MAY 30, 2017
THE INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO SINCE 1892
Contention Over Graduate Student Unionization Continues
University Hosts Town Hall on Library Unionization BY DEEPTI SAILAPPAN DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR
Feng Ye Graduate students gathered on the quad Thursday for a rally in support of unionization.
BY TYRONE LOMAX & RACHANNA MUPPA NEWS STAFF
Students gathered on the quad Thursday afternoon in support of Graduate Students United (GSU ) in an attempt to persuade administrators to voluntarily recognize GSU as a union without the need for a formal vote. Dozens of faculty and students rallied with signs and buttons to listen to GSU members and allies talk about the shortcomings of current gradu-
ate student conditions and the need for GSU’s official recognition under the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). GSU member Clara del Junco was excited by the turnout. “ The solidarity speakers and all our graduate speakers did a fantastic job of communicating why this is important and why we’re going to keep fighting for union even as the University tries to block our efforts to do that,” she said. According to union supporters, delays in the unionization process increase the likelihood
that appointees to the NLRB by President Donald Trump will reverse an Obama-era decision that recognized graduate students as workers at Columbia University under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). “ The administration lawyers have been delaying as much as possible. They’ve been calling many witnesses and belittling the witness with simple questions just to take up time, putting people under a lot of pressure,” GSU organizer Claudio Sansone said. Continued on page 2
A Brief History of the Aims of Education BY VIVIAN HE ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR
In 2009, speaking to the incoming Class of 2013 at Rockefeller Chapel, Jonathan Lear, philosopher and professor in the Committee on Social Thought, defined what it means to be educated not in terms of enumerable knowledge, but as a way of being. “The aim of education is to teach us how to be students…,” Lear said. “A student in the deeper sense…a person committed to holding him—or herself open to the lessons the world has to teach.” He was delivering the annual
Aims of Education lecture, a lecture series which has been asking the University community, for decades, one consistent question: What is the purpose of an education? Aims of Education is a title adapted from that of a famous lecture by Alfred North Whitehead in Cambridge, England in 1912. At the University of Chicago, the address is not only a venerable tradition, but also a characterizing institution, which reflects the University’s stated commitments to encouraging high-level thought and discourse. It grew out of what was called
the Aims project. In the fall of 1961, then-Dean of the College Alan Simpson wrote to the Ford Foundation, seeking funding for this project, which envisioned a series of matriculating lectures, delivered annually by distinguished members of the University faculty, to discuss the goals of liberal arts education. Next autumn’s address will be the 55th delivered at the University. In Simpson’s letter to the Ford Foundation, he argued unequivocally that liberal education was “under pressure everywhere.” To counter this pressure, Simpson inContinued on page 2
University representatives hosted a town hall meeting last Wednesday afternoon to address the concerns of student library employees. The meeting, held in Regenstein Library, followed a ruling that morning by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) allowing the Student Library Employees Union (SLEU), a group of students working in libraries across campus, to vote to become an official union. All student library employees are eligible to vote in the election, which will take place June 2–8. Voting booths will be stationed throughout this period in Regenstein, D’Angelo Law, and Social Service Administration Libraries. If a majority of the students who vote are in favor of unionizing, SLEU will become an official union affiliated with Teamsters Local 743, a branch of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The University advertised the meeting as an informational session on unionizing, with Jake Rubinstein, executive director of employee and labor relations, repeatedly encouraging students to vote regardless of their opinion. “It’s not my place to tell you how to think or how to vote,” he said. Still, several students perceived bias during the presentation. “Instead of being a dialogue about unionization, as the administration claimed, it was an anti-unionization monologue,” third-year Michael Weinrib wrote in an e-mail to THE MAROON. The panel of speakers at the town hall meeting included five University representatives: John “Jay” Ellison, dean of students in the College; Brenda Johnson, library director; David Larsen, director of access services and assessment in the library; Barb Lindner, director of labor relations; and Rubinstein. Also present were three employees of Teamsters Local 743,
PRINT NEWS IN 2017: A CONVERSATION WITH THE CHICAGO MAROON AND DAVID AXELROD
Editorial: Full of Hot Air
The University’s sustainability plan falls short when compared to those of our peers.
Letter: Students in STEM Departments Affirm Support for Unionization Page 4 “A commitment to research is a commitment to researchers.”
VOL. 128, ISSUE 51
which already represents around 70–80 full-time library employees. The Teamsters Local 743 representatives—business agent Jarvis Gutter, steward Andy Osburn, and organizer Denise Stiger—were on hand to talk individually with students but did not speak during the meeting. During the panel, Rubinstein— who delivered most of the presentation—reviewed the stages of the bargaining process and discussed recent attempts at unionization at other American universities. He noted that the upcoming election has few precedents. Undergraduate students were only declared eligible to unionize last month in a case involving George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The only existing union of hourly student workers in a private college, meanwhile, is a dining service union at Grinnell College in Iowa. Also discussed was the overlap between Graduate Students United (GSU) and SLEU. Forty percent of the 226 student library employees are graduate students, making them potential members of both GSU and SLEU. The NLRB’s ruling last Wednesday included a statement that they will not make a decision on this “overlap group.” Rubinstein stated, however, that after the upcoming election, the University could possibly challenge the votes of these students. The panel dealt extensively with the implications of unionizing for student workers. Due to NLRB regulations, Rubinstein said, decertifying and legally disbanding a union is much more difficult than forming one. He also elaborated on union dues, stating that students making less than $12 per hour will pay 2 percent of their earnings to the union, while students making over $12 will pay 2.5 percent. However, according to one student present at the town hall, these details are not yet set in stone. Continued on page 2
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Page 8 Underlying the “model minority” myth is a little-known history of marginalization, writes first-year Annie Geng.
For the first time in history, athletes from the men’s tennis team made NCAA semifinals.
LEAR: A Perfect Storm Page 6 The Dean’s Men mounted a bold and rather unconventional take on Shakespeare’s classic.
