The Oakland Post 12.7.22

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STATE OF UNIVERSITY A focus on challenges, changemakers PAGE 3 ‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ MBT celebrates production’s 40th Anniversary PAGE 11 HOLIDAY TRADITIONS Posties share their favorite family holiday traditions PAGES 8-9
PHOTO BY LINDSEY SOBKOWSKI
University’s Independent Student Newspaper Rochester, Michigan Volume 48 l Issue 14 l December 7, 2022 THE POSTOakland
Oakland

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SLEIGH BELLS RING… A glimpse into Meadow Brook Hall decorated for the holiday season.
2 | NOVEMBER 9, 2022
PHOTO BY LINDSEY SOBKOWSKI
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State of the University focuses on challenges, changemakers

On Nov. 30, Oakland University held the annual State of the University Address led by President Ora Pescovitz. The address called attention to challenges OU has encountered and some solutions created, as well as highlighting changemakers in the OU community.

The address started with a performance by the Oakland Chorale, led by professor Michael Mitchell. Dominique Daniel, the coordinator of archives and special collections, then took the stage to talk about the history of OU and discuss the growth of the university.

A video played featured some changemakers on campus, such as Brian Bierley, director of media relations, Jessie Hurse, associate dean of students and deputy title IX coordinator and De Witt S. Dykes Jr., associate professor in the department of history.

“I’m a changemaker because I believe in empowering our students to reach their overall success and getting to the point where they feel like they are accomplished,” Hurse said in the video. “I’m a changemaker because it was just naturally given to me to go out and serve individuals and serve people.”

Pescovitz started her address by remembering the Oxford High School shooting from a year ago and honoring those who have been affected. The majority of the address focused on identifying challenges the university faces, then addressing solutions already in place or those to come.

Some of the challenges and topics discussed were: budget shortfall, enrollment, funding records, brain drain, plans for West Campus, OU-Pontiac initiative and research support.

Enrollment and retention

Enrollment in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 is down 7.2% through fall, with an overall change of -18.4% in enrollment from 2012. The past five years have seen some of the biggest decline, with the total headcount at 16,108 — down from 19,333 in 2017.

Pescovitz stated three reasons for the enrollment decline: a decreasing number of high school graduates, COVID-19 and a growing anti-college sentiment. Despite this, OU is now the sixth largest public university in Michigan, rising from eighth in 2012.

One of the actions in response to this is the Strategic Enrollment Management plan which is already in progress and has a plan through Fall 2025 to increase enrollment. New freshman, transfer and undergraduate/ adult learner goals are on track while new graduate student enrollment is not.

Budget shortfall

This year, 74% of OU’s revenue came from tuition, with 24% coming from state appropriations and the final 2% coming from other sources. To coincide with this, 83% of expenditures went to compensation (salaries) and 17% went to supplies, services and other costs.

Pescovitz stated the lower tuition revenue has created a $24 million budget shortfall for FY2023, but provided ways of addressing it.

“We’re using a combination of tactics, including federal HEERF reserve funds,” Pescovitz said. “We’re applying our state appropriation dollars and we are

enacting strategic expenditure reductions.”

Reimagining OU

Pescovitz then talked about Reimaging OU, an initiative which looks for ways to improve administration and culture and to create proposals to propel OU. Part of this is the Baldrige process.

“In August, we embarked on the Baldrige process,” Pescovitz said. “The Baldrige Performance Excellence process is a framework to facilitate continuous improvement throughout the university, including in the areas of leadership, strategy, workforce and operations.”

Pescovitz said Reimaging OU has allowed for improvements to administrative efficiency and helped develop a road map for sustainability initiatives, among other things. Baldrige will build on this and aim to foster an improvement mindset.

Funding success

The “Strive for 45” campaign allowed OU to receive the highest percentage increase in funding of all Michigan public universities, with a 12.5% increase compared to the average 3%.

“Our campaign is not only about seeking more funding, it’s also about equity among the other 15 public universities and standing up for the values of higher education and defending our belief in that higher education is at the heart of a democratic society, equal opportunity and progress,” Pescovitz said.

OU has a $30 million science complex capital outlay project which is before the state legislature, and if passed, receiving state funding, OU will be required to bond an additional $10 million to assist the project.

Aligning programs

Pescovitz emphasized her desire for OU to be a workforce university of choice — becoming a place where students go for affordable real world experiences, where the education translates into a good paying job and a broad range of opportunities.

She discussed the brain drain — a trend where Michigan university graduates are leaving Michigan for jobs — noting that OU leads all universities with 86.3% of graduates staying in Michigan. To address

workforce shortages, specifically in health care, an initiative called THE BEST was created.

“THE BEST stands for Transforming Healthcare Education by Elevating State-of-the-art Teaching, learning and practice,” Pescovitz said. “I want you to think of THE BEST as a proposal. THE BEST is based on the goal of elevating Oakland as a catalyst in addressing the healthcare needs of people in southeast Michigan and beyond.”

To assist with THE BEST, OU plans to establish West Campus (OWC) as an interprofessional education center which will provide classroom space, a training center and a clinic.

Building alliances & enhancing relationships

OU will receive a $21 million gift from Corewell Health (formerly Beaumont Health Spectrum Health) as a part of their partnership aimed at improving health care. With this gift, OU has a new annual fundraising record of $30 million.

In addition to the annual record, OU is 95% of the way to their $150 million aspire, advance, achieve campaign goal, sitting at $143 million. They also have a 200% increase in research funding from FY2020 to FY2022.

To enhance relationships, Pescovitz discussed the OU-Pontiac initiative and the effects it has had on OU and Pontiac.

“The OU-Pontiac initiative continues to have an extremely positive impact on the city’s education, healthcare, culture, economic development and civic engagement,” she said. “Our faculty, students and staff are working now alongside more than 75 civic, business and nonprofit groups. We are committed to the Pontiac community in what is truly a mutually beneficial partnership.”

Pescovitz ended the address by promoting upcoming events like Keeper of the Dream, and asking everyone to become changemakers who will make OU a great university.

CAMPUS DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 3
PHOTO BY MAGGIE WILLARD

Stephen Mackey named Vice President for Finance and Administration

After a search committee led by Provost Britt Rios-Ellis submitted finalists for the position, President Ora Pescovitz appointed Stephen W. Mackey as Oakland University’s new vice president for finance and administration.

