SGA election results released, a "new" provost and grad regalia cyber attack

Plus headlines from Chicago and across the country

Hey y’all! Welcome back to your Monday newsletter. Your team — Francesca, Claire, Cam, Robin, Elly, Kate and Aneesah — are back for another week of updates, headlines and more. 


A Look a DePaul’s New(ish) Provost

On May 7, Interim Provost Salma Ghanem was appointed by DePaul’s Board of Trustees to the permanent position of university provost. 

Before entering her position as interim provost, Ghanem served as acting provost between October 2018 and July 2019. Prior to that, she had served as a professor and dean for the College of Communication. 

In an emailed response, Ghanem outlined her goals for the university during her first months as provost. 

“I [have] outlined several top priorities. These include the need for the entire DePaul community to work together using transparency and communication, a focus on how the university will look post pandemic, incorporating the mission into everything we do, and looking critically at and finding solutions to improve student continuation and success,” wrote Ghanem. “I’m thrilled to be able to work on all these goals in my role as provost.”

In a statement released by the university, Board Chair Gerald Beeson expressed the overwhelming support for Ghanem from the university community.

“The strong positive feedback we received from across the university community demonstrated tremendous support for Salma. With unanimous support from the Board of Trustees, we look forward to her contributions to DePaul over the years to come.” 

But not everyone has voiced support of Ghanem’s election to this position. 

In late April, communication scholars from outside DePaul demanded Ghanem’s resignation, citing a history of systemic racism within the College of Communication.

The criticism, published in a petition, specifically cited the cases of Drs. Sydney Dillard and Lisa Calvente — both of whom have filed claims related to racial and ability-related discrimination. 

Responding to the criticism, Ghanem wrote about the need for the university to improve its relations with those in the BIPOC community.

“DePaul’s leadership team agrees that the university can and must do better to improve the climate and success of faculty, staff and students of African descent at DePaul. We continue to examine these issues and [are] finding areas for improvement.”  

It remains unclear what improvements Ghanem and the rest of the administration have planned, however she did note that “diversity, equity, and inclusion” were among her “top priorities” as provost.


DePaul News 

The results are in! Last week, the Student Government Association held their Spring 2021 election. The results can be found on SGA’s website

Two referendums were voted on during this election. The first referendum asked students if they supported DePaul’s 25 percent tuition discount for members of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Out of 612 votes, 83 percent voted no, against support of the tuition discount. The second referendum asked students if they supported a quarterly $5 sustainability fee that would fund a coordinator, two student assistants, an office space renovation and four student-led projects. Eighty-three percent of voters said yes, supporting the $5 quarterly charge. More information on the referenda and its results can be found here

The Board of Trustees voted to appoint Sherri Sidler as executive vice president. Sidler has been serving as interim executive vice president since January 1. In this position, Sidler will serve as the university’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. 
The budgets for fiscal years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 were approved by the Board of Trustees. For most students, there will be a two percent tuition increase each fiscal year according to Newsline. More information about the budgets can be found here. 

Last Thursday, graduating students received an email that Herff Jones, the vendor for DePaul’s graduation regalia, experienced a cyber attack. This resulted in some students reporting fraudulent charges ranging from a few dollars to $500, according to the DePaulia

The CDC has released new guidelines for fully vaccinated people, but DePaul has kept its policies regarding masks the same. Masks are required at all times when on campus in both indoor and outdoor areas.


Chicago Headlines

  • Applications for state rental assistance are now open through June 7, Block Club Chicago's Kelly Bauer reports. Tenants who have faced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic may now qualify for up to 15 months rent free as part of Governor Pritzker’s plan to phase out Illinois’ extended ban on evictions, or eviction moratorium by this August.

  • Over the weekend, an anonymous complaint by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) staff alleged Dr. Stephanie Jones — the head of CPS’ special education department — engaged in “bullying and intimidation” with fellow staff. Kelly Garcia of the TRiiBE has the scoop. 

  • Thousands of Chicagoans took to downtown streets Sunday to protest the recent Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, according to NBC5 Chicago.

  • Live shows may be on their way back this fall as Pitchfork Musical Festival announced its return to in-person concerts slated for the September 10-12 weekend. Festival-goers would be required to provide proof of vaccination, produce a negative test result and wear masks while attending. Headliners include Erykah Badu, Phoebe Bridgers, Jamila Woods, St. Vincent and more.


National Headlines

  • There’s tension between Democrats over the Palestine and Israeli conflict according to The New York Times. While President Biden gave Israel his support from a policy perspective, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenged Biden, advocating for Palestinians' right to survive. Representative Cori Bush spoke out and said that she and those aligned with her in the party will continue to fight for the rights of people in Palestine and Ferguson, Missouri. Representative Rashida Tlaib (who is Palestinian-American) reminded colleagues they’re human while condemning apartheid.

  • The Associated Press reports that AP’s top editor is calling for a probe into the Israeli airstrike that destroyed the AP and Al-Jazeera’s office building in Gaza City. The Israeli military gave AP journalists an hour to evacuate and claimed Hamas used the building for intelligence and weapons development. Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor said journalists were “rattled,” but are fine.

  • CNN reports that CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has lifted mask requirements for vaccinated people and updated guidance for unvaccinated people. Unvaccinated people, including people younger than 12, still need to wear masks. Walensky says unvaccinated people need to be honest with themselves as restrictions continue to be lifted.

  • Police reform is colliding with voters’ fears according to The Washington Post. Across the country elections for mayor, district attorney and Congress are underway. These elections will serve as a test of how far people support police reform. Eric Adams, Brooklyn’s borough president and New York City mayoral candidate, said his 22-year career as a police officer has been an asset and believes activists are out of step with his base.


Recommendations

Nicki Minaj is BACK! She just re-released her 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty with three new tracks, including one with longtime collaborators Drake and Lil’ Wayne. It’s so crazy to me that this mixtape is still so timeless, and I’m completely obsessed with “Fractions,” which shows Nicki at her most cocky and powerful. I hope that this mixtape is setting us up for a new album and I’m anxiously looking forward to more as the year goes on. | Aneesah Shealey


That’s all from us, everyone! We’ll see you back here next week. 

Francesca, Claire, Cam, Robin, Elly, Kate and Aneesah