Page 1

Volume 51

Issue 15

JANUARY 15, 2020

LOYOLA PHOENIX The award-winning student newspaper of Loyola University Chicago

Courtesy of Unsplash

Loyola Athletics turns the page after wild 2010s 80 professors Steve Woltmann | Loyola Athletics


Back in 2010, Loyola was a member of the Horizon League. The men’s volleyball team still played games in Alumni Gym. The Norville Center for Intercollegiate Athletics wouldn’t be completed until March 2011. Ten years later, that seems almost like a different world. Alumni Gym was torn down in 2011 to make room for the Damen Student Center. The university unveiled a new practice facility in August 2019 — a project that was talked about “for a long time.” But arguably the biggest move of the decade came in 2013 when Loyola left the Horizon League to join the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). All these events are part of a vision that started in 2010. That’s when the “Reimagine Loyola” campaign was starting up. “Reimagine” was an initiative started by former university President the Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., that aimed to improve student life. Tom Kelly, the administrator that Loyola Athletics Director Steve Watson reports to, said growing athletics was a big part of that. As the new decade begins, that vision is starting to pay dividends. “From my vantage point, we made a decision … to reinvest in athletics as part of our ‘Reimagine the Loyola experience,’” Kelly told The Phoenix in a phone interview. “I think we’re in a very good place [now].”

Loyola University Chicago | Flickr

Missouri State Athletics

Hanako Maki | The Phoenix

Steve Woltmann | Loyola Athletics

After a bit of a rocky start to the 2010s, the Loyola athletic department started to see success later in the decade.

The first few years of the decade were rocky. No Loyola team made an NCAA Tournament until the men’s volleyball team rattled off three straight appearances from 2013-15 — including two national championships. M. Grace Calhoun, Ph.D., was hired as athletics director in 2011 and left the university in 2014 with two years remaining on her contract to take

PHOTOS As storms ravage Rogers Park beaches, residents step up to clean trash PAGE 6

KAYLEIGH PADAR Neil Beran | The Phoenix

The 2010s: A Rollercoaster of a Decade

leaving Loyola after taking buyouts

the same position at the University of Pennsylvania, The Phoenix reported. In 2016, The Phoenix reported allegations of player misconduct against women’s basketball coach Sheryl Swoopes. She left the program that summer. The last half of the decade was a different story. The men’s soccer team made the 2016 NCAA Tournament and the men’s basketball team put Loyola on a national stage with its 2018 Final Four run. But 2019 — Watson’s fourth full

year as athletics director after taking over for Calhoun — was when the entire department turned a corner. Both Loyola soccer teams made the NCAA Tournament and the women’s cross country team won the MVC title. The women’s volleyball team turned in its best record in 16 years, the women’s basketball team got off to the best start in program history as it enters the final stages of a total program rebuild and the men’s golf team won its first tournament in five seasons.

Eighty tenured professors plan to leave Loyola at the end of the academic year after taking buyouts which have faced criticism from some faculty and students, who fear the program could lower the value of a Loyola education. At the beginning of the academic year, Loyola offered about 200 tenured faculty members — full-time professors with job security and research requirements — money in return for leaving at the end of the school year, The Phoenix reported. Faculty members who take the buyout will receive two times their annual salary in advance. The program was offered in order to save money, show appreciation to faculty and to address students changing needs, according to Margaret Callahan, the university’s acting provost and chief academic officer. She said the main reason the buyouts were offered was because faculty asked for them. In November, 102 professors expressed interest in the buyout, The Phoenix reported. Some of these professors chose to withdraw from the program before they were required to commit to the buyout on Nov. 20.

2020s 13


A&E Oscar nominations were announced this weekend. But what were the biggest snubs? PAGE 10


JANUARY 15, 2020

But what’s wrong with a little pride? FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

EDITORIAL Editor-In-Chief Mary Norkol Managing Editor Emily Rosca Business Manager Nataly Bitar

This week, my cousin celebrated one

News Editor year sober from alcohol. Knowing just a snippet of the ups and downs she’s gone Mary Chappell through in the past year, and an even smaller snippet of the science behind

Assistant News Editor getting sober, I’m pretty proud of her. She’s proud of herself, too. Kayleigh Padar Assistant News Editor Madison Savedra Sports Editor Nick Schultz Assistant Sports Editor Kyle Brown Assistant Sports Editor Abby Schnable A&E Editor Mary Grace Ritter Assistant A&E Editor Olivia Turner

it all comes down to this. I’m proud of myself. Really really proud,” she posted on social media with a photo indicating the anniversary. I texted her with a couple heart emojis and moved on with my day. But it popped up on my feed again later in the day, and I started thinking about what event in my life would spark that same kind of pride. Immediately, I thought of the day I (hopefully) accept an offer for a full-time reporting job. I thought of all the times I’ve been proud of myself in the past — when I accepted the job that allows me to write these columns for you, when I was accepted to colleges, when I finished various internships. But there was something missing from all of these things. I wasn’t celebrating my personal achievements as I was my professional ones. And it was that thought that sent me down the rabbit hole. Why are people — especially women — so nervous to admit a little pride? Why do we place so much value on climbing the profession-



Eight things to know about legal recreational marijuana





Content Manager Maddy Baltas



Former Loyola assistant Bryan Mullins comes back to Loyola as an opponent




A look into women's basketball's starting five


Former Rambler Clayton Custer retires from basketball, transitions into business career

Security Notebook

Lake Shore Campus


1. Jan. 9, 2020: Campus Safety received a report of criminal damage to property at Coffey Hall. 2. Jan. 10, 2020: Theft in Corboy Law Center was reported to Campus Safety.

Sports Editor

3. Jan. 10, 2020: Criminal damage to the Fordham Hall Parking Garage was reported to Campus Safety.

A&E Editor


Page Turner: Keep your book-reading resolutions


Video Editor Molly Gaglione

Opinion Editor

The best part of punk rock band Beach Slang's latest album is the final two minutes

Photo Editor Zack Miller

Managing Editor News Editor

A case for less memes and more knowledge of current events




Recent storm causes damage to RoPo beaches


Copy Editor Leen Yassine

Web Editor Kashyap Patel

Loyola graduate student wins Opus Prize for humanitarian work

Copy Editor Sean Hemmersmeier

Design Editor Larissa Paseta

plishments. Maybe a few inches of print in a student newspaper will do the trick. In our first issue of 2020, we start the decade with more coverage of legal weed and faculty buyouts in the news section. Our sports reporters analyze the reasoning behind the women’s basketball team’s starting lineup and look ahead at what the 2020s will mean for Loyola athletics. Opinion Editor Adrian Nevarez argues why we should look beyond the memes in the heightened situation in Iran, and opinion writer Kennidy Polcyn urges lawmakers to invest in education programs on the harmful effects of smoking. A&E includes a review of Selena Gomez’s long-awaited album “Rare” and a film review of “1917,” the WWI movie nominated for Oscars this week.

contents “I have so much to say about this, but

Opinion Editor Adrian Nevarez

Audio Editor Luis Mejía Ahrens

al ladder? On acing a test or gaining a scholarship? Why can’t we be proud of the relationships we’ve built, the metaphorical mountains we’ve tackled, the insight and sense of self we’ve gained? We should be proud of each other, too. That friend who finally checked into therapy after years of mental health issues? Hell yeah, good for them. Your family member who’s fed up and won’t indulge in drama anymore? That’s great news, I’m glad to hear it. The coworker who’s writing poetry on the side? I can’t wait to read it. Too much pride can be dangerous, of course. But I’d argue we don’t ration enough pride into our mental and emotional diet. If you can’t pat yourself on the back when you reach the peak of a mountain, then why even suffer through the climb in the first place? After a lot of thought and even more questions — bonus points if you can count the question marks in this article — I decided a short text with heart emojis wasn’t enough of an acknowledgement of my dear cousin’s accom-


4. Jan. 12, 2020: Campus Safety received a report of theft in Fairfield Hall.


JANUARY 15, 2020


‘I really thank God.’

Loyola graduate student shares reaction after winning $100,000 prize Courtesy of Charles Nuwagaba

Charles Nuwagaba, a Loyola graduate student, won the $100,000 Opus finalist prize due to his work in Kenya. His program — Teen Mothers Project — teaches teen mothers skills and provides them with child care.


When Loyola student Charles Nuwagaba received an email last year in February notifying him he was a finalist for a humanitarian award that came with $100,000, he didn’t flinch. In fact, he deleted the email, thinking it wasn’t real. “When I first looked at the email I didn’t take it seriously,” Nuwagaba, a 55-year-old Loyola pastoral counseling student from Uganda, said. “I get plenty of junk mail … so I deleted the Opus Prize email.” Nuwagaba, who is from Uganda, only discovered it was real when the head of the Opus foundation emailed him personally. Through partnerships with Catholic universities, the Opus Prize awards faith-based humanitarian organizations a $1 million main prize and two $100,000 finalist prizes to help fund their organizations, according to the Opus website. In November 2019, Nuwagaba accepted the $100,000 finalist prize to support his Teen Mothers Project in the Kibera slums in Kenya. The program teaches teen mothers vocational skills, including sewing or cosmetology, while providing care and education to their children, he said.

“This was a shock and I could not believe it,” he said. “I really thank God because when you do good things, God blesses you with many things.”

