VOL. 129, ISSUE 39
APRIL 13, 2018
THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
Events 4/13 – 4/16 Saturday Engendering Change: Jasbir Puar Keynote address Centers for Gender/Race Studies, Community Room (105), 12 p.m. Engendering Change is an annual graduate student-organized conference focused on issues of gender and sexuality. Jasbir Puar, professor of women’s & gender studies at Rutgers University will deliver an address, “Slow Life and Palestine: Settler Colonialism in Five Parts.” Open to public.
Building Demolition Expected As Grad and Staff Housing Program Is Downsized Residential Properties rents apartments at a much lower rate than private landlords, but the program has shrunk from 1,500 units to 500.
Monday Pearson Institute hosts Jonathan Powell Ida Noyes Hall Cloister Club, 12—1:15 p.m The Pearson Institute, which is involved in a lawsuit from the Pearson family seeking to take back their $100 million donation, hosts British diplomat Jonathan Powell.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Quad Club, 5—6:15 p.m. The Institute of Politics is hosting John Hickenlooper, the Democratic Governor of Colorado. You can register online.
La Floresta, a University-owned apartment building at 6035 S Kimbark Ave, will be vacated June 30, 2018 for demolition.
BY QUINN KANE SENIOR NEWS REPORTER
You are reading The Maroon’s Living in Hyde Park issue, where we’re focusing on housing stories. The cover is designed by Sofia Garcia. Table of contents: Page two: Building Demolition Expected As Grad, Staff Housing Program Is Downsized (+ Listen to the podcast version of this story online.) Page three: D reams of Dorms t o Come: Efforts to expand housing at UChicago have a long past, and little to show for it. Page four: Interview: Preservation of Affordable Housing’s V.P. Bill Eager. Page seven: Repealing the Ban: Activists, Legislators Wrestle Over Rent Control. Page ten: Santhanam: UChicago is Safe... From What?
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Over the last several years, property values have skyrocketed in Hyde Park. Rent prices reached new highs in 2016, forcing some longtime residents to seek housing in other neighborhoods. The University holds real estate throughout Hyde Park and has reaped the rewards of increased market values by selling some of its holdings in the profitable area north of the Midway, including former dorms Broadview, Blackstone, and Maclean. At the same time, the University has responded to the area’s change with marked expansion south of the Midway, where properties are still relatively cheap. This area will soon house the Rubenstein Forum, Woodlawn Commons, and the Keller Center. In this fluctuating market, undergraduate students can look to the University for support in the form of financial aid–supported dorm housing. It is less apparent how the University helps its other affiliates such as graduate students and University staff find affordable housing. The University does have programs to support graduate student housing budgets. One service is the University’s Residential Properties, a slate of apartments that the University rents directly to graduate students and staff. Currently, the University operates 13 buildings as part of the Residential Properties service. Jimmy Heald and his wife Shannon, a research associate in the psychology department, live in a Residential Property on 60th Street and Kimbark Avenue with their two children. They moved to the building after they were forced to leave another Residential Property in 2015 when the University sold the building. The Heald family has had to move between Residential Properties multiple times. Each time they’ve moved, Jimmy Heald says he and his wife have told themselves, “Never again, never again. We like this place and we don’t want to go through this process again.” Yet, since 2011, the Healds have moved three times within the Residential Properties system. Twice, they were told within a year of moving in that the building would soon be evacuated. Despite moving often, the Healds continue to seek out Residential Properties
because they can count on affordable, safe housing with a responsive staff. Graduate students and staff can find cheaper apartments from Residential Properties than from private companies in Hyde Park. Residents can rent studios for less than $1,000 per month from Residential Properties, and three-bedroom apartments for just over $1,000. The number of Residential Properties buildings has dropped sharply over the past few years. In the summer of 2015, the University sold 21 of its Residential Properties to Pioneer Acquisitions LLC, a company that purchases properties and renovates them for future use. One property sold in the summer of 2015 was the last building where the Healds lived. The next summer, the University sold another 13 properties to Pioneer Acquisitions. In a press release, the University said that the sale would “allow the University to reinvest resources to support its teaching and research activities.” James Hennessy, the University’s associate vice president for commercial real estate at the time, explained that the sale in 2015 demonstrated that “the real estate market in the areas surrounding campus is now strong enough to attract a number of potential investors.” The University bought many of these properties during the Great Recession, and withheld selling the buildings until 2015 as real estate market values increased. With the sale of 21 properties in 2015, the University created a resources page on its graduate student website to help graduate students find housing. The first Residential Property that Jimmy was forced to leave was demolished, not sold. The Healds lived in an apartment building on the southeast corner of Woodlawn Avenue and 60th Street from 2010 to 2011. In 2011, the University notified all residents that they would have to evacuate the building. The University later demolished the building because “maintaining the quality of life for residents there would have required a multimillion-dollar overhaul that would have displaced residents, at a cost far greater than the value of the building,” according to Steve Kloehn, associate vice president for news and public affairs at the time. Where this building once stood is now a vacant lot, with plans to become the site of the University’s Rubenstein Forum.
The fate of the building on 60th Street and Woodlawn Avenue highlights how the University has directly displaced staff and graduate students in Hyde Park by expanding its facilities, especially those south of the Midway. The University will once again displace residents, this time in the Healds’ current building. University spokesperson Marielle Sainvilus confirmed that the building will be demolished in the near future, and that residents will have to leave by June 30. The Maroon also previously received anonymous tips that residents would be forced to leave. Graduate students and staff once had 48 residential properties to choose from. With the closing of the Healds’ building, only 12 remain. This has pushed a huge number of residents to abandon the Residential Properties system, despite its affordability. Until recently, a statement on the Residential Properties website read: “Consider renting one of the over 1,500 units owned and managed by The University of Chicago, a responsive landlord committed to providing safe and comfortable housing.” While residents have described Residential Properties as responsive, safe, and comfortable, there are issues with how this service is being represented. First, Residential Properties’ website previously purported that there are “over 1,500 units” available. However, there are only 496 units, excluding the 24 units in Jimmy’s building. Over the course of this article, the University updated the figure to now say “over 500 units.” The University reports 97 percent of these units are currently full. Second, Jimmy felt that the University may not be fully “committed” to serving its graduate students and staff with the Residential Properties service. Though Jimmy feels that the University has been generous in the short term by charging low rent, he says that he “can see that the decisions they’ve made are part of a long-term plan.” Many of the University’s graduate schools tout Residential Properties on their websites as an appealing option for prospective students. The Law School’s website even cites the erroneous figure of “over 1,500 units.” The Divinity School’s website displays an outdated map of Residential Properties with locations that the University no longer owns.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
Dreams of Dorms to Come BY SPENCER DEMBNER DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR
Efforts to expand housing at UChicago have a long past, and little to show for it. Since the opening of Max Palevsky Residential Commons in 2001, the University has seen a dramatic growth in new dormitory construction, with the opening of both Granville-Grossman and Campus North Residential Commons. Yet before Max P, the University hadn’t built any undergraduate housing for 40 years. For most of its history, the University has taken a piecemeal approach to housing, relying on off-campus apartments and rarely having dormitory capacity for more than 60 percent of undergraduates. When new housing was needed, the University preferred to buy neighborhood buildings and refurbish them, as it did with Blackstone, Maclean, the Shoreland, and many other “satellite” dorms, than to undertake new construction projects. In 2008, Dean of the College John Boyer presented “The Kind of University We Desire to Become,” a detailed report on the history of housing at UChicago. According to details provided in the report the University has considered major expansions of on-campus housing twice in its past. In the late 1920s, University administrators proposed a massive undergraduate housing complex along 60th Street between Ellis and Woodlawn Avenues, but ultimately only saw Burton-Judson Courts built. Forty years later, the University announced a large housing complex on the site of Stagg Field, only to see its construction prevented by budget concerns and student upheavals in the late 1960s. 1928: The South Campus Complex For the first several decades of its history, the University provided almost no student housing. As few as 20 percent of students lived on campus, and often there were more students living in the numerous fraternity houses than in dormitories. In fact, until at least the 1950s, the University was in large part a commuter school, with around 40 percent of students living at home while attending. Many of the dormitories that did exist, including Snell, Hitchcock, Gates-Blake, Goodspeed, Foster, and Green, were shared between undergraduates and graduate students. When Ernest Burton became the University’s third president in 1923, he conceived an ambitious plan to change that. Inspired by his experiences touring Oxford, Burton imagined turning the entire area south of the Midway into a set of integrated “colleges” for undergraduates. His plan also involved a restructuring of the undergraduate curriculum, somewhat similar to the Core later adopted un-
