With another quarter come and gone, The Daily’s campus and city desks run down the biggest stories of the quarter.
FMO, Alianza march for racial justice
For Members Only and Alianza organized a demonstration and march down Sheridan Road on Feb. 28 in protest of what they called a culture of racism on campus. More than 100 students left their classes early that afternoon to participate and call for a change in Northwestern’s racial climate. The event addressed several incidents but was sparked by the case of University maintenance worker Michael Collins, who in December said he found a black teddy bear hanging next to his desk as if it had been lynched. Officials declined to comment on the matter, citing it as a personnel issue they are dealing with internally.
EPD concludes Maddula investigation
Evanston Police closed the investigation into the death of 18-year-old McCormick sophomore Harsha Maddula. Evanston Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott told The Daily on Feb. 25 that Maddula’s death has been ruled accidental with a contributing factor of alcohol consumption. Maddula was last seen at an off-campus party around midnight Sept. 22, and his body was recovered from the Wilmette Harbor on Sept. 27. Parrott said on Feb. 28 there were no leads as to why Maddula decided to walk north to the harbor after leaving the party and that police are no longer looking for evidence of him falling into the harbor from video surveillance.
Students gather to raise money for Nordman
Various Northwestern student groups have been raising money throughout the quarter for Josie Nordman, a Communication sophomore with cystic fibrosis who is on the wait list for a double lung transplant. Nordman’s family is expected to pay up to $75,000 of the $750,000 cost of the transplant. The Greek and theater communities and A&O Productions, as well as the equestrian team and other campus groups, have been active in helping her family reach this goal, putting together a wristband sale that raised more than $5,000 and fundraisers at various shows and events. As of Thursday, almost $45,000 had been raised for Nordman, according to her Indiegogo fundraising page.
Schapiro, ASG weigh in on gun control
Both University President Morton Schapiro and Associated Student Government have been pushing for more gun control in the wake of the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and various shooting incidents in Chicago and Evanston. Schapiro told The Daily on Feb. 28 that he plans to travel to Springfield to discuss the issue with representatives. ASG passed a resolution to address the issue in a February Senate meeting, receiving some resistance from students who did not believe ASG should involve itself in divisive issues that may not reflect the beliefs of the entire NU community. An ASG committee reached out to more than 50 universities, calling on them to sign a letter asking government officials to increase gun control measures.
UDC rolls out diversity requirement proposal
After six months of work by students and administrators, the University Diversity Council released a proposal for a university-wide diversity requirement in the undergraduate curriculum. The Social Inequalities and Diversities requirement would include an academic curricular portion, as well as a discussion-based activity that would take place outside of the classroom, according to a proposal draft obtained by The Daily on Feb. 25. The proposal comes as a result of calls for a diversity-based curricular requirement last year after the occurrence of various racially charged incidents.
B.J. Novak lights up Pick-Staiger
Comedian B.J. Novak, who has gained fame for his role on “The Office,” took the stage Saturday night at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall as A&O’s Winter Speaker. With props in hand, Novak, who also performed at NU in 2008, delivered a slew of jokes during his hour-long set. The performance was preceded by three student acts, and A&O raised $1,500 for Communication sophomore Josie Nordman’s double lung transplant.
Mental health ENU coming to Welcome Week
A mental health Essential NU will be offered during Wildcat Welcome 2013, The Daily reported on Jan. 10. Associated Student Government and NU Active Minds rallied increased support for the implementation beginning in the fall in the aftermath of the November death of Weinberg junior Alyssa Weaver, who took her own life. NU’s Counseling and Psychological Services is also looking to increase staffing, and a campus coalition has been evaluating the mental health needs of students on campus.
NAISA petition gains traction
The Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance is calling for the University’s acknowledgement of its founder and Evanston’s namesake John Evans’ role in the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, in which more than 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people were killed. In its Feb. 27 meeting, ASG passed a resolution in support of NAISA and the investigation into Evans’ history. Three weeks ago, the University formed a committee to look into the details of Evans’ past and present a report to Provost Dan Linzer by June 2014. NAISA is also calling for the creation of a Native American studies program at NU, as well as the creation of a memorial to commemorate Sand Creek and a scholarship to appeal to more prospective Native American students.
Evanston’s State Senator tackles pensions, gay marriage
State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) spoke about what he called a “catastrophic wreck” in the Illinois budget at a round table talk Monday night at the Roberta Buffett Center. The talk, facilitated by NU Political Union, addressed funding for pensions, educational grants and health coverage and also featured discussions focusing on the issues of marriage equality and gun control.
Evanston resident Carolyn Murray attends State of the Union
Evanston resident and gun-control activist Carolyn Murray flew to the nation’s capital to attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech Feb. 14. Murray, whose 19-year-old son was shot to death in November, said she stood up crying when Obama addressed gun violence at the end of his speech. “I found myself just standing up with so much emotion,” she said. “Not very often do I get to be the mother that the reality kind of kicks in.” Murray also met with first lady Michelle Obama after the president’s speech.
Barack Obama visits Chicago
President Barack Obama returned to his South Side roots Feb. 16, delivering a speech on gun violence at the Hyde Park Academy. Obama called for “common-sense” gun control measures and community development to address the violence epidemic in his hometown. He also met with Murray after the speech and hugged the mother, who lost her 19-year-old son Justin to gun violence in November.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers ‘most difficult budget’
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called for pension reform as he delivered the state’s “most difficult budget” March 7. Quinn blamed legislative inaction for the state’s looming pension debt, whose payment will consume 19 percent of the general fund. His proposed $62.4 billion budget would cut education by close to $400 million. “This year’s budget is a tough pill to swallow,” Quinn said. “But it’s only managing the symptoms of a grievous condition that threatens the fiscal health of our state.”
Illinois Senate passes same-sex marriage bill
On Valentine’s Day, the Illinois Senate passed legislation that would allow same-sex marriage statewide. Evanston’s representatives — state Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) and state Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) — co-sponsored the bill. “On behalf of all my gay and lesbian constituents, who have waited patiently for far too long for the right simply to be treated like everyone else, I voted yes,” Biss said in a news release. The bill is expected to face a tougher battle in the state House.