Our next issue hits stands on Nov. 18!

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Jet Fuel Review Places First at CMA Awards

Emily Krivograd, News Asst. Editor 

Nov. 2019, 2019


The Jet Fuel Review’s (JFR) Fall 2018 Issue 16 won first place in the category Four-Year Literary Magazine at the College Media Association (CMA) competition in Washington D.C. The CMA competition was held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, which follows English professor Dr. Jackie White’s reception of the Reid H. Montgomery Distinguished Service Award for her work with JFR in June. 


“[White] was the only person selected for the Reid H. Montgomery Distinguished Service Award nationwide,” said chief JFR faculty advisor Dr. Simone Muench. “It’s a tremendous honor and so well-deserved as it demonstrates the many hours, in and outside the classroom, that she gives back to Lewis and her students; and she does so with devotion, affection and an extraordinarily keen mind.” 

 

In order to be recognized with a Reid H. Montgomery Distinguished Service Award, White needed a minimum of five recommendations. White received several nominations, a portion of which came from Muench and students. While Muench teaches the publishing practicum in which JFR staff members learn how to create a literary magazine, White volunteers to work with JFR, both advisors reviewing submissions and directing students on the staff.  

 

“I think that our editorial staff of students is such a close-knit group and we have a lot of continuation, so students tend to work on the journal most of the years that they’re here or once they’re involved, they continue to be involved, even often as alums,” said White. “I think that continuity is really important. And the students have gotten increasingly sophisticated in selecting work.” 

 

All competing literary magazines were assessed on the quality of published content. The winning issue of the JFR magazine features cover art from Central American artist Fabrizio Arrieta, who was solicited by alumna Kayla Chambers. Alumna Zakiya Cowan served as managing editor for the winning issue, making up one of the 14 students who created the winning issue. 

 

“We’re hoping [placing first] will bring a lot more visibility to the journal on campus,” said White. “I think it’s just great for the students because they put in so much work. To get rewarded for your work on the national stage, it really applauds students’ work and their aspirations for their careers and puts Lewis more on the map.” 

 

JFR, which features creative nonfiction, reviews, poetry, features and artwork, competed against universities including the University of Texas, Washington College and Metropolis University. Despite having a smaller staff than larger literary publications, JFR staff members and faculty advisors devote extended time to review each submission to the magazine, sometimes numbering to hundreds of submissions in one semester. 

 

“I want to express how much we love the students, and how much work they do,” said Muench. “When I say I read 700 submissions, so do the managing editors, so they’re reading them along with me. I would also be remiss if I did not mention my current managing editor, Patricia Damocles, who worked on the winning issue as well, and who is wonderful at ‘managing’ us. She is incredibly sophisticated, as are all the editors, at making astute editorial decisions and helping us maintain national recognition.” 

 

JFR’s Spring 2018 Issue 15 won an honorable mention for a Four-Year Literary Magazine in the 2018 CMA awards as well, making JFR the only literary magazine that has ranked two consecutive years. The 19th issue of JFR, headed by Managing Editor and senior English language and literature major Patricia Damocles, will launch Nov. 21 at 4 p.m.  

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Many Warning Signs Present in AJ Freund Case

Derek Swanson, News Editor

Nov. 4, 2019


Five-year-old AJ Freund was found dead on April 24, 2019, his body lying in a field outside of Woodstock. His own parents have been charged for his murder and for wrapping his corpse in a bag leaving it in a field until authorities found him several days later. 


In the aftermath of the immediate shock this case brought to people of the Chicagoland area, there have been no shortage of clues pointing to the fact that AJ Freund was never living in safe hands. Authorities and the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) have worked together in solving the Freund case, and recent breakthroughs in the case paint a malicious picture of the people raising him. 


The department received no fewer than 10 phone calls regarding the family environment in which AJ was being raised with four complaints brought against his mother before he was even born. JoAnn Cunningham, AJ’s mother, had received complaints dating back to 2012 regarding her treatment of a seven-year-old foster child. Though the complaints were initially deemed unfounded, they detail behavior shown by Cunningham that carried into her custody of AJ, including abusing prescription drugs. 


Her drug abuse carried into AJ’s brief lifetime, as he was born with opiates and benzodiazepines in his system. Cunningham also tested positive, and her custody of AJ was temporarily revoked. This was only a year after Cunningham’s own mother called DCFS informing them that she was abusing her older son, mentally ill, addicted to drugs and living in squalor. 


After reaching compliance according to family service policies and passing random drug screenings for nearly two years, Cunningham and Andrew Freund, who was also a recovering addicted, were granted custody of their son. 


The initial evidence brought forth against the pair was concerning to authorities, though it was not enough to convict them on murder charges. Even still, convincing reports from AJ’s teachers citing bruising across his face pointed to domestic abuse. Later, a video recorded by Cunningham from March 4, 2019 was discovered by police during the investigation. The video captures AJ on a urine-soaked mattress, naked aside from a few bandages and extensive bruising across his body, while being verbally abused by his mother. 


Only one day after launching the investigation, police turned their attention to the parents. Two days after AJ was reported missing, Freund and Cunningham stopped their cooperation with police. 


AJ’s case was closed 10 months later, until his final disappearance, when his parents quickly arose as the primary suspects. 


The latest in AJ’s case shows DCFS taking action against the way his case leading up to his death was handled. A federal lawsuit against DFCS from his estate cites the treatment by the workers as an “inhumane indifference towards AJ’s safety.” Three employees were terminated in light of the abuse that was not caught by the agency, with one other worker being relieved to desk duty for the handling of a complaint call in 2018. 


Though the parents of AJ Freund have not been convicted of their crimes, a judge set a $5 million bond for each individual. Both have pleaded not guilty and will remain in custody until a trial date is set. 

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Some States Replace Columbus Day With New Holiday

Stephanie Lingenfelter, Contributor

Oct. 28, 2019


Everyone knows the old saying, “in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” and that his expedition which led to the discovery of America is now celebrated yearly. Since 1792, Columbus Day has been celebrated in some capacity. However, some states have now decided to abandon the federal holiday and celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead.  


According to Dr. Dennis H. Cremin, director of the history center, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is primarily celebrated for starting globalization.  


