Booth Celebrates Ally Week on Campus

Last week (from October 8th through 12th), we celebrated Booth Ally Week on campus, which serves as an opportunity for Booth students to deepen their understanding of the experiences of others and encourages them to be out and visible as allies on campus and beyond.

Brazil’s Trump? Or a Fresh Start for a Corruption-weary Country? A Look at Brazil’s Election

On October 7th, Brazilians voted overwhelming for Jair Bolsonaro, leader of the Social Liberal Party (PSL). Bolsonaro, a former military captain whose rhetoric in his early career was extreme, has made numerous comments that could be considered sexist and homophobic and in 1993 said in a speech to Brazil’s lower house, “Yes, I am in favor of a dictatorship! We will never resolve grave national problems with this irresponsible democracy!”.

University of Chicago Kicks Off Inaugural Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration with Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa

The University of Chicago is celebrating its inaugural campus-wide Hispanic Heritage Month this September 15th through the end of October.

The celebration is made possible through an Inclusive Climate grant. Backed by the Vice Provost for Academic Leadership, Advancement and Diversity, Inclusive Climate grants are part of the University of Chicago’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.  Earlier this spring, a Pilot Something grant was awarded to launch the Hispanic Heritage Month series, with the hope of establishing it as formal annualized programming.

The introduction of the celebration is timely: The incoming University of Chicago undergraduate class of 2021 was comprised of 14% Hispanic or Latino students, and is expected to grow as the population continues to shift in the next decade. The surrounding Chicago community is also shifting – the last census statistics show that Chicago’s Hispanic population grew by 17,000 in a one-year period. For the first time, Hispanics are the second-largest ethnic group in the city. This means about 30 percent of the Windy City’s population is now of Hispanic or Latino descent.

In 2017, the University of Chicago made strides to support this critical, growing community. The institution urged the current White House administration to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and expressed a firm stance by sharing these efforts through university wide-communications. The University also welcomed 17 undergraduates, graduate students, visiting faculty from Puerto Rico who were displaced as a result of Hurricane Maria.

The Inclusive Climate grant seeks to build upon this momentum in providing additional forums for the University of Chicago to demonstrate that the Hispanic and larger immigrant community are active, essential contributors to its academic, professional, and extracurricular climate.
The Hispanic Heritage Month program aims to celebrate the many meaningful contributions of the Latino diaspora and unify the growing University of Chicago Latino community, while also connecting the University to the broader Latino population in Chicago.

On Tuesday September 25th, the University hosted a kickoff reception featuring Councilman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the first openly gay Latino elected to Chicago City Council. The reception was held at the Center for the Identity + Inclusion, which generously opened its space to the community for free for the event. Attendees included representatives from the Latinx student groups and LGBT groups including members of Booth’s OUTreach, as well as community partners including the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa is a lifelong Chicagoan who has served as a community organizer, congressional caseworker, and currently as the Thirty-Fifth Ward Alderman. He has led legislative efforts to win property tax relief for working class homeowners, paid sick leave for Chicago workers, equality for transgender people in public facilities, and accountability and transparency on municipal financial transactions. He is now working to return surplus TIF dollars to neighborhood public schools, and ensure Chicago is a city that welcomes and integrates immigrants. He is also a product of Chicago public schools. He received his high school diploma from Chicago's Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In his remarks, he encouraged students to remain civically engaged and connected to their heritage and communities.

The celebration is organized by the Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee, comprised of members from across the university, including graduate students and staff from the Booth School of Business, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the School of Social Service Administration. Members of the committee lead campus organizations such as the Hispanic American Business Student Association, the Coalition of Minorities, and the Hispanic/Latinx Resource Group.

The kick-off reception was one of a series of programs including Pachanga! to be held as the second part of the celebration. Hispanic Heritage Month also seeks to promote broader programming throughout the campus being hosted by other Latinx student groups. The Hispanic community is an integral part of the global leadership of the university, city, and nation in fields such as business and medicine – fields where the University of Chicago has always paved the way for the future.

