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2018 Year in Review: Our top campus news stories

January 1, 2019

2018 Year in Review

2018 was an eventful year on campus. While students mobilized to tackle sexual assault and improve mental health resources on campus, administrators responded to a surprise budget deficit and new regulations from the Trump administration on Title IX and the use of race in admissions. Check out our top stories from the campus desk:

1. Evanston campus put on lockdown during gun hoax

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle
Evanston police and emergency officials respond to reports that a man had shot his girlfriend in March.

On March 14, the Evanston campus was put on lockdown after a man called the Evanston Police Department and said he shot his girlfriend in Engelhart Hall, a graduate student housing dorm. The call was determined to be “swatting,” an attempt by a prank caller to mobilize a large number of police officers, but the incident brought out concerns about the University’s emergency preparedness. Read more:


2. University administrators cut spending due to budget deficit

Daily file photo by Katie Pach
Provost Jonathan Holloway speaks to Faculty Senate in January.

In January, Provost Jonathan Holloway announced to Faculty Senate that the University would end the fiscal year in a $50 million to $100 million budget deficit. (The fiscal year goes from September to August). Soon after, administrators announced they would stall building and technology projects. Holloway initially described it as an “annoyance,” but the shortfall soon became more of a problem. In interviews with The Daily, Holloway said estimates of the deficit kept getting worse as the summer approached. The chief financial officer, Nim Chinniah, resigned in April. And in July, the University fired about 80 people and left about 80 more positions vacant. Administrators have since scaled back operations, including custodial services and the ice rink. Schools and departments were told to make cuts of their own, which led to cuts to student group funding and even more layoffs. Northwestern hasn’t announced final 2018 numbers, but administrators are optimistic about 2019 and beyond. Read more:


3. The push for department status

In January, students in the Latina and Latino Studies Program and Asian American Studies Program launched a campaign to gain recognition as departments. The Latinx Asian American Collective pushed for department status for more funding, tenure-line faculty and its symbolic power. While the group hasn’t achieved that goal, the two programs are poised to receive tenured faculty soon. Read more:


4. Alec Klein leaves Northwestern after accusations of “predatory” behavior

Daily file photo by Meghan White
Medill Prof. Alec Klein at an event in 2012.











In February, former students and employees accused Alec Klein of “controlling, discriminatory, emotionally and verbally abusive behavior” while working at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Klein denied the allegations, but took a leave of absence. A month after the initial allegations, the group of women, who called themselves “Medill Me Too,” said 19 more women reached out about similar experiences with Klein. The University said in July it “cannot confirm the details that have been made public” about Klein. He resigned from Northwestern in August. Read more:


5. Title IX and sexual assault take center stage

Alec Carroll/The Daily Northwestern
Students march from The Rock to Norris University Center in April for Take Back the Night. The event was held to raise awareness around sexual assault and provide support for survivors on campus.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unveiled in November a highly-anticipated proposal of Title IX regulations that would boost the rights of those accused of sexaul misconduct on college campuses. The proposal was met with immediate backlash from those who fear the rules would make campuses less safe, but students and administrators have been grappling with sexual assault and misconduct the whole year. Read more:


6. Race in admissions comes under scrutiny
Race-conscious admissions was under heavy scrutiny. In July, the federal government rolled back Obama-era guidelines that encouraged the use of race in college admissions. Amid a U.S. Justice Department investigation, rejected applicants brought Harvard to trial after accusing the school of bias against Asian-American applicants. Administrators said the outcome won’t substantially change Northwestern’s admission practices, but even President Morton Schapiro couldn’t help from speculating. Read more:


7. Students take on mental health

Evan Robinson-Johnson/The Daily Northwestern
Communication junior Shane Eichstaedt shares their experience with bipolar disorder at the Rock. Many students spoke about their negative experiences with mental health at Northwestern at a rally in December.

Amid a number of student deaths by suicide, students began to take on efforts to improve their mental health. They also urged administrators to do more, including the age-old call to allocate more money to Counseling and Psychological Services. Read more:


8. Northwestern commemorates Bursar’s Office Takeover

Northwestern student Stephen Broussard (Medill ’70, Law ’73) exiting the Bursar’s Office on May 3, 1968. Students blocked the entrance to the building to stop police from forcibly removing protesters inside.

Northwestern celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Bursar’s Office Takeover, when black students in 1968 peacefully occupied the office to protest the black student experience at Northwestern. But as the University celebrated the legacy of the protest, students today say some of the demands have not yet been met. Read more:


9. International students face a stricter future under Trump
The Trump administration has imposed stricter regulations on visas, including those issued to international students and scholars. Among the changes are rules that make it easier to ban visa-holders who overstay their visa from reentering the country. Read more:


10. Compass brings new dining to Northwestern

Daily file photo by Brian Meng
Northwestern’s Sodexo and Aramark employees march in April to present a petition asking the companies to help with the transition to Compass Group North America.

With Sodexo and Aramark out and Compass in, the Evanston campus saw Frontera Fresco and The Kiln replaced by new restaurants like MOD Pizza and The Budlong Hot Chicken. Dining halls went nut free, but students still raised concerns about accommodations for food allergies. Meanwhile, dining hall workers were concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the transition. Read more: