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The Uptown Exchange A Truman Student Publication Serving the Uptown Community




Retiring Truman Professors Say Goodbye


Retiring professors William Settles and Robert Hughes. Photograph by Brian Von Kaenel


CCC Graduation Rates Announced by Patrick Erwin Editor-in-Chief

by Gayle Blakely Staff Writer

n the 80’s, Truman Communication Arts and Skills professor Robert Hughes wrestled with the daunting challenges of teaching 30 elderly Russian students English, as they relentlessly chattered in their native tongue. Even learning the Russian word for “shut up” didn’t work. Hughes found the key to their intellectual trust - Homer Simpson. Introducing them to the world of “The Simpsons” finally broke the ice. As he notes, “I realized early on that I was more than teaching a language. I was an exhibit of the American culture. I was kind of a living Homer Simpson for (my ESL students).” At the end of this semester, Professor Hughes will make another transition. He’s one of five professors retiring from Truman. The others are William Settles, Peter Panagoulias, Cora Johnson and Patricia Corbett. In addition to his teaching work, Hughes has written for “Newsweek” and the “Chicago Tribune.” He’s also written a memoir about life with an autistic son, “Running With Walker.” Hughes said that “teaching is meant to be entertaining. There’s a transaction going on beyond what the course menu says. There’s more to college than getting a grade – it’s about having an experience,” he said. Student Elizabeth Alvarado said that Hughes helped her and other students in English 101. “I noticed that the same students who had started off with a C or D grade wound up with As and Bs,” she said. “He is very enthusiastic and picks topics that anyone can relate to.” After 40 years of teaching, Professor William Settles is also retiring. Settles was last year’s Distinguished Professor.


He began teaching back in the ’70s at Central YMCA Community College, which closed in 1983. In 1984, Kennedy-King hired Settles as the Vice President for Instruction. Later, he developed the curriculum for comparative religions and then began teaching humanities. In 1997, Settles taught satellite courses at both Kennedy-King and Truman. Then in 2005, Settles accepted a full-time teaching position at Truman. “I will miss teaching, coming up with what I hope are interesting ideas and interesting ways to communicate to students and getting their reactions.... (The students) keep me… youthful to some degree,” Settles said. Student Harold Gomez said that Settles is like his father: “He’s had an impact on me. To this day … he shows interest in you as a person, not just you as a student. …I still see him in (Truman’s) hallways or lunchroom. I will miss him dearly.” The nursing department will also lose two professors this year: Cora Johnson and Patricia Corbett. Student Crystal Banks said that she enjoyed both Johnson’s and Corbett’s classes. “They always accommodate you when you need consults. I will miss my in-depth relationship with (Professor Corbett). Her style of teaching is entertaining.” But students aren’t the only ones who will miss these retirees. President Reagan Romali said, “Nobody’s replaceable. Every (teacher) brings something special and unique to the table, and we will miss them. They’ve contributed to Truman enormously.” Hughes, like many instructors at Truman, has experienced the world through his diverse classrooms: “I felt like I sat still and watched the world go by.”

uring an April 24th City Club of Chicago speech, City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) chancellor Cheryl Hyman said that the college’s Reinvention program was beginning to show results. The speech accompanied a press release announcing that CCC is projecting a graduating class of 3,300 students this spring, an increase of 800 from 2011. Hyman told the group that the numbers represent the highest graduation rate “in more than a decade, and we are cautiously confident the trend will continue.” Last week’s announcement was the latest in a series of announcements about changes at CCC. Earlier this year, Hyman and Mayor Emanuel announced the College to Careers program, where CCC is partnering with corporate partners to help shape and redevelop occupational programs. A $520 million capital campaign was also announced to implement changes, including the construction of a new Malcolm X College campus. The metrics in the CCC announcement measure the number of students who complete one of CCC’s associate degree programs. The announcement also indicated that CCC channeled changes and reductions in resources into a $41 million “administrative savings.” The statement says the College’s benefits liability has been reduced by $1 million, a reduction realized in part by increasing health insurance co-pays for employees. CCC spokesperson Katheryn Hayes indicated that no details about how the College to Careers program may change or impact Truman have been announced at this time. Hayes said that CCC will announce plans that are part of the College to Careers program for two CCC colleges a year.

