North Central News

North Central College experts target key issues in the media in July

Kelly Murphy

Jul 28, 2022

North Central College faculty experts continue to be in high demand to provide analysis on breaking news stories of the day. Speaking on political, social and economic issues, the College’s subject matter experts displayed their expertise and brought clarity to complex and controversial topics. Here is what North Central experts were discussing this month:

Caliendo and Chod provide input on January 6th Capitol attack hearings on FOX 32 Chicago and WGN-TV

At the end of July, the House Select Committee on Jan. 6th held its eighth hearing in a series that laid out the results of its investigation of the attack on the Capitol. While this was the last hearing of the summer, the committee also announced that hearings would start back up in September. Each hearing has revealed new pieces of testimony or evidence that might ultimately be used in criminal prosecutions against those who plotted the events that became the Capitol riot—including Donald Trump.

Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Suzanne Chod, professor of political science, have both been tapped to provide their expertise and analysis on these hearings.

They’ve helped to clarify what it is the American public has learned over the six-week process in various media outlets throughout Chicago:


Caliendo provides analysis of Chicago’s bid for the Democratic National Convention on CBS 2 Chicago

The last time Chicago hosted the Democratic National Convention (DNC) was 1996. If local and state political leaders get their way, Chicago will host the 2024 convention. Those leaders are making their case to win the bid.

Chicago has hosted the Democratic National Convention 11 times. The last time in 1996, it took place at the United Center, which leaders said sparked the revolution of the West Loop neighborhood, bringing in big business to that part of town, but the question now is, can it happen again?

Caliendo interviewed with reporter Marissa Perlman of CBS 2 Chicago, where he discussed the likelihood of Chicago winning the bid to host the DNC in 2024.

"I think that there's a good case to be made for the location," said Caliendo. "You have two major airports, easy in and out. It's centrally located as a city of our size can be in the United States. So, I think there's good reason to have it here."

Watch the full story on CBS 2 Chicago.

Muck provides update on news coming out of Ukraine and other political topics on WCPT 820-AM Radio

At the end of July, Congressman Mike Wrigley’s office put out a press release following his return from Ukraine stating he was particularly moved by the visit and seeing firsthand some of the most horrifying atrocities that have been conducted in Ukraine. Wrigley is the co-chair of the congressional Ukraine caucus and is also a member of the House permanent select committee on intelligence.

During his visit, he shared with Russian President Vladimir Putin that “his intentions in Ukraine had failed and if he continues this illegal assault Russia will only grow more isolated and more humiliated; Ukraine and its allies will not waiver.”

William Muck, professor and chair of the political science department at North Central, interviewed with Joan Esposito of WCPT 820-AM Radio, where he addressed the statement from Wrigley and other political issues.

“It’s a pretty bold statement and I think he’s right, that there are very few remaining options for Putin and he’s likely to lose this contest,” said Muck. “It really is going to be a battle of will to ensure that the United States, NATO and the west stay strong in pushing back against Russia—and if that’s the case—if the United States and Europe continue to carry on the station regime to supply Ukraine with weapons, speaking long-term, Russia cannot win.”

Listen to the full interview on WCPT 820-AM Radio (segment starts at 1:33:19).

Caliendo addresses Indiana’s potential abortion ban and its likelihood to become official on FOX 32 Chicago

Thousands of people arguing the abortion issue surrounded the Indiana Statehouse and filled its corridors as state lawmakers began consideration of a Republican proposal to ban nearly all abortions in the state and Vice President Kamala Harris denounced the effort during a meeting with Democratic legislators.

Harris said during a trip to Indianapolis that the abortion ban proposal reflects a health care crisis in the country. Despite the bill’s abortion ban language, anti-abortion activists lined up before a legislative committee to argue that the bill wasn’t strict enough and lacked enforcement teeth.

Caliendo interviewed with FOX 32 Chicago, where he discussed how likely the abortion ban in Indiana will take effect.

“Depending on how active the conversation is, it ultimately could take a couple of weeks before this ban becomes likely,” said Caliendo. “What will really be interesting, of course, is what are the details of the ban, and that’s why I think this might take more than a couple of days to become official. There’s a lot to consider, especially with how Dobbs was written.”

Watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago.

