John James Demands a SACRIFICE

Regular readers understand the elite lifestyle of ya boy B. Bunny by now. For the past two months I’ve been doing the usual, laying on the couch watching the news, eating Elfwiches and drinking wine. (To all the new folk: just know that I’m a seriously classy bitch.)

Anyway, this classy bitch has seen too much of the old boob-tube for the last few months, and I want to vent about all the seasonal political ads I’ve been involuntarily consuming in this cursed election year. So far, I’ve learned that Joe Biden will be kind to old people and that I won’t be safe in my home unless I vote for Donald Trump. But I’ve been more intrigued by the ads of John James, the Republican running for the Senate here in Michigan. 

Continue reading John James Demands a SACRIFICE

It’s Time For Student Organizers To Get The Goods

For college students across our state, the last few months have been rough. As many schools abruptly backtracked on their promises of in-person classes this fall, it was clear that pandemic life was far from over. While many fraternities foolishly decided it was business as usual, many of us had their hopes deflated. However, what many did not expect is that the shutdown would be far, far worse than just online classes and no (safe) parties. Over at Michigan, students tested for COVID-19 were forced to quarantine in apartments with virtually no supplies. More than 100 RAs declared that the conditions were unsafe. And while it would be easy to jeer at our normal axis of evil for being well, shit, this goes far beyond students’ usual issues with uncaring administrators. This was the University of Michigan putting their students’ safety and wellbeing in the direct line of fire.

The conditions at UM were so dire that on September 7th, the Graduate Employees Organization voted to strike. They demanded stronger COVID-19 remote work policies, as well as a 50% defunding of the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) into community policing measures. The latter is ambitious for any campus, but now is the time to push for it, especially with Black Lives Matter protests still lingering from the summer.

UM reacted to these demands with open hostility. After the GEO struck down their initial settlement, the administration moved forward with an injunction against the union. Given the options to either end the strike or risk millions of dollars in damages and the potential dissolution of their own organization, the GEO settled. The strike was over.

Now that the dust has settled, what can we make of this on our end? It’s not as if we don’t have things to protest over: last month, MSU RHS furloughed around 700 student workers with only around two weeks’ notice. Soon after, the Spartan Solidarity Network released a petition and a list of demands, but neither have led to any change in the university’s policy. Besides this, tuition fees have gone largely unchanged, even as COVID shuts everything down to a crawl. Now is the time to either crack open the endowment or find some other way to relieve students in need of a stipend. As it stands, MSU remains fully committed to stiffing the most valuable members of its community.

It’s helpful to remember that our organizations are far from powerless. Earlier this year, the MSU Graduate Employees’ Union (aided by hundreds of professors and ASMSU) took a firm stance against Stephen Hsu, the then-Vice President for Research and Innovation who had been called out for supporting scientific racism, sexism, and eugenics, among other issues. After nine days of pressure on the administration, President Stanley asked him to resign and he returned to his tenured professor position. That isn’t as sexy as, say, Hsu being fired and falling off the face of the earth, but it is a case of a successful campaign waged primarily by student organizers against MSU administration. Saying the words “general strike” could be too soon. It could also be a great act of hubris, given that the university could be as willing to play hardball with students as UM was. But I still reckon that there is the potential for something great to happen if student orgs can converge for real action on campus.

COVID-19 currently shows no sign of letting up. For as long as it continues, universities across the country are bound to make more decisions that put the livelihoods of their students in jeopardy. The lesson of the UM action is that the forces behind these decisions are strong, but also that the GEO and organizations alongside it were willing to throw down to preserve the rights of their students. This is a lesson that student organizers need to internalize as hard as they possibly can. If the opportunity arises, we need to be as ready as possible to seize it.

-L. Niño

Who Is The Holmes Hall RA?: O. Justice, Where Art Thou?

Editor’s Note: We regret to inform you that The Evening Look’s Holmes Hall correspondent O. Justice has found Jesus and now lends his extensive investigative talents to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. L. Squirrel has temporarily taken up the quest to discover the elusive Holmes Hall in his stead. This is the story of how we lost Justice. We eagerly await his return.

Read the first installment of the Holmes Hall series here.

Dark, wet, and dreary. The perfect weather. With my trenchcoat collar popped and a black bowler hat atop my head, I retain complete anonymity. I am one with the night, only visible by the smoky light of my vintage Woodrow Wilson pipe, custom-engraved with “Black Lives Matter”. I can stealthily drift across the campus of this mysterious institution, rivaling Sisyphus in my devotion to duty. The drizzling rain makes it easier to escape from the clutching grasps of the diabolical swine who roam these forsaken lands. They seek to muzzle me, to cover my mouth and suppress my speech by force. But I will not be silenced. As a wise man once stated, they merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. And men of the darkness do not wear masks.

The weather reminds me of a similar night many moons ago. The night when I became a pariah. But I was not searching for the place that currently occupies my every waking moment. I was searching for a person. I was searching for the foundational scholar of this column and the quest it entails — Justice himself. He had been missing for almost sixteen hours. He left at dawn that morning, stumbling half-naked off the second-floor balcony of our offices and proclaiming a breakthrough in the case. It was the second-to-last time I would ever see my friend. 

I knew something was terribly wrong when the clock struck eleven. He never missed an opportunity to lay back in the moldy reclining chair stolen from his grandmother’s estate sale, throw back some gin & tonic, and accuse Jimmy Kimmel of war crimes. His absence from this nightly ritual was a grim sign indeed. I set off immediately, searching for the obvious signs: a trail of discarded mini bottles of Fireball or the scent of cocaine cut with Annie’s white cheddar mac n’ cheese powder. I picked up a trail that took me in circles around a large, circular brick building, finally concluding by the statue of a man dribbling a basketball in shorts that revealed a disconcertingly large bulge. Perplexed, I wondered if it was indicative of a larger health issue. Fearing that all was lost, my attention was suddenly drawn to the gray-roofed quadrilateral complex to my east.

The building was surrounded by flashing lights, blinding me with their suddenness in my pitch-black surroundings. I had seen nothing like that since a forgotten day in Budapest many years ago. I walked up to the building, sneaking past the driverless cars to take a look inside. Peering through the foggy glass, I saw Justice for the last time. He was magnificent, riding a Zamboni in circles around the ice as he tossed popcorn at imaginary spectators, a Taiwanese flag draped from his shoulders. A field of broken glass littered the rink and a gigantic container of industrial lubricant lay sideways, spilling its contents into the west net. It was an ethereal sight, but it disappeared before I could truly comprehend its brilliance. A cadre of armed men swooped down from the rafters, tackling Justice to the ice. I turned away, unable to watch the scene unfolding before me. Justice may be blind, but I can see clearly now. The rain is gone. I can see all the obstacles in my way. They told us that Justice was put into rehab. They told us he was doing well; he discovered the Bible from some missionaries and was moving to Utah. But I know the truth.

You may have gotten my friend. Converted him to your coffee-less hullabaloo, filling another page in your binders full of men. But know this, o’ faithless guardians of Holmes Hall. I am coming. I will not cease. I am homeless, untethered to this mortal realm. And so I fear not the reaper as I throw glass at stone houses. And I will tear down the gates that guard this modern-day Forbidden City, unleashing its many gifts upon the world. I just have to find it first.

– L. Squirrel