He will be taking over for Jim Hargett, associate vice president and controller, who served as the interim vice president for finance and administration.

Rios-Ellis said the committee included an assistant, associate and full professor, as well as a diverse range of members in terms of representation, such as diversity, equity and inclusion — as well as gender.

“That was something — that we’re really trying to make sure that we have all of those diverse voices together to make the best decisions,” Rios-Ellis said.

Mackey comes from California State University (CSU), Monterey Bay where he served as the associate vice president of finance. One of the things which stood out to the search committee was Mackey’s work at CSU during COVID-19.

Mackey also has other university

experience, having worked at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the University of Miami and the USC Clinical Research Organization. He served as the vice dean for administration and finance, director of research policy and strategic planning and the executive director, respectively.

Mackey is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force of 12 years whose service and mindfulness of service stood out to Rios-Ellis.

“He’s obviously someone who really cares about service, and he’s obviously a servant leader, because I don’t think you can serve in the capacity of the military without being that type of servant leader,” she said.

“So I think that’s really important, because I think those are things we need in a CFO.”

Once the committee selected three finalists, Pescovitz said she felt Mackey displayed the characteristics of someone capable of assessing OU’s needs and was the fit they were looking for.

Mackey is expected to join in January, and Pescovitz said she expects him to “hit the ground running.”

In addition to being the vice president

for finance and administration, Mackey will also serve as the treasurer to the Board of Trustees (BOT) — two roles traditionally occupied by the same person. Being treasurer to the BOT does not give Mackey a seat on the board.

“The treasurer part of his role will be [to serve] as the main point of contact with the Board of Trustees regarding financial issues, serve the Board’s finance committee and work

with the outside groups we engage [with] to manage our finances, investments, endowments and the external audit,” Pescovitz said. “He will work hand-in-hand with the Board of Trustees to better position us for the financial future needed to sustain this great university.”

Enrollment and tuition are the main revenue sources for OU, and both have declined in recent years, with a $24 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year 2023 being reported at the State of the University Address. With this, Mackey will be tasked with helping address further concerns of budget and finances.

“We are expecting Mr. Mackey to continue our longstanding tradition of being good stewards of our financial resources,” Pescovitz said. “We will also work to gain more philanthropic support and apply to any and all state and federal scholarship money to aid in our efforts of keeping OU as one of the most affordable higher education opportunities in the state.”

Best Buddies of OU supports neurodivergent community

Best Buddies of Oakland University is a student organization that supports neurodivergent community members by connecting OU students and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The group facilitates a variety of inclusive events and activities throughout the semester in order to create an inclusive, accepting environment for individuals of all abilities.

This past semester, Best Buddies OU has seen a large increase in active membership. The organization has hosted a variety of virtual and inperson events, open to neurodivergent community members, current college students and OU alumni.

Throughout the fall, the group had many successful social engagement activities. Members enjoyed a picnic outing, visited Yates Cider Mill, decorated pumpkins for Halloween and participated in a virtual game night.

“I quickly fell in love with the mission of Best Buddies and all the fun activities that it provides to those who may find it hard to interact with others,” Delaney Jackson, the Best Buddies OU secretary, said.

One of the club’s members was cast in The Addams Family Musical this November, so Best Buddies members attended the performance. For many neurodivergent members, it was their first time attending a live play. Thus, the event was a very special experience for the group.

“Having not fit in for most of my life, I understood

a taste of what it was like to feel different,” Jacob Rao, the Best Buddies OU treasurer, said. “Joining this club allowed me to both receive and give to others a sense of friendship and belonging that I have always looked for.”

Best Buddies OU hosts a one-to-one pairing program which matches neurodivergent members with neurotypical college students. This program allows for instant friendships to bloom, as paired buddies enjoy fun moments together outside regularly scheduled club events.

“My favorite part of Best Buddies is that you can bring so much joy into someone’s life just by talking to them and including them,” Jackson said. “Those with special needs or varying disabilities can find it hard at times to make connections, and I think Best Buddies is an inclusive club for everybody where we are all friends and have a great time together.”

During the one-to-one matching process, individuals fill out a form by listing their interests and hobbies. The Best Buddies leadership team then creates the pairings based on similarities.

“Being one-to-one paired with a buddy is very rewarding,” Rao said. “My buddy and I hang out all the time.”

This December, Best Buddies has several events planned for the holiday season. The group will attend the Rochester Area Hometown Christmas Parade on Dec. 4, and then visit the Detroit Zoo Wild Lights to celebrate the end of the semester.

To learn more about Best Buddies and find information on how to join, students may visit the group’s GrizzOrgs page. For timely updates

PHOTO COURTESY OF OU regarding club events, those interested can follow the Best Buddies Instagram page @bestbuddiesou.
CAMPUS 4 | DECEMBER 7, 2022
PHOTO COURTESY @BESTBUDDIESOU ON INSTAGRAM

American Association of University Women empowers students

The goal of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is to “advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education and advocacy.” At Oakland University, the women of OU-AAUW are continuing these practices and improving the campus community through activism and outreach events.

OU-AAUW President Emily Briggs affirmed the student organization is committed to promoting awareness, intellectual growth, community leadership and the advancement of women.

“We provide a safe space for women and others to gather, form friendships and empower one another,” she said.

OU-AAUW meets monthly, in addition to hosting a variety of fundraising events and offering volunteer opportunities. A typical meeting for OU-AAUW is very conversation based.

Briggs shared that OU-AAUW encourages members to have open discussions in order to create meaningful relationships.

“We believe that each person brings something to the table that we can learn from,” she said.

Briggs said joining OU-AAUW is a great opportunity for students to make connections that will last a lifetime. She also explained that the student organization is a conduit for networking opportunities.

“We offer the opportunity to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders

(NCCWSL), the nation’s premier leadership conference for college women,” Briggs said. “This national organization also allows you to have access to local and national scholarships to attend NCCWSL, sometimes free of cost.”

OU-AAUW also aims to make a difference on campus. They frequently hold events which bring attention and offer solutions to women’s issues, such as the annual Period Product Drive. During the product drive, OU-AAUW collects menstrual pads,

liners, wipes, cups, tampons and pain relievers to be distributed across campus, free of cost.

“We have held Breast Cancer Awareness Walks around campus, and [also] volunteered at local nonprofit organizations as a club,” Briggs said.

