Category Archives: College Fun

“Responding to Offensive Posts on Yik Yak, Professors Stage Social-Media Takeover”

From The Chronicle of Higher Education from last weekend comes “Responding to Offensive Posts on Yik Yak, Professors Stage Social-Media Takeover.”  Just a very brief primer here: Yik Yak is a smart phone app that allows users to post anonymous messages to an ongoing conversation tied to a particular place. So if you sign up for this at EMU, you get “Yaks” from folks on campus at EMU.

Here’s a screen shot of what Yik Yak looked like to me this morning:

IMG_3126

This is actually kind of a bad example because a lot of the conversation on Yik Yak is some combination of rude, silly, sexist, drunken, etc.– a lot of posts by people who are claiming to be high, people looking for sex, people using naughty words, etc. And Yik Yak has definitely been abused and a problem. As I understand it, there was a bomb threat at MSU this last semester that originated on Yik Yak. I know of at least one quite controversial Yik Yak “event” that did much to derail a class here at EMU. And as this article discusses, a lot of Yik Yak has been a problem for a lot of folks teaching at Colgate University.

However, instead of accusing the “kids today” of being so much worse than the “kids” of yesteryear (and spoiler alert– as far as I can tell, college students today are just as rude/drunken/sexist/silly as they were when I was a college student in the 1980s, and if the movie Animal House is any guide, students have been rude/drunken/sexist/silly for a long long long time) and instead of calling for the ban of the service from campus, the faculty at Colgate had a much more constructive solution. Here’s a quote:

At the end of a semester plagued by offensive social-media posts, professors at Colgate University on Friday started a campaign to bring some positivity to digital communications on the campus.

Using the smartphone application Yik Yak, which allows people to submit anonymous comments visible to other nearby users, professors posted positive messages to students, wishing them luck on their exams, praising their work, and infusing an uplifting tone into the digital discourse. Unlike most users, the professors signed their names to their posts.

“Yik Yak has been a source of aggravation for people in the campus community,” said Geoff Holm, an associate professor of biology who developed the idea to “occupy” the app. “If this is going to be something that is driving campus culture, it’s important for faculty to have a presence.”

And this:

Valerie Morkevicius, an assistant professor of political science, said she hopes that seeing professors use Yik Yak will encourage students to think before posting potentially offensive comments.

“Maybe they would not be so free in saying some of the things they say if they know people whose opinions they care about are reading,” she said. “For me, what’s really great about this idea is it’s a way we can reach out to our students where they are. Our students live in this digital world, and we can help them navigate it more responsibly. We’re using their own media to try to reach them on some different levels.”

Exactly.

So if you care about the Yik Yak (and frankly, I’m not sure if I care about people posting anonymously about whatever rude/sexist/drunken/silly things), go on their and wish everyone a big thumbs up on their finals.

This is kind of cute….

The 2014 Eastern Michigan University “Holiday Card:”

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.

 

 

“Eagles 45: Wolverines 42: Michigan stunned again in loss to Eastern Michigan”

Finalscore

As mLive put it, “Eagles 45: Wolverines 42: Michigan stunned again in loss to Eastern Michigan.” I haven’t read the article yet, but I was actually at the game, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts.

I went with some friends and colleagues because we were able to get tickets on StubHub for $12, and I’d never been in Crisler Arena (nice facility), so we thought “what the hell?” One of these friends was a little dubious of the value of going to see EMU be blown out by U of M. Then they lost to New Jersey Tech.

On the one hand, it was a pretty sloppy and low-scoring affair all around. I didn’t think EMU looked super-great, meaning that a lot of this game was U of M looked really REALY inexplicably bad. On the other hand, EMU did ultimately hold it together, made the stops, and (obviously) won the game. Oh, and it wasn’t some kind of game where EMU had a fluke come-back at the end; they were neck and neck the whole way.

So hey, go Emus!