der President Robert Maynard Hutchins in the 1930s. Under this plan, undergraduates would take a two-year general education curriculum followed by two years of more specialized learning, which would be more integrated with the University’s graduate divisions. Burton’s plan was inspired by contemporary developments at Yale. Yale’s president, James Angell, was a University of Chicago psychology professor from 1895 to 1919 and expected to become University president after serving as acting president from 1918 to 1919. But when then-president and political science professor Harry Pratt Judson refused to step aside, Angell left and eventually moved to Yale in 1921. Starting in 1925, Angell implemented a residential college model at Yale similar to the one that Burton proposed around the same time for UChicago. Memorial Quadrangle, the product of Angell’s effort, became a model for UChicago’s proposed college buildings. In 1925, Burton died and was succeeded as president by Max Mason, who shared a similar vision. Initially, the plan went ahead under the direction of Vice President Frederic Woodward. In 1927, architect Charles Klauder, who had built dormitories at Princeton and Cornell, was commissioned to design the South Campus complex. Under Klauder’s plan, the entire area between Ellis and Woodlawn would have become a mixed-use undergraduate college, with a 44,000-square-foot library, classroom space, and the capacity to house 2,000 students. A version of the plan scaled down to focus on student housing received approval in 1928. Its total cost was $5 million, of which trustee Julius Rosenwald pledged $2 million and the University fronted the rest. In this plan, the University would build two men’s halls along Ellis, two women’s dorms to their east, and an arts building on the other side of Woodlawn. In total, the complex could house between 1,400 and 1,600 students. However, Woodward’s plan for the colleges met stiff resistance from faculty who felt they detracted from the University’s research-oriented mission. Led by professors William Dodd and Charles Merriam, they worried the University would end up prioritizing less academically serious undergraduates over more serious graduates, and preferred to shift focus away from the College, even to the point of abolishing it. “Let undergraduate loafers go anywhere else, especially to Yale and Harvard where swaggy manners and curious accents can
University photographic archive
A blueprint illustrates the University’s ambitious 1927 plan for south of the Midway. Thanks to faculty opposition and the Great Depression, only Burton-Judson was built. be learned easily,” Dodd would later say in 1934, according to Boyer’s report. “Real students should be appealed to and then genuine offerings be easily available. This would mean many graduate students.” Even worse for Woodward, both Dodd and Merriam were prominent members of the search committee to find a new president. Mason had resigned in 1928 and Woodward, now acting president, was widely favored for the job, but their opposition torpedoed his chances. Instead, the board opted for a younger man, then-dean of Yale Law School Robert Maynard Hutchins. Though his own plans for undergraduate education would eventually turn into the Core, Hutchins had little interest in the dream of a residential college, and did little to support it. Burton-Judson Courts, the only one of four dormitories slated to be built that was actually built, was completed in 1931. The other three were delayed and eventually killed by a combination of faculty opposition and the economic strain of the Great Depression. 1964: The Blum Plan In 1960, the University implemented a strict residency requirement in which women would have to live on campus for four years and men for two. But the plan was hampered by the perceived low quality of campus housing at the time. Woodward Court, a women’s dormitory on the current site of the Booth School, opened in 1956, and Pierce Tower opened for men in 1960. Both had very small rooms and at one point the dean of Yale Law School wrote to complain about his son’s living conditions. In 1964, the residency requirements were effectively rescinded. In a letter at the time, University Dean of Students Warner Wick lamented campus living conditions. “In any case, we are not competitive [in housing] with the colleges we like to think of ourselves as competing with,” Wick said according to Boyer’s report. “Talk of our ‘residential college’ is a big laugh, and the world is hearing about it.” In response, University Provost Edward Levi appointed a faculty committee chaired by law professor Walter Blum to deal with the issue. Blum’s report, completed in 1965, argued for a broad expansion of on-campus
University photo archive
A blueprint shows the plans for North Quadrangle, a dormitory and student village proposed in the 1960s.
housing, including possible construction on the current site of Granville-Grossman Residential Commons and an additional tower near Pierce. However, the report’s boldest proposal was for a large student village, to be built on the present site of Stagg Field, including shops and an athletic facility. In addition, it questioned the quality of recently built dormitories, citing long-standing and widely shared concerns over their living conditions. “Unfortunately, the last two residences built by the University—Pierce Tower and Woodward Courts—suffer badly in comparison with housing built by other schools with which the University competes for students,” Blum’s report said. Spurred by the report, the University announced plans for the North Quadrangle, a planned complex on the site proposed by Blum. It would cost $23.8 million, house 900 students, and include other amenities such as arts and athletics facilities. But the plan was soon shelved in favor of other priorities. Student protests played a role: Hundreds of students occupied Levi Hall for two weeks in 1969, leading to 42 expulsions. In response, the College significantly reduced the size of its incoming class, eliminating some of the incentive to build new housing. In addition, the University needed funding for other ambitious campus projects, including the construction of Regenstein Library, which opened in 1970. As a result, Blum’s plan, like Woodward’s, never took off. Today The expansion in housing since the opening of Max Palevsky has already added over 2,000 new beds for College students, as large as any of the projects considered in the past, although not limited to one location. The College’s enrollment has grown from 4,103 students in 2003 to 6,150 students today, creating a need for much more on-campus housing. In addition, under Boyer the College has set a goal of being able to house at least 70 percent of undergraduates on campus. In 2009, the college opened Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons, then known as South Campus. Pierce Tower, famous for its exploding toilets toward the end of its existence, was demolished in 2013, and students were relocated to International House and New Graduate Residence Hall. New Grad, along with three other undergraduate residence halls, was later made defunct with the construction of Campus North Residential Commons in 2016. The College’s newly-proposed residence hall, Woodlawn Residential Commons, will house 1,200 students and is slated to break ground this summer.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
Interview: Preservation of Affordable Housing’s V.P. Bill Eager BY LEE HARRIS NEWS EDITOR
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) has been a key player in driving growth in mixed-income housing throughout Woodlawn. POAH first began investing in Woodlawn in 2008, when the economic crisis and local disinvestment in South Side communities accelerated a trend of urban flight from historically black middle-class communities. T he M aroon sat down with Bill Eager, POAH’s vice president for Chicago, to discuss affordable housing development, the effects of the Obama Presidential Center on surrounding communities, and the unique challenges of competing for development grants in Chicago. Eager led POAH’s spending of a $30.5 million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which went toward a major redevelopment of Grove Parc Plaza at 61st just south of East 60th Street along Cottage Grove Avenue. The Obama Library South Side Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Coalition has reported and protested rent hikes for tenants living near the planned Obama Presidential Center location, while Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie A. Hairston has denied that the center is causing rents to increase. In our interview, Eager was reluctant to weigh in on the CBA Coalition, calling himself “agnostic,” and said he doesn’t know, from limited data at POAH properties, whether reported rent hikes have been widespread across Woodlawn. CM: Have you seen rent hikes in Woodlawn? The M aroon has reported on CBA coalition protests of rent increases around planned Obama Center zones, but Hairston has insisted the Obama Center isn’t causing rents to go up. BE: I don’t have anything more than anecdotal evidence on rent. Rent’s going up—I can tell you from our own work that our own rent studies that we’ve done over the last several years do show higher rents and, surprise surprise, higher rents in East Woodlawn than in West Woodlawn. The closer you get to the University and the farther northeast you get in Woodlawn, the higher the rents are. That’s not terribly surprising, given its proximity to the University, and that’s nothing new with the Obama Center. It existed before the Obama Center was even announced. Have they gone up since the announcement? I can’t say, beyond normal inflation, and I haven’t seen any evidence of a one way or the other. CM: Could you discuss protests that have happened recently? Hairston has said that rent hikes aren’t due to the Obama Center, while CBA insists residents are being pushed out by people like Leon Finney, and that the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation has developed a lot of ostensibly affordable housing that might be taking advantage of development interests surrounding the Obama Center. Could you speak to either side of the debate? BE: In government assisted housing—and there are many different ways for governments to assist in the creation of affordable housing—there are typically limits in rent. There are either maximum rents that you can charge, based on however they’re funded, or if there’s a Section 8 voucher, there’s generally a cap on that. In each case, there are provisions for getting those rents increased. *Note: Section 8 refers to the federal Housing Choice Vouchers Program, which provides hous-
