On this week’s episode, EMU hosts its 42nd Undergraduate Symposium, EMU updates COVID-19 policies for face masks and daily health screenings, and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office releases a new online reporting system. I am your host, Jacob Walter Kendrick, and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.
Starting off, EMU hosts its annual undergraduate symposium.
The 42nd Annual Undergraduate Symposium was held on Friday, March 25, at the Eastern Michigan University Student Center where students were given the opportunity to showcase their research and creative projects.
EMU students presented their research and creative projects through oral presentations, poster presentations, and at the crossing lines design expo.
Event Coordinator Amy Bearinger said to the Echo: “The Symposium represents so much of what EMU is in regard to creating opportunities for student academic and professional success. The experiences our undergrads have as they prepare and participate in the event solidify their determination and commitment to excellence.”
From research projects in the fields of humanities, social sciences, and natural/physical sciences to performances and design-based projects, The Undergraduate Symposium offers students many different opportunities to showcase their work.
Eva Long, a junior studying Public and Nonprofit Administration, presented their research project titled “Balancing Free Speech and Inclusion on College Campuses” at the symposium. Long wanted to understand how EMU students think about free speech and how it should apply on our campus.
Long said to the Echo: “It's really important for me that all people regardless of what they think, or their background have the opportunity to express themselves without fear of being arrested, or ostracized, or heckled. However, I also acknowledge that some speech is harmful and degrading and poses a risk to marginalized communities, so we and public universities have to learn how to balance that.”
Students presented their work throughout the day, with topics ranging from “The Relationship Between Introversion/Extroversion & COVID – 19 Health Precautions” to “Sinister Programming: A Discourse Analysis of Fox News’ Rightward Blitz.” Further overview of student projects can be found here.
This year was the first symposium back in person since last year’s 41st Annual Undergraduate Symposium was held virtually for the first time ever to ensure safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Amy Bearinger said to the Echo: “We were thrilled to create a space where so many people could engage and connect with our students. While we feel our first ever online event was a success, there is something about welcoming everyone back to campus each spring to celebrate together. The energy, dialogue, and connections made as people journey through the projects showcased at the Student Center together is really something special.”
The 43rd Annual Undergraduate Symposium is expected to return next year with a tentative date set to March 31.
Next, EMU updates COVID-19 policies for face masks and health screenings.
Face masks will no longer be required in most indoor spaces on campus and daily health screenings will end beginning Monday, March 28, at Eastern Michigan University.
Face masks will still be required at the following places where people gather for extended periods of time:
Classrooms, labs, and other instructional spaces while class is in session
Large events, including the April commencement ceremony and the Undergraduate Symposium
The COVID-19 Testing Center, located in the EMU Student Center
EMU vehicles and other shared transportation, such as buses
Private offices, up to the office occupant's discretion
Daily health screenings, or the COVID Pass, will no longer be enforced. However, the university encourages students, faculty, and staff who are feeling sick to not attend class or work.
Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19, are exposed to someone who did, or have symptoms will still be required to report it to the university.
About 91% of EMU employees and 76% of students who regularly attend classes or activities on campus have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Non-vaccinated students and employees will need to continue submitting COVID-19 test results.
This decision was made after the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control classified Washtenaw County as having a “low” risk of transmission of COVID-19 amid lower case numbers, according to EMU.
Lastly, The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office releases a new online reporting system.
Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton announced a new service that will allow community members to file police reports for non-emergency crimes online with the sheriff’s office and the Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township, and Northfield Township police departments.
The new reporting system allows individuals to create simple non-violent incident reports. This will save law enforcement staff time while making more information available without having to dispatch a deputy. 9-1-1 should still be used in case of emergencies.
Washtenaw County residents can now report the following crimes online through the sheriff’s office:
Harassing phone calls
Accidental/Non-intentional property damage
The Ypsilanti Police Department’s online reporting system includes the above crimes, as well as the following:
Private property traffic crash - Parked unattended/returned to find had been struck
Barking / Nuisance Dog
After the online report is filed, the complainant will receive an email with a temporary reference number. The report will be reviewed within three to five business days. Once it is approved, the complainant will receive an email with the incident number and instructions on how to obtain a copy of the police report from the agency the incident was reported to.
Three options are available for non-emergencies: call the Washtenaw Metro Dispatch and request a deputy be sent to the location of the incident, make a report at the community police station, or file a report online.
The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office asks that all of the necessary information be made available at the time the report is filed. The online police report should include: the complainant’s name, address, birthdate, phone numbers, the time frame in which the incident occurred, how the complainant became aware of the incident, a description of what happened, the location of the incident, a detailed description of the property that was taken and/or damaged, and copies of account statements or other documents for cases involving identity theft.
Other non-emergency incidents should be reported to the Washtenaw Metro Dispatch at 734-994-2911 or by calling 9-1-1, in the case of an emergency.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode of the Eastern Echo News Podcast.
Reported: Cedrick Charles, Meghan Forystek, Breanna Harris
Scripted: Tre Briscoe
Produced: Chase Hunter
Host: Jacob Kendrick