OU-AAUW is already in the process of planning events for the upcoming Winter 2023 semester. Briggs said there have been discussions planning for more volunteer opportunities, guest speakers and fun events to bring the campus community together.

“In April, we plan to have a women’s leadership panel where we have real women in the workforce come in and talk about their experiences, give tips and provide a space that allows us to ask questions to gain knowledge and confidence,” she said.

Through their efforts, the student organization hopes to accomplish their mission of education for women in order to empower them to be agents of change.

“We always say knowledge is power, and we believe that we should give women the knowledge to succeed in life — whatever that may be,” Briggs said. “Becoming confident in yourself can go a long way.”

OU-AAUW currently has 41 members, and encourages anyone of all genders to join the organization. There are a variety of ways to join, but Briggs encouraged new members to join via GrizzOrgs.

Those interested in OU-AAUW can sign up with the organization on GrizzOrgs in order to receive emails throughout the semester. They also have an active social media presence and can be found on Instagram under @ou_aauw.

FEATURES DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 5
PHOTO COURTESY OF OU-AAUW ON TWITTER.

Students share their favorite Christmas songs

AUTUMN OKUSZKA

Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, which can only mean one thing. As voiced in “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” — “Christmas present is here today, bringing joy that will last.”

The joys the song is referring to, of course, are the many aspects of Christmas that help it earn the title of “the most wonderful time of the year.” It grants people the ability to reconnect with family, and it’s the perfect time to revisit holiday movies. It is also filled with music that people have known the words to since childhood.

Whether they are recent picks or lifelong favorites, everyone has a Christmas song that is near and dear to their heart. Oakland University students share their favorite ones below.

“Last Christmas” — Jon Karn, Senior “I like ‘Last Christmas.’ I don’t know why, but it probably has something to do with the fact that I heard it a lot as a kid, and for me — Christmas is a very nostalgic sort of thing. Whenever we would open presents on Christmas day, usually my parents would have Christmas radio playing.”

“Jingle Bell Rock” — Libby Gentile, Junior “I’d have to say [my favorite is] ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ — it’s just so nostalgic. I get memories of putting a Christmas tree up when I was younger, and it just sounds so classic.

“[My family and I] used to drive through the Hines Park light show, and I always remember that song playing, going through the tunnel and seeing all of the lights.”

“8 Days of Christmas” — Sydnie Orange, Freshman

“[My favorite is] ‘8 Days of Christmas’ by Destiny’s Child, because it’s a little different. It’s a little more modern and upbeat — it’s not so slow, and [it doesn’t] make me want to go to sleep.

“[My favorite memory is] me and my sister being up at three o’clock in the morning waiting for the presents to go underneath the tree, and we’re just listening to that song.”

“Santa Tell Me” — Emma Davis, Sophomore “I feel like [my favorite is] ‘Santa Tell Me’. It’s kind

of recent. I like Ariana Grande — I just remember playing the video on YouTube a lot with my siblings and being excited for Christmas.”

“You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” — Joshua Banister, Senior

“[My favorite is] probably ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,’ just because I heard it so much growing up. [My favorite memory is] probably just watching the movie with my family when I was younger.”

“A Song and a Christmas Tree (The Twelve Days of Christmas)” — Beckie Swartz, Freshman

“I’m gonna go with a really weird choice: ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ by Andy Williams. The reason why [it’s my favorite] would be my father — he likes Andy Williams and basically all of the older songs, so it’s his fault. One year we made a video acting out ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’”

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” — Amber Haioa, Senior

“I’m gonna go with ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey. I just feel like it always gets people in the mood.

“[My favorite memory is] just screaming it in the car with my friends right around the beginning of the holiday season.”

“Last Christmas” — Mary Kent, Junior

“I would say my favorite is ‘Last Christmas.’ I don’t know who originally sang it, but I always like all of the covers — definitely the Taylor Swift version, because I love Taylor Swift.

“[My favorite memory is] hearing that [version] for the first time when I was younger.”

‘Tis the season: Things to do around campus this holiday season

As snow begins to fall over Oakland University’s campus, you will likely see one of two reactions: some students rejoicing with glee, while others groan in disappointment.

Fortunately, whether you love or hate the cold, there are a wide array of things to do around campus this winter. Here are four activities in the Rochester area to keep you in high spirits throughout the holiday season.

Rochester Big Bright Light Show

Take a stroll through Downtown Rochester after nightfall to experience the Rochester Big Bright Light Show. Over one million colorful lights cover four blocks of buildings on Main Street, providing a cheery holiday atmosphere for all passersby.

Whilst viewing the lights, you can check out a variety of restaurants, cafes and small businesses within the city. Attendees are also able to check out the Snowman Stroll, a new public art event that will bring twelve five-foot-tall fiberglass snowmen to Main Street from Nov. 28 to Jan. 4.

The Kris Kringle Market will be hosted on Main Street during the light show on Dec. 2 and 3. The open-air Christmas Market will feature local food, small businesses and handcrafted items.

The Rochester Big Bright Light Show will illuminate the sky from Nov. 21 through Jan. 15. For more information on the attraction, visit the Downtown Rochester webpage.

Rochester Area Hometown Christmas Parade

The Rochester Area Hometown Christmas Parade will celebrate the arrival of the holiday season on Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. on 4th and Main Street in Downtown Rochester. Local businesses and community organizations will be celebrated as the parade rolls through town.

After the parade, attendees may shop small businesses, enjoy free goodies and take photos with Santa. For more information about the parade, visit the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce website.

A Christmas Carol (MBT)

Meadow Brook Theatre’s famous holiday show “A Christmas Carol” is a captivating holiday classic for viewers of all ages. The play tells the tale of a mean-spirited miser who is visited by three spirits, each teaching him a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.

“A Christmas Carol” is an annual tradition for Meadow Brook Theatre, returning for its 40th season this year. Those interested in attending the show may purchase tickets through Meadow Brook Theatre’s website, with performances running until Christmas Eve.

Meadow

Brook Hall’s Holiday Walk

Meadow Brook Hall’s Holiday Walks feature indoor, self-guided tours of the historical Meadow Brook Mansion. The Holiday Walk has been hosted annually for over 50 years, allowing visitors to experience the beautiful mansion in full holiday decoration.

“The Holiday Walk is free to OU students with a valid school ID,” Connor Newton, the visitor service manager at Meadow Brook said. “The event will feature guided or self-guided tours of the mansion and complimentary hot cocoa.”

