Opinion

2013-2014: A year in review

Courtesy of Jasmine Ahlam Yassin: The apartheid wall put up by Students for Justice in Palestine to show what Palestinians suffer through.

Former Discourse editor Dominic Ciolli takes a look at the stories that made headlines this year.

Divestment

It’s safe to say that the divestment measure, which passed through the USGA Senate twice before being vetoed by then-USGA president Pedro Guerrero, was the one of the biggest stories on campus this school year.

To make a long story short, the USGA Senate passed a resolution proposed by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) that called for Loyola to divest from corporations aiding the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It was voted on and passed again a week later, but was vetoed by Guerrero.

Courtesy of Jasmine Ahlam Yassin: The apartheid wall put up by Students for Justice in Palestine to show what Palestinians suffer through.
Courtesy of Jasmine Ahlam Yassin: The apartheid wall put up by Students for Justice in Palestine to show what Palestinians suffer through.

Loyola’s administration said the university would not adopt the policy even if it was approved by USGA, which is itself disappointing. The university admitting that a student-supported would not even be considered is fairly shocking and shows that there still seems to be a bit of a societal bias favoring Israel instead of Palestine.

At the very least, the divestment saga has brought more attention to the plight that Palestinians face in the territories occupied by Israel. The more students know about what happens in the occupied territories, the more likely that the societal bias will begin to change as more time passes.

Palestinians deserve the same respect for their human rights as every other victim population in the world. As a school supposedly concerned with social justice, Loyola should feel an obligation to see to it that those rights are protected.

With the door essentially slammed shut on divestment, I expect SJP to continue the push on campus for justice in Palestine next year.

Read more about divestment here:

Jordan Berger’s initial News coverage.

Two statements from SJP released after the resolution was first passed.

Talia Sobol of Hillel explaining why the USGA erred in approving the resolution.

A letter from emeritus professor of physics Jeffry Mallow to students concerning the effect the debate had on campus.

Nadine Darwish explaining what it is like to be a Palestinian in the U.S. and venting SJP’s frustration with how Loyola’s administration handled the divestment movement.

Crime around campus

The Phoenix covered crime on and around campus extremely well. We wrote two staff editorials about the less than desirable performance by Campus Safety, a few outstanding Phoenix Investigates pieces about crime in the Rogers Park and Edgewater communities as well as a handful of Discourse articles addressing the problem. But, overwhelmingly, the consensus we came to was that Loyola should do more to protect its students.

The PHOENIX/Ellen Bauch: Campus Safety has been criticized by both The PHOENIX and students for their handling of crimes.
The PHOENIX/Ellen Bauch: Campus Safety has been criticized by both The PHOENIX and students for their handling of crimes.

One of the biggest problems has been Campus Safety’s lack of transparency  and action. Whether they weren’t properly notifying students of threats around them or borderline trying to hide crimes, Campus Safety has not done its job properly.

Meanwhile crimes in the neighborhoods surrounding campus continue to skyrocket. There were several shootings in Rogers Park this school year, a few of which were fatal. Loyola does not have much power to do stop this, but students — especially those new to Chicago — need to be aware of the dangerous crime occurring around them. Awareness brings safety.

Read more about crime around campus here:

The PHOENIX Editorial Board criticizing Campus Safety’s lack of transparency and the way it notifies students.

PHOENIX Investigates crime around campus.

Esther Castillejo’s coverage of how Rogers Park Police own the city’s fastest average dispatch time.

Esther Castillejo and Jordan Berger’s coverage of the lack of crime reports issued by the Chicago Police Department.

Dominic Lynch’s Discourse article about how gentrification could help solve the crime problem in Rogers Park.

Shanna Johnson’s Discourse article about Campus Safety’s priorities.

Same-sex marriage on campus

When Loyola’s Conference Services denied Christine Irvine and her fiance’s request to hold their civil union ceremony on Loyola’s campus, one of the biggest stories in the fall semester began.

As a Catholic institution, it makes sense that Loyola would not allow same-sex ceremonies on campus, but for some students this is disappointing. As a university dedicated to social justice, one might have expected Loyola’s administration to at least attempt to find a way around the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage to accommodate the rights of a minority group.

The PHOENIX/Ellen Bauch
The PHOENIX/Ellen Bauch

Unfortunately, Loyola went the other way, enacting a new on-campus marriage policy that closed all campus locations except Madonna Della Strada from hosting marriages, and only Catholic marriages can be performed at Madonna. To rationalize leaving one group out, Loyola chose to leave almost all groups out. Not exactly cultivating the diverse community the school says it wants in its mission statement.

Read more about marriage on campus here:

Jordan Berger’s News coverage of Irvine’s petition.

Christine Irvine’s Discourse article explaining why she started the petition.

James Stancliffe and Dominic Lynch provide dueling columns over civil unions on campus.

The PHOENIX Editorial Board implores Loyola to allow same-sex marriages and civil unions at its venues.

Advocate President Paul Kubicki explains why Loyola’s marriage policy is unjust.

Dominic Ciolli was the Discourse Editor and will be the Associate Editor next year. You can contact him at dciolli@luc.edu

The PHOENIX/Ellen Bauch
The PHOENIX/Ellen Bauch
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