Archive for the ‘UW campus’ Category

A landlord rating site soon?

February 4, 2010

A coalition of student leaders, including former Ald. Eli Judge, Ald. Bryon Eagon and blogger Danny Spirn are trying to make good on their mission to provide a site which allows student tenants to rate landlords in the area – much in the style of ratemyprofessor or similar rating websites. ASM approved the site as well as its $5,000 price tag last March, however, there still remain bureaucratic obstacles within the university system which have prevented the site from materializing.

In fact, a similar project undertaken by the Tenant Resource Center was allocated $50,000,  showed no visible signs of progress, and was finally effectively killed when SSFC voted to zero-fund its budget on Monday.

The group is scheduled to meet with UW administration officials on Feb. 12 to work out details and hopefully receive the necessary funding for the site.

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MSA president speaks against Ayaan Hirsi Ali

February 1, 2010

Reid Tice, director of the distinguished lecture series, sent me the following video by Rashid Dar, president of the Muslim Student Association, in which Dar speaks against anti-Islam speaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali coming to campus. In case you don’t know, Ali is speaking tomorrow night at the Union. It should be very interesting.

It’s hard to not sympathize with Dar, who confronts prejudice and ignorance on a regular basis as an American Muslim. In the video, he talks about how Muslim students go through this process every year, usually thanks to the College Republicans, who, under the leadership of Sara Mikolajczak, made it their tradition to recognize “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” Dar says that he thought, “due to changes in the Republican leadership,” he would be the lucky one who wouldn’t have to face implied accusations of conspiracy to commit murder, terrorism and general armageddon.

But he doesn’t explain what exactly is so hateful about Ali. She represents a very different brand than Horowitz and Spencer. From my very limited understanding of her works, she does not urge attacks on religion, she pushes for liberation from it. Any thoughts?

ASM business tomorrow

January 26, 2010

Tyler Junger, chair of the Associated Students of Madison, was kind enough to provide me with an agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.

Highlights:

New Business

Support for Haiti Day of Action, 16-0127-01

Press Office Assistant Director, 16-0127-02

Press Office Director, 16-0127-03

Press Office Webmaster, 16-0127-04

MIU Budget Transfer, 16-0127-05

I haven’t heard news yet of any more expulsions or impeachments, but ever since the Student Council put I wouldn’t be surprised if the new attendance requirements make removals a standard practice of ASM meetings.

UW to buy spot on Univ. Square

January 25, 2010

It looks like the multi-layered sports-bar monstrosity, whose absence breaks Ald. Bryon Eagon’s heart everyday, did not die in vain. The university has announced plans to purchase the land the restaurant would have been on. The McBurney Disabilities Resource Center and the Office of Admissions will set up shop there.

In my phone conversation with Eagon, the alder was glad that the land is going to be used for something, but expressed sadness at the multi-age entertainment facility that could have been. As I pointed out to him, Segredo’s, the “boutique bowling bar” which recently replaced Mad Ave, has very much the same schtick, and would likely have never existed had the Univ. Square bar worked out.

Plan Committee approves Mendota Ct apartments

January 25, 2010

The Plan Commission voted 5-2 to send a proposed high-rise apartment complex to the full Council for approval tonight. The only alder on the committee, Lauren Cnare, voted in favor.

The president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, which is located on Mendota Ct, came to the hearing to lobby against the eight story apartment building. Gene Devitts, president of the Mansion Hill neighborhood group within Capitol Neighborhoods Inc., had been gathering signatures of opposition in the area during the previous days.

UPDATE: Previously there was some awkward wording that made it look like Scott Resnick, president of State-Langdon Neighborhood Association, was the president of Beta. I apologize.

Ditch the University Bookstore

January 16, 2010

Tomorrow is the last chance to participate in the ASM book swap. Drop your books off at Gordon Commons, Room A2 between 10:30 and 3 p.m.

But even if that doesn’t work out, and you haven’t already bought your books online, and you’ve resigned yourself to being ruthlessly ripped off yet again, consider spending your money somewhere besides the University Bookstore. Many people don’t know that there are multiple stores in Madison that sell textbooks, and many of them have much more to offer than over-priced books and Bucky apparel.

I’m not talking about the Underground Textbook Exchange. As far as I know (and that’s not much) that place only exists to keep the University Bookstore honest. The price difference is rarely more than a matter of cents, and the store doesn’t offer anything interesting in addition.

