WBEZ | University of Illinois http://www.wbez.org/tags/university-illinois Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: October 2, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/morning-shift-october-2-2015-113158 <p><p>The Chicago hip hop artist Rhymefest has many things: fame, respect and a Grammy for his work writing songs for some of the biggest names in music. But as a kid growing up on the south side, he didn&rsquo;t have a dad. Che &ldquo;Rhymefest&rdquo; Smith talks about reuniting with his father. That emotional quest is chronicled in a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/documentary-shows-rhymefest-reunite-his-father-113157">new documentary. </a></p><p>Then, the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/preview-chicagos-architecture-biennial-113155">Chicago Biennial</a> kicks off this weekend. It&rsquo;s a celebration and exploration of architecture.</p><p>Plus two students at the U of I in Urbana-Champaign are broadcasting Illini <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/u-illinois-students-broadcasting-football-games-mandarin-113154">football games in Mandarin Chinese</a>.</p><p>And we talk about a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/first-chicago-festival-highlight-modern-filipino-food-and-culture">new festival</a> to celebrate Filipino culture and food.</p></p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/morning-shift-october-2-2015-113158 U of Illinois students broadcasting football games in Mandarin http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/u-illinois-students-broadcasting-football-games-mandarin-113154 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Illini football Flickr Roger W web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>David He and Bruce Lu are typical college kids &mdash; they&rsquo;re nuts about their school&rsquo;s football team. And they&rsquo;re doing something with that passion that&rsquo;s a first in the country: Broadcasting the Illini football games in Mandarin Chinese. They join to talk about why they&rsquo;re doing it and how it all came together.</p></p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/u-illinois-students-broadcasting-football-games-mandarin-113154 Morning Shift: September 2, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-02/morning-shift-september-2-2015-112808 <p><p>Boy...problems at the University of Illinois just keep piling up. There was the recent resignation of the school&rsquo;s chancellor and provost, the head football coach was fired and this week, we learned the details of a civil rights lawsuit filed by a former postdoctoral student. And that&rsquo;s not all. We walk you through the challenges the university is facing.</p><p>How many of you know someone who&rsquo;s a hoarder? Then, hoarding used to be listed under Obsessive Compulsion Disorder, but is now categorized as its own psychological condition. There&rsquo;s a new city advisory board to provide landlords with information and resources on how to identify and address hoarding. We talk with a clinical psychologist about hoarding: the varying degrees of the condition, how people can get help and how the classification has evolved.</p><p>Also, a preview of the upcoming Chicago Jazz Festival, a performance by one of the fest&rsquo;s artists and a look at why there are so few African American chefs.</p></p> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-02/morning-shift-september-2-2015-112808 Another scandal for the University of Illinois http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-02/another-scandal-university-illinois-112807 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/U of I Vince Smith.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been a rough few months for the University of Illinois. The school&rsquo;s chancellor and provost resigned amid an email scandal. There were also allegations from the players on the women&rsquo;s basketball team of racial discrimination by coaches. More recently, the head football coach was fired amid allegations that he mishandled player injuries. And now, we have the details of a $6-million civil rights lawsuit filed by a former postdoctoral student. Here to walk us through what&rsquo;s been happening at U of I and what it could mean for the school and its reputation is Chicago Tribune reporter Jodi Cohen.</p></p> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-02/another-scandal-university-illinois-112807 U of I football coach out one week before season starts http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-31/u-i-football-coach-out-one-week-season-starts-112774 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/A Syn illini football.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s not a great start of the new school year for Fighting Illini fans... One week before the start of the season, the University of Illinois fired head football coach Tim Beckman. U of I Athletic Director Mike Thomas said in a statement on Friday that he learned of &ldquo;efforts to deter injury reporting&rdquo; and pressure players &ldquo;to continue playing despite injuries.&rdquo; There were other allegations about Beckman threatening the scholarships of some seniors who were injured.</p><p>WBEZ Sports Contributor Cheryl Raye Stout joins us with more on that, and Jake Arrieta&#39;s no hitter.</p></p> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-31/u-i-football-coach-out-one-week-season-starts-112774 Study: Pension savings 'barely dent' Illinois fiscal woes http://www.wbez.org/news/study-pension-savings-barely-dent-illinois-fiscal-woes-109547 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/jimmywayne.