“It was not about the money. To me it was about networking and telling people how they can engage in transforming lives.” CHARLES NUWAGABA Loyola graduate student and Opus prize finalist

Nuwagaba said he’s thankful for the person who nominated him, even though he doesn’t know who did it because nominations are anonymous. He said he plans to use the money from the Opus Prize to expand the services available to the teen mothers and improve the counseling program in the Kibera Slums once he finishes his graduate program with Loyola. Nuwagaba graduated from Loyola with his undergraduate degree in economics in 2009 through a partnership Loyola has with his reli-

gious order of Brothers of St. Charles Lwanga, the first indigenous Catholic religious order in Africa, he said. For the last 30 years, the Jesuits have hosted the brothers while the university covers tuition so they can get a degree and return to Africa with new skills, Nuwagaba said. “By the time I completed my undergrad I was transformed,” he said. “It was not about education but the dedication and values that shaped me. It changed how I integrate social justice into my services.”

“The altruism that this work represents and the deep faith that is that source is very impressive.” MICHAEL CLARKE Loyola professor and Bannakaroli Foundation founder

Michael Clarke, an associate professor of English at Loyola and founder of the Bannakaroli Foundation — which spreads awareness about the Brothers of St. Charles Lwanga — said the brothers use the education they receive at Loyola to improve their work when they return to Africa.

The Brothers of St. Charles Lwanga serve Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania through education, healthcare, agricultural services and economic development, according to their website. “The altruism that this work represents and the deep faith that is the source is very impressive,” Clarke said. “It shows that Loyola is making a difference, indirectly, but very powerfully.” Despite not winning the main $1 million Opus prize, Nuwagaba said he was grateful for the opportunity to share his message. “It was not about the money,” he said. “To me it was about networking and telling people how they can engage in transforming lives.” Loyola has been selected to award the 2020 Opus Prize in November, according to Janet Sisler, who is overseeing the Opus prize process and is the vice president of mission integration for Loyola. The award ceremony is one of the ways Loyola will be celebrating its 150th year, she said. “Our partnership with Opus is a perfect expression of how Loyola has worked to create sustainable solutions to vexing human problems for the last 150 years,” she said. Sisler is leading the process, which began in early 2018, she said. Loyola chose 15 members of the community, like alums, trustees and present members, to each nominate

a faith-based organization. Now a jury of 12 Chicago community members will choose three groups to become finalists, Sisler said. Although the jury will make their decision mid-January, the finalists won’t be announced until the summer, she said.

“We are so profoundly impacted by the ministry and dedication of the non-profits that have been surfaced.” JANET SISLER Vice president of mission integration

Sisler said the current nominations include an array of faiths, including Jesuit, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu groups from Chicago and around the world. “We are so profoundly impacted by the ministry and dedication of the non-profits that have been surfaced,” she said. “To read the nominations, it just gives you chills.” The week before the ceremony, the finalists will hold symposiums to interact with Loyola students and faculty — which benefits both the student and the organizations — she said.

Courtesy of Charles Nuwagaba

Nuwagaba said he plans to use the money awarded to him to help expand the services his program offers to mothers in the Kibera slums in Kenya after he completes his graduate program at Loyola.

JANUARY 15, 2020


Don’t fear the reefer: 8 things to know about legal weed can still ban marijuana smoking in their properties.


Since Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the June 25 bill legalizing recreational cannabis, Illinois has spent the last six months preparing for the change Jan. 1, and Illinois residents lined up by the hundreds to get their fix. Here are 8 things to know about legal marijuana. 1. You can’t smoke in your dorm or on campus — and don’t expect to anytime soon

Despite recreational legalization, many colleges — Loyola included — still prohibit cannabis. The federal Drug Free Schools and Communities Act requires universities that receive federal funding to obey federal laws, including those regarding controlled substances, The Phoenix reported. As such, Loyola’s policy regarding weed remains the same. “Loyola will not permit the possession or use of marijuana at educational or other activities sponsored, conducted, or authorized by Loyola or its student organizations, whether on or off campus, in any on-campus housing, or in any other Loyola buildings or other property,” according to the Loyola Community Standards. Assistant Vice President and Director of Residence Life Deb Schmidt-Rogers didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment from The Phoenix. 2. You can’t smoke in public

Under the new law, consuming marijuana in public is still a punishable offense. Marijuana can only be used in a private residence — but smoking will be allowed at dispensaries, according to the Chicago Cannabis Zoning Ordinance. It’s also illegal to smoke in a car, even if it’s stationary. Torrance Gardner — director of economic and community development for 49th Ward Alderwoman Maria Hadden — said checking leases and rental agreements is the most important thing for recreational marijuana users to remember, as landlords

3. Only a few places will get to sell it for a while

For the first few months of legal sales, only a few places in Chicago will be able to sell it, The Phoenix reported. Ten places in Chicago are licensed to sell recreational marijuana, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) website. Dispensary 33 (5001 N. Clark St.) is the closest dispensary to Loyola’s Lake Shore campus — off the Argyle Red Line station about two miles away. Loyola’s Water Tower Campus is located in the cannabis exclusion zone, an area where the sale of recreational cannabis is prohibited by the Cannabis Zoning Ordinance, but the nearest dispensary is NuMed Chicago (1308 W. North Ave.) three miles away. Recreational cannabis isn’t going to be available everywhere in Illinois either. The law allows municipalities to decide whether to allow dispensaries or not — similar to “dry counties” that prohibit the sale of alcohol. Chicago allows dispensaries but some suburbs, such as Naperville, voted against them, according to the Naperville government website. Medical dispensaries are still allowed in Naperville. 4. Get ready to wait in line

First-week recreational cannabis sales have totaled around $10.8 million, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website. All those sales came from the hoards of people who waited in hour-long lines for the product at local dispensaries. The high demand also caused shortages at some dispensaries, which are required to prioritize and reserve some products for medical marijuana users. 5. You can’t grow your own marijuana

Only users of medical marijua-

Katie Anthony The Phoenix

Recreational marijuana was legalized at the beginning of the year. Here’s what students should know about the change.

na — made legal in 2013 for people with conditions such as HIV/AIDS, ulcerative colitis and lupus according to the Illinois Department of Public Health website — can grow their own plants, according to the new law. Medical marijuana users are also limited to only five plants. 6. Prices may vary

Recreational marijuana is subject to certain taxes, which means prices will be more expensive than medical cannabis, The Phoenix reported. Products with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of 35 percent or less, such as the kind used to smoke, are taxed at ten percent. THC is the active ingredient of marijuana. Cannabis-infused products, such as edibles, are taxed at 20 percent. Products

with a THC content of greater than 35 percent are taxed at 25 percent, according to the IDFPR website. 7. You can only possess a certain amount

Illinois residents can only have 30 grams of cannabis flower — the type of cannabis used for smoking — according to the IDFPR website. Residents can have five grams of cannabis concentrate, and 500 milligrams of cannabis-infused products. These limits are different for Illinois visitors, who can only have half of the amount of residents. 8. Be careful of weed in the workplace

Recreational marijuana is legal now, but some employers may have

zero-tolerance drug use policies from before legalization. Under the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace, consumption of legal substances outside of the workplace is allowed. But the new law legalizing cannabis also allows companies to fire employees for using marijuana on the job. Similar to other states with legal recreational cannabis, this is a gray area as marijuana remains in a user’s system for an extended period of time, according to a study published by the American Association of Clinical Chemistry. The Chicago City Council has yet to address this issue, Gardner said. Rogers Park residents with questions or concerns regarding recreational marijuana can contact Alderwoman Maria Hadden’s office at (773) 338-5796.



For an overview of the week’s top stories and breaking news alerts sent straight to your inbox, scan the code below or visit

JANUARY 15, 2020



BUYOUTS: 80 professors leave, buyout program faces criticism continued from page 1

The Takeaways 80 professors plan to retire at the end of the year due to recently offered buyouts. Cost savings haven’t been calculated yet. Some students and faculty fear a Loyola education could lose value.

Anthony Cardoza, a history professor who’s taught at Loyola for 32 years, said he chose to take the buyout because he’s been thinking about retiring for a while and the extra money was “irresistible.” However, he said he has concerns about the buyouts themselves because he thinks they’re motivated entirely by cost-savings. “There’s no clear intellectual vision behind it,” Cardoza said. “Like a lot of other decisions that have been made in the past couple of years, it seems to be driven exclusively by bottom-line concerns rather than on the basis of what is the mission of the university, what is the intellectual trajectory of the university.” Loyola initially calculated cost savings “based on the assumption” that about 70 professors would participate in the program, according to a docu-

ment obtained by The Phoenix. If that number of professors left, the document said Loyola would have saved $6.2 million. The university expects to save money because the retiring professors’ current salaries are higher than a new professor’s starting salary.

“There just aren’t enough people. Loyola likes to run everything on as tight a margin as possible, where if one little thing goes wrong, there’s just no one to do it.” LAURA GAWLINSKI Classical studies chair

The final cost savings haven’t been calculated yet, according to Sarah Howell, a Loyola spokesperson. Students and faculty members shared concerns about how the buyouts might affect the university — citing issues with the way the buyouts were introduced and fears about how it

Isabelle Falsetti | The Phoenix

About 80 professors accepted buyouts from the university and plan to retire at the end of the academic year, Callahan said.

might impact the quality of education at Loyola because the new professors hired might be less experienced, The Phoenix reported.

“There’s no clear intellectual vision behind it. ... It seems to be driven exclusively by bottom-line concerns rather than on the basis of what is the mission of the unviersity.” ANTHONY CARDOZA Retiring history professor

Alanna Demetrius | The Phoenix

Some have criticized the university for focusing too much on saving money.

