EC nears HSI recognition

Aleksandra Graf
Staff Reporter

  Logo from HACU website

Logo from HACU website

Elmhurst College may soon become a Hispanic-Serving Institute (HSI).

In an effort to help promote and facilitate higher education for Hispanic students, H.A.B.L.A.M.O.S, the Latino student organization on campus, is pushing for the college to become a HSI.

For H.A.B.L.A.M.O.S member Aylin Cruz Aviles, an HSI title is important because she believes it would help prevent the legal and financial factors that hinder Hispanic students from accessing and completing college.

“A lot of people end up dropping out because they can’t afford to keep on going, and there’s also no guarantee for people's safety,” said Cruz-Aviles. “I think if EC took that one step of becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institute, it would be a huge stride forward for colleges—it shows that they stand by Hispanic students.”

According to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) website, in order to be eligible for the HSI title, a college/university must be a “not-for-profit institution of higher learning with a full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic.”

At EC, 27.7 percent of the fall 2018 freshman class are Hispanic according to enrollment numbers, and the amount of Hispanic students at EC has been steadily increasing each year since 2014 at 20.7 percent.

If EC takes the necessary steps such as recruiting more Hispanic students to become a HSI, Cruz-Aviles believes higher education will be promoted in Hispanic/Latino communities as well as bridge divides through diversity.

“Regardless of what anyone says, there’s this huge racial tension in the country—it’s gone farther than just black and white people,” said Cruz-Aviles. “People are looking down on any person of color. If more colleges started paying attention to becoming diverse, education could bridge the divide.”

Eligibility for this title qualifies EC to receive grants under the Title V of the Higher Education Act.

“There is funding that will be given just for the college to better itself, and additional funds are given to the college specifically for Latino students—it’s something that would benefit everyone,” explained Cruz-Aviles.

Currently, there are 307 institutions, 11 of which are in Illinois, that have the HSI title, as stated by the HACU website.

Colleges including Dominican University, St. Augustine College, and the University of Illinois at Chicago are some the few institutions that have been awarded this status.

2019-2020 academic calendar reveals new changes

Gianna Montesano
Staff Reporter

Graduation has been moved to May for the 2019-2020 academic year, according to the newly approved calendar for the school. The calendar, which was approved by faculty on October 5, also includes changes such as the removal of Reading Day.

The new May 23 graduation date allows seniors to graduate two days after final exams.

This change has been a positive for students like junior Michael Crisantos since previously seniors would have to wait a week after finals to graduate.

“I prefer to graduate right after finals. I don’t really see the point in that waiting time unless you want to just spend time with your friends,” said Crisantos. “I love college, and I’m going to miss it, but once I finish I want to be able to hold that degree that I worked so hard for.”

However, the removal of Reading Day, which provides students with a day off to study for their finals, has left students upset with the new change in the upcoming school year.

“How will I ever be prepared now?” lamented sophomore Gabrielle Frank. “Now I won’t have a day to study or meditate before the stress of finals.”

Other changes on the calendar include a Thanksgiving recess from November 28 to December 1. The last day of classes for the fall 2019 semester will be December 6, with finals starting on December 7.

New Learning Center expected in January

Cheyenne Roper
News Editor

The new Learning Center is expected to open in the A.C. Buehler Library during J-term after months of construction, renovations, and a delay.

The move will start after the fall semester concludes.

“We will begin our move to the new space in the library after finals week,” said Susan Roach, Director of the Learning Center. “That will give us time to complete the move before the holiday break.”

Some packing efforts have already began.

“Right now, we are packing up the Learning Center in the Frick Center little by little,” said Karina Rivera, Academic Enrichment Coordinator of the Learning Center. “It has been exciting to go over to the library periodically and see our new space and see different things going up, like the walls, carpet, furniture, etc.”

Despite earlier reports that the Learning Center would be moving from the Frick Center to the library this past summer, it did not; however, the transition is now in the near future.

Throughout the construction, which has taken place during the school week during the semester, students have noticed the noise levels.

“It gets pretty loud down here sometimes,” said student library worker Samantha Chan, junior.

In an attempt to alleviate some of the noise to help students study, free ear plugs are available at one of the library reference desks.

