“Photo gallery: Finals Stress Relief Pet-a-Puppy Day at EMU”

Awwww…..

“Zingerman’s, Espresso Royale sign letters of intent to occupy Thompson Block building in Ypsilanti”

This could be interesting; as reported at mLive, “Zingerman’s, Espresso Royale sign letters of intent to occupy Thompson Block building in Ypsilanti.”

Zingerman’s Community of Businesses and Espresso Royale might be moving into Ypsilant’s Thompson Block building in Depot Town.

According to Thompson Block Partners spokesman Tyler Weston, the two businesses have signed non-binding letters of intent, where Zingerman’s will occupy 3,500 square feet of commercial space in the building and Espresso Royale will get a 3,300-square-foot commercial space.

I don’t understand all the details here, but as I understand it, I think there’s a ways to go from “letter of intent” to opening businesses. Still, this is progress and it would be an awesome addition to the area.

“Puppies To Provide Final Exams Stress Relief to EMU Students”

Sadly, I won’t be on campus today until the end of this opportunity, but as reported at/by WEMU, “Puppies To Provide Final Exams Stress Relief to EMU Students.”

Pet a puppy and be happy! You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. The Pre-Vet Club at Eastern Michigan University believes petting a puppy is therapeutic in times of great stress. What’s more stressful for a college student than final exams?  

The club will hold it’s semi-annual “Finals Stress Relief Pet-Puppy Day on Tuesday.

The group says puppies will be available for petting from 11am to 3pm tomorrow in the Rock Garden of the Mark Jefferson Science Complex.

I’ll have to stick to petting our dog Sophie, who, going on 12, is far from a puppy but still comforting.

Any thoughts on the #ypsipooper?

Apparently, someone has been shitting on the slide in the playground in Prospect Park in Ypsilanti. As reported in mLive a few weeks ago, “Police hunting ‘mystery pooper’ defecating on park slides.” Then, just the other day, Adams Outdoor Advertising put up some ads on its electronic billboard at the South Huron Street exit off of I-94 that are somewhere between funny and insulting about the whole thing.  As mLive described it, “Billboard seeks to flush out ‘mystery pooper.’” I’ve included a sample of that billboard art here; other rotating messages on the billboard included “Do your civic doody, report the pooper,” “Help us flush the pooper,” and “Help us catch the poopetrator.”

By the way, there was some debate about the merits (or lack thereof) for this billboard way back when on this site.

Now, that initial story said it was “a mystery” who put up that billboard. But as was reported in a follow-up piece, “Officials ‘closing in on’ mystery pooper,” the billboard was put together by none other than Adams Outdoor Advertising themselves, and they see this as a “Pubic Service Announcement.”   Though I don’t know if you can actually say this is a PSA since the city doesn’t want it and seems to find the whole message and hashtag about a pooper in Ypsilanti insulting. Here’s a quote from that mLive piece:

General manager Todd McWilliams said his company took the initiative to design and post the signs after an employee saw a news report about the mystery pooper and brought it up in the office.

“The goal would be that someone would call the police if they know, or to at least scare the person into stopping,” McWilliams said.

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange said that the company did not consult with anyone from city administration before posting the billboards.

“We’re not authorizing it and we don’t need it,” Lange said.

“We have a person of interest in the case, it’s an ongoing investigation and we’re closing in on that individual.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, Adams Outdoor Advertising agreed to take down the billboard Friday afternoon, per the city’s request.

Mark Maynard has been blogging about this too, and you can probably tell his take on Adams Outdoor Advertising by the title of his post “You don’t have to be the Mystery Pooper to shit on Ypsilanti… You can be a corporation.”  Here’s a quote from Maynard’s blog:

It’s been a huge hit for Adams, getting coverage on sites like Deadspin and Gawker, and I’m sure that McWilliams and his team are feeling pretty good about themselves. Unfortunately, though, we’ve still got a local deviant who’s shitting on, and possibly fucking, a play structure outside a local elementary school. And, as hilarious as some people might find the thought of children playing in the feces and ejaculate of the mentally ill, a lot of us appreciate it for the health and safety risk that it is.

I suppose we should just be thankful that they didn’t put up a “Home of the Pooper” billboard.

I don’t quite know what to think about all this. I suppose the story was inevitable, given the circumstances. Dog shit in a playground isn’t a story, even if it had been on a slide. Human shit in an undesirable/wrong place isn’t a story per se– that is, poop in an office hallway is disgusting and wrong and would need to be stopped, but it wouldn’t be news. But human shit on a playground slide? Stop the presses.

I agree with Mark in that this is actually a serious issue and it’s just another unfortunate reason for people to dump on Ypsilanti (pun intended). Still, the scatalogical humor here is kind of hard to deny or to stop, which is why there are hundreds (probably thousands) of Tweets with the hashtag #ypsipooper.

In the end, I think everyone just hopes the cops catch this person.

“A Scholar & A Gentleman: EMU student leader’s next step is Harvard Law School”

A loyal reader suggested I post this story/EMU press release:  “A Scholar & A Gentleman: EMU student leader’s next step is Harvard Law School.” It’s about Nino Monea, an EMU senior who was also the former student body vice president and who is off to Harvard next year.  Good luck to him, though I’m still curious what’s the deal with the controversy about the latest student government elections?