Tedeschi weighs in on car insurance in Illinois and the factors involved in premium pricing in WalletHub

The cheapest car insurance companies in Illinois are Geico, Country Financial and Pekin Insurance. The average difference between the cheapest and most expensive car insurance quotes in Illinois is $800, so drivers can save big just by comparing quotes. However, many consumers do not know the various factors that are considered when it comes to those premiums set by insurance companies.

Gwendolyn Tedeschi, professor and chair of the economic department at North Central College, was quoted in WalletHub, where she analyzed the fairness of insurance companies factoring in age when setting a premium.

“Particularly with age, it makes sense to set higher premiums for younger drivers, as inexperienced drivers are much more likely to have an accident than those with more experience. With higher-risk drivers, there will be more claims for the insurance company, which means the driver should pay more.”

Read the full story on WalletHub.

North Central College’s ‘Mid-Century Modern’ art exhibit garners local media attention

A new art exhibit opening August 22 at North Central College will showcase mid-century modern architecture and how it shaped the College’s campus, the City of Naperville and beyond. In partnership with Naper Settlement and Naperville Preservation, Inc., “Mid-Century Modern at North Central College” will run through December 9 at the College’s Schoenherr Galley (171 E. Chicago Ave.).

“‘Mid-Century Modern at North Central College’ will introduce visitors to the significant developments that shaped Naperville and the College campus in the larger national context of architecture, urban planning, and social changes between 1939 and 1970,” said Dr. Lindsay Shannon, lead exhibit curator and associate professor of art history. “Guests will leave with a deeper appreciation of how judicious preservation of historic architecture can help us to better understand the lived history that helped create the world we live in today.”

The upcoming art exhibit was featured in local media outlets:


Gray provides update on inflation and the state of the economy on WGN-TV

As polls continue to show inflation as one of the largest concerns for voters in the upcoming midterm elections, the Associated Press reported that 40% of adults say it is one of their top priorities for the government to address.

Patrick Gray, adjunct assistant professor of finance, interviewed with Ray Cortopassi of WGN-TV, where he addressed these concerns from voters and their focus on the state of the current economy.

“Well, I think it is a combination of folks saying the state of the economy and the potential prospect of a recession, which is frequently spoken about in the news,” said Gray. “The impact of inflation that everybody deals with daily is most evident in the price of gasoline. Now, we’re seeing signs that prices are starting to come down at the pump and certainly the price of oil in general has come down significantly; however, I think the impact of inflation and its impact on the average voter and/or consumer is going to be in place for a while.”

Watch the full interview on WGN-TV.

Caliendo and Muck digest Biden’s executive order on reproductive rights on FOX 32 Chicago and WGN-TV

President Joe Biden signed an executive order in early July to protect access to abortion as he faced mounting pressure from fellow Democrats to be more forceful on the subject after the Supreme Court ended a constitutional right to the procedure at the end of June.

The actions he outlined are intended to mitigate some potential penalties women seeking abortion may face after the ruling but are limited in their ability to safeguard access to abortion nationwide. Biden acknowledged the limitations facing his office, saying it would require an act of Congress to restore access to abortion in the more than a dozen states where strict limits or total bans have gone into effect in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling. About a dozen more states are set to impose additional restrictions in the coming weeks and months.

Caliendo interviewed with reporter Tia Ewing of FOX 32 Chicago on the executive order. Muck interviewed with anchors Ray Cortopassi and Lourdes Durante of WGN-TV on the same topic.

Watch Caliendo’s full interview on FOX 32 Chicago.  

Watch Muck’s full interview on WGN-TV.


North Central’s intent to construct gateway entrance on Naperville’s Washington Street featured in local media

North Central College has proposed building a gateway sign on Washington Street to give its campus higher visibility in downtown Naperville. The College shared its intentions for construction during the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in the beginning of July. In 2012, the College purchased the property near Washington and Aurora Avenue, south of the DuPage River and north of the Burger King restaurant. It worked with the city to raze the existing building there and remediate the land for use as a future park.

Now, the College is working with City of Naperville leaders to erect an arched gateway sign that would sit atop columns like those found throughout the campus. The gateway would identify the College, create an entrance to the College’s campus and fulfill the desire to establish visibility on Washington Street, the main thoroughfare through Naperville’s downtown district.