COMMENCEMENT 2012 Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion 525 S. Racine Ave., Chicago CONGRATULATIONS, GRADUATES!



MAY 2012




New Writing Center A Resource For Students by Gayle Blakely Staff Writer

Editor-in-Chief and Web Producer Patrick Erwin Arts & Entertainment Editor Akili-Malcolm Myrick Staff Writers Gayle Blakely Kshama Hegde Stacey Hunt Sports Writer Todd Thomas Chief Photographer Brian Von Kaenel Staff Photographers Evelyn Garvey Akili-Malcolm Myrick

The new writing center. Photograph by Brian Von Kaenel


arlier this semester, the Communication Arts and Skills department at Truman launched a writing center (in room 2230) designed to help students improve their academic writing skills. Students can sign up for one or more 30-minute sessions per week. Faculty members lead many of the individual sessions. The sessions are open to any student enrolled in an English class at Truman. A number of English classes are offered here, including foundational courses and English as a second

language (ESL) courses, as well as composition, communication skills, creative writing and journalism classes. Communication Arts and Skills chairperson Catherine Gillespie said that the center offers “personal, individualized, sustained help with writing that cannot be found solely in classrooms, textbooks or occasional conferences with instructors. Students need coaching.” “This center is great!” exclaimed student Jean Nguemaha, “This is my third time signing up. I used to go to Truman’s tutoring center, but here they help me understand and improve my writing for English 102.” Nguemaha prefers one-hour sessions. “You cannot (review) five pages in 30 minutes,” he said. Student Aishat Oki signed up for two sessions earlier this semester. She said that multiple sessions helped her to understand the material. Gillespie said, “Both the writing center and tutoring center offer services to help students succeed in their academic work, so both centers have the same overall mission.” Gillespie said that the center hopes to add sessions that will assist students with their writing in the sciences and in other academic disciplines that Truman offers. Gillespie also added that she and the department are working to secure new and more permanent space for the center next fall in the Larry McKeon building.

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MAY 2012

HIV Testing On Campus Health Groups Bringing Testing to Truman by Kshama Hegde Staff Writer


ichelle Giles is a familiar face at Truman. Two days a week, Giles takes a seat just outside of the cafeteria and student services area, and sets up an information table. A casual observer would notice that Giles is greeted as part of the crowd, with students stopping by to talk to her or to say hello. What may not be obvious to the casual observer is that Giles is an HIV counselor for the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health, and her visits are part of UIC’s Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP). Although the intervention initiative looks at other serious infectious diseases, its main focus is on reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS and, as the COIP Web page ( says, to “improve the health of marginalized individuals, families and communities.” The clinic’s been around for over a decade, and Giles has been running the clinic for over a year. She’ll continue the clinic here at Truman next fall, as well. The testing is free and is provided on a walk-in basis. Clients who request testing have to sign a consent form and fill out personal details on forms. The testing is done with a kit known as Ora Quick, which requires a swab of the gums. If a client is not comfortable talking at the table, Giles will talk with them in a nearby office to ensure privacy. Students are often concerned about being alone when tested. Giles says that “often, students will bring a boyfriend or girlfriend, who wants to be tested. On busy days there may be as many as 5 to7 tests.” Giles sees a diverse crowd, including international students. “Everyone comes to my table,” she says. “Young, old, black, white, gay and straight.” The test results are available in 20 minutes. If a patient tests positive, a second test – a blood test – will be done to confirm the initial results. Blood test results take two weeks. All results and records are kept entirely confidential. The COIP project gives clients who test positive for HIV further follow up and treatment. In addition to counseling and information about sexually transmitted diseases and safe sex practices, condoms are also provided free of cost at the clinic. Asian Human Services, which also partnered with the Wellness Center on smoking cessation initiatives prior to the tobacco-free campus policy, is another health services provider offering HIV testing at Truman. AHS is a “multicultural and multilingual health and social service agency” that focuses on the immigrant and refugee community. Amanda Jones is one of the AHS HIV counselors. Jones says that all HIV counselors usually have HIV certification and on-the-job training before handling clients independently. The AHS clinic is funded by Illinois Department of Public Health, and uses similar testing methods as the UIC HIV clinic. Students who might not feel comfortable visiting one of the information tables can go to nearby clinics – the UIC and Asian Health Services clinics are just a few blocks from campus. They can also go to Truman’s Wellness Center, on the first floor of the McKeon building, to get more information or a referral to a testing center. IF YOU GO: AT TRUMAN: The UIC COIP testing occurs Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Asian Health Services testing is on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both clinics are adjacent to the student services area, across from the cafeteria. IN UPTOWN: UIC’s clinic is at 4407 N. Broadway Ave. For more details, call 773-561-3177. Asian Health Service’s Uptown clinic is at 4753 N. Broadway Ave., Suite 700. For more information, call 773-728-2235.