ing to Americans living in poverty.* Within properties that have rent restrictions, but no Section 8, there are provisions built in for what the maximum rents can be, based on a whole formula. So, is it possible that certain buildings are charging rents that are well below what the market could bear? Sure. CM: So, what are potential causes of those rent increases? BE: It depends. I don’t know if it’s economic conditions. I don’t know if it’s speculation or if it’s simply that rents have been undervalued for years. All of those things are possible. CM: Let’s discuss the broader context of your work—how did POAH first get involved in Woodlawn? BE: POAH came into Woodlawn in roughly 2008 to take over the ownership of what was known as Grove Parc Plaza Apartments, a Section 8 property that stretched roughly from 60th to 63rd Street along Cottage Grove. It occupied most of those three blocks, and it was in very poor shape. It looked like the mortgage would be foreclosed, and people who lived there would be displaced, through no fault of their own, but because the conditions in the buildings had gotten so poor that there was a sense that it was beyond repair. POAH took over the property under the following conditions: The Section 8 contract would be preserved, the housing would not be shut down, but over time, POAH would redevelop that property, so in phases demolish it, because it was considered obsolete, and replace what was in all Section 8 property with more of a mixed income community, which we now call Woodlawn Park. Everybody who was a resident at Grove Parc Plaza who wanted to stay in Woodlawn would get a new home in Woodlawn, whether it’s new construction or a newly rehabbed apartment. All of the Section 8 units would be preserved—not the physical unit themselves, but there was a contract with HUD for 504 Section 8 apartments. Now that we’re several years down the road, we’re beginning to do some more commercial work, including the Jewel-Osco we opened recently. We opened a building at 61st and Cottage that is going to have a new day-care center. We’re almost done with the building at 63rd and Cottage that will have first-floor retail. CM: In 2017, POAH released a report stating that Woodlawn has room for a lot more development without being at risk for gentrification. Why is it that certain communities can withstand millions in investment without displacement, while in other areas rapid commercial investment can push out longtime community members? BE: There are two things at the core of our mission. One is preserving affordable housing—that’s in our name—but also making it economically viable in the process. So, creating and preserving affordable housing and making it work from a business standpoint, that doesn’t change. We also believe, as many people do despite what you may hear, that, you know, affordable housing done well can be a catalyst for greater change. We saw an opportunity on Cottage Grove, one of the key arteries in Woodlawn, to [develop] something that’s newer, cleaner, friendlier, more architecturally pleasing, provides better housing for the people who lived there. We thought doing that, we could leverage that into kind of a broader community revival. We see Woodlawn as a really good opportunity to do community revitalization without displacement.
Gentrification’s a word that gets tossed around a lot. I think a lot of people would define it differently. I’m not exactly sure how I define it, or how much is too much, but I think I think one of the things we’re trying to focus—like some other folks in the community, such as the 1Woodlawn folks—and because gentrification is such an ambiguous word—is displacement. I think Woodlawn has an opportunity to be really a national model because there’s a lot of room to grow in Woodlawn before demand for land and buildings gets so intense that people are driven out in any significant way. At its peak, Woodlawn had 81,000 people, and there’s now about 25,000 people. There’s a lot of vacant property, there are a lot of vacant units and some vacant buildings. I think there’s a lot of room to create multiple types of opportunity before land and buildings are such a premium or the prices go crazy. I think there’s also a lot of room to preserve the significant amount of affordable housing that’s here, and coupling the preservation of affordable rental housing with no affordable home ownership opportunities as well, so that you’re getting not just high-end home buyers but you’re getting sort of regular everyday working people home buyers in. CM: To what extent will the Obama Center drive gentrification or community displacement? Well, I think the fact that the Obama Center coming to Woodlawn is a terrific thing for the community. I think Woodlawn has been a terribly overlooked community in many ways, and I hope that the library allows, heck, the rest of Chicago to see Woodlawn for what it is. What effect is it going to have? I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t think anybody really knows what the economic impact of it is going to be. I would imagine that right around the Obama Center, there will certainly be some impact. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be. I think not just as a community, but as a city, we need to do the Obama Center right so that number one, people who live nearby, can compete for whatever jobs are generated, both at the center and in whatever the surrounding amenities turn out to be. CM: Do you have a stance on the CBA? BE: I do not. I’m officially agnostic. CM: Is that just your official stance, as a member of POAH? BE: Well, I’m very of two minds. As a company we’re not commenting, and personally I have very mixed feelings on it. We have a long-standing MOU [memorandum of understanding] with the Grove Parc Tenants’ Association, but that’s a very narrowly focused agreement between two parties centered on one piece of work, as opposed to a community-wide thing. So, I would like to think that the sides can come to an understanding, because it presents a great opportunity to drive some positive change in the community. I also think we want to be sure that the center is designed and oriented so that when people enter and leave the Obama presidential experience, they’re not turning their backs on the community. It would be a terrible thing for thousands of people to visit the Obama Presidential Center and then just jump back on Lakeshore Drive and leave. We don’t want big investments like this to be done with their back to the community. CM: Where do you see commercial development happening next in Woodlawn? BE: We have one building going up
at 63rd and Cottage, and we’re working on another project at the intersection. I think CTA wants to reposition the terminus of the Green Line, and if we can get some really good investment on a couple of corners there, you’ll see some nice commercial development in that area. And then the hope is that it begins to radiate both east and west, out from the intersection. But you have to build out from nodes of activity. 61st Street is also promising. I don’t know where the commercial would go there, but I read that when the new dormitory is completed there will be more undergraduates living in Woodlawn than in Hyde Park, which is pretty significant. That’s very appealing to potential commercial tenants. CM: It sounds like your work in Woodlawn is tapering off, then, especially with the increasing interest in commercial development accompanying the incoming Obama Presidential Center? BE: If you think about work on a continuum that started almost 10 years ago now, we’re more than halfway along that continuum. We have at least two more phases of housing in Woodlawn, one that will be started later this year. CM: “Phases”—meaning individual developments? BE: To give an example of a phase, there are two buildings we purchased that we’ll be rehabbing and preserving as affordable—so that’s a phase. It’s a total of 160 units. That work should start probably the third quarter of this year. And then we’ve got some other housing that we need to complete to fulfill our obligations under the choice. Hopefully we can do next year or 2020. The commercial is really just a result of people’s willingness to look at Woodlawn in ways that maybe they weren’t 10 years ago. CM: Is there anything you’d like to speak about that we haven’t asked you so far? BE: The South Side community is amazing. Thinking about it in terms of, like, its raw amenities, it has Jackson Park and Washington Park, great public transportation access both with the Green Line and the Metra, vehicular access, Lakeshore Drive and the Expressway. It has incredible potential and I think we’ve got a time now to where people are beginning to see that potential. We have hardly done this work ourselves. The city and the state have been with us all the way. Tenant organizations, the community organizers—it really has been a coalition of the many. CM: Are rent hikes occurring within Chicago’s POAH housing? BE: We haven’t seen it and we wouldn’t necessarily see it because, by and large, we don’t do a lot of market-rate rental. Most of our transactions are restricted by income maximums, rent maximums, or a little bit of both. Our most recent study, where we tested the upper limits of the market, was with the building we just opened at 61st Street. Half of those units are, in fact, market-rate units. This was the first time we did anything that was that substantially market-rate. [According to the study,] 61st Street is the top of the market in Woodlawn, particularly east of Cottage Grove by the University. The comp study came back to us putting a $1,500-a-month two-bedroom at the top of the market. This interview was lightly edited for clarity.