The Holiday Walk, which is open to the public from Nov. 25 to Dec. 23, is perfect for family holiday outings or date nights. Visit the Meadow Brook Hall website for more information regarding the event, as well as details on purchasing tickets.

DESIGN BY EMILY IATROU
FEATURES 6 | DECEMBER 7, 2022
PHOTO COURTESY OF DOWNTOWNROCHESTERMI.COM

What to expect of the weather this winter

As Michiganders are experiencing warmer winter each year, we are faced with enduring the closest impact of climate change. The climate of the Midwest is altering, much like the rest of the planet. This winter, however, it seems that there will not be as much of that “warm” experience for Michiganders.

According to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, the Great Lakes area has become both warmer and wetter since 1900, with Michigan experiencing an average yearly temperature increase of two to three degrees Fahrenheit and an increase in average rainfall of around five inches.

While climate change is one of the most concerning issues of all time, the recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)’s predictions on Michigan’s winter weather this year pose additional warnings to many.

On Oct. 20, NOAA released its seasonal outlooks for the country to aid in preparation for weather and climate patterns. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center predicts the extreme weather patterns will persist into the twenty-first century. Extreme heat and precipitation occurrences are the main weather worries in Michigan.

The National Weather Service and the NOAA’s statistics from 1874 through 2021 show that nine of the 15 hottest years in metro Detroit’s history have happened since 2001. The region’s highest

average temperature was recorded in 2012, and in 2021, the temperature in the Detroit area was, on average, two degrees higher than the average from 1951 to 1980, which most scientists believe to be before recent warming trends.

In addition to the increase in average temperature, the National Centers for Environmental Information’s data from 1895 through 2021 show

that six of the ten years with the highest total rainfall in Michigan have happened since 2006. In fact, in 2019, the state saw its wettest year on record.

Overall, it is predicted that Michigan will have a normal winter for temperature in the Lower Peninsula, with slightly below average temperatures forecasted in the Upper Peninsula and western Great Lakes region. However, it is also important to note that La Nina winter conditions are coming back this winter, making their third appearance.

La Nina conditions happen where a portion of the equatorial Pacific Ocean has cooler-than-normal water temperatures with the tendency of colder temperatures and more significant snowfall toward the second half of the winter. Higher frequency of rain and a couple degrees higher than average temperatures might seem like a minor concern. However, such subtle changes in the weather patterns can increase the frequency of extreme weather and change the inhabitability of the state.

With this winter expected to be colder than normal with both precipitation and snowfall above average and the snowiest months being December and January, it’s important to be aware of these factors, especially for those who have long rides home during this winter break.

SCITECH DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 7
DESIGN BY EMILY IATROU

Holiday traditions:

A little piece of who you are

The Holidays are here! Independently of how you celebrate it, I’m sure this time of the year brings many memories to your mind. Traditions are often around long enough to make us stop noticing them, but they are more important than we know. Human development comes from relationships and all these moments that are remarkable enough to shape us.

You might not realize it, but there’s a chance who you are has been lightly influenced by all the family traditions you lived through. So, throughout this holiday season, stop, breathe and think about all the moments that make the season whatever it means to you.

To start, the Posties shared their favorite family holiday traditions be low. Have fun discovering a bit more about each of us!

Autumn Okuszka, Features Reporter

My family has a lot of Christmas traditions. My mom bakes an assort ment of cookies every year, but the staple always seems to be cornflake wreaths, which my mom grew up on herself. I personally make an effort to watch as many Christmas classics as pos sible, from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” to “Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh.”

My family and I have driven around since I was little, listening to Christmas music and looking at Christmas lights. It is truly the happiest time of the year, and it’s all thanks to the many traditions my family has created for us.

Brock Heilig, Sports Reporter

I have two traditions that I can think of. However, we haven’t done one of them in quite some time.

Every year, my family puts the Christmas tree up the day after Thanks giving. We do this without fail, every single year. I hate Christmas dec orating, so I try my best to be out of the house that day and just let my mom take care of it, but as you all know, the Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, so that poses quite the dilemma for me. The second tradition is one we haven’t done in a while, but as a family, we would go to a Christmas store and pick out a Christmas ornament each. Then, we would all vote on which ornament was the best, and then we would take that one home and add it to the collection.

I have no idea where either of these traditions came from or how they got started, but it’s fun to have the memories.

Christian Udeozor-Nweke, Graphic Designer

Every time Christmas rolls around, my family and I usually get togeth er and call our extended family overseas in Nigeria to talk about who got what on Christmas and how things have been this year. This usu ally happens after we open all the gifts and rest for a bit, but it is a fun tradition we have.

Also, if the snow is not too bad the next day, we go over to our grand mother’s house with our aunties and cousins and eat, watch a movie and chill for the rest of the day.

D’Juanna Lester, Arts Reporter

My favorite Christmas tradition is going to my aunt’s house. I always ask her to make sweet potato pie because I love her recipe.

We exchange gifts, and I get to see my younger cousins. Sometimes we’ll watch a movie, and usually, we’re fighting about what to watch. While some of us want to watch Christmas movies, my uncle fights for “Star Wars.”

Emily Iatrou, Graphic Designer

My family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, so we double the yearly celebrations. My favorite tradition (especially during years like this one where Hanukkah runs through Christmas) is having our yearly Hanukkah party with my extended family and doing a White Elephant gift exchange, and then having fun Christmas morning soon after with my family.

Gabrielle Abdelmessih, Editor-in-Chief

Every year, my little sister hides a pickle ornament in our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. It is a German tradition that the first child to find it on Christmas morning gets a special treat or an extra present. We’re not German, so I’m not really sure why it became a thing in the Abdelmessih household in the first place. Anyways, it’s a running joke that since my sister hid the ornament, she knows the location, so she gets to open the first present every year — a typical youngest sibling for you. My brother and I are always happy to go along with her silly antics.

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!

Joe Zerilli, Campus Editor

Possibly my favorite Christmas tradition is our Christmas breakfast — which is essentially a breakfast casserole, but we literally only have it on Christmas. If we had it more, I’m sure I wouldn’t like it quite as much, and it’s been like this for as long as I can remember.

Besides seeing family, the only other tradition my family does is the TV is on TBS so that we can watch “A Christmas Story” all day.

