMUN | Former Arts Editors At 4 a.m. (SST), we shouldered the tedium of removing every extra asterisk from the edited drafts of to-be published articles; when the margins of our InDesign spreadsheets threatened to knock texts off the page limits, though, we shuffled over hopelessly to the design team. Such was the life of us three (former) Arts editors in the spring quarter of 2020. Two of us were bullshitting R commands for the same class (shoutout to (some of) the stats department), and the third diligently attended Zoom class at 3 a.m. from his childhood bedroom in Singapore. Between reminiscing over the Ida Noyes basement and writing pitch emails while restaurants, museums, and theaters canceled all their events (and by translation, almost all possible pitches), we found leading this Maroon section an introspective space where we journalists could reflect on what our little hub in the world of arts is capable of. We oversaw our beloved team covering new queer media, following the Oscars, and exploring pop music, all as a means of cultural protest and praise. From 2019 to 2021, Arts has taught us to embrace the unhinged: in pitching, writing, editing, publishing, tweeting, and more. We sat down with, well, each other to talk about our time as Maroon editors, our favorite artsy pastimes and academic highlights, and—signature to the Maroon Arts editor application—our hottest takes. Take our final article as a love letter to the section, from past editors who trained us to veteran reporters with your inspiring pitches and stories to future UChicago arts journalists who will continue on our mission to take over the entire newspaper. (Just kidding on that last part. But not really.) Note: The recording of this interview lasted almost two hours and included Wordle breaks, furry allegations, and tangents about all the articles we said we would write but never did (apologies to our new leadership, Yiwen and Gage). All of
which we’ve since cut out. Chicago Maroon (CM): We served as editors together for years—Wahid and Alina since the winter quarter of 2019, and Veronica joining us in the spring quarter of 2020. Among the dozens of articles that have come our way, which ones were your all-time favorites? Alina Kim (AK): I think it was either [my] first or second year. [Adam Chan] went to Gorée Cuisine with their friends and tried every single thing on their menu. I’m proud of that one because I wrote the headline for [it], but also, that article inspired me to go to the restaurant and try their tilapia. I also really liked editing Wahid’s article about disgusting American food—he has a hatred for string cheese. Wahid Al Mamun (WAM): Alina’s Beastars article, 100 percent. You’ve never beaten the furry allegations since. I also really liked Kayla [Martinez’s] articles during COVID, especially the one about The L Word. We were in the midst of a hard pivot in our coverage to reflective think-pieces because of the pandemic, and Kayla’s articles were the ones that really made me go, “Wow, this pivot could actually work.” Veronica Chang (VC): Evan [Williams’s] article on Medici’s tomato slice. I’m a huge fan of everything Evan has written for us—the hilarious and the heartfelt—but this one started it all: a $1 tomato slice. Also Neel [Lahiri’s] film reviews. His Nomadland one especially stuck with me for a while, and I always look forward to his Oscars opinions. Extra shoutout to Neel for tolerating all of our “no facts, just vibes” Oscars tweets. CM: The section went through some rapid changes, leadership and content-wise, after Wahid took charge as the Head Editor in spring 2020, and Alina and Veronica as the Deputy Editors. What were some of your favorite changes made to the Arts section? VC: Probably the variety of pitches
we’ve had. Like Wahid mentioned, we made a hard pivot because of the pandemic to more reflective and personal pieces, but we’ve also had articles that have dealt with less deep or substantive material—we did a list of our favorite holiday movies for Christmas—and those articles have been hilarious to write and edit. And I think that variety is what makes Arts as a section so fun, that you don’t have to feel self-conscious about what you’re pitching or submitting. You don’t have to worry if something is too weird or improper or anything like that. We were responsible for introducing a lot of chaos to Arts—you could argue for better or for worse, but I’m going to say it’s for the better. AK: Ditto. We also made pitch emails that had their own headlines or puns to attract more writers, instead of directly saying “We need a reporter for X. Respond to Y.” I was flattered when Jad [Dahshan], a former editor, told us they enjoyed reading our pitch messages—and even more flattered when new reporters started hopping in with wilder pitches of their own to match that energy. [Former Arts editor] Gabi Garcia once reached out to me to co-write a review on Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, which may or may not have started the transition into my Theater Kid era. CM: Our experience with the arts was not confined to the newspaper. What was the most artsy activity you’ve done on campus? VC: One of my creative writing classes, which was a nonfiction workshop on the performative essay. The class really cemented to me that nonfiction was not just very traditional longform essays, that you could expand nonfiction into more experimental things, like poetry or performance or autofiction—any sort of genre as long as you just say, “This is nonfiction.” So shoutout Dina Peone, who taught that class and was instrumental in shaping my conception of what nonfiction could be. WAM: Two things–during COVID spring some of us put together UChiPoWriMo, where UChicago students