On Tuesday, October 9th the Latino Medical Student Association of the Pritzker School of Medicine will be hosting a lecture by Dr. Ramón Gutiérrez on the Development of the Latino Identity in the United States. Dr. Gutiérrez is a Preston & Sterling Morton Distinguished Service Professor here at the University of Chicago and has authored countless works on the subjects of Chicano/Latin American history, colonial Latin America, and Mexican immigration.

On Friday, October 12th several organizations including The Latinx Student Association (LSA) of SSA, the Center for Latin American Studies, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and the Latino Policy Forum will be hosting a conversation with award-winning journalist Juan González. Gonzalez’s investigative reports on urban affairs, the labor movement, the environment, race relations and political troubles in Latin America have won widespread recognition, including two George Polk awards for commentary and a 2004 Leadership Award from the National Hispanic Heritage Foundation. He is a founder and past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and helped to found and lead both the the Young Lords Party during the late 1960s and the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights during the late 1970s.

We encourage students to continue to engage in this inaugural university-wide Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and support the University of Chicago in continuing to be a clear, committed voice in celebrating the scholars and students who fulfill the highest aspirations in research, education, and business at one of the country’s foremost institutions of higher education.

Kavanaugh Confirmed After Weeks of Drama, Investigations, Partisanship

By Sonal Somaiya


In case you missed it, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed on October 6th, by a 50-48 vote of the Senate to be appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court. One of the most prestigious and coveted positions in government, an appointment to the Supreme Court is for life, and is highly dependent on the sitting President, administration, and Congressional allies. His confirmation marks the end of a tumultuous time both on the Hill and around the country as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a childhood acquaintance of Judge Kavanaugh, came forward with allegations that he attempted to sexually assault her at a party in the summer of 1982 while they were both in high school. She initially sought to keep the audience of her allegations private by requesting anonymity in a written letter outlining her concerns to her Representative, passed on to select Senators on the Judiciary Committee. She later felt compelled to come forward publicly, through requests from both parties, and deliver an emotional and powerful testimony in front of the Committee and the nation.

Though a Supreme Court nomination is expected to be contentious and reflective of the majority party’s influence and policy objectives, this confirmation played out differently than most given the sensitive nature of the allegations brought forth by Dr. Ford and the #MeToo movements happening across industries and touching all aspects of society. For one, the hearings were broadcast on most major news stations and commentators representing both parties covered the testimony extensively. This underscores the recent sensationalization of political decisions in this era. The politics of the Trump administration have played out like a soap opera with hirings and firings each week and a running political commentary from the President available to us via Twitter feed. This wasn’t the first time such allegations have come forth in a Supreme Court confirmation process – only 27 years ago, during Judge Clarence Thomas’ confirmation process, law professor Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment. Judge Thomas was also subsequently confirmed as a Supreme Court justice and we find ourselves in a similar situation today.

Friday’s decision to continue forward with Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process despite Dr. Ford’s claims of sexual assault and Justice Thomas’ similar experience reflect a willingness to overlook allegations of sexual assault in the face of a greater political opportunity. Interestingly, throughout the testimony, many Republicans were careful not to cast a doubt on Dr. Ford’s testimony; many of them began their questioning with statements like “I believe you”, indicating that they were at least somewhat willing to hear her testimony with an open mind. Regardless of whether the Committee members believed her or not though, the votes proved that members were still willing to push Judge Kavanaugh through the process regardless of the doubts raised by Dr. Ford’s allegations or his own self representation during the hearings.

This outcome adds to the litany of incidents where victims of sexual assault do not necessarily see their attacker convicted due to insufficient evidence or inconsistencies in their testimonies, but given this hearing was not a trial – though it seemed very much like one – I’ll set aside that issue for now and focus on the implications of accepting a nominee like Judge Kavanaugh to the bench despite such allegations against him. In addition to the doubts raised by his accuser, Judge Kavanaugh put forth an extremely emotional and politically charged testimony. Though this might be understandable if he were on trial, the Judiciary Committee hearings were meant to be more akin to a job interview, and were never meant to adjudicate the actual facts of the case.