Laura Gawlinski, the chair of Loyola’s classical studies department which is losing two out of its six tenure-track professors due to buyouts, said they have a short-term plan for next year, but the future is “up in the air.” Specifically, the department’s du-

al-enrollment high school Latin program — a class where high school students learn Latin and receive college credit — could be at risk because the department might not have enough people to run it, Gawlinksi said. “Yeah, sure, we’ve got all the classes covered, but we do a lot of stuff outside of classes,” Gawlinksi said. “There just aren’t enough people. Loyola likes to run everything on as tight a margin as possible, where if one little thing goes wrong, there’s just no one to do it.” Despite these concerns, Callahan said she was confident the quality of education at Loyola won’t suffer due to the buyouts because the administration is already working to replace professors and she’s impressed with the applicants she’s already seen. In the past, some have criticized the university for focusing on cost savings, arguing the school is run more like a business than a university, including the AAUP which recently wrote a letter stating Loyola’s president is “illequipped” to run the university. Callahan responded to this criticism and said universities are businesses. She said Loyola has to remain

conscious of costs in order to make education accessible for more students.

“We absolutely do need to pay attention to our cost, to our structure. If that’s likened to just running a business, then so be it, but I think that’s about us being responsible to our students and families.” MARGARET CALLAHAN Interim vice provost

“We absolutely do need to pay attention to our cost, to our structure,” Callahan said. “If that’s likened to just running a business, then so be it, but I think that’s about us being responsible to our students and families.”

New Illinois law requires single-occupant restrooms to be marked as all-gender HANNAH DENAER

The new decade began with a step forward for transgender and gender nonconforming people, as a new Illinois law requiring all public, single-occupant restrooms to be labeled as all-gender took effect Jan. 1. Termed the Equitable Restrooms Act, this law prevents places of “public accommodation” from marking single-occupancy restrooms as for any specific gender. Buildings such as hotels, restaurants, homeless shelters and libraries are all listed as places of public accommodation, according to the Illinois Human Rights Act. Public buildings will be held accountable for upholding the law by the Illinois Department of Public Health, as health inspectors are now responsible for assuring public buildings are marking their single-occupancy restrooms as all-gender, the Act reads. The Chicago Restroom Access Project, a group working under the LGBTQ advocacy organization Pride Action Tank (PAT), was one of the supporters of the Equitable Restrooms Act. In an effort to educate and spread awareness, the Chicago Restroom Access Project launched a survey in 2016 asking about 1,000 Chicago residents what sign would best represent a gender-neutral

restroom, according to the PAT website. Kim L. Hunt, the executive director of the PAT, said projects like the survey are a result of “informal, community-based meetings” focused on listening to the voices of marginalized people. She said the law going into effect was due to the hard work of “regular people” who wanted to make public restrooms safer and more accessible for transgender and gender nonconforming people.

“Harassment in restrooms is directed towards transgender and gender non-conforming folks.” Emily Burdett | The Phoenix

KIM L. HUNT Executive director of PAT

“Harassment in restrooms is directed towards transgender and gender nonconforming folks,” Hunt said, emphasizing safety as a core reason for the law’s importance. Some students at Loyola have had similar issues with feeling unsafe of uncomfortable in gendered restrooms and pushed for the addition of more

All single occupancy restrooms at Loyola are already labeled with “gender-neutral wording,” according to Henning.

gender-neutral bathrooms on campus about three months ago, The Phoenix reported. Since this push occurred, the university added an additional gender-neutral bathroom in the Information Commons/Cudahy Library and now has 13 gender-neutral bathrooms, according to Loyola’s website. Kana Henning, Loyola’s associate vice president for facilities, said all single-occupancy restrooms at Loyola are labeled with “gender-neutral

wording.” She also said the decision to add a gender-neutral restroom in the IC/Cudahy was not influenced by the new law. Olive Spiegel, co-president of one of Loyola’s student organizations for LGBTQ students called Rainbow Connection, said the law identifies single-occupant restrooms as “safe spaces” for transgender and gender nonconforming people. “The title of all-gender makes

[people] think about who the bathroom is meant for,” they said, emphasizing the issue of cisgender people using single-occupant restrooms simply for “privacy.” According to Equality Illinois, another organization working to advance the equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people, the Equitable Restrooms Act is also beneficial for people with caretakers, disabilities and children of the opposite sex.




A Perfect Storm Rogers Park residents lend a hand after winter storms leave trash on neighborhood beaches

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

Powerful, 20-foot-tall waves washed up a kid’s playset on the shore of Loyola Beach, along with other items such as driftwood, a coat, shoes and trash. It’s unclear where the playset came from.


Heavy rain and strong winds struck many areas of Chicago the weekend of Jan. 10, causing floods that overtook Rogers Park beaches, walkways and some residents’ backyards. A consistent trend of rising water levels in Lake Michigan caused many of the city’s lakeshore areas to flood. The lake’s water levels rose six feet during the first half of 2019 and continues to due to unprecedented amounts of rain in the lake’s basin area. Waves ranged from 14 to 20 feet above the water line Jan. 11, and when combined with near-record high lake water levels, caused flooding, according to the National Weather Service. A small craft advisory — which is issued when conditions, such as high winds, could threaten small vessels — remained in effect until noon Jan. 14 with winds sitting just under 30 miles per hour. However, damage caused by the flooding had a silver lining: some Rogers Park residents were at the

beach after the storms cleaning up the extra trash that was washed up by the intense waves. Rogers Park residents Jen Halman and Lexi Weintrub were out collecting trash after the tide had settled Jan. 13. The two said the amount of trash they saw was about seven times what they normally see. “The water went all the way up to the fences,” Halman said. “We even found somebody’s bag of soil.” Halman grew up in the area and moved back five years ago, giving her experience with both the rising waters and trash collection. She said she had worked with trash collection groups in the past in addition to living nearby. “I’ve seen it before,” Halman said. “When I grew up on [West] Chase A venue we had a whole beach for many years and then it just eroded. Now they just have rocks against the building.” Another area veteran and regular beach-cleaner, Claire Prucher Epperly, noticed the trash on the beach was not just the usual cans and bottles, but other, significantly larger items when she went

out to clean the beaches Jan. 12. “It was really worse than I had ever seen,” Epperly said. “The stretch south of Pratt isn’t usually very dirty… and now there are big pieces of stuff. Someone’s coat, someone’s shoes, all sorts of trash I don’t usually see.” Epperly said she had seen storms like this before but that much of the trash found was not only bigger, but also in greater disrepair. “There were pieces of plastic that looked like they were from a broken radio,” Epperly said. “It definitely seemed like [the storm] was much more violent because everything was smashed, which I don’t usually notice.” Despite the increase in trash size, Epperly was able to clear the heavier set of litter brought in by the weekend’s wild waves. “We were able to get all the big pieces off that part of the beach so that was really gratifying,” Epperly said. “Honestly, I like to pick up trash. It’s immediate gratification and I don’t want to live in a messy, litter-filled neighborhood.”

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

High waves near Albion Avenue Park reached past the boulders along the shore, covering the rocks in a thin layer of ice.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

Some Rogers Park residents were spotted picking up trash along the shoreline.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

The lakewater at Pratt Beach reached far up shore, covering most of the beach and walking paths. Debris still remains days after the storm passed, and much of the standing water turned to ice.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

Strong waves and gusts of wind pushed down fences and flattened patches of grass along the shore at Loyola Beach.

A detached dock was among the items washed to shore on Loyola Beach.



JANUARY 15, 2020

Loyola is penny-pinching and misplacing priorities Isabella Falsetti

THE PHOENIX EDITORIAL BOARD At the end of this semester, 80 longtime and well-loved Loyola professors from a number of schools will bid farewell to campus, leaving behind tenures of 10 years or more and holes which will be extremely difficult to fill. This fall, about 200 tenured faculty members 60 years or older who have worked at Loyola for more than 10 years were offered a sum of money if they retired at the end of this academic year. Tenured professors are full-time professors with job security and research requirements. As professors climb the ladder and spend more time at Loyola, their salaries increase, costing the university a sizable amount of money. Through this program, Loyola will be able to hire new professors at a lower cost. While we fully support and respect some faculty members’ needs

to retire, this plan — dubbed the Tenured Faculty Voluntary Transition Incentive Plan — makes it feel like they’re being pushed out. Loyola has once again proved itself to run more like a corporation and less like a university where students can thrive. President Jo Ann Rooney’s administration continues to cut corners and hurt what makes Loyola such a special place. Soon enough, Loyola may no longer be the Loyola we know it to be. Loyola’s administration is stripping the school of its authenticity by getting rid of these long-time educators — all to save a buck. These professors have seen the evolution of their fields and have an expertise that simply can’t be matched by younger, newer educators. According to documents obtained by The Phoenix, some programs — including environmental science, healthcare administration, public

Mary Norkol Emily Rosca Mary Chappell Adrian Nevarez Nick Schultz Mary Grace Ritter service careers and business data analytics — will be prioritized during the two-year hiring process. This could leave some schools high and dry, overworking the remaining professors. The university calculated cost savings “based on the assumption” about 70 professors would participate in the program, saving the school about $6.2 million. The final savings are still unknown. What’s more is Loyola’s administration dove head-first into this program without much of a plan for how to rehire the professors who retire, potentially leaving lots of uncertainty within some departments. Administrators previously told The Phoenix the university has to be careful about costs to make education accessible for more students. In only paying attention to the numbers, however, it’s jeopardizing its basic

purpose and mission in what it advertises as a high quality education. Not to mention that education at Loyola isn’t becoming more accessible, as higher-ups at the university claim. It’s actually becoming more expensive with tuition increases, including a 3.3 percent increase for this academic year. It doesn’t seem to add up. Professors are the foundation of any university. They’re on the front lines and can help students make connections and get jobs — especially graduate students who look to tenured professors for research opportunities and help writing dissertations. Some have taught for decades at the university and shown dedication that’s difficult for new professors to develop. Many have influenced lives with their unique and “old-school” approaches to teaching. The university argues that one of the reasons for the buyouts is


President Donald Trump signed a law into practice in December which officially raised the smoking age to 21. This action is meant to protect teens from smoking. However, this legal action won’t stop teens from doing just that. The only thing the law does is make it harder for minors to get nicotine. U.S. lawmakers need to put other protective measures in place so teens won’t pick up the habit in the first place. Throughout the U.S., 19 states have already raised the smoking age prior to Trump signing it into law. Illinois upped the smoking age to 21 in July 2019. As a result, Loyola’s Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution’s website states students can’t give any sort of nicotine products to anyone under 21. Raising the smoking age is meant to lower the number of teens who use cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping products, according to a study by the Institute of Medicine which found raising the smoking age will lessen the number of teens smoking, smoking-related deaths and improve the health of many individuals. Around two million middle school and high schoolers used e-cigarette products, according to the nonprofit Child Mind Institute. Sixteen percent of college students vaped in 2018, according to another study conducted by Pew Research Center.