wrote one poem a day in the month of April. Amid the COVID chaos and having to uproot myself and go back home to Singapore, it was really fun to come up with different prompts and to see different people’s poems. It even got some uptake from the Creative Writing department, which was cool. A more recent thing is The Babble, which a couple of my friends and I have been working on for a while now as we were writing our Anthro theses. We wanted to come up with our own undergrad academic journal for zany, interdisciplinary stuff. So, if you have thesis excerpts or weird essays you wrote for class or a cool photo series, we’d love to take a look at them. AK: I was a projectionist for Doc Films for a couple years. I’ve always wanted to work in a movie theater just to see what happens behind the scenes. I got to train under Laura Hicks for most of the time. We worked a lot with 35 mm and it was really fun just to be able to screen classic movies like The Shining. I love behind-the-scenes tasks—my job is tech crew work at Mandel Hall—and to share my love for cinema by making the magic happen in the booth was something I never thought I’d do and have loved doing. CM: Pivoting to academia, we all wrote about media for our theses and portfolios. What were your senior projects about? AK: My political science thesis is in an extremely boring field, arguably. Congressional hearings. Haha. So, I’ll talk about my media arts and design capstone project instead. I wrote a thesis about how players can find the meaning of death within deathless systems in puzzle video games. And the framework that I used was from Wii Sports because one of the Miis, Matt, has two features. Matt has two aspects of difficulty: the mechanical and affective. Mechanical difficulty is how hard it is to beat that avatar. He’s the Wii Boxing champion, and he can punch you so hard that you feel your Wii remote shake. You might get a horrified reaction from seeCONTINUED ON PG. 31
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“From 2019 to 2021, Arts has taught us to embrace the unhinged: in pitching, writing, editing, publishing, tweeting, and more.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 30
ing your Mii get knocked down to the ground. “Oh my God, I dropped a hundred levels. I have to face lower-leveled Miis again before going back to Matt.” Combine that with affective difficulty, which I feel is this strange cult following Matt has, where people think of him as someone to be beaten. In that process, we come to desire our own defeat because of his cult status as a Final Boss. Because so many people have shared an experience of getting destroyed by Matt, we have this collective nostalgic desire to be punched by him again and again. That’s why people were excited to see the possibility of Matt returning to Nintendo Switch Sports. So, I’ve looked at other deathless systems in games like Monument Valley, a puzzle game. You’re supposed to solve mini-illusion puzzles that are already “broken” until your avatar, a princess, can pass the level. The player navigates Monument Valley’s puzzles and learns that the princess avatar they control has directly led to the genocide of humanity. Yes, you’re fixing broken pieces mechanically, but also you’re fixing something affectively in the narrative that you, the princess, broke in the past. WAM: I wrote an Anthro thesis about the discursive construction of migrant worker mental health in Singapore and ended up making an argument about how migrant workers turned to art spaces as affective sites of interruption to stake belonging in Singapore. More broadly, how affect can be a powerful organizing tool for migrant workers. I also did the poetry portfolio for the Creative Writing minor—I wrote a bunch of poems about the compulsive act of writing poetry, and how poetry both reenacts and processes something traumatic. VC: Preface that I’m a STEM major (the E in STEM stands for Econ, and the S stands for Statistics)—I’m still trying to comprehend how you guys wrote 80+ page theses and did minor portfolios/ projects. I worked on a data science project that looked at classifying and predicting removed comments on Reddit, and how natural language processing
Former Arts editors, Wahid Al Wamun, Veronica Chang, and Alina Kim write their final article for The Maroon. courtesy of wahid al mamun
