“EMU student receives $80K national grant to study public policy”

From mLive comes “EMU student receives $80K national grant to study public policy,” which is about EMU student Trevis Harrold. Here’s a quote:

Now a senior at EMU, Harrold, 21, a Saginaw native, was recently awarded an $80,000 fellowship grant to continue his graduate studies as he works towards a career in the U.S. Foreign Services.

“I am not sure where I will attend graduate school, but I do know I will study public policy and public service wherever I go,” Harrold said. “The thing that fascinates me about this career is that people come to us for help and I really take pride in helping others.”

As one of 20 students to win the Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, Harrold will be able to use the money to pay for tuition and other expenses at EMU for his final year and the rest of the money will be used during his first year of graduate school.

Harrold is the first EMU to ever receive the award.

Good for him!

“The 10 Craziest Playing Surfaces in Sports” makes EMU’s parking lot gray look kind of tame

Viat the Facebook this morning, I came across “The 10 Craziest Playing Surfaces in Sports” from a site called “Stack.” Here’s what they said about EMU:

What do you do when your program hasn’t won a conference title since 1987 and hasn’t had a winning season in nearly two decades? Give it a makeover, of course.

This summer, Eastern Michigan decided to install gray turf, to symbolize the program’s new dedication to toughness. The idea was born when head coach Chris Creighton told his team that they will compete against “anyone, anytime and anywhere . . . even on a parking lot.” Now Eastern Michigan will play on a field that actually looks like a parking lot.

The piece goes on to share some even stranger basketball courts and football fields and the St. Patrick’s day green-dyed ice of a Kalamazoo minor league hockey team. My personal favorite is the Central Arkansas football field which is “alternating sections of purple and silver turf and black end zones.”


More on the EAA, and is WEMU a non-journalistic tool?

Two additions to the ongoing EAA saga, one with a twist: First, there’s “Designed to lift schools from bottom, EAA yields decline and stasis” from The Michigan Citizen. Not much new here from other things we’ve heard, that most of the EAA schools are doing poorly. It does feature a picture of a stoic Rick Snyder though.

The second piece comes from WEMU: “Eastern Michigan University Professor Concerned With Schools Ties To Charters” is a short and straight-forward report about what we’ve been talking about here for what seems like years, that EMU has gotten itself involved with some pretty dubious things for some dubious reasons when it comes to the EAA and charters. It’s a piece just over a minute long and features a quote from Steve Wellinski.

Here’s the twist: that link for the WEMU story is actually from a Google webcache because as of this morning, the link on the WEMU page is blocked for some reason– “access denied” it says.  What does that mean? Is WEMU in reality a non-journalistic tool that kills an innocuous story like this one because of some intervention from some administrator/BOR member? Or is it just some internets snafu and it’s a coincidence that this is happening with a story like this?

I don’t know. I posted something along these lines on Facebook and Geoff Larcom (who is indeed a FB friend) commented “Well, one thing is for sure. EMU admin and the BOR would not influence such a decision. WEMU is an independent journalistic entity. I oughta know — I am often answering challenging questions from them.”

I hope he’s right and I hope the “access denied” thing gets fixed and I can officially answer my question about WEMU “no, of course not.” Let’s see what happens. In the meantime, enjoy the just over one minute story via the link I’m sharing here.

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival this weekend

I just found out that this weekend is the annual Ypsilanti Heritage Festival.  Check out their web site.

I’m not a big fan one way or the other of the Heritage Festival– it seems to me like it’s still seeking some kind of unifying theme. But jeez, they sure could do a better job of promoting this thing. I found out about it in the “things to do around town this weekend” blurb on mLive.

“Movie Night at The Factory Set for August 25″

Here’s kind of an odd one, IMO: EMU is going to be hosting “Movie Night at the Factory” on August 25 in Rynearson Stadium “The Factory.” Here’s a quote:

Fans can vote between Frozen, Gravity, Monsters University and Rise of the Guardians to be the film shown on that Monday evening. Voting will be available on EMUEagles.com until mid-afternoon Thursday, Aug. 14.

Attendees will be asked for a $5 donation, which 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association.  All seating will be on the turf and fans are encouraged to bring blankets to sit on, while furniture of any type will be prohibited. Concessions will be available for purchase and the money raised through concession sales will be donated to the American Heart Association as well.

Okay, so for five bucks, I can go to the football stadium to watch a movie while sitting on the new “‘EMU Gray’ FieldTurf” (as the article calls it)– but don’t bring a lawn chair or something because that would mess up the turf, so I’m going to be watching a 2 hour movie sitting on the ground. Really?

And how does 100% of the proceeds get donated? How is the EMU athletics department paying for stuff like basic security and the film itself?

“Demarius Reed’s killer sentenced: ‘I apologize to the family’”

From mLive comes “Demarius Reed’s killer sentenced: ‘I apologize to the family.’” Here are the opening paragraphs:

A judge sentenced a 20-year-old Detroit man who admitted to shooting and killing Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed last year to 18 to 30 years in prison Tuesday.