Strong smells due to the renovations have also been an issue.

“Recently, they have been painting down here, and some of us have complained about a bit of a smell,” said Chan.

Despite these various complaints, Learning Center faculty are looking forward to the move.

“The area is big, bright, and welcoming, and the fact that it opens onto the main floor of the library makes it all the more inviting,” said Roach. “The new space will allow to reach out and work with more students: a win-win situation for all of us.”

Music professor removed from teaching class after student complaints

Syeda Sameeha

  Tim Hays. LinkedIn picture

Tim Hays. LinkedIn picture

Music professor Tim Hays will no longer be teaching a class this semester after student complaints of behavior in class, in connection with a controversial seating chart.

On November 20, The Leader reported Hays was under an ongoing Title IX investigation in response to student reports about a seating chart in his class containing inappropriate language, according to April Edwards, Dean of Faculty and vice president of Academic Affairs. A picture of the seating chart, which was leaked to The Leader by an anonymous student, showed words written on the chart to identify students including the words “cute” and “more blond” under the names of female students.

According to a student in Hays’ seating chart class, who wished to remain anonymous, Hays “personally attacked the class because of the newspaper article” on November 27.

“He told us we were violating his privacy by sharing the seating chart,” said the student. “He also personally attacked the girl he wrote ‘cute’ by and asked her in front of the class if she was the one who wrote the newspaper article.”

The student said that about fifteen students went to report Hays’ “aggressive behavior” after class to Peter Griffin, chair of the music department.

Hays referred all questions from The Leader to his attorney Travis Life. In an emailed statement, Life said, “It is very unfortunate that an educator of the highest reputation can be sullied through inaccurate, incomplete, and false reporting.  Professor Hayes looks forward to working with Elmhurst College to correct these false representations and heal Professor Hayes’ reputation with the school and the community.”

Edwards and Griffin also met with the class on November 29 to answer any questions students had.

In an interview with The Leader, Edwards said that although Hays “was not violating any terms of the investigation at anytime,” the decision was made that he would no longer teach the class because “it would not be a productive environment for the students.”

Mike Pinto, visiting assistant professor for music business and jazz studies, confirmed to The Leader that he will be teaching Hays’ seating chart class for the duration of the fall semester.

While nothing definitive has been decided about Hays’ other fall courses this semester or his spring courses, Edwards said it was unlikely he would be teaching the spring semester sequel to his fall course, which the seating chart class is currently taking.

As for the Title IX investigation, Edwards said, “we are continuing to gather information and discuss the situation with Dr. Hays.”

Director of music business faces Title IX investigation

Syeda Sameeha

   Music professor Tim Hays’ class seating chart as received from anonymous tip. Due to ethical considerations, The Leader has redacted all student names.

Music professor Tim Hays’ class seating chart as received from anonymous tip. Due to ethical considerations, The Leader has redacted all student names.

Music professor Tim Hays is under an ongoing Title IX investigation in response to student reports about a seating chart in his class containing inappropriate language, according to April Edwards, Dean of the Faculty and vice president of Academic Affairs.

A picture of the seating chart was leaked to The Leader by an EC student who only identified themselves as a female music education major.

“He [Hays] describes an African-American student as “Black” a Filipino student as “Hispanic” and even puts the word “Cute” by a blonde female student in his class seating chart,” said the student in her email.

   Zoomed in portion of handwritten seating chart depicting identifiers of female students, such as “cute” and “more blond”

Zoomed in portion of handwritten seating chart depicting identifiers of female students, such as “cute” and “more blond”

The female student also cited in her email that one of the reasons for her leak to The Leader was the September 12 sit-out, in which a dozen music students protested alleged sexual harassment in the music department, “in hopes that the reasoning behind the protest is further validated, and these issues in Irion Hall are hopefully addressed and brought to even greater attention.”

  Tim Hays. LinkedIn photo

Tim Hays. LinkedIn photo

In an interview with The Leader, another student who originally took the picture of the seating chart explained how they came across the chart in Hays’s music class they are enrolled in for the fall 2018 semester.

