Category Archives: Blogosphere

One more post about EMU vs. UM in basketball

Still basking in the glow of EMU’s victory in basketball over UM. I brought it up in a class I was teaching yesterday and a number of students (ones who don’t follow sports at all) thought I was kidding that EMU won in basketball against U of M. And even these students who never otherwise care about sports were happy about it all.

But for further reading, I’d recommend some of what’s in The Eastern Echo, particularly the column “Can a win over U of M improve fan attendance?” I think there are lots of reasons for the bad attendance numbers at home games– the average crowd this year so far is 840– but I think perceptions of the quality of this year’s team is just part of it. I also think a lot of it has to do with the kinds of students we have, commuting/working/returning students who just don’t have the extra time and lifestyle of students at a place like U of M or MSU. But I would agree if EMU started having a decent team that got to the NCAA tourney on a regular basis, the attendance numbers would climb.

I’ll say this: after seeing Tuesday’s game in person, I’m a lot more inspired to see some games at the Convocation Center this year. It’s a nice facility, tickets are pretty cheap (free for students!), you can pretty much sit wherever you want, etc., etc.

There are lots of pieces over at our friends Eagle Totem, including “Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet,” which is basically a cautionary piece about what the victory against U of M means. No need to be a “Debbie Downer” in response to what has to be described as a historic win (I mean, the last time this happened was 1997, which is the year my son– who is getting ready to graduate from high school– was born). But I do agree that the game against MSU will be a much better test for the Emus and a better indication about this team being “real” or not.

Finally, the other side of the “buy game” phenomenon in mLive, “Michigan’s loss to EMU includes $80K payment; total non-conference home tab comes to $387K.” Here’s a quote:

Four days after handing a program-defining victory and a check for $92,000 to New Jersey Institute of Technology, Michigan basketball cut two more losses on Tuesday night.

Along with a 45-42 defeat, U-M paid neighboring Eastern Michigan a contracted $80,000 as the guarantee for what would be the Wolverines second straight stunning loss in non-conference play.

The payouts, typically between $80,000-$100,000 for non-league “buy games,” are standard in college basketball.

Losing the games is not, let alone back-to-back.

I don’t know this for sure, but I assume that EMU does the same thing with some of the teams it beat up on at the beginning of the term. It’s just that you’re not supposed to lose games against teams you pay to play.

By the way, one of the comments on this mLive piece: “Can the church team I coach play Michigan next year?” Indeed. If my department could get together a team to lose against UM, I think we’d be happy to take a meager $40K.

 

 

“EAA Battle is a Fight for the Soul of EMU”

Friend of the site/friend of EMU, Jeremy Rosenberg over at Eagle Totem, has a long and interesting post here, “EAA Battle is a Fight for the Soul of EMU.” As he says:

Make no mistake, fellow EMU enthusiasts, what is taking place is a battle of political patronage versus the will of the students, faculty, alumni, and anyone who cares about this institution. The battle of the EAA has taken place on many fronts. More knowledgable voices than mine have articulated the reasons why this affiliation has to end.

He goes on to talk about the incoming (I presume?) chair of the Board of Regents, Michael Morris.  (As the Echo reported, current BoR chair Francine Parker, along with Floyd Clack, are done with the Board– though I don’t know if it is so much about retirement as it is term limits.) Rosenberg goes into some detail about Morris, who seems to be the definition of a rich guy who got his appointment as a political favor from Snyder. Rosenberg goes so far as to compare him to Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, though to be fair, Morris had been on the Board before.

And I like his impassioned plea at the end here:

What can we do? We can continue to do what we have been doing. We can let the Board know, in the clearest language possible, that we do not accept their rule by fiat. We do not accept that we are to bend to the whims of this oligarchic junta. These six people, these lickspittles of Governor Snyder and his anti-education cabal. Teaching is sacred at EMU.

The oligarchs and the Board of Regents would like us to believe that we have no power, that we are to sit on our hands for a year while education at EMU exsanguinates right before our eyes.

But we do have power, EMU Nation. Maybe together, with a University President determined to fight for the interests of her citizens, a charismatic Student Body President, a faculty already knee deep in the battle themselves, a motivated and active student body, and one handsome blogger, we can unite to hold the Regents accountable.

The Board of Regents will slither into their holiday holes and ignore the outrage, certain it will die down, certain it will go away. But we will not let this go. We will think on what needs to be done over the winter break. We will come back in January.

This isn’t over.

 

On a positive note, I’m almost certain this would never happen at EMU. Almost certain.

From Gawker comes “College Buys $219,000 Table.”

Of course, EMU did build/buy that multimillion dollar president’s house….

