On this week’s episode, EMU's Board of Regents reduces graduation credits, approves housing rates, and more, Students at Eastern Michigan University call for fraternities to be held accountable, and Food Gatherers partners with DoorDash for a grocery delivery program. I am your host Jacob Walter Kendrick and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.
Starting off, EMU's Board of Regents reduces graduation credits, approves housing rates, and more.
On February 17th, Eastern Michigan University’s Board of Regents held a meeting to announce a reduction of credits required for graduation, housing and meal plan rates for the 2022-23 school year, as well as EMU’s Social Justice Center Pilot Year, and more.
The Board of Regents revised a policy that will change the required amount of credits to graduate from 124 semester hours of academic credits to 120 academic credits at the 100-level and above. The policy revision applies to each curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree.
The Board of Regents also approved an increase in housing rates for campus residence halls and apartments by an average of 3% for the 2022-23 academic year.
In addition, a reduced differential for single rooms costs $1,600 a year over the cost of a double room, which is an increase from the $1,000 price differential in the 2021-2022 academic year yet below the $2,500 surcharge for a single room in the 2019-2020 academic year.
Meal-plan rates are set to increase by 4.78% in the 2022-23 academic year, allowing the university to invest in the maintenance of high-quality food offerings in EMU’s dining facilities, according to the university.
The university notes that both increases in housing and meal-plan rates are less than the cost of inflation, an effort to alleviate as much financial burden off EMU students.
The Board of Regents also held a presentation to introduce The EMU Civil Rights & Social Justice Center Pilot Year. The project aims to engage with contemporary and historical civil rights and social justice issues, as well as to partner with local government and community organizations for change.
The project also plans on providing workshops, training, and forums to promote student engagement with civil rights and social justice research and work. Its goals include speaking about civil rights today, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshop, professional development, building relationships and collaborations, preserving civil rights history, a policing and social justice roundtable, and student scholars working across geographic boundaries.
Documents from the Board of Regent’s meeting can be found on EMU’s website.
Next, Students at Eastern Michigan University call for fraternities to be held accountable.
The Sexual Assault and Rape Awareness, an independent student organization at Eastern Michigan University, plans to hold a rally to demand justice for the victims of sexual assault on EMU’s campus and those affected by members of Delta Tau Delta.
The rally will start at the EMU student center and is open to all survivors and anyone against sexual assault and will consist of speeches from members of S.A.R.A. and victims of DTD who will share personal stories and experiences.
S.A.R.A. at EMU has previously organized two protests, held Thursday, Sept. 16, and Tuesday, Oct. 19, calling for the University to take swift action regarding the sexual assault cases on campus and hold Greek life accountable in an ongoing Title IX lawsuit that DTD is listed under.
Abbi Francis, S.A.R.A. President, and EMU Freshman said to the Echo: “I think this rally is incredibly necessary. It’s a symbol of the fact that even months after our first protest, we are still present, and still working to hold the abusers accountable.”
DTD has been linked to the 24 individuals suing EMU and two other fraternities and a sorority for reports of sexual assault. The lawsuits accuse EMU and Title IX of turning a blind eye to the culture of sexual assault on campus.
There are numerous police reports filed against the fraternity. The lawsuit against DTD, spearheaded by Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit, claims that the fraternity house poses a “a severe ongoing risk to public health and safety” and should be declared a public nuisance.
Abbi Francis said to the Echo: “We have new insight into the Delta Tau Delta chapter from an ex-member, and it is horrifying. I cannot understand how this student group is still operating and even still affiliated with EMU. This proves that there is so much more that happens behind that closed door of that fraternity house,”
Although these protests are done to denounce many Greek life organizations, S.A.R.A. wants to assure that they are not wholly against the idea of them.
Noula Limberopoulos, S.A.R.A. social media manager, said to the Echo: “I think this somewhat has forced S.A.R.A. to clarify that we are not anti-Greek life. We are anti sexual assault. We have been slowly getting in contact with more sororities that are vocally anti-sexual assault, and I’m sure this will continue in the coming months. I think this will level out some of the harassment we’ve been dealing with from fraternity and sorority members who do support DTD.”
Issues of sexual assault on the EMU campus do not stop at DTD. Francis has spoken to many other students who have shared their Greek life experiences. She firmly believes that students and survivors who have put their trust in the EMU administration deserve justice.
Francis said to the Echo: “We are not after revenge–we want change and awareness on these issues. Students and survivors deserve a million times better,”
Finally,nFood Gatherers partners with DoorDash for a grocery delivery program.
Food Gatherers, an Ann Arbor-based food bank and food rescue program, partnered with DoorDash to deliver groceries to food-insecure households in Washtenaw County.
DoorDash’s Project Dash program has been addressing the issue of grocery delivery to people in food-insecure households due to transportation or health barriers. Project Dash has been operating since 2018 and has delivered more than 21 million meals in over 900 cities in the U.S. and Canada.
Now, DoorDash is partnering with the Food Bank Council of Michigan to deliver food to Michigan families and seniors.
In 2021, 42,450 individuals in Washtenaw County faced food insecurity, including 6,090 children. The pandemic has greatly impacted food insecurity for American families; as more than 38 million people experienced food insecurity in 2020.
Eileen Spring CEO of Food Gatherers said to the Echo: “Many people for the first time during the pandemic needed food assistance. All of sudden we couldn't have volunteers or contact with people who needed food. Many of our partners pivoted and adapted. Home delivery was a big part of that... The need for home delivery pre-existed the pandemic but was greatly exacerbated during the pandemic.”
DoorDash’s partnership with the Food Bank Council of Michigan is piloting multiple programs along with Food Gatherers to help with food insecurity and delivery. This includes Michigan Food Bank, Gleaners, and additional food banks in Michigan joining overtime.
Food Gatherers has been serving Washtenaw County since 1988. It is an independent nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors and 35+ staff members and thousands of volunteers. In 2021, they distributed 9 million pounds of food to people facing food insecurity.
More information about Food Gatherers can be found on their website.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode of the Eastern Echo News Podcast.
Reported: Cedrick Charles, Tori Walz, Marie White
Scripted: Tre Briscoe
Produced: Tre Briscoe
Host: Jacob Kendrick