Let’s think about what the Supreme Court confirmation is supposed to be – a job interview by majority vote. What is this process supposed to look like? First, the President consults with Senators and nominates a candidate. The nomination is sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for their review consideration. The Senate Judiciary Committee is comprised of 20 chosen party leaders and reflects the majority / minority ratio of the broader Senate  meaning that today, it consists of 11 Republicans and 9 Democratic Senators.  Then, the Committee will hold a hearing on the nominee and take time to review records from the FBI and other sources and hear witnesses both supporting and opposing the nomination. Their decision is supposed to probe at the nominee’s qualifications, judgement and philosophy – fundamental qualities and traits one might seek in a coworker or new hire. Once the Committee has voted, their recommendation is sent to the full Senate who will debate the nomination and proceed to vote. Only a simple majority is required to confirm the nominee.

Throughout this process, I’d argue that whether or not we choose to believe Dr. Ford’s testimony, Judge Kavanaugh’s actions have cast at least a shadow of doubt on his ability to perform the job of Supreme Court Justice well. Put one way, Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t pass the “no asterisks standard – plausibly [convincing] people who vociferously disagree with his jurisprudential views that he could serve credibly as a Justice” according to Benjamin Wittis, Editor-in-Chief of Lawfare. His actions, the way he countered basic questions aimed at discerning what happened at the party where the assault was alleged to have occurred, and the way he blamed Democrats and supporters of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign clearly indicated that any pretense of level-headedness had gone out the window. Charlie Sykes, host of the conservative political podcast The Daily Standard, put it this way: “Even if you support Brett Kavanaugh…that was breathtaking as an abandonment of any pretense of having a judicial temperament… it’s possible, I think, to have been angry, emotional, and passionate without crossing the lines that he crossed – assuming that there are any lines anymore”.

As Kavanaugh’s nomination is now secured with the support of Senator Susan Collins (Republican from Maine) and Joe Manchin III (Democrat from West Virginia, and the only Democrat to ), we usher in a new era of drama not only in the White House but in the Supreme Court as well. This will mark a change in the course of Supreme Court history. Though we have always had Justices spanning the spectrum of partisan politics, they ultimately still confer together and caucus in the same room. With the addition of such a polarizing figure, who knows how the Supreme Court’s cohesion will fall.  

Reflections from 1st Year: Be More Purposeful, Reflect More

By Juliana Suarez

Taking two years from the workplace to learn more about business, reflect on what I would like to accomplish through my career, and meet hundreds of individuals from around the world is an enormous privilege. It’s one that, if I am honest with myself, I lost sight of at times in the past nine months. The events that lead me to Booth were a combination of opportunity meeting preparation or what some would call luck.

Between getting settled in Chicago and heading out to Random Walk in under a month, I made little time to reflect on what I had hoped to get out of my first year of business school despite everyone I had spoken to in business school recommending it. The result of this? I found myself saying “sign me up” to so many things first quarter: coffee chats with firms at which I’d never work, a BSG consulting project, the Diwali dance performance, turbo Micro, the CRED Challenge….the list goes on. Everything turned out okay, but I didn’t feel I had truly excelled at any one thing; in fact I remember being so stretched two funny instances come to mind:

1) Knowingly going into a midterm without a cheat sheet and scribbling a few formulas on a scrap piece of paper as I rode the Metra to Hyde Park

2) Stepping onto the dance floor of the Spirit of Chicago and pretending to follow along to our London Thumkada dance others had so diligently practiced for

There’s some lessons that took me two quarters to learn, such as don’t sign up for 8:30AM Friday classes, and others I am still grasping, but overall, I am learning to be more thoughtful with how I spend my time. I reread my Booth application earlier this quarter, and the following line stood out to me: The image does not prescribe how a student should look or what they should pursue as part of the academic and social experience. This sentiment is still what I love about Booth: that we aren’t corralled into certain classes or experiences, but rather that the opportunity always exists to make this incredible experience our own based on our needs and aspirations.

As our first year comes to end, I plan to experience the next year with more intent. Professor Linda Ginzel shared an anecdote in class that has stuck with me about aspiring to live a life full of experiences versus happenings. I hope to incorporate this by forming more meaningful relationships with classmates rather than just stumbling into people in the Winter Garden or TNDC and promising to put lunch on the calendar at some point because ultimately our time at Booth is short and time passes quickly when you don’t take time to reflect.