“Many historians credited Columbus with the ‘discovery’ of the ‘new world.’ One hundred years ago, the chapter covering this topic would have been entitled ‘God, Glory and Gold.’ Columbus' four voyages set the stage for globalization,” said Cremin.  


According to The Library of Congress, the first Columbus Day celebration took place in San Francisco in 1869 and originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage. In 1982, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation for citizens to celebrate the 400-year anniversary of the discovery of America. The following year, Chicago’s World Fair was created to commemorate Columbus’s discovery. Colorado held the first state-wide celebration in 1907 and in 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Columbus Day a national holiday.  


Since then, banks close, the mail pauses and some schools have the day off, but some states have decided to switch what’s being celebrated. While Columbus is given credit for discovering America, some argue he doesn’t deserve that credit. Cremin explained some of the positives and negatives of Columbus.  


“Columbus plays an important role in the exploration of the world. ‘celebrating’ Columbus,” said Cremin. “Historians began to teach about the Columbian exchange, which had many positive and negative aspects. On the upside, people exchange nutritious foods such as corn and the potato. On the negative side, the spread of disease, such as smallpox, and slavery tempered any ‘celebration’ of Columbus.” 


According to Smithsonian, Alaska, South Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Maine, New Mexico, Louisiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Iowa and Minnesota all celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead. In Illinois, the cities of Evanston and Oak Brook have made the switch. Cremin described Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an event that “highlights that they lived not only in the past but continue to live in the world today.”  


Columbus shared goods with the natives, and they shared tips for farming and crops with him, but it was also documented that he enslaved six natives on his first day in the “New World” and went on to enslave reportedly thousands more. Columbus and his crew have also been said to have killed and raped natives and in 1500, he was called back by his Spanish royal sponsors due to numerous complaints from his own colonists.  


While he found a new land of opportunity for English and Spanish settlers, many claim Columbus didn’t “discover” America; the Natives did, which goes all the way back to the time of the Vikings. Columbus’ achievements have been discussed as both good and bad, but the negatives are inspiring discussions to change the federal holiday across the country. 

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CPS Teachers Strike Over Classroom, Pay Disputes

Derek Swanson, News Editor

Oct. 28, 2019


After cancelling classes for all Chicago Public Schools on Oct. 17, the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike over disputes with classroom sizes, teaching materials, staffing and pay scale insufficiencies.  


The most pressing issue teachers have confronted while on strike is the large class size that limit teacher-to-student interactions, especially in the cases of special needs students at elementary schools. Union representatives are calling for more teachers to be hired to take some of the pressures on current staff, as well as filling positions for school nurses, social workers and librarians. 


Teachers have voiced their distaste for the current base-pay raise system. Though it is against state law for teachers to go on strike simply over issues of pay, because the strike focuses on issues impacting students, talks of pay raises have also been brought to the table. 


Currently, the city has offered a 16% base-pay raise over a period of five years. The Teachers Union has instead proposed a 15% raise over a period of three years. Teachers have claimed that the city’s offer makes it too difficult for teachers to live within Chicago city limits, which is required by teachers’ contracts. 


“Teachers in CPS are actually paid well compared to the rest of the state, it’s just that living in the city costs more than most places,” said Dr. Christopher Palmi, associate professor of secondary education. “Regardless of where they live in the state, teachers want to give the best education to students they can.” 


Negotiations over the first few days of the strike saw both sides making progress towards reaching a deal, though many issues had been left unresolved. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson co-authored a statement released Friday that read: “We are encouraged that today’s negotiations were productive and yielded real movement on a number of key issues.” 


“Both sides are really attempting to find a middle ground to negotiate with each other’s needs,” said Palmi. “Strike leaders saw an opportunity this year with a new mayor in office. It’s just such a large population of teachers [in CPS] that it only takes a few to start rumors of a strike.” 


However small the movement may have been in its infancy, the first round of strikers took to marching through the Loop and River North, gaining some much-needed media attention to help further their cause. Though the core issues of the strike had not lost focus, new issues gained attention through the marches, including the lack of ESL services for Spanish-speaking students. 


Though the strike will ultimately be put to rest by creating an agreement between CPS and the Teachers Union, Palmi believes the duration of the strike may, in part, be decided by the support of parents. 


“Parents wield pressure in this situation,” said Palmi. “The last strike went on for seven days. Parents are concerned that their kids aren’t learning in this time, and that the school year may go on for longer.” 


As talks continue and some progress has been made according to both sides, no agreement has been signed at this time. 

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No End in Sight for Opioid Crisis

Derek Swanson, News Editor

Oct. 28, 2019


An average of 130 Americans die each day of an opioid overdose, according to the CDC. 


Since 1996, the year Purdue Pharma released their prescription painkiller Oxycontin, around 400,000 people have died from an opioid overdose, through either street bought or prescription drugs. The recent lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, which was settled for over $10 billion and included stipulations such as Chapter 11 restructuring, did see the company agree to provide millions of doses of opioid overdose reversal drugs, like Naloxone, to law enforcement and public institutions. 


While the commitment to supplying life-saving reversal drugs is a huge step for the company that helped create the epidemic that is ravaging communities today, the crisis is far from being solved. 


Synthetic opioids have proved even more lethal than their prescription counterparts. Drugs, such as fentanyl, which is 10,000 times as potent as morphine, and carfentanil, which is 100 times as lethal as fentanyl, have seeped into the illicit market in part thanks to drug manufacturers that gave massive prescriptions to people with moderate to severe pain- and got them hooked. 


“Addiction is enslavement,” said Br. Pierre St. Raymond, FSC, professor of chemistry. “People with legitimate pain were given these drugs and became hooked. You give up free will to the drug.” 


On top of extremely potent illicit drugs hitting the market and in some cases masking themselves as other less lethal street drugs per dose, such as cocaine, prescription opioids are still readily available through “pill mills.” 


One pill pusher in Katy, Texas conspired with the owner of Aster Medical Clinic, an unregistered clinic, to prescribe their patients over 200,000 dosage units of hydrocodone, among other addictive prescription pills. The leader of the scheme was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances and three counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances. 


The reach of the scheme pales in comparison to the network of 41 medical providers, clinic owners and pharmacists that utilized drug dealers to dispense over 23 million opioids in an operation that stretches from Houston to Boston, and many areas in between. The Department of Justice busted that scheme in late August and raised nine indictments in one of the largest drug rings the epidemic has yet seen. 