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THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
Repealing the Ban: Activists, Legislators Wrestle Over Rent Control BY DEEPTI SAILAPPAN NEWS EDITOR
“Should the State of Illinois lift the ban on rent control to address rising rents, unjust evictions, and gentrification in our community?” On March 20, a resounding 77 percent of voters in 77 precincts scattered across Chicago said yes to this question—or to a variation of it that appeared on some primary election ballots. The vote on the referendum included Fifth Ward precincts 11 and 18, both located in Hyde Park. Together, the two precincts occupy the strip of land between South Lake Park Avenue and South Hyde Park Boulevard, bordered on the north and south by East Hyde Park Boulevard and East 55th Street. Hyde Park support for the referendum mirrors broader trends in Chicago, with 83 percent of voters in precinct 11 and 77 percent in precinct 18 voting affirmatively. The measure also appeared on ballots in five other precincts in and around Kenwood, where it met similar rates of approval. Despite the apparent citywide consensus, the future of rent control in Illinois is murky. The referendum is non-binding, so it has no direct impact on the three bills that would repeal the ban currently pending in the state legislature: a House bill introduced in February 2017 by State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-39), a parallel Senate bill introduced this January by State Senator (and recently defeated Democratic primary gubernatorial candidate) Daniel Biss (D-9), and a more comprehensive and controversial Senate bill proposed in February by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3), the majority caucus whip. What’s Next: Passing a Rent Control Act “I’m pleased that [the vote] was overwhelming,” said Pat Wilcoxen, president of the Hyde Park and Kenwood-based Coalition for Equitable Community Development (CECD) and a former University employee who directed the University library’s circulation services until 1996. “I can’t say what Springfield is going to do.” CECD and 20 other organizations affiliated with the Lift the Ban Coalition are chiefly responsible for pushing the referendum onto ballots. Led by four groups—the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), the Lugenia Burns Hope Center, Northside Action for Justice, and Pilsen Alliance—the Coalition has canvassed neighborhoods for nearly two years urging a repeal of the 1997 Rent Control Preemption Act, which banned municipal rent control policies across Illinois. Guzzardi’s bill, which simply repeals the Act, was introduced in February 2017. Over a year later, it has gained eight cosponsors but still languishes in the Rules Committee. Guzzardi told the South Side Weekly last month that while he feels confident in the possibility of a hearing on the bill this spring, he does not expect the bill to make significant legislative strides in 2018. The issue did gain political traction during the gubernatorial primary race,
Map showing the percentage of respondents who voted for rent control on a non-binding referendum in several precincts. however. In January, Biss introduced his Senate bill, which simply reproduces the text of Guzzardi’s bill and calls for the ban’s repeal. Businessman J.B. Pritzker, since elected the Democratic nominee, also voiced support for a repeal. “We’re taking the results of the referendum, which we find are very representative of the city of Chicago’s diversity, ethnically and by income level, [to be] very encouraging,” Jawanza Malone, executive director of KOCO and one of the key figures in the Coalition, told The Maroon over the phone. He added that Coalition members are currently meeting with Guzzardi, Biss, and Hunter to discuss possibilities for a rent control act, and noted that “a cadre of senators” support some version of the initiative. Activists and legislators have yet to agree on what the act should look like. Reconciling the House bill with Hunter’s vision for rent control in Illinois poses the question of which, if any, aspects of rent control should be standardized statewide. In addition to repealing the ban, as Biss’s bill does, Hunter’s bill establishes rent control boards in every Illinois county and tasks them with “establishing countywide rent-controlled amounts for renting to households of specified income levels and calculating an average rent for dwellings in the county.” The bill also awards two income tax credits to property owners who rent to households within a county’s specified income level: one equal to the difference between the rent-controlled amount and the county’s average rent, and one equal to any capital improvements made on properties rented to households within the specified income bracket. Though they are still “workshopping” Hunter’s bill, the Lift the Ban Coalition aims to steer legislators toward it rather
Courtesy of Lift the Ban Coalition
Activists from the Coalition protest at the Thompson Center on January 31.
than toward Biss’s bill, because they see it as better equipped to protect low-income Chicagoans in gentrifying neighborhoods, said second-year AK Alilonu. Alilonu is a member of the UChicago chapter of Common Cause Illinois, which bills itself as a “nonprofit watchdog group” promoting “open, ethical, and accountable government.” He facilitated the student group’s involvement with the Coalition—which has included helping to stage a January 31 protest at the James R. Thompson Center downtown aimed at pressuring Governor Bruce Rauner into supporting rent control. Alilonu noted that unlike many of the groups in the Coalition, UChicago Common Cause favors Hunter’s bill only as one mechanism for repealing the ban and granting municipalities the freedom to set housing policy. The group will only remain affiliated with the Coalition until either version of the rent control bill passes, he said: “From Common Cause’s side—because we don’t work with housing policy, we work with democracy issues—what UChicago Common Cause is in the Lift the Ban Coalition for is getting the ban lifted…. We will not advocate for rent control itself being put in Chicago.” As the primary liaison between the Coalition and Springfield legislators, Malone is still mired in negotiations on Hunter’s bill. He said one issue he sees with a statewide framework for rent control is that it should not be restricted merely to low-income groups, as is suggested by the current provisions for Rent Control Boards outlined in Hunter’s bill. According to a 2017 study by the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul, 51 percent of renting households in Chicago are cost-burdened, meaning they must allocate more than 30 percent of their income for rent. Due to skyrocketing housing costs, this includes even households with incomes above $150,000, since 60 percent of Chicago residents are renters, Malone said. “What hasn’t worked is rent control not being applied to the whole market,” Malone told The M aroon. “Obviously [this issue] impacts poor people more…but it impacts people at every income level in our state.” Specific rent control policy proposals for Chicago pose another set of unanswered questions. For activists they are largely uncharted territory, to be discussed once a repeal passes. “Having this repeal prevents us from moving forward,” Malone said, adding that the Coalition has yet to solidify a full stance on local rent control policy. Five University students at the Paul Douglas Institute, a student-run think tank
housed within the UChicago Democracy Initiative and partnered with UChicago Common Cause, are currently working on a report modeling the effects of various forms of rent control in Chicago neighborhoods, to be presented to Guzzardi upon completion. The students previously drafted another report on rent control policy for the Lift the Ban Coalition in February. According to fourth-year Pablo Balsinde, the students’ report will attempt to compare renters’ overall savings, rates of renter displacement, and any decreases in capital investment between types of rent control that could be implemented. These include the traditional system of caps on percentage increases on rent exceeding the Consumer Price Index, as well as what Balsinde termed more “innovative” methods, like increased taxes for landlords on the marginal revenue from raised rents. (Malone has expressed support for capped percentage increases, and he told The Maroon that taxes on landlords raise the risk of failing to deter rent increases and therefore would simply be passed onto renters.) Affordable Housing on the South Side In Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and nearby neighborhoods, rent control will inevitably be bound up with University and Obama Presidential Center developments, should it be implemented. Wilcoxen discussed CECD’s nascent efforts to encourage local rental real estate agents to designate three- and four-bedroom apartments across Hyde Park to low-income families who are subsidized by Chicago Housing Authority vouchers and who could potentially become eligible for rent control in the future. She described the initiative as a way to address likely vacancies over the next few years in currently student-occupied buildings as a result of Woodlawn Commons, the University’s new dormitory on 61st Street and Woodlawn Avenue slated to open in 2020. Malone, meanwhile, tethered the Lift the Ban Coalition’s work to KOCO’s activism for a community benefits agreement with the Obama Foundation, citing recently protested rent increases in an apartment building across from the Center as one example of the pressing local need for rent control. “There is a line between making a living and making a killing,” he said.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
