It’s a new year and a fresh season for news. What’s ahead for the campus and Ann Arbor community? Here’s what headlines you should look out for in 2013.
Around Ann Arbor
Students may have more options when doing basic shopping later this year as Walgreens plans to open a store in the former Michigan Book & Supplies building on the corner of South State and South University Streets. While a convenient location, students have voiced concerns about having a CVS Pharmacy, 7-Eleven and now Walgreens — all national chains — within a one-block radius.
Several high-end apartment buildings in downtown Ann Arbor will join Zaragon and Landmark. The Varsity, located on East Washington will cater to students and open in June. Meanwhile, Blimpy Burger is still looking for a new home after the University announced plans to purchase the property.
Internal fluxes in the Ann Arbor City Council mean changes for the city. The council added three new members, including Chuck Warpehoski (D-Ward 5), Sally Hart Petersen (D-Ward 2) and Sumi Kailasapathy (D-Ward 1). Additionally, veteran City Council members Margie Teall (D-Ward 4) and Christopher Taylor (D-Ward 3) and Mayor John Hieftje were re-elected to their seats this term. Council members will likely address the county’s participation in the Southwest Regional Transit Authority signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in December. After the City Council opted out of the Washtenaw Ride in November, the city will likely dismiss further attempts from the state to form a cross-county transportation network.
Absent from the city this year are public art installations. This is a change from previous years in which public art projects have been organized and displayed at locations around the city, including near the Ann Arbor Public Library, in West Park and in front of the City Hall. After voters decided against a proposal for a public arts tax — which would create a new program making it easier to show off temporary pieces of art — the council voted to dismantle the current program, Percent for Art. The ongoing public art projects, which may be the last, include a hanging sculpture in the lobby of the Justice Center and a rain garden project, which will be placed at an abandoned property on W. Kingsley Street in July or August.
Ann Arbor will have also more wiggle room, with a $1.3 million surplus expected in the 2013 budget, according to city officials. However, City Council members noted that the city expects higher expenditures in the future years and the money will likely be reserved to offset the loss.
The LSA theme for the winter term is “Race,” which was proposed by the Exhibit Museum of Natural History. This theme semester centers on the traveling exhibition at the museum, “Race: Are We So Different?” which was organized by the American Anthropological Association in partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota. The theme spans several interdisciplinary courses, from African American Studies to dance.
The MCubed research program will continue to announce grant winners in the upcoming months, putting into motion the University-funded programs. The grants are part of a $15-million University initiative to encourage multi-disciplinary research. The Twitter account of the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research will randomly post 50 accepted projects at a time.
The Law School reports that most of the second phase of construction on Hutchins Hall and the Legal Research Building is complete, which means that many faculty members will be able to return to their offices soon.
In the later part of 2013, East Quad Residence Hall will open its doors after intensive renovations for the 2013 Fall term, while South Quad Residence Hall will close for renovations. The nine-floor dorm will be adding utilities and improvements to the cafeteria and first floor. The absence of South Quad rooms will impact University Housing options for students.
In late November, Dartmouth College announced that University Provost Philip Hanlon would become their 18th president, a serious shake-up for the administration. For the University, 2013 brings the appointment of four new deans in the first quarter of the year. A search committee will be created to look for a new president of the University as Mary Sue Coleman’s contract expires in June 2014. The University’s Board of Regents has also scheduled the consideration and approval of tuition increases, which may happen in June.
The Coalition for Tuition Equality — a student group dedicated to improving tuition policies for undocumented students — will also announce the results of talks with University administration in February. The group, which protested at the Regents meeting on Dec. 12, is asking the administration to provide equal access to education by granting in-state tuition to many undocumented students from Michigan. University Spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said the regents expect to receive a report on tuition equality from the group in January.