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5/30 — 6/2 Today The Uneven Geographies of Housing Choice Ida Noyes Hall, 5:30–7:30 p.m. Join the Chicago Policy Research Team and the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance to celebrate the launch of a policy report exploring sources of income discrimination and the experience of Housing Choice Vouchers participants in Chicago and suburban Cook County. Wednesday, May 31 New York Times East Africa Bureau Chief Seminary Co-Op, 3–4 p.m. The Pulitzer prize winner and the paper’s man on the ground in East Africa for more than a decade reflects on his experience and observations in the region. The History of the Future (and Its Implications for Politics Now) Seminary Co-Op, 8–10 p.m. Free University of Chicago devotes its inaugural Spring quarter to the theme “Politics Now.” The final session features Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Political Science and History Bill Sewell with Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies Andreas Glaeser responding. Thursday, June 1 ACLU Legal Director David Cole International House Assembly Room, 6–7:30 p.m. This year’s Kirschner lecture will be given by David Cole, National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. The event is free and open to the public; registration is required. See more at chicagomaroon.com/ events. Submit your own events through our intuitive interface.
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Vote on Library Employee Unionization Will Begin on Thursday Continued from front
“The administrators present made confusing comments about scheduling and dues, which are both issues that would be resolved down the line in contract negotiations, as well as approved by members of the bargaining unit,” second-year Katie McPolin wrote in an e-mail to THE MAROON. Another question posed by unionization, according to Rubinstein, is the fate of the full-time clerical workers in the library who currently belong to Teamsters Local 743. Federal regulations stipulate that employees who supervise others are ineligible to unionize.
As long as undergraduate students were not considered employees with the ability to bargain, this presented no conflicts for clerical employees who manage students. This could change, though, if SLEU forms an official union. Rubinstein also stated that the University could challenge the fact that the election coincides with reading period and finals week, on the grounds that this may prevent students from voting. Several SLEU coordinators contested this assumption. “We believe that having the election during finals week shouldn’t be an issue, because UChicago stu-
Dean Rasmussen Sent E-mail on Unionization Earlier That Morning Continued from front
According to Sansone, University lawyers still have at least four or five days to call their dean and faculty witnesses before GSU could bring forth their own. “We want to give [the University] another chance to recognize us without a vote if they can trust the number of people they see out here today,” he said. Will Kong, an organizer who spoke at the event, pointed to the current state of graduate health care as a problem that could be solved by unionization. “ Graduate students pay 5,000 dollars every year, which is roughly a fourth to a fifth of our annual income. With a union, we would be able to reduce that to maybe [3,000]. Maybe get a plan that has a zero-dollar deductible so we’re not paying 5,000 dollars for the privilege of paying another fucking 500 dollars to get healthcare,” Kong said. In an e-mail to T H E M A ROON , University spokesperson Jeremy Manier noted that the University is committed to graduate students’ health care by citing previous expansions to graduate students’ insurance coverage. Manier also referenced the University ’s partnership with the Student Health Advisory Board, as evidence of how “the University works to ensure that U-SHIP deductibles and co-pays are kept as low as possible.” The morning of the rally, Dean of Students in the University M ichele Rasmussen sent an e-mail to graduate students and faculty, stating that the ongoing hearings were “proceeding fairly, with serious arguments and testimony.” She reaffirmed the University’s position that graduate students are primarily students, and that teaching is part of fulfilling a degree requirement. Rasmussen’s e-mail sup-
plied legal documents relevant to the University ’s current case with GSU in response to student requests. According to the e-mail, the documents are intended to supply graduate students with more information so that they form unbiased opinions about unionizing. The email also claimed that union supporters “distorted the testimonies and substantive cases being presented,” which necessitated balanced discourse. In response to the GSU rally and alleged distortions Manier stated that “…it is important to consider [forming a labor union] carefully through lawful N L RB processes and reasoned discussion on campus. “Such discourse cannot be thoroughly conveyed through 140-character tweets, some of which purport to summarize detailed and extensive testimony on the academic development of graduate students.” The legal dispute between the University and GSU is over whether graduate students should be recognized as workers under the NLRA. The ongoing court hearings will determine if GSU members will conduct a unionization election. If the election were to receive a majority of supporting votes, GSU would gain official recognition under the NLRB, granting their members third-party legal representation against the University if worker maltreatment occurs. The University has challenged which students GSU seeks to represent—saying, for instance, that students pursuing master’s degrees should not be included—and the time and manner of the election, which the University says should be postponed until September when students return to campus if an election cannot be completed by May 31.
dents usually spend time in the Reg during reading period and finals week anyways,” Weinrib wrote. During the presentation, one student shouted, “That’s false!” in response to Rubinstein’s assertion that “Based on places I’ve worked, the University’s compliance with ADA regulations is outstanding.” ADA compliance is a priority among SLEU organizers. “The University provides such poor support for disabled students that many candidates running for student government have better mental health resources as a part of their platform,” Weinrib said. Another student openly asked
if the University opposes unions, to which Rubinstein replied that the administration has a “productive relationship” with the 12 bargaining units—which include police, dining employees, and building engineers, for example—already at the University. “It’s not the picture of an anti-union employer,” he said. The NLRB plans to announce the results of the election by the end of the day on Thursday, June 8, according to the administrators at the meeting. In the meantime, Teamsters Local 743 will hold its own town hall meeting today at 6 p.m. in Harper 140.
“Perhaps no other university in the country takes such an ideal so seriously” Continued from front
sisted on the necessity of supporting a public discourse that debated the general issues facing liberal education. Simpson believed that the efficacy of such conversations depended on their generality: they must cut across “departmental and disciplinary boundaries.” Therefore, it would be a single matriculating lecture to address all incoming first-years, no matter their intended majors or careers. Simpson’s argument was accepted; the Ford Foundation granted the money. Professor Christian Mackauer, the William Rainey Harper professor of history in the College, began in the fall of 1962 what is known to subsequent generations of students as the Aims of Education Lecture. Delivering the Aims lecture is considered an honor among faculty members, and past speakers have come from a diverse set of disciplines and divisions at the University. According to John Boyer, dean of the College and Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of History, speakers are given “few prescriptive instructions and even less substantive guidance.” They are to offer their own takes on the question at hand, from whichever perspective they deem fit. For instance, sociologist Andrew Abbott answered in his 2002 address, that the aim of education is to recognize that there is no such aim. “There are no aims of education. The aim is education,” he said. “If, and only if, you seek it.” Philosophy professor Candace Vogler said in 2008 that the aim of liberal education is to teach one to embrace doubts and disruptions to one’s established thoughts, in order to achieve better and truer ideas. Freedom has also come up in many of the speeches. Robert Pippin, philosopher and chair of the prestigious Committee on Social Thought, declared in his 2000 speech, to the first class of the new millennium, that to learn is to liberate.