“He [Hays] left for the class break. I saw a paper with just scribbles left on his piano chair, and I wanted to take a closer look at it and found this chart,” explained the student, who was surprised the chart had been sent to The Leader.

The seating chart’s language brought many reactions from other students in the class including from the female student who was marked as “cute” on the seating chart, according to the student who first took the picture.

“She was visibly shaken,” said the student. “It was just really creepy for a teacher to be saying that.”

Hays was contacted by The Leader outside of his office on November 16 but declined to comment and referred all questions to Edwards.

Edwards said that Hays, director of music business and former chair of the department, received a reprimand for the seating chart language.

“We've already talked to Dr. Hays once and made him aware it was inappropriate; he recognizes that, and it won't happen again,” said Edwards. “We always start from a perspective of educating in a situation like that no harm was intended, and I think he now understands what the concerns were.”

Edwards declined to comment on the possible consequences that Hays could face with the investigation, citing it as a “confidential personnel matter.”

While the course of the investigation has brought nothing new to light, Edwards said that it is still ongoing to ensure students feel like they are heard by administration.

“Just because students aren’t necessarily seeing things happening doesn't mean nothing is happening,” said Edwards.“I can assure you that there is quite bit going on behind the scenes, but very very little of that happens publicly, and that’s just the nature of the investigative process and to make sure everybody in the process is protected.”

California wildfires affect thousands - World in Review for November 20, 2018

Cheyenne Roper
News Editor

  Internet photo

Internet photo

The wildfires that have been occurring in California for the past couple of weeks have claimed more lives over the weekend.  

As of Sunday November 18, the death toll from the "Camp Fire" in Northern California has increased to 76 on Saturday while the number of people unaccounted for increased to 1,276.

The blaze is now 55 percent contained after consuming more than 149,000 acres, according to CBS News.

The Los Angeles Times reports that some 50,000 residents are displaced, scattered to relatives’ spare rooms, motels, and a Walmart parking lot turned refugee campground.

After visiting Paradise, California, an area heavily affected by the wildfires, President Trump took to Twitter last week in which he blamed forest management for the fires, reported NPR.

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," Trump tweeted, threatening to cut off federal funding for forest management. "Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"

Despite Trump’s tweets, California’s governor is expressing optimism that President Donald Trump will support the state as it deals with raging wildfires, according to the San Francisco Gate.

Democratic governor Jerry Brown said in an interview on CBS “Face the Nation” that the Republican president has “got our back” and has pledged to continue to help.

Transgender posters torn down in West Hall

Cheyenne Roper
News Editor

  Elevator in West Hall covered with Trans support posters. Photo by Cheyenne Roper.

Elevator in West Hall covered with Trans support posters. Photo by Cheyenne Roper.

A posting related to support of  transgender and non-binary lives was repeatedly ripped down and eventually torn in the West Hall dormitories on Monday, October 28.

An email was then sent to the resident students of West Hall on November 2, notifying them of the details of the incident.

“We are writing to inform you of an incident that recently occurred in your community, and to encourage you to engage in positive behavior while living on campus as Elmhurst College students,” said John Hernandez, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life. “Each member of our residential community expects and has a right to live in a space that is free from discrimination and harassment.”

Hernandez also mentioned the importance of providing respect for all residential community members and how the destruction of signs or posters concerning an organization or club is irreverent.

“When postings are defaced, vandalized, or torn down either by members of our community or guests for whom we take responsibility, it diminishes the respect we demonstrate for one another and erodes the sense of trust we hope you build within your residence hall community,” continued Hernandez.

Sarah Meaney, director of Housing and Residence Life, added how bigotry is not accepted or tolerated on campus.

“Within Housing and Residence Life, our commitment to intercultural communities spans learning about ourselves and others through commonalities and differences,” said Meaney. “As our halls are your homes, we do not tolerate any form of bigotry, harassment, intimidation, hate, threat, or abuse, whether verbal or written, physical or psychological, direct or implied.”

EC will be participating in a Trans Day of Remembrance, a day to memorialize and honor trans people around the world whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence, on Tuesday, November 20.

A candlelight vigil will be held at 7:30 at the fountain outside of A.C. Buehler Library.