So, what’s going to be EMU’s new email interface? Google? More Zimbra? Both?

Back in late February, I wrote here about how I had made the shift for my email from the Zimbra system to Google Apps for Education (GAE). Essentially, if you are familiar with gmail and Google Drive, you know how this system works: it’s the same thing, only with some unique tweaks with the education set-up that allows things like sharing documents only with people at EMU.

The system is not without problems. My previous post included a link to Google’s sketchy data mining practices and a loyal reader sent me this link to an article in Education Week, “Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages” that raises some further “creepy” practices. Still, I was looking forward to the switch because I’ve been using Google Apps in my teaching for several years now and I was looking forward to an officially EMU-sanctioned version.

Then yesterday, Geoff Larcom sent around an email to faculty and staff announcing new features and upgrades coming to the Zimbra system. These are changes that are scheduled roll out in late July, which probably actually means mid August.

So, what’s the scoop here? Are we still going with GAE and this is an error? Has there been a change of heart/of mind and we’re going back to Zimbra (which will mean I’ll have to shift back to the old system, I suppose)? I hope we’re not going to be in a situation where faculty and staff are on one email system and students are on another– that sounds like a recipe for confusion and tech support hell to me.

Anyone know?

“Presidents of the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College personally support May 6 Millage”

Via the interwebs/social medias (that is, via some source I can’t really recall) comes “Presidents of the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College personally support May 6 Millage.” This is from a web site set up to support the May 6 millage called morebuses.org.  Two things; first, a quote:

The presidents of the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College, the three largest higher learning institutions in Washtenaw County, have personally endorsed the May 6 ballot proposal to improve public transportation in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township.

[...]

“The AAATA helps Eastern Michigan University’s students, faculty and staff travel to class, work, job interviews, and local businesses around our campus and throughout the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor area,” according to EMU President Susan Martin. “The proposed expansion of AAATA services will provide even more opportunities for our students and employees and will benefit the local economy and environment. The Ride has been a valuable community resource and active partner with Eastern and I am pleased to support the proposed expansion of services.”

Second, I guess I haven’t been paying attention because I was not aware that there was going to be a May 6 vote on an additional millage for the buses.  I don’t know if this is county-wide or if its limited to Ann Arbor, but I’d encourage people to get out there and support it for the same reasons Sue Martin is supporting it.

“The College Faculty Crisis”

From The New York Times from Sunday comes “The College Faculty Crisis,” which is about a reality of higher education that I think most readers of EMUTalk.org already know: there are a lot of disenfranchised and poorly paid part-timers teaching in college classrooms, and it’s been that way for quite a while. But I guess it’s news when it shows up in the paper of record, right?

This article is about a study regarding community college instructors, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to apply the results to part-timers at places like EMU, too. There are a few points this op-ed is trying to make that I’m not sure I quite agree with though. For example:

The colleges expect little of these teachers. Not surprisingly, they often act accordingly. They spend significantly less time than full-time teachers preparing for class, advising students or giving written or oral feedback. And they are far less likely to participate in instructional activities — like tutoring, academic goal setting or developing community-based projects — that can benefit students.

I’m not so sure about that. I don’t think we expect part-timers to do all of the quasi-administrative work that’s done by faculty, but I also think we’re expecting part-timers to be well-prepared teachers, too.

Dang, I say shave it….

From The Ypsilanti Courier comes “EMU student puts 14-inch beard on the line for charity.” Here’s a quote:

After growing it out for the past 20 months, Eastern Michigan Student Ryan Huntington is putting his 14-inch beard on the line for charity.

After joining the EMU Residence Life American Heart Association Heartwalk team this year, Huntington had the idea to use his beard to raise money for the American Heart Association. Huntington is letting the EMU community at large vote with their money on whether he should shave his face completely bare for the first time in six years or keep growing out the whiskers for another 12 months.

“A lot of people have done ‘Save It or Shave It’ events before. I thought it was a great idea for charity,” Huntington said. “Of all the ones I found online, I probably have the largest, most obnoxious beard to be put on the line.”

I have to say just looking at this picture makes my face itchy. Either way, I hope Ryan earns some money for a good cause.

“Eastern Michigan football coach Chris Creighton insists ‘these guys aren’t losers’”

From mLive comes “Eastern Michigan football coach Chris Creighton insists ‘these guys aren’t losers.’” Here’s a quote from the opening paragraphs:

There’s a difference between people who have been losing, and losers. After four months on the job and 14 days of spring practice, new Eastern Michigan football coach Chris Creighton, who inherited a 2-10 team, insists the Eagles are the former.

“There’s a difference between losers and winners who have been losing, and these guys aren’t losers,” Creighton said. “They’re not, and that’s an important reality.”

Seems like there should be something there about how winners never quit and losers never win or what have you. Anyway, there’s also a practice scrimmage of some sort going on today at 4 pm that’s free.  I’ll be gardening (hopefully!), but it seems like it’d be a beautiful day to watch something like that.