Clinician Michelle Giles and the health clinic onsite at Truman. Photograph by Brian Von Kaenel



o foster open discussion of ideas, the Uptown Exchange solicits guest editorials and letters to the editor from the community. Truman students, faculty and staff, as well as Uptown community members are welcome to submit: A Guest Editorial of no more than 600 words (word-document file). Arguments are encouraged and clearly cited facts are required. Please focus your article on issues relevant to our Truman/Uptown readers. A Letter to the Editor of no more than 100 words (word-document file). Please focus your letter on the content of the newspaper or other subjects relevant to our Truman/Uptown readers. All submissions must include the name of the author and a telephone number, for verification purposes. The Uptown Exchange reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, style, and editorial value, judged by our journalistic commitment to local readers. Please email your submissions, and any ideas for stories or information on upcoming events to:




MAY 2012

Cricket, anyone?

Students Organize New Sport Initiative by Todd Thomas Sports Writer


ricket, one of the world’s most popular sports, has recently found a footing at Truman College. Cricket enthusiasts at Truman have long wanted to start a team and they’ve been planning it for quite some time. The reality finally manifested itself when they went ahead and took the concrete steps to get things started. Their goal is to be recognized as an official Truman club, or team, but there are obstacles to overcome before that happens. Until then club president Ali Javed and vice president Muhammad Fahad will lead a core group as they play matches in the Chicago twenty 20 cricket league and work toward their long-range goal. Javed, an accounting and finance major, played cricket passionately while growing up in Pakistan and continued to play here as well, so bringing the game to Truman made common sense to him. “I wanted to bring cricket to Truman because this is a game that is played throughout the world and it is very common. The United States is the only country I know of that doesn’t play cricket,” he said. Cricket is played at many universities in the United States, but it’s still hard to find teams in community and junior colleges around the country. Javed hopes the Truman team can give the sport some momentum on that level. “Maybe if I start a team others will be motivated and there will be a cricket team at every community college in Chicago,” he said. The organizers of the cricket club got the word out by putting up flyers and sending e-mails. And it didn’t take long for more than thirty students to get involved. “People are looking to play cricket, they just don’t know where to play or how to start a team,” said club member Aamir Ali. “I was looking for a league to play in as a part -time hobby just to get my mind off work and stress, Many members of the club have experience playing cricket, but they are open to those who are new to the sport as well. “It’s not that hard a game to learn,” Ali said. “But you have to keep practicing like every other sport - you need to show your commitment.” Student advisor Deon Lopez is assisting the cricket players in the process of forming an official team, and she is a strong advocate of the game. “It would be great to have cricket, the ethnic diversity at Truman lends itself to having a competitive cricket team,” Lopez said.

THE BASICS OF CRICKET Cricket is a game that’s popular in several different regions of the world, particularly in Britain, India, Pakistan and Australia. Two teams of eleven play cricket. It’s played with a bat and ball on an oval field with a rectangular area in the middle called the pitch. Two sets of three sticks, called wickets, are set into the ground at each end of the pitch. Players use a bat to move the ball or “bowl” the ball with their arm. (from Encyclopaedia Brittanica)

From Left: Saad Hussain, Shariq Hussain, Amir Ali, Ali Javed, Muhammed Fahad. Photograph by Todd Thomas



o foster open discussion of ideas, the Uptown Exchange solicits guest editorials and letters to the editor from the community. Truman students, faculty and staff, as well as Uptown community members are welcome to submit: A Guest Editorial of no more than 600 words (word-document file). Arguments are encouraged and clearly cited facts are required. Please focus your article on issues relevant to our Truman/Uptown readers. A Letter to the Editor of no more than 100 words (word-document file). Please focus your letter on the content of the newspaper or other subjects relevant to our Truman/Uptown readers. All submissions must include the name of the author and a telephone number, for verification purposes. The Uptown Exchange reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, style, and editorial value, judged by our journalistic commitment to local readers. Please email your submissions, and any ideas for stories or information on upcoming events to:


