Trauma center, largest freshmen class, U. of C. Professor wins Nobel Peace Prize and more in 2017
By Tonia Hill
The University of Chicago (U. of C.) has had quite the year. From welcoming the largest freshmen class in school history to opening the doors of its new adult emergency department and trauma center, to graduate student workers securing a key union vote and much more.
The country is in its first year under President Donald Trump’s administration. Some of the shifts in policy, as well as his rhetoric on the campaign trail and in office, pushed some U. of C. students to make their voices heard.
Racist flyers were found in multiple locations on campus and had anti-Semitic, racist, and homophobic messaging.
Matthew Urbanik, 21, of Schaumburg, Ill., was named as the individual caught putting up offensive posters on the U. of C. campus. U. of C. police found Urbanik with spray paint and posters. According to a previous article in the Herald, Urbanik was charged with one count of Felony Criminal Damage to Property.
U. of C. Class of 2021
This fall the University of Chicago (U. of C.) welcomed its largest freshmen class in school history. About 1,735 new first-year students are making the Class of 2021, the largest incoming class in school history.
U. of C. received 27,694 applications this year and accepted 8.7 percent. The number of admitted students who chose to attend U. of C. reached 72 percent, “making it among the highest such rates in the nation,” said U. of C. in a public announcement.
U. of C. received the single largest gift in support of medical center.
In May, U. of C. was gifted with $100 million, Wednesday, May 24, to establish The Duchossois Family Institute. The institute aims to develop research and interventions based on how the human immune system, microbiome, and genetics interact to maintain wellness.
The gift was given to U. of C. Medicine on behalf of The Duchossois Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Craig Duchossois, his wife, Janet Duchossois, and the Duchossois Family Foundation.
The contribution is the single largest gift in support of U. of C. Medicine, and it is the fourth gift of $100 million or more to U. of C. The gift from the Duchossois family brings their lifetime charitable contributions to the academic medical center to $137 million.
In 2015, The Thomas L. Pearson and The Pearson Family Members Foundation made a grant of $100 million establishing The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Pearson Global Forum at the Harris School of Public Policy.
In 2007, an anonymous donor gave $100 million to fund the Odyssey Scholarship Program for undergraduate student aid. To date, U. of C.’s largest gift is $300 million, which was provided by investment entrepreneur David Booth, MBA’71, for whom U. of C.’s Booth School of Business is named.
The upcoming project called The Duchossois Family Institute: Harnessing the Microbiome and Immunity for Human Health will allow faculty and students to focus on preventing disease by “optimizing the body’s own defenses and finding new ways to maintain well-being,” according to U. of C.’s press release.
U. of C. Alums give $75 million to support Chicago Booth
In October, alums Amy Wallman, MBA’75, and Richard Wallman, MBA’74, gave a $75 million gift to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 5807 S. Woodlawn Ave.
In recognition of their contribution, Booth will name its academic high honors distinction after the Wallmans. Top students in the school will be known as the Amy and Richard F. Wallman Scholars at Booth.
The designation will be provided to graduating MBA students who earn high honors at Booth as well as alumni who already obtained the distinction.
Funds from the gift will be used to support initiatives at Booth including scholarships for students in full-time, evening, weekend and executive MBA programs.
Funds from the contribution will also be used to develop Booth’s co-curricular programming, faculty research and emerging priorities at the discretion of the dean.
Chicago sports teams partner with U. of C. Crime Lab
Last month, five professional sports teams in Chicago are partnering with the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab to address violence in the city.
The Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox announced that they are working together as a group and will be known as the Chicago Sports Alliance. The group will donate $1 million in one-time grants to three programs in the city that support solutions to reduce violence.
The teams “drew on its [the Crime Lab] experience to help the teams assess how to target funding in the first year of this effort to maximize impact,” said U. of C. in a written statement.
The Chicago Sports Alliance in its first year will provide three one-time grants.
Undergraduate and Graduate Students at U. of C.
In October, the National Labor Relation Board ruled that graduate student workers could form a union.
The Graduate Students United (GSU), the graduate worker labor union at U. of C., filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in May seeking unionization.
In August, GSU was given the OK to hold an election.
GSU was formed in 2007 and has advocated for health care, child care, stipends to match Chicago’s cost of living, funding to finish degrees and a regularized pay schedule.