Fourth-Year on Jeopardy BY LUCIA GENG SENIOR NEWS REPORTER
CM: Can you tell me about how one goes about being on Jeopardy!? How does the audition process work? Harry Kioko: It was a super happy coincidence. Basically, one of my friends in my fraternity is an avid Jeopardy! watcher and has applied every year. One night in the fall, on a whim, he said, “The application came out, let’s just take the test.” It’s an online test with 50 questions. Something like 15,000 people take it and then [around] 5,000 people out of the original 15,000 actually qualify. And then they randomly select 250 people to go to auditions, and so I was selected to go to an audition in a hotel in downtown Chicago. You take another test, you do an interview, and then you play Jeopardy!. From that, 15 people get through that round to the quarterfinals, which is in L.A. They fly you out for [that], and then you compete over two days, and then they air it. So that’s the very weird, lucky story of me getting on Jeopardy!. CM: What was your reaction when you got the call that you were going to be on Jeopardy!? HK: Oh, I was just like totally surprised! I was pretty sure I hadn’t done that well in the audition, but I guess it just came together. But yeah, it’s really cool. Mainly I just laughed, because it was just one of those things that’s just so unlikely that you would get it and then it’s just such a cool thing to do. I think it was more funny than anything else. CM: Growing up, did you ever watch Jeopardy!? HK: I’ve never been a huge Jeopardy! fan, oddly enough. I definitely watched it from time to time, [and] I always thought it was really cool, but it was my friend suggesting that we all do it that prompted me to. Obviously, once I got it, I became the biggest Jeopardy! fan and watched probably hundreds of episodes. In my free time, I watched new ones that came out. If you caught me in my room, there was a good chance that I was watching old reruns of Jeopardy!. So yeah, it definitely made up for some lost time. CM: Did you watch those Jeopardy! episodes to prepare? HK: Yeah, absolutely. There’s no good way to prepare for Jeopardy!. But I think what I sort of did was...I ended up watching a ton of Jeopardy!, and started seeing general themes—there are certain categories that would come up all the time, stuff
about U.S. history and presidents, and then there’s also a ton of literature that you know is going to come up. It’s like American literature, contemporary English literature, 18th- and 19th-century literature, and then art history’s a big one that you get to learn about. [That’s] actually one of the coolest things, I thought. Because you don’t really know that much about it at first, but once you start to delve into it, it’s really cool and these people have really interesting stories. CM: What would your dream Jeopardy! category be? The one you’d do the best in? HK: Without giving too much away, my dream category is Broadway. I’m a huge Broadway fan, but the buzzer is just really, really hard. But yeah, I mean, I love Broadway, I know so much about it, seen a bunch of shows so that would be ideal. Anything U.S. presidents, I’m very into. Very unfortunately, I was quoted that I’m also very good at capitals. I thought of that in a broader context, like, I know world capitals, but I get how it comes across. I do know that the capital of Maine is Augusta, so there you go. CM: Can you tell me a little more about the buzzer and what’s behind the scenes of Jeopardy! that viewers at home might not realize goes on? HK: I think a lot of people when they watch Jeopardy!—and certainly for me, when I was studying—think that whoever knows most is going to win. But it really comes down to, I feel like, at least in my game, and the games that I saw, most people know most of the answers. The real limiting factor is just the buzzer. Alex [Trebek, the host of Jeopardy! reads a question, and then right when he finishes saying the last syllable, there’s a guy who determines whether or not Alex is done, and then he unlocks the buzzers. So if you buzz in before that, then you get locked out and you can’t buzz in for another quarter of a second, which seems short, but is like an eternity in buzzer time. And if you buzz in too late, then obviously someone’s buzzed in before you. So nailing that timing right after Alex is done is just a very hard thing to do. And it’s frustrating too, especially when you know the answer, but you just can’t buzz in. I think the biggest thing that people don’t realize is that the buzzer is literally the entire game. CM: What was it like meeting Alex? HK: It was cool—I mean you see him so much when you watch Jeopardy! that when you actually meet him, it’s just so bizarre. It kind of seems like you’re looking at a wax figure, and you’re like, “Wow, that’s Alex Trebek. So it was like totally bizarre and
Griffin Donates $10 Million BY SPENCER DEMBNER DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR
Philanthropist and investor Kenneth C. Griffin gave $10 million on Wednesday for the predictive study of crime in Chicago, according to USA Today. The gift will support an ongoing collaboration between the Chicago Police Department and the UChicago Crime Lab. Griffin, the founder of the hedge fund Citadel, has a reported net worth of $9 billion. He has a history of donating to Republican candidates for office, and also gave a $125 million gift to the University last November, which saw its eco-
didn’t feel real, and while you’re doing it, it just comes across as not real. CM: Did you talk to him about anything interesting? HK: As soon as you get on Jeopardy!, you’re emailed a packet of stuff that they want to know about you. You have to send in five fun facts and five things you’ve done. And then [on air], Alex has a card with all of this information, he picks whatever he thinks is the most interesting. So you’re sort of caught flat-footed because you don’t know what he’s going to ask you about. The [filming of the] show had been postponed because Alex had some health issues, so by the time that I got onto the show, it had been two or three months since I’d submitted these, so then he asked me a question about something that I’d done my freshman year that I’d submitted and totally forgotten I’d submitted. And so he definitely had an interesting conversation about that, as you will see. CM: Can you talk a little bit about how the episodes were filmed? So I know that Jeopardy! films multiple episodes in one day, and... HK: I’m on the Thursday game, which means that I was the fourth out of five to be filmed on that first day. They kept us all in this backroom being babysat by one of the producers. We watched Easy A, we watched The Princess Bride, and I think I had started Iron Man 2 [and] so we’re just all these college students sitting back there playing UNO and watching video games, and they brought us lunch and juice boxes. Then when you’re out there, you’d be alarmed by how much actually goes into it. A lot of times a contestant’s buzzer will break, or Alex might mess up reading a question,
Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions
nomics department renamed for him. Since February 2017, the Crime Lab has supported Strategic Decision Support Centers, clustered in the South and West Sides of Chicago. The Centers aim to use data analytics to help police commanders more effectively target resources and prevent shootings. “No child anywhere should be afraid to walk to school or play outside,” Griffin said to USA Today. “A safer Chicago attracts more families, more businesses, better jobs and creates more opportunities for all of us.” In addition, the grant will support stress management and mental health resources for officers.