MAY 2012


REVIEW: on the morning menu

Neighborhood Breakfast Venues Serve It Up by Stacey Hunt Staff Writer


or this issue, I decided to rise and shine and hit some Uptown breakfast haunts. I went to Tweet and The Golden House Restaurant. Tweet, adjacent to the bar Big Chicks, is only open for brunch on weekends. They are routinely packed, so even at 9:30 on a Sunday morning, I had to wait for a table. The walls in Big Chicks waiting area were covered with photographs and art of 1960’s New Orleans Burlesque women. An unexpected Sunday morning sight - bare breasts and a few stray penises. I inquired about the photos and the bartender explained they were from the owner – the “silver fox.” Just then, the silver fox in question – owner Michelle Fire – escorted us to our table. We were seated in the main dining room, with more family friendly art - birds, trees, and Obama. The seating quarters are tight, and Tweet fills to capacity quickly. Tweet has a brunch menu with many breakfast options, as well as some lunch plates. (They also have a number of gluten free options.) I ordered the breakfast burrito with steak, while my boyfriend chose the eggs Benedict. The waiter served a small complimentary slice of raspberry streusel cake. It was so delicious; I would have almost preferred to eat an entire cake for my meal. Our main entrees were served. The steak in the burrito did not have an ounce of fat on it and was obviously

from a choice cut. It came with some interesting chipotle mayo and salsa. The salsa was sweet with a little kick. I tried the eggs Benedict and became immediately jealous. The hollandaise sauce was rich and smooth and homemade. The ham was succulent and the hash browns were crispy. At 10, Fire – “the Silver Fox” – announced, “The bar is open!” The entire restaurant roared and cheered as if in a football stadium. We ordered Bloody Marys. Tweet offer 5 different types and all are served in their signature tiki mug with enough vegetables to make a side salad. Tweet is tasty, but it isn’t cheap. For breakfast and drinks for 2, the bill was $42. An average entrée at Tweet is $11. The following weekend, I stopped by The Golden House Restaurant. It’s been in Uptown since the 1970s and is the next door neighbor to The Riviera Theater on Broadway. The feel is quite different from Tweet. Golden House has a “greasy spoon” feel, with small red-vinyl covered booths in a small, square space. A few photos of Europe, The Mediterranean, and Mexico adorn the walls. Although crowded, I was seated right away. The host/busboy/manager brought coffee and made small talk. He did this with nearly every customer and with the greatest of ease – a true multi-tasker. The coffee was smooth and mellow and not burnt – a surprise, since burnt coffee tends to be a recurring theme at bargain priced restaurants.

I ordered the combo which consisted of 2 extra-large eggs, 2 sausage links, 2 bacon strips, hash browns, and toast for just $6.15. The meat was fully cooked and flavorful. The hash browns were moist and not crispy. Overall, the place was friendly, comfortable and cheap. My breakfast with coffee, tax, and tip totaled $10. Golden House is a more appropriate choice for frugal diners, as no choice on Golden House’s breakfast menu exceeds $6.75 Both Tweet and Golden House are cash only restaurants. Tweet has an in house ATM and Bank of America is 20 yards away from Golden House. You should be able to find parking around Golden House, but bring lots of quarters and your walking shoes for Tweet.

IF YOU GO: Tweet is at 5020 N. Sheridan Rd. It’s open every day except Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Golden House is at 4744 N. Broadway Ave. and is open 7 days a week from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Both restaurants are CASH ONLY.

