North Central College in the News

North Central College experts talk political topics and points of pride on campus

Kelly Murphy

Jul 28, 2023

During the month of July, the top news headlines were politically charged and North Central College’s subject matter experts (SMEs) answered the call for interviews. From the Ukraine-Russia grain deal, to Hunter Biden’s plea deal, to Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Chicago, North Central’s political scientists took to the spotlight to provide their analysis and expertise. Additionally, Cardinal First, the College’s program for first-generation students, garnered national exposure in USA Today. Here’s a recap of North Central in the media during July:

North Central’s receipt of state grant for parking pavilion receives media attention

North Central College’s plans to increase on-campus parking capacity through the construction of a new parking pavilion have been bolstered by a $10 million capital grant from the State of Illinois. The funding was allocated to the College through the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) as part of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s $45 billion Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan that was signed into law in 2019. The bipartisan plan aims to create jobs and improve communities through historic investments in infrastructure and education.

To learn more about the State’s capital grant, please read our press release.

The College’s receipt of the capital grant caught the attention of local and regional media outlets. Click the following links to view the coverage:


Caliendo dissects impact of June SCOTUS rulings on WGN-TV and WGN-AM Radio

At the end of June, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down two sizable decisions. First, the Court ruled in favor of a website designer who doesn’t want to make wedding websites for same-sex couples, and the justices said that President Biden overstepped his authority when he tried to cancel or reduce student loan debts.

Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, interviewed with WGN-TV’s Ray Cortopassi where he discussed these rulings and their impact. The media placement via WGN-TV was also shared with WGN-AM Radio.

“The first case regarding the website designer will definitely be contested, there’s no question about that,” said Caliendo. “The majority of the Court is trying to walk a pretty fine line here in terms of what business owners can decide to do and to not do based on their perception of religious freedoms. I don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of a website designer, for instance, who wishes to not design for interracial couples or for couples that are Muslim, or any host of things. The lower courts must interpret this ruling and we’ll find out more as the years on when they become challenged.”

Watch the full interview on WGN-TV.

Listen to the full interview on WGN-AM Radio.


Carballo and Lebron-Marines ’24 quoted in USA Today on higher education’s focus on first-generation students

Following the Supreme Court’s June ruling, banning race-conscious admissions policies, universities nationwide are increasingly expected to turn to indicators like first-generation status and adversity scores to boost diversity on their campuses. Although colleges have asked students about their first-generation status during the application process for years, some experts anticipate an increase in first-gen identifying applications.

Julie Carballo, assistant dean for first-generation, transfer and veteran initiatives, and Natalie Lebron-Marines ’24 were interviewed by USA Today, where they explained how at North Central, being first-generation identifying is on the application process, it goes far beyond that; it’s a point of pride and supportive community.

“When I entered North Central, you literally have an immediate network of people and you all share one thing in common: that you are first-gen. And that programs, like Cardinal First, have helped me find my best friends who I still talk to this day,” said Lebron-Marines. “It’s very reassuring to know that there are programs like this that exist for college students.”

Use the following links to read the full media coverage:


Caliendo discusses Vice President Harris’ visit to Chicago on NBC 5 Chicago

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Chicago earlier this week, serving as the keynote speaker at a national conference for Latino leaders as well as for a political fundraiser. Her remarks at the conference, which was said to have been one of the largest gatherings of Latino leaders from around the country, focuses on pressing issues like racial equity and social change.

Caliendo interviewed with NBC 5 Chicago political reporter MaryAnn Ahern, where he discussed Vice President Harris’ trip to Chicago and it’s foreshadowing for the 2024 election.

“When an incumbent is seeking reelection, it’s impossible for it to disentangle sometimes, particularly with regard to speeches. What—and how much of it is about reelection and how much is it about connecting with constituents, sharing what we’ve done or what we’ve been doing.” said Caliendo.

Watch the media coverage at the following links:


Muck analyzes Russia halting landmark Ukraine grain export deal on FOX 32 Chicago

Earlier this month, Russia halted a breakthrough wartime deal that allowed grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where hunger is a growing threat and high food prices have pushed more people into poverty.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would suspend the Black Sea Grain Initiative until its demands to get its own food and fertilizer to the world are met. While Russia has complained that restrictions on shipping and insurance have hampered its agricultural exports, it has shipped record amounts of wheat.

William Muck, professor and chair of the Political Science Department, interviewed with FOX 32 Chicago reporter Tia Ewing, where he discussed the impact of this decision.

Watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago.


Caliendo weighs in on Hunter Biden pleading not guilty to tax crimes on FOX 32 Chicago

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter pleaded not guilty to two tax crimes after a plea deal with federal prosecutors unraveled during a court hearing following the judge’s concerns over the agreement. Hunter Biden was charged last month with two misdemeanor tax crimes of failure to pay more than $100,000 in taxes from over $1.5 million in income in both 2017 and 2018, and he had made an agreement with prosecutors, who were planning to recommend two years of probation. That deal is now on hold.

Caliendo was interviewed by FOX 32 Chicago, where he discussed this trial and the different interpretations of what this deal would involve.

Watch the full interview on FOX 32 Chicago.