Students Wait for Answers Following Armed Robbery

Posted By: Molly BrewerPosted date: November 21, 2013

Two students who wish to remain anonymous were robbed at gunpoint Friday, Nov. 15, on the corner of Lakewood and North Shore avenues around 3:45 p.m. and are still hoping to catch the suspect who remains at large.

A female student was waiting on the corner for her boyfriend when she heard footsteps approaching her. The suspect, described as an African American male with a height of about five foot nine began repeating, “Give me your bag, give me your purse,” the female student said.

He forced her to the ground and she attempted to fight him off while her boyfriend ran towards them yelling for the attacker to leave her alone, said the male student.

 “I felt as soon as I could intervene I could get him off and beat him up. That wasn’t ever a question in my mind,” the male student said. “Then I got about 10 yards closer and [the man] pointed a gun at me.”

 After threatening the lives of both students, the suspect finally ripped the bag off of the female student, took her cell phone and sprinted off, according to the male student.

 Though Campus Safety later advised against doing this, both students sprinted after the burglar while screaming out and calling 911, the male student said. They followed the man until he got into a bright blue, Mazda 3 hatchback with another African-American male and drove away.

 “What’s frustrating is that it hasn’t really been solved,” the female student said. “I’ve seen the car and my friends have seen the car driving slowly right where the incident happened.”

In the last 30 days, there have been seven reported cases of robbery in Rogers Park, five reported cases of battery and two reported assault cases, according to the Chicago Tribune.

 “We’re really just trying to get the message out and for people to be on the lookout for the car. It’s such an obnoxious blue that it’s obvious,” the male student added.

 Overall, both students are doing all right with the addition of some behavioral changes such as not walking alone and keeping phones and iPods out of sight while walking off campus.

 “Basically the main thing we’ve realized from this and what we’re getting at overall is that things like this happen and there’s nothing you can really do to prepare yourself to prevent it because it’s almost just like a freak accident,” the male student said. “It’s just material and it can be replaced. In this situation there’s no winning.”

 Campus Safety and the Chicago Police Department have been working closely on the investigation, according to an email sent by Tim Cunningham, student community liaison officer for Campus Safety.

 “Campus Safety was awesome. The officers were really great and the people managing the case have been super helpful,” the male student said. “The main thing Campus Safety was emphasizing to us is that we shouldn’t have chased [the robber].

 With the days getting darker earlier and the holidays quickly approaching, crimes like this will only increase, the female student said.

 “You should be able to feel safe,” the male student said. “But it’s important to note that it just comes with going to school in Chicago where gun violence has been pretty prevalent.”

 What both students care most about is making their fellow students aware of the incident and that armed robberies do not only occur after dark on empty streets, the male student said. There isn’t anything that you can do about it.

 “If someone has a weapon, they’ve already won,” the male student said. “The best thing you can do is just calm down, get the best description [of the attacker] in your head and as soon as they’re gone just start screaming for help and call 911 right away.”

A Merging of Sexuality and Faith

Creating safe spaces for students to feel comfortable being themselves is a top priority for Loyola. Holding onto the traditions of the Catholic Church is also a priority for Loyola University Chicago. Some people wonder how these two ideas can coincide.

On Thursday, Feb. 5, I attended the LGBTQI Faces of Faith panel held on in McCormick Lounge on Loyola’s Lakeshore campus. The panel consisted of four speakers from different spiritual backgrounds, all of whom identified as some form of LGBTQI.

Miguel Macias who works as a program coordinator for the department of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs mediated the panel. The guests included the Rev. Brittany Isaac, a pastor at Urban Village Church in Andersonville, Oliver Goodrich, a Christian Life Community coordinator at Loyola, Cindy Enger, a rabbi at the Or Chadash congregation and Mary Otts, the producer of SVARA, a non-profit Judaic study space.

All four guests aimed to educate people who identify with both religion and queerness and to ultimately empower them to embrace their faith even in light of possible confrontation.

Although each guest comes from a unique background and faith system, they have all faced some form of adversity along the way for their sexuality. Each panelist aimed to share their experiences and provide guidance for others.

Macias also runs a program at Loyola called Safe Space Training where people who identify as heterosexual can learn the techniques and tools to make a more inclusive community.

“Tonight is a great example. We have student diversity and multicultural affairs partnering with campus ministry so it’s this really great partnership that we’re trying to model for the rest of the institution,” Macias said.