“Perhaps no other university in the country takes such an ideal so seriously or asks itself so interminably what exactly a liberal arts education is, and whether it is so all-fired important,” said Pippin. “It describes an ideal to which we all aspire throughout the student’s time here and the general ideal already evinces the root meaning in the ideal of a ‘liberality of mind’; that is, the realization of a certain sort of freedom.” Among the legion of O-Week events every fall, where practical advice is offered to students on matters big and small, this lecture seems to aspire to something wholly different. It is often necessarily abstract and unabashedly lofty. It invites economists to the podium, but not to give financial advice. It asks physicists to speak, but not on the practicality of scientific discoveries. All the while philosophers are welcomed to elaborate away, to a group of first-year students, on notions such as meaning and truth. This incessant grappling with the integrity and purpose of liberal education reflects the character and commitment of this University. “This is a time in the history of American society when the ultimate purposes of universities have never been more severely questioned and when the value of liberal education has never been more seriously challenged,” wrote Boyer in 1997 in an introduction to the lecture series. “At such a time it is vital that we be willing to debate candidly and openly the purposes and the meaning of liberal education,” Boyer continued. He was saying almost exactly what Simpson had said decades prior. Today, the Aims of Education Lecture Series continues. It persists, perhaps precisely because incongruent opinions on this complex issue have never ceased, and each year, the University invites a faculty member to re-ignite the debate.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - MAY 30, 2017
Executive Vice Provost Will Become Eighth Barnard College President BY LEE HARRIS DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR
Executive Vice Provost Sian Beilock will step down in July to become the eighth president of Barnard College in New York, the University announced last week. Beilock is a cognitive scientist in the Department of Psychology and the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology and the College. Her research focuses on factors that contribute to “choking under pressure,” with a particular emphasis on women in STEM fields. In her position as provost, Beilock
oversees UChicago Urban, an interdisciplinary consortium that aims to integrate University members with the broader Chicagoland area; UChicagoGRAD, the University office supervising graduate studies; and building development projects. Beilock is the author of two books, Choke and How the Body Knows Its Mind, as well as over 100 articles. Her research on performance anxiety has influenced fields ranging from test-taking to golf. A member of University of Chicago faculty since 2005, Beilock will succeed Debora Spar as president of Barnard, the
women’s college at Columbia University. Spar stepped down to become president of Lincoln Center. Spar’s nine years at Barnard were notable, in part because of her controversial decision to admit transgender women to the college. Beilock told The New York Times that she is committed to “ensuring that women are being educated at a higher level, being provided with the tools they need and with opportunities to be in leadership positions, in positions where they can help affect change. Being at Barnard provides an opportunity to help push that idea forward.”
Courtesy of the University News Office Beilock has worked here for 12 years.
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VIEWPOINTS Full of Hot Air The University’s Sustainability Plan Falls Short When Compared to Those of Our Peers Last month, Columbia University released a sustainability plan announcing its goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent by 2020 in comparison to its 2006 levels. While the University of Chicago has recently made some good faith efforts to promote sustainability, the administration should follow Columbia’s lead and set more ambitious future greenhouse gas emissions targets, particularly given the University’s unique ability to, through a highly centralized administration, unilaterally push to help combat the imminent threat of climate change. It should also rely on a trusted independent organization to verify that these goals have been met. According to the University’s Sustainability Plan Baseline Re-
port released in November of last year, UChicago has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2025, relative to its average 2012–14 levels. On the surface, this goal seems very ambitious, as the University is effectively promising to reduce emissions by an average of 2 percent per year. When compared to Columbia’s plan, however, the University’s goal seems too laid-back. Columbia promises to reduce emissions by more than 3 percent each year over the next three fiscal years (a 10 percent reduction between 2017 and 2020) on top of the 25 percent reduction that our Ivy League counterpart has already made over the past decade. The University cannot say
that these lower targets were the result of past successes in reducing emissions. While historical data is sparse, it reveals that the University bragged in last year’s report that it had succeeded in reducing emissions by 1 percent in fiscal year 2015, while Columbia had made reductions by an average of more than 2.5 percent each year since 2006. With its commitment to sustainability already questioned by some, the University should feel the burden to aim for more ambitious emissions targets. In early 2016, even after more than 250 UChicago professors called on the University to divest from fossil fuel holdings, the administration refused to change its investment policies, leading some to question
whether the University was fulfilling its moral and ethical obligation to combat climate change. By adopting more ambitious emissions targets like those of Columbia (and of other peer institutions like Harvard, Berkeley, and Stanford), the University can show that it is serious about sustainability. Just setting more ambitious targets alone, however, is not enough. The University often relies on unspecified methods to assess whether it is meeting its emissions targets. As a result, the University community cannot independently and rigorously verify whether the administration’s targets are met without the aid of dubious accounting methods. For greater transparency and accountability, the University should, as Colum-
bia plans to, “measure, publicly report and verify its greenhouse gas emissions through The Climate Registry, a rigorous greenhouse gas accounting protocol.” The University has always thought of itself as an eminent institution, and this has led it to be fiercely competitive in the higher education arms race. For its pride and especially because it has a moral responsibility to participate in the global efforts to combat climate change, the University should, at the very least, view greenhouse gas emissions as another statistic that it should aim to aggressively improve, for a world-class institution deserves a world-class sustainability plan. —The MAROON Editorial Board
Letter: Graduate Students in STEM Departments Affirm Their Support for Student Unionization As graduate research and teaching assistants in the Biological and Physical Sciences Divisions at the University of Chicago and members of Graduate Students United (GSU), we are voting yes for a union with our peers on campus. We believe that when graduate student employees have a collective democratic voice at the University, we can work with the administration to improve scientific research and education. A commitment to research is a commitment to researchers. We came to the University of Chicago to be trained as scientists who educate the public and other students, and contribute to groundbreaking
research. Unionization will ensure that our voices as graduate student employees are genuinely incorporated into the decisions that impact our lives and work. Recognition will not only improve our ability to produce quality research and teach effectively, but will also benefit our relationships with our advisers. The prevailing uncertainty around national research funding increases the importance of unionizing to protect our work. In the lab sciences, the financial burden of research falls heavily on science faculty and graduate employees who procure external grants. Many graduate employees’ stipends are tied to their Principal Investigator