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you think Illinois&rsquo; new pension law will fix the state&rsquo;s money troubles, think again.</p><p>Savings from the controversial pension overhaul will &ldquo;barely dent&rdquo; Illinois&rsquo; budget shortfalls over the next decade, according to a new study released Tuesday by researchers at the University of Illinois.</p><p>Even with the new law, Illinois&rsquo; budget shortfall is still on course to grow to $13 billion by 2025, according to estimates produced by U of I&rsquo;s Institute of Government and Public Affairs.</p><p>Chalk it up to state government&rsquo;s propensity to spend more money than it takes in, said Richard F. Dye, who co-authored the study.</p><p>&ldquo;It just doesn&rsquo;t add up,&rdquo; said Dye, an economics professor assigned to the institute. &ldquo;We like government services. We don&rsquo;t like paying taxes. We like politicians that tell us it&rsquo;s gonna be fine. But it ain&rsquo;t fine.&rdquo;</p><p>Backers say the pension law, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/legislature-passes-historic-pension-vote-109287">passed by lawmakers</a> and quickly signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in December, will save the state $160 billion over the next 30 years. Much of those savings comes from scaling back annual benefit increases for state workers, a provision organized labor groups say violates the <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con13.htm">state constitution&rsquo;s guarantee</a> that benefits &ldquo;shall not be diminished or impaired.&rdquo;</p><p>But the law&rsquo;s savings are backloaded and will not be fully felt for years, Dye said, even if the law survives legal challenges.</p><p>Illinois would save between $1 billion and $1.5 billion each year for the next decade, according to his analysis. Even with those savings, the state would face a roughly $3 billion hole in 2015, which would swell to $13 billion in 2025.</p><p>Darkening the forecast is the scheduled 2015 expiration of the income tax hike -- aimed at closing the state&rsquo;s budget gaps -- that was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/quinn-holds-income-tax-increase">championed by Quinn</a> and enacted in <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/story/illinois-legislature-approves-major-tax-increases">2011</a>. That will mean less money to the state starting next year, unless that law is extended.</p><p>But even if lawmakers do continue the increased tax rate beyond 2015, things do not get much sunnier, Dye said. That would still leave Illinois on track to have its deficit grow to $5.5 billion in 2025.</p><p>&ldquo;We are spending beyond our means,&rdquo; Dye said. &ldquo;And, you know, greater cuts in education or social services are on the way. It&rsquo;s just not sustainable.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is a political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 00:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/study-pension-savings-barely-dent-illinois-fiscal-woes-109547 University of Illinois attempts to break the record for largest serving of salsa http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/university-illinois-attempts-break-record-largest-serving-salsa-108493 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Salsa.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will attempt to break the world record for the largest serving of salsa on Friday.</p><p>The university aims to prepare more than 7,500 pounds of salsa made from local produce. The dish will include 7,000 pounds of tomatoes, 600 pounds of onions, 20 pounds of jalapeno peppers, 375 bunches of cilantro, and 70 gallons of lime juice.</p><p>The current record holder is AsociaciĆ³n de Productores del Tomates de Los Palacios in Spain, which made 5,868 pounds of salsa on 15 June 2013.</p><p>Associate Director of Housing Kirsten Ruby said the U of I&rsquo;s dining staff will prepare the salsa in the middle of their football stadium.</p><p>&ldquo;What people will see will be a large vessel on the field of Memorial Stadium,&rdquo; &nbsp;Ruby said, &ldquo;The vessel is probably about six feet tall and maybe six or seven feet wide. So when you look at it, you may not think that that is something that will be containing 748,000 calories but that is what it will take to break the record.&rdquo;</p><p>The record attempt is part of a university tradition that dates back to 2011, when organizers prepared the world&rsquo;s largest smoothie for new students. The university broke another record the following year for the most number of people husking corn in one location.</p><p>Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renee Romano said these events give their students a taste of life at the University of Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;The students say things to one another, like, what did you do your year?&rdquo; Romano said, &ldquo;We did salsa, or we did shucking corn. It makes them feel a part of a tradition.&rdquo;</p><p>The record attempt is being made in conjunction with the new student convocation. Kirsten Ruby said they expect 8,000 people at the event. The salsa will be weighed on Friday, but students will only be able to taste this tangy part of their university&rsquo;s history the following day.</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-24936aea-a6f8-d5b7-4bfd-282837d59746"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him </span><a href="https://twitter.com/jclee89" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@jclee89</span></a><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.