December 7, 2021

Welcome to the 17th week of The University Insider. The end of the semester is right around the corner, and we at The Michigan Daily are looking forward to some rest and relaxation. 

This is the last edition of The University Insider in 2021. Over the last semester, we covered everything from the return to in-person classes, a potential lecturers’ strike and subsequent contract, the Anderson protestors who have been camped outside of University President Mark Schlissel’s house since October and more.

The University Insider will return to your inbox Jan. 4, but in the meantime you can stay up to date on all things University of Michigan by visiting our website. 

This week, students mourn the lives lost at Oxford High School, why the University keeps building lights on after hours, and Ann Arbor Public Schools among districts closing due to threats of violence on social media. 

Students gather on the Diag to pay their respects to the victims of the shooting at Oxford High School Thursday evening. Allison Engkvist/Daily. Buy this photo.

‘Right now, it is time to grieve’: Vigil held on UMich Diag commemorates victims of the Oxford High School shooting

Tealights lit the Diag on Thursday as community members gathered to mourn and commemorate those lost at Oxford High School. Organizers passed out candles to attendees before speakers shared messages of support with the Oxford community. 

“The reasons for our gathering, our shared experiences of trauma and loss to gun violence, are devastating,” Public Policy junior Alyssa Donovan said. “We are here today to relay our support for the community of Oxford, for my community and the community of so many here gathered today.”

LSA junior Mckenzie Miller also spoke, sharing how she is coping with the myriad emotions she feels following the shooting. 

“I know that many of us, myself included, are feeling a range of emotions these past few days,” Miller said. “Anger, confusion, resentment, denial, just sadness. And there will be time for all of those emotions to run their course and make these necessary talks and actions. But right now, it is time to grieve.”

Following the speeches, those gathered took a moment of silence before laying their candles on the steps of Hatcher, paying respects to the victims.

Design by Kristina Miesel.

Ever wondered why building lights stay on after hours at UMich? Here’s why.

Every night, after faculty and students have gone home and even the building staff have moved on for the night, the lights at the University continue burning just as bright. The decision seems to fly in the face of the University’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality. While the amount of electricity the lights use is not something the University tracks, CSG Vice President Carla Voigt believes the University can do more to save energy and turn the lights off.

Kevin Morgan, manager of the Energy Management Program at the Office of Campus Sustainability, said these lights are left on for safety. The Michigan Building Code, which sets standards for new construction statewide, requires emergency lighting allowing individuals to get through stairwells and hallways to an exit. The Code also requires these lights be kept on in an emergency.

Morgan said the University has made investments in sustainability, such as replacing older light fixtures with LEDs. While Voigt and others have discussed turning off the lights as a way to combat climate change, Morgan said doing so would be insufficient to reach the University’s stated climate goals.

“Everybody has a parent that’s told them to turn the lights off when they leave the room,” Morgan said. “I do with my own kids. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough to get where we want to be in terms of our goals and our carbon neutrality pursuit.”

Miles Macklin/Daily. Buy this photo.

Michigan looks forward to Georgia despite not receiving No. 1 ranking

After their 42-3 drubbing of Iowa on Saturday, the Wolverines made history and became the first team in history to make the College Football Playoffs after starting the season unranked. No. 2 Michigan now turns its attention to Miami Gardens, where they’ll face No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl. 

Some players, including senior edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, were disappointed in the team’s second seed considering the Wolverines’ back-to-back dominant performances against Ohio State and Iowa. Even so, Hutchinson and the rest of the team are turning to face a Georgia team that held the No. 1 spot all season before falling to Alabama in last weekend’s SEC championship game.

The Wolverines weren’t supposed to get this far. They were supposed to lose to any number of Big Ten opponents, most of all Ohio State. When asked at what point the Playoff berth became possible for the team, the players all echoed a sentiment unheard of outside of Schembechler Hall: We knew from day 1.

“I never actually gave up on this team,” sophomore receiver Roman Wilson said. “I thought we could be one of the best teams in the nation. Even when I committed here, I still believed that. And I want to say I’m not surprised but really happy with what this team has done.”

Dominick Sokotoff/Daily. Buy this photo.

Ann Arbor Public Schools to close Friday due to threats of violence on social media

Following the deadly shooting at Oxford High School, Ann Arbor Public Schools and other districts across the state closed due to reported threats of violence. AAPS Superintendent Jeanice Swift wrote in an email to families that they had received numerous threats over social media. Though the credibility of the posts had not been determined at the time of the email, Swift said “closing schools will allow school administrators and law enforcement an opportunity to investigate all reported concerns.”

Four students were killed and six were injured in the shooting at Oxford High School. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced last Wednesday that the suspect, Ethan Crumbley, will be tried as an adult and face first-degree murder and terrorism charges.

Courtesy of Riley Hodder

SACUA hears from Schlissel about Winter semester plans, discusses felony disclosure policy

The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs met Monday to discuss recent changes to University policies. University President Mark Schlissel attended the meeting and told the committee cases remained higher than he liked, though the University’s resources are not overwhelmed.

Schlissel also said the University is monitoring CDC guidance regarding booster doses and, if guidance changes, the University will update its vaccine mandate as well. He also told the committee plans for next semester will be similar to Fall 2021. SACUA passed five resolutions during their October meeting calling for stricter COVID-19 protocols in classrooms.

SACUA later discussed the Felony Disclosure Policy, which was revised when the University removed two questions regarding applicants’ felony convictions from the employment application. J. Caitlin Finlayson, Senate Assembly vice chair and associate professor of English Literature at U-M Dearborn, expressed further concerns about the issue of racism in the implementation of the policy.

“This entire policy was created around reactivity to one person,” Sara Ahbel-Rappe, Senate Assembly member and Classics professor, said. “The University went on fine before that, and even since that has had plenty of serial rapists in its midst. So why do this? Why discriminate?”

Design by Sonali Narayan

What the University should do about Bobby Kotick’s dirty money

In April 2021, among a flurry of media coverage surrounding accusations of workplace discrimination and sexual harrasment at his company Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, who studied at the University, announced he was gifting $4 million to establish an esports minor jointly through the School of Information and School of Kinesiology. 

Reporting from the Wall Street Journal has revealed Kotick was aware of sexual misconduct at Activiation Blizzard for years, hid information about incidents from board members and has allegations against him that have been settled out of court. The history of misconduct at Activision Blizzard – the company that made Kotick rich – is too extensive to summarize in this newsletter. 

Yet, the University, which stands $4 million richer, has only made a singular comment on the matter: They are keeping the money.

Daily Arts Writer M. Deitz calls for the University to more deeply consider using the money to bring about an esports minor and all its merits. As for Kotick himself, Deitz says he should resign and not be celebrated. 

The University did not release a COVID-19 update this week, but cases rose some after beginning to plateau; 159 cases were preliminarily reported for the week beginning Nov. 28, up from 124 the week prior. Testing is slightly higher but positivity is up as well, reaching 2.2% compared to 1.3% the week before.

Quarantine and isolation housing occupancy has declined after peaking in mid-November. This week, occupancy is at 8.7%, up from 3.1% on Nov. 29.

Last week of The Michigan Daily print edition

This Wednesday will be the last print edition of The Michigan Daily for 2021. Grab a copy of our sports front page commemorating the Wolverines’ first Big Ten Championship in 17 years starting Wednesday. We will resume print publication next semester.

For up-to-the-minute news on the issues most important to faculty and staff, check our website and social media.

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