“These people need to be going to prison for what they’ve done,” said Raymond. “This has been going on since the ‘90s. Even if it wasn’t addictive, these numbers [of prescriptions written] should tell you something is wrong here.” 


Certain groups have taken action in prescribing less pills to patients requiring short-term pain relief. A study by the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that over a period of six months, doctors decreased the number of pills they prescribed from 26 to 18 on average, with little complaints from patients. The survey further leads to the idea that over prescription is not necessary in treating short-term post-operative pain. 


Solutions like the ones studied by the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, as well as increased availability of drugs like Naloxone are steps in the right direction to curb opioid abuse. While lawsuits against large drug manufacturers, like Purdue Pharma will likely slow the epidemic in the short term, the Department of Justice and the CDC have a long process ahead to mitigate any further opioid abuse.  

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Abuse of power investigated in impeachment inquiry

Emily Krivograd, News Asst. Editor  

Oct. 28, 2019


Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal inquiry into the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump in September. Allegations against Trump include an abuse of power after urging the Ukraine to investigate the family of former Vice President and current Democratic candidate Joe Biden in a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July.  


On Oct. 17, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, conveyed that Trump sought a quid pro quo with Zelensky. This follows the refusal of Rudy Guiliani, Trump’s personal attorney, to turn over documents to investigators overseeing the impeachment trial in Congress. 


“The Trump impeachment is probably most similar to the Watergate scandal,” said political science professor Dr. Steven Nawara. “Watergate, like the Ukraine scandal, gets to questions of abusive power in office, so it is a much more constitutional question in that regard. What the president is accused of is essentially using the power of his office and of his U.S. diplomacy for personal political gain. That gets to questions of the fairness of our electoral process.” 


Impeachment is the process in which the legislative body levels charges against the president, but cannot cause actions to remove the charged from office until after a trial. Any member of the house, Democrat or Republican, can propose charges from the “high crimes and misdemeanors” clause in Article II, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only presidents who have been impeached, though no president has ever been convicted or removed from office.   


Though Pelosi had previously been reluctant to publicly support impeachment proceedings, the whistleblower’s accusations of abuse of power pushed for a trial, as one accusation claims the transcript of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders was moved to highly classified servers to prevent people from seeing it. According to the Wall Street Journal, the secret server was used for record-keeping of conversations with foreign officials, after leaks of controversial remarks by Trump during conversations with leaders of Mexico and Australia occurred soon after Trump took office.  


“The House is a very majoritarian body; the majority of the House can do pretty much whatever it wants, and so Nancy Pelosi is going to be a big key figure in that because she’s speaker of the house,” said Nawara. “She has gone down the path of authorizing the impeachment inquiry and asking the House Intelligence Committee to oversee it, which means the second most important figure in this is going to be the chairman, Adam Schiff. He will be running the impeachment inquiry in the Committee.” 


As a member of the Democratic Party, Schiff was supported by Pelosi to head and navigate the politics surrounding the investigation. Republican ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunez will counter the charges brought by the various witnesses throughout the trial. The Democrats have a four person majority in the Committee.   


According to survey from CollegeReaction.com, 97% of Democratic college students support impeachment while 22% of Republican students expressed their support as of Oct. 8. Overall, polls from Five Thirty Eight show that 83.3% of Democrats support impeachment, while 11.4% of Republicans support impeachment as of Oct. 23.  


“I think there’s a desire among Democrats to get it [the impeachment trials] over with quickly because of the upcoming election,” said Nawara. “They don’t necessarily want to be fighting the battle of impeachment while also trying to fight an electoral battle against the president.” 


“It’s becoming very certain, in my opinion, that the House is eventually going to impeach Donald Trump, and I would expect that to happen sooner rather than later,” said Nawara. “But when that happens, I would also expect, unless something changes with public opinion, the Senate to not remove Donald Trump from president.”  


The Democrats have planned for a new series of hearings that are likely to extend into December. If the inquiry continues to proceed as it has over the course of the past few weeks, more key players will likely come forth in the trial.  

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Kurds Withdraw From Turkish-Syrian Border

Emily Krivograd, News Asst. Editor 

Oct. 28, 2019


The complete evacuation of Kurds among Turkey’s “safe zone” buffer inside Syria on Oct. 22 followed the Turkish-launched offensive against Kurdish forces earlier this month.  


Though President Trump originally voiced his decision to avoid U.S. intervention, Vice President Mike Pence agreed to a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a five-day cease-fire on Oct. 17, which led to the withdrawal of the Kurds.   


The Kurdish evacuation in northern Syria was a condition Turkey regarded as a part of the ceasefire agreement. The five-day ceasefire between the fighting Turks and Kurds in northern Syria was designed to pause the immediate violence on both sides, though both sides were said to have violated the agreement. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Turks have accused each other of violating the ceasefire, while the Kurds said Turkey was failing to create a safe corridor for the evacuation of civilians.  


The Kurds are a predominantly Muslim group, numbering about 30 million in the Middle Eastern region. The Treaty of Sévres, written after World War I, granted Kurds with access to their own homeland, but they were later divided between Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran when the Treaty of Lausanne was passed in 1923. 


“There are 82 million people in Turkey of which an estimated 10 to 20 million are Kurds,” said history professor Dr. James Tallon. “Within the Kurdish population, there are three to four dialects of Kurdish and various religious affiliations. As for the Turks, there are several regional, political and religious divisions within all Turks. However, the relationship between the current Turkish government and the main Kurdish opposition groups in Syria has been and remains hostile.” 


Kurdish forces belonging to the SDF have received U.S. aid in leading opposition against the Islamic State since 2015.  


“U.S. forces in Syria have been working with Syrian Democratic Forces and umbrella groups of opposition forces in the Syrian Civil War,” said Tallon. “The principal group, the Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG) People's Protection Units are a leftist and Socialist militia that does have contacts with the Kurdistan Worker's Party, which is classified as a terrorist organization. This has long angered the Republic of Turkey. In the struggle with ISIS and ISIL in Syria, the YPG and its allies were essential in inflicting a series of defeats on the terrorist organization and regularly coordinated with U.S. forces. This relationship has put a strain on U.S.-Turkish relations.” 