</span></span></p></p> Thu, 22 Aug 2013 11:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/university-illinois-attempts-break-record-largest-serving-salsa-108493 Moody's downgrades debt of 7 Illinois universities http://www.wbez.org/news/moodys-downgrades-debt-7-illinois-universities-108393 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/moody&#039;s.png" alt="" /><p><p>Moody&#39;s Investors Service downgraded debt ratings on seven public Illinois universities, and warns more decreases could take place in the future.</p><p>The bond rating agency took the actions Friday, about two months after it warned it was reviewing all public universities in Illinois because of the state&#39;s precarious financial situation. The state of Illinois&#39; debt was downgraded in early June.</p><p>In Friday&#39;s downgrades, only Northern Illinois University maintained its debt rating.</p><p>The downgrades affect a combined $2.24 billion in debt, but most of that belongs to the University of Illinois.</p><p>In separate research notes, Moody&#39;s attributes its decisions on the state&#39;s history of unpaid bills and its $100 billion pension backlog.</p><p>UI spokesman Tom Hardy <a href="http://bit.ly/1685Uln">told The News-Gazette</a> the downgrade wasn&#39;t a surprise, but is still &quot;disappointing.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 13 Aug 2013 11:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/moodys-downgrades-debt-7-illinois-universities-108393 Illinois Truth in Tuition law helps families but hurts schools, experts say http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-truth-tuition-law-helps-families-hurts-schools-experts-say-108167 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Truth%20Tuition_130723_AY.jpg" style="height: 304px; width: 600px; float: left;" title="Spending on college overall has fallen since the recession. That, along with the Illinois requirement to fix tuition for four years, makes budgeting difficult for state universities. (Sallie Mae)" />As the Illinois Truth-in-Tuition law reaches its 10th year, experts say it helps families plan for college, but it makes it harder for public colleges to be strategic.</p><p>The law allows Illinois undergraduate students at public universities to attend school for four years without tuition increases. An amendment passed in 2010 extended it to six years, though allowing the school to increase tuition rates for fifth or sixth year students, as long as the price matches that of the students that came immediately after then.</p><p>Although the law provides some stability to students, it has hurt universities, says Allan Karnes, accounting professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.</p><p>For example, when a university needs to increase tuition due to rising costs, inflation or decreasing state support, the incoming class has to shoulder the entire increase because their counterparts cannot pay higher fees.</p><p>&lsquo;It appears we&rsquo;re raising tuition much more than we actually are, and so that cast us in a bad light,&rdquo; Karnes says.</p><p>Moreover, the binding law requires public universities to guess what their budget will be for the next couple of years, says Thomas Hardy, executive director for media relations at the University of Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;It requires that the university take a bit of foresight in terms of where cost may go, and then reading a bit of a crystal ball, set tuition that will be fixed for a four year period,&rdquo; Hardy says. &ldquo;It locks us in for a four-year period.&rdquo;</p><p>He adds that this comes at a time of decreasing state support. Since 2002, the University of Illinois has lost about $1 billion in spending authority, leading to tuition hikes and cuts. For example, the university shut down its Institute of Aviation in July 2011.</p><p>Having to predict future costs is also difficult, says Kinga Mauger, the bursar at Northern Illinois University. For example, the school did not expect the recession. Although the school faces rising costs, Mauger says it doesn&rsquo;t want to simply ask incoming students to shoulder the burden. As a result, budgeting is far more difficult.</p><p>A new survey of 800 undergraduates and parents nationwide from student loan company Sallie Mae found that since 2010 and the recession, parents have paid less for college, relying more on loans, grants and scholarships. Overall, high and low-income families have paid less for college since 2010, but middle-income families have paid more.</p><p>Beyond Illinois, a federal Truth in Tuition proposal has been sent to a House committee.</p><p>It requires schools to give students a multi-year fee schedule upon admission, but allows for changes.</p><p>Karnes of the Illinois State Board of Education says lawmakers are not in the best position to draft tuition policies.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s not a general understanding at that level (of) what the budgetary pressures are,&rdquo; Karnes says. &ldquo;Every school is different. We determine what tuition should be by what our costs are. We&rsquo;re not trying to make money. We&rsquo;re just trying to break even.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him @Alan_Yu039.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-truth-tuition-law-helps-families-hurts-schools-experts-say-108167 Bionic eye comes to Illinois hospital http://www.wbez.org/bionic-eye-comes-illinois-hospital-107954 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/BIONIC EYE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The University of Illinois Hospital is screening patients to test a bionic eye.