Literary Magazine Launched New Publication Takes Writers To The ‘Brink’ by Akili-Malcolm Myrick Arts & Entertainment Editor


tudents and faculty members are collaborating on a new initiative – a literary magazine for Truman. The magazine, “City Brink,” will serve as a place for students, staff members, and faculty to showcase their creative talents. “City Brink” will publish its first issue in fall 2012, and is calling for submissions from writers, artists and photographers. The magazine will review submissions from the genres of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, art and photography. Professors Joshua Thusat and Julie Dockery, both members of the Communication Arts and Skills faculty, are advisors for the project. Dockery said that the inspiration came from a fellow faculty member. Thusat said that “City Brink” hopes to showcase student work and also promote the Uptown community. Dockery explains that the magazine will be a creative location for student and staff members because “any sort of creative outlet is good for the soul.” Both Dockery and Thusat have been sorting through submissions, and are working to raise awareness of the magazine by calling for submissions on Truman’s website. Dockery stressed that the call for works is for “everybody in the Truman community.” Sisters Zaien and Alaa Wasfie, both Truman students, have been named editor and co-editor. “City Brink” also has students creating the logo and look for the cover of the magazine. And what about the magazine’s name? Thusat explains that it was chosen due to its gritty sound. “It’s unclear what you’re on the brink of,” explained Dockery, “Brink of the world, the city, the northside? It’s edgy in a good way.”

Communication Arts and Skills faculty Joshua Thusat and Julie Dockery are the advisors for the new ‘City Brink’ literary journal. Photograph by Brian Von Kaenel



MAY 2012

Neo-Futurists Still Going Strong 30 Plays, 60 Minutes, 24 Years Of Performance by Patrick Erwin Editor-in-Chief

The Neo-Futurarium Theater in Uptown. Photograph by Marc Monaghan for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


n a rainy Sunday night in April, nearly all 150 seats of an Uptown storefront theatre are filled. A voice calls out a title of a play, and then yells “Go!” The lights come up and three men are on stage. They hurriedly announce they’re collecting for a charity – Planned Parenthood – and then start disrobing. Before the audience can blink, all three are in Speedos, crawling over the seat tops and asking for audience donations while thumpy dance music booms from the corner of the stage. It may sound like a strip club, but it’s one of the 30 plays that performance troupe The Neo-Futurists perform every week as part of their flagship show “Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind.” The show will hit its quarter-century anniversary next year and was heralded in a Chicago Reader article as the longest running theatre production in Chicago history. Despite its long history, the show still sells out many of its weekend performances. Its exploration of contemporary themes while flouting traditional theatrical conventions draws big crowds, with raucous fans in line outside getting revved up before the doors even open. Labeling what the Neo-Futurists do can be tricky. The manic nature of many of the pieces shares some DNA with improv, but the plays are written in advance and have diverse themes - a mish-mash of comedy, drama, monologue and performance art. The audience is definitely experiencing theatre, but the performers don’t play characters or explore traditional fictionalized theatre. It’s authenticity as performance. The theatrical space is spare, and there aren’t significant props or special effects, but audience members who attend “Too Much Light” enter a different world – one known as “The Neo-Futurarium.” They’re given a token to enter the building. Once inside, they trade the token for admission – plus an admission of $9 plus the roll of a die. In the performance space, play numbers are hung on a clothesline above the stage. When the cast hears the audience shout out a number, that’s the next play on stage. There’s only 60 minutes to fit in 30 shows, and the night ends when the timer buzzer sounds. At the end of the week, another die is rolled; the result dictates many new plays will be written for

next week. Ryan Walters has been a member of the Neo troupe for ten years. He’s been a member of other Chicago theatre groups, including Barrel of Monkeys. But he says that Too Much Light gives him “an opportunity to create your own work and put it up in front of an audience pretty quickly, which gives you quick feedback.” Walters warns that it can be a “messy show.” At one recent performance, he was repeatedly doused with water and smacked with a plastic bat. Another play featured the troupe dancing to a disco song while smearing lipstick on their mouths and spitting water towards the audience. The same show began with a sex toy falling from the rafters onto the stage and featured brief flashes of nudity. There’s also an intense physicality to the show. The actors run from one side of the stage to another, dance, jump, wrestle, and fall to the floor in many of the plays. It’s an intersection of ideas, themes and influences. That’s what founding director Greg Allen imagined when “Too Much Light” launched in December 1988. Allen had many inspirations: “The Italian Futurists with their embrace of speed, dynamism...Dada’s fascination with randomness. Surrealism’s obsession with the unconscious, Brecht’s dialectic between sympathy, analysis and meta-theater and Augusto Boal’s social and political interaction.” Allen was also influenced by his “early years in the repressive community of Chicago’s North Shore, and my own rebellion against my surroundings.” He developed an exercise through subsequent theater classes and workshops for “antitheatrical theater” – no characters, no fictional situations. All these concepts fed into Allen’s idea for The Neo-Futurists. Megan Mercier has been a member of the Too Much Light ensemble for four years, and like all performers, she went through several rounds of auditions before being cast. Mercier said she auditioned wearing her old Brownie Girl Scout sash with Chicago parking tickets pinned to it. Like all ensemble members, Mercier writes pieces for the show, often “social commentary blown up and turned into something vulgar and verbally playful. I like playing with words, especially when it comes to memory and imagery.”

