North Central News

North Central celebrates new president-elect while faculty experts share input on national and global issues

Kelly Murphy

Apr 28, 2023

North Central College subject matter experts (SMEs) once again shined through the media spotlight, illuminating their analysis on key topics on both the national and global stages. From political breaking news to analysis on the decline of Christianity in America, the College’s faculty participated in prominent national and regional media outlets throughout the month. The College also achieved recognition for the announcement of Dr. Anita Thomas, the College’s 11th president, and for making important connections in the local community. Here are the highlights of North Central in the media in April.

Chod addresses SCOTUS decision not to outlaw abortion pill on WGN-TV and affiliates

In late April, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) protected access to a widely used abortion drug by freezing lower-court rulings that placed restrictions on its usage as appeals play out. As a result, the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug mifepristone and subsequent actions that made it more easily accessible will remain in place while appeals play out—potentially for months to come.

The move is a striking victory for the Biden administration and its allies in the abortion rights community, which suffered a withering defeat at the Supreme Court last year when the conservative majority reversed the Roe v. Wade precedent that protected abortion rights nationwide.

Dr. Suzanne Chod, professor of political science, interviewed with WGN-TV, where she addressed the ramifications of this decision.

Watch the media coverage from this story at the following links:

Muck discusses Pentagon Discord leak on WCPT 820-AM Radio

A stunning leak of a cache of classified Pentagon documents appears to be one of the most significant breaches of U.S. intelligence in decades, revealing national-security secrets regarding Ukraine, Russia, Asia and the Middle East, as well as details about U.S. espionage methods and spying on adversaries and allies. The Pentagon confirmed the leak’s authenticity, and while the documents had been made available online for more than a year, U.S. officials weren’t aware of the leak until April 6, the day it was reported by the New York Times. The Justice Department quickly opened an investigation, and within a week the FBI arrested the 21-year-old suspected leaker, National Guard airman Jack Teixeira.

Dr. William Muck, professor and chair of the political science department, interviewed with WCPT 820-AM Radio host Joan Esposito, where he addressed the leak and what secrets the documents revealed.

Listen to the full interview on WCPT 820-AM Radio.

*Segment starts at timestamp 1:37:20*

Chod weighs in on potential Biden-Trump presidential rematch for 2024 on FOX 32 Chicago

President Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign launched at the end of April and it pushes America one step closer to Biden-Trump II, the rematch voters don’t want. Biden has no serious challenger for the Democratic nomination, and former President Donald Trump is the clear front-runner for the third straight Republican nod.

Ironically, a return engagement looks increasingly likely at a time when most Americans believe the country the two men led back-to-back is on the wrong track. More pointedly, in an NBC News survey, 70 percent of respondents said Biden shouldn’t run, and 60 percent said Trump shouldn’t.

Chod interviewed with FOX 32 Chicago, where she discussed the rematch of the century and what voters can expect come 2024.

Watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago at 4:15 p.m.

Watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago at 9 p.m.


Hamalis comments on predictions about the decline of Christianity in America on CNN and international outlets

Each spring, millions of Americans celebrate the holiest day in the Christian calendar, and most will hear some variation of an Easter message focused on new life in unforeseen places. However, that message could also describe a surprising prediction about the future of Christianity in the U.S.

For years, church leaders and commentators have warned that Christianity is dying in America. They say the American church is poised to follow the path of churches in Western Europe: soaring Gothic cathedrals with empty pews, shuttered church buildings converted into skate parks and nightclubs, and a secularized society.

Many religious scholars say the American church may find salvation in another demographic trend: the booming of Christianity in what is called the “Global South,” the regions encompassing Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Dr. Perry Hamalis, Cecelia Schneller Mueller Professor of Religion, was interviewed by CNN reporter John Blake, where he shared he personally witnessed the vitality of the Christian church in the Global South while spending time as a Fulbright Scholar in South Korea.

“Christianity was looked at not as a religion of empire and of the colonizers, but as the religion of the anti-colonial movement and of pro-democracy,” said Hamalis.

Read the full story at the following links:


Caliendo discusses Chicago winning bid to host DNC in 2024 on CBS 2 Chicago

Chicago beat out New York and Atlanta to host the Democratic National Convention in 2024. The announcement came one week after Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson won the mayoral runoff, and 27 years after the last Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

The Windy City—named of course for its politics rather than its weather—will once again be the center of the national and even international stage. President Joe Biden called Chicago’s selection as host city of the 2024 Democratic National Convention a great choice.

Chicago is no stranger to hosting political conventions—the last in 1996, and perhaps the most infamous in 1968.

Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was interviewed by CBS 2 Chicago political investigator Dana Kozlov, where he discussed the timing of the announcement may be intentional, but unlikely to impact votes.

"I don't think good data that shows that moving a convention to a particular state is helpful in terms of ultimately winning the electoral vote," Caliendo said.