Leticia Santos, Marketing Director

I don’t think our traditions started with the intention of being traditions, but we have done them repeatedly enough for me to call them that. We always try to put our tree up between Halloween and Thanksgiving. I know — we are EARLY, but we love the feeling when we only leave the tree lights on at night, so we want to put it up as early as possible to enjoy it as much as possible. You can also expect to see our tree in the living room until mid-January.

Besides that, we all cook together for our Christmas Eve dinner. Then, after exchanging gifts in the morning, we put on music, and my parents and I spend the day in the kitchen talking and cooking or around the house decorating tables.

Since our extended family is in Brazil, we usually spend holidays with other Brazilian families that are close friends. Therefore, the 24th is very festive — we play white elephant. The 25th is the leftover day with a lot of time to rest.

As we moved from Brazil to the U.S. years ago, it became clear that family is always where your heart is, and traditions can follow you wherever you go.

Happy Holidays!

One of my favorite traditions is the routine of Christmas morning. Once I coerce my parents to finally get up, we sit on the floor all around the tree before we even eat breakfast. My mom then plays her old Christ mas record from, I believe, the 1960s (which she always makes sure to take note of), and we open our gifts.

Of course, we always have something wrapped for our dog, which sounds a bit redundant, but he actually loves tearing open the wrapping paper of a dog toy that he oh-so-needed.

My favorite holiday tradition is wigilia, a Polish Christmas tradition that is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Each Christmas Eve, my family hosts a huge dinner of 12 dishes and desserts. Following the dinner, we exchange gifts with one another. Wigilia is my favorite holiday tradition, as it brings my family together for a special night as we celebrate our heritage.

My mom’s birthday is actually on Christmas Eve — an overlap which I

know can cause a lot of Dec. 24-ers to roll their eyes at the holiday, but in my mom’s case, it only makes her and the rest of us love it more. We always celebrate by heading out to breakfast as a family — and this is typically the only time we do so all together year round, so it remains super special.

My sister and I also like to exchange our gifts with each other on Christmas Eve before spending the rest of the day recovering from breakfast food comas and binging Christmas films (our annual “Home Alone” watch is always part of the lineup).

On Christmas Morning, we kick things off bright and early at 8 a.m. with Tim Allen’s “The Santa Clause” playing in the background as we open our gifts.

Just talking about each of these little things now is giving me the same butterflies each tradition has given me since I was a little girl — they sound so simple yet still hold so much magic for my family.

Happy Holidays to our readers — we’ll see you back next month.

Lindsey Sobkowski, Photographer STORY BY LETICIA CEZÁRIO SANTOS | DESIGN BY MEGAN PARKER

careers

STEM encompasses of course science, technology, engineering and mathematics — very broad categories. However, most students are unaware of the full extent of job opportunities available with a degree in these fields. Many people’s minds may automatically jump to categorizing potential careers as common ones in healthcare, or simply working as an engineer.

Here are some different types of jobs that may not cross one’s mind when it comes to obtaining a degree in STEM.

Patent

Lawyer

Law and STEM — who would have thought? According to Purdue University, patent lawyers “are lawyer-scientists who review and understand advances in technology, and explain and argue differences in technology to judges, juries and Patent Office Examiners.”

Undergraduate majors for patent attorneys include physics, engineering, chemistry and biochemistry. After four years of college, the next step is three years of law school.

Data Scientist/Analyst

Vastly different industries likely have one thing in common — using data to support claims they are making and gathering data in order to grow. That is where a data analyst comes in.

“Regardless of which industry they work in, data analysts can expect to spend their time developing systems for collecting data, seeking meaningful patterns and compiling their findings into reports that can help improve their company,” Kirsten Slyter said for Rasmussen University.

Common undergraduate degrees that employers look for in this position include data science, applied mathematics, statistics and computer science.

Agricultural and Food Scientist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, agricultural and food scientists “play an important role in maintaining and expanding the nation’s food supply. Many work in basic or applied research and development. Basic research seeks to understand the biological and chemical processes by which crops and livestock grow. Applied research seeks to discover ways to improve the quality, quantity, and safety of agricultural products.” ( Bls.gov).

A bachelor’s degree in the sciences (agriculture or biology or chemistry preferred) is required for this role, and many people who work in this field hold advanced degrees. They also have flexibility in where they work, as some work in the fields, some in laboratories and some in offices. There are 4100 openings each year and it is rapidly growing, according to Bls.gov.

Respiratory Therapists

There are several careers in healthcare available that students may not know too much about or

know of at all. With the COVID-19 pandemic, some light was shed on the incredibly important role of respiratory therapists.

“Respiratory therapists work closely with registered nurses, physicians and surgeons, and medical assistants. They use various tests to evaluate patients. For example, respiratory therapists administer pulmonary function tests to assess lung capacity by having patients breathe into an instrument that measures the volume and flow of oxygen when they inhale and exhale. Therapists also may take blood samples and use a blood gas analyzer to test oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.” (Bls.gov)

Some employers prefer having a bachelor’s degree in addition to completing an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy at an accredited institution.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs like these out here for students to consider when deciding what career path to follow. No one should feel as if their options are limited to the jobs most commonly associated with their degree.

In addition to industry, continuing education and working in academia is a great route to pursue, as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that was referenced earlier is an official government website that serves as a strong tool for job searching and finding different careers. It also provides relevant information and statistics about these occupations.

Here is the link to the occupation part of the site: https://www.bls.gov/bls/occupation.htm

STEM
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A few interesting

Meadow Brook Theatre celebrates 40th anniversary of ‘A Christmas Carol’

Meadow Brook Theatre’s (MBT) annual rendition of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” is back for another year of Christmas cheer. Some local theater-goers see this show every year, but it wasn’t until now that I personally had the pleasure of experiencing MBT’s holiday magic.

The classic tale follows Ebeneezer Scrooge (Thomas D. Mahard), an old, stingy man who hates Christmas, as he is approached by the Spirits of Christmas Past (Mary Magyari), Present (Tamara Della Anderson) and Future (Tyler Bolda). Together, they show Scrooge the true meaning of Christmas.

It’s no wonder why MBT has been putting on this show since 1982 — even though it was written in 1843, I think the heart of the story transcends time. If you don’t believe me, the audience speaks for itself: folks young and old flock to see this story get told. This just goes to show that old stories don’t die out.

In fact, the show in its most classic form has the audience’s hearts, according to Meadow Brook intern Antonio Vettraino.

“There have been years [early on] where the show has changed,” Vettraino said. “What was interesting was that [those changes] didn’t resonate with audiences as well as the original, which is what we do now.”

