“Why Colleges Don’t Want to Be Judged by Their Graduation Rates”

I actually follow Provost Kim Schatzel on Twitter, and she posted this article this morning I thought was worth sharing here: from CHE, “Why Colleges Don’t Want to Be Judged by Their Graduation Rates.” It’s mostly an info-graphic explaining why calculating graduation rates isn’t so easy.

I think this is important to explain– especially to people outside of higher education– because Obama wants some kind of college rating system where college graduation rates would be a key measure. In principle, that might be a good idea. But before that happens, the feds have got to change what they count as graduation.

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.

“USA Today ranks gray field at Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium top 10 in the country”

From mLive “USA Today ranks gray field at Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium top 10 in the country.” Needless to say, this story made me throw up in my mouth a little. BTW, the USA Today ranked Boise State’s blue field as number one, which is to say that their main criteria appears to be most colorful field.

Oh, and one more important point: USA Today was ranking the fields in this article and not the stadium. No sane person would say the perpetually empty and amenity-free Rynearson is one of the “top 10″ stadiums in the country.

“EMU’s student government budget differs from other Michigan universities”

From The Eastern Echo comes “EMU’s student government budget differs from other Michigan universities,” which notes the differences between how much money EMU’s student govern receives every year versus comparable institutions. From the intro:

Eastern Michigan University Student Government’s reserve account is currently at $90,389.20. This is in addition to the 2014-15 budget of $256,439.35.

Expenditures from reserve accounts are not regulated by Student Government bylaws or voted on by the Student Government Senate. As currently constructed, Student Government President Desmond Miller has sole authority on use of the reserves.

The problem with this piece is it doesn’t explain at all what student government does with this money. $250K plus a $90K “slush fund” is a lot of money; assuming that student government officers and representatives aren’t being paid, what are they spending this money on exactly? That’s a lot of money for buying pizza for meetings or whatever.

Emus groovy new helmets and bricks and grey turf will bring a win, not

I kind of wish I could go to the game this Saturday, the Emus versus the Buffalo Bulls, but I’ve got previously scheduled things I need to do. As far as I can tell, it’s going to be perfect football watching weather Saturday, it’s homecoming (so I am sure there are some hijinks associated with all of that), and the Emus are only 14 point underdogs.

And aren’t we all a little curious about what goofy thing is going to be a part of “The Factory” marketing juggernaut? Maybe even more giant wrenches and sledge hammers? Maybe a bigger and even more dangerous wall? Perhaps the game will begin with an actual automotive assembly line: that is, instead of storming onto the field, the team will instead line up and literally demonstrate their work in “The Factory.” They will build a car before our eyes, and then, circus-style, they will all cram into it and drive it around the track.

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

Whatever happens, I am pretty sure it will feature the new helmets. mLive has an article about the magic helmets, “EMU football team adds new helmet design to rotation, equipment staff discusses fresh look.” As the article points out, EMU is far from the first team to waste a ridiculous amount of money wear some alternative helmets. But I have to say there are a lot of really cringe-worthy passages in this article. For example:

“When the players saw them for the first time, they were hooting, and hollering,” EMU assistant athletics director for equipment operations Tommy Rapier said. “It was like Santa Claus coming in.”

Yes, because what college football is all about is the toys.

And this:

“It’s actually a full decal, with the whole helmet covered, and it’s pretty expensive,” Rapier said. “They are called hydro-decals. It’s a decal floating in a fluid, they dip the helmet into it and cut off the excess to smooth it out. All Notre Dame’s new golden helmets use the hydro-decals.”

If a regular helmet costs $250, Rapier estimates that a full hydro-decal wrap would cost $300 per helmet with an additional cost to do the face mask.

Though to be fair, Rapier also points out that these helmets have to be refinished reconditioned every year anyway. So I guess there is at least some need for new helmets at least once in a while.

And then there’s this:

While there are no rules limiting the number of helmets a team can have, Rapier doesn’t expect the Eagles to add a fourth.

“There’s no rules, just ask Oregon,” Rapier said, jokingly referring to the variety of uniforms and helmets the program uses. “It’s one of those things the NCAA hasn’t stepped in on yet, but I don’t foresee us going to more than three helmets.”

Ha! Ha ha! So funny to joke about the ways that the NCAA allows college football to waste boatloads of money.

“Ypsilanti City Council Member Susan Moeller resigns”

A sort of Ypsilanti and EMU story: from mLive, “Ypsilanti City Council Member Susan Moeller resigns.” I assume most regular readers know this, but Moeller is also the former president of the EMU-AAUP and I think she is currently the treasurer. A quote from the article:

“After much thought, I have decided that I need to resign my position on the city council for personal reasons. The care of my elderly parents and a bedridden aunt requires too much of my time and attention,” Moeller wrote. “I believe someone else from Ward 2 would be better able to represent the residents as I am not able at this time to give the position proper attention.

“I enjoyed working with all of you and wish you all the best in the coming year.”

And in other Board of Regents Meeting News…

Geoff “Geoff” Larcom sent me an email pointing out a few other developments from Tuesday’s Board of Regents meeting I thought were worth passing along and briefly commenting on:

“EMU BoR Extends Contract of President Susan Martin.” At least until July 2016. I don’t disagree with this move– I think Martin has been pretty good– and it’s really just an extension of an extension that happened in 2013.  But back in 2012, when former BoR member/chair Roy Wilbanks was gunning for Martin and accusing her of “misuse of alcohol,” Martin’s future was a lot less certain.

“Eastern Michigan University outlines plan to retain, graduate more men of color.” I think the name of the initiative– “BrotherHOOD Initiative”– is kind of silly, but sure, it seems like a good idea.

And other stuff like more cops, more financial aid, etc., etc.


“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.