View the media coverage on this story at the following links:


North Central’s president-elect mentioned in Chronicle of Higher Education

This spring, Anita Thomas, Ph.D., was selected as the 11th president of North Central College. She will assume her official role at the College on July 1, 2023.

A mission-driven leader, researcher, educator, and psychologist, Dr. Thomas, 55, is a champion of liberal arts and sciences education, particularly as a foundation for inspiring curiosity and civic engagement among students. Over a career spanning more than 25 years in higher education, she has deep experience in shaping strategic vision and supporting the development of student intellectual life.

Read about Dr. Thomas’ appointment in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Smith addresses Walmart’s decision to close Chicago stores on ABC 7 Chicago

In mid-April, Walmart announced that the company would close four stores in Chicago. Three of the locations are in Chicago’s South and West Side neighborhoods, with one of the stores in located on the North Side; all four have long struggled with grocery and retail access.

Walmart’s decision follows years of attempts by the company to move into big US cities. Walmart expanded in rural and suburban areas during the 1980s and 1990s and began to try to enter cities in the early 2000s. But the company was met with stiff resistance in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities from unions and Democratic opponents who worried non-union Walmart would drive down wages and hurt small businesses.

Retail experts addressed why some big box stores can’t turn a profit in urban areas. Lack of profits, theft and security issues are some of the reasons behind the decision.

Dr. Donnavieve Smith, associate professor of marketing, interviewed with ABC 7 Chicago, where she addressed the big box store’s recent decision to close four of its Chicago locations.

“Instead of looking at the bottom line, I think these retailers need to focus on where they dropped the ball,” said Smith.

View the media coverage from this story at the following links:


North Central’s new exhibit in partnership with DuPage Foundation’s Arts DuPage covered in Positively Naperville

DuPage Foundation’s Arts DuPage (AD) and North Central College’s Campus Gallery have joined forces to present “Rare Glimpse,” an exhibition featuring the work of DuPage County artists supported by the countywide arts council. The first-ever collaboration between the two entities has been years in the making. Thwarted by the pandemic, policy changes, and renovation, the display is now available for viewing at Oesterle Library through May 5.

Kathryn Pszotka, coordinator of first-year student experience and co-gallery director, interviewed with reporter Stephanie Penick of Positively Naperville, where she explained this new partnership.

“This partnership not only showcases the newly renovated Oesterle Library Learning Commons, but it also invites community members to experience the venue and artwork firsthand,” said Pszotka. “The dedicated exhibition area now has over 80 feet of wall space and an updated art hanging system. This setting is a perfect backdrop for Rare Glimpse to highlight over 30 pieces from local community members who represent the County’s most dedicated makers and artists.”

Read the full story in Positively Naperville.


Muck provides political update on arrest warrants for both Putin and Trump on WCPT 820-AM Radio

In recent weeks, the political stage has been busy with breaking news both on a national and international scale. From the International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to former President Donald Trump’s indictment, politics continues to be a ‘hot button topic’ for many.

Muck interviewed with host Joan Esposito of WCPT 820-AM Radio, where he discussed various political topics that have been capturing the attention of media headlines.

“For the listeners who have been following the updates in Ukraine, you’re aware of the allegations of ‘war crimes’ this isn’t anything new,” said Muck. “What’s unique here, though, is the international criminal court issued an arrest warrant specifically for Vladimir Putin for the crime of abduction and deportation of children from Ukraine. There has been a long standing policy since the war begun of removing children from Ukraine bringing them to Russia, which is in clear violation of international law”

Listen to the full interview on WCPT 820-AM Radio.

*Segment begins at 1:33:36 and runs through 2:17:34.


Caliendo provides analysis of Chicago mayoral election runoff on CBS 2 Chicago

In the race to lead America’s third-largest city, Paul Vallas, a former public schools executive, faced off against Brandon Johnson, a county commissioner and union organizer. The candidates were from opposite ideological ends of the Democratic Party, with Vallas calling for a crackdown on crime and Johnson seeking expanded social programs and new taxes. The incumbent, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, did not qualify or the runoff.

Caliendo was interviewed by CBS 2 Chicago, where he discussed Johnson defeating Vallas and him taking on the role of mayor of Chicago.

Watch the media coverage at the following links:


Caliendo discusses former president Trump’s arraignment on FOX 32 Chicago

Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony criminal charges of falsifying business records in Manhattan criminal court on April 4.

Trump surrendered and was placed under arrest before he was arraigned in a historic and unprecedented court appearance, in which the former president heard the charges against him for the first time. While the arraignment was routine, the case is now poised to linger over Trump’s 2024 candidacy as he fights the charges both in court and in public.

Caliendo interviewed on multiple occasions with FOX 32 Chicago, where he provided analysis on the developing story.

Watch the media coverage at the following links:

To view Caliendo’s media comments on the initial indictment against former President Donald Trump, visit our web page.