Small Radio Station Carries Larger Purpose

In recent decades, stories surrounding the Middle East have been nothing short of grim. News outlets everywhere capitalize on self-proclaimed Islamic terrorists in nations plagued by war.

When describing these organizations, 'self-proclaimed' is the only term fit to do so.

Radio Islam, an international radio station located in Chicagoland, aims to deliver unbiased news with a focus on Muslim Americans in hopes of providing an outlet for people that may feel disenfranchised.

"We're at a time where people don't think we're American," said Radio Islam producer and host Tahera Rahman.

While Radio Islam hasn't faced any discrimination itself, its parent company, Sound Vision has experienced protests outside its events and threatening messages.

Rahman hopes the station can allow local Muslims to have their voices heard on topics that could be considered taboo in their culture, such as breast cancer, sexual assault, etc.

There is also a purpose for non-Muslims.

"One thing that we bring to them [non Muslims] is satisfying their curiosity without them having to go outside their comfort zone," said Rahman. "We do a lot of interfaith shows as well."

Rahman views Radio Islam as a kind of service to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

"I don’t think anything is stupid," said Rahman. "I would so much rather somebody come up to me and ask me then just go with what they hear on the news."

Center for Unconditional Love

Roseland's Agape Community Center broadens students' horizons


Derrion Albert, a 16-year-old Fenger High School honors student, was on his way home from school on Sept. 24, 2009, when he was caught in the middle of a brawl between neighborhood rival gangs.

That fight would kill him.

The video of Albert’s death went viral on the Internet. It has become a national example of the violence that seems to have plagued Chicago’s South Side.

In the background of the video, there is a lone, gray building standing beside an empty parking lot, surrounded by litter on the pavement.

The encompassing area appears desolate with the exception of frequent trains that speed by aggressively on the tracks neighboring the facility. The smell of the steel and gasoline lingers in the air.

Ironically, that very building that stood witness to the death of Albert’s young life is the location of a mission-based after school program called the Agape Community Center.

In Greek, the word “agape” means “unconditional love.”

The Agape Center serves a refuge for youth seeking to escape the daily problems they face at home and around the impoverished community of Roseland.

On average, the unemployment rate in Roseland is around 17 percent, while the per-capita income is just under $18,000 per year.

Driving through the neighborhood, it doesn’t take long to notice the number of boarded up and seemingly abandoned homes as well as the lack of grocery stores, restaurants and outside community spaces.

Marc Henkel, the co-city director of the Agape Center, has devoted his life to helping these children find their purpose.

When Henkel, 48, first moved to Roseland 26 years ago, he was one of the only white people  living in the neighborhood, but he believes that in order to help people, one needs to experience their problems firsthand.

“What I’ve come to learn is that yes, there’s violence, but there’s a whole lot more people that want to do positive things than want to do negative things,” he said.

The majority of Roseland’s population is black. The community often faces issues that stem from a lack of family support and resources from schools, many of which, are on performance probation or have faced severe funding cuts.

“They come [to the Agape Center] because they see people who truly care about them.” Henkel said. “They get a hug every day, they get people who know their names, adults who care about them. They have a safe environment to play in where they can have fun and learn new things with peers in a way that they know they’re going to be protected if something [bad] happens.”

The fear that something bad could happen is a familiar feeling for former Agape Center student Henry Walker, who is now 33 and works as an assistant principal in Normal, Illinois.

Growing up in Roseland and attending the impoverished schools in the area, Walker had little insight into the world outside of his own, often scary, backyard.

“Simply getting to school was a challenge in itself,” Walker said.

The fear of stumbling upon the wrong group of people and facing the same fate as Derrion Albert would often determine if Walker would even take the public bus to school that day.

Walker came across the Agape Center when he was in the fifth grade and decided to join a friend for a game of basketball during their open gym time after school. That single evening soon turned into a routine for Walker.

“Part of what kept me away from being deeply involved [with gangs] was going to the Agape Center and connecting with Marc,” Walker said. “Accepting spirituality and having some kind of accountability was instrumental in helping me see the bigger picture.”

That bigger picture meant exploring other areas in the city and trying new experiences that were not available to him before attending the Agape Center.

“Most people outside of Chicago, when they think of Chicago, they think of downtown. For inner city kids, when you say Chicago, it’s the neighborhood. It’s the hood, the inner city,” Walker said. “Once I saw that it was a different world than what I had been presented with or what I had known, it changed my curiosity.”

