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.

A new EMU video….

I was looking for something on the EMU web site and I came across this new video. I think it’s pretty well-done, but we don’t have a real eagle around here on campus someplace, do we? I hope that was borrowed for this….

Watch your step traveling Ypsilanti Saturday morning or someone will throw colored corn starch at you

As mLive reminded me, the annual “Color Run” is coming to downtown Ypsilanti Saturday morning. Here’s a link to the Color Run Inc. page for the event in Ypsi.  The race/event starts at 8 am, snakes around Depot Town, along the river, and the east side of campus. Apparently there are 14,000 people registered for it, so unless you are planning on running yourself, tomorrow is probably not a good day to come to Ypsilanti.

If this is the kind of event that makes people feel like they are one with the universe and celebrating their YOLO spirit or whatever, that’s fine, I guess. I assume it’s good for local Ypsi businesses, especially those that serve breakfast and lunch, I’m guessing. But just to be clear: it’s as much of a charity as Chevrolet or Nike (which also donates money to food banks and the like) and that colored starch “mostly” comes out in the wash.

A Gray Field? Seriously. Seriously?!

I heard some rumors about this, but now it’s apparently going to happen. Check out the story from the emueagles.com web site and the video:

As this all makes clear, the branding for Chris Creighton’s first season as coach is all about “The Factory.” They want to nickname Rynearson Stadium as “The Factory” to show how tough, proud, hard-working, and blue-collar the team is. The goal is not to highlight the fact that watching a football game at Rynearson stadium is about as comfortable as sitting in a factory.

So to make it even more factory and concrete-like, EMU is going with a newly installed gray turf field. Gray, as in concrete/parking lot gray. Get it?

An interesting quote from  one of the press releases on the emueagles site:

“We are grateful for the opportunity to be able to invest in our football program and the new gray Field Turf this summer,” added EMU Vice President and Director of Athletics Heather Lyke. “With the gray field being installed, we will be the only ones in the country with such a design.”

You know, being the only one who does something– like color their field gray, for example– doesn’t make it a good thing. Oy.

And just to make this all the more silly: we’re spending God only knows how much money on an artificial turf field we probably don’t need (the current field isn’t ten years old) and during a contract negotiation year (the EMU-AAUP better have ready some calculations on how many yards of field would equal an across the board percentage raise– Education first and ten indeed!) Oh, and did I mention the field is going to be freakin’ concrete factory gray?!? I mean, at least the other universities where they have an oddly colored field– Boise State immediately comes to mind– it’s tied to school colors. Gray. Gray?!

Look for a lot squished on sidewalk puns as the Emus hit the field this fall.

Can someone from Faculty Senate explain this? (And other news from the EMU-AAUP)

EMU-AAUP President Howard Bunsis sent around an email to members yesterday, most of which is about stuff  summed up on the EMU-AAUP web site. Bunsis writes about some ongoing issues regarding faculty safety (especially with “unruly” or otherwise “unstable” students and the problems of effectively dealing with that), and also how the administrative cut to TIAA-CREF is likely to be something the administration is going to want to negotiate for faculty too. The whiff of contract negotiations in the air.

But the part I really wanted to focus on is what appears to be some kind of argument/standoff between the EMU-AAUP and Faculty Senate over recommendation for hires. I’ll try to summarize this as I understand it: the deans of the various colleges recommended 55 searches for 2015. The provost sought some input on this from the Faculty Senate. It’s not clear why she did this– a move of goodwill, a way to step around the union, maybe a bit of both. For some reason, the Faculty Senate recommendation to the provost was to hire 40 faculty– that is 15 less than the deans were recommending.

WTF, Faculty Senate?

I think Bunsis’ argument that the EMU-AAUP needs to be a part of these kinds of discussions is probably right since “erosion of the bargaining unit” is always a key part of the discussion. But okay, it makes sense to pay attention to Faculty Senate too, and this seems to be yet another grey area between the EMU-AAUP and the Faculty Senate about who gets to weigh in on what. So let’s say– just for the sake of argument for now–  that it makes sense for the Faculty Senate to be at least a part of this conversation, that it’s good for the Provost to talk to both that group along with the EMU-AAUP.

Why on earth with the Faculty Senate come back with a recommendation that more or less says “No no, we don’t think we need the 55 faculty that the deans have already recommended. We want fewer faculty.” What could possibly be the logic behind that?

Is there anyone from Faculty Senate reading this who cares to explain themselves?

“Clubhouse at Eagle Crest Golf Club to be named in honor of former EMU regent and longtime administrator Roy Wilbanks”

Geoff Larcom sent me this news, “Clubhouse at Eagle Crest Golf Club to be named in honor of former EMU regent and longtime administrator Roy Wilbanks.” To quote from the press release:

Roy Wilbanks can look back on a wide variety of accomplishments during his time on the Eastern Michigan University campus.