U.S. Special Forces soldiers, which had previously lent support to the SDF in the fight against ISIS, were withdrawn from the Syrian-Turkish border on Oct. 7. Creating an alliance with another group, the Kurds formed a deal with the Syrian government, leading Syrian-associated forces to occupy formerly Kurdish-controlled towns in northeastern Syria. This deal was reached after Russia held negotiations between Syria and the SDF in mid-October. 


“At best, the Kurds have been abandoned [by the U.S.] due to a realpolitik analysis on the part of the White House,” said Tallon. “Significant U.S. involvement was costly and strained. Perhaps, alienating Turkey no longer seemed worth the cost. Perhaps, the view became that ISIS is no longer viable. These are speculations. However, a more likely explanation is that the White House made an impulsive, emotional reaction in order to appease certain political constituencies as well as to distract from the current political crisis.” 


Turkish and Russian powers are currently working out a solution as to what will happen to the Kurd-free Syrian border.  

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Digital Age Calls for Emphasis on Cybersecurity Measures

Emily Krivograd, News Asst. Editor 

Oct. 28, 2019


As digital attacks against organizations and individuals continue to become more advanced, investments in cybersecurity enable the development of risk management and the prevention of data breaches. Cybersecurity, or the protection of internet-connected systems, is utilized by enterprises to prevent and mitigate the consequences of unauthorized access to data centers.  


Cybersecurity threats allow for the attackers to gain medical, government, corporate or financial records collected and stored by a user. Malware, or a form of malicious software attached to a file or program can harm a digital user, and phishing, in which fraudulent emails are sent to a user with the intent of gathering the user’s information, are two major types of cybersecurity threats.  


The risk of a data security breach is a greater issue in the modern-day with 49% of Americans saying they feel their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago, according to Pew Research. This same source also states that many Americans have been impacted by data theft with 41% of Americans encountering fraudulent charges on their credit cards and 35% reporting some type of sensitive information, such as an account number, has been compromised.  


“Cybercriminals are becoming sophisticated,” said Technology Coordinator Donna Flowers. “They are emulating emails from valid companies, like Amazon. It looks just like it’s coming from Amazon, but once you answer the questions and send them your information, they [attackers] have it.”  


Cybersecurity in the workplace involves educating employees in secure practices, as well as the implementation of security software. Programs such as Norton Security allow users to generate and store strong passwords as well as use antivirus software to protect their device against malware.  


In the Lewis Office of Technology, enterprise countermeasures protect against attempted external cybersecurity hacks on campus networks. With over 100 potential cyber-attacks each day, the cybersecurity systems are upgraded as need be to detect threats and protect university-stored software.  


“The big issue for us [the Office of Technology], and probably the most important issue related to cybersecurity here on campus that we have, is the human element: our users,” said Chief Information Officer LeRoy Butler. “We are a community of about 6,500 students. You add about another thousand when you count faculty, staff, adjuncts and the brothers. All of those individuals are a potential vulnerability point for our cybersecurity infrastructure and framework that we have here on campus,” said Butler. “Unfortunately, it only takes one to fail before we have an issue.” 


The largest issue concerning threats to cybersecurity is the use of login credentials for students’ email accounts being externally accessed. With access to a myLewis login, the attacker can then access Blackboard and other school portals, as well as any other site where the same password was used. 


“Regardless of whether you’re an institution of higher education, you’re a bank or even a giant technology like Amazon or Microsoft, they fight the same battles,” said Butler. “They only have to be right once. The key is that when it happens, and it will happen, is to have the appropriate mitigation strategies in place to minimize the damage that can be done to your organization.”  


Exemplary cybersecurity practices involve notifying technology services if there is a potential threat. Students are encouraged to notify the Office of Technology if they observe a threat, such as a phishing email.  

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Supreme Court vs. LGBTQ Community

Kyle Latronica, Reporter

Oct. 28, 2019


The United States Supreme Court heard arguments last week over a landmark case for the future. Aimee Stephens, a 58 year old transgender women, is going against her former R&G and G&R Harris Funeral Homes, for being fired from the workplace and being discriminated against for her gender identity.  


The largest argument brought up in the case was the use of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act outlaws discrimination in the workplace based on sex, race, color and religion.  


Stephen’s case is one of many examples of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Many transgender people have trouble expressing their identity in society due to the current social stigma. Stephen's story is no exception, as she is in her twenties, and is just now expressing her identity. 


Her identity expression was achieved by a plan both Stephen and her therapist worked out. In order to inform Stephen’s job about the change occurring in her life, a letter was written. 


While working at R&G and G&R Harris Funeral Homes and identifying as a man, Stephens received regular hours and promotions of the norm. The funeral home also has a strict dress code for men and women; men wear suits and ties and women wear dresses or skirts. However, once Stephen identified herself as a woman, the issue was stated more as a personal presence according to reports. 


Assistant professor of political science Dr. Steven Nawara was able to provide some insight on how the court proceedings would and will work throughout this case. When discussing the issue of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Nawara said, “the case before the court is addressing the question of, does the language in the Civil Rights Act protect the workers who are gay, bisexual and transgendered?” With this being the case, it will then be the goal of the defendants to prove that the Act does in fact protect all demographics. 


However, the most difficult aspect of the case will be going against who currently has control of the court's power. Nawara on the matter stated, “the way the court is set up now it is a five to four conservative majority... the question becomes will those justices decide to extend the classification of discrimination towards the LGBTQ community.” It is difficult to predict as this new group of justices have never voted on a LGBTQ issue before, this new group of justices being referred to by the addition of Brett Kavanaugh and the loss of Anthony Kennedy. It will then be the hope of Stephen and her attorneys to win over the new justices’ approval and highlight the impacts of LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace.  

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Act Will Soon Allow Students to Retake Individual Sections

Jake Volk , Editor-in-Chief 

Oct. 28, 2019


In planning to attend university after graduating from high school, students need to consider college entrance exams. The ACT and SAT are the two most common exams available to students. Most high schools typically require all juniors to take one of the two exams. 


As the less popular of the two exams, the ACT is required by 14 states, according to The Princeton Review. The ACT asks students to complete four sections of multiple-choice questions: reading, English, math and science. An optional fifth section, writing an essay, is also available and often required by universities. 


For all students who wish to take the ACT outside of the 14 required states, they must pay for each exam they take. Even for students who take the exam in one of the 14 states, they still pay for each retake of the exam, and both groups of students must take or retake the entire exam. 


