North Central College in the News

North Central College experts are all over the news while Cardinal football fills the headlines

Kelly Murphy

Jan 30, 2023

North Central College faculty experts continue to be in high demand to break down the news of the day and provide analysis on what the public should take away from breaking news stories. Reporting on stories covering political, social and economic topics, the College’s subject matter experts (SMEs) highlighted their expertise and brought clarity to complex issues throughout December and January. Additionally, North Central secured 195 media placements over the span of a month on the Cardinals football national title win, which totals an estimated two hours and 13 minutes of on-air time—a new College record!

Macek co-authors column in Truthout on the defamation lawsuit brought by billionaire Warren against O’Rourke

Steve Macek, professor and chair of communication and media studies, co-authored an article in Truthout. The piece, published January 28, 2023, focused on the defamation lawsuit brought by billionaire Kelcy Warren against Beto O’Rourke.

Here is an excerpt from his column:

A recent Texas lawsuit has opened a new front in the ongoing battle over the reign of money in politics, making it a prime example of how wealthy individuals and mighty corporations seek to wield political influence while avoiding public accountability.

As Jordan Uhl reported in a January 2023 article for The Lever, Kelcy Warren, a Texas billionaire whose fortune derives from gas and propane pipelines, is suing former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke for defamation, because O’Rourke publicly criticized a million dollar donation Warren made to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, in 2021.

On the campaign trail, O’Rourke criticized Abbott for failing to hold Texas oil and gas companies responsible for their role in the disastrous consequences of a February 2021 ice storm that cut power to more than 4.5 million state residents, caused hundreds of deaths — and produced a $2.4 billion profit for Warren’s company, Energy Transfer Partners, according to its first quarter earnings report for 2021.

Read the full column in Truthout.

North Central College online MBA recognized among 'Best Online Programs' by U.S. News & World Report

For the first time, North Central College’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program has been ranked among 2023 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online MBA Programs. U.S. News assessed schools in the online MBA program category based on a variety of objective factors, including student engagement, faculty credentials, and services and technologies. Designed for individuals looking to complete or further their education, this year’s edition evaluates more than 1,800 online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.

The latest ranking by U.S. News & World Report generated in some local media attention:

Midseason look at what's coming to North Central fine arts stages this spring results in local media coverage

With the start of the New Year, North Central College’s stages are featuring a variety of performances for the second half of its 2022-2023 Fine & Performing Arts season. With many types of performances taking to the stage this spring, North Central College provides something for everyone to enjoy.

Local media outlets shared the midseason calendar of events for the fine and performing arts:

MLK Day activities featured in local media

North Central College has a long history of celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—a history highlighted by Dr. King’s visit to campus and speech at the College’s Pfeiffer Hall in 1960. This year, the College hosted a number of MLK Vision Day events under the theme “Freedom to Dream: The Radical Imagination of a New Generation.”

Follow these links to see Naperville media outlets’ coverage on the College’s MLK Day:

Chod weighs in on the discovery of Biden’s possession of classified documents on FOX 32 Chicago

As the Justice Department’s investigation on classified documents was being discovered at four locations, some Republican members of Congress promised to find out who had access to Biden’s Wilmington Delaware home, where some of the documents were found. The president’s supporters call this hypocrisy, pointing to former President Trump’s handling of classified documents; but, there’s also the question of timing—with some experts stating many answers from here may need to wait until the conclusion of the special counsel’s review.

Suzanne Chod, professor of political science, interviewed with reporter Tia Ewing of FOX 32 Chicago, where she addressed the investigation’s comparison and difference to that of former President Trump’s having been in possession of classified documents.

“The most important difference is the volume of documents,” said Chod. “So, we have hundreds of documents that were recovered at the Mar a Lago Estate, and of the 300 documents they found, a lot more of them were deemed classified and top secret compared to the handful that had been found at the locations that were noted for President Biden; so volume is important. One of the things we look at when we determine whether a law has broken is the question of was it a purposeful mishandling and was there some willful nature of having the documents to show them to others, which is important to note as well.”

Watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago.

Caliendo addresses the race for Chicago mayor on WGN-TV’s ‘Political Report’ show

The countdown to Election Day is officially on and in the crowded race Mayor Incumbent Lori Lightfoot and her eight challengers are looking for ways to stand out. In mid-January, the competitors took to the stage for their first televised debate; however, will undecided voters start to make up their minds?

Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, interviewed with WGN-TV’s Paul Lisnek during their “Political Report” show, where he weighed in on where things with the Chicago mayoral race stand, just over a month away from Election Day.

Watch the full interview on WGN-TV.

Chod discusses Speaker of the House election controversy on WGN-TV

House Republicans’ failure to elect a speaker after days of voting froze business in the chamber in early January—and GOP members warned that the initial impasse has implications on national security-related briefings and oversight. The speaker position is traditionally filled on the first day of a new Congress, followed by the swearing-in of members. But when the floor fight over Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid having spilled into multiple days—members-elect took a while before they took the oath of office.

Suzanne Chod, professor of political science, interviewed with WGN-TV, where she discussed the controversial start to the new Congress and its long-term implications.

“I would say it’s not all that surprising given the fracture within the Republican Party over the last couple of years and how that has intensified since the poor showing of further right Republicans in the 2022 midterms,” said Chod. “Kevin McCarthy has always had a difficult job wrangling in the freedom caucus and I think that is what is particularly troubling about the situation. Those 20 or so members and maybe five or six that will never put their weight towards potential Speaker McCarthy results in a paralysis right now and is so indicative of what legislating might look like in this very slim majority. This isn’t a smart strategic move as this new majority is getting its legs underway, and what signal does that send to the American people if they can’t even get over this first hurdle to get to actual legislating.”