Taylor Lutz, a member of Queer Straight Alliance (QSA)  who also lives in West Hall, says that QSA is willing to meet with anyone to discuss these issues.

“Please just offer us basic human decency and respect,” said Lutz. “No one is hurting you by existing. If you don’t understand something, we’re open to having conversations to help you learn.”

Lutz also added how QSA hopes for peace.

“QSA hopes that in the future, we’re given the same respect as everyone else and allowed to exist in peace, without fear of being targeted or harassed,” concluded Lutz.

SGA recognizes holistic medicine club

Syeda Sameeha

Pre-Student Osteopathic Medical Student Association (Pre-SOMA) presented their proposal seeking club recognition at SGA’s November 15 meeting.

Safina Usmani, one of the five EC students who presented the proposal, explained that Pre-SOMA aims to offer guidance to premedical students interested in osteopathic medicine.

“Our club wants to do hands on exposure to the field,” said Usmani. “Build real experience for them to see if it's the right path for them because it is the next four years of their life they are committing to, and we want to make sure this is the right path for them.”

Usmani also explained the difference between osteopathic medicine and allopathic medicine or mainstream medicine.

“An allopathic doctor would be like ‘oh you have a cough, here is some medicine’ while an osteopathic doctor has a very holistic approach of treating the spirit, mind, and body,” said Usmani.

SGA treasurer Carlos Cantu questioned how SGA recognition would help the club.

“I want to take on off-campus projects and bigger skill projects,” replied Usmani. “I think recognition would help to open it up other students.”

SGA parliamentarian Alex Schultz also asked whether the focus would be towards off-campus activities or on-campus activities.

Usmani explained that frequent off-campus activities may be difficult since most osteopathic medical schools are far, making travel expensive, so the focus would mainly be on-campus.

“I've talked to other chapters at other schools, and they said you can get a medical student to comply with your club and have students come in and open up discussion channels,” said Usmani.

In the end, SGA recognized the group as an EC club.

The Leader protests SGA's closed meeting

Staff Report

Student Government Association (SGA) closed its November 15 meeting to the public despite a protest by The Leader.

Students with the Student Osteopathic Medical Student Association applied for student club recognition. After their presentation, SGA asked the group to step out so the board could discuss recognizing the club.

SGA president Madiha Ahmed also asked The Leader to step out “in privacy for the discussion.” In past proposal discussions, The Leader was allowed to remain. No explanation was given to why The Leader was asked to leave this meeting.

Editor-in-Chief Syeda Sameeha objected to the closing of the meeting before stepping out.

French diplomat visits EC

Gianna Montesano
Staff Reporter

  Photo by Mallory Gross

Photo by Mallory Gross

The rise of immigration in Europe, more predominantly in France, was the topic of the night on November 5 when Guillaume Lacroix, the Consul General of France in Chicago, took to the podium in Founders Lounge.

“We need to invest more in security to protect Europe from enemies … Have the capacity to screen the people who are coming,” Lacroix stated, referencing the influx of immigrants who are seeking political asylum in Europe.

The majority of the immigrants who are migrating to Europe are coming from the Middle East and Africa. Some factors that are gearing individuals to immigrate stem from the desire to seek prosperity and protection.

“Let us recognize the right for the person who is fleeing oppression,” Lacroix said.

With the influx of immigration coming into Europe from the Middle East and Africa, Lacroix explained the diversity and multiculturalism in Europe and how this came to be.

“Was made [diversity] more through war and conflict than with peace,” said Lacroix.

The topic of immigration arose the discussion about the integration of democracy in the European Union and the pivotal role of the United States during World War II.

Lacroix turned the discussion to the audience in a question and answer forum where questions were geared towards the politics of France and the European Union, asking about the rise of nationalism in Italy and Poland and the burqa ban in France.  

“You can be a patriot without being a nationalist, but we don’t think that our country is always right,” Lacroix answered to the question, adding how the leadership in those countries are working to combat some international treaties signed regarding migration and asylum.

Lacroix failed to answer the question why France outlawed Muslim women from wearing a burqa in public.

City to decide on Walter Street removal

Cheyenne Roper
News Editor

Negotiations with Elmhurst College concerning the removal of Walter Street are currently underway, according to the City of Elmhurst.