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(P.I.)’s funding, which in turn relies on national structures for research funding. The continuity of research depends on University commitments to bridge funding for labs that may be temporarily defunded. As a union, we can negotiate with the University administration for support against uncertain funding climates and unexpected situations for which there are currently no guaranteed protections, alleviating the burden such situations place on graduate students and their P.I.s. For those of us employed as instructors and teaching assistants, it is essential that no graduate employee’s ability to do research be hampered by overly heavy teaching duties. As part of a union, we can work with the University toward clearly defined limits on teaching loads and additional compensation if these are exceeded. Furthermore, we will have a platform through which we can secure appropriate resources in terms of materials and environment. This will enable us to offer students in the College the quality of education they deserve. The administration’s present lack of financial transparency means that we have to accept— without evidence—the administration’s word about the quality of health insurance they can afford and the funds they can contribute to our salaries. With a union, the University administration will be legally obligated to negotiate “in good faith,” meaning that we will have access to the relevant financial and budgetary information about the University’s resources. A collective bargaining agreement will grant graduate employees the right to negotiate a baseline for pay and benefits directly with the administration. Any existing benefits and further gains that we make will be enshrined in a contract and cannot be taken away. We will also be able to ne-
gotiate clear procedures for late pay, health insurance coverage on medical leave, compensation for departmental service, and other situations that may arise, taking away the burden currently placed on students and faculty to figure these out on a case-by-case basis. This will allow our relationships with our advisers to be focused on mentorship and research. Unionized graduate students at other universities have reported that graduate student unionization benefits students and faculty alike, and helps both parties better fulfill their duties as scientists and teachers. Joseph Helfer, a Ph.D. student in mathematics at Stanford University, explained that when he was a master’s student at McGill University, the union “made us conscious of and critically minded about our employment... I remember in particular speaking about [workplace] issues with my lab-mates and our adviser... It encouraged an openness about our professional relationship which may otherwise have been lost.” Chemistry student Reagan Belan from Simon Fraser University pointed to how unions in the academic workplace “can diffuse a tense situation as there is a prescribed procedure to follow with expected outcomes.” These testimonials are corroborated by peer-reviewed research. Gordon Hewitt (2000) found that 88 percent of faculty members at large public institutions did not believe that collective bargaining inhibited graduate student education. Sean Rogers et al. (2013) found that unionized graduate student employees actually report better relationships with their faculty advisers than their non-union peers, and that unionization was tied to better educational outcomes. Unionization will not impose ceilings on work hours, limit STEM stipends, or interfere with the personalized relationships
and flexible work hours that many of us value, precisely because we are the people establishing our organizational structure and objectives. Moreover, a union will allow graduate employees to secure basic protections that are nonfinancial in nature, and provide us with a collective voice and legal recourse to better address issues pertaining to harassment and discrimination. For example, the current grievance procedures at the University are overseen by a panel of faculty members and the administration, with the ultimate decision made unilaterally by the Provost. A union will allow us to address such grievances through a formal mechanism where the students’ interests as well as the administration’s are represented, and where the final decision, if a satisfactory solution cannot be reached, is made by an impartial arbitrator. As unionized graduate student employees, we will be able to work together to protect and improve our working conditions. And every step of the unionization process—from a recognition vote, to selecting a bargaining committee, to ratifying a contract—is democratic. We invite you to join hundreds of STEM students at the University of Chicago who have weighed the evidence and decided to join GSU in support of unionization. We are joining a growing community of our peers who have concluded that unionization is a crucial step in protecting the future of science research and education, and in ensuring a continued institutional commitment to research across the country. Editor’s Note: The full list of signatories for this letter can be found in the online version of this article.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - MAY 30, 2017
Model Behavior Underlying the Asian “Model Minority” Myth is a Little-Known History of Marginalization
Annie Geng Understanding my Chinese-American identity was not one finite act that came easily or smoothly. Rather, it was, and is, a process —a continuous act swathed in emotions, none of which are mutually exclusive: realization, insecurity, acceptance, happiness. Considering it’s Asian American Heritage Month, my cultural identity —and the inner tumult that comes to characterize it for me—is something that feels more formally relevant now. As May draws to a close, I am considering more deeply what it means to be Chinese-American in a context that extends past merely the personal. Growing up, I came to understand that there was a distinct set of stereotypes that framed others’ perceptions of who I was solely because I looked different: I had straight, sleek, black hair, a tan hue to my skin, and almond-shaped eyes with a color so dark that it vacillated between black and brown. People assumed that I was “smart,” did well in school, was good at math and science, passive and quiet, the list goes on and on. These stereotypes came at odds with who I actually was as a person. I abhorred math, science, and just about anything quantitative. Instead, I immersed myself in my books and journals, appreciating the infinitely vast worlds I could create for myself through reading and writing. But, at the end of the day, it still seemed as though I could only be one thing: I could only be the perfect model minority that was expected of me, with all its unyielding standards. Unlike other minority groups, Asian Americans are known as a “model minority.” We, somehow, are the universal emblem of success, an example of excellence. However, this myth is one of the most damaging things that can be done to our progress as a group in this country. Not only does labeling Asian Americans as a model minority obscure
a historical narrative of marginalization, but it also alienates members of our community who don’t fit the inflexible standards assumed of us. The stereotype of the “model minority” finds its roots in 1966, first used by sociologist William Petersen in an article for The New York Times called “Success Story: Japanese-American Style.” Petersen praised Japanese Americans as being able to overcome their discrimination through hard work. Here, the model minority myth bled into mainstream media: In the racial turmoil that colored the ’60s, Asian Americans were positioned as proof that it was indeed possible to find success as a racial minority, largely due to a cultural emphasis on work ethic and education. What this tale of supposed success leaves out is the long history of struggle Asian Americans have faced in this country. First there was the stigma: the wave of “yellow peril” and xenophobic attitudes against East Asian immigrants. Then there was the exclusion: The Chinese Exclusion Act in the late 19th century directly prevented immigration on the basis of national origin. Even the 1976 Magnuson Act, which was believed to repeal the exclusion enacted a half century ago, was still restrictive as it held a quota on Chinese immigrants. Not to mention the forced relocation of thousands of Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II. After horrors like these, it becomes clear that Asian Americans are not quite the simple, untroubled group that a model minority identity often dilutes us to. But the most critical issue that the model minority myth imposes on the Asian-American community is that it overshadows serious systemic problems. Cambodian, Hmong, and Laotian Americans have some of the highest poverty rates, at 29.3 percent, 37.8 percent, and
18.5 percent, respectively—well above the national average. The gap between wealthy and poor Asian A mericans spans a greater distance than that of wealthy and poor white Americans.