One of those successes sits gracefully on the shores of Ford Lake, and on bluffs that rise to the west of the lake in Ypsilanti Township. Eagle Crest Golf Course and Resort, a project Wilbanks oversaw from its beginnings in 1989, has matured into a top-flight facility, one of the most picturesque golf settings in southeastern Michigan.

So the next time I get a beer and a hot dog at the turn at Eagle Crest, I guess I’ll have to see some kind of picture of Wilbanks.

CMU Professor Hates Vacuum Cleaners

Or at least vacuum cleaner salesmen. From mLive comes “Police: CMU prof arraigned after shots fired at door-to-door vacuum salesmen.” Basically, it sounds like Robert Dale Lee, a professor at Central Michigan, really REALLY didn’t appreciate the door-to-door salesmen and he apparently took a couple of pot-shots at them as they were driving away. Here’s a quote from the end:

Student Anne Russ said she thought the note was a joke at first.

“We all thought it was fake until I asked the ladies in the office if it was really canceled,” said Russ, 23, of Port Huron.

Russ said they informed her that the note was real and the professor would contact students later.

Smith said the university did not have an official statement ready since the matter remains under investigation with the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department. The allegations are a serious concern to the university, Smith said.

Deputies retrieved a 20-gauge shotgun, and police said they believe alcohol is a factor in the incident. No one was injured, police said.

“Student loan repayment changes will make almost 200,000 Michiganders eligible to ‘pay as you earn’”

In national higher ed news comes “Student loan repayment changes will make almost 200,000 Michiganders eligible to ‘pay as you earn,’” which is the Michigan angle on a federal change in student loans. A quote:

The president signed an executive memorandum on Monday expanding eligibility for the “Pay As You Earn” repayment plan for federal student loans, making the plan available to borrowers with loans made prior to 2011.

That change is expected to affect about 192,000 of Michigan’s more than 1.5 million student loan borrowers, a report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers and Domestic Policy Group states.

The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan caps payment amounts for borrowers at 10 percent of discretionary income, based on earnings and family size, and lowers payments substantially compared to the standard 10-year repayment plan. Borrowers on the PAYE plan also have 20 years to pay back their loans, but will pay more in interest over that period.

 

“EMU official Leigh Greden to become chief of staff for U.S. Rep. John Dingell”

The mLive headline pretty much sums this up: “EMU official Leigh Greden to become chief of staff for U.S. Rep. John Dingell.” Here’s a quote:

“I love working at Eastern Michigan University, but the congressman asked me to join his team and it was too good of an opportunity to turn down and I’m excited at the chance to work with him and work with the people he represents in Southeast Michigan,” Greden said.

Since he is retiring, I have to assume that Greden is working for Dingell for now but is planning on working for Debbie Dingell, assuming she wins the primary and election.

Well, good luck to Greden. I can’t really tell you what he did when he was here, so I have no idea if he’ll be missed or not.

Board of Regents News: Tuition, Financial Aid, Safety/Security Upgrades

Seems like we’re in that time of the year where nothing is going on– until everything is going on.

Anyway, let’s start with a  summary of some of the news from the Board of Regents meeting the other day:

  • Tuition is going up 3.2%, which means if you’re an in-state undergraduate taking 30 credits, you’ll pay just shy of $10K in tuition.
  • 70% of the budget at EMU comes from tuition. I think that’s significant to remember because it wasn’t that long ago (okay, maybe as long as 20 years ago, but still) that percentage was less than half. So again, while higher education is more expensive now in part because of administrative bloat and spending on non-educational things (sports and cushy facilities, for example), college is also that much more expensive than it used to be because taxpayers are paying a lot less.
  • The press release EMU sent me of course emphasized the positive, “Eastern Michigan University increases financial aid and invests in academic programs while maintaining commitment to affordable education.” To quote from the press release, “The budget reflects a $4.6 million increase, or 11.7 percent, in University-sponsored financial aid over the previous year. Over the last seven years, Eastern’s financial aid has risen from $21.4 million in 2007-08 to $43.8 million in 2014-15.” So that’s a plus.
  • Of interest to this insider audience: the budget also includes 36 faculty hires for fall 2014, which doesn’t seem too bad but also seems down from the previous year.
  • As reported in mLive article and this press release, the board approved $1.7 million to be spent toward safety and security things– more patrols, more cameras, better lighting, but also a fair amount of money for “evacuation signage” and for those emergency defibrillator things. I wish/hope there was some money being spent on community relations and partnering with the Ypsi PD too.