Raising the smoking age is ineffective Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Lawmakers need to stop cutting corners. It’s time to be proactive about situations instead of reactive. Teen smoking must be stopped.

The use of nicotine products is an issue that needs to be addressed. More than 480,000 people die from cigarette smoking and its effects yearly, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s a step in the right direction for lawmakers to want to address this health concern. However, simply raising the age of purchasing tobacco products to 21 won’t diminish the problem. Instead of raising the smoking age to 21, lawmakers should be

The Phoenix

funding more programs that spread awareness about the dangers of smoking. The CDC reports around 1,479 people with pulmonary disease and 33 died due to e-cigarettes in 2019. These programs should educate the youth on what smoking does to their bodies and also provide resources on recovery for people addicted to nicotine. Addressing the issues from this angle would help stop the problem from occurring all together, not just try to fix it after the youth have

become addicted to nicotine. Teens initially are attracted to vaping because of the many different flavors and due to the belief that it’s safer than tobacco cigarettes, according to a report from the CDC. Lawmakers need to deter teens from even wanting to start smoking in the first place through education. Funding programs dedicated to preventing teens from picking up the habit would have a far greater impact. Nonprofits, such as Truth Initiative, want to stop the culture

that student needs are changing. While older professors may not be as adaptable with new technology, they know Loyola better than most and have spent years working on their craft. Administrators also said the program was created to show appreciation for faculty. However, some of the language used in the original emails about the buyouts seemed like a slap in the face to tenured professors. An email from Loyola’s administration sent to faculty said the program was designed to take “proactive steps to help ensure our continued standing as a first-class, student-focused university.” From the moment we start at Loyola, we’re told we’re supposed to “Go forth and set the world on fire.” If the university keeps pinching pennies instead of prioritizing students, it’s hard to do that. behind smoking. If programs like Truth Initiative can stop teens from picking up this habit, then it won’t be something they carry into adulthood. Raising the smoking age to 21 simply won’t be enough to bring the desired result to fruition. For example, the drinking age in the U.S. is 21, but this doesn’t stop people underage from drinking and buying alcohol. In 2015, 7.7 million 12-20 year olds admitted to drinking alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). An age restriction isn’t enough to prevent underage kids from getting their hands on alcohol. Underage teens often turn to illegal measures to purchase and consume alcohol. A U.S. study found that in a group of 1,000 college students, two-thirds of them reported using a fake ID according to Live Science, a science news site. If people really want to drink or smoke, laws and regulations won’t deter them. They will find a way to do it, whether using a fake ID or having someone of age buy it for them. While it’s commendable that lawmakers are trying to address the problem of youth smoking, raising the age to 21 isn’t the best solution. Education is what will ultimately solve the issues of teens smoking. Congress needs to re-address their approach so U.S. population can be healthier and happier teens.

JANUARY 15, 2020



With recent changes in state and federal legislation concerning recreational marijuana, this little bud is here to stay. Loyola should invest in the marijuana industry by opening a student-run dispensary near campus once federal legislation allows them to do so. Illinois legalized recreational marijuana through the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA) which took effect Jan. 1 and the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. If signed into law, this Act will decriminalize marijuana on a federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. Having a student-run dispensary is contingent on the MORE Act becoming law, if it does become law it would allow Loyola to make its own marijuana policy since it wouldn’t violate federal law to be involved in the marijuana industry. Loyola should run the potential dispensary through Loyola Limited — a student-run program where students operate businesses, such as the bike shop ChainLinks or the Wolf ’s Kettle which runs the

Loyola should sell grass to make green Zack Miller The Phoenix

Loyola should cash in on the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois by opening a dispensary near campus, through Loyola Limited.

concessions at university events. A student-run dispensary near campus would allow students to get hands-on training and experience in an exploding field of commerce with a lot of potential. The estimated

Zack Miller

The Phoenix

Dispensaries sell a variety of THC-infused products including vape pens and edibles.

retail revenue of marijuana in 2019 was between $11-14 billion and the expected revenue in 2021 is roughly $22 billion, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook. People are allowed to smoke in dispensaries so the dispensary would have to be near campus since Illinois law bans smoking on campus. The university can run the dispensary at an off-campus commercial space — Loyola already runs several offcampus commercial spaces through its real estate company Lakeside Management. The Phoenix’s Editorial Board has penned in the past that President Jo Ann Rooney runs Loyola like a business. If this is the case, Loyola should make the business decision to open a dispensary near campus.

Washington state, which has roughly 4 million fewer residents than Illinois, reported $367.4 million in revenue from legal weed, according to its treasury. Since legalization in Illinois marijuana sales have already reached close to $20 million in sales and dispensaries are running out of supply, according to the Chicago Tribune. Marijuana is a great emerging industry that allows for innovative business ideas and entrepreneurship. There is a wide range of products that could be sold, which include oils, edible products and flower bud. The dispensary could also sell CBD products which don’t contain THC — the psychoactive effect in marijuana — and CBD can be used in medicinal ways, according to the


At the start of the new year, President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iran’s General Qassim Soleimani via drone strike. Along with extensive news coverage of this operation, the internet was sent into a frenzy of memes. By the morning of Jan. 4, WWIII was the top trending subject on Twitter. Memes, which are humorous pictures often accompanied by text within the image, about military drafts in the U.S. and possible world war outcomes quickly went viral as people shared them. Although it’s human to make light of situations which might otherwise frighten us, it’s important to grasp the seriousness of these events. Many people in the U.S. probably found these memes to be funny but by putting yourself into the shoes of an immigrant living in America, these attacks are anything but funny. The Iraq Body Count Project (IBC) — a public database that tracks the civilian deaths caused

Stop with the WWIII memes llee_wu flickr

With memes circulating regarding a draft and war with Iran, it’s more important than ever to stay informed on what’s really happening.

by the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi government forces or criminal attacks — estimated about 200,000

Wikimedia Commons

General Qassim Soleimani was assassinated via drone strike after intelligence agencies flagged him as a threat to the U.S. and the president greenlighted the operation.

violent civilian deaths since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. There haven’t been many attacks on American soil so most U.S. citizens aren’t used to seeing the real effects of war or the occupation of a foreign power. Their only exposure to war is through entertainment, such as movies or video games, which often just narrates a story using a protagonist and an antagonist. These types of works draw from a sense of patriotism people have while enjoying these works, which can make it harder to identify moral flaw in government decisions. For example, the atomic bombings of Japenese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have ended the war in the Pacific at the end of World War II but the ethics of the attack are still debated today. The U.S., as a world superpower,

has to make morally correct decisions. As citizens of this democracy, it’s up to the public to condemn or support these decisions. The memes that are filling our news feeds are surface-level humor which masks the people who are directly affected by the actions of government bodies. The youth are exposed to memes on social media more than news networks or other reliable sources of information and are at greater risk of being misinformed. Sites includng Twitter and Facebook cater a personal media experience for their users. People decide who they follow and where they get their news. It’s all surface-level news headlines and thumbnails. Unless we interact with these posts and dig deeper to find the whole story, it’s easier to

Mayo Clinic. There are roughly 77,000 Illinois residents who use medical marijuana according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Those who use medical cannabis should have easy access to these products to help treat conditions, and having a dispensary near campus allows for easy access. Loyola’s dispensary wouldn't only serve students who are of legal age but could also serve the entire Rogers Park community since there are no recreationally licensed dispensaries in Rogers Park. The closest to campus is Dispensary 33, which is located near the Argyle Red Line stop. If Loyola feels uneasy about making money off marijuana, they should use potential profits from the dispensary to help fund other areas of the school such as scholarships for low-income students or programs that don’t make money but help students academically. The English Language Learning Program, which helped foreign students learn English at a college level, is one example of a now-closed program that could’ve used funding. Having a dispensary on campus could be controversial since it promotes the sale of a substance that a majority of undergraduate students can’t legally use. But Loyola already runs a business like this: Ireland’s, a bar on campus. If Loyola is comfortable selling one age-controlled substance — alcohol — they should be comfortable selling two. Legal marijuana is here to stay — two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization, according to a Pew Research Center study. Why not make some money off it and use that revenue to help other less profitable areas of Loyola, such as scholarship funds or underfunded programs that helps students get degrees? laugh at a meme which is visible from a newsfeed than going through the process of uncovering the full story. The media pushes stories people are interested in and it amplifies the fear people have of crisis. “The public is very intimidated by the subject of war,” Seaman Francisco Quinonez, who's currently serving in the U.S. Navy, told The Phoenix. “When two countries have a disagreement and we get involved, people like to create stories on what went wrong and the media doesn’t cover the solutions that are being worked on.” The immediate assumption that there would be another world war was one made out of fear, which people turn into humor as a coping mechanism. Two new studies from the Stanford University Psychophysiology Laboratory demonstrate that in the face of stressful imagery, comedy is a more effective coping strategy than solemnity and positive, optimistic humor is more effective than cynicism, according to a Stanford report. People are scared by the thought of war but being blind to its effects and consequences isn’t the correct way to cope with that fear. We live in a time where we have to have empathy for people who live on the other side of the world rather than mock their suffering. There’s a sense of helplessness since most people can’t outright solve conflicts in the Middle East, but just by being informed of what happened and how people are affected is enough to make a difference. Voting, reacting and voicing concerns are important aspects to a functional democracy compared to scrolling through some memes and forming an opinion of the four or five you enjoyed.