In New York City, where I’m from, a quarter of Asian Americans live below the poverty threshold, despite the fact that Asian Americans as a group tend to have higher levels of educational attainment. T he problem doesn’t end here, though. Research shows that the model minority label can have negative psychological effects, potentially inhibiting academic performance. And the logic makes sense—when you are not only pigeonholed, but also praised for having certain attributes, then you become pressured to fit that mold. We notice Asian Americans who are conventionally successful as the model minority dictates, but we often ignore those who aren’t. The most tangible harm of these stereotypes is that it diminishes our voices and presence in the media and in the political realm. Those of us in the Asian-American community who need help and reform can’t get it because our struggles are rarely acknowledged. In light of Asian American Heritage Month, it’s worth taking the time to recognize not just the model minority myth, but also how we consider Asian Americans in a social and political context. By choosing to work and think against stereotyping, we can begin to dissolve the cloud of prejudice that taints our political climate. Annie Geng is a first-year in the College.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - MAY 30, 2017
ARTS LEAR A Perfect Storm of Tragedy and Deceit BY EMIL Y EHRET A S SOCIATE ART S EDITOR
S pr i n g t i me i n C h ic a g o isn’t all flowers and greenery. Even in these late days of May there have been terrible winds ripping through the trees on the Midway and huge puddles flooding the quad. In fact, it’s just the right atmosphere for a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, a tale of deep familial violence and betrayal set in the midst of a raging storm. By tradition, The Dean’s Men’s spring show is staged in various locations around campus. Unfortunately for this year’s production of LEA R , directed by second-year Remy Solomon and f irst-year Ian Grant-Funck, the overzealous weather moved the show inside on some nights. I, however, was lucky enough to catch the production outside in Logan Courtyard this past Thursday. A fairly traditional stage set with minimal screens and platforms was nestled in the space between Midway Studios and the glass walls of Logan. The space was the opposite of intimate; the encroaching coldness and darkness of the location lent an added eeriness to the sinister tone of the production. King Lear is a challenging play to perform and a particular favorite of mine, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Under Solomon’s direction, the company made several bold
choices. T hey demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their chosen aesthetic, which I’ll call dystopian chic. Set in the “near future” of 2037, LEAR ’s world is populated by characters wearing shiny fabrics, strappy boots, and deadly hand accessories without irony. Sisters Regan (third-year Peyton Walker) and Goneril (fourth-year M ichaela Voit) stood poised on either side of the stage for most of the production, their accessorized ap-
parel dripping villainy as they planned to disempower their father, the aging Lear (firstyear Thomas Noriega). An undercurrent of creepy, bass-backed sounds reverberated through the space during the performance, adding to the futuristic feel. Did this theme fit the production? Unclear—I did find myself craving some further connection between concept a nd Sha kespea re’s original content. Was it pretty badass? Yes.
In a memorable moment during the show’s climax, an enraged Regan blinds the Earl of Gloucester (first-year Faith Shepherd). T his production made sure the visual was visceral and stomach-churning. Walker’s bad-to-the-bone Regan, literally dressed to kill, lifted a black pump and impaled Gloucester’s first eye, then plucked out the other with her deadly metal finger accessories. Fake blood spurted everywhere, heavy bass blast-
ed in the background, and the whole scene really tapped into the brutality at the core of the show. Once more, I found myself curious about the sexed-up, violent aesthetic choices that seemed to stray from the tragedy of the show. These decisions, however, were remarkably consistent throughout the production, an important and difficult task for any adaptation. T he choice of aesthetic wasn’t the only bold move of Continued on page 7
Kiran Misra Lear (first-year Thomas Noriega) confronts his daughter Regan (third-year Peyton Walker, left) and Goneril (fourth-year Michaela Voit, right).
