“Faculity (sic), alumni ask EMU board to end partnership with EAA”

A fair amount of news from yesterday’s Board of Regents meeting. From mLive comes “Faculity, alumni ask EMU board to end partnership with EAA.” First off, “faculity?” Really, mLive? That obvious of a typo in the headline? Jeez.

Anyway, here’s a quote that I think gets at the gist of the EAA talk at this last meeting:

Faculty member Steve Wellinski took the claims a step further by saying that the board should not wait until December to make a decision. Wellinski thinks that by waiting until December, members of the board can take political cover from making a decision on the agreement if the outgoing members of the state legislature end the agreement on their own.

By not acting as a board to end the agreement, Wellinski said the regents would be aligning themselves directly with Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Waiting until December might secure you political cover through maneuvering of a lame duck session and a $45 million token for the Strong Hall renovation, but it will not absolve you from this egregious act that has you playing a co-conspirator in the biggest fraud scheme this state has ever seen,” Wellinski said.

Well, while I agree with Wellinski, I think he answers his own question about why the BoR is not likely to terminate EMU’s relationship with the EAA before December. And if it pays off with money for the Strong Hall renovation, it might be worth it. Don’t get me wrong– I think we should have gotten out of the EAA a long tome ago. But at this stage, we might as well wait until the end of the calendar year.

 

“Eastern Michigan University again expected to seek state funding for Strong Hall renovations”

From mLive comes “Eastern Michigan University again expected to seek state funding for Strong Hall renovations.”  Not particularly exciting news in that this is a request that EMU has been making since 2010, but still, news of a sort.

Also in this same article is a new major that I guess has to be approved by the board, one that is kind of a merger between Journalism in the English Department and the TV/Radio program in Communications.  I don’t think it quite eliminates redundancy because both departments will still keep separate majors– at least for a while– but it’s probably a decent idea.

“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.

Happy Anniversary, Michigan State Normal School– I Think

Via the book of face I learned from a friend today that the Michigan State Normal School (aka EMU) was officially dedicated on October 5, 1852. Here’s a nice little article about it in the Detroit Free Press.

Though what’s weird to me is that I thought the year EMU was founded was actually 1849– that’s what it says on the wikipedia page at least. Well, founded/dedicated/actually started classes are all slightly different dates.

Sure wish we still had that cool logo. Something about picturing kids wearing t-shirts with “NORMAL” in an M makes me smile.

New helmets? Really?

I didn’t see or hear anything about the Emus loss to the Kangaroos yesterday in mLive (though there is this post at Eagle Totem for those who are interested in any details), but I did notice news in my EMU feed from the official EMU web site, “EMU Debuts New Look in Akron.” That “new look” is new helmets, which are done in “a custom flat forest green metallic color, featuring a chrome diamond plate Block E logo on the side.”

Now, I realize that all EMU is doing here is following/chasing a trend in college football where teams are making things “exciting” by adding new uniforms and colors. There are lots of teams doing this nowadays; in fact, I believe Akron had new outfits at the game. And for all I know, maybe it is actually necessary for college football players go through a couple of helmets a year anyway. I kind of assume that helmets actually last pretty much forever, but maybe all the banging causes a lot of wear and tear and they have to be replaced.

But there is something about this latest weird marketing of “The Factory” look that really bugs me.

Let’s say these helmets cost $300 apiece (and they might have been a lot more than that), and let’s say there are 100 players on the EMU team (though I think that number is more like 120). That’s at least $30,000 for helmets, and probably a lot more– not because the team needed new helmets but as a fashion accessory.

Normally, I don’t like these kinds of comparisons of “the money we waste on football (or landscaping or computers or administrators or whatever) could be better spent on this other more important thing” because budgets don’t work quite like that. But $30K is actually a lot of money around here.  For example, if the folks in Welch Hall were able to “find” $30K to distribute to departments to make up for budget cuts, faculty would be thrilled. $30K goes a long way toward funding scholarships. And so forth.

But hey, they’ll look good against the backdrop of the grey turf.

Emus versus Kangaroos

First off, I just want to point out yet another obvious mascot renaming/rebranding opportunity was missed with Eastern’s move away from “The Hurons.” As I’ve said before and I will say again, I don’t understand why we didn’t just give up on the stereotypical American Indian logo and stick with “Huron” generally– there’s a lake, a river, a street, a county, etc., etc. But if a name change had to happen, we obviously should have become the Emus, and with that name change, we could have started what would could have been the greatest series of rivalries in all of college sport: Emus versus Kangaroos.

Alas, “eagles.” Lame.

By the way, according to this info page at “GoZips.com,” the original name for the University of Akron team was the “Zippers,” and it was “officially” shortened to the Zips in 1950. The kangaroo thing (that’s “Zippy,” by the way) came about in 1953 as the result of some kind of student council contest.

Anyway, it looks like it might be kind of a boring/lopsided game because Akron is favored by 25 and it’s not like the Zips are competing for the national title or something. So here’s a video of emus and kangaroos fighting instead:

The game starts in Akron at 2 pm. A more serious preview of the match-up is provided by our friends over at Eagle Totem here.

 

“The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil”

Pretty slow week EMU news-wise around here, so I thought I’d go ahead and share a link that a loyal reader sent me, an op-ed by Camille Paglia called “The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil.” Paglia is reacting to/arguing against (I guess) the efforts that have been ramped up on college campuses to combat things like date rape and other unwanted sexual advances, not to mention sexual assaults. Here’s a quote just to let you know what you’re in for:

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.

Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.

I read her book Sexual Persona as a doctoral student for a class (I can’t even remember what the point of that class was now), and the thing about Paglia is she can go from saying something interesting and profound to strange and crazy with the flip of a switch, sometimes within the same sentence. This piece seems a bit like that to me. It also seems a bit like wishful thinking since the days when colleges could just stick to academics and not worry about supervising students on campus or otherwise ignore non-academic things (e.g., “student life”) are long gone.

 

“Marshall Building at Eastern Michigan University evacuated for suspicious smell”

This story started and ended even before I heard about it yesterday, but I thought I’d go ahead and post a link to the mLive story anyway:  “Marshall Building at Eastern Michigan University evacuated for suspicious smell.”

Anybody out there have any evacuation and/or smell stories?

“Steven Salaita: U. of I. destroyed my career”

From the Chicago Tribune comes the latest in this ongoing saga, an op-ed written by Steven Salita, “U of I destroyed my career.” It is a short and articulate column where (and as far as I know the first time) Salita publicly explains the tweets that got him unhired from the University of Illinois.

I am kind of torn by this. I agree with the position that criticizing Israel (for example, it’s recent military actions in Gaza) is not the same as being anti-Semitic, and it is true that Twitter as a format/platform is a “medium that is designed to be quick and sometimes cutting.” And as an academic-type, I’m in the same camp as those generally calling for his reinstatement.

On the other hand, as I have written about here and on my own blog before, I do think there ought to be some logical limit to the protections of tenure in terms of one’s ability to say and do anything. Like many people/entities who become poster children for free speech and the ACLU and the like (for example, “2 Live Crew” way WAY back when, marching Klan folks, etc.), I’m not all that comfortable defending Salita’s views on the world generally. And if you have to write a column to defend and explain the tweets that got you unhired in the first place, you might be doing something wrong.

Still, an important and thoughtful essay worth the read.

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.