“Our overwhelming victory is a testament to our long-held belief: Graduate workers perform unquestionably valuable work and are the backbone of the University of Chicago,” said Claudio Gonzáles, a third-year student in mathematics, in a previous article in the Herald. “We have exercised our democratic right and have elected to sit at the table when decisions are made that affect our lives, and also the lives of our students and those in the broader community.”
The benefit of unionization, according to GSU, is having a legal binding contract to enforce fair wages, benefits, and working conditions for graduate students. The move toward unionization will also force the school according to GSU to address grievances differently.
Now that GSU has union recognition it can move to bargain for a contract with the university administration. Last year, GSU reaffirmed its affiliation with the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).
GSU and the U. of C. administration have been in NLRB hearings since May to litigate GSU’s petition for an election. Specifically, discussions involved the form of the election and the size of the bargaining unit, and whether or not graduate students can be considered as employees.
The bargaining unit is comprised of 2,500 graduate students that are enrolled in its Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Social Service Administration and Divinity schools.
When GSU was granted the right to hold the election, U. of C. filed a Request for Review of the decision.
“The University of Chicago has joined several other universities in asking the Board to revisit its recent reversal of position on this question, and our request is pending,” said university spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus in an email. “We continue to have concerns about the impact of a graduate student union on the University’s mission of creating and imparting knowledge through direct mentorship, teaching and individually guided research and writing.”
Sainvilus also cited a $2 billion investment over the last decade in graduate education as well as an increase in stipends, childcare stipends, professional training services, and communication and resume writing services for graduate students that were reached without the presence of a union.
“We respect that reasonable people can come to different conclusions on the issue of graduate student unionization,” said Sainvilus in an email. “Regardless of the outcome of the legal process, we will continue to support our graduate students and respect their contributions. We recognize that there remains room for improvement, and the University is committed to continuous efforts to enhance support for graduate students.
Last year, the NLRB determined that private colleges’ graduate teaching and research assistants are workers.
U. of C. student library employees won an election to unionize, in June. The Student Library Employees Union filed separate petitions with the NLRB in May.
Teamsters Local 743 is a local labor union and assisted the collective organized by Student Library Employees Union. Teamsters Local 743 delivered the SLEU’s interest cards to the National Labor Relations Board offices in Chicago in May.
About 93 student library employees voted in an election that was held between June 2, and June 8. The NLRB conducted the vote, 67 voted in favor and 13 against the measure. University administration challenged 13 graduate student votes because of an overlap with the graduate student unionization process that is taking place on campus.
The SLEU’s petition called for an election to determine whether student library employees can unionize and obtain the legal right to negotiate with the university on issues regarding employee wages, hours, and third-party legal representation in cases of Title IX, ADA (American Disability Act) and labor violations.
Students claim that their wages are too low and that their hours are irregular for part-time student library employees who are in need of a “secure source of income, with some taking on second jobs outside of the university system to cover expenses necessary to receive an education.”
SLEU will be the first nationally recognized union undergraduate and graduate union at a private university.
U. of C. students under UChicago United, a coalition of multi-cultural organizations at U. of C., made public in May, their demands for the university to create an inclusive environment for minority students at U. of C.
“The university claims that it’s dedicated to diversity and inclusion, but time and time again there are racist and discriminatory things that happen on this campus that aren’t properly addressed said a second-year student, and a member of the Organization of Black Students, Qudsiyyah Shariyf. “People are continually pushed aside and not included in discussions about their safety and well-being on this campus. We are demanding to be a part of those conversations and to have a say in the changes that we want to see made.”
About 40 people gathered outside Edward Levi Hall, 5801 S. Ellis Ave., on a chilly and windy Friday afternoon for the rally.
Specific demands from the group are calling on the university to formally recognize all Greek organizations active on the U. of C. campus as Registered Student Organizations (RSOs).
To create a university-funded and run cultural house (a Black House, Latinx House, and Asian House) independent of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
Also, to create a Race and Ethnic Studies Department, also, more funding for programs through the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, and diversification of the Core Curriculum.
According to UChicago United, “the current campus climate which fails to support students of marginalized backgrounds and identities adequately, said in a written release. “This coalition has formed to address a larger political climate that is epitomized in continuous occurrences of racist, discriminatory, and exclusionary acts within the UChicago community. UChicago United urges the university to treat the following events with the gravity they merit by offering affected students resources and pursuing disciplinary and/or legal action.”