models could help with that (shoutout Kevin, Isaac, Carlos, Kenan, and Profs Chenhao Tan and Will Trimble). I’m also a Creative Writing minor, so I completed a nonfiction portfolio. I wrote two essays about my family: my maternal grandma and my mom—and Hong Kong, and about writing and editing those two essays, like how struggling to write an essay is an essay in itself. CM: Was there anything strange, arts-wise, that you ran into as students in the humanities? WAM: Probably the one I’m taking with Malynne Sternstein right now, [Anxious Spaces]—she’s a wacky lecturer, and she switches from self-Lacan to self-deprecatory jokes to continuity ‘errors’ in The Shining. It’s kind of a bunch of work with theoretical readings, but it’s all wild stuff, and there’s a really solid film syllabus too. Also, my final is to de-
sign a literal anxious space—I have to draw it out though, so I’m kind of worried because I can’t do that. But it’s the most UChicago class I’ve taken—it’s up to the reader to decide if that’s derogatory or not. AK: I’m in a class called Video Game Music Production with a teacher who calls themselves Sensei Shallow, but their name is Takashi Shallow. They embody the anxious millennial whose work actually sounds legit. They’re currently teaching us how to make lo-fi, square, and ambient video game music and sound design scores. I’m not a composer, but they taught me how to make unhinged, glitchy electronic music, which I’ll use to compose a horror soundscape. VC: I initially gave three answers that were all STEM-related. In my defense, you guys asked for my most unhinged class and no one matches the
Stats department in neutral chaotic energy. But aside from that, I’m taking a class on filth as a genre—shout-out Beatrice Bradley in the English department—which looks at compiling a sort of canon of filth across different time periods and mediums, across both so-called high and low-culture stuff. We’ve done old Latin poetry and Jane Eyre, looked at Fifty Shades of Black as a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey as a transformative work of Twilight, and I just turned in a paper that started with “Unlike Stephenie Meyer’s initial conception of Twilight, the word ‘virgin’ did not come to me in a dream.” CM: It would be blasphemous to have led the Arts section without consuming arts media ourselves. What are you currently reading and watching for fun? AK: I started the She-Ra and the CONTINUED ON PG. 32
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
“Write about what your heart desires. We’ve seen articles on virtual theater on campus, we’ve seen rants about fan backlash to video game masterpieces.” CONTINUED FROM PG. 31
Princesses of Power remake, created and produced by ND Stevenson, in autumn quarter 2020 and never got around to finishing the final season. I think Maroon reporters recommended that show to me, actually! I’ve reached episode four now, though, so almost done. As for reading, I discovered a book on BookTube called The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake, a dark academia fantasy of sorts. WAM: I’m reading and watching very sophisticated things at the moment. I’ve been watching The Ultimatum, and I think someone on Twitter called it “cishet nonmonogamous monogamy,” which is very accurate. I’m also reading Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey for class— [the filth class]—and I greatly prefer the former to the latter. For fun, I’m planning to read Trouillot Remixed (ed. Yarimar Bonilla, Greg Beckett, Mayanthi L. Fernando), which I picked up on a discount from the Sem Co-op. It’s funny, because I guess most people would switch the fun and required readings around, but you know—typical UChicago! VC: Same class as Wahid, so I’m also reading Twilight and Fifty Shades of
Grey. I’m enjoying both, so I also tried reading Midnight Sun, which I surprisingly did not enjoy. For fun, I’m reading Severance by Ling Ma—I love the way Ma plays with chronology and nostalgia. I’m watching Attack on Titan and Spy x Family, both of which, now that I’m thinking about it, deal with the aftereffects of war in very different ways. I’m also rewatching episodes of Doctor Who, Crime Scene, and Haikyuu!!. CM: The application to become Maroon Arts editors always features a signature section: Give us your hottest arts-related take. Ironically, as the editors who wrote that into the Google form, we actually never answered this ourselves. So, give us your hottest arts-related take. AK: We have not yet had an iconic film theme since Pirates of the Caribbean (2003). Sure, we’ve heard How to Train Your Dragon’s “Test Drive,” Inception has “Time,” and The Batman spams that brass-heavy leitmotif and whatnot, but none of the 2010-era films reached the level of fame and universal recognition as Pirates did. WAM: Mine’s about books—I think
Kevin Tyler Wu: Aaahhh it is already graduation. It has been so amazing to walk on this path with you. Watching you grow and learn. You’re our Hemmingway and our Einstein. We’ve enjoyed every step of the way. We love you and are so proud of you.