Twin Peaks Returns From the Black Lodge BY IVAN OST ARTS STAFF
R eenter ing the world of Twin Peaks was always going to be like stepping into murky water with a sign nearby warning of poisonous jellyfish—bizarre, unsettling, and filled with tension. It’s been more than 20 years since the original cult classic show aired (and was soon canceled), Kyle MacLachlan and the gang are showing their age, and no one remembers what happened at the end of season two. But this time, David Lynch is directing, so the process is weirder. W hat makes the new series an odd adjustment? Well, Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost have all but abandoned the show’s original woodsy Pacific Northwestern location. Instead, they’ve set up in ultra-modern, concrete Manhattan and barren middle-of-nowhere South Dakota. Gone are the firs and whiffs of pine, and with them a certain small-town kookiness. Bumbling cop Andy (Harry Goaz) and his chirpy wife Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) appear briefly with their familiar brand of naïve comedy, but the
rest of season three was played almost entirely without laughs. Cooper (MacLachlan) is stonyfaced, still trapped in the Black Lodge; his evil doppelgänger, Mr. C (also MacLachlan), is a grim figure with long greasy hair and a leather jacket. We spend much of our time concer ned w ith two g r uesome murders— one a mystery and the other committed by Mr. C. By focusing on corpses and how they became corpses, the series revival is darker than its predecessor. What hasn’t changed, though, is the sense that everyone in Lynch and Frost’s world is just a little off—it is rare to hear a line of dialogue that doesn’t pointedly address its recipient by name —but even this kook has become more serious; the names slide in on top of dialogue about decapitated heads. Perhaps this is a reflection of modern entertainment’s emphasis on achieving that single lauded dimension: grit. Nor m a l ly, t hou g h , g r it grants realism. Not bound by the restraints of broadcast television, and emboldened by fan clamor for a show that, when it went off the air in 1991, was pushing ABC’s artistic limits, Lynch strides freely into the
warped recesses of his otherworldly Black Lodge and his own wild mind. Much of the first two episodes are spent half-dreaming: The dead-yetalive Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) makes a surprising return; a speaking, electrified tree tells Cooper that he can’t leave the Lodge until he brings back his evil doppelgänger only to be followed by the appearance of the tree’s evil doppelgänger. It is well and truly weird. These dream sequences are deliberately paced (indeed the show as a whole never feels hurried), suggesting that the full 18-hour span of the new series might be more like one huge movie than discrete episodes. The lingering effect of all those slow shots is classic Lynch: The dream and the real are juxtaposed in a way that picks apart the dividing line. This process is helped greatly by ominous humming and buzzing in the background that suggest terrors where there ought to be none—at the end of a hallway, or in a plain statue. Or, in classic Lynch fashion, we are forced to wonder whether we just don’t notice them. Sometimes, though, all that
d reaminess and stylization can be grating. The dialogue is sometimes so strange that it crosses that ever-ambiguous line between stylization and simply bad content. Even MacLachlan, otherwise virtuosic (his weighty, ponderous confusion as Cooper, his purposeful though unclearly-motivated malevolence as Mr. C), falls victim to the script occasionally. With less a ccomplished actors, notably the young couple responsible for monitoring (don’t ask) a glass box in which something might appear, the moments of unnatural dialogue feel cringey instead of just strange. T he st or yl i ne is a lso plagued by a lack of direction at times. Mr. C is evil, but… why? He radiates fear without clear direction. There is one moving plot—the investigation of the most recent brutalized corpse —but it is given short shrift and soon left behind, despite an abundance of excellent elements, like the paranoid, simian panic that makes ac cused mu rderer Wi l l iam Hastings (Matthew Lillard) so damn frightening. Finally, there is a notable lack of non-white, non-male
characters in lead roles; the few exceptions are returners, not new characters. It is a subtle but important indication of the creators’ failure to update the show to match the diversity on television today. But, even after all that, watching the new Twin Peaks feels like watching the old Twin Peaks. That is to say: It’s weird and entirely its own. It is not nostalgic or sentimental—this new season is not warmed-up leftovers —but it is occasionally tender, affectionate to the Americana in which it was percolated. It is menacing and nightmarish but rooted tightly in reality, occasionally so close to home that it forces us to wonder where the boundaries of the good and comprehensible not just in the show but perhaps in our own lives as well. It is modern and has been polished since its original rough bumpkin-hood, but is still just as strange and idiosyncratic. It isn’t perfect. But it is still so good to see those words in the classic Twin Peaks green t e x t : “ D i r e c t e d by D av id Lynch.” No one can do it quite like him.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - MAY 30, 2017
MuralxMaroon: Colors of Hope in Puerto Rico BY TATIANA KHEMET MAROON CONTRIBUTOR
Editor’s Note: MuralxMaroon is a collaboration between The Maroon and Mural, a Spanish-English bilingual magazine promoting the discussion of Latinx and Hispanic culture on campus and across Chicago. In the neig h borhood of Alto del Ca b ro, in Mana tí, Puerto Rico, a young arc hitect by the name of Samuel González has taken it upon himself to trans form the c racke d and mottle d walls of his community into a vi b rant work of art and s ymbol of hope. T he project, title d Pintalto Manatí, seeks to explore the impact of art on a neglecte d and overlooke d neig h borhood tha t has been compare d to a B razilian fa vela. Linking 18 houses together, the mural creates the single, cohesive image of an ar-
ray of colors emanating f rom a c ricket tenderly c ra dle d in the hands of a cancer patient. T he macro mural seeks to transcend the realm of art as pure aes thetic pleasure to inspire a message of hope, both for the inha bitants of Manatí and for cancer patients around the world. “In theory, it’s simple,” sai d Gonzále z, a recent g ra dua te f rom la Escuela de Arquitectura de la Universi da d Politécnica, a bout the project. Apart from the centerpiece image of the cancer pa tient, painte d by Na thanael Oyola, the res t of the mural is intentionally simple, something tha t anyone could c rea te. T he primary c hallenge was to design eac h wall so that, f rom the proper vantage point, the whole image would fit together and come to li fe. In a d dition, the project face d bureaucratic hurdles. Between getting permits and the consent
of the inha bitants of Alto del Cab ro, approval for the project took jus t over a year to ob tain, with painting beginning in Ma rc h. Funde d by the Coopera tiva de Ahorro y Cré dito de Manatí, two local banks, and powere d by the manual la bor of volunteers and local government agencies, the mural is expecte d to be complete d by the end of May. W hen González conceive d the project, he c hose Manatí, his hometown, as its loca tion. Locate d 50 kilometers to the wes t of San Juan, the town has been s truggling economically in recent years, as has the res t of Puerto Rico due to a massive de bt crisis. T he impact can be felt in Manatí, González says, as the normally-bus y ci ty cente r now feels a bandone d, since many of the businesses have s hut their doors permanently. City resi dents nee d the services of fere d by the government, and González create d
Courtesy of Samuel González Pintalto Manatí links together 18 houses in a colorful mural to bring attention to a community neglected by government services.
