As 2019 winds down, The Phoenix takes a look back at the biggest stories of the year from the news section.
Loyola’s St. Joseph College Seminary closed in January after 25 years in operation.
The Archdiocese of Chicago said the seminary was bringing in smaller and smaller class sizes, and the demographic of those who choose to become priests is changing.
The building, which is now named St. Joseph Hall, is now used to house underclassmen as Loyola struggles to house all its students.
After yet another tuition increase was announced in January, The Phoenix spoke with Loyola officials about the root causes behind the rise in cost of a Loyola education. University President Jo Ann Rooney said in her 2016 inaugural address that she would do her best to mitigate annual tuition increases, but a 3.3 percent tuition increase was announced this year.
Part of the reason tuition increased was the declining enrollment in Loyola’s graduate programs, which have seen numbers drop for seven years, The Phoenix reported.
Chicago was thrust into a whirlwind of political change during this year’s city elections, and Rogers Park was no different.
Political newcomer Maria Hadden unseated 28-year incumbent Joe Moore to become the city’s first openly gay alderwoman of color. The 49th Ward, which covers Rogers Park, has been led by Moore since 1992.
His tenure was marked by allowing residents to have a say in allocating part of the budget through “participatory budgeting” and bringing community policing to the neighborhood.
On a larger scale, now-Mayor Lori Lightfoot outlasted the 13 other original candidates in a long campaign.
She triumphed over Toni Preckwinkle April 2 in a historic runoff election, becoming the first African-American female and openly gay mayor of Chicago.
Capturing 73.7 percent of the vote, Lightfoot was elected into public office for the first time.
Mary Chappell, Jane Miller
Following a Phoenix editorial slamming the university for its handling of interview requests and direct questions, university president Jo Ann Rooney defended the policy, citing “inaccurate reporting.”
The policy was later altered and placed under review after widespread criticism, including a petition from professors in the School of Communication and an open letter to Rooney from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Mary Norkol and Henry Redman
A male Loyola student spoke with The Phoenix after his reported sexual assault. He says a former Loyola professor introduced him to a man who allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted him. After that, he said he struggled in school and had a drinking problem. But he encouraged other male survivors going through something similar: “Don’t be macho about it, get help.”
The attorney for the man accused of sexually assaulting the student and the former Loyola professor said his clients were innocent of any wrongdoing and were cooperating with the police.
Loyola’s incoming first-year class decreased after three years of record-breaking enrollment numbers which the university struggled to keep up with. The increasing enrollment caused cramped housing for underclassmen and the construction of a new dorm was announced as a result. The Phoenix also analyzed the demographics of the incoming class, taking into account gender, race and average ACT score. The demographics were similar to those of past years, but the number of students of color declined slightly.
The Phoenix also analyzed the demographics of the incoming class, taking into account gender, race and average ACT score. The demographics were similar to those of past years, but the number of students of color declined slightly.
Loyola’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors penned a letter to the Board of Trustees criticizing university president Jo Ann Rooney and calling for an “intervention.”
The letter outlined concerns from the lack of fundraising following the men’s basketball team’s historic Final Four run to the closure of Loyola University Museum of Art to the public.
Mary Chappell and Nick Schultz
Loyola’s own Sister Jean reached a milestone birthday Aug. 21 as she celebrated her 100th birthday.
Sister Jean has been the chaplain of the men’s basketball team since 1994 and rose to international fame during the Ramblers’ run to the Final Four in 2018.
She said eating well, sleeping well and praying well were her secrets to a long and happy life.
Mary Chappell and Kayleigh Padar
After three Loyola students accused the same man of sexual assault, they say the school didn’t investigate aggressively enough. They walked Phoenix reporters through their process following their alleged assaults, saying they struggled with school, getting out of bed and seeing certain things around campus.
They found strength in each other, going through the investigation process together and finding solace in their similar situations.
Loyola offered buyouts as part of a program called the Voluntary Transition Incentive Program, and more than 100 professors “expressed interest,” meaning they would plan to take the offer at the end of the academic year.
This number is more than expected — 51 percent compared to the expected 35 percent. The offer has been criticized, with some saying the process was “chaotic.” Loyola is expected to save $8.2 million as a result of the buyouts.
Loyola’s non-tenured faculty union reached a new contract with the university last year, but the graduate workers’ union is still fighting to meet the university at the bargaining table. Loyola won’t recognize the graduate students as workers, calling them “students in every sense of the word.” This year, the graduate union demonstrated several times, including a downtown rally with other universities in the area.