I would encourage you to check out one of the independent bookstores. If for no better reason than to talk to people who will have some (or at least claim to have some) wild stories about the Madison of yore. That’s one of the benefits of visiting a store that sells a product which interests nobody below the age of 40.

Room of One’s Own Feminist Bookstore and the Rainbow Books Co-Op are such places. The feminist/leftist buzzwords can cause nausea after too long a time, but both places offer pieces of history and culture that make places like Madison interesting.

Those are two places to go for textbooks; there are still more places to go for literature or humanities courses. Much of your required reading for liberal arts courses can be found at Paul’s, Avol’s or Browzers. Of course, that’s only if you insist on spending money. Memorial Library has still more.

More crazy taxi drivers

January 14, 2010

Buses, taxis, and pizza delivery drivers. I’m convinced that triumvirate is the greatest threat to my safety in Madison.

Walking down Bascom yesterday around 2 p.m. I noticed the entire block of Park Street below Bascom blocked off by police squad cars. The only other vehicle left on the street was a parked taxi with a smashed windshield, a few items of clothing lying on the ground next to it. I had very little doubt anyway, but this incident report affirmed by suspicion.

This afternoon, around 12:20 p.m., Madison Police responded to a car versus pedestrian crash on North Park Street. The victim, a 74-year old Madison man, was in a crosswalk, at the base of Bascom Hill, when he was struck by a taxicab.

Last summer a Dominos (maybe Toppers?) driver hit and killed a pedestrian just outside of the Nitty. Last semester, I remember at least one instance of a city bus driver striking a bicyclist. I realize these people are driving more, making the chances of them getting into some sort of accident higher, but seriously, we all know how bus, taxi, and pizza delivery drivers are.

They drive way too fast and in irresponsible ways, especially around pedestrians. I don’t know what happened in this case, but I would be willing to bet a significant sum that a person driving a personal vehicle would not have struck this man.

UW ranked a best buy

January 4, 2010

Todd Finkelmeyer, who I realize has started to update the Cap Times higher ed blog, brought this piece of good news to the UW community:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is ranked as one of the best values in public education according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

For in-state students, UW-Madison ranked 14th on the website’s list of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2010.” It is the highest-ranked Big Ten Conference institution.

UW-Madison is ranked 15th for out-of-state students.

Any money on the first legislator to put out a press release lauding the recognition as evidence that no more public money is needed for UW? As Finkelmeyer points out, awards are exploited to send the university in the opposite direction.
But in the future, don’t be stunned if rankings like these are used by cash-strapped administrators to argue that tuition at Wisconsin’s flagship university is too low.

UW animal welfare investigation: Questions arise

January 3, 2010

Sifting and Winnowing:

Yesterday, January 1, 2010, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that UW-Madison has been cited for conditions found to be in violation of federal regulations governing animal research laboratories.  The citations followed from a surprise visit by federal inspectors sometime in December.

Why is this news relevant to the Graduate School restructuring plan?  Because the threat of exactly such citations and the risk of substantial fines or even loss of accreditation have been central to the provost’s case for the restructuring. That we have not yet seen a clear explanation of how splitting up the Graduate School solves this particular problem is beside the point.

Seen in this light, the timing is interesting.   The inspection by the Ofice of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) appears not to have been random but rather was likely undertaken in response to “allegations involving animal welfare brought to [OLAW’s] attention.”    We do not know who made the allegations.

It’s good to see these kinds of questions asked by bloggers. It’s this kind of analysis that is increasingly neglected by the impoverished local media.

Wiscmail still sucks

December 26, 2009

As I’m sure many of you have found out, UW took advantage of the break and implemented a new email system. The old one was bad in every way. It was slow, had very little space and was very difficult to navigate. Anybody who didn’t realize how incredibly backwards it was had not tried gmail.

The new version is possibly just as bad. It doesn’t load any faster and it seems to take up a lot of energy when it is loading. My computer has frozen twice already while it’s been loading.

Any thoughts? I don’t expect too many responses –– the numbers have indicated that many of you take Boxing Day way too seriously to spend time checking blogs. But if you are one of those people not celebrating the traditional holiday of the servants by eating cold cuts (wikipedia link above), please comment!