A U. of C. spokeswoman issued the following statement in response to the rally:
“The University of Chicago has an unwavering commitment to the values of diversity and inclusion. The members of our university community are dedicated to continue addressing these matters, and have taken steps to improve in these areas, such as the recent climate survey on diversity and inclusion and the subsequent discussions around campus focused on these topics. We look forward to continued conversation and engagement across campus to provide a deeper understanding of the issues facing our campus.”
The College Council (CC) at the University of Chicago (U. of C.) approved two resolutions in January, the first resolution calls for the creation of a task force to support The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, which includes undocumented, “DACAmented,” and international students and the second resolution would make the university a sanctuary campus.
The DACA task force would be a student advisory council and would consist of two undocumented students, two “DACAmented” students, two international students, and six appointed administrators and faculty (with at least one with expertise in immigration). Their sole concern will be to protect the rights and needs of undocumented, “DACAmented,” and International students.
The “Resolution on the Formation of an Undocumented, DACAmented, and International Advisory Council” passed unanimously, and the second “Resolution on the University’s Role in the Preservation of Undocumented Student Rights” passed with a majority vote with four who opposed the resolution.
Veronica Myers, Kosi Achife, and Jahne Brown, first-year students and members of the CC and Moises Rodriguez, a first-year undocumented student created the resolutions.
Rodriguez is undocumented; he approached Myers, Achife, and Brown after the outcome of the election.
“I told them, I’m seeing other friends at other campuses who have written stuff and they’ve helped make their campus declare itself a sanctuary campus and I really [would] like UChicago to do this,” Rodriguez said.
And so they did.
Though he is undocumented, Rodriguez is protected through the DACA immigration policy. Under this plan, created in 2012 undocumented people who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 can receive a renewable two-year work permit and are exempt from deportation.
Rodriguez is pleased that the CC approved the resolutions.
“I was very moved,” Rodriguez said. “They were representing their students and the vote that they did proves that they were willing to stand by their students and their constituents that they were elected to represent.”
In September, President Donald Trump administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA policy.
Trump in a statement called on Congress to act.
“I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act,” Trump said in a written statement.
DACA is an immigration policy created in 2012 by former President Barack Obama to assist undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children.
Under the plan, undocumented young people who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 can receive a renewable two-year work permit and are exempt from deportation.
About 800,000 people across the country are DACA recipients.
University of Chicago (U. of C.) President Robert Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier over the holiday weekend penned a letter to the president urging him to continue the DACA program:
“This important program has made it possible for about 800,000 students who live in the United States to pursue opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them, and to flourish in ways that greatly benefit themselves, their fellow students, and their communities. Like their peers at the University of Chicago, our students who qualify for DACA are among the most talented and intellectually energetic students in the world. Our university community and our nation will be diminished if they are unable to continue contributing their talents here.”
DACA will be phased out over the next few months according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it would not process any new applications for the DACA program. Applications that have been approved will still be processed.
Additionally, DHS stated that it would renew permits for current DACA recipients whose status expires between now and the March 2018 deadline.
Obama, on Tuesday, also addressed the Trump administration’s move to end DACA.
He referred to the decision as “cruel.”
“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama said in a written statement. “It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love.”
He also stated that the action is a political decision and a moral question.
“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is not only harmful to these young people, it strikes a blow against our core American values and is an affront to basic human decency,” Emanuel said in a written statement. “It is a betrayal of more than 800,000 children who have done nothing wrong and of the unique role the United States has played in the world for centuries.”
Emanuel also ensured that the city of Chicago would continue to welcome Dreamers [DACA recipients] and protect the rights of children and immigrant communities.
U. of C. Medical Center is now treating patients at its expanded adult emergency department, and pending approval from the state will offer Level 1 adult trauma care next spring.
Last month, the University unveiled the new facility. Level 1 trauma services are expected to become available May 1, 2018, pending review and certification by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Dr. Selwyn Rogers, director of the U. of C. Medicine Trauma Center, said the scope of services provided by the facility would go beyond the walls of the hospital.
“We want to touch lives,” Rogers said adding that the trauma center will work with outreach programs that focus on healing, intervention and holistic recovery, “but most importantly prevention because ultimately the best trauma center is one in which you never need.”