T-Awannda Piper, 41, who is the director of another South Side youth program called Demoiselle 2 Femme, also believes students need more positive experiences outside of the neighborhood.

“One of the biggest obstacles and struggles that I see with kids in distressed areas is options,” Piper said. “The influence of violence, teen pregnancies, STDs, all of these things are a pipeline for increased risk in our neighborhoods.”

These obstacles create a huge concern for Claire Florine, an English teacher at Harlan Community Academy High School, who recently lost a student of her own to a gang-related shooting.

Florine, 25, believes that despite all of the shortcomings faced by underprivileged students in the Roseland community, they want the same things that they often lack at home.

Antonio Allen, 16, a student in Florine’s AP Language and Composition class, avoids the gangs and violence by participating in Harlan’s drum line and looking ahead to post-graduation.

“I’m not too much of a person to follow the lead or somebody else and the example they set,” Allen said. “[After I graduate,] I want to take up biomechanics as a trade and go to school for psychology.”

The resources that Harlan has provided to Allen have made this possible, despite common perceptions about the school and the Roseland community.

“As far as what we have [at school], if something is wrong, if it’s an issue with messed up books or something, it’s because the students treat them that way, but I’ve learned to deal with it,” Allen said. “It’s not as bad as some people would make it seem.”

Florine agrees that her students shouldn’t be treated differently by people because of their impoverished upbringing.

“They’re not much different than you and I were when we were in high school,” Florine said. “They wanna have fun and they wanna be loved just like any other kids.”

It is for that reason that Henkel chooses to remain in the Roseland community and continues to fight for the South Side students every day.  

“I think whenever a person learns about a different culture that’s different from their own,” Henkel said, “their life is enhanced and can only become more enjoyable.”

Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise to Open in New Quinlan Building

The Loyola Phoenix / April 24, 2013

Plans for the new Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility in the Quinlan School of Business are underway, according to John Boatright, Quinlan School of Business professor and founding director for the new center.

The university recently received an anonymous $5 million endowment to found the center, which will focus on a collaboration of mission-driven education to address pressing social needs, according to Boatright.

The center, which will take approximately three years to complete, will focus primarily on students, curriculum and extra-curricular activities, such as student organizations and internships.

While some centers have a designated location for offices, Boatright said the Baumhart Center will be located in the business school.

Eventually, the center will consist of a director with affiliated faculty who teach and do research in the area, he said.

“I’ve committed to doing this job for about 18 months, so I would expect to be the founding director through August of 2014,” Boatright said, explaining that by then the center should have a dedicated faculty member.

“Probably the following year we’ll hire a full-time director,” he said. “Within 30 months we should have a director in place.”

The field of social enterprise looks to use business in an ethical way to better the community.

While the field is a developing one, Loyola will be among top schools in the nation such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Duke to incorporate it into the university.

“A social enterprise provides the mission of a non-for-profit, but at the same time provides the challenges of business to be able to achieve tasks in a business-like manner, using the skills that one develops as a business student,” Boatright said.

One extra-curricular activity the center has already implemented is a case competition where students develop ideas for new companies, according to Boatright.

“Within Loyola, I think the main driver will be the students themselves. Because employers at the present time are not clamoring for people trained in social enterprise, it’s more the students themselves who would like to do good work with their education when they graduate. The movement is from the ground up,” Boatright said.

Expanding within the school of business will benefit students of all majors and minors, said Keagan Hynes, 20, a sophomore ad/PR major.

“I’m only a marketing minor, but I really appreciate everything the school of business is offering its students,” Hynes said. “It’s cool that the school is combining two important aspects of the business world, business and social enterprise, and giving us an opportunity to use those skills and hone them so that we have more doors open to us in the future.”

The university plans to promote that mission through the center’s focus on teaching, research and service, according to Boatright.

“First and foremost, we’re looking at teaching courses and curriculum that are still being developed, and we may be looking at certificates, maybe even degree programs and then research,” Boatright said.

“But we also want to be a resource to the community as well as alumni, so that when we turn out students who will go into social enterprise, the university can remain a resource for them so they can come back and share their experiences as well as draw new resources.”

The idea of the Baumhart Center offers a great beginning for current freshmen, said Nicole Wegscheid, 19, freshman, an undecided business major.

“I want to get involved for experience in anything. It would put myself out there,” Wegscheid said of the resources and opportunities that are in the plans for the new center.