However, ACT, Inc. announced on Oct. 8, 2019 that students who take the exam next year will be able to retake a single section of the exam. According to Marten Roorda, CEO of ACT to NPR’s Elissa Nadworny, “You can just focus on that one section, and you don’t have to sit for three hours. That’s – so that’s a big benefit.” 


Ultimately, this means a student who has performed poorly on one or two sections will only need to retake select sections without having to worry about their scores for sections they originally performed well in taking. Despite this huge advantage for soon-to-be college students, some experts and researchers believe this policy change interferes with the integrity of the high-stakes exam. 


“Our research shows that ACT scores for students who take individual section texts are consistent with those earned when they take the entire text, said Suzana Delanghe, chief commercial officer for ACT. “we are simply offering new ways to take the ACT, saving students time and giving them the ability to focus only on subject areas needing improvement.”  


In addition to taking single sections, ACT is starting to move from a traditional paper-and-pencil style exam to an online exam. According to Roorda, online exams are more secure and results can be delivered to students within a few business days as opposed to the average three-week wait period for paper exams. “Paper is something that can get stolen or lost,” said Roorda. 


The third policy change is perhaps the most advantageous. Students will be able to choose which results from all of their tests they would like to send to colleges. This score is referred to as a “superscore.”  


On one hand, the strongest advocates for the policy changes argue that college admissions exams are already too high-stakes, but the changes reduce much of the anxiety surrounding entrance exams. On the other hand, naysayers believe the changes poorly reflect what a student actually knows about certain content. 


“We need to be careful about identifying individuals who are strong students despite one area of weakness,” said Dr. Christopher Palmi, associate professor and program chair of secondary, middle school and foreign language education. “We need to have some sort of mechanism for ensuring we bring in teachers who are serious about the teaching profession.” 


The changes to the ACT will officially take effect in Sept. 2020. 

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First OT Students Present at Statewide Conference

Emily Krivograd, News Asst. Editor 

Oct. 21, 2019


Occupational therapy students Sara Nagengast, Veronica Meza, Stephanie Alvarado and Erin O’Callaghan presented research at the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association (ILOTA) Conference on ⁠Oct. 5. Directed by occupational therapy (OT) professor Dr. Susan Cahill, they were the first Lewis students to present occupational therapy research at a major conference. 


In order to present at the conference, the students submitted research conducted during the spring 2019 semester centered around a critically appraised topic, a succinct assessment on known information about a practical issue based on a systematic methodology. The students were notified that their presentations had been approved by the ILOTA board on June 24.  


Meza and Nagengast presented "Community-based Health Programs for Mexican Americans: Addressing Diabetes-Related Risk Factors." Prior to attending the conference, both students reviewed their information alongside Cahill. 


"It [presenting] was an idea that we put within our paper, but we never thought that we would actually be doing it," said Meza. "It felt really great presenting." 


Alvarado and O’Callaghan presented "Occupational Performance Coaching in Pediatrics," which showed the impact of including caregivers in OT services for their children. The presentation highlighted that after involving caregivers in intensive training, they will be able to implement strategies of providing verbal and physical cueing, creating habits and routines and finding unique ways to facilitate their child's independence during daily tasks.  


"It was such an honor to be chosen to represent Lewis' [OT] program,” said O’Callaghan. "Presenting our poster was a great professional experience for me, and I now look forward to participating in OT-related events on a state and national level in other ways in the future.” 


The OT program is currently working to implement a community-based program, culturally tailored for individuals with diabetes.  

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Jet Fuel Review Nominated in National Literary Competition

Derek Swanson, News Editor 

Oct. 9, 2019


Jet Fuel Review, one of the literary magazines of Lewis University, has become a finalist in the College Media Association (CMA) awards. JFR has placed in the top four of all magazines submitted across the nation, and is currently competing against Washington College, University of Texas at Austin and Metropolitan State University for the top spot. A decision will be announced at the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP)/CMA Fall National College Media Convention held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 in Washington D.C. 


In the 2017-18 competition year, JFR received an honorable mention at the CMA Pinnacle Awards. The magazine has gained recognition for two works in particular: one from contributor Adam Clay titled “When the People We Know Become the People We Don’t” in 2016, and Roy G. Guzman’s “Blood Fantasia” in 2017. Should Jet Fuel place first in the competition this year, it would be the first time in the magazine’s eight-year long history. 


“I think it would be a great honor, not only for our editorial staff and for how much work we’ve put in, but also to illustrate the work our contributors and artists have done for our journal,” said Patricia Damocles, a senior English language and literature major who is managing editor of Jet Fuel Review.  


With the assistance of Dr. Simone Muench and Dr. Jackie White, professors of English studies and co-advisers, JFR is a student run publication. Members meet once a week to build team collaboration, discuss upcoming pieces and go over what is working in certain stories, and what could use improvement in a constructive setting. 


“We get quite a few submissions to JFR, so not all of our editors are expected to sort through every single piece,” said Stephanie Karas, a junior English and psychology double major who works as the assistant managing editor. “A lot of what we do is showing new editors what makes a good piece in the genre they’re writing for.” 


Karas says that the possibility of placing first in the competition is “the competition is phenomenal. We couldn’t even imagine this happening when we entered originally.” 


The magazine takes flash fiction, creative nonfiction, artwork and poetry for submissions. All students are welcome to submit work and to get involved with the team, to grow as a writer, get published and be exposed to the greater world of literary work. 


“It’s really about engaging with the literary community as a whole,” said Karas. “While we are an extension of Lewis, we publish work that should reach a wider, international audience.” 


Damocles feels that the greatest experiences of working on JFR come from working with the staff, and for gaining national recognition from the work of the magazine. 


“Being fully immersed in an environment of other writers is very inspiring,” she said. “I feel that every editorial we produce is a team building experience.” 


Submissions for Jet Fuel Review are open through Oct. 15 and will reopen on Jan. 15 of next year. 

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California College Athletes to Reap Endorsement Benefits

Jake Volk, Editor in Chief

Oct. 7, 2019


As of Monday, Sept. 30, Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed into law a motion to reform college athletics by allowing players to acquire endorsement deals. The NCAA is calling the move unconstitutional. The motion will allow industries and companies to use the names, images and likenesses of college athletes to endorse and promote goods and services. 