JANUARY 15, 2020



Walt Disney Television | Flickr

The 92nd Academy Award nominations were announced Monday, Jan. 13. Response to the nominations included discussions of snubs and the overwhelming amount of white people nominated.

This year’s Academy Award nominations unsurprisingly lack diversity and representation OLIVIA TURNER

The 92nd Academy Award nominations were released Monday, with Todd Phillips’ “Joker” taking the lead with 11 nominations. Following suit with 10 nominations was “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood” and “1917.” All four were nominated for Best Picture along with “Little Women,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “JoJo Rabbit,” “Marriage Story” and “Parasite.” The nominations were unsurprisingly controversial, as viewers, film critics and celebrities alike recognized the lack of representation from women and people of color. “You don’t have to look further than the movies nominated for the most Oscars this year to realize how white boy centric Hollywood is,” Me-

lissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood, wrote in a tweet. The biggest controversy lies in the nominations for Best Director — for the second year in a row, no women were recognized, despite being a big year for women creators. Those taking the nominations are Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Bong-Joon Ho, Sam Mendes and Todd Phillips, all of whose films were best picture nominees. This comes as no surprise since no women were nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globes this year either. Nominations for best actor and supporting actor consisted of big names including Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood”), Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”), Al Pacino (“The Irishman”) and Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day

in the Neighborhood”). Female nominations for Best Actress and Supporting Actress were not diverse. Actresses including Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”), Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”) and Awkwafina (“The Farewell”) were snubbed from the nomination. Awkwafina’s performance landed her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role — becoming the first Asian American to win the award. Saiorse Ronan (“Little Women”), Scarlett Johanson (“Marriage Story, JoJo Rabbit”) and Florence Pugh (“Little Women”) are some of those up for the accolades. The lack of diversity and representation isn’t surprising to most, as The Academy has struggled with this in the past. Of all the snubs, Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) being passed over for Best Director has caused the

most outcry. Despite the film being nominated in six other categories such as Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, Gerwig was unable to secure a spot among the male directors in Hollywood. “I don’t know what you have to do around Hollywood to get a gal a directing Oscar nom, but it seems having a movie that is better than others nominated doesn’t seem to do the trick. Maybe if she were Greg Gerwig,” Twitter user A.N. Devers wrote. Other honorable mentions that were snubbed for best director this award cycle are LuLu Wang for “The Farewell” and Marielle Heller for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Gerwig’s absence from the Best Director category is disturbingly ironic, as her film highlights a woman’s place in a man’s world. These issues are still prominent

today and are seen by the nominations from The Academy, where only five women have been nominated for best director in its history and only Kathryn Bigelow has won for “The Hurt Locker.” In all of Oscar history, only five men of color — Sidney Poitier (“Lillies of the Field”), Denzel Washington (“Glory”), Jaime Foxx (“Ray”), Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”) and José Ferrer (“Cyrano de Bergerac”) — have won Best Actor. Only one woman of color, Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”), has won Best Actress. This hasn’t gone unrecognized by the masses as the hashtag #OscarSoWhite was trending on Twitter following Monday’s announcement of the nominees. The Oscars will be held Feb. 9 and will be a hostless ceremony for the second year in a row.

Source: The Academy Awards

Over the last 92 years of The Academy Awards, the academy has often failed to nominate and award many Oscars to women for Best Director and people of color for Best Actor, Best Actress and other categories.

A&E 11

JANUARY 15, 2020

Beach Slang’s newest album lacks emotion and creativity MARY GRACE RITTER

Punk rock band Beach Slang hasn’t introduced anything new with its album “The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City,” released Jan. 10. The Philadelphia natives try to capture classic rock but without a clear creative direction or emotional depth, it leaves the listener craving the original hits. Classical violins open the album in the instrumental “All the Kids in LA,” but that symphony quickly shifts into electric guitars and commanding drums, leading the album into three fast-paced tracks. The slightly faded tone of “Let It Ride” makes the track feel like an homage to classic rock, but as the album continues, it leaves the listener wondering why they’re not just listening to actual oldies. “Tommy In The 80s” has the structure and sound of iconic ‘80s jams “Jessie’s Girl” and “867-5309/Jenny” without the payoff of an infectious hook. Lacking the earworm chorus, the song becomes repetitive and annoying.

The intrigue of this rock revival quickly fades because Beach Slang doesn’t develop its own sound. A band doesn’t have to reinvent rock ‘n’ roll to succeed but it needs more than nostalgia — it needs a unique voice. A pair of acoustic ballads, “Nobody Say Nothing” and “Nowhere Bus,” break up the oldies nostalgia. These stripped-back tracks reveal frontman James Alex’s rasp sorely lacks emotion and subtly. The tone feels forced — like he’s trying to achieve a Dashboard Confessional-level of emotion but he just can’t get there. Dashboard Confessional’s early 2000s emo tracks might not be the most groundbreaking works, but they won people over with genuine passion and vulnerability that Alex doesn’t achieve. The violin and piano try to compensate for Alex’s blandness, but the unimpressive lyrics don’t help. Alex repeats the sentence “I’m a one-way ticket on a nowhere bus” for the entirety of “Nowhere Bus.” There’s plenty of self-loathing songs that tug on heart strings and let those struggling know they’re not alone, but this just comes across as

lazy writing. The antithesis to Journey’s “she took the midnight train going anywhere” isn’t the answer. Bass-driven “Stiff ” and gritty “Born to Raise Hell” jolt the listener back to rocking out. The guitar riffs and drum fills are fun and would likely be entertaining in concert, but also serve as a distraction from the lack of emotion. The facade doesn’t last for long when the tracks again become repetitive — the beginning of “Sticky Thumbs” sounds nearly identical to the previous track “Born to Raise Hell.” The album dedicated to rock closes out with a nearly seven-minute piano ballad about death. In “Bar No One” Alex pleads to “make sure I look pretty laying in my grave.” The last two and a half minutes of the song are the most experimental and sonically interesting aspect of the entire album. With creative instrumental layering, recordings played backwards and playful children speaking, the end of the album stands completely apart from the body of work as a whole. “The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City” is now streaming on all platforms.

Courtesy of Bridge 9 Records

Punk rockers Beach Slang released its fourth studio album “The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City” Jan. 10. The album lacks depth and creativity.

World War I epic ‘1917’ stuns technically, but leaves a hollow narrative LUCAS NABER

“Skyfall” director Sam Mendes’ 2019 war drama “1917” is a sensory wonder, but the film’s absence of well-written characters and its failure to deliver an absorbing narrative leave the film empty of entertainment value. Starring George MacKay (“Captain Fantastic,” “How I Live Now”) and Dean-Charles Chapman (“Game of Thrones,” “The King”) as Lance Corporals Will Schofield and Tom Blake respectively, the film takes

place in France during the peak of World War I. German troops have seemingly retreated from their trenches, and the 2nd Battalion of the British Army’s Devonshire Regiment is preparing to respond with an aggressive attack. Elsewhere, Schofield and Blake are given orders to get to the 2nd Battalion and call the attack off. Aerial maps suggest that the Germans planned the retreat as an ambush, and the 2nd Battalion’s 1,600 men — including Blake’s older brother — will be slaughtered if they walk into the German trap. The duo set out immediately, knowing that thousands

of lives are in their hands. “1917,” which released on a limited basis on Christmas before opening wide Jan. 10, runs into narrative problems almost immediately. No sense of distance or direction is established for the heros’ journey, and their dynamic throughout is tiresome. As the mission brings German troops, fallen bridges and tripwires, Blake and Schofield run, scream and deliver the kind of insipid prewar reflection dialogue found in the weaker “Call of Duty” video games from the mid-2010s. MacKay and Chapman give it their all, but their corny dialogue

has a rotting effect on even the film’s most riveting sequences. It’s hard to take Chapman’s scowling and screaming during action seriously when his character acts exactly how Paddington Bear would if deployed. There’s nothing surprising or endearing about these characters, nothing unique in their conversations. It’s notable that Mendes and his co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“Penny Dreadful”) repeatedly rely on familial ties to solicit emotion, considering the film is partly based on stories told to Mendes by his WWI veteran grandfather. Multitudes of innocent people and soldiers die constantly during

wars, but Mendes seems to think audiences won’t find this sad unless they’re informed that the dead had relatives back home who miss them. Despite these flaws, the film’s commitment to visual excellence does shine through, particularly in one nighttime scene lit entirely by gun and missile fire, as well as in a daytime dogfight in the French plains. Ultimately, “1917” is a visual marvel with a number of scenes sure to rank among the best in war films, but the film’s incompetence elsewhere keeps it from being a satisfying experience. “1917,” rated R, is playing in theaters nationwide.

Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures

“1917,” directed by Sam Mendes and released Jan. 10, succeeds in its cinematography but drops the ball in character study, The film is nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

JANUARY 15, 2020

12 A&E

Selena Gomez is back with empowering pop album AMANDA MAURER

Selena Gomez is back and starting off 2020 with her new album “Rare.” Released Jan. 10, this is her first album since “Revival” in 2015. And no, those seven different remixes of “Wolves” in 2018 don’t count as an album. In the closing song “A Sweeter Place,” Gomez sings, “you’ll really want to know where I’ve been all this time / so lemme tell ya.” And she does exactly that. Gomez has been busy in her time away — from mental and physical struggles with lupus to relationships with Justin Bieber and The Weeknd. Drawing from these and other experiences over the past five years, she delivers a catchy pop album with an empowering punch. Despite her difficult past, Gomez doesn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead, she uses this album to celebrate her triumphs and re-establish herself as a solo artist. In the smooth and groovy

opening song and title track, Gomez sets the tone for the rest of the album, narrating how she’s been treated unfairly but acknowledges her own self-worth and desire to move on. “I’m not gonna let you make me cry / Not getting enough from you / Don’t you know I’m hard to find?” Gomez sings. While Gomez explores new styles and proves her musical growth later in the album, upbeat track “Dance Again” feels like much of her previous work. Like hit song “Hands to Myself,” this pure pop track is the almost annoying but undeniably catchy tune that seems to find its way onto nearly every pop album. Gomez uses the emotional power of slower ballads to celebrate and support her independence with lead single “Lose You to Love Me.” In the emotional and vulnerable track, Gomez realizes a relationship wasn’t as perfect as she may have felt before. In “Let Me Get Me,” Gomez reveals she’s struggled with

“self-sabotage” and “letting [her] thoughts run,” but is determined to have a more positive relationship with herself. Later in the song, Gomez sings “Oh, my, I guess this is what it feels like to be free,” and this lyric — as well as the album as a whole — speaks to her success. The smooth, skeletal track “Cut You Off ” — with an instrumental break reminiscent of Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands” — is the epitome of the post-breakup song. “Ring” is also instrumentally simplistic, with guitar plucks that slowly build up to the last chorus. But Gomez’s pure confidence dominates the song and demonstrates her newfound mindset as a pop artist — not to mention it’s contagious. “Rare” can feel thematically repetitive — almost every song seems to be about Gomez getting over a previous relationship and instead finding confidence and stability in her own self-worth. However, tracks are stylistically variant enough that the album

A guide to making reading goals and actually keeping them OLIVIA TURNER

It’s that time of year where most of us will sit down and write out our New Year's resolutions in that new journal we bought ourselves over the holidays. Most of us probably made resolutions along the lines of “work out more, read more, get a 4.0 GPA, meditate, actually use this journal that I bought for $20 at Barnes and Noble.” Let’s be honest, by March many of us will have forgotten we were supposed to be working out twice a day and that journal will probably have about five pages filled. That doesn’t mean setting goals isn’t a good thing, but staying on track can be hard. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I read so much as a college student. Aren’t I supposed to be busy doing,

you know, college things? The simple answer is I set a goal and I stick by it. At the beginning of 2019, one of my New Year's resolutions was to read 50 books. I ended up only reading 42 but that was still significantly more than I’ve ever read before. You see, 2019 was the first year I set a number goal of how much I wanted to read. Instead of saying “I want to read more,” I gave myself a number and pushed myself to get there. Now, in 2020, I understand the importance of setting reading goals and trying to keep them. To spice things up, I set more specific goals too, such as reading at least 10 translated novels and five nonfiction books. This may sound like your middle school teacher’s lecture on why goals are important. It may even sound a little (a lot) cliche, but trust me, it works. Now it’s one thing to say you’re going to do something, but it’s so easy to get off track. Life can get in the way of even the simplest things and it’s easy to put leisurely reading on the backburner when you have a million other tasks to be doing. To expand the amount you read

this year, I’ve compiled a few tips. First, put your phone down for 30 minutes at night and read. Thirty minutes, that’s it. If you read 30 minutes a day, you’ll be surprised by how many books you can get through. It’s so low commitment. Next is carrying a book around with you. Whether you stick one in your bag for your daily CTA commute, or you have an e-book (because yes, I do believe they should exist, even though my very sarcastic column suggested otherwise) on your phone for when you’re waiting for the shuttle, spend your time reading a story rather than looking at Twitter memes. If you don’t like the books you’re reading, then you’ll never read as much as you want. Instead of forcing yourself to read that self-help novel or that “how to budget for college students” book your parents got you for Christmas, read something fun that will keep your attention and make you not want to stop reading. Remember that reading shouldn’t be a chore. It should be something fun to look forward to.

Emily Rosca

The Phoenix

Assistant A&E editor Olivia Turner divulges on the importance of making reading goals and how to successfully keep them.

doesn’t get boring, and it’s hard to fault Gomez for spreading such a positive message. Gomez closes the album accompanied by Kid Cudi in “A Sweeter Place,” which is a disappointing closing track for a fairly strong album. Kid Cudi contributes basically nothing, which is especially disappointing following 12 songs celebrating Gomez’s independence. Gomez’s own vocals aren’t at their

strongest in this song, and the track doesn’t wrap up the album as well as other tracks — namely “Look at Her Now” or “Let Me Get Me” — could. Still, “Rare” is a solid addition to Gomez’s discography and — much like her previous work — is sure to dominate radio stations in the next few weeks. “Rare” is now available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.

Courtesy of Interscope Records

Selena Gomez released her newest studio album “Rare” on Friday, Jan. 10.

JANUARY 15, 2020



2020s: Loyola Athletics preaches ‘continuity’ as it heads into new decade Nick Schultz | The Phoenix

Porter Moser (right) is one of three coaches who have been at Loyola since before Steve Watson (left) arrived in 2014. Watson has said keeping coaches in the athletics department is key to continued success.

continued from page 1 Now, Kelly and Watson said the department has to maintain that success, and a big part of that is keeping coaches around — an area where Watson has seen success. Keeping Coaches on Board

Only three Loyola head coaches have been around longer than Watson: men’s basketball coach Porter Moser, women’s soccer coach Barry Bimbi and men’s soccer coach Neil Jones. Moser and Bimbi were both hired in April 2011 and Jones came on board in December 2012. He said sustainability is an important factor in success across Loyola’s 13

Division I sports. Since he took over for Calhoun in December 2014, Watson has replaced every head coach except Moser, Bimbi and Jones. “We’ve had continuity with our coaches, which is huge,” Watson said. “We’ve got great staffs here. … We’ve had some really good hires, coaches who have done a really, really good job. Women’s volleyball is a good example.” The Gonzaga Effect

As part of their goal to maintain the athletics department’s success, four Loyola administrators took a trip. Kelly, Watson, university President Jo Ann Rooney and former chairman of the Board of Trustees Bob Parkinson head-

ed to Spokane, Washington early in the 2019-20 school year to speak with a Jesuit school that has seen sports succeed: Gonzaga University. Watson said Gonzaga was a comparable model because it’s a Jesuit school that capitalized off the success of its men’s basketball team. Gonzaga’s team has made five straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 2017 Final Four, and has had the same head coach since 1999. Since Loyola’s men’s basketball team made a bracket-busting run in 2018, Watson said Gonzaga became an even better comparison. But the path to sustained athletics department success isn’t an exact science.

“There isn’t a blueprint or a map for how to get there,” Watson said. “If there were, I think a lot of schools would be plugging that in. … You’ve gotta get a little lucky. At the same time, the harder you work, the more you invest, the luckier you’re going to get.” What’s Next?

As for the department’s goals for 2020, Watson said they’re simple: each sport to win or finish in the top half of the MVC. Only the women’s basketball and softball teams haven’t achieved that goal, but women’s basketball appears poised to make a run at a top-five finish this season. Watson also hired his first softball coach this year as Alicia Abbott

prepares for her first season at the helm. But while Watson said he hopes the teams continue to succeed on the field, the athletes need to continue performing well in the classroom. Loyola Athletics has posted a 99 percent graduation rate each of the last four years. Watson said he’s most proud of that statistic and doesn’t want it to change as the teams start winning more. “Again, we’re not going to compromise what we’re doing academically or what our programs are doing off the field in the community and on campus,” Watson said. “But at the same time, I think we can continue to improve from a competitive standpoint not just within our conference, but nationally, as well.”

Aidan Megally selected by FC Dallas in MLS SuperDraft NICK SCHULTZ

Former Loyola men’s soccer midfielder Aidan Megally is taking his skills to the professional level. Megally was drafted by FC Dallas in the Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft Monday afternoon, the club announced. The 2019 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year played a key role in Loyola’s NCAA Tournament appearance, tallying a team-high 10 goals on the season. This is the third straight year a former Rambler was selected in the SuperDraft. Elliot Collier and Grant Stoneman were both selected by the Chicago Fire in 2018 and 2019, respectively. “As a program, we couldn’t be prouder of Aidan and congratulate FC Dallas on not only drafting an outstanding player, but a great person as well,” Loyola head coach Neil Jones said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on recruiting very good players and making them great throughout their time with us. It is so nice to see that MLS teams recognize that future professional players continue to be produced here at Loyola.” FC Dallas finished seventh out of 14 clubs in the MLS Western Conference in 2019 with 48 points and a 34-13-12 record. Its season is set to begin Feb. 29 against the Philadelphia Union. Megally couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Neil Beran | The Phoenix

Former Loyola midfielder Aidan Megally — the 2019 MVC Player of the Year — became the third Rambler in as many years to be selected in the MLS SuperDraft.