EXHIBIT [A]rts [5/31] WEDNESDAY 7:30-–9 p.m. Join the a cappella group Unaccompanied Women as they celebrate the year in a concert named after their upcoming album, Ampersand. The show will feature songs both old and new, as well as an opening performance by Chicago Swing Dance Society. UChurch, $5 in advance, $7 at the door. Tickets available for purchase in Reynolds. 10 p.m.—12 a.m. Uncommon Nights presents a massive endof-quarter study break, Around the World in Eighty Days. The night will feature an international array of performances, including Chicago Raas and Kojo Daiko, and an abundance of free food from pork buns to donuts. Hutchinson Courtyard, free.
[6/1] THURSDAY 7-9 p.m. Fire Escape Films is screening eight films made entirely by UChicago students this quarter. Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes, free. 9 p.m.—12 a.m. Head to the Smart Museum on the first
night of reading period to study for finals and gain inspiration from the surrounding galleries. Free pizza and coffee will be available. This event is part of a series of study sessions offered at campus arts centers during reading period. Smart Museum, free and open to UChicago students. 7:30—9:30 p.m. Looking for some rigorous inquiry? The Underground Collective asks “Where Do We Go?” in their final performance of the quarter. The night will feature poems, music, dance, and collaborative art pieces. The Revival. $5 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 20-sided dice. Gelatinous cubes. Dragon lairs. Attend the opening night of UT’s final spring production, She Kills Monsters, a play that explores the world of Agnes as she mourns the loss of her family and the fictional world of Dungeons and Dragons. Logan Center for the Arts, Theater West. June 1—3. $6 in advance, $8 at the door.
[6/2] FRIDAY 8—9:30 p.m. Voices in Your
Head presents their final show of the year, ARISE. The performance will feature their set from International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, which placed second in finals this past April. High school a cappella group Enharmonic Fusion from DeKalb will be joining the performance. Logan Center for the Arts, $10 general admission, $5 for students. 9—12p.m. Take advantage of the many study nooks in Logan for one night only. Come eat midnight snacks and explore all nine floors of the building as you study at Logan Center. Logan Center for the Arts, free.
[6/3] SATURDAY 7:30—9pm. What’s 20 years old? Maybe you...but also The Ransom Notes! Join them for HAGS: The 20th Anniversary Concert as they play new and old songs, putting you in the perfect mood for your summer to begin. Logan Center for the Arts, $5 in advance, $8 at the door.
Courtesy of Samuel González The project was inspired by Relay for Life to raise awareness and fund the fight against cancer.
this project as a way to give the town a voice, and to positively impact the resi dents’ daily lives. Gonzalez sees the mural as a way to give people a sense of enthusiasm and of joy. T he variety of colors and s heer scale of the project inspire a sense of hope. T he su bject of cancer awareness was motivate d in part by the Relay for Li fe 2016 project of “Paint Your World Purple,” in whic h people were encourage d to use art and color in their daily environments in the form of murals or billboards to raise awareness and help to fund the fi g ht agains t cancer. In the pathways of Alto del Ca bro, a small message pavilion serves as a place for resi dents and visitors to write messages of healing and prayers for cancer patients. T he inspiration to use linke d houses to create a cohesive image came f rom a similar project in Pac huca, Mexico, that covere d over 200 houses. Germen Nuevo Muralis mo, a gra ffiti collective
that promotes unity in communi ties, unde rtook the projec t with the support of the Mexican government in an e f fort tha t spanne d multiple levels of government. T he mural in Pac huca was funde d as pa rt of the Nos Mueve La Paz (Move d by Peace) initiative to re duce criminal activity and promote social connection. Pintalto Manatí, the firs t and only macro mural of its kind in Puerto Rico, is simultaneously inherently political and deeply personal. T he projec t’s tagline “pinta tu mundo de esperanza” ( “paint your world of hope”) is both a call to action, to elevate the s tatus of a people and a place that have been neglecte d, and a personal journey, res haping the ps yc he of those who experience it and imbuing them with a sense of hope and agency. One thing is for sure: A s hort walk th roug h the s treets of this open-air museum will leave the viewer profoundly a f fecte d.
“...the visual was visceral and stomach-churning” Continued from page 6
the show; LEAR made several interpretive decisions that deviated from the strict text of the play. My favorite, and the most effective, involved Cordelia (second-year Margaret Glazier). Due to a long period of estrangement from her family, Cordelia normally only appears at the beginning and end of the play. Some productions have the actor portraying Cordelia assume the role of the Fool, as the two characters never appear on stage at the same time. LEAR took this one step further: It established the Fool as Cordelia caring for and chiding her father while in disguise. The union of these two characters was a clear, effective artistic choice that brought Cordelia’s role to the forefront of the show. Some of LEAR’s other modifications were more mystifying. Oswald (four th-year Emma Glass), Goneril’s servant, was depicted as mute for the majority of the show, communicating
only with gestures and a bell tied around his neck. Before his death, he suddenly spoke for the first time, to the audible confusion of the audience. In addition, LEAR brought the total death count of the tragedy down by two, ending with Regan and Goneril still standing and forming an alliance as the lights dim to blackness. I really didn’t know what to make of this change. Poor acoustics in the space and soft-spoken actors often made it difficult to catch some of the nuances of the plot. That said, The Dean’s Men’s ingenuity is remarkable as they continue to produce a new Shakespeare adaptation every quarter. LEAR embraced the brutal emotions of its source material with an admirable fearlessness. Outside on that unforgettable, chilly spring evening, I felt I was navigating a complicated web of deceit and a brewing storm right along with the players on the stage.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - MAY 30, 2017
SPORTS Maroons Race Their Way to Four All-American Honors TRACK & FIELD
BY CAVELL MEANS SPORTS EDITOR