Following the language of the law titled Fair Pay to Play Act, college athletes will receive compensation from the endorsement companies when their images, names and likenesses are used. According to the Act, it’s illegal for higher education institutions to deny their athletes the opportunity to sign endorsement deals. The Act also requires higher education institutions to hire agents and other representatives for outreach on behalf of their athletes. 


However, the Act does not require the higher education institutions to pay their athletes. The Act only addresses commercial opportunities for athletes. Using former UCLA player Ed O’Brannon’s legal case against the NCAA as a precedent, the Fair Pay to Play Act is a game changer for college athletics. 


In response to the Act, former college athletes turned professional athletes, such as Tim Tebow and LeBron James, are voicing their opinions. In an interview with ESPN, Tebow said, the Act “changes what’s special about college football. We turn it into the NFL, where who has the most money, that’s where you go.” Tebow argues the team mentality present in college athletics will rapidly change into a ‘me’ mentality. “If I could support my team, support my college, support my university, that’s what it’s all about,” said Tebow. 


Though the Act does not officially go into effect until Jan. 2023, NCAA officials are concerned for the individual athletes. In a statement issued by NCAA Director of Public and Media Relations Stacy Osburn, the Act “make[s] unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field.” 


The NCAA asserts the Act is “creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California.” As the organization seeks to fight the Act in California’s courts, higher education institutions across the nation are looking to the Fair Pay to Play Act as a potential precedent for amending their policies regarding commercial endorsements. 


Similar to California, New York State Sen. Kevin Parker has proposed a bill that mirrors the language of the Fair Pay to Play Act. South Carolina State Sen. Marlon Kimpson intends to propose a bill in the coming year that will also mirror the Fair Pay to Play Act. As more and more states review the Ed O’Brannon case, it is likely more proposals will enter state legislatures in the coming few years. 

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HERO Trailer Brings Student Awareness to Opioid Crisis

Emily Krivograd, News Asst. Editor 

Oct. 7, 2019


The Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization (HERO): “Hidden in Plain Sight” trailer was hosted outside the JFK Recreation and Fitness Center on Wednesday, Oct. 2. The event, hosted by the clinical mental health counseling program and the psychology department, allowed for attendees to view a setup of a teenager’s bedroom in which drugs were hidden.  


HERO was founded by current President John Roberts in 2010 after losing his son to a heroin overdose. As a former police officer and professor at Lewis, Roberts emphasizes educating parents about drug abuse and addiction in teens. The “Hidden in Plain Sight” trailer is designed to alert parents that drugs may be hidden in their own homes. In this setup, ordinary objects are scattered around the room, hiding signs of drug addiction in everyday items.  


“We want [parents] to be able to readily recognize symptoms of substance abuse, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, tobacco or vaping,” said Roberts. “What prompted me to start HERO was, I was shocked because here I am, an educated man teaching criminal justice, but I didn’t even know how bad the problem had gotten. There are families that have no idea [about this epidemic] that have to be warned. I would warn of the emerging epidemic and people used to scoff at that idea; now everybody in the nation refers to the opioid epidemic.” 


In the trailer, an educational setup shows what the drugs look like, along with signs pointing out  where drugs were hidden posted on the walls. Objects with hidden compartments to store drugs, such as a fake notebook and water bottle, were placed around the bedroom. While this is set up to depict a teenager’s bedroom, these devices could still be used by adults who want to remain discreet. 


“[The trailer] is an awareness piece. Oftentimes, college students will know someone who is using different forms of drugs and maybe not understand how to help them,” said psychology professor Dr. Kimberly Duris. “With addiction, especially when you think about heroin, a lot of the time there is a stereotype of what somebody who uses heroin looks like and their background. It’s really not accurate.” 


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the increase in opioid abuse originated in the 1990s, when healthcare providers began to prescribe opioids, such as the pain medication Oxycontin, at greater rates. Due to the addictive nature of these drugs, opioid abuse rates began to increase, sometimes causing opioid users to turn to heroin after building a tolerance to their medication, or having their prescriptions cut off. 


“The person could be treated for an injury, and the doctor is readily prescribing opioids as the treatment,” said Duris. “The medical community doesn’t monitor how long the person is allowed to continue on opioids, so it is very easy to get your prescription drug refilled; the addiction grows.” 


Young users, such as teens, may become addicted after taking medication from a family member for whom the prescription is for. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2014, the nonmedical use of prescription drugs was highest among young adults ages 18 to 25.  


“So far we’ve lost over 800,000 people to drug overdose; it’s worse than any violent crime,” said Roberts. “Nobody’s talking about this epidemic.” 


According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the total U.S. drug deaths was just under 20,000 in 1999, but that number steadily increased each following year. In 2017, this number increased by over 50,000, with over 72,000 Americans dying from drug overdoses.  


“[The deaths due to overdose] reached its peak around 2011 to 2013, and has since skyrocketed,” said Duris. “The access is a part of it; opioids are very cheap. When heroin was introduced into the suburbs, there was a huge rise in its use. It’s laced, oftentimes with synthetics, that your body cannot tolerate; that is sometimes where the instant death comes from.”  


The “Hidden in Plain Sight” trailer travels around the Chicagoland area to educate people over 18. HERO plans to host an informational session on vaping at Lockport Township High School later this year. 

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Hong Kong tensions trickle onto American college campuses

Emily Krivograd, News Asst. Editor 

Oct. 7, 2019


Tensions between Hong Kong and mainland China have resulted in numerous protests for a pro-democracy government over the summer and as recently as Oct. 1, when a protestor was struck by police live-fire on the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China. This is the first time a protestor is known to have been shot by police during a demonstration.  


This kind of tension has been present in Hong Kong and mainland China since the early 2000s, but a proposal for a plan to allow extraditions to mainland China this past February sparked outrage among Hong Kong citizens, resulting in tensions on American college campuses.  


“The Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill movement of 2019 has built upon the 2014 [Umbrella] movement,” said history professor Dr. James Tallon. “However, the 2019 movement has been more disruptive and lasted longer. At present, the protests have continued and even disrupted the Communist Party's 70th anniversary celebration on Oct. 1. There appears to be no immediate end in sight.” 