Kristopher Pratt stood Tuesday before Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Donald Shelton and offered a small remark on his own behalf.

“I apologize to the family,” Pratt said after several moments of hesitation with little emotion in his voice.’

Oddly, Pratt apparently made some kind of motion on his own behalf that he thought he had been unfairly coerced into the plea deal that actually lead to Pratt’s partner Ed Thomas being found not guilty. That didn’t go very far.

EMU and charter school snafus continue

A couple of loyal readers sent me this news. From mLive the Ann Arbor edition comes “At risk of suspension, EMU reaffirms pledge to address performance issues in its charter schools.” A quote:

Eastern Michigan University says it has been taking steps to address academic performance issues in some of the schools it authorizes throughout the past two years, and that it does not have plans to authorize new charter schools.

EMU is among 11 charter school authorizers in Michigan at risk of having their ability to open new schools suspended, state officials announced Monday.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said the 11 of 40 charter school authorizers in the state had deficiencies in their oversight of the schools they authorize. Academic performance, contracts that don’t meet state requirements and issues identified in recent audits are among the criteria used to target authorizers.

As one loyal reader pointed out, the EAA is also on the list, so it’s kind of like EMU made the list of bad charter school authorizers twice. Education first!

And if you really want to wade into the comments and debate about the viability (or lack thereof) of charter schools, check out this other mLive article, “11 Michigan charter school authorizers ‘at risk’ for suspension, education department announces.”

“N.C.A.A. May Let Top Conferences Play by Own Rules”

I heard this story this morning on NPR, but here’s a link to a story in the New York Times about this, “N.C.A.A. May Let Top Conferences Play by Own Rules.”  Here are the opening paragraphs:

The universities with the country’s most prominent athletics programs are expected to gain preliminary approval Thursday to break away from some of the strictures of the N.C.A.A., a significant change that would give them more freedom to govern themselves and could allow athletes to share in the wealth of college sports.

Under the proposal, the N.C.A.A. would clear the way for sports powerhouses like Alabama and Ohio State to pay their athletes a few thousand dollars more than what the current scholarship rules allow, loosen restrictions against agents and advisers, and revamp recruiting rules to ease contact with top prospects.

The so-called Big 5 conferences, with their glittering facilities and huge stadiums, have long existed in their own tier on the college sports landscape. But the vote Thursday would make their first-class status official, granting them greater autonomy from the N.C.A.A. rules that are currently applied evenly across 32 conferences and nearly 350 institutions in the N.C.A.A.’s top division.

Personally, I am all for this because I think it’s the beginning of accepting reality, that the EMUs of the world can simply not compete with the U of Ms of the world. So I think what that would mean is that conferences like the MAC might get a little more “real” about the level at which they are competing and schools like EMU might– might– stop burning tens of millions of dollars every year on athletics instead of things that actually impact students and learning.

“EMU needs to add Demarius Reed to the Ring of Honor at Rynearson Stadium, retire his jersey”

There’s a pretty good op-ed piece in The Eastern Echo, “EMU needs to add Demarius Reed to the Ring of Honor at Rynearson Stadium, retire his jersey” by Al Wilman.  And really, this idea comes from our fellow EMU bloggers at Eagle Totem; Jeremy Rosenberg wrote about that here back in late July. The idea is pretty basic: retire Reed’s number and list his name with other EMU greats at the top of the stadium. It certainly makes a hell of a lot more sense to me than burying Reed’s jersey in the field.

Here’s a quote from the op-ed I thought was particularly good:

Football coach Chris Creighton and his team took a step towards formally honoring Reed on July 18, while the new grey turf was being installed, by burying his jersey under it. Later that day, the first defendant in Reed’s death, Kristopher Pratt, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, taking a plea bargain in order to testify against Ed Thomas, who was found not guilty 10 days later.

In that case, the athletic department stayed quiet – issuing no statements, and even telling the Echo’s Drew Saunders and me that no statement would be issued, even after the final verdict was reached. That was definitely disappointing, but a deputy athletic director was hired earlier that afternoon, so it was a busy day.

Yeah, we’ll go with that.

Michael Valdes hired as CFO

From several sources– this article in mLive, which is basically this EMU press release– comes news that Michael Valdes will take over as the new Chief Financial (or Finance? not sure what the F stands for) Officer from the retiring John Lumm.

I knew that Lumm was retiring, but that wasn’t official and this hire was done fairly quietly. I guess that’s just as well since this isn’t a position that has a lot of contact with faculty and students directly. The only other piece of the puzzle/courtly drama that’s kind if interesting is it seems like Lumm had a lot of influence with Susan Martin and the like while he was in that role; will the “new guy” have the same pull? Oh, and Valdes will make $225K a year.