JANUARY 15, 2020

Familiar faces reach new heights for women’s basketball KYLE BROWN

The Loyola women’s basketball team jumped out to a program-best 9-0 start and currently sits at 12-3. But where did this hot start come from? After last year’s squad went 13-18 overall, this success has come as a surprise to some. The answer to that question lies largely with the starting lineup, which has accounted for 74.4 percent of Loyola’s points this season. Tiara Wallace, Janae Gonzales, Ellie Rice, Abby O’Connor and Allison Day have started every game for the Ramblers this season. “I think the starting five stays the same because they earn their minutes,” head coach Kate Achter said. “They find consistency in practice together, and we find consistency in those lineups. It just gives them the confidence to start a basketball game off [right].” That consistency dates back to last season, when the same five players started 10 games for Loyola. The group got its run in the middle of conference play, going 5-5 until Gonzales went down with a foot injury that forced Achter to switch things up. Overall, Loyola was 6-12 during Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play, including five straight losses to end the regular season after Gonzales’ injury. The starting lineup fits like a puzzle, with each member bringing different strengths and weaknesses to the table. They fit together to create a formidable starting lineup, one that nearly knocked off a ranked team on two separate occasions — DePaul University Dec. 20 and Missouri State University Jan. 3. Gonzales’ piece of the puzzle comes in the form of her shooting ability, which has helped space the floor and allow the offense more room to operate since defenders don’t want to leave her open, Achter said. The sophomore guard has hit three-pointers with a higher volume and efficiency than anybody else in the conference. Gonzales has con-

Nick Schultz | The Phoenix

Allison Day (left), Tiara Wallace (middle) and Abby O’Connor (right) are all members of the starting lineup. Those three have helped lead Loyola to an 11-3 record.

nected on 42 triples at a 42.9 percent clip — both leading the MVC. O’Connor is the only other Rambler to make double-digit threes so far this year with 25 made threes on 34.2 percent shooting. “Janae Gonzales, her shooting ability kind of speaks for itself,” Achter said. “She spreads the floor for us which allows us to play in that ball screen offense. She’s certainly gotten better at taking better shots — what we call, ‘Great shots, not good ones.’” As for O’Connor, she leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks. Achter acknowledged the junior forward’s on-court production, but said she’s most impressed with O’Connor’s intangibles. “Her growth, for me, is in the leadership area,” Achter said. “She takes care of her business, as far as the offense is concerned. At times, she’s really been lackluster in that area this season, but she’s hitting her stride.” Moving along to the other junior in the starting lineup, Rice brings

much to the team that doesn’t show up in the box score, according to Achter. “Ellie Rice has kind of been our do-it-all rag doll, and I mean that in the most affectionate way ever,” Achter said. “Ellie would do anything I ask her to do, whether it’s playing on a broken ankle or if she’s completely healthy. And that gives us a certain toughness, so it’s really hard to keep her out of the lineup, even if she’s not making baskets.” Rice’s versatility and defensive prowess was on clear display against Southern Illinois University. The Ramblers won by two points and held junior guard Makenzie Silvey — who entered the game as the MVC’s leading scorer — to just two points on 1-for-10 shooting in the process. Rice managed to score seven points and grab six rebounds while being Silvey’s primary defender. Rice isn’t the only lockdown defender in Loyola’s lineup. Wallace, the only senior on the roster, is a pest for the opposition’s lead ball handler, racking up at least three steals in a game on

five different occasions this season. “I think [Wallace] has taken the biggest leap, especially from a mental perspective,” Achter said. “It may not be points that you see on a stat sheet, but Tiara has really kept under control and been a defensive pillar for us on the other end.” Wallace can be turnover-prone at times, averaging nearly four turnovers each game, but she is still one of the best distributors in the MVC. Her assists per game jumped from 3.6 last season to 4.7 this year, which is currently the second-highest mark in the conference. Wallace’s 1.7 steals per contest also ranks fifth in the MVC. The fifth and final member of Loyola’s starting five is Day. The sophomore center joined the starting lineup for conference play last season after Kat Nolan went down with a foot injury. Achter said Day struggled at times with the increased role last season, but overall it helped her become the offensive force in the paint that she’s been this season. “Allison Day has just grown tre-

mendously,” Achter said. “I think her maturity and her confidence has changed. Being thrown into the fire a year ago because Kat Nolan got hurt really helped her. At the time, it didn’t feel like that for her, and she really struggled. But she is more able to handle difficult situations this season because of what she went through last season.” From a statistical standpoint, Day has arguably made the biggest jump from last year to this year. The sophomore center went from averaging 6.7 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting to averaging 12.9 points per game — the secondhighest mark on Loyola’s roster and 12th overall in the MVC — on 54.5 percent shooting. The Ramblers still have 14 games remaining in the regular season, but the starting five has helped lead Loyola to third place in the MVC standings. Next, Loyola is set to welcome Bradley University to Gentile Arena Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN+.

Injury bug bites men’s volleyball team at beginning of season ABBY SCHNABLE

After falling short of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) championship title last season, the Loyola men’s volleyball team (1-3) is coming back injury-ridden, but still hopefull In its first game of the season, Loyola tallied a 3-1 win over King University Jan. 2, but without the only three returning starters — two-time All-MIVA First Team setter Garrett Zolg, middle blocker Kyle Piekarski and opposite hitter Luke Denton. With the injuries plaguing the team, head coach Mark Hulse has set realistic expectations for the team. He said the main focus is to develop players and look ahead to future national championships, whether that’s this year or in the near future. “We say the standard is on the wall,” Hulse said. “We want to compete for national championships. That’s why the guys decided to come here and get a great education and compete for a championship. So, that’s definitely where we’re headed. Where we go, when we get there, it’s not always up to us to decide.” While Denton has returned to the lineup — playing in the Ramblers’s second game of the season — Piekarski is out with a concussion and Zolg is out indefinitely with what Hulse described as a “nagging” injury. He also mentioned there was no timeline to return for either player. According to senior setter Ian Cowen, their absence has been missed as

Nick Schultz | The Phoenix

Loyola’s senior setter Ian Cowan (left) and redshirt freshman middle blocker Danny Sutton Farrell both go up for a block against Brigham Young University Jan. 3.

they both bring leadership to the team. “They’ve both played at least a full season before this year,” Cowen said. “So, this year we started some brand new people. Just having their experience not with us everyday in the practice gym, it hurts.” The pair’s injuries have allowed opportunities for other players to step in and take charge. Cowen has returned to the starting lineup after taking a back seat to Zolg the past two seasons. He’s already tallied 98 assists this season. Both Hulse and redshirt freshman Cole Schlothauer have mentioned

Cowen’s leadership presence. “Ian is on top of everything on and off the court,” Schlothauer said. “He is the man. His nickname is ‘clutch’ and that’s because he’s always doing the right things at the right time for us. So, whether it’s been in the locker room or always making the great sets when we need him to be, he’s clutch.” Cowen isn’t the only player stepping up. Hulse said Piekarski’s absence allows for two different middle blockers to get time on the court. First-year Anton Frank and redshirt freshman Danny Sutton Farwell have both seen

minutes in the team’s opening games. Frank and Sutton lead the team in blocks with 11 and nine, respectively. “I think [all of the players] are working hard,” Hulse said. “They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t pretty good volleyball players. We’ve got some of them to really play and others that are working their way towards it as well.” Schlothauer has had the opportunity to shine for the Ramblers. He led the team in its first game with 17 kills and eight digs. He’s also leading overall with 43 kills. After sitting out last season, he said

he’s had the opportunity to get comfortable with this team and be able to perform more confidently. “I had a lot of time to get comfortable with Ian,” Schlothauer said. “Ian was my setter last year on the B squad and you know I’ve had a lot of time to adjust. [It’s] still a work in progress but just getting to know the guys that we’re playing with and getting adjusted is a lot of fun.” The Ramblers are scheduled to play Jan. 17 against Penn State University at 7 p.m. in Gentile Arena. The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago.

JANUARY 15, 2020


Bryan Mullins gets set for return to Gentile Arena NICK SCHULTZ

In May 2019 — two months after accepting his first head coaching job at Southern Illinois University (SIU) — former Loyola associate men’s basketball head coach Bryan Mullins told The Phoenix he was already excited about returning to Gentile Arena for the first time. “Hopefully it’ll be competitive,” Mullins joked at the time. “It’ll be awesome, though. The people at Loyola are amazing. … I have tons of relationships there, so to be able to see everyone again, it’ll be a special game.” Fast-forward eight months. That day has come. Mullins’ Salukis are set to take on Porter Moser’s Ramblers Jan. 16 at Gentile — marking the first time he’ll ever be on the visiting sideline in Rogers Park. It’ll also be the first time he goes up against Moser, who gave Mullins his first coaching opportunity back in 2013. “It’s a big part of my life, those six years I spent [at Loyola],” Mullins said on a conference call with Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) coaches and media. “I’ve been looking forward to coming back. Once the game starts, it’ll just be another basketball game.” Mullins originally joined Moser as director of basketball operations after a professional career in France. He remained on the Loyola bench for six years, rising to assistant coach and eventually to associate head coach in 2018-19. Before his time with the Ramblers — even before he went to France — Mullins was SIU’s star point guard. In his four years as a Saluki from 2005-09, Mullins averaged 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. But it was his defense that defined his career.