According to Statistica, over 360,000 international students from China studied in the U.S. in the 2017 to 2018 academic year, making China the place of origin for the majority of international students. The number of international students from China far surpasses the number of international students from other countries, allowing these students from the China or Hong Kong area to influence the political culture of the universities they attend. 


About 40% of New York’s nearly 100,000 international students come from mainland China, while less than one percent of these international students come from Hong Kong, according to the Institute of International Education. From the New York Times, flyers intended to raise awareness about the Hong Kong protests were vandalized with the words, “trash teenagers” at Columbia University. On Sept. 13, students gathered to protest outside of a presentation in which pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Brian Leung were participating in a panel. 


“Despite reforming in the 1980s and 1990s, Hong Kong and mainland China remain culturally distinct from one another,” said Tallon. “Many in Hong Kong view Beijing as intrusive and overbearing, whereas many in mainland China view Hong Kong as disloyal and impudent. This, in part, stems from different views of how government should work. For the Hong Kongers, the government should serve the people whereas in mainland China, the government is to be obeyed so that order is maintained.” 


In a story from the Washington Post, student Frances Hui at Emerson College in Boston wrote a piece in the university’s newspaper in which she distinguished her Hong Kong identity, rejecting the notion that she was Chinese. As a result, backlash from mainland Chinese students poured in, resulting in on-campus tensions over the significance of a student claiming whether they were from Hong Kong or China.  


“We had a Ph.D. student who is of Chinese descent, but she doesn’t identify as Chinese,” said Chair of the Music Department Dr. Mike McFerron, who spent the 2015 fall semester teaching in Hong Kong. “She identifies as a Hong Konger. You got a sense that there was a tension of national identity.” 


If tensions concerning the protests continue with the same vigor, it is likely that unrest may spread to more higher education institutions with similar counts of Chinese and Hong Kong international students.

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Student voters on National Voter Registration Day

Emily Krivograd, News Asst. Editor 

Oct. 7, 2019


National Voter Registration Day, which emphasizes the opportunity citizens have of registering to vote in local and national elections, was Sept. 24. A table run by the Committee for Civic Engagement and Pi Sigma Alpha was set up to allow students to complete out voter registration forms from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Academic Building. While the table was visited by 35 people asking general questions, students also had the opportunity to vote online through an email that was sent out on the holiday. 


“People have a real chance to affect change in the country,” said political science professor Dr. Steven Nawara. “Collectively, we are given a choice to who our leaders will be. We see elections that are incredibly close. Even in smaller local races, we’ve had ties and have had close races.” 


Across the country, voter participation in local elections in which both Republican and Democratic candidates receive an almost equal number of votes can result in a tie. In a Jan. 2018 election to determine the last seat for the Virginia House of Delegates, Republican David Yancey won a tie-breaking drawing when his name was pulled from a bowl.  


Student voting rates are typically lower than that of voters in a demographic of an older age range. According to FairVote.org, from 1972 to 2012, citizens aged 18 to 29, the age range a majority of college students land in, turned out at a rate of 15 to 20 points lower than citizens 30 years and older.  


However, student voting rates have increased over the past few years, as seen in the 2018 federal midterm elections. Data collected by the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE) conducted by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University showed that student voting rates more than doubled from 19.3% in 2014 to 40.3% in 2018. 


£NSLVE collects data from 1,023 U.S. higher education institutions across all 50 states, comparing student voting registration rates to voting rates among students registered at the time of the election. Among these institutions, the national student registration rate increased from 65.7% in 2014 to 73.4% in 2018. Of these registered students, 29.3% voted in the 2014 federal midterm elections compared to a 55% voter turnout rate in 2018. 


“If I could generalize about college students, they are less likely to vote than the general population,” said Nawara. “At the same time, however, voter participation at Lewis has been very high in the past. For the past several elections, we’ve done voter registration tables that have been very visible and we have committees that coordinate a lot of the voting events.” 


Lewis’ NSLVE report indicated that the student voting rate increased by 8.4% from 50.6% in 2012 to 59% in the 2016 presidential elections, earning Lewis the 2016 All In Bronze Campus Award. The 2016 voting rate across all NSLVE institutions was 50.4%.   


Due to this increase in student voting rates, the Millennial and Gen Z generations (encompassing all who were born between 1981 to 2010) will represent more than a third of eligible voters in the 2020 presidential election, according to the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. This same source states that 43% of young Americans indicate that they will vote in their party’s primary or caucus.  


With the increase in national student voter engagement, college students will most likely exercise their right to see the change they want in the country again. If 2020 sees the same surge of young voters as 2018 did, the results of the upcoming youth vote will reflect the values of contemporary students across the nation. 

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College Students Help Fuel Green Movement

Stephanie Lingenfelter, Contributor 

Oct. 7, 2019


The media has been running rampant with climate change news, mostly about Swedish 16-year-old, Greta Thurnberg and the Climate Change Movement with marches that took place from Sept. 20 to 27. College students play an important role in this movement as showcased by Lewis’ sustainability practices in dining halls and throughout all of campus. 


A survey done by the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation showed that over 70% of young adults say climate change will cause moderate or great harm to their generation. A survey conducted of Lewis students yielded even higher results with 47 out of 50 saying it will cause moderate or great harm to their generation.  


Senior environmental science major, Josh Kolodziejczyk, joined the Sustainability Club to gain valuable career skills and meet people with a similar ‘green’ passion. He believes climate change is a growing problem, and we will start to reap the consequences during our lifetime.  


“I believe that people, especially younger people like me, should be more concerned than they are about global climate change. It will be within our lifetime that we will see the first ‘climate refugees,’ who are people displaced by the effects of climate change,” said Kolodziejczyk. “As we conduct this interview, the Amazon Rainforest is on fire, the Great Barrier Reefs are bleaching and dying, the Sub-Saharan region of Africa is on fire and we are at the point of a mass (non-human) extinction. All this and the world’s human population is only going up.” 


Lewis is considered a tree campus and has a bronze star for sustainability from the self-reporting database of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Part of the efforts are recycling units connected to every trash bin throughout campus, along with compost bins in dining locations. Efforts to add solar panels to all buildings have also begun. 