The only variance from tradition we see on stage this year involves choice in casting. Typically, the Spirit of Christmas Present is played by a white man, but this year the role is taken up by a woman of color for the first time since the 1990s.

MBT’s “A Christmas Carol” is an uplifting story that reminds us about the joy of community in a world that has felt so alone. This show does a wonderful job at bringing the community together during the happiest season of all.

As a first time viewer, I can certainly say that MBT knows what works. “A Christmas Carol” is not just a show, but an experience complete with interactive carols and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

“We truly love ‘A Christmas Carol,’” MBT Managing Director Cheryl Marshall said. “We’re happy to be presenting it for the 40th year, and look forward to seeing familiar faces both on stage and in the audience.”

Ticket prices range from $36 to $49 and are available to purchase by calling the Meadow Brook Theatre box office at 248-377-3300 or going online at www.ticketmaster.com. Student prices are available at the box office if ID is provided. For additional information, visit www.mbtheatre.com.

Elton John bids U.S. ‘farewell’ with star-studded Dodger Stadium concert

AUTUMN OKUSZKA

On a hot and humid day in mid-July, I sat with a crowd of 40,000 people at Comerica Park for my first time seeing Sir Elton John, the “Rocket Man,” in concert. I sang along to “Crocodile Rock” and was moved when he honored Detroit’s own Aretha Franklin before performing “Border Song.” I left that night believing it would be the last time I got to see a legend like John perform before he truly walked the “yellow brick road” into retirement.

That was until Disney+ announced they would be streaming John’s final concert in the U.S. as it happened live at Dodger Stadium. It’s a place that holds a lot of history — not only for the baseball team it houses, but for John himself.

John first performed at Dodger Stadium in Oct. 1975 at the height of his career, memorably dressed in a sequined Dodgers baseball uniform and cap. It was only fitting that John ended the U.S. leg of his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour at the stadium where it all began.

“It was vital I finish in Los Angeles — Dodger Stadium has history, and I have history,” John said. “I want to go out inside a place that has [an] atmosphere, an aura to it. I’m revisiting the past in a hopefully glorious kind of way.”

While 50,000 people packed the iconic Dodger Stadium, over 2,000 miles away I got to enjoy the

concert from the comfort of my own home.

The show opened with interviews with John as well as an abundance of well-wishes from people he has crossed paths with throughout his life. Some of the most notable messages came from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, Quincy Jones, Lil Nas X and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — with the latter pair thanking John for being a good friend to Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.

Then began John’s performance, with a setlist

filled with his most memorable songs. The only variation was the musical guests John had accompany him on some of his greatest hits.

John’s first guest was Brandi Carlile, who joined him on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Next was a duet between John and Kiki Dee, reuniting after having their song “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” climb to the top of the charts in 1976. Last but not least, John performed “Cold Heart” with Dua Lipa — a recent hit dominating the charts over 50 years after John’s first album.

The stars on stage weren’t the only ones in attendance, however. Celebrities seen in the audience included Neil Patrick Harris, Jojo Siwa and Taron Egerton — who played John in the 2019 biopic “Rocketman.”

John did not don his original Dodgers getup, as he stated in a recent interview that he “wasn’t the same size” he was back in 1975. Instead, he referenced the iconic outfit by wearing what he is most comfortable in during the encore — a robe.

John’s last concert in the U.S. was not only a sight to see for those in attendance, but for people across the globe. It almost felt as if I was seated in that iconic stadium watching the iconic Rocketman before he rode off into the sunset.

Even though John is retiring from touring, his legacy lives on through his fans, his music and amazing concert films like this one.

“Elton John Live: Farewell from Dodger Stadium” is available to stream now on Disney+.

PHOTO BY MEADOW BOOK THEATRE
ARTS DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 11

My most anticipated reads of 2023

We have finally reached that time of year — with 2022 drawing to a close, it’s time for my list of my most anticipated book reads for the year 2023.

From anthologies to series sequels, 2023 looks like it is going to be a year full of very exciting reads that will have their respective audiences swooning.

“Unseelie” — Jan. 3, 2023

Ivelisse Housman debuts with a Young Adult (YA) Fantasy to kick off the new year. This book follows changeling Seelie and her human twin embarking on an epic heist adventure.

This fantasy has Seelie as an autistic main character, which is rare for YA Fantasy books. I’m excited to see how these characters navigate this heist while on the run.

“Cool. Awkward. Black.” — Jan. 10, 2023

This book is one that I’ve been waiting for for a while. An anthology by an amazing group of Black authors — including some of my favorites, Kalynn Bayron and Elise Bryant. This book will have Black characters

in different genres such as Sci-fi and Fantasy celebrating different facets of Blackness.

“Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling” — Jan. 31, 2023

Elise Bryant, an NAACP Image Award nominated author, is back with her first dual point of view (POV) book. This rom-com follows the titular characters who fall in love over chance meetings over the course of a year’s holiday celebrations.

Delilah ends up singing in her friend’s punk band as a favor, and Reggie, self declared Blerd, spends his time playing Dungeons and Dragons. They have a first meeting at New Year’s Eve, and continue to meet at holidays throughout the year.

“Queen Bee” — April 4, 2023

Want another recommendation, “Bridgerton” lovers? With a YA story set in the Regency Era, Amalie Howard is back with another “Bridgerton”esque novel.

A girl seeking revenge against her former best friend has her plans hit a snag when she catches the eye of a marquess. “Bridgerton” meets “The Count of Monte Cristo” in this book, which should be a very fun read for

those who are obsessed with stories about London high society and former lovers reuniting.

“House of Marionne” — Aug. 29, 2023

J Elle, author of the “Wings of Ebony” duology, is back with the first book in a new trilogy. This modernday story is filled with magic and dark academia. If you’re a fan of “Bridgerton,” this one’s for you.

17 year old Quell is inducted into a debutante society full of powerful elites. With an assassin hunting her kind, Quell has to deal with the dark side of society while concealing her forbidden magic.

“Percy Jackson and the Chalice of the Gods” — Sept. 26, 2023

Yes, it’s actually happening. Rick Riordan is back with a sixth book from the original “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series that kicked off the Riordanverse.

It doesn’t feel real. After years of not writing about Percy, Annabeth and Grover, Riordan is returning to writing about the trio.