Mercier may be willing to take chances in her performances – one included “shoving an ice cream cone up my skirt” – but she confesses, “I’m not that outrageous in my pedestrian life!” The Chicago production of “Too Much Light” launched at Stage Left Theatre and moved to Live Bait Theatre on Clark Street before settling into its current home at the northwestern edge of Uptown in 1992. “Too Much Light,” is the core of the Neo-Futurists, but there’s also an Off-Off Broadway production in New York City. The Neos also conduct performance workshops and classes, taught by Allen and former and current cast members. The troupe also creates longer works. This fall’s “prime-time” season will include a political piece, “44 Plays for 44 Presidents,” to capitalize on this year’s presidential race.

IF YOU GO: TOO MUCH LIGHT MAKES THE BABY GO BLIND The Neo-Futurarium is at 5153 N. Ashland Ave. near the intersection of Ashland and Foster. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 11:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the show. Friday and Saturday shows often sell out and lines form early. Ticket prices are $9 plus the roll of a die (between $10-$15). All ticket sales are at the door and are cash only; a limited number of seats for the Sunday show can be purchased online at


MAY 2012


OPInion: Union Strife Brings Uncertainty Questions About Benefits, Compensation, Funding — and Hiring by Patrick Erwin Editor-in-Chief


ne sunny morning last October, Teresa Walker led a group of City College of Chicago (CCC) employees, members of Local 1708 Federation of College Clerical & Technical Personnel, in an informational picket. Walker and her group were visibly weary as they picketed. They’d skipped lunch to picket, and returned to work tired and hungry. But they were picketing for something important – the future of their jobs. The local had worked without a contract for months by then, and it would be six more months before a temporary agreement was finally reached in March for full-time employees. At the district, CCC spokesperson Katheryn Hayes said they wanted to “hold the line” due to “severe budgetary restrictions.” But in March – the same month the temporary agreement was announced – initiatives for CCC totaling over half a billion dollars were announced by Mayor Emanuel and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. Those purse strings weren’t restricted – they were wide open. It’s impossible for the district to be both broke and flush at the same time. It’s a troubling contradiction and an example of the inconsistency that’s plagued CCC where money and leadership is concerned. The news of this spending bonanza followed Better Government Association (BGA) findings that Wayne Watson, the former CCC chancellor, was owed $500,000 in a payout for unused sick days, and that more than a dozen other CCC administrators were also collecting large sums. This contradiction puzzles Delores Withers, president of Local 1708 and a veterans representative at Truman. When

negotiations began, Withers declared, they were “unlike any other negotiations – totally, totally disrespectful.” (The negotiations eventually went to arbitration.) The proposed contract included substantial increases in the cost of medical care, an issue impacting part time members, many of who are forced to go to Stroger Hospital for free care or, in the case of one staffer, seek medical care in a foreign country because it was cheaper. “We feel devalued,” Withers concedes.

“They (administrative staff) take care of us, and that needs to be appreciated and translated into being taken care of.” - student Daniel Sweig While academic support costs are being cut, the district continues to hire new employees. The Board of trustee reports (available on the district Web page) indicate that in 2012, the district has hired 15 new employees with compensation totaling $1,110,000. The average salary of those new hires was $74,000, with salaries ranging from $45,000 to $120.000. If Reinvention was created to, in Withers’ words, support “the success of the student,” it’s unclear how new positions at the district level can have a direct connection to student performance.