“[The Sustainability Club's] most well-known project is the recycled bottle cap project. That helps keep plastics out of landfills and Lewis gets some useful things out of it. Two years ago, we made a park bench that currently sits outside the science building on the walkway that leads to the President’s house and last year we made a picnic table that currently sits on the nature trail,” said Kolodziejczyk. “Other things we also include are documentary showings, trash cleanups, invasive species removal from the nature trail, reusable straw sale, tours and a bake sale.”  


As a resident student for three years, Kolodoziejyck didn’t drive at all, which was, to him, “probably the biggest decision I’ve consciously made.” Avoiding driving is difficult for many, “but the small stuff is important too. I personally do not use straws, or any other extra plastic and I avoid styrofoam as much as I can. Finally, I recommend learning to properly recycle; it makes a difference,” said Kolodziejczyk. 


Many colleges share similar efforts because most college-aged people have an understanding of the effects of climate change. Kolodziejczyk was “given hope last Friday when 4,500 locations across 150 countries marched in protest of lack of action regarding climate change by their governments.”  

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Remaining Dem. Candidates Prepare for Next Televised Debate

Derek Swanson, News Editor 

Oct. 7, 2019


In preparation for the next Democratic debate, which will be held Oct. 15 on CNN, the remaining pool of candidates are more focused on the polls now than ever. The two candidates with the largest leads in the polls are Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, but the race to the finish is not close to over, for a total of twelve candidates still qualify for the next debate. 


 Along with the two aforementioned candidates, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang will make appearances on the debate stage once again. 


“I think very clearly there is a top tier of Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren that have had consistently strong leads in the polls,” said Dr. Steven Nawara, asst. professor of political science. “Right behind them is Bernie Sanders who, to my knowledge, has never really grabbed the lead into that first tier but nonetheless has been running with them the whole way.” 


Many candidates are taking new approaches to reach a wider audience. Sanders in particular has been critical of the debate format. In an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE), Sanders said of the debate format, “It’s demeaning to the candidates, and it’s demeaning to the American people. You can’t explain the complexity of health care in America in 45 seconds, nobody can.” To date, the interview has 9.9 million views on YouTube. 


Yang is another candidate who has used the power of social media to reach a wider audience than in the debates, though a poll from Politico shows Yang has only garnered 3% of the vote. His policy of awarding Americans $1,000 a month in Universal Basic Income has separated him from the rest of the pack. His JRE interview currently sits at 4.1 million views. 


“Andrew Yang is an interesting case. He’s someone who has vaulted himself into the second tier,” said Nawara. “By building that online presence, he’s been able to attract enough donors and polling numbers to keep himself in.” 


Even with some lesser known candidates putting up respectable polling numbers, ultimately Biden and Warren are leading strong with 32% of the vote and 20% respectively. Sanders follows closely behind Warren with 19% of the vote. 


Some of the players who made a large impact in the first two debates, which were split into two parts to accommodate the 20 candidates in the running at the time, have since fallen in the polls. O’Rourke, who started with 10.9% heading into the first debate, now sits at 3%, likely due to his comment during the third debate where he exclaimed, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” a reference to his planned gun buyback program. 


Others who were predicted to make a large impact in the primaries have since fallen out of the race entirely. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York was predicted by many to be one of the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination, but she has since dropped out after polling at zero percent. 


“There’s a real question about whether or not the debate format is useful when there’s that many candidates on the stage,” said Nawara. “But somebody who is failing to make the debate stage in this point of the process is going to have a harder time catching up.” 


Eight more Democratic debates are set from Nov. 2019 until April 2020, when the nominee of the party will be chosen to take on President Donald Trump. 

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WGN Sold in Multi-billion-dollar Deal

Derek Swanson, News Editor 

Oct. 7, 2019


The Chicago media market experienced one of its biggest shifts in history on Monday, Sept. 16, when Nexstar Media Group purchased Chicago-based Tribune Media, who owns and operates WGN, for a landmark $4.1 billion. 


With this acquisition, Nexstar now owns the largest local TV group in the country, while simultaneously moving WGN away from the area. “Chicago’s very own” will now set up shop in Texas. 


“WGN has enjoyed being Chicago’s very own for the longest time,” said John Carey, associate professor of radio and director of electronic media. “But this [acquisition] has been coming for a year. But it’s come as a surprise to everybody.” 

The FCC granted the merger with the hopes that viewers across both groups would benefit. Officials have cited increased Washington D.C. affairs coverage as a reason viewers should be excited about the change. 


Nexstar, which owns and operates 174 stations in markets across the U.S., will sell some of their stations to comply with FCC ownership rules and pay back over $1 billion in debts they have accumulated to pull off the deal. By purchasing WGN, which has broadcasted since 1948 exclusively in the Chicagoland area, the fates of their nearly 6,000 workers are put at risk. 


“I think it’s crazy that after so many years in the Chicagoland area, WGN will no longer belong to Chicago,” said Caitlin Walker, a junior radio/TV broadcasting major and executive producer of the Lewis University Television Network (LUTN). “Growing up, I dreamed of working at WGN Chicago and now that won’t be possible. It’s really sad to see this Chicago staple go.” 


A deal this big has only become possible within the past 23 years, since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 overhauled the guidelines of media and communications ownership. According to the FCC website, the goal of the act is to “let anyone enter any communications business -- to let any communications business compete in any market against any other.” 


The law was a necessary overhaul to the dated previous policy, which hadn’t been updated in 62 years, to provide guidelines for a new medium of the time: the internet. 


Hence, the deregulation of the broadcast industry ownership. While anyone can play the game, given they have the funds to join the big corporations, the act has opened the gates to media acquisitions, mergers and takeovers. 


Aside from the effect on broadcast communications, community and alternative newspapers and public radio have felt the heat from the highly debated bill. It is harder now than ever to profit from an independently-owned and operated local news source, as seen with WGN in this latest move.  


Above all, radio has been hit the hardest, as over 5,100 owner-controlled radio stations around the country dropped to 3,800 within five years of the act taking effect. iHeartMedia, the largest corporation, owns 855 stations, and has been called a “media monopoly” by experts across the industry. 


“Nexstar is a huge company now because of the buyout,” said Walker. “There aren’t many broadcast companies who could own so many stations. I know Nexstar for sure would have to let some of their stations go to abide by FCC rules.” 


In the wake of this highly debated move by Nexstar, only time will reveal the fate of Tribune Media employees, as the operations will be absorbed into the large corporate headquarters in Irving, Texas.