Category Archives: EMU President

“EMU’s 7.8% tuition increase means $1M less in state aid, $10M revenue increase”

As mLive reports, “EMU’s 7.8% tuition increase means $1M less in state aid, $10M revenue increase.” Here’s a quote:

The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents unanimously approved a 7.8 percent tuition increase for students for the 2015-16 school year.

The increase exceeds the state’s recommended cap of 2.8 percent. As a result, the school will forfeit $1 million of its state aid, but officials at the school said it will gain $10 million in revenue from the increase.

It will be interesting to see how this works out, but I have a theory about all this.

If you do a search of EMUTalk.org for the 0/0/0 campaign back in 2010 or so and reflect on what has happened as a result, I think it’s pretty easy to see it wasn’t all that effective. Keeping tuition super-duper low didn’t increase enrollment all that much– maybe a little, maybe not at all. Further, EMU hasn’t been rewarded by the state for keeping tuition down. And to top it all off, to the extent that Martin will take the blame for this, she’s retiring.

So really, what does EMU have to lose here? Other than millions of dollars if they were to hold to the state caps? Like I said, it will be interesting to see how this works out over the next year or so.

“Hurons logo, harassment prompt meeting at EMU”

From the Detroit News comes “Hurons logo, harassment prompt meeting at EMU.” Here’s the opening paragraphs:

U.S. Justice Department officials came to Eastern Michigan University this week to meet with president Susan Martin and a Native American campus group to discuss concerns over the continued use of the school’s Hurons logo after students allegedly harassed a Native American elder in April.

At the meeting Tuesday, Martin refused to remove the logo after being asked to by the EMU Native American Student Organization, according to Mark Fancher, a staff attorney for racial justice for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. Fancher attended the meeting at the request of the student group.

Martin returned the Hurons logo, which depicts a Native American face with paint and feathers, to the EMU Marching Band uniform in 2012 to promote what she calls the university’s history and pride. It is hidden under a front flap.

“She takes the position the logo was retired. Its presence under the flap does not equate its return,” Fancher said. “Martin says it’s a part of the university’s history. My response to that is yes — it’s a disgraceful part of the history. It is causing harm to the students. It needs to go.”

The article goes on to recount the recent incident where students were dressed up as mock Indians and they yelled at and threw a beer at Ypsi local Nathaniel Phillips, who is Native American and who is always described in these articles as a “Elder.”

I don’t think it was a good idea to put EMU’s past logos– including this one– under a hidden flap on the band uniforms, and I also am pretty certain that there is no cause and effect relationship between these uniforms and these drunken college kids yelling “We’re fucking Hurons!” at this Native American man who happened to be walking around Ypsilanti one night. Rather, I think the cause of that unfortunate incident was the combination of the fact that EMU once was “The Hurons,” Phillips is himself Native American, and those dumb kids had too much beer.

And I suspect that the powers that be at EMU were attempting a PR move that would have satisfied the “once a Huron, always a Huron” alumni, and now it’s coming back to bite them. I am almost certain my colleagues in the EMU communications office are wishing they had a “do-over” on that one.

But on a slightly different note: I have to say that as a professor who studies and teaches about rhetoric, I am pretty fascinated about the power of this hidden symbol. Remember: this logo is on the uniform but out of sight. Members of the band would know it’s there of course because they’re putting on the uniforms, but if the fact that it was there had not be publicized, we would never know that it was there.

So symbols– even the idea of a symbol, not even its actual manifestation of its presence to an audience– are incredibly powerful, and not merely as a metaphor. They are powerful enough to cause a meeting between the DOJ, the ACLU, EMU officials and lawyers, and student groups. That group of people certainly spent some time debating the removal of an image that few people can actually see. That’s pretty fascinating to me.

 

 

“EMU creates chief diversity officer job after racially charged incidents”

I would have posted about this earlier, but I was (as they say) “away” from the Internets. But as reported in mLive (and as the campus saw in an email from President Martin included in the mLive story), “EMU creates chief diversity officer job after racially charged incidents.” Here’s the paragraph where Martin talks about this new position:

This is why I am announcing that we will add a new position to the University’s senior leadership team: Chief Diversity Officer. This individual will serve as the senior executive on the leadership team responsible for efforts related to diversity, inclusion and equity. The individual will advise the president, senior leaders and campus units on policies, processes, and practices intended to foster a most diverse and inclusive campus where all members of the university community can thrive and contribute to the University’s mission and core values.

I guess I have kind of mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it seems to me like this particular incident deserves an actual response from Martin, at least something along the lines of “I think those students behaved badly” or what-have-you. And I’m just not so sure hiring another administrator is a solution to this.

On the other hand, a “Chief Diversity Officer” is a position that apparently does exist on a lot of campuses. As far as I can tell, it’s a position that tends to bring together under one leader things like Title IX issues, equal employment issues, and to address issues like this infamous party. So maybe it’s a good idea.

“Sweets & Selfies with Su-Mar at the Student Center”

From Geoff “Geoff” Larcom comes the following:

EMU President Susan Martin wants to thank students, faculty and staff with sweets and the opportunity for fun selfies as we end the academic year.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to come, say hello and rock your best smile if you want a selfie with President Martin from 1-2 p.m. on either Wednesday, April 22 or Thursday, April 23 in the Student Center. President Martin will be providing sweets on the first floor of the Student Center in the Fireplace Lounge, located across from the EMU Bookstore.

President Martin wants to sincerely thank so many across the campus for the love, support and hard work during her tenure as president the past seven years. As she says, “You helped lift Eastern up and made it shine as a beacon of opportunity for so many people to lead extraordinary lives. Thank you!”

And don’t forget to tag your photos #SueMar or share them with the President on Facebook Susan Martin (be her friend!).