or any of numerous things can go wrong, and then they’ll stop and they will refilm it. The other thing that no one gets to see is that when we go on commercial break, Alex talks to the crowd. He’s just a very funny guy, loves to riff with them, make jokes. CM: So while you were up there, did you bond with any of the other contestants? What was sort of the general camaraderie like? HK: Yeah, absolutely, we definitely became pretty good friends, because we were just back there in that room for so long, and we’re all staying in the same hotel, so at night we all went out or all hung out. Now we have a big GroupMe, and we talk about it every day. It’s a very small world [and] we all go to similar schools, so we all have friends in common. It was a really weird way to make friends, but [I] definitely came out of that with some good friends and we’re all still in touch. CM: Where were the episodes filmed? HK: We stayed at Universal City at the Hilton there, which is a really cool, big hotel, and it was also great because we were all on the same couple of floors, so we all could really hang out. We got there on Saturday and we had Sunday off, just to relax and study and do whatever we wanted to do, so you’re walking through the hotel and you’re seeing other kids, and you’re like “Is that kid on Jeopardy!?,” kind of sizing up the competition. Then we went to the studios in Culver City, and it’s pretty cool. There were movie sets all around, we actually got to see the Wheel of Fortune set, which is in the studio right next to Jeopardy!…which I think go up after the episode. So yeah, that was pretty cool, just like getting an idea of what a real studio looks like. CM: Are there any past Jeopardy! contestants you look up to? HK: I’m a huge Austin Rogers fan, I think he’s hilarious. He was one of the more public figures to be on Jeopardy!, because he had a really funny presence and answered questions really funny, and Twitter was always trending with him. He did really well, went to the Challenge [Tournament] of Champions, and then came in second last year. Actually, on another cool note, since I’ve been on it, I’ve been added to the Jeopardy! contestants Facebook group. Are you in it? CM: I am in it. HK: Yeah, and it’s pretty cool, like every now and then, [six-time Jeopardy! champion and Tournament of Champions participant] Lisa Schlitt posted in it like yesterday, or two days ago, you’re seeing like all these big, famous, Jeopardy! people, and you’re just in a Facebook group with them all of a sudden, you know, like, friending me, like, it’s like definitely pretty interesting and pretty cool. Note: This article has been lightly edited for clarity.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
Shady Dealer Selling 500 Condoms Celebrating Free Expression BY ANNABELLE RICE SENIOR NEWS REPORTER
The Chicago Shady Dealer is selling 500 condoms imprinted with the words “Free Expression,” ostensibly to demonstrate its support of the “sustained open discourse” fundamental to the UChicago experience. The condoms are available online and will be sold in Reynolds Club at a time yet to be announced for $1.50 apiece. Established in 2004 as the University’s sole satire news magazine, the Dealer puts a comedic spin on campus activity, the administration, and student life. T he M a roon sat down with members of the Dealer to discuss the condom sale. “We were looking to fundraise, and we thought other groups are selling mugs and shot glasses and T-shirts and experiences. What can we give? What can we print something on? Condoms,” said fourth-year Milena Pross. “What does the public need to know about these? They work. So far we’ve had zero accidents. They’re definitely real.” To sweeten the bargain, Pross revealed, “We will have five golden condoms, similar to Willy Wonka’s golden tickets, hidden between the pages of M a roon issues distributed around campus. If you find a golden condom, you have a choice: sex with any member of the Shady Dealer, or a tour of the Shady Dealer Factory.”
This isn’t the first time the Shady Dealer has focused its wholly satirical, somewhat salacious lens on distributing propaganda unique to UChicago. “ Last year we gifted a T-shirt to Dean Boyer that said, ‘University of Cool Awesome where Fun Comes to Have Sex,’” Pross recalled. “ We realized we had sent this horrible message to the youths to go have sex everywhere, and we never once mentioned that it should be safe. We felt terribly irresponsible and we wanted to make up for it.” Fourth-year Ryan Fleishman said that purchasing the Dealer’s condoms was an ultimate display of patriotism. “ You know people are saying you can get a condom for free right, so why buy a condom? You know what I tell them? I say these aren’t just condoms, these are ideals,” F leishman said. “Every single one of the precious little squares represents the F irst Amendment, represents free speech, represents the greatest country in the world.” Third-year Nik Varley added, “I feel it’s appropriate for us as arguably the sexiest and most expressive RSO on campus.” Fleishman ref lected at the end of the meeting, “ You know, the beauty of these condoms is that they let you express yourself in any safe space without consequences.”
Woodlawn School Security Guard Sued After Violent Incident BY JADE YAN NEWS REPORTER
The mother of a student at UChicago Charter School’s Woodlawn campus is taking legal action against a school security guard who allegedly physically assaulted her son on February 24, 2017. The boy, a minor, was reportedly “slammed to the ground” while the
guard was attempting to remove him from the school, according to an article in the Cook County Record. He sustained a considerable injury to his right ankle. Although the alleged incident occurred over a year ago, the legal complaint was only filed on February 13 of this year in Cook County Circuit Court. Altivia Davis is also taking action against the University, the Universi-
ty’s Charter School Corporation, the Urban Education Institute (which administers UChicago Charter School), and A llied Universal Security Service. She claims that the institutions refused to give help to her son for his physical injuries. Davis is seeking $30,000 in punitive damages and is being represented by Halil G. Hampton, founder of H.G.H. Law Firm.
“The safety and security of students and staff is of paramount importance for the UChicago Charter Schools,” said University spokesperson Marielle Sainvilus. The spokesperson did not comment on the case, stating that the University does not typically comment on pending cases. The Woodlawn campus is one of four campuses of UChicago Charter Schools, all located on the South Side.
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THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
VIEWPOINTS UChicago is Safe...From What? Meera Santhanam Like many others, I was told on my first day of college not to cross South 63rd Street. Some warned me outright, cautioning me not to venture too far past my South Campus dorm. From others I sensed suspicion—I can’t count the number of “hmm”s and “but”s I received when simply telling people I wanted to try Robust on South Woodlawn Avenue. But at the same time, I was also told from my first day of college to reject the media’s portrayal of Chicago’s South Side. I was told to “escape the campus bubble,” to explore, to venture far past 63rd, and immerse myself in each and every one of Chicago’s 77 diverse neighborhoods. This notion was drilled into my head since O-Week. Before I had even done laundry for the first time in my dorm or stepped foot in a Hyde Park restaurant, I was told to hop on the CTA and explore life far beyond Hyde Park. Initially, I was confused and frustrated by these contradictory narratives. How in the world was I supposed to reconcile them? I did my best to erase the biased, often racist, media-instilled perception of the South Side as a crime-ridden “Chiraq.” But at the same time, it wasn’t just the media telling me to avoid areas right by campus. It was the University too. To an extent, I sensed this contradiction even before I became a student here. Apply-
ing to UChicago, I heard all about students’ ease of access to Millennium Park, the Art Institute, Lincoln Park, excellent Indian food in Devon, and gorditas in Pilsen. What I didn’t hear about, however, were the attractions in Englewood or Woodlawn. I wasn’t enticed with any neighborhoods, sites, or restaurants south of the Midway (except, of course, for the Obama Center). I felt like I was being marketed a painting while being shown only half the picture. This representation of UChicago perpetuates a culture in which we neither fully embrace nor reject the media’s portrayal of the South Side. Certain initiatives on campus do pride themselves in undermining the detrimental narrative of the South Side so pervasive in mainstream media, but the University doesn’t fully commit to doing so. It touts its private police force, the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD), and constantly reassures prospective students by telling them how safe and secure campus is. I agree that safety is important. But when safety is used as one of the University’s greatest marketing ploys, the implication and underlying message is that there is something dangerous to be kept safe from, that there is something intrinsically dangerous about everything outside the University. That implication alone is severely problematic.