This book follows Percy as a senior in high school — much more concerned about trying to get into

Looking back at Alessandro Michele’s time at Gucci

After seven years as creative director of the House, it was announced Nov. 23 that Alessandro Michele will be leaving Gucci. What started out as whisperings of his potential departure on Twitter was quickly confirmed by Michele himself in a statement on his Instagram — shocking the fashion world at large.

An anonymous source told Women’s Wear Daily that “Michele was asked to initiate a strong design shift, but the designer did not meet the request,” which is honestly hard to believe given the success of his most recent “Gucci Twinsburg” collection dominated the Spring 2023 season.

What started off as a normal runway show ended up being a major statement with the lifting of a dividing curtain and the reveal that each model was one of a pair of 68 identical twins in matching outfits. The collection was inspired by Michele’s mother and her twin, who he counted as a second mother.

“The grace of their duplicated and expanded love gave rise to my eternal fascination for the double, for things that seem to reflect themselves,” Michele said to Another Man of the collection.

The show even opened with Marianne Faithful giving a dramatic reading of the lyrics from Mary-

Kate and Ashley Olsen’s song “Identical Twins.” Who even thinks of that?

That’s what makes Michele so special: the uninhibited creativity he exhibits as he indulges in his personal eccentricities is beyond what anyone else is doing in fashion right now, and it is captivating to watch — which makes the news of his departure even more disappointing.

Since his appointment as creative director in 2015, Michele has not only revolutionized Gucci, he has changed the fashion industry at large — specifically men’s fashion. Michele was one of the first designers to popularize the fluidity of men’s fashion, breaking boundaries and binaries and bringing an air of androgynous freedom to a historically restrictive sector of the fashion industry.

The black and white floral Gucci suit that Harry Styles wore to the 2015 American Music Awards is a perfect exemplification of just how far fashion has come thanks to Michele’s influence. At the time, the flared floral look was mocked and meme-d for its novelty and flamboyance, but is now seen as rather tame compared to the styles that men are comfortably rocking on red carpets today.

One thing I do know is that while Michele’s relationship with Gucci has come to an end, his legacy at the fashion house will be a hard one to live up to. Michele’s whimsically romantic maximalist nature is such a part of Gucci’s DNA, it is hard to imagine where his successor could go without

feeling like an imitation of what once was.

I, for one, cannot wait to see where Michele goes with his newfound freedom, but his departure does conjure up two questions: What will Harry Styles wear now, and who will Jared Leto creepily cosplay at the next Met Gala?

college than saving the world this time around.
ARTS 12 | DECEMBER 8, 2022
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES PHOTO COURTESY OF GOODREADS

Wolverines advance to Big Ten Championship playoffs

BROCK

The University of Michigan Football team capped off a remarkable Big Ten season with a 43-22 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers in the conference championship game on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium. With the victory, the Wolverines improved to 13-0 on the season and are headed to their second straight College Football Playoff.

Michigan clinched its spot in the Big Ten Championship Game the previous Saturday with a 45-23 beating of the formerly undefeated and second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio. Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy played the game of his life, and Wolverine running back Donovan Edwards broke two rushing touchdowns of more than 75 yards as Jim Harbaugh claimed his second straight win over his rival.

The Wolverines marched into the Big Ten Championship Game with an unblemished 12-0 record and an enormous amount of confidence after having played in the conference title game last season against Iowa.

Although the team was without its Heisman Trophy-contending running back Blake Corum, who is out for an extended period of time with a knee injury, Michigan just called on the next man up — which happened to be Donovan Edwards, once again. Edwards was quiet in the first half, but much like in the Ohio State game, he came to life in the second half.

Michigan was clinging onto a 14-13 lead at halftime, but the Edwards show began on the first play of the third quarter. The sophomore running back made a defender miss at the line of scrimmage and broke into the open field as he ran down the sideline for a gain of 60 yards.

Michigan scored a few plays later, and then on the ensuing drive Edwards found the end zone on a 27-yard touchdown run.

Wolverines routed the Boilermakers in the second half.

Michigan has now won 13 games for the first time in program history, and its season is still far from over. The Wolverines earned the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, and they will take on the third-seeded TCU Horned Frogs at the Fiesta Bowl in the national semifinal on Dec. 31.

Should the Wolverines win the New Year’s Eve battle with TCU, they will advance to the national championship game to face the winner between the top-seeded Georgia Bulldogs and the fourth-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan would have a good amount of experience playing against either of those two teams.

Georgia gave Michigan a hard dose of reality last year when the two teams met in the CFP Semifinal. The Bulldogs crushed Michigan 34-11 and went on to win the national championship.

Obviously, Michigan has experience playing Ohio State, too. The regular season finale on Nov. 26 brought in 17 million viewers, making it the most watched college football game of the season.

McCarthy was asked after the Big Ten Championship Game how he would feel about a potential rematch with the Buckeyes.

“Please, please, bring it on,” McCarthy said. “I mean, that would be truly a blessing if we get a shot to play those boys again.”

The star running back was named the Big Ten Championship Game MVP with a final stat line of 25 carries, 185 rushing yards and a touchdown.

McCarthy also threw for three scores as the

The semifinal games won’t take place until the last day of December, so the teams have a lot of time to prepare — but the story almost writes itself for either opponent, should Michigan defeat TCU.

Golden Grizzlies go winless in holiday trip to Bahamas

BROCK HEILIG

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Oakland men’s basketball team traveled south to the Bahamas to compete in the 2022 Nassau Championship. Although the competition wasn’t the toughest, Oakland failed to secure a victory in the three-game event.

First, the Golden Grizzlies took on Long Beach State on Friday, Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving. However, there wasn’t much to be thankful for in this matchup for Oakland.

The Golden Grizzlies fell behind early and struggled to recover afterward. Coach Greg Kampe’s team led by one point on two different occasions — one in the first half and one in the second — but Oakland was unable to stop the wellrounded starting five of Long Beach State.

All five of Long Beach State’s starters finished in double figures, and although it only got six bench points, the starting five was able to carry the team to victory in this one.

Blake Lampman led the way for Oakland with 17 points on a high volume of 3-point shooting, but it wasn’t enough as the Golden Grizzlies dropped their first game of the tournament.

Next, on Saturday, Oakland struggled yet again. The Golden Grizzlies took on Sage Tolbert and San Jose State in the second round of the tournament, and yet again, things got ugly in a hurry.