First off, I think this is something more designed for “the kids,” as they say, so while I’m glad they’ve included faculty and staff, I have a feeling most selfie-seekers are going to be students. Second, be on the lookout for some amusing “SueMar” photos and tags on social media.

“Emu House” to be named in honor of outgoing President Susan Martin

From the Ypsilanti Courier comes “EMU to name renovated home for housing special University guests in honor of outgoing President Susan Martin.”

I had actually heard about this before because the EMU PR folks had invited me to an open house event for “emu house” last week– I couldn’t attend because of some other stuff on my schedule, unfortunately. Anyway, “emu house” is at 526 St. John’s Street, which is across the street from the dorms Best Hall and Wise Hall, and (for those of us who have been here a while) it used to be the EMU Credit Union way back in the day.

The place has been refinished into a guest house which (the article says) could be used for “visitors performing at Pease Auditorium for extended periods, new leaders who are unable to locate a residence quickly and others visiting the University for a major event.” Oh, also important to note here: emu house was made possible by the generous support of Ken Fine and his wife, Rebecca Canary, and also to William and Delores Brehm, who donated a lot of the furniture.

I think this is a great idea because we don’t really have a place on campus to house people who are here for an extended stay. For example (and this is also a plug), my friend and former colleague Annette Saddik has been at EMU this semester off and on as the McAndless Distinguished Scholar– she’s giving a talk tomorrow in the student center called “‘Act Naturally': Embracing the Monstrous Woman in Tennessee Williams’ Late Plays”– and I know that it would have been a heck of a lot easier to put her up for a week or so at a time in this space had it been available. My hope is we can house future McAndless Scholars (and other visiting scholars) here.

But what of the name? Here’s a quote from the article:

The house is named “emu house,” which connects it to both the University and the large, flightless bird native to Australia, a few of which Rebecca adopted over 15 years ago and which still live (and infrequently reproduce) on their property.

The house will be renamed the “Susan W. Martin emu house” within 30 days of her final day as president and will retain that name for at least the next 100 years or until it has reached the end of its useful life. The plaque designating the new name of the house and honoring President Martin will be installed by early fall.

Of course, the real tribute would be a change of mascot, but one step at a time.

 

“Board of Regents to Hold Special Meeting”

I don’t usually look at the “EMU Today” page, but I did this morning and I saw this interesting little announcement:

BOARD OF REGENTS TO HOLD SPECIAL BOARD MEETING: The EMU Board of Regents will hold a special board meeting today, Apr. 9, at 3 p.m. in room 201, Welch Hall. The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call Attendance
  • Chairman’s Comments
  • Section 1: Recommendation to appoint an Interim President
  • Section 2: Recommendation to establish a Presidential Search Committee and a Presidential Search Advisory Committee
  • Adjournment

There has been some conversation here and I’ve chatted with others lately about when we’re likely to welcome a new president to EMU. As we discussed earlier, there was a little confusion (at least for me there was) about the BoR’s plans for when they want to get a new president in place because pretty much everyone I’ve talked with agrees that getting a new president by the start of the 2015/16 school year (that is, this fall) would be pretty much impossible. So maybe this meeting is going to clarify that.

This is kind of cute….

The 2014 Eastern Michigan University “Holiday Card:”

Two bits of EAA note

First off, I heard via a loyal EMUTalk reader that the EMU Student Senate passed a resolution where “Urge the EMU Regents to Sever Ties with the EAA.” A quote from (I think?) a press release:

This evening the EMU Student Senate voted in favor of a resolution (#101-004) to “strongly urge” the Regents to terminate the contract that created the EAA. The Senators heard from Guest Speaker Steven Camron and deliberated President Desmond Miller’s draft resolution. The focus of the resolution was on the negative impact this affiliation has had on students, the graduates and faculty at the College of Education, and the University at large.

Here’s a link to the PDF of the actual resolution with all of its “whereas”-s and such.

Second, I heard that this afternoon, the Michigan Public Radio show “Stateside” is going to be doing a show about the EAA. I don’t know a whole lot more about it than just that, but it might be interesting. It’s on at 3:00 PM and rebroadcast at 10:00 PM.

Susan Martin and EMU Athletics Folks Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I have to say that I’m personally a bit of a cynic when it comes to this ALS ice bucket challenge thing. I don’t know why; I’m very happy that ALS research is getting the donations and I think that’s all fantastic. I guess I just don’t enjoy watching people dumping ice on themselves. I think Patrick Stewart perfected the challenge here.

Anyway, EMU President Susan Martin, various coaches, and some other EMU folks took the challenge in a big way the other day. Here’s a link to the mLive story about it. And if you want to donate to the ALS foundation (ice or no ice), check out their web site.

“The Wurst Challenge: the magic of giant sausage brings the community together, quality arts programming to kids, and the nation’s attention to Ypsi”

From Mark Maynard comes “The Wurst Challenge: the magic of giant sausage brings the community together, quality arts programming to kids, and the nation’s attention to Ypsi,” which is a recap of the sausage eating contest/fund raiser that featured EMU President Susan Martin. I was out of town this past weekend at a conference, but I have to say I wish I was there and I might try to make it next time– if there is a next time.

In fact, I have a suggestion for Maynard and the folks at the Wurst Bar and the folks who benefited from this fundraiser, FLY Children’s Art Center: make it a “pro-am.” One of my many fascinations is with the weird world of competitive eating, and, believe it or not, there is indeed a professional circuit out there. So what I’m saying is have the fundraiser you just had, but have a truly professional version too. If they did that, I’ll bet you’d get several folks who actually finish that sausage.

Anyway, congrats on raising the money for a good cause and a good PR move for EMU to participate, too.