Campus Updates: What Happened Over Winter Break

Madonna Della Strada Chapel and the Lake Shore Campus after a snowfall on December 11, 2013.

Loyola has changed. New faces, new classes and new policies. To catch everyone up to speed, The Phoenix highlighted some of the campus happenings people may have missed over the holiday season.

Sexual misconduct policy

During winter break, significant changes were added to the sexual misconduct chapter in the Community Standards, Loyola’s Student Code of Conduct.

Crafted in collaboration between the Wellness Center Health Promotion Team, the Title IX Deputy Coordinators and the Office of the Dean of Students, the changes redefine how faculty members and students should interpret consent and incapacitation when individuals are under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

The Community Standards now explicitly state, “If the respondent knows, or should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated by the consumption of drugs or alcohol, or that the complainant’s physical or mental condition would hinder their ability to give consent, the respondent did not receive consent.”

For any potential perpetrator, being under the influence of alcohol “is never an excuse for sexual misconduct” and “does not diminish [the perpetrator’s] responsibility for obtaining consent or recognizing incapacitation.”

Prior to the addition, consumption of alcohol alone did not equate to the inability to give consent. Rather, incapacitation was defined by symptoms of drunkenness: vomiting, swaying and slurred speech.

According to an email statement from Vice President of Student Development Jane Neufeld, the adaptation will help “in the investigation and processing of potential sexual misconduct.”

Hoverboards no more

Citing fire hazard concerns, Neufeld announced that Loyola now prohibits “the use, storage and possession of hoverboards” on campus grounds.

Essentially Segways without the handlebars, the hoverboards have been known to spontaneously catch fire, which can lead to house fires and severe injuries.

The fires can occur regardless of whether or not the hoverboard is in use, and it remains a common issue for multiple brands. In response to these incidents, airlines including American, Delta and Southwest banned all hoverboard products. Amazon also banned several lines of hoverboards in December.

Experts have attributed the fire to the lithium ion batteries often used to fuel the devices. Fingers are also pointed at poor manufacturing by battery producers, which is common in many cheaper models.

Manufacturers and fire departments have advised taking precautionary measures such as not overcharging the device and avoiding cold or heat, but as it stands there is no guarantee that a hoverboard will not burst into flames.

Neufeld recommends that students who have bought the boards should at least “be informed of the fire concerns in regard to the batteries.”

Magis Scholarship Program gets rolling

This coming spring, Loyola will implement the Magis Scholarship program, for the first time, awarding undergraduate, undocumented students with funds for the 2016-2017 school year.

The Magis Scholars Fund, created by the Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) and the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), is a student-run initiative aimed to assist undocumented students who are unable to receive federally provided financial aid.

This month, the Board of Trustees finance committee voted unanimously in favor of raising tuition by $2.50 to fund the program. This echoes the result of the SGLC referendum vote last March, in which the majority of students who voted were in favor of the tuition raise.

According to SGLC’s projections, the increase will raise approximately $50,000 on an annual basis.

“It really is incredible how doing so little can do so much,” said 21-year-old senior Flavio Bravo, chief justice of SGLC. “It’s like a half a cup of coffee at Starbucks and a lot cheaper than Chipotle.”

Tuition fees are not the only revenue streams for the project. Impressed with the drafted plan, TheDream.US founder Don Graham pledged another $50,000 for the scholarship program.

Loyola is also entering a partnership with the Los Angeles-based charity Homeboys Industries to produce T-shirts to sell on campus. According to SGLC, the organizations would split the proceeds — half to the scholarship fund and half to Homeboys.

The students behind the project still have some issues to iron out in implementation. The maximum amount of funds allotted per person and the bar for eligibility is yet to be determined. The T-shirt partnership with Homeboys Industries also needs to be finalized.

Still, Bravo, a double major in philosophy and political science, said he has nothing but excitement and optimism for the project.

“It would make sense [for Loyola] to support this project wholeheartedly,” he said. “It’s looking at a long-term process to create a sustainable way to support these students attending the university.”

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