EC is looking into purchasing Walter Street, the street behind the Alexander parking lot, in an attempt to alleviate the issue of a lack of parking spaces.

According to an October 13 Board of Trustees meeting, this purchase could make room for more than 100 parking spots for the campus.

“We received a letter from Elmhurst College requesting the City look at the feasibility of vacating Walter Street and determining the value for Elmhurst College consideration,” said James Grabowski, Elmhurst City Manager.

There is currently a commission consisting of city representatives and college representatives, which discussed Walter Street and  possible parking improvements in an October 18 commission meeting.

As stated by the City of Elmhurst website, the purpose of the City of Elmhurst and Elmhurst College Commission “is to enhance and strengthen relationships, communication and opportunities between Elmhurst College officials and its students and City of Elmhurst residents, elected officials and business and civic leaders.”

The Commission consists of eight members; four named by the president of EC ("College Representatives") and four named by the mayor of the City of Elmhurst ("City Representatives").

The commission's current members are Desiree Chen, Peter Griffin (Chairman), Thomas D. Marcucci, Diana Riekse, Richard W. Reichert, Sarah Diamond (Vice-Chair), Andy Joseph, and Gail Robertson.

“The Commission shall strive to address issues and topics that may include community relations, housing, the environment, economic activities, land use and development, charitable/volunteer programs, recreational and cultural events, health and safety issues and academic outreach, among others,” details the City website.

Various departments within the City Council will contemplate the Walter Street idea soon.

“The Public Works & Buildings Committee of the City Council will take this under consideration in the near future,” said Grabowski. “Once the feasibility of vacating or not is determined, we will respond to the college.”

EC has not yet heard back from the city.

“I have not received any updates yet,” said Kurt Ashley, vice president for Information Technology and Information Services.

However, the city and EC have a history of working together.

“The City and Elmhurst College have a long standing relationship of working together for the benefit of both organizations and the residents of Elmhurst,” concluded Grabowski.

"What I am doing here matters": the life of a non-traditional student

Najera Milijevic
Staff Reporter

  Julie Berger (center) meets fellow classmates Sandy Sanchez (left) and Brianna Buttell (right) before class to study. Photo by Najera Milijevic.

Julie Berger (center) meets fellow classmates Sandy Sanchez (left) and Brianna Buttell (right) before class to study. Photo by Najera Milijevic.

“Even if I come out of this whole college experience with no money and no job, I still changed those two little lives,” Julie Berger says proudly, a smile tugging at her freckled upper lip. She’s a senior English major, an avid reader, a library lover, a restaurateur and business owner. But at the beginning and end of every day, she’s a mom who loves her family more than herself.

“I live with my dad, my husband, and my two kids,” she explains. “And my brother, he lives across the alley with his family, so we’re all pretty tight,” she says, drawing an invisible map of their homestead in the air above her head. Her forehead scrunches in concentration.

Berger lives in west suburban Franklin Park, a community that has been home to her family for a nearly a century. Her predecessors served the community as firefighters and, for the past fifty years, her father’s old-fashioned pizza joint has been recognized as a suburban pizzeria gem.

“I spent a lot of time in Jake’s Pizza. My younger brother and I grew up with a good work ethic,” she says proudly, remembering the days when she regularly helped take orders and run deliveries. “When it got busy, even if you had plans on Friday night, you still had to go down and help your dad. It kept money on the table and a roof over our heads. We weren’t allowed to say no.”

But Berger loved the job so much that she carried on the family tradition by opening up her own restaurant in the western suburbs. Although it was successful and she enjoyed running the business, something was always missing.

“When I gave up the restaurant business, everyone asked me what I was going to do, and I’ll admit that I didn’t have any computer skills, but for some reason I said, ‘I’m going to school,’” she says, exaggeratedly demonstrating her archaic typing style on her MacBook laptop.

Berger always had the support of her late mother in her business ventures, but when she decided to pursue her English degree at Elmhurst College, her mom was nervous.

“At first, she thought I was crazy. But after she saw my first semester grades, she told me I could totally do this,” she recalls dreamily, remembering her mother’s encouragement.