In my mind, this conflict stems in part from the bubble that surrounds our campus. One need only walk a few blocks past South Campus to watch the landscape instantly change, to see litter and glass shards suddenly lining the streets and vacant lots replacing the Gothic buildings. If it weren’t for Rockefeller Chapel and the Logan Center towering in the background, you could almost forget how close to campus you were. This bubble signifies the University’s attempt to distinguish itself—physically and symbolically—from its surrounding communities. When the boundaries are as stark as this one’s (at least, to the South) and the houses and sidewalks and parks are so conspicuously different, I sense something far more deliberate at work. The bubble feels like more than just the boundaries of an institution, but rather a meticulous construction on the University’s part to maintain a “safe” campus. This hit particularly close to home last week—the UCPD shot a non white University student reportedly breaking windows in a mental-health episode. How are we supposed to reconcile the facts of events like these, the gunshots on the ground—targeted at South Side community members and, in this case, University community members— with the progressive narrative the University pretends to preach? There are incredible initiatives on campus working to hone the University’s engagement and presence in the broader South Side, such as the Neighborhood Schools Program, Maroon Tutor Match, ArtShould, the University’s “Engage Chicago” days, and various other programs run through the Office of Civ-
ic Engagement and University Community Service Center. But these just aren’t enough, and they remain jarringly inconsistent with the narrative the University often projects of the community surrounding campus. Our work on the ground and the story the University tells students—whether that is answering parents’ questions on safety during admissions tours or in briefing students on the neighborhoods surrounding campus during O-Week—need to be consistent and actually beneficial for the rest of the South Side. The main problem I see in the UCPD’s image as an entity that “protects from” is that it implies that not everyone’s safety matters. Sure, maybe it is committed to protecting University faculty and students (although even that is contestable now). But why are we the only ones that deserve to be protected? Why is it that gentrification and skyrocketing rent prices around campus and buying up adjacent land—and pushing people out in the process—as a means of making campus “safe” are all seen as acceptable processes? Whose safety is it that our campus police officers are really looking out for? And more importantly, whose is it actively endangering? I’m not saying that any of these problems have easy fixes. But I do know that solutions are within our grasp. If it’s up to the University to neglect the safety of our neighboring communities, it’s also u to them to address it. More importantly, it’s up to us to demand change and hold them accountable. Meera Santhanam is a first-year in the College.
More Place for Students, Less for Woodlawn Members Soulet Ali The University’s intentions to build the Woodlawn Residential Commons, a new 1,200-person dormitory just south of the Midway, has been thinly veiled as an attempt to foster College student success and generate community involvement with Woodlawn. The University has made a number of statements regarding their foremost “motivations” for creating the Woodlawn dormitory: higher academic success for students living in housing and greater civic engagement with the city of Chicago
through employment opportunities in the construction process. While the former is questionable, the latter represents a more uncertain assertion given the University’s past unproductive engagement with members of the Woodlawn community, especially in construction works. University officials have elevated the development of on-campus housing as integral to the academic success of UChicago’s undergraduates, as it would contribute to establishing intellectual communities for students. Specifically, Dean Boyer has said, “The new Woodlawn Residential Commons continues the University of Chicago’s commitment to further the educational and personal success of our students by developing supportive and intellectually stimulating residential communities.”
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While the housing system does offer a crucial support system for both students and the broader community, I find the idea that “modern, high-quality housing” directly contributes to the success of students unconvincing. In a press release about the expansion of housing by UChicago News, the article stated, “Boyer also noted that the College faculty have long advocated that a higher percentage of students should live in modern, high-quality housing on the central campus, and that they have seen this as a major determinant for the future success of the College.” To put it frankly, undergraduates are the real cash cows of this University’s financial success, and the University is falling behind compared to its peer institutions in terms of its student housing retention, thus failing to fully cash in on the opportunity. A press release from this January states: “After the new dorm opens, the University will have hit it’s goal of getting 70 percent of students to live on campus, adding a total of 10 new houses. Though it will still be below peers like Yale or Brown universities, where more than 85 percent of students live on campus.” The establishment of Woodlawn Residential Commons also raises questions of gentrification as campus expands to East 61st Street and South Dorchester Avenue. UChicago’s history of “revamping” Hyde Park has usually come at the expense of the surrounding neighborhoods and communities. This includes the decline of local businesses around Hyde Park and the harmful portrayal that UChicago has made of Woodlawn, which encourages students to feel apprehensive walking past South Ellis Avenue and East 60th Street. The University administration has not fully addressed the concerns gentrification presents, instead highlighting the employment opportunities it will offer through the con-
struction of the dormitory. In fact, Wendy Walker, University director of the Office of Civic Engagement stated, “The dorm will create about 200 construction jobs and 15 permanent jobs.” However, the University’s partnership with Turner Construction Company, the construction company responsible for building the new dorm, seems bleak according to Woodlawn community members, one of whom noted the lack of Woodlawn workers hired for construction jobs on past Turner projects. The M aroon reported on a town hall meeting held by the Woodlawn Community Board. “There’s too much development going on in Woodlawn.... I want to see some answers. Because 39 out of 20,000 people [hired by Turner] (less than .2 percent) is not a good number,” said an attendee at the town hall. Additional concerns voiced at the meeting included a lack of racial diversity on Turner’s construction team and the disturbance created from construction noise in Woodlawn in the past, when the University constructed the South dormitory. In fact, the University’s main issue with housing and its construction work stems from its admission of too many students into the College. According to M aroon reporting from January of this year, “Due to over-enrollment in the past year and a higher-than-average return rate, the University expanded housing options for returning students to include Vue53.” Moving forward, the University needs to come up with sustainable solutions to its issue of over-admitting students instead of building whole new dormitories in the Woodlawn community without sufficiently addressing the concerns of its community members. Soulet Ali is a second-year in the College.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
ARTS UC Dancers Perform to Empower in Rise On April 6 and 7, UC Dancers presented their annual showcase, this year titled Rise. Featuring student-choreographed pieces performed by new and experienced dancers alike, Rise aimed to express what empowerment—in particular, female
empowerment—means through dance, music, and poetry. The longest-running dance troupe on campus was also joined by special guests Tap That! and Le Vorris and Vox Circus. –Photos by Alexandra Nisenoff.