The College’s plans for the archway were featured in local media outlets:


Jack authors column unveiling how summer life for a teacher can boost creativity in the classroom in Times Higher Education

Zachary Michael Jack, professor of English, penned an op-ed in Times Higher Education. The column, published July 1, 2022, focused on the concept of what makes a teacher ‘interesting’ and how their personal interests outside of the classroom have a proportional impact on what happens inside the classroom.

Here is an excerpt from his op-ed:

For me, the most interesting teachers are the ones who get up to something dynamically different once the school year ends, defying all the navel-gazing stereotypes. For most of my life, what teachers did with their summers mystified me, much as it does the still-sceptical public. I imagined them falling asleep in backyard hammocks, a cheap paperback folded across their stomach, snoozing away the poppied days dreaming of autumn’s lesson plans.

My father, a farmer, always said: “Zachary, you’ll never be truly happy unless you stick your hands in the dirt.” Of course, he was right, though at the time I suspected his observation was intended as a not-so-veiled dig at the kind of clean-handed scholar he feared I might become.

And yet it took a year of profound angst as a first-year professor teaching at a small liberal arts college before I could attribute my creeping sense of depression and displacement to the lack of dirt in my life. Thankfully, a good friend came to town for Sunday brunch one late spring morning and, after listening to me lament the desk-bound life of colleagues that appeared to be my certain fate, he demanded that I go forth and write my way toward an answer. The result was my first book, Black Earth and Ivory: Essays from Farm and Classroom.

Read the full article in Times Higher Education.

Brown authors column on the 50th anniversary of Title IX in Diverse Issues of Higher Education

Jessica Brown, vice president for student affairs and athletics, penned an op-ed in Diverse Issues of Higher Education. The column, published July 7, 2022, focused on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and how it does not fulfill its promise to Black women.

Here is an excerpt from her op-ed:

This year is the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex by education programs that receive federal funds.

When Title IX was passed in 1972, it was meant to ensure equal access and quality for women’s sports programs. It promises that women have access to the same funding and caliber of educational programs as men do. And over the years, the law has expanded to include protections against sexual harassment and assault, which was determined to be a form of sexual discrimination.

But the women who were (initially) advocating for equality in athletics weren’t advocating for all women to have equal athletic experiences. An entire group of women remains absent from the broader conversation about access and protection from discrimination on campus: Black women.

Read the full op-ed in Diverse Issues of Higher Education.

Brown’s op-ed was also picked up by both Times News Express and USA Tribune.


Muck discusses former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation on FOX 32 Chicago

Less than three years ago, Boris Johnson led the Conservatives to their biggest election victory since 1987. Now, the prime minister has lost the support of lawmakers from his own party and he announced his resignation in early July. It comes after more than 50 members of his own government resigned in a revolt against his leadership. Ministers and aides, including several members of his Cabinet, said they no longer had faith in his leadership after a series of scandals.

Muck interviewed with FOX 32 Chicago, where he discussed the former British Prime Minister’s exit.

“It wasn’t any issue in terms of policy, it wasn’t what the government was doing, it was just a culmination of scandal after scandal,” said Muck. “You know there was a lot of tension this summer on what’s called ‘Party Gate’ where violations were made during lockdowns. Eventually, I think his party just got tired of it and that’s the biggest point here; it was his party that pushed him out.”

Watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago.    

Chod defines patriotism in study examining the most patriotic states in America in WalletHub

Americans may feel their patriotism dampened this year in the face of startling statistics such as the fact that there was a 44% increase in hate crimes in major cities last year, as well as a similarly high jump in the homicide rate. Many people may find it hard to celebrate a country in which racist incidents and frequent violence persist. However, an expression of love for fellow citizens is patriotic in itself.

In an effort to determine where Americans have the most red, white and blue pride, WalletHub compared the states across 13 key indicators of patriotism. Chod interviewed with WalletHub and defined what patriotism looks like from a political scientist perspective.

“Justice Ginsburg said she wanted to be remembered as someone who helped "repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has,” said Chod. “A patriot is someone who can see the flaw, inequities, and injustices in one's country and do what they can to address and rectify them. A patriot is someone who is committed enough to one’s country to want to make it better for everyone, especially those who have had the least access to the benefits or privileges a country promises.”

Read the full article on WalletHub.