Watch her full interview on WGN-TV.

Caliendo and Chod analyze January 6 committee’s final report and criminal charges on WGN-TV and FOX 32 Chicago, respectively

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said at the end of December, that he believes the Justice Department will charge former President Donald Trump after the House Jan. 6 committee concluded its investigation detailing his pressure campaign to overturn the election. Kinzinger said he believes Trump should be charged and convicted based on the evidence the committee uncovered.

The committee released its final report, spanning more than 800 pages, late last month after a final public meeting when all nine members voted to recommend that the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against Trump as he makes another bid for the White House in 2024. The full report details the committee’s arguments that largely blame Trump and his false claims of widespread election fraud for the Jan. 6 attack.

Both Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Suzanne Chod, professor of political science, were interviewed by WGN-TV and FOX 32 Chicago respectively, regarding the Jan. 6 committee’s final report and recommendation for criminal charges.

Cardinals NCAA Division III Football National Championship and postseason create huge media impact

Finishing off one of the most historically dominant campaigns in the 49-year history of the NCAA's split into three divisions, the North Central College football team claimed its second Division III national title in three seasons with a 28-21 victory over the University of Mount Union (Ohio) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The Cardinals completed an unblemished 15-0 season, establishing a new program record for single-season victories while also setting a new all-time Division III standard for rushing yards in a single season (5,325). The team's record-setting season captured the attention of many across the nation and was featured across multiple media outlets throughout the postseason. 

Check out the substantial media coverage the Cardinals secured throughout their postseason run:

Cardinals vs. University of Mount Union 

Cardinals vs. University of Mary Hardin-Baylor 

Cardinals vs. Ithaca College 

Cardinals vs. Carnegie Mellon University

Cardinals vs. Lake Forest College

Cardinals vs. Augustana University


Caliendo and Muck provide updates on the Ukraine War on FOX 32 Chicago on three separate occasions

While the fierce fighting continued in Ukrainian battlefields with no respite for the holiday season, the Kremlin's propaganda war intensified. Two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed to be ready to negotiate a peace treaty, saying “it’s not us who refuse talks, it’s them,” one of his top officials said that Ukraine must demilitarize or “the Russian army (will) solve the issue.”

Both Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and William Muck, professor and chair of the political science department, interviewed on FOX 32 Chicago, where they provided updates on the Ukraine War on three separate occasions.


Muck addresses breaking news of WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release from Russia on WGN-TV

After being imprisoned in Russia for nearly 10 months, WNBA star Brittney Griner’s safe return to the U.S. Griner, who was arrested at a Moscow airport on drug charges and later sentenced to nine years in prison, was released as part of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Russia for notorious convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. The swap, which took months to negotiate and has drawn mixed reaction in the U.S. for not also including fellow detainee Paul Whelan, occurred at an airport tarmac in Abu Dhabi.

William Muck, professor, and chair of the political science department, interviewed with WGN-TV on this breaking news international prisoner exchange.

“Vladimir Putin has a history of taking individuals and holding them as political pawns and Brittney Griner was absolutely number one in that line,” said Muck. “Putin knew holding her was going to be politically difficult for President Biden and the U.S., and I’m guessing that Putin will want to continue holding onto some of these high-profile individuals so he can try and extract more things in the future.”

Watch the full interview on WGN-TV.

Caliendo discusses ballot lottery for Chicago’s mayoral race on WGN-TV

In early December, there were many political topics hanging in the balance. One of the largest topics being discussed was the ballot lottery for Chicago’s mayoral race. Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, interviewed with WGN-TV, where he discussed the many candidates running in the mayoral race, the importance behind having a ballot lottery and the overall implications of the process.

“A ballot lottery doesn’t mean much,” said Caliendo. “There is no real way to scientifically test whether the impact of order on the ballot results in one candidate being elected over another. However, it is a way for more fairness as opposed to alphabetical order. There have been historical cases in which people have gone out of their way to change their names in an effort to be listed first on a particular ballot.”

Watch the full interview on WGN-TV.

North Central College partnership with Navistar to support engineering education featured in Daily Herald & Naperville Patch

North Central College and Navistar, Inc. (“Navistar”) forged a unique partnership to support the College’s undergraduate engineering program. The “Engineering in Education 4.0 Partnership” aims to equip students with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in today’s workplace through an integrated and hands-on educational experience. Navistar has committed a total of $750,000 over five years to be allocated primarily through scholarships for underrepresented engineering students and the creation of the North Central College’s new Navistar Integrated Manufacturing Center.

Use the following links to view the partnership as featured in local media:

Decker shares financial planning advice for surviving the holidays in NerdWallet & Associated Press, resulting in 300+ other placements

Managing finances during the holiday season can be stressful. Kimberly Palmer of NerdWallet, collaborated with five financial educators to get their tips and tricks for holiday shopping. The key takeaways for the winter season are to make lists and stick to them, give more creative gifts, think beyond the holiday season, and start saving in January.  

Ryan Decker, economic professor and director of the center for financial literacy, was quoted in the Associated Press (AP), where he discussed the importance of planning ahead when surviving the holiday season.  

Decker discussed how he purchases holiday gifts throughout the year, even if he sees it in March revealing how it eases the burden in December.  

“Inflation is eating away at our purchase power, so once you throw in the holiday season, it’s a very stressful time,” stated Decker.  

Use the following links to review the additional media placements that came from this story: