Category Archives: Blogosphere

“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.

“Three Eastern Michigan football players charged with assault”

I was alerted to this story by one of our friends at the blog Eagle Totem, Jeremy Rosenberg, and I’d first and foremost encourage you to read what he had to say about all this at “Three EMU Football Players Charged with Assault.”  mLive has an article on this here. Basically, three players got into some kind of fight on the Friday before the game against Morgan State in the neighborhood over near Huron River and LeForge where it seems like all the violence near campus goes down.

As Jeremy pointed out to me and as he writes about in his post, this all seems kind of fishy. The assault wasn’t originally part of the crime summary from the Ypsi Police Department, as if “someone” wanted to make sure that the information didn’t get out until after a football game. EMU is claiming that the discipline for these players is protected by FERPA, which is freakin’ ridiculous since FERPA is about the confidentiality of student grades, not being disciplined for extra-curricular activities.

As one of the commentators on the mLive story pointed out, let’s see what Creighton does about this. Is he going to prove himself a “class act” and speak out about it? Or is he going to hide out in the factory behind his cinder block wall?

“Professor rants against professors who hate their students”

I came across this the other day on Facebook, and it struck me as the perfect thing to share on the first day of actual classes of the semester. I think this dude– Karl Gude at Michigan State– is spot-on right.

Oh, don’t get me wrong; I get kind of frustrated by some students some of the time. I think that’s just human nature. But What I think Grude is ranting about here are teachers of all sorts who seem to really not like their students, I suppose because of the frustration of having to teach them the same things again and again and again (though of course, it’s always new to the students and just “again” for the teacher).

Higher education is definitely a competitive field– especially for faculty on the tenure track– but I think too many professors make it a competition of sorts between them and their students. Anyway, I’ll be watching this again before my first face to face class today.

Weird emu thing

I found this video via HuffPo:

The Huffington Post described this as a guy hypnotizing a flock of emus by moving his legs, but I don’t know if I’d describe it as “hypnotism” exactly.  It’s a pretty weird video though.

“Is a 400k salary too much for a university president? Four academics apply to share one lucrative U of Alberta position”

Via Facebook, I came across this piece on the CBC web site, “Is a 400k salary too much for a university president? Four academics apply to share one lucrative U of Alberta position.” Here’s a quote:

There’s a job opening at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Indira Samarasekera, the current president and vice-chancellor, is stepping down at the end of the month and the search is on for her replacement. We know of at least 56 university professors and academics who are vying for the job, which starts at $400,000 a year, and they’re all applying for it in groups of four.

The group is protesting the high salaries of university administrators across the country, especially as many institutions are cutting back on services and staff.

“There seems to be increasingly a disconnect between the administration and the faculty and the students,” Kathy Cawsey, an associate professor at Dalhousie University who is part of the campaign, tells Carol. “There’s a disparity between these administrators’ large salaries and the rhetoric of austerity that they espouse.”

Besides being a useful moment of protest, it raises an interesting point: what if an institution actually did this, had a sort of “distributed collective” as the leader?

In student loan news….

First off, via Michigan Radio I learned about this press release from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (who knew there was such a thing?), “Survey Reveals Varied Perspectives Regarding Student Loan Debt.” Here’s a quote about that survey:

By a two-to-one margin, borrowers were more likely to say that their student loan was a good investment than a bad investment. At the same time, however, more U.S. adults would not recommend student loans as a way to finance a college education compared to those who would recommend doing so. Some felt that if they had realized the amount of student loan debt that they would accumulate, they never would have taken out the loan(s).

Many adults say that they would have benefitted from financial counseling on both ends of the loan – before taking out their loan, as well as after – for many admitted that it is difficult to find the right student loan repayment program for their situation.

This doesn’t strike me as too surprising, but the idea that most people now wished they had had “financial counseling” way-back when they got their loans a) seems pretty self-serving for a foundation of credit counselors and b) sort of seems like a visit from “Captain Hindsight.”

In the amusing/bitter camp comes this entry from the blog/web site Blue Nation Review, “Check Out The Angry Letter This Post-Graduate Sent When His School Asked For Money.”  This was sent to me by a loyal EMUTalk.org reader and I thought it was kind of amusing– almost certainly not actually true (what university? when? who wrote this? etc.), but still amusing and probably tapping into a lot of similar feelings from other graduates.

Maybe we need some “completion coaches” at EMU

Via the Inside Higher Ed blog Confessions of a Community College Dean comes “Walla Walla Wows World” from Matt “Dean Dad” Reed. It’s a story about some of the things that Walla Walla Community College have done to increase graduation rates and the catchy idea of “completion coaches.” Here’s a quote:

The completion coach idea, for instance, seems ripe for the picking.  Completion coaches, of which the aforementioned Mr. Weber was one, spend their time tracking down students who left the college just a few credits shy of graduation.  They encourage/cajole/recruit the students to come back and finish.  (As the article puts it, “they divide up the names and then go on the hunt.”)  When it works, the student benefits by replacing a collection of various credits with an actual degree and some sort of plan to move forward, and the college benefits by both higher enrollment and a higher graduation rate.

The methods of the completion coach sound more like something you’d see in the for-profit sector, but in this case, the coach is using her powers for good.

This seems like a pretty good idea to me. I realize the logistics of something like this would be tough, especially at a large institution like EMU, but it makes a heck of a lot of sense to try to reach out to students who have left or struggling and try to talk them back into school.

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.

“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.