U of Chicago Offers Students a Reward to Downplay City's Violence Epidemic
The University of Chicago’s admissions office is offering a reward to its student tour guides who can dispel the notion among prospective students and their families that the city is "unsafe" and "scary."
In an email obtained by The Chicago Maroon, Colleen Belak, the assistant director of admissions at the university, offered a $500 cash prize to those who find "a creative way to dispel the negative perception" about Chicago's violence epidemic.
“If you’ve paid attention to the national news (or Donald Trump’s tweets) over the last few months, you’ll notice that the city of Chicago is often painted with a broad brush as an ‘unsafe’ or ‘scary’ place to reside,” Belak wrote to the campus tour guide listhost. “Of course, certain realities should not be ignored, but at the end of the day most of us are proud Chicago residents with a deep love of the city.”
“With that spirit in mind, we have an opportunity for you to win some money—$500 to be exact. If you are able to come up with a creative way to approach this negative perception, be it a video series, blog post, photo, or something else (and better) entirely… Keep in mind that the audience is a high school student and his/her family.”
Chicago recorded 762 homicides in 2016 — an average of two murders per day, the most killings in the city for two decades and more than New York and Los Angeles combined, according to statistics released by the Chicago Police Department.
The nation's third largest city also saw 1,100 more shooting incidents than it did in 2015.
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