The women’s track and field team had a productive weekend, finishing up the season in the NCA A National Championship in Dayton, OH. On the last day, four All-Americans were crowned, with the 4x400 relay team of first-year Alisha Harris, second-year Emma Koether, and fourth-years Eleanor Kang and Michelle Dobbs. In addition to their success, various other athletes placed and succeeded in events throughout the weekend. The events started on Thursday with the preliminary races and the first half of the heptathlon. In the prelims, third-year Megan Verner-Crist showed out, finishing six spots above her 16th seed, qualifying alongside 11 other racers for the finals. The 4x400 relay team snuck into the finals, nabbing the ninth spot. On the other hand, the 4x100 relay team, which kept Kang and Harris and added first-year Mary M a r t i n a nd fou r th-yea r C ha r issa Newkirk, missed out on the finals by a mere 0.02 seconds. Outside of relays, first-year Laura Darcey and third-year Olivia Cattau took part in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, and 200-meter in the heptathlon. After the first day, Darcey was in 14th place with 2,607 points, and Cattau had 2,566 points, good enough for 17th place. On Saturday, the women picked up where they left off, finishing up two
events in the finals. Third-year Ade Ayoola started out the day with the women’s high jump. She leaped 1.62m, good enough for 16th place in the final. The winner of the event, Emma Egan, a f irst-year from Williams, jumped 1.76m. Later in the day was the conclusion of the women’s heptathlon. The final events in that category were the long jump, javelin, and the 800-meter. Out of the 22 competitors, Cattau ended up 14th with 4,409 points, while Darcey finished with 16th place with 4,334 points. For comparison, the winner of the heptathlon, Kylee Bartlett, a second-year from Rochester, had 5,020 points. By the time Sunday came around, there were two races left in the tournament. In addition to the 4x400-meter relay, Verner-Crist also had to race in the 1,500-meter. Koether, Harris, Kang, and Dobbs together ran a time of 3:48.31 in their 4x400 final, which was good enough for eighth place. This was not far from the winning team of Nebraska Wesleyan, who took first with a time of 3:41.25. In the other race of the day for the Maroons, Verner-Crist won 11th place, with a time of 4:43.47 in the 1,500-meter. The best time for that event went to Emily Richards from Ohio Northern University, as the thirdyear notched a time of 4:23.87. For the championships as a whole, the victory went to Wash U, as they amassed a dominant 56 points, with the closest competitor, Ithaca College, gaining only 37 points. UChicago had
University of Chicago Athletics Dept. Second-year Emma Koether runs a leg of a relay race earlier this year.
only one point, but their fierce competition and incredible passion in practice and in the heat of the moment cannot be overlooked. “It was really a comeback,” Harris said. “We originally didn’t make it to finals due to a mishap on my part but we got a second chance due a turn of fate and our coach advocating for us. I’m so proud of our team for pulling together and performing the way we did. I wasn’t on the 4x4 throughout the regular season and was added on
to it during the final last chance meet because one of our legs qualified for nationals in the heptathlon. It was a great turn of events that allowed for 10 women to go to nationals and I’m so proud of us.” This concludes the track season for the women’s team. Cross country will begin in September, while indoor track will start in January and outdoor in April.
South Siders Successfully Reach Semifinals TENNIS
BY CAVELL MEANS SPORTS EDITOR
In its fi nal matches of the season, the UChicago men’s tennis team made history. The fi rst-year duo of Ninan Kumar and Erik Kerrigan became the fi rst Maroons to ever reach the semifi nals. In addition to their doubles success, they also were named All-Americans, alongside third-years Ariana Iranpour and Nicolas Chua. Chua was also the fi rst Maroon to reach the semifi nals in singles. The singles and doubles championships started on Thursday, with 32 single players vying for glory, alongside 16 teams of doubles. The men’s team took no prisoners in opening up the tournament, winning the fi rst fi ve matches. Chua in particular was brilliant, quickly making work of opponents from Middlebury College and Carnegie Mellon University. Kerrigan, still on the court after his teammates’ wins, followed the pattern, taking out players from Colby College and Emory University. Despite all that hard work, there was no downtime for Kerrigan, as he was up next to play doubles with Kumar, where they came out victorious in a tough battle against Southwestern University, winning the fi rst and fi nal set 6 –2, 6–3, respectively. The women’s team also featured on Thursday, with Iranpour competing for the third time in her career in the playoffs. Unfortunately, her tenure would not last very long, as she lost in the round of
32 against No. 3 seeded Caroline Casper from the Pomona-Pitzer team. Iranpour fi nished the season with a 15–9 singles record. On Friday, the action picked back up, with Kerrigan, Kumar, and Chua still in the race. Chua started out the day well, defeating Daniel Morkovine from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the quarterfi nals, but Morkovine’s teammate, No. 3 seeded Nikolai Parodi, got revenge, eliminating Chua in straight sets of 6–0 and 6–1. “It’s hard to ever say that you’re disappointed with a semifi nal fi nish,” said Chua. “I’ve had a bunch of ups and downs this year in terms of my performance, but I was feeling much better about my game near the end of the season. Coming into the tournament I tried to keep expectations low because the last few years I had high expectations and was extremely disappointed. I had a tough start to the tournament losing the fi rst set, but after I recovered from that I felt that my game was good enough to go far. I wish I could have done more in the semifi nals, but I thought I tried my best so I don’t really have many regrets. It gives me some confidence to have success in the last tournament of the year and I hope to do better next year.” Kerrigan, in his singles action, suffered a similar fate, being matched up with the No. 1 seed Lubomir Cuba from Middlebury College, losing a hard fought 7–6 set and then losing 6 –3. Kerrigan ended his singles season with the best record on the team: a stellar 21 wins and
University of Chicago Athletics Dept. Third-year Nicolas Chua, a semifinalist in the NCAA tournament, returns the ball.
only five losses. He wasn’t done for the day though, as he paired up with Kumar for more doubles action. Their opponent for the day was the No. 3 seeded team from Emory University. Despite a contentious fi rst set, which the Maroons won 7–5, the victory was easy, as the second set was also won, 6 –4. This set up the young duo to enter the semifi nals and continue to play on Saturday. Unfortunately, Kerrigan and Kumar met their match early on the last day
of play against the No. 1 seeded duo of Brian Grodecki and Alex Taylor from Williams College. The pair of fi rst-years were too much for the Maroons, winning both sets 6–3 and 7–5 to advance to the next round. Overall, the dynamic fi rstyear duo ended its season with a record of 18–9. This marked the fi nal appearance of the tennis teams for the school year. They start their new season in September.