U. of C., offered tours of the new $39 million facility that is located at 5656 S. Maryland Ave., on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
The grand opening of the new adult emergency department and forthcoming trauma center is 26 years in the making. South Side residents have been demanding a new trauma center for the area after Michael Reese Hospital was shuttered in 1991.
A trauma center designation means that the hospital has the facilities, staff, services, and equipment necessary to care for patients who suffer injury from car accidents, major burns, serious falls or gunshot wounds.
Advocates on the South Side of Chicago have been lobbying U. of C. to add a Level 1 adult trauma care center to its medical center since 2007. The U. of C. Medical Center is the biggest hospital on the mid-South Side.
Jasamine Harris, who goes by the name “Tweak” was one of many young people on the front lines in the quest to bring a trauma center to the South Side. Harris is a former member of FLY, (Fearless Leading by the Youth).
She said excitedly over the phone that it feels surreal that the trauma center is here.
“This victory is wonderful,” Harris said. “None of this would be happening if it wasn’t for the work of young black folks from the Woodlawn community.
No one [else] was out there day and night putting their bodies on the line for this fight.”
FLY was one of many groups that made up the Trauma Care Coalition, a coalition of community organizations that demanded a trauma care center on the South Side through protests and demonstrations.
Though she is excited about the trauma center, Harris said the news is also bittersweet.
“Damian Turner, one of the co-founding members of the group [FLY], he’s not here to see that,” Harris said.
Seven years ago, Turner was shot and killed in the 6100 block of Cottage Grove Avenue, three blocks away from U. of C. Medicine.
“I know he is smiling down on us, I know that he is proud,” Harris said.
The new infrastructure will support 25,000 patient visits per year, an increase of 40 percent in the number of patients the hospital can currently treat.
The new facility will be 76 percent larger expanding from 16, 517 square feet to 29,017 gross square feet, as stated in a previous article in the Herald.
Features of the new adult emergency department include resuscitation bays, that will be used to treat stroke and heart attack victims and victims of trauma beginning in May 2018; and the rapid assessment unit where “where expedited procedures allow patients to see an attending physician earlier in the process,” said U. of C. Medicine in a written statement.
The expanded emergency department and trauma center are part of a three-part $269 million plan that was announced by U. of C. Medicine in February 2016.
Retail and Development
New Hotel, forum, and construction began on the Green Line Arts Center
In May, the University announced during a community meeting that a new 180-room hotel is in the works and other projects.
The meeting was called by Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) and the purpose was to provide updates on upcoming projects on the south end of the campus.
One of the projects includes a 180-room hotel that will be situated on the corner of 60th Street and Dorchester Avenue. The full-service hotel will be developed and owned by Hospitality 3 LLC. Hospitality 3 LLC is a New York-based firm and has similar projects in New Haven, Conn., and Philadelphia. The hotel will include meeting rooms, a fitness center, and a full-service restaurant.
Other projects mentioned at the meeting included the David M. Rubenstein Forum, the Keller Center, and the UChicago Charter School – Woodlawn.
The Rubenstein Forum will be an academic conference center, and the building will host academic conferences, workshops, lectures, meeting, ceremonies and more. It will be built at 60th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, across from the planned hotel.
The Keller Center will house the U. of C. Harris School of Public Policy. The project consists of a major renovation and redesign of an existing building at 1307 E. 60th St., construction began in April, and it is expected to be complete by fall 2018.
The UChicago Charter-Woodlawn is slated to be complete by the end of this year and is expected to open for classes in January 2018.
Also, Derek Douglas, U. of C. vice president for civic engagement, mentioned that the university is considering building a new residence hall at 61st Street and Dorchester Avenue.
In June U. of C. received a $2 million challenge grant to support the future Green Line Arts Center on the Arts Block in Washington Park. The grant given to the university by the Efroymson Family Fund is intended to inspire other donors to match the $2 million donation.
In October, construction began on the Green Line Arts Center, the first phase on the University of Chicago the Arts Block in the Washington Park neighborhood.
The University of Chicago (U. of C.) is developing a major arts and culture corridor along East Garfield Boulevard from South Prairie Avenue to South Martin Luther King Drive.
The plan led by U. of C.’s Arts + Public Life initiative builds upon the university’s already existing Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd., and Place Lab, Currency Exchange Café, 305 E. Garfield Blvd., and BING Reading Room, 307 E. Garfield Blvd.
The arts and culture corridor will be a hub for individual artists and cultural organizations that represent under-resourced neighborhoods on the South Side and beyond.