“An Open Letter to My Governor…”

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here! It’s kind of a combination of being busy with my day-job, busy with my life, and being in kind of a “slow news” cycle right now, at least slow news relative to EMU.

Anyway, loyal reader and fellow EMU colleague Steve Wellinski sent me a link to this, “An Open Letter to My Governor….” This is by an EAA teacher addressed generally to Snyder. Here’s a quote:

As society continues its pervasive attack on teachers and the education system, I need only to look at the derogatory commentary that has been set forth my way by your own supporters. There is Matthew Schmidt, who scoffed at my 9-month school year, unaware that the EAA, an organization designed and regulated by the Governor he voted for, is a year-round school district. Fellow Christian, Dan Borkowicz spoke from the pew of his profile picture as he told me to “move,” a feeling seconded by Paula Krueger and Mike Head. Gary Rosenfeldt feels that any individual who questions unfair working conditions can always go to Wal-Mart, where undoubtedly, his tax dollars would be supporting my income short-fall anyway.

Supporter Gary Shooltz politely told me to “blame my union representative.” Can you tell me, Governor Snyder, who my local union representative is? Perhaps I can address the bed bugs, cockroaches, mice and ants that I have currently documented pervading my classroom without fear of district reprisal (the foundation of teacher tenure).

And so forth. I picked this quote because I think it’s fair to say that this is part of  what is in the mix about the EAA is opposition to organized labor. I think Snyder et al are under the impression that if we can just get the unions out of the way in the schools, all will be well. There are any number of problems with that point of view, not the least of which is it ignores the fact that most successful public schools in Michigan are unionized as well.

Fake football attendance numbers, again

I also received an email from Jeremy Rosenberg, one of the main contributors at the site Eagle Totem, raising questions again about the fake attendance numbers at EMU football games– specifically the game on Saturday. Here’s a quote from Rosenberg’s post about the game:

Listed attendance for this game was 19,654. Anyone who was at the game knows this number is a complete joke. I’m not sure what type of Enron-esque, shell game is being played here, but it is not helpful. (Perhaps it was a typo, but I’m not sure how. The number was much closer to 5,000). I closely watch attendance numbers to gauge fan support. Without accurate, useable data, how are we to keep track of the growth of the program under Creighton? I’m going to try to do a little investigating this week and see what happened with the attendance numbers. Stay tuned…

Of course, this is not even close to new or even that unique to EMU. It’s still pretty slimy though. As Jeremy said in his email to me, if EMU can’t average 15,000 fans a game, maybe they shouldn’t be playing FBS football.

 

“5 Local Blogs You Need To Be Reading”

Via Mark Maynard’s blog I came across this nice little piece in the local online magazine/site Concentrate, “5 Local Blogs You Need To Be Reading.” I of course knew/know about Mark’s site and Damn Arbor, but I didn’t know anything about the other ones. I had no idea that Juan Cole’s blog/site got over 600,000 views a month. Anyway, go check them out.

By the way, just in case you’re curious: EMUTalk gets on average somewhere around 7,000 hits a month, but it varies a lot depending on the time of the year. In the midst of the school year and if there’s something going on, it’s more like 10,000-12,000, and sometimes a lot more; in the summer and/or when not much is happening, it’s more like 4,000-5,000.

Meanwhile, at least we don’t have UNC’s problems (I hope)

So, today’s game day! No, I don’t mean Michigan versus Michigan State, though as a tangent, two thoughts on that:

  • This game seems like it is being promoted as a bigger “rivalry” game than it was in the past; maybe that’s just my impressions. And as far as I can tell, every Big Ten team really wants to beat Michigan (that was certainly the case when I was a student at Iowa).
  • Given the lopsidedness of the teams this year, I’m not exactly expecting a very good game.

No, of course I’m referring to the EMU versus Northern Illinois game! Sorta. Our friends at Eagle Totem have several posts about it all, and they point out that the halftime band show is some kind of tribute to Batman. That and the beautiful weather today could make the game worthwhile, though the Emus are 21 point underdogs.

Anyway, while you’re half-watching either of these games, take a moment to read through this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education about the cheating scandal coming to light at the University of North Carolina, “Widespread Nature of Chapel Hill’s Academic Fraud Is Laid Bare.” It’s pretty startling. Basically, about 3100 students at UNC (about half of them were athletes) took these sham classes in the African and Afro-American Studies department that never actually met where students would get As or Bs for turning in one paper. And the whole thing was run by the department’s long-time secretary and the department’s chair. Here’s a long quote from the beginning of the article:

An academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took root under a departmental secretary and die-hard Tar Heel fan, who was egged on by athletics advisers to create no-show classes that would keep under­prepared and unmotivated players eligible. Over nearly two decades, professors, coaches, and administrators either participated in the scheme or overlooked it, undercutting the core values of one of the nation’s premier public universities.