the ‘disaffected white woman’ genre is swiftly coming to an end. It has produced some bangers and I love them all: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, which is the template, Normal People by Sally Rooney, The New Me by Halle Butler, even Severance, to an extent. But it’s jumping the shark, and I think you can really see that with Faber and Faber’s insane publicity stunts for the new Sally Rooney book (Beautiful World, Where Are You) last year. We get it—you’re depressed, your job is BS, you have subpar sex, and you have a ton of privilege-induced guilt. It’s been a great run, and I will be excited by whatever Rooney puts out next, but I can’t wait to move on. VC: I keep changing my mind on which hot take to include here. The one I originally had, Alina reacted by saying, “That’s a hot take.” Here’s what I have now: the majority of Western media coverage on K-pop (and to some extent, all East Asian media) is a combination of meaningless pandering and fetishization. There’s minimal research done, and you either get articles that are basically designed to generate clicks and
have absolutely zero critical thought because any criticism is inviting the wrath of highly mobilized fans, or exoticism that’s disguised just thinly enough to not be outright called racist or xenophobic. Like, you can be critical without forcing everything under a Western lens, without treating the success of any non-Western media like a traveling circus. CM: What advice do you have for future Maroon Arts reporters? WAM, VC, and AK: Write about what your heart desires. We’ve seen articles on virtual theater on campus, we’ve seen rants about fan backlash to video game masterpieces, Wahid wrote about the Bad Art Friend. If you see something in the pitch list that you think is missing, just shoot a note to the editors with a pitch of your own—we can’t wait to read your unhinged hot takes! WITH LOVE, ALWAYS AND FOREVER, ~YOUR FORMER HEAD ARTS EDS
Never forget that with your stellar brain and heavenly kind heart you will accomplish all you ever desire. (Remember summiting Kili like it was a walk in the park?!) We couldn't be more proud of you! Sending you love from all directions, Nanette and Diane
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Congratulations Jonah! We are so proud of you. Have fun on your next adventure! Love, Mom, Dad, Ella, the animals, and everybody!
I have so many prouds. Love, Charlz
Peter Jurich We are so very proud of you and all you have accomplished. As you begin your next adventure, always remember, never be unoriginal. Congratulations! Love, Mom, Dad, Chris and Liz
Class of 2022
Eren, Congratulations, We are so proud of you! Love Eph and Michele!
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
CONGRATS!!! We are so proud of you and all of your amazing accomplishments. Preeya J. Patel, BA ’22 in Public Policy “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Congratulations Sam Casale !! We are so proud of you and love you very much. Can’t wait to see what you do next! Love Mom, Dad, and Maddy
THE CHICAGO MAROON — JUNE 2, 2022
Dear Alexandra, you’ve come a long way… Let the fun begin!
Love you, Mom, Dad, Michael, and Mia