The first phase will include the renovation of 6,600 square feet of vacant storefronts located at 323-329 E. Garfield Blvd., east of the Chicago Transit Authority Green Line station.
John Morris, a local architect, designed the space that will include a black box theater, rehearsal space, green room, dressing room, and lobby space for gathering and exhibition. Powers & Sons Construction is the general contractor.
Dr. Georgiana Rose Simpson
Georgiana Rose Simpson was posthumously honored last night at the University of Chicago (U. of C.), nearly 100 years after she became one of the first African-American women in the United States to receive a doctorate from a university.
A bronze bust was unveiled in Dr. Simpson’s honor on Tuesday evening, Nov. 28, at U. of C., where Simpson earned a bachelor’s degree in 1911 and a Ph.D. in 1921.
Asya Akca and Shae Omonijo, two undergraduate students at the U. of C., led the charge in the effort to honor Simpson.
The two students, learned of Simpson’s triumphs and struggles while researching the history of housing at the university, they launched a campaign, the Monumental Woman’s Project (MWP) and raised $50,000 for the completion of the bust.
What interested Akca and Omonijo however, was the lack of images of women on the campus.
“Too often black women’s stories are neglected, untold or hidden,” Omonijo said. “We are often the footnotes in other people’s stories.”
The bronze bust is situated in front of Mandel Hall in the Reynolds Club, 1131 E 57th St., an area that was once reserved for male students.
Local artist Preston Jackson, professor emeritus of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was commissioned to create the bust.
Jackson works primarily in bronze, and his work is known for its social significance and emphasis on the multicultural experience of life in Chicago and his concern for “those for whom social acceptance is difficult,” according to his website.
“I urge everyone here tonight to think not only about monuments that should be removed across our nation but [to think] also about those that still need to be put up,” Akca said.
U. of C. Professor wins Nobel Prize
In October, Richard Thaler, a professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago’s (U. of C.) Booth School of Business was awarded the Nobel Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics, according to an announcement made public on Monday, Oct. 9.
Behavioral economics is a method of economic analysis that applies psychological insights into human behavior to explain financial decision-making.
Thaler’s research “investigates the implications of relaxing the standard economic assumption that everyone in the economy is rational and selfish, instead entertaining the possibility that some of the agents in the economy are sometimes human,” U. of C. said in a written release.
He is among 90 scholars associated with U. of C. to receive Nobel Prizes and one of 29 who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.
NASA and U. of C.
NASA announced, in May, that it will launch a spacecraft next summer that will explore the Sun’s atmosphere. The launch will be the first mission of its kind at NASA.
The spacecraft for the mission initially called the Solar Probe Plus was renamed on Wednesday in honor of Eugene Parker, professor emeritus in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at U. of C.
Parker is a pioneer in physics and is best known for developing the concept of solar wind.
He was an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute when he predicted the presence of solar wind.
His work provided understanding of how we perceive space.
Solar wind comes from the Sun’s upper atmosphere of the corona, where 2 million degree temperatures eject a stream of ionized gas, or plasma away from the Sun and into the solar system. Plasma consists of electrons, protons, and alpha particles.
“This marks the first time a NASA spacecraft has been named for a living individual, and I am very excited to be personally involved,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. in a written statement. “Gene Parker has been an inspiration to an entire generation of scientists, including me. Having his name on humanity’s first mission to a star is a fitting legacy.”
The Parker Solar Probe will explore the sun’s outer atmosphere. Observations gathered from the mission will guide researchers on the physics of stars and how they work.
Additionally, the research collected from the solar probe will improve forecasts of major space weather events that impact life on Earth, satellites, and astronauts in space.
The Parker Solar Probe will launch on July 31, 2018, from Florida. During 24 orbits, the spacecraft will fly by Venus seven times gravitationally to reduce its distance from the sun.
A total of three of the spacecraft’s orbits will bring it within 3.9 million miles of the sun’s surface, closer than any other probe.
The spacecraft’s 24 orbits equate to just shy of seven years for the entire mission.
Parker was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1967. Over the span of his career, he has received numerous scientific awards, including the United States National Medal of Science in 1989.
The Parker Solar Probe will also carry a chip with photos of Parker and his groundbreaking paper and a plate that will display an inscription by Parker, which will be his message to the Sun.
The mission is scheduled to end in June 2025.