Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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File photo by Alyce Brown
President Michael Schill. He was inaugurated during a tumultuous year.

Content warning: This story continues mention of hazing and sexual abuse.

The 2022-23 academic year was a period of change for Northwestern. Students saw major highs and lows for athletic programs, personnel changes and a transition period for on-campus performances. 

While these are just some of the most notable events of the 2022-23 academic year that shaped the NU community, we’re giving you a rundown to help understand the current state of the University. 

An unexpected presidential transition

After former President Morton Schapiro announced his plans to retire, the University selected Rebecca Blank to take his place in October 2021. However, in July 2022, Blank announced she had recently been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and would not be able to step into the role. She would have been the first female president of the University. Schapiro decided to stay on until another president was selected by the Presidential Search Committee. 

In August 2022, the University announced that Michael Schill would be NU’s 17th president. Schill previously served as the president of the University of Oregon and dean of the University of Chicago’s law school. He assumed his presidency a month later, the same day that students arrived at NU. Blank died at 67 in February 2023. 

Wildcats dominate athletic stages

Although NU is a Division I school, some of the most profitable sports don’t always perform. That wasn’t the case this year for men’s basketball, which made its second run to the NCAA March Madness tournament in program history. NU fans showed out to basketball games all season as the team, led by now-graduate guard Boo Buie and Chase Audige, gained traction. Originally forecast by many to be in the bottom of the Big Ten, the Cats came in third for the regular season. 

In May, lacrosse won its eighth national title, the team’s first in 11 years. Led by graduate attacker Izzy Scane, the team is one of NU’s most popular. Scane won the 2023 women’s Tewaaraton Award and was later nominated for a 2023 ESPY for Best College Athlete in women’s sports. Additionally, though NU’s field hockey team came one win short of a national championship, they had a dominating year and will look to win this upcoming season.

Dillo Day to undergo changes

Dillo Day is one of NU’s biggest events. The enormous student-run musical festival has been a tradition for over 50 years. In 2023, performers included Offset, TiaCorine, J. Worra and Briston Maroney. 

In April, Mayfest Productions, the group that hosts Dillo Day, published an open letter in The Daily to the NU community detailing some of the financial struggles it was going through. Organizers said that unless a large enough change was made at the administrative level, Dillo 2023 could be the last one they put on. It’s unclear what will happen to Dillo Day this year, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye out for. 

Supreme Court ends affirmative action

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action is an unconstitutional admissions practice. The decision will have wide-reaching effects across the country, including at NU, where the admissions office previously used the practice. 

After the decision was announced, Schill released a statement saying that NU was committed to ensuring they admitted diverse student classes. To help to ensure this, Schill highlighted some admissions strategies the University will employ, including using holistic reviews of students, continuing test-optional policies, cultivating partnerships with organizations committed to college access and offering digital tours. 

Hazing in football program shines national light on college athletes’ well-being

In January, the University announced that an independent firm would conduct an investigation on the football team for hazing. Later, on July 7, Schill announced that the firm found evidence that hazing occurred, suspended then-head coach Pat Fitzgerald for two weeks and permanently discontinued practices at Camp Kenosha, among other sanctions.

No details were shared with the public, until a July 8 report by The Daily was published which outlined the allegations against the team. Included in these allegations were reports that upperclassmen would restrain and forcibly dry-hump freshmen who made mistakes on the field in a practice known as “running.” 

Two days later, Fitzgerald was fired. David Braun, who became the team’s defensive coordinator in January, was elevated to the position of interim head coach. The story gained national attention, and now, players from several NU teams — including football, baseball, softball and volleyball — have alleged hazing occurred in their various programs. In the weeks after the story broke, multiple former players filed suit against the University, and some named Schill, athletic director Derrick Gragg and Fitzgerald as defendants. Several football players have decommitted or entered the transfer portal. It remains unclear how this will affect the football teams and other athletic programs in the future.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @nicolejmarkus

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