“EMU men’s basketball off to best start in close to 20 years, hard work starts now”

In more positive sports news, “EMU men’s basketball off to best start in close to 20 years, hard work starts now,” as mLive informs us.  Sure, they haven’t really played anyone quite yet; the real test will begin on Saturday. The Emus are playing at Dayton (which EMU should probably beat, but we’ll see), and then Michigan followed right by Michigan State. Still, a pretty impressive start.

“Activist rabbi to discuss faith and the struggle for social justice Dec. 2 at Eastern Michigan University”

Mark your calendars, folks: there’s another event being sponsored by our colleagues/friends of EMUTalk, the Jewish Studies program. Here’s a quote from the press release, “Activist rabbi to discuss faith and the struggle for social justice Dec. 2 at Eastern Michigan University:”

Modern Orthodox rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, who first exploded onto the national scene in 2010 as one of the stars of the PBS Independent Lens documentary, The Calling, will be the next guest speaker in the Eastern Michigan University Jewish Studies program lecture series, Dec. 2.

The program. which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the EMU Student Center Ballroom, 900 Oakwood, Ypsilanti, is free and open to the public.

An activist and educator, Yanklowitz, 33, will discuss, “Jewish Ethics and Social Justice,” and will explore how faith must be bound up with the struggle for social justice.

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….

“ZOOperstars! Set to Appear at Saturday’s Men’s Basketball Contest”

I’ve got plans and I won’t be attending the EMU Men’s Basketball game on Saturday night against UNC-Greensboro, but I was sort of struck by the headline announcing “ZOOperstars! Set to Appear at Saturday’s Men’s Basketball Contest.” As it says here, the ZOOperstars are “described as lovable, outrageous, zany, unpredictable and hysterical inflatable animalistic superstars that are sure to entertain all fans in attendance.”

I have no idea how the game will be. I know UNC-Greensboro has had some decent teams in the past, so I suspect it will be competitive. But this ZOOperstar thing– yikes. I am guessing it will be entertaining for the kids, but when I did a search and found their web site (warning, a video will start up!), I guess I thought two things. First, this is pretty stupid, people jumping around in inflatable costumes with punny animal names– Monkey Mantle, Yao Flamingo, Roger Clamons, LeBronco James, and so forth. Second, I noticed their schedule of upcoming appearances at other colleges and minor league hockey arenas all over the country, and I thought “what a shitty lifestyle that would be.” Get in the van, drive to some God-forsaken place, inflate the costume and dance around for a while, get back in the van. Probably not what most of those people were planning when studying drama at Juilliard.

“Eastern Michigan 89, Oakland University 77: Experienced Eagles power offense in strong second half”

Enough with the football; let’s talk basketball. From mLive comes “Eastern Michigan 89, Oakland University 77: Experienced Eagles power offense in strong second half.” I almost went to this game last night, but the day job and family things held me back at home. But I get the impression that the Emus might be pretty decent at basketball this year, so I’m hoping to see a couple games this year. Check out the schedule for Men’s BBall here.

The women’s basketball team seems to be pretty decent too. They lost to Michigan State in what looks like a fairly close game (the score was 61-69), and they beat Kent State at Tuscarawas by the ludicrous score of 127-40. Apparently, Kent State has a bunch of regional campuses, and as far as I can tell, Tuscarawas is a notch above a community college.

“Students get crafty for college cooking competition”

The ambitious home cook in me liked this piece: from the Freep, “Students get crafty for college cooking competition.” Basically, it’s a dorm room cooking contest where the recipes had to have three (or at least three?) ingredients costing less than $10 that can be prepared with some combination of a microwave, a hot plate, or a blender.

And there was an EMU student in the competition, Betty Adams. She “won the crowd support award for a blue beet pear salad/wrap, which used every part of the beet — including the leaves —and included blue cheese dressing.” Which I have to say doesn’t sound that great to me, but hey, congrats anyway.