After a long pause, she looks over her pink-rimmed glasses and laments her mother’s recent passing. It affected every facet of her life, so much so that she had to take a break from school.

“Since my mom died a year ago, my kids have become my greatest motivators,” she says. “My daughter is in the first grade, and my son is in the fifth. They used to talk about going into a trade like their dad or owning a restaurant like me, but now they’re dreaming about going to college. Me being here at Elmhurst has totally changed their dynamic,” she says with a wide wave of her ring-clad hand. Fulfillment blossoms in her eyes.

Today, Berger sits at her spot at the classroom table, an assignment half-finished on her glowing laptop screen, a worn copy of J.D. Salinger’s “Nine Stories” lingering closely by her side. She comes to class early so she can catch up with other students and ask questions about the work.

Being a full-time student is not easy. For Berger, it means late nights spent doing housework and early mornings scribbling at her dining room table.

“I can’t just sit down and write a paper,” she says plainly. “My only uninterrupted time is in the early morning. We’re talking like three o’clock in the morning,” she says seriously, the sleeplessness evident under her darkened eyes.

She suddenly remembers something, and her soft face breaks into a wide smile.

“You know what? I overslept today. I actually slept in until five and I’m pissed,” she declares. She laughs openly and warmly, like she’s telling a joke to an old friend.

Brianna Buttell has known Berger for a while, and she admires the way Berger treats everyone like a close friend.

“In the classroom, Julie asks interesting questions and gives insightful comments,” says Buttell. She considers Berger’s life experiences as important assets to classroom discussions.

For Berger, making an impact on other students is powerful.

“I really like meeting all the younger students and hearing their different perspectives,” she says sheepishly. “ I mean, it’s fun to watch them get excited about achieving their dreams before they are forced out into the real world,” she says with a dash of cynicism.

Classmate Alissa Johnsen appreciates Berger’s distinctive voice in the classroom.

“I think Julie is a great writer, and she’s passionate about her education,” says Johnsen. She marvels at Berger’s time management skills and dedication.

As she nears the end of her undergraduate experience, Berger reflects on her experience as a nontraditional student as dynamic and rewarding. And although she doesn’t know where her journey will take her after college, she is ready for any challenge that life brings her.

“I still changed something. I still made a difference,” she repeats critically, her eyes reflecting like mirrors. “What I’m doing here matters.”

Higher Learning Commission visits EC

Noah Pearson
Opinions Editor

If in the next couple weeks you see administrators a little more high strung than normal, do not panic.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is visiting Elmhurst College from November 26-27 to evaluate the institution for reaccreditation.

EC and about 1,000 other higher education institutions are accredited by the HLC and are evaluated every ten years to maintain their status as an accredited institution.  

Accreditation is proof that an institution is up to a specific predetermined standard. There are several accreditation institutions in the country; HLC is the one that evaluates and reviews EC and decides if it fits the criteria to remain accredited.

HLC has five main criterion for remaining accredited with specific requirements listed within each of the five main criteria. These are Mission, Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct, Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support, Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement, and Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness.

Faculty, staff, and administrators will have several open sessions with the HLC representatives. Students will also have an open forum on Monday, November 26 from 10 am to 10:50 am in the Blume Board Room in the Frick Center to share their feedback and insights about the institution. Students also had a survey sent out to them by Office of Academic Affairs about how they perceive student success.  

So when you see stressed administrators walking with important looking people in fancy clothes, do not be afraid to walk up and give them a piece of your mind.

Love prevails all: the Rancic story

Cheyenne Roper
News Editor

  Bill and Giuliana Rancic. Photo by Eric Rinehart.

Bill and Giuliana Rancic. Photo by Eric Rinehart.

In a jam-packed Hammerschmidt Chapel, television personalities Giuliana and Bill Rancic discussed their relationship throughout Giuliana’s breast cancer diagnosis on October 25.

Giuliana can be seen nightly as the host of E! News while her husband Bill is recognized as the first winner of the show “The Apprentice”.

The lecture was a part of this year's Roland Quest Lecture Series in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month at EC.

In a sit down interview with The Leader, the couple detailed how they focused on their love for one another throughout Giuliana's journey and described why they named the title of the lecture “In Sickness and in Health... A love Story”.