The Spartans opened up a 10-point lead over Oakland with just under seven minutes to play in the first half, and they stretched the lead to as many as 22 before settling for a 20-point advantage at halftime.

Trailing 47-27 through the first 20 minutes, Oakland didn’t lose heart. The Golden Grizzlies trimmed the large lead to three points with 5:22 left to play in the game.

However, San Jose State quickly retaliated by stretching the lead back to 15 points to put Oakland away.

Jalen Moore and Trey Townsend combined for 30 of Oakland’s 67 points, but no other Grizzly finished with more than nine points as Oakland fell to 0-2 in the tournament.

In the team’s final game of the 2022 Nassau Championship, it faced Missouri State, a school that transfer forward Keaton Hervey used to play for. Hervey had an outstanding performance against his old school, but the Golden Grizzlies ultimately came up short by a final score of 76-64.

Hervey put together a heroic 24-point performance, including 5-7 shooting from behind the arc. Hervey played 37 minutes and did everything in his power to will Oakland to victory, but the Bears prevailed.

Oakland finished the 2022 Nassau Championship with an 0-3 record and returned home to begin Horizon League play. The Golden Grizzlies dropped their Horizon League opener to Cleveland State on Thursday, Dec. 1, and they followed it up with an overtime heartbreaking loss to Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Oakland is now 2-8 on the season and has lost eight of its last nine games. The team will travel to New York this week to take on the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JUNFU HAN Michigan running back Donovan Edwards celebrates a touch down during the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis.
SPORTS DECEMBER 7, 2022 | 13
PHOTO COURTESTY OF MAGGIE WILLARD

ABAI finally condemns Judge Rotenberg Center

Death. Shock therapy. Starvation. Abuse of autistic children. All of these horrific factors take place at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts.

Currently the only location in the United States that uses shock therapy, this institution has been in operation since 1971 by “behaviorist utopian community” enthusiast Matthew Israel.

Despite the decades-long plea from autistic advocates for the place to be shut down, there has been no government intervention, no mainstream coverage — nothing from anyone outside of disability advocates. It’s disappointing, but if you’re disabled, not surprising at all.

Over the past week, Applied Behavioral Analysis International (ABAI) — an organization that promotes behavioral analysis — finally changed their position on electric shocks being used for controlling behavior. According to autisticadvocacy. org, the Judge Rotenberg Center has been a sponsor and presenter at the ABAI conference for years.

This decision is long overdue, but it has finally happened. The issue is that the institution is still allowed to remain open.

While the ABAI claims to not support this form of torture, they have clearly promoted Judge Rotenberg Center instead of condemning them. If the biggest “advocates” for the autistic community

are actively supporting inhumane torture, where do we go from here? What are the steps that need to be taken for this place to finally close?

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture condemned electric shocks being used back in 2012. It’s been a decade, and the JRC is still in operation. So what happens now?

The fact that a place like this has very little attention in this prime age of social media usage is astounding to me. It’s an unfortunate situation that has very little public knowledge, and that is infuriating.

Letters from survivors over the years cite that people inside the “school” are subjected to various amounts of shocks for doing even the smallest things such as refusing to take off a coat or stimming. Stimming is a prominent thing with autism, a selfstimulatory behavior that can include rocking back and forth, repetitive noises or body movements or hands flapping, to list a few examples.

Stimming is a natural, uncontrollable thing. It just happens. The fact that people are being horrifically punished for doing something that is natural for their bodies is despicable. It’s inhumane and disgusting. Parents are sending their children here, and this is what they’re having to live through.

Ever since the institution was founded in 1971, there have been six reported deaths. Methods like these have led to the deaths of six innocent people. People are tortured and face tragic outcomes in this center, and that is unacceptable.

There needs to be some kind of intervention.

There is no reason for a place like this to continue to be allowed to operate and cause detrimental — and in some cases, fatal — harm to disabled students like this. No one deserves to be subjected to this disgusting behavior.

This can not be accepted anymore. The Judge Rotenberg Center needs to be shut down immediately.

Rumored East Campus Development plans defy university values

Oakland University’s value statement claims the university highly values the ethical treatment of both people and the environment.

OU is currently soliciting proposals for the potential development of the patch of land bordering Walton Boulevard and Adams Road —

more commonly known as East Campus. While the process is still in its early stages, rumor has it that plans for an upscale boutique hotel or retail presence to occupy this space could be on the table.

This all comes at a time where the university is grappling with a 13% decrease in enrollment over the past two years. It makes sense, then, that the university would be exploring new revenue streams in the face of such a steep decline.

I understand the university is facing financial adversity.

I understand the desire to explore alternative sources of revenue.

I also understand that any development which would introduce something like a hotel to our campus would be in direct violation of the purported value this university places upon its people and its environment.

How can you promise to keep us safe, and then invite an influx of strangers to our campus who will only further complicate our commuter school’s existing traffic issues?

How can you succeed so many unsafe incidents on campus this past year by partially or completely leasing away OUPD’s jurisdiction over this land?

How can you spend all of October posing as champions of sustainability, then authorize the bulldozing of so much of our green space?

OU’s VP of university advancement Mike Westfall told The Oakland Post that whatever is done with this land, it must “draw the campus to the corner.” I can’t speak for all students, but personally, affording luxury hotel stays really isn’t

a frequent pastime of mine, so I don’t see how a development of this sort would attract us.

According to the university, revenue generated from any approved development “would be utilized to support students, faculty, programs, and infrastructure.”

I hear this – just as I also heard another 3.9% increase in tuition announced over the summer.

Just as I also heard our faculty protest the slashing of their benefits from the picket line last fall.

Just as I also heard the administration is enjoying a shiny new exclusive penthouse in Wilson Hall.

Given this track record, why should we believe that student and faculty interests will receive priority when it comes to using this proposed revenue?

I’d like to see the administration honor their commitment to their people and the environment with what they have before promising to do so through potentially harmful developments which contradict their values.

Various development proposals and stakeholder feedback will be discussed by the Board of Trustees in the spring. As students, you are among the most — if not the most important stakeholders to weigh in on this.

If you share in my concern for any development which would clear green space and compromise student safety and convenience, please demonstrate this concern to the administration by signing Student Congress’ petition against East Campus Development on Change.org today.

PHOTO BY PHOTO BY OAKLAND.EDU
OPINION 14 | DECEMBER 7, 2022
The corner of campus bordering Walton and Adams.
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