At least one course will be devoted to the understanding of social enterprise, however, social enterprise is also about the task of achieving some social mission using traditional business skills so students will need to work it into other courses so that they learn the challenges of something like marketing, not only for a for-profit organization, but also for social enterprise, Boatright said.

“If I could combine my marketing minor and my advertising and public relations major, and utilize the skills of social enterprise, I think that it would only benefit me in the job market later on,” Hynes said.

Student Struck by Car, in Medically Induced Coma

The Loyola Phoenix / March 19, 2013

Two Loyola students are recovering this week after being hit by a vehicle over the weekend in Lincoln Park.

The students were identified by friends, family and school officials as 18-year-old freshman Conor Crippen and 19-year-old freshman Anna Waz.

Both students were crossing the street near the Fullerton Avenue Red Line station around 11 p.m. Saturday, March 16, when a Nissan Pathfinder plowed into them, according to friends and the Chicago Police Department.

Waz, a nursing major, was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center on the North Side but was released on Monday, March 18, according to Fr. Thomas Reagan, S.J., who officiated a special mass at Loyola Sunday, March 17, dedicated to the recovery of the students.

As of press time, Crippen, a biochemistry major, is currently still in the intensive care unit at the same hospital in a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling in his brain, according to his 21-year-old sister, Bridget Crippen. Crippen is in stable condition, she said.

“He landed right directly on his face and rolled onto his head,” Bridget said. “It was kind of good that he rolled because then one part of his brain didn’t get all of the hit. It spread out, so we think it’s kind of like shallow damage rather than serious damage so far.”

“No major things have happened, so that’s really good,” Bridget said. “Boring is good, even though it’s kind of frustrating because I just wish he was healing now, but his body is taking its time and doing what it can.”

She said the two injured teens were walking across the street “in the back of a group” when the accident happened. Crippen has not yet woken from his coma, and Waz “doesn’t remember much, or really anything,” Bridget said.

Chicago police are still investigating, but the Nissan driver refused to take a Breathalyzer test designed to gauge alcohol intake, said police spokesman John Mirabelli.

Family members of both Crippen and Waz were notified by Loyola administration of the accident upon the students’ arrival at the hospital, Bridget Crippen said, adding that the university has been incredibly supportive.

“Rev. Patrick [Dorsey] came so early that morning,” Bridget said of Loyola’s hurried response. “Knowing that it’s a Jesuit school, it’s amazing to see [those values] enforced. I’m very happy that Conor picked this school so that he can continue to receive this love and support from Loyola.”

Crippen and Waz’s friends who witnessed the accident also said they are immensely thankful for all that the university has done for them.

Witness and friend of Crippen and Waz, Marielle Jennings, 18, freshman, explained that after following the ambulances in a taxi, she and her best friend Hannah Coley, 18, freshman, were greeted by Loyola administrators.

The university arranged a get-together for the sixth and 12th floors of Mertz, where the victims and their friends live, according to Jennings, a biology major, who said that the two floors act as a family and are extraordinarily close.

“I think it’s because Loyola has given us back so much, that I want to stay here and give back,” Jennings said. “It’s an awful experience, but [through it] we’ve been reassured that we’re in the right place.”

“I think it’s that sense of community that really helped to set the tone of how this recovering is going to go,” said Coley, the philosophy: social justice major.

Crippen’s family created a Facebook page titled, “Prayer request for Conor,” dedicated to keeping friends and the community updated on his condition, and reaching out for support for both Crippen and Waz.

In a post on the Facebook page, which has reached nearly 1,000 “likes” in the first 24 hours of its creation, Crippen’s family asks that the community “continue praying, and allow Conor to feel and receive all of the love that he has given us for his almost 19 years.”

Jennings describes Crippen as a very selfless, straight-A student.

Although it is currently unknown exactly which parts of Crippen’s brain were damaged, once the swelling goes down and he wakes up, Crippen is expected to face a six-month-long full recovery, according to Bridget.

“Conor is such an amazing, unique and great person, so you know, he still needs us here. With continued love and prayer and good luck, he’ll be back and continue to do good things,” Bridget said.

Coley and Jennings explained the most important thing for the Loyola community to keep in mind is that these are two exceptional students who deserve constant recognition and prayer.

“You think that something like this could never happen to the two people that you care about more than anything in the whole world, but it does, and now we just have to be with them the whole step of the way,” Coley said. “All of the support that Conor and Anna are receiving is a true testament to the kind of people that they are and the marks that they’ve already made here at this school.”