Such are the sobering findings of an eight-month investigation led by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a longtime official of the U.S. Justice Department who was hired by the university to get to the bottom of a scandal that came to light four years ago.

Mr. Wainstein’s 136-page report, made public on Wednesday, lays much of the blame at the feet of Deborah Crowder, a secretary and then manager in the department of African and Afro-American studies, which is often called AFAM. Ms. Crowder worked with Julius E. Nyang’oro, who was then chairman of the department, to develop what the report calls a “shadow curriculum” that awarded students, many of them athletes, with high grades for classes that required no attendance and minimal work.

Ms. Crowder and Mr. Nyang’oro’s role in academic fraud has long been acknowledged, but the new report is the first to reveal the broad involvement of a variety of actors, including a faculty leader and other professors in the AFAM department. The investigation delves deeply into the motives of central players and provides a complex picture of Ms. Crowder, a relatively low-level operator who investigators say acted as a professor in all but name, routinely grading students’ papers and forging faculty signatures.

This went on for 18 years and it appears that it only became visible and impossible for administrators and others to ignore when Crowder retired. Yikes.

Though I have to say that I can see how this could happen and I can see how it might not really be noticed by administrators and the like. The department secretary is a powerful figure, actually. At EMU, she (and it is usually a “she”) can create special sections of courses for students, and it wouldn’t take a lot of fraud to sign off on grades and the like too. And unless someone was paying really close attention, this could go on pretty much unnoticed.

I guess what I’m saying is it wouldn’t surprise me if there were other universities besides UNC where some slightly crooked faculty and administrators weren’t doing some student athletes a favor or two.

What’s the deal with “Ypsi the Klown?”

I’ve seen a couple of articles– this one in The Echo, and this one from the Ypsilanti Courier (which is where the picture comes from)– about “Ypsi the Klown.” I saw a couple of fliers in Pray-Harrold advertising Ypsi the Klown for the Homecoming court (I assume he lost).

So, what’s the deal with this guy? And is he on campus much? I haven’t seen him yet, though I’m working a lot more from home this term, so maybe it’s just me.

“Swastika vandalism hits two universities following Yom Kippur”

From campusform.org comes “Swastika vandalism hits two universities following Yom Kippur,” and guess what? one of the universities was EMU.

Most of the story was about an incident at Emory University where someone painted swastikas on the walls of a Jewish fraternity. A pretty serious incident indeed, one that was condemned by the university and that’s being investigated.

The EMU connection comes in the form of a vandalized “pro-life” chalk sign on the sidewalk, presumably the one outside of Pray-Harrold:

This is a closeup of the swastikas in the midst of that sidewalk chalk sign, presumably added later. Here’s a quote:

Rueben Ainley, Vice President of Students For Life, told Campus Reform he is disappointed by the the graffiti.

“Last night we were walking through campus and noticed people threw water on both displays on campus,” Ainley told Campus Reform. “When I was walking through campus this morning to go to class, I noticed there were swastikas, about four or five of them drawn in-between the hearts [of the pro-life display].”

“It just shows the intolerance of people on campus, that they would draw an offensive and hateful symbol like the Nazi swastika over our display.”

I agree that it’s totally uncool to vandalize a pro-life display with swastikas, but I think that’s quite a different issue than painting a swastika on the door of a Jewish frat. And presumably, someone used an eraser to take care of these.

Nice to see all the attention of U of M football circling the drain for a change of pace

You can’t throw a virtual brick out of a virtual window without hitting a story about the woes of the University of Michigan’s football team this weekend. As an Iowa alum/fan (they beat Purdue Saturday, btw) but as a “Michigander” based on the fact that I’ve been here for 16 years now, I have a mixture of glee, sympathy, distress, and apathy. I know that seems possible, but there you have it.

One nice thing (the glee part, I guess) about all of this is it is a misdirection from the silliness of the EMU football team. But there’s a good analysis by Jeremy Rosenberg over at Eagle Totem called “Brandon’s Failure at Michigan a Warning for Lyke.” Rosenberg’s argument is that UM Athletic Director David Brandon is screwing up royally by further corporatizing athletics generally and football in particular, and he’s afraid that EMU AD Heather Lyke is trying to imitate that here.

I’ll say this: I was unaware until reading Rosenberg’s piece that U of M is so desperate to keep that 100,000 fans at each game streak alive that you can get a free ticket for a couple of Cokes. That’s kinda sad. At the same time, if EMU had a similar promotion, I’d buy a couple of sodas and take in a game.