“We made a vow and a promise to God, and little did we know we would be challenged early on in our journey,” said Bill Rancic.

At 36, Giuliana was diagnosed with breast cancer. She later had a double mastectomy. She is now breast cancer free.

Bill supported her throughout her battle.

“We’ve been through both. We’ve been there for each other through good health as well as sickness, and we certainly stick to that vow,” said Giuliana Rancic.  

Giuliana, who has no family history of breast cancer, mentioned how her breast cancer diagnosis changed her perspective on life.

“When you go through something like this, you turn the volume down on the things that don’t really matter, and you turn the volume up on the things that do matter,” said Giuliana. “I prioritized what was really important and was able to take a step back and realize that even though I was going through something so painful, there were a lot of beautiful things in my life too.”

During the lecture, Bill stressed the importance of having a reliable and loyal partner during tough times.

“Whenever someone is going through cancer, or even a difficult time in their life for that matter, it’s good to have someone they can count on,” said Bill. “ When you’re taking on the role of caregiver your most important role is really to help make decisions based on knowledge rather than decisions based on emotion.”

Being a supporter for Giuliana was Bill’s priority throughout her breast cancer battle.

“It’s good to have an advocate with you all the time,” concluded Bill.

The Rancic’s story resonated with a number of people.

“I’ve been a really big fan of Giuliana since I think I was 12 years old,” said EC senior Dayna Dobias. “I took a lot away from this about strength and perseverance and sticking together.”

Proposed purchase of Walter Street might aid in parking challenges

Cheyenne Roper
News Editor

Elmhurst College is looking into buying Walter Street, the street behind the Alexander parking lot, in an attempt to alleviate the issue of a lack of parking spaces.

According to the October 13 Board of Trustees meeting, this purchase could make room for more than a 100 parking spots for the campus.

As of now, EC has approached the City of Elmhurst to see if they would be willing to vacate the street, which is between Myrtle Street and Prospect Avenue.

“We have not had a formal response from them yet,”said Kurt Ashley, vice president for Information Technology and Information Services.

Until the school hears back from the city, certain studies will not be conducted.

“We are not investing in the engineering studies [...] until we receive a positive response from the City,” said Ashley.

Investigation reveals false advertisement of all-gender restrooms

Aleksandra Graf
Staff Reporter

Through an investigation by The Leader, it was discovered that all-gender restrooms are not easily accessible to all students.  

The EC campus map states that there are all-gender restrooms available at the Accelerator ArtSpace, Cureton Hall, Dinkmeyer Hall, Frick Center, Tyrrell Fitness Center, Niebuhr Hall, Old Main, Schick Hall, Stanger Hall, and West Hall. Of these restrooms, some are more accessible than others.

“This campus has a population of trans students, and all-gender restrooms, for some people, are the only place they feel comfortable using the bathroom,” said Sam Sepke, secretary of the Queer Straight Alliance club on campus. “Some have to severely alter their schedule and go out of their way to make sure that they either get to a gender-neutral bathroom or that no one else is in the restroom.”

Sepke believes that the all-gender restrooms should be more easily accessible.

“[EC] staff need to make sure that the current existing all-gender bathrooms are unlocked and are not being used as a broom closet,” said Sepke.

Some of the all-gender restrooms are locked because Residence Life received complaints from facilities that those spaces were being misused.

“The only facility, to my knowledge, that is presently locked is a restroom in the lower level of West Hall,” stated Tim Griffin, assistant director of Housing Assignments and Facilities Management.

Students on campus sustain the importance of all-gender restrooms in facilitating a safe and comfortable environment for transgender, non-binary, and other individuals who require a more private space.

For many transgender or non-binary students, all-gender bathrooms can be a safe haven.

“If you use the restroom for the gender you were assigned at birth, then depending on how you look, you are going to face some discrimination or even harm…also, when going to a gendered bathroom, you are forced to pick one or the other which doesn’t align with who you actually are, ” continued Sepke.

Sepke also addressed the impact all-gender restrooms have on an institution from a marketing perspective.

“Some of our competing schools do have a lot better bathroom procedures, so if we wanna draw in more students and actually keep them, providing this necessity is important.”