</p><p>The Argus II retinal prosthesis system, in a sense, restores vision to the blind.</p><p>The patient would wear glasses, not unlike <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/04/GeordiLaForge.jpg/250px-GeordiLaForge.jpg" target="_blank">the ones in Star Trek</a>, with a camera attached. The glasses are connected to a video processor, which is then connected to a chip implanted in the eye. The camera &ldquo;sees&rdquo; for the wearer, and the video processors converts the image to electrical signals which then go to the brain.</p><p>That treats advanced patients of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a genetic eye disease where the light sensing cells in the retina are damaged, explains Stephen Tsang, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Columbia&nbsp; University who studies RP.</p><p>&ldquo;So if you think of the eye like a TV, the ganglion cells are like the cable of a TV. If you think of the eye like a camera, you can think of the light sensing neurons are like the film,&rdquo; Tsang says. &ldquo;So when the film (the light sensing neurons) dies away in retinitis pigmentosa, the strategy for the Argus II is to bypass the light sensing neuron and stimulate the ganglion cells (the cable of the eye) directly.&rdquo;</p><p>Advanced RP patients can only see whether or not there&rsquo;s light, but with the implant, they&rsquo;d be able to make out shapes and edges in black and white. If normal color vision is a high definition TV, then this would be a black and white TV with only 60 pixels.</p><p>The implant on the retina has six electrodes across and ten down, says Jennifer Lim, the director of retinal services at the University of Illinois Hospital who will be leading the surgical team. Hence the 60 pixels.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not going to be vision like you and I have, where we see colors and shapes and images,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s more of a pixelated type vision that they see, but it&rsquo;s really a great scientific advancement, and almost something out of Star Trek.&rdquo;</p><p>The Food and Drug Administration approved the Argus II this February. The University of Illinois Hospital is one of 12 hospitals nationwide running a Phase Four clinical trial. That means the device has been approved for the market, and researchers will investigate possible long term side effects.</p><p>The implant does have side effects. Doctors need to cut open the eye to implant the chip on the retina, so the wound could split or become inflamed, for instance. Lim says such side effects are not uncommon in retinal surgeries and can be treated. She says what&rsquo;s more important to know is that patients will need to spend five to ten hours learning how to use the device, as well as receive training. After all, they&rsquo;re learning to see again.</p><p>Although the Argus II is limited to treating RP patients, the goal is to extend it to other eye disorders that damage the retina, says Rohit Varma, professor and head of ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re in a very exciting time in vision research,&rdquo; Varma says. &ldquo;We, for the first time, have the ability to give some vision back to people who ordinarily would be blind for the rest of their lives.&rdquo;</p><p>For instance, he says a similar device could treat <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/maculardegeneration.html" target="_blank">macular degeneration</a>, a far more common eye disease that is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 60.</p><p>In RP, the patient loses peripheral vision slowly, developing a type of tunnel vision before becoming blind. In macular degeneration, the retina is damaged at its center, which is the most light sensitive. The Argus II has 60 electrodes, and Varma proposes an implant with 240 electrodes or more, placed at the center of the retina, to treat macular degeneration.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a little way away from that,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re excited at this point that we even have this technology and that we can bring light to people whose lives are essentially dark.&rdquo;</p><p>Stephen Tsang of Columbia University believes that in the near future, advanced patients will be treated with prostheses, but earlier stage patients can receive gene and stem cell therapies. He says researchers are developing such treatments for retinal diseases, citing progress at the <a href="http://www.ghei.uci.edu/features/feature_klassen.asp" target="_blank">University of California, Irvine</a>, <a href="http://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/Aboutus/Mediaoffice/Mediareleases/Worldsfirstgenetherapyforinheritedblindness-2?portal_skin=text_only" target="_blank">University College London</a> and <a href="http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110406/full/news.2011.215.html" target="_blank">Japan</a>. He says this model of stage-based treatment will also likely be used in treating degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer&rsquo;s and Parkinson&rsquo;s.</p><p>&ldquo;The progress is tremendous,&rdquo; Tsang says. &ldquo;For example, diagnosing RP patients before they&rsquo;re born in the earlier stage is not even practical just a few years ago, because it took $3 billion dollars and a few years to sequence one person&rsquo;s genome. But now it takes only one month and less than $5,000.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him <a href="http://Alan_Yu039" target="_blank">@Alan_Yu039</a></em></p></p> Fri, 05 Jul 2013 07:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/bionic-eye-comes-illinois-hospital-107954