October 26, 2021

Welcome to this week of The University Insider. We hope you had a restful Fall Break and are settling back into your daily routines.

This week, unvaccinated employees will face loss of pay or potential termination for failing to comply with the University of Michigan’s vaccine mandate by end of the semester, Michigan and Michigan State meet in a top-10 matchup with national implications, and the University of Michigan grows in its headcount and its wallet.

As always, if you enjoy getting weekly University updates, share this link with others to subscribe!

Maddie Fox/Daily. Buy this photo.

Unvaccinated faculty, staff to face termination by the end of semester if not exempt

The University is putting in place strict vaccination compliance measures for faculty and staff at all three of its campuses after five weeks of higher positive case numbers seen in these populations compared to the student population. University officials believe only a few hundred employees have not complied with the vaccination mandate, most of them in temporary positions.

Staff have until Nov. 8 to comply with the University’s vaccine mandate, or they will not be able to work or receive pay for 30 days. Any staff who remain unvaccinated and don’t have an exemption by Dec. 8 will be terminated. Meanwhile, faculty who are unvaccinated at the end of the semester will be placed on leave for 30 days. Those who continue to be noncompliant “will be subject to the applicable dismissal process.” These sanctions also apply to unvaccinated faculty and staff with an exemption who have been noncompliant with the weekly testing requirement for unvaccinated individuals. 

The rules do not apply to bargained-for employees such as Michigan Medicine nurses who are exempt from the mandate under their collective bargaining agreement with the University. Other Michigan Medicine employees who do not comply with the mandate will be subject to the health system’s “standard discipline study” starting Nov. 1. That process begins with a verbal warning and culminates in termination. 

A matchup with eighth-ranked Michigan State stands as Michigan’s toughest test to date and will reveal whether the Wolverines are legitimate contenders. Madeline Hinkley/Daily. Buy this photo.

SportsMonday: In biggest game between rivals in decades, Michigan faces its first real test

For the first time since 1964, Michigan and Michigan State will face each other as top 10 teams in a game that has implications for the Big Ten and College Football Playoff races. The Wolverines and Spartans enter Saturday’s matchup as two of only nine undefeated teams in college football. Both teams are considered playoff contenders, but neither has faced a team currently ranked in the top 25. This weekend will provide the programs with their most difficult test of the season. Michigan State comes into this weekend with an explosive offense, while Michigan has become known for an unpopular if effective offensive style, led by running backs Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins. Beyond the national implications, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is looking for a win in a tough rivalry game, the type that have dogged him in seasons past.

“All focus is there,” Harbaugh said after last weekend’s Northwestern game. “When you (sports reporters) walk through that door I am going to answer some questions about this game, but it’s on to that game right now.”

Alec Cohen/Daily. Buy this photo.

UMich enrollment tops 50,000 for the first time in history

This fall, the University reported enrolling over 50,000 students for the first time in U-M history. As other universities struggled with attracting students amid the pandemic, the University received 79,743 applications, of whom 16,071 were offered admission. Of those, 7,290 enrolled at the University. 

The class of 2025 is also more diverse than previous classes, with a 48% increase in Latinx enrollment to 640 students and a 32% rise in Black student enrollment to 404. Low Black and Latinx enrollment has prompted criticism from student organizations. The backlash was particularly strong when the University announced a decision to end the Provost Award, designed to provide full demonstrated need to some out-of-state students.

Dominick Sokotoff/Daily. Buy this photo.

UMich endowment grows 40.6% to $17 billion

Chief Financial Officer Geoffrey Chatas announced the University’s endowment grew a record 40.6% to $17 billion in fiscal year 2021, which ended this June. The endowment is an agglomeration of over 12,000 donor funds, part of which are reserved for specific purposes such as buildings, scholarships and professorships. The opaque distribution formula led to student criticism after the regents voted to approve a 1.9% tuition increase for the 2020-2021 school year in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Allison Engkvist/Daily. Buy this photo.

Schlissel responds to Anderson survivors at Regents meeting, protestors frustrated with lack of acknowledgement

At Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting, University President Mark Schlissel acknowledged the survivors of University doctor Robert Anderson. One of those survivors, Jonathan Vaughn, has been camped outside of Schlissel’s home on South University Avenue since Oct. 8, calling on Schlissel to meet with survivors. After Schlissel’s comments at the meeting, Vaughn held a conference call in which he called out Schlissel for not engaging directly with survivors.

“I’ve never heard (Schlissel) speak to any Anderson survivors,” Vaughn said. “I was standing 100 feet from him yesterday. I know he knew who I was because we were standing on the sidewalk as he was walking toward his house, and he never spoke a word.”

Maria Deckmann/Daily. Buy this photo.

SACUA talks pay disparity among gender, race

The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs met Monday to discuss a request from its Committee on Anti-Racism for data regarding pay disparities among University faculty. Past analyses of pay disparities have focused on gender, prompting Committee members to ask for a similar study also examining racial disparities. 

“When I was chairing the Anti-Racism Committee, the issue of pay and pay equity came up,” Damani Partridge, associate professor of anthropology and Afroamerican and African studies, said. “In some departments, we found out there was already some kind of disparity between faculty, and that in this one department, all the Black faculty were the lowest paid.”

During the meeting, assembly members also discussed ways to implement motions from their Oct. 4 meeting. These motions advocated for additional COVID-19 precautions including restoring classroom notifications and providing more flexibility for instructors to work remotely as well as reforms to the University’s sexual misconduct policy. A revised policy took effect Oct. 1, and SACUA officials pledged to continue monitoring any future updates.

Design by Melia Kenny

Pixar moms: A deconstruction of MILF culture

Daily Arts writers Emmy Snyder and Madeleine Gannon explore the origins of the MILF, or “Mom I’d Like to F*ck,” and the evolution of the concept through the years, from 1999’s “American Pie” to Mrs. Incredible to Aunt Cass from Big Hero 6. They describe the brand of adolescent men that idolize the MILF and explain how changing beauty standards have ushered in the more voluptuous mothers currently omnipresent in Pixar films. Through the evolution of Pixar films, Gannon and Snyder examine how society undervalues mothers, considering them at once both sexual objects and caretakers who exist to serve and raise men who can’t take care of themselves.

As of Monday evening, 97% of students are fully vaccinated (with another 1% partially vaccinated and <.5% exempt) along with 97% of faculty and 88% of staff, bringing the overall employee vaccination rate to 89%. Two percent of employees have received an exemption, <.5% are in progress and 9% have either rejected the vaccine or have not submitted their proof of vaccination. Bargained-for employees, including nurses at Michigan Medicine, are not covered by the vaccine mandate. In Washtenaw County, 69.6% of residents 16 and older have been fully vaccinated.

Quarantine and isolation occupancy is 2.1%, with 6 students isolating due to a positive test result and 0 quarantining after an exposure. All of the Q&I statistics are constant from last week.

For the week beginning Oct. 17, the University preliminarily reported 34 positive cases from 3,464 tests, which marks a slight uptick in positivity from last week with cases plateauing while testing continues to decline.

Enjoying reading The University Insider? Check out the Daily’s other newsletter offerings: A2 Outlook, focused on Ann Arbor; the Daily Daily for the news you need every morning and the Weekly Roundup, our recap of the most important headlines each week. Subscribe to all three here!

© 2021 The Michigan Daily. All Rights Reserved.