In Review: Fall Quarter 2012

Joseph Diebold, Forum Editor

University disassociates from Rabbi Klein

NU’s Jewish community was stunned when Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, rabbi of the Tannenbaum Chabad House, announced the day before the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur that the University had decided to disaffiliate from Klein and the Chabad House. Led by Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, the University cited alcohol use by minors at Chabad as the reason for disaffiliation. Despite significant outrage from the Chabad community, the University hasn’t backed down from its decision, with President Morton Schapiro telling The Daily earlier this month simply, “It was the right decision.” Rabbi Klein’s status remains up in the air thanks to pending legal action filed against NU by national and local chapters of Chabad, as well as a petition distributed to the administration by students and alumni.

Tragedy strikes NU, Evanston

Tragic deaths both on campus and off bookended Fall Quarter. Evanston Township High School student Dajae Coleman was shot and killed Sept. 22, the same day McCormick sophomore Harsha Maddula disappeared after leaving an off-campus party. Maddula’s body was found nearly a week later in Wilmette Harbor. Then, late last week, the University confirmed the suicide of Weinberg junior Alyssa Weaver, who was studying abroad in London. The deaths have raised debates about the state of mental health awareness at NU and gun control laws in Evanston.

Prentice demolition riles up preservationists

NU’s plan to demolish the old Prentice Women’s Hospital to build a new medical research facility on the University-owned site hit a snag when preservationist groups, led by the Save Prentice Coalition, attempted to intervene to save the Bertrand Goldberg building. The University appeared to have won a decisive victory when the Commission on Chicago Landmarks  voted 8-1 not to grant the building landmark status, but on Nov. 15 a Cook County judge issued a stay of the commission’s decision, leaving the fate of Prentice uncertain until the next hearing on Dec. 7.

Football improves, but dreams of what could have been

After last year’s disappointing 6-7 finish capped off a four-year run of decreasing win counts for Wildcats football, expectations were low for the 2012 season. A thrilling season-opening win at Syracuse sparked an impressive 9-3 campaign. But though the three-win improvement (which could grow to four if NU is able to snap its infamous bowl losing streak on Jan. 1) is encouraging, NU led going into the fourth quarter of each of its losses, leaving the potential of a Big Ten title tantalizingly out of reach. As CBS Sports blogger Chris Huston tweeted earlier this week, “Northwestern is soooo close to being the worst undefeated team in the country.”

NU finally getting new athletic facilities

As the only private school and top academic institution in the Big Ten, NU is at a significant disadvantage when it comes to athletic recruiting. These concerns have grown in recent years as other schools’ athletic budgets have grown thanks to exploding television revenue around the country. But NU demonstrated its commitment to closing that gap with the announcement of a new $220 million lakeside athletic complex on Sept. 15. NU will never be Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State, but the new facilities will help attract better recruits and make the school’s sports teams more competitive. Now if the Wildcats could just win a bowl game and make it to March Madness …