As 2021 comes to an end, The Phoenix looks back at the most notable news stories from the past year.
Jan. 20, 2021
In the spring of 2021, Loyola welcomed back approximately 1,100 students to on-campus housing, which equates to only one fourth of students who were forced to leave in March 2020 due to COVID-19.
The move-in process included a range of regulations to prevent COVID-19 exposure, including a limit to one person to help move the student into their dorm, a recommended one-hour time limit to move in the student’s belongings and a mandatory two week quarantine once the student was moved in.
“We had to do a lot of prep work,” Clair McDonald, assistant director of assignments, marketing and communication in Residence Life, said. “We did a lot of research on what’s working well at other universities.”
Feb. 3, 2021
Despite the financial hit many students and families experienced as a result of the pandemic, full-time students saw an additional $910 tacked onto their tuition bills in the 2021-2022 school year.
Though Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney said she would try to limit tuition increases during her inaugural address, Loyola’s tuition has increased each year of her tenure.
Rooney hasn’t answered The Phoenix’s questions about tuition increases in past years and Loyola spokesperson Anna Rozenich said Rooney was “not available” to speak about this increase.
Loyola’s Chief Financial Officer Wayne Magdziarz said the increase — which is the lowest in recent years — was necessary to recruit quality faculty, maintain current staff, support students on financial aid and keep future tuition increases reasonable.
Mar. 28, 2021
Loyola students, led by student group Our Streets LUC, marched for the first time since Nov. 2020 in demand for better support of BIPOC students, faculty and staff by the university. Our Streets LUC, who published a list of demands in Aug. 2020, marched four and a half miles with a group of approximately 50 protestors that filled the street blocking traffic.
“Nothing will get done if we’re not unified,” Dorien Perry-Tillmon, an Our Street LUC leader, said to the group of protestors over a megaphone. “We just gotta keep showing up because if we don’t, then nothing will happen.”
The protest organizers spoke out against the increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the beginning of the pandemic. Around the same time, students also held a vigil to honor the seven victims of the Atlanta spa shootings in March.
Loyola Raises Some Graduate Student Stipends to $28,000 Per Year, Grad Unions Across Chicago Celebrate
Apr. 24, 2021
Following years of organizing by Loyola Graduate Workers’ Union (LGWU), Loyola increased some doctoral students’ stipends by $10,000 — nearly a 56% increase.
A member of the union’s organizing committee and former co-chair — Alec Stubbs — said this “enormous success” was the “result of five years of hard work and organizing,” but there’s still more work to be done, and the fight for recognition isn’t over yet.
May 13, 2021
Loyola Associate Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Admission Erin Moriarty resigned after 17 years with the university.
Moriarty was accused of “creating a toxic atmosphere of hostility, intimidation, fear and manipulation within the Undergraduate Admission Office (UAO), especially pertaining to people of color,” although an external investigation concluded Moriarty was not responsible for the described work environment.
Todd Malone, senior associate director of admission, is serving as Interim Dean of Undergraduate Admission.
May 17, 2021
Thousands of protestors took to the streets of Chicago throughout the summer months to show their support for Palestine and denounce Israeli violence against the Palestinian people.
Hatem Abuddayeh, the national chair of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, said one of the aims of the protest was to get the attention of U.S. lawmakers.
“We just need to continue to press the people in charge to make sure that they force Israel to stop,” Abudayyeh told The Phoenix. “The U.S. government is just as responsible for this as Israel is.”
Sept. 1, 2021
More than 40 Loyola students used the legal services of Liberty Counsel, a Christian non-profit organization, to get COVID-19 vaccination exemptions approved by the university.
All the students who were represented by Liberty Counsel initially applied for a COVID-19 vaccine exemption, arguing their religious beliefs forbid them from taking vaccines that are “produced or tested with fetal cell lines” derived from abortions, according to the Aug. 5 press release.
Students were informed of Loyola’s vaccination exemption in an April 22 email, The Phoenix reported.
‘I’m disappointed she wasn’t the president we had hoped for’ : Students and Faculty Reflect on Rooney’s Tenure as Her Final Year as President Begins
Sept. 15, 2021
After Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney announced she plans to resign at the end of the academic year, the university community shared mixed feelings about her tenure.
When announcing her departure, Rooney cited “deep reflection,” “some personal issues” and a “desire to ensure continuity of leadership” as the university implements a new strategic plan.
Students and faculty shared concerns about Rooney’s leadership style, which some said seemed to lack shared governance. The Loyola community also critiqued her handling of racial injustice at the university and her implementation of yearly tuition increases.
‘Kick Them Out’: Hundreds of Loyola Community Members Join Protest Demanding Accountability for Students Accused of Sexual Misconduct
Sep. 17, 2021
The Phoenix covered a Sept. 17 protest, made up of hundreds of students and community members, that demanded accountability for students accused of sexual misconduct.
The protest, which started at the Sullivan Student Center and made its way through campus to Mertz Hall, came after the surface of an instagram account with the goal of exposing the identities of students accused of sexual assault and misconduct.
“We are just wanting to raise awareness, provide support, provide resources to victims of sexual violence and make sure they know they are heard, they are valued and that their voices matter,” an organizer of the protest, who didn’t want to share their name, told The Phoenix.
‘It just seemed like they didn’t expect anybody to get COVID’: Inside Loyola’s COVID-19 Quarantine Dorm
Sep. 22, 2021
Students who reported a positive COVID-19 test while living in on-campus dorms were promptly moved to a quarantine dorm for ten days this past semester. After being left with a trash bag full of linens and key to their room, multiple students voiced a range of challenges they faced while recovering from COVID-19 in isolation.
“I was feeling horribly sick and laying in that bed with no mattress pad, no real sheets and just couldn’t sleep the whole night,” first-year Carmen Fiarito said.
Nov. 20, 2021
Hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Chicago Nov. 20 following Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal the day prior.
Love Jordan, a 2016 Loyola graduate who grew up in Kenosha, took part in the protest.
“Because of how many times we’ve heard ‘not guilty,’ it’s like we’re being dared to keep being angry at being killed,” the 28-year-old said.
Dec. 1, 2021
Dec. 10, 2021
A Phoenix investigation revealed accounts from 20 students who said they got sick after eating food served at Loyola’s dining halls, and one reported finding a shard of glass in her salad.
Health and safety records from Chicago’s Public Health Department show Loyola’s dining halls have failed inspections in recent years, or have passed despite violations being issued.
“Nothing is more important to LUC Dining than food safety and the customer experience we deliver,” said Aramark spokesperson Heather Dotchel in an email to The Phoenix. “We take all customers’ concerns about food quality very seriously and investigate every concern that is brought to our attention,” she said.
Students raised questions about Loyola’s ongoing partnership with the company that operates its dining halls — Aramark. Aramark has faced criticism from students in the past, including allegations of racism and health and safety concerns.
Loyola spokesperson Anna Rozenich said Loyola has no plans to cut ties with the company.
In the final weeks of the fall semester, Loyola’s dining halls introduced new safety measures, including new cleaning and food service procedures following an uptick in “gastrointestinal illnesses,” according to Loyola spokesperson Anna Shymanski Zach.
Dec. 15, 2021
Loyola announced all students will be required to receive COVID-19 booster shots as soon as they’re eligible in a Dec. 15 email sent to the Loyola community.
Faculty, staff and students are expected to upload proof they received their booster shots before returning to campus for the Spring 2022 semester. It’s unclear what consequences, if any, someone could face if they don’t get a booster.