He was a four-time MVC All-Defense Team nominee and two-time MVC Defensive Player of the Year — meaning it’s no surprise the Salukis currently have the top-ranked defense in the league, allowing just 60.6 points per game. Even though they’re 8-9 overall and 2-2 in MVC play, Mullins said he’s applying what he learned from Moser as he builds the program. SIU has 10 new players on its roster this year, and he knew it would take time to get the program on track. “[Moser] did an unbelievable job [building Loyola’s program],” Mullins said. “The biggest thing is you can’t rush it. You’ve got to to do it the right way, and that’s what we’re trying to do here at SIU.” Moser has repeatedly said he’s happy Mullins got the opportunity to go back to Carbondale and lead a program where he rose to stardom as a point guard. But when asked if he’s looking forward to seeing Mullins again, Moser was all business. “There ain’t no fluffy reunion party going on,” Moser said after Loyola defeated the University of Evansville Jan. 11. “I love him to death, [but] I know he’s coming here to win and we’re going to compete to win, as well.” As far as game-planning for the matchup against Mullins, Moser joked he’s had to adjust his scheme because of how well Mullins knows the Ramblers’ offense. “I’ve had to change the whole playbook because he knows every damn call that we have,” Moser said. “You never like playing extremely close friends. … It isn’t about him and I. It’s about two teams fighting in this race. We’re both right in there, we’re both playing [well]. That’s what it’s about.” Tip-off between Loyola and SIU is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 16 and the game is set to be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago.

Steve Woltmann | Loyola Athletics

Bryan Mullins was a men’s basketball assistant coach at Loyola from 2013-19.

To Barry Bimbi, being a coach is one of the ‘most rewarding things’ Steve Woltmann | Loyola Athletics

Loyola women’s soccer coach Barry Bimbi has been coaching for most of his adult life, including a nine tenure at Loyola.


Loyola women’s soccer coach Barry Bimbi wasn’t always a women’s soccer coach. He made the switch from men’s soccer in 2007 and he said it has helped him cultivate relationships that have extended to his family. Bimbi said it wasn’t right out of college that he made the jump to the other side of the sideline. Instead, he worked for a year at a cell phone company in Philadelphia. He said he quickly realized a desk job wasn’t for him. “When you have the freedom in your time and life being a college kid and then go and sit behind a desk, you realize pretty quickly it’s not for you,” Bimbi, 47, said. “So I [tried] to explore different options. And, you know, thinking about how much [I] liked coaching and being part of the soccer camps, [I tried] to get there somehow.” He accepted an assistant coaching position at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania — his alma mater. Bimbi said he also helped his former roommate and teammate open a branch of a soccer store to earn some extra cash. After six years at St. Francis, Bimbi decided he was ready for the next step. After closing the store, he began to look for more promising coaching positions. He said it was “a little backwards and risky,” but it ended up working for him. Bimbi accepted a position as an assistant coach for the men’s team at Marquette University in 2002. It was the last stepping stone before he made what he called the “best decision career-wise”

— switching over to women’s soccer. The switch from men’s to women’s soccer was an adjustment Bimbi was prepared for. He said he focused on building relationships with players, which is a key element for women’s soccer players specifically. Bimbi said in his experience, men’s players often don’t depend on a relationship with their coach as much as women’s players do. “They want to know if you care, can they trust you?” Bimbi said. “It’s a lot of them sitting in [the office] and building that relationship. It was after our end-of-the-year meetings this year, we talked a lot to the seniors and even juniors about how invested they were in everything. But they put the time into also building a relationship.”

“One of the things I like most about Barry is he’s more than just a coach to us. He’s someone we can all look up to.” ARI BANKS Senior, defender

In 2007, he signed on to be the assistant coach of the women’s soccer team at the University of Pittsburgh. He served as the program’s recruiting coordinator and was in charge of player development. “One, [it] brought me and my wife, Melissa, back to Pittsburgh,” Bimbi said. “There’s more opportunity on the women’s side, just more Division I jobs on the women’s side. ... So more opportunity. And it’s worked out.” After his four years at Pittsburgh, Bimbi began his first head coaching position at Loyola in 2009. He’s been the head coach for nine years and has built up a successful tenure. The Ramblers were Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) champions for back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019 — both regular season and

tournament champions. He’s also led the team to two straight NCAA tournament berths and has helped a number of women reach accolades such a Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year. He credits the deep relationships with players as a reason for much of the recent success. Bimbi said when things began to waver and the women became unsure of themselves, he often had a full office of players trying to get things back on track. As Bimbi said, the relationship isn’t a one-way street. Senior defender Ari Banks said she spent a lot of time getting to a point of comfort with Bimbi. And because of the work spent getting to know him, she has a lifelong role model. “One of the things I like most about Barry is he’s more than just a coach to us,” Banks said. “He’s someone we can all look up to. We can connect with him and joke around with him. He sees us as more than just student-athletes. He sees us as a well-rounded individual who has other goals. He cares about us being good people as well as being good soccer players.” In addition to his closeness with his players, Bimbi said having his family around helps him get through the stress and challenges of the job. His wife, Melissa, has been around for the majority of his coaching career and his son Amadeo — or A.J. — was only one year-old when Bimbi started at Pittsburgh. Now, his family can be seen on the sideline at almost every home game and even some of the away games, including the NCAA Tournament game in New York in November. Bimbi said the Loyola players are even role models to his eight-year-old daughter, Lena. He said he’s grateful to be able to have strong women in his daughter’s life — but she said she benefits from her dad’s job, too. “It’s fun to watch them play and to meet all the girls after,” Lena said. “It’s fun to hang out with them after the games. [I look up to them] to get better at soccer. I like Sister Jean, too.”


JANUARY 15, 2020

It’s the end of a basketball career for Loyola legend Clayton Custer ABBY SCHNABLE

First, he was simply a Loyola Rambler. Then, he was the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. He also was a professional basketball player and now he’s a businessman. Former Loyola men’s basketball player Clayton Custer has officially ended his basketball-playing days after being bought out of his contract at WKS Śląsk Wrocław. It’s something the 24-year-old said he didn’t expect. When Custer first got to Poland, he said he felt like he was playing well. He started the first five preseason games, and he was putting up decent statistics. His presence on the court changed when Śląsk Wrocław signed 30-year-old Polish point guard Kamil Łączyński. “I didn’t really think anything of it,” Custer said. “I thought I’d been playing well. So, I thought maybe they signed a guy to be my backup.” Custer said while at practice the next day, he decided to look into the new signee. He said the younger Polish players on the team was excited for Łączyński, and it seemed he was a bigger deal than Custer originally thought. So, when he got home that night, he took to the internet. While the name isn’t familiar in the United States, Łączyński is a famous basketball player in Poland. He’s been a member of the Polish National Team and won the Polska Liga Koszykówki (PLK) — The Polish Basketball League — title in 2018 with his former team. He was named the PLK Finals MVP after averaging 10.8 points and 4.8 assists over the six games in the series. “Once we signed him, everything kind of flipped for me,” Custer said. “He showed up a couple days before the sixth preseason game. [He] didn’t really know the plays or anything yet. And they started him the first game. It kind of surprised me a little bit. And then from then on, I was just playing his backup minutes.” Five games into the regular season, Śląsk Wrocław’s general manager

Nick Schultz | The Phoenix

Clayton Custer (middle) sits on Loyola’s bench in a suit and tie against Norfolk State University. Head coach Porter Moser allowed Custer feel out a career in coaching.

reached out to Custer’s agent to begin the buyout process. His contract was for the entire season, but Custer said the Polish team didn’t see the need to have an American on its roster who wasn’t starting and playing very few minutes. They paid him for the remainder of his contract — ending Custer’s journey abroad nine months early. WKS Śląsk Wrocław did not immediately respond for comment. Dec. 7, Custer reappeared on the Loyola bench. Instead of wearing a uniform, he was in a suit. He said he was trying to figure out his next steps. Loyola head coach Porter Moser let him sit on the bench and see if coaching was his future. “I’m here for him,” Moser said. “He’s a life-long friend. He put a lot of thought into this. I 100 percent didn’t push him


either way. I was showing him a path here, and he had a path in [business].” On the other side, Custer was looking into potential business endeavors to put his Master’s of Business Administration to use. He said he leaned on mentor Corey McQuade, a managing partner at Northwestern Mutual in Chicago he met through an internship program in 2017. Custer said it was the “perfect” way to transition. He said Moser allowed him the freedom of being able to do whatever he needed to do. He was learning what coaching was about, but also attending interviews and having lunch meetings. Despite getting an official coaching offer from Loyola, he decided to decline due to the unknowns that come with coaching. As a self-defined “family man,” Custer said he didn’t like

the idea of having to uproot a future family for a new coaching job. So, he headed into the business world. He said his trust in McQuade led him to his new job in financial planning and wealth management with Northwestern Mutual. “The guy has a servant’s heart,” McQuade said. “We share the same values. [At Loyola] the big thing is men and women for others. I just think he encapsulates that to a T. And that’s what my life is about and our firm at Northwestern Mutual is really about serving and leading.” This new chapter in Custer’s life doesn’t signal the end of basketball all together — just his playing career. He said he’ll always want to be around basketball, which is why making the decision to step away was so difficult for him.

He said he’s searching for different ways to be involved in the sport outside of playing or committing to collegiate coaching. His first step was reaching out to various Amatuer Athletic Union (AAU) teams — a multi-sport organization dedicated to the promotion and development of amatuer sports — in the city, but he hasn’t committed to anything. “I love the game so much,” Custer said. “It’s given me so much as well. I’m definitely gonna try to stay around the game. I’ll be connected with Loyola basketball forever. I’ll just always be an ambassador for the program.” And if Custer can’t find a way to stay close to the sport, Moser said Custer is always welcome to sit on the bench during weekend games because he’s “part of the family.”

Profile for Loyola Phoenix

Loyola Phoenix: Volume 51, Issue 15  

Loyola Phoenix: Volume 51, Issue 15