Community and Student Arts Shine at Washington Park BY JADE YAN MAROON CONTRIBUTOR
“Every year it gets bigger and better,” said organizer Monique Cook-Bey about the third annual Washington Park Arts Festival that took place last Saturday, once again providing local South Side entrepreneurs, residents, and University of Chicago students with a place to connect and showcase their skills. The festival was held in the building of Chicago Youth Programs, with a central performance space encircled by booths of local retail vendors. Throughout the afternoon, vendors such as Agortles Dessert Shop and Jennifer’s Edibles provided free food for the event while schoolkids ran around the space, sitting down periodically to watch performances. Performances ranged from a cappella to acrobatics. Particularly memorable was a play put on by a local theatre group run by Sydney Chatman, a performing arts teacher at University of Chicago’s Charter School and founder of the Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit. The group consisted of seven girls ranging from six to 12 years old. Dressed in black jumpsuits, gold light-up sneakers, and aviator hats, they acted out a 20-minute segment from their hour-long play, Black Girls (Can) Fly, written by Chatman. The play told the story of Bessie May, a 10-year-old living in Chicago, unable to sleep at night due to the
violence in her neighborhood. Among lighthearted moments of dancing and a choreographed fight, the girls posed serious questions. “Who takes the blame for the violence in this city?” they asked. “Why is this happening?” The solemnity of the statement, coupled with the performers’ precocity, made this call for change all the more thought-provoking. University of Chicago performance groups participated in the festival as well, including Rhythm and Jews, Le Vorris and Vox Circus, and The Ransom Notes, who gave complex renditions of familiar pop songs such as Britney Spears’s “Oops!... I Did It Again.” Elyse Lynch delivered particularly rousing vocals in the group’s rendition of Dua Lipa’s “Last Dance,” and impressive high notes were also hit by first-year Noah Friedlander. Dance performances included the University’s student groups Chicago Swing Dance Society, whose dancers gave a refreshing performance to Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”; Chicago Ballet; and Tap That!, a group that was singled out as a firm favorite by one little boy (who later asked me if I liked pizza). The Washington Park Arts Festival enables community members to pool their resources together to create a special day for young schoolchildren and gives local companies and entrepreneurs the chance to
Courtesy of University Community Service Center
spread their message. The response has been significant, and expansion is continuous. Samaiyan Muhammad Wright, the founder of Pink Lemonade Children’s Books, exhibited her handcrafted comic books and spoke about the Book and Brunch program that she is planning for the children on dialysis at Rush University Medical Center. Other organizations included a gluten-free bakery company Better Belly, and the free after-school program the KLEO Center, which provides children with places to spend time after school and in the summertime. “The whole point is to get more students interacting with South Side residents,” said Cook-Bey. “People are sometimes afraid,”
she continued. In the same vein, she spoke about her long-term goal to see the Washington Park Arts Festival held on the University of Chicago campus. “My dream would be for the University of Chicago to do something like this,” she said. Cook-Bey’s hope is certainly a step in the right direction. Bringing the Washington Park Arts Festival to the University’s campus would create the valuable opportunity for students, from K-12 to college, to interact with and learn from each other, shaping and strengthening the University of Chicago’s interaction with the South Side in a positive, sustainable, and necessary way.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - APRIL 13, 2018
Busy Weekend Ahead for The Maroons BASEBALL
BY ANNA ROSE SPORTS STAFF
The University of Chicago baseball team had an outstanding set of games this past week, including wins against Beloit College, Central Iowa University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. The Maroons are looking to continue their four-game winning streak and strong play this upcoming weekend on their home field. The squad will take on the Lions of Finlandia University on Friday, April 13 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Saturday, April 14 at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. With some nice weather finally underway, the Maroons are in for a fun and exciting weekend. The Lions have had a rough season thus far, with an overall record of 4–12 compared to the Maroons’ 13–7 record. The Maroons are not overlooking them, though, and are working hard in practice every day. Third-year outfielder Connor Hickey commented on the upcoming weekend of games, “We have a lot of confidence going into this weekend, especially after the comeback win we had on Tuesday. We have an opportunity to really get this win streak going, and the team is definitely excited about that.” Third-year infielder Max Brzostowski
echoed his teammate’s sentiments. “We are feeling great going into this weekend,” he said. “Winning four games in a row is always a great feeling, but how we fought and grinded in those games is what we are really feeling great about.” In addition to putting in work in practice, the Maroons are also looking to recover from injuries, especially with the long weekend ahead. “It is very important that we get healthy,” Hickey added. “We had a couple of injuries last week, and with so many games in so few days, it will be important for everybody to be feeling good physically.” “With four games in two days, the whole team is going to need to be ready to compete,” first-year Jake Fauske said. “Everyone is working hard in practice, and we hope to see that pay off in the games this weekend.” With so many games, it is essential that the Maroons keep up their enthusiasm and morale all weekend long. “We have a couple of guys on the team that can really turn up the energy when we need it, and we really feed off of them,” continued Hickey. “Hopefully we can continue that mentality into the weekend.” “This team, even when things aren’t going our way, is able to make the adjustments necessary to win,” Brzostowski said. “At this point in the season, no mat-
First-year James Kelly swings at a pitch. ter who we are up against, we are going to compete every pitch and battle until the last out.” Come out and support the Maroons this weekend, beginning at 1 p.m. on
Friday, to see if they are able to continue their winning streak and vanquish the Finlandia Lions.
Chicago Gears Up for Benedictine Relays
Maroons Prepare for Triple-Header
TRACK & FIELD
BY TRENT CARSON SPORTS STAFF
This Friday and Saturday, the University of Chicago men’s and women’s track and field teams will head west to Benedictine University to compete at the Benedictine Relays. The Maroons will look to continue their impressive start to the outdoor season and are hoping for warm weather along the way. Now two weeks into competition, the Maroons have excelled thus far in their transition from the indoor season to the outdoor season. Both the men’s team and the women’s team have had strong performances so far, with the men taking home a second-place finish at Augustana and the women taking home a fifth-place finish. Second-year Claire Brockway reflected on the previous performances, saying, “I think that we have a really strong momentum for this season after a strong performance at indoor conference, where our women’s team took home the title, and after nationals, where we had several All-American performances. I think weather has been our biggest limiting factor at this point in the season and has prevented us from practicing outdoors. Given that, we had an indoor mock meet last weekend where we were able to get the
team together to cheer on each other towards season best performances. Overall, I think going into this weekend, we are in a solid position to start putting forth some season bests as outdoor conference creeps up. I think there is a lot of pressure to start putting up times and marks that could score at conference and that’s getting people motivated for this weekend.” Fourth-year Olivia Cattau echoed Brockway regarding the tough conditions, saying, “The past two weeks we have been battling the weather, so we practiced a lot indoors which is not ideal, but at least we got solid workouts under our belt that will be the foundation for the rest of the outdoor season.” The cold weather of the past two weeks has derailed some of the Maroons’ plans, as Cattau added that last week the team “didn’t compete due to weather.” While the elements have been an uphill battle so far, the competition this weekend will be a good opportunity to gauge where the team is at. Looking forward to the relays, Cattau said, “This is the first meet we have the whole team together so we are just looking to lay down some good times and continue prep for UAA in two weeks.” The Maroons take on the competition, and the weather, this Friday starting at 12 p.m. at Benedictine University.
BY THOMAS GORDON SPORTS STAFF
The UChicago tennis teams have a packed weekend as their spring season goes into full swing. The men’s team will have three meets over the weekend, with all three happening up north over the state border in Wisconsin. They start off this Friday with a matchup with No. 8 Gustavus Adolphus College up in West Bend. With the Chicago men’s team ranked fourth in the country, it should be a competitive matchup, and hopefully the Maroons will be able to come out on top. Afterward, the men’s team travels to nearby Janesville to play against its rival Wash U. It’ll be a rematch of when the two schools faced off at the ITA National Team Indoors, where the Maroons got the better of the Bears with a score of 5–4. The UChicago men’s tennis team is expecting another competitive, feisty match against their rivals. To round off the weekend, the men’s team has a match versus UW–Whitewater. This matchup should be relatively straightforward for the Maroons considering the discrepancy between the two sides and the earlier opponents throughout the weekend. The Warhawks are unranked and have lost their most recent match against Kalamazoo.
The team is excited for this challenge of a weekend; according to first-year Justin Lee, “The team is ready to play big-game tennis and dominate out there over the weekend. They’ve been working really hard and have a lot of swagger right now because of it.” Hopefully that hard work and confidence shows up in their matches on the tennis court. The women’s team only has two matches this weekend instead of three like the men’s team. Their first match of the weekend is this Saturday against Wash U in what is a rematch of their match last weekend. The Maroons were the victors last week with a comfortable 6–3 win in their meet up in Madison. That last win should give the women’s team the confidence it needs to pull off a win against its bitter rival. Similarly, the final match of the weekend is against UW–Whitewater, which has cracked the top 25 in the latest poll released. These two top-25 battles, which the UChicago women’s team should be favored in, will be a good test for the consistency of the women’s program and their ability to take care of business in favorable matchups. Overall, it is a packed week for both programs with exciting matchups. It will be imperative for both teams to show up with the confidence that they need to win and take them to a weekend sweep.
Track & Field Baseball Softball Men’s Tennis Women’s Tennis
Friday Friday Friday Friday Saturday
Benedictine Finlandia Wis-Whitewater Gustavus Adolphus Wash U
12 p.m. 1 p.m. 2 p.m. 7 p.m. 2 p.m.
SPORT Softball Softball Baseball
SCORE BOARD W/L Opponent W W W
Aurora Aurora Illinois Tech
Score 5–3 12–7 18–13