Daniel Sweig is the co-founder of the student club It’s Just Us and a candidate for Student Government Association (SGA) president. (He was also an Uptown Exchange staffer in fall 2011.) Sweig says that he’s had “tremendous support” across the board in many departments at Truman, and he’s worried that those contributions are invisible to outsiders. “They take care of us, and that needs to be appreciated and translated into being taken care of. If these people aren’t rewarded, ultimately it’s the students that suffer.” District spokesperson Katheryn Hayes said CCC “cannot discuss details” of negotiations, but that the district has “had good conversations and expect a contract soon.” Hayes stated that “operation dollars fund salaries” and said CCC has “saved $30 million in the last fiscal year, which it has plowed back into classroom investments (and) student supports.” These cuts to administrative salaries, along with the new Colleges to Careers initiative, are a matter of concern, because millions are being spent on programs that move decisions about curriculum farther away from the classroom. That disconnect impacts not only students but the staff, who continue to live with uncertainty about the future of their jobs and how they’ll be compensated for their work. And it will be a topic revisited over the next several months and years, as other contracts – including faculty – come up for renewal and renegotiation. As for Withers, she’s still hoping for a peaceful resolution; even after all the tense negotiations, she says “I love being at Truman – we all work together so well, like a family.”

opinion: KEEP YOUR HEAD UP Having A Say in Truman’s Future by Patrick Erwin Editor-in-Chief


nother academic year is about to end. Classes are wrapping up, and people are moving on. Some are graduating, while others are transferring to a fouryear school or heading out on a job hunt. Like all the other City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), we are a two-year school. And that’s a very different vibe than most four-year schools. People change paths here quickly, and roots don’t tend to settle so deeply. The main investment is, understandably, in classes, homework and grades. But returning CCC students may want to consider a very different approach in the fall. CCC is going through some massive changes as a college and as an institution, and it’s doing so at a very rapid pace. If you haven’t been watching or reading the news, here’s the higlights: If you were playing a drinking game (if you’re 21 or older, of course) and taking a gulp every time Mayor Rahm Emanuel stood in front of a microphone and uttered the words “City Colleges”, congratulations - you’d be sloshed. Spoiler alert: Mentions mean money. And a lot of it is being spent. And the mayor and all of the parties involved in these initiatives great intentions. The mayor and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman want to improve job prospects for CCC students. And that’s an absolutely admirable, honorable goal. In the flurry of press conferences and press releases and speeches to the public – in all of the hue and cry – there’s been a key element that’s been missed: the involvement of students. There’s a new pamphlet outlining Chapter 2 of the

Reinvention initiative, and it features a list of CCC students who were on a student committee for Reinvention. But a few dozen students can’t be a truly representational force to speak for the goals and needs of 120,000 CCC students. And everyone’s involvement – students, faculty and staff – is not only important but urgently needed. City Colleges is at a crossroads in terms of our identity, and we’re being faced with a number of challenging questions. Are we an institution of higher learning? Or are we evolving into a vocational and job training center? Can CCC campuses be both and truly satisfy either mission? If new corporate partners are involved in our curriculums, where do the boundaries lie? Will we be driven by successful educational outcomes, or the needs of shareholders? We’re in the dark about all of these things. Change can be good, but change for change’s sake can backfire. CCC has been in deep need of stability, with three chancellors in the last several years, but instead, it’s preparing for yet another transformation. Change has happened so rapidly that many students aren’t aware. That’s why now is the time to be informed and get involved. Support your Student Government Association (SGA) and ask them to make the student’s voice in these initiatives their priority. Support the student newspaper at Truman – become involved and help ensure its continued operation, so that student journalists can share information with you and keep you posted. Ask questions. Keep your head up. And keep your eyes open. It’s important for your success, and important for the future of Truman and of City Colleges.



o foster open discussion of ideas, The Uptown Exchange solicits guest editorials and letters to the editor from the community. Truman students, faculty and staff, as well as Uptown community members are welcome to submit: A Guest Editorial of no more than 600 words (word-document file). Arguments are encouraged and clearly cited facts are required. Please focus your article on issues relevant to our Truman/Uptown readers. A Letter to the Editor of no more than 100 words (word-document file). Please focus your letter on the content of the newspaper or other subjects relevant to our Truman/Uptown readers. All submissions must include the name of the author and a telephone number, for verification purposes. The Uptown Exchange reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, style, and editorial value, judged by our journalistic commitment to local readers. Please email your submissions, and any ideas for stories or information on upcoming events to:

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Spring 2012 May Issue Uptown Exchange  

Spring 2012 May Issue of Truman's Uptown Exchange student newspaper.