EC is, however, taking strides to better accommodate the needs of students and staff on campus.

“As the college’s understanding of student needs changed over time, the signage outside of these facilities also began to change to reflect their suitability as all-gender restrooms,” said Griffin.

Organizations on campus are also working to advocate for more and better all-gender restrooms on campus.

Two years ago, QSA tried to create a more supportive environment for students by putting up fliers that said “You’re welcome here” in the different all-gender restrooms on campus.

“There was quite a bit of backlash from the community and some staff…the fliers were torn down,” Sepke said.

Board of trustees increase tuition, propose parking solutions

Nicholas Redmond
Staff Reporter

Elmhurst College Board of Trustees (BOT) voted on a 1.9 percent tuition increase at their October 13 meeting.

The increase, which was brought forth by the Business and Finance Committee, was approved for the 2020 fiscal year.

Hugh McLean, Business and Finance Committee chairman, explained this increase was in line with the tuitions of competing schools.

“We have a competitive set that shows we are roughly in the middle,” said McLean.

The board also spoke about EC’s proposed purchase of Walter Street, which is between Myrtle Avenue and Prospect Avenue, from the city of Elmhurst.

This purchase would make room for more than 100 parking spots for the campus, according to the board.

Reading Day off the books

Stefania Camaci
Staff Reporter

  Photo from visuals

Photo from visuals

In an effort to move graduation one week earlier, EC removed Reading Day from the school’s academic calendar for 2019-2020.

Reading Day is a day that is dedicated for EC students to prepare for finals week and for faculty to complete grading assignments. The removal of Reading Day will be implemented as of fall 2019.

“The AY 2019-20 calendar was approved by Academic Council, endorsed by Student Affairs, and voted on by the faculty at the October 5th meeting,” said professor Catherine Gaze in an email interview.

To many students, EC’s choice may come as a surprise.

This day was typically used as a free day to study, spend time with friends, or sleep in.This will no longer available to them.

However, the loss of Reading Day is meant to be beneficial for students, particularly for those graduating.

Eager students will be able to graduate a week earlier and return home for the holidays.

“I think with our out-of-state population so many students want to take their exams and go home as soon as they can,” said senior Natalia Bedtke. “Extra time is always nice, but students can find that throughout the week.”

Gaze concluded that the weekend before final exams is the time students can use to focus on their finals.

Niebuhr Center shifts focus to student affairs amid concerns

Syeda Sameeha

In an effort to retain students, the Niebuhr Center has shifted its focus to include the Office of Student Affairs.

According to a campus wide email sent on October 4 by Assistant Dean of Students and director of the Niebuhr Center, Michelle DeLuca, the center’s new focus will include support for first-year students such as a specialized first-year seminar course for open majors, academic coaching for open majors, and a Niebuhr Faculty Fellowship position to aid these students.

EC chaplain Scott Matheney explained the primary focus of this shift is to retain first-year students into their next years at the institution.

“There's clearly a concern about making sure that the first-year students are retained into their second year, into their third year, and into their fourth year,” said Matheney.

Matheney also emphasized this expansion is an attempt to open the Niebuhr Center to all students, not just students interested in religion.

“The goal is to help every student, not just those who choose to engage in the Niebuhr Center work,” said Matheney. “This is an attempt to try to broaden it and make it much larger so that its not narrowly specific to certainly Christians. If you look at where I sense it's going in many ways, the language is not secular but broader.”

Some campus members, including several trustees at the October 11-13 Board of Trustee meetings, expressed concerns about whether the Niebuhr Center’s focus on student affairs would defer from the original direction of the center, to focus on the Niebuhr legacy of spiritual life and social justice.

“I would be very sad if Niebuhr strayed away from that and if it became strictly just about retention,” remarked Muslim Student Association president Obaidullah Kholwadia.

Kholwadia also added, “If we're being real about spiritual/interfaith aspect, it is not a huge prominent thing on campus, so I figured [the college] just thought we could still keep that while using it for something else.”

Matheney believes the spiritual and social justice aspect of the Niebuhr will still remain through his chaplaincy work but understands the concerns because the focus has shifted.

“How much time, money, and energy does it have is the question”, said Matheney.