Category: Community News

Local Politician and Activist Come to Morton College to Talk Politics and the Importance of Being Involved

20170405_112448By Domingo Xavier Casanova

On Wednesday, two local Latino politicians and activists spoke to college students at a Morton College Open Forum on the importance of becoming involved in politics and being aware of what’s occurring in the world.

Chicago City Council Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, (who is Alderman of the 35th District and one of the youngest Alderman at 26) said he was drawn to politics because of his love for Chicago and because he wanted to ensure that “the people in the neighborhoods were the ones represented in City Hall.”

Ramirez-Rosa was joined by Angelica Alfaro, a community organizer, and former Illinois State Senator candidate. Alfaro grew up in Humboldt Park and emphasized her decision to come back to Chicago after college to work for change, saying: “A lot of people say you made it when you leave, you made it when you stay.”

The two sat side-by-side as they spoke to the crowd of students, answering questions about politics and the political process curated by Professor Drury, a Sociology professor. Veronica Fernandez, a Morton College student, assisted in gathering questions from students to ask aloud.

Both Ramires-Rosa and Alfaro agreed that the political process is not being actively pursued by American citizens, and some may be turned off by American politics, especially, as Alfaro noted, “after what happened in November,” referring to the election of Donald Trump as U.S President.

However, both emphasized that American citizens, especially minorities, such as the Hispanic community, need to let their voice be heard by either getting elected to public office or pushing for change. Ramirez-Rosa said, “We need to get more people from our generation to have a seat at the table…” in order to ensure positive change for their communities.

As a result of having the forum, students reported feeling more knowledgeable and had positive approaches to getting involved in political affairs.

Christian Operza said that the event enlightened him to the fact that they [politicians] are not just white people running for office and made him “want to volunteer for some campaign or something.”

Angel Sanchez said that he was impressed with Ramirez-Rosa, who is openly gay, and said it was “Pretty cool” that someone in the LGBT community was in Chicago politics. However, he did add that although he found it interesting, “it didn’t really motivate (him) to become part of politics…”

The debate and continuing need to get young adults involved in the political process will continue into the foreseeable future. Alfaro had a simple answer when asked what piece of advice she would give to a student who is interested in doing politics: “Do it.”

Morton College “under monitoring” by the Higher Learning Commission

Morton College

By Marcela Ruiz

On Friday, March 10th, Morton College released a letter of announcement concerning the college’s accreditation status.  The letter entitled “Morton College Earns Reaffirmation of Regional Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)” stated the next reaffirmation of accreditation to be in the 2026-2027 academic year. This statement was created by the college’s administration from the official letter delivered to President Stanley Fields on March 2nd.

The official letter was released in the HLC website. The letter states that before the next reaffirmation takes place, the college has been placed under “Action with Interim Monitoring”.  While the HLC maintains the accreditation of Morton College, a focused visit is required to determine improvement in the following areas:

“extent of Board engagement with policy development; professional development plan for the president; participatory governance; and a comprehensive internal communication plan. Additional focus on financial accountability responsibilities”.

Morton College had previously been placed “on notice” by HLC in 2005 and again in 2012 but both sanctions were removed in 2006 and 2014 respectively. The College’s faculty were concerned that during the college’s last comprehensive evaluation visit in October 17, 2016,  the outcome would be similar. Although this was not the case, the final report did conclude that HLC has:

“serious concerns with the Board of Trustees at Morton College. Specifically, how the board perceives its role in governing the college. It appears to the team that these issues still exist and are having a negative effect on the overall operations of the college. The board and faculty must come to a mutually understanding of the meaning of shared governance. The board is aware of their responsibility to address these concerns and is taking measures to address the issues.”

The College will face a focus visit sometime before January 31st, 2018, most likely this fall. The Higher Learning Commission will at that visit determine if Morton College has met the stated requirements.

A previous version of this article contained the error that Morton College had been place On Notice. That error has been corrected in this updated version.

Morton College Tuition on the Rise

Abe_graduating

By Marcela Ruiz

Beginning the fall semester, tuition will increase by $7 dollars per credit hour.

This change will result in an increase between $84-$112 for full-time students who attend 12-16 credit hours per semester. Similarly, part-time students taking 6-11 credit hours per semester, should expect an increasing between $42-$77.

On March 27, 2017 President Stan Fields issued a statement to inform students of this upcoming change. The e-mail stated: 

“This change is designed to ensure that Morton College is able to offer our college community access to the very best resources including skilled faculty and staff, enhanced campus facilities, and course programming that supports your success.”

The statement briefly mentioned the new Dual Enrollment Program, which is a partnership with J. Sterling Morton High School District 201. The new program will give high school students an opportunity to enroll in courses eligible for college credit at their school.

President Fields encourages students to contact the Business Office or the Provost to inquire about the program and ask questions regarding tuition increase. Morton College’s current Provost is Keith McLaughlin and can be contacted at Keith.McLaughlin@morton.edu or 708-656-800 ext. 2277. Mireya Perez is the director of business and can be reached at mireya.perez@morton.edu or 708-656-8000 ext. 2289.

Chicagoans Speak Out for Equal Job Rights for Women as They Celebrate International Women’s Day

20170308_184339By Domingo Xavier Casanova

On March 8th, prestigious speakers and nearly 400 men and women assembled outside the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. They spoke about the importance of women within the workplace and the economy while celebrating International Working Women’s Day.

Workplace inequality between male and females has long been an issue in the world and in the United States. In 2015, full-time American workers who were female only earned 80% of what American men earned, measuring up to be a wage gap of 20% between the two sexes.

Prestigious speakers, from organizers, editors, and activists of differing organizations supporting women’s rights, equality for all, and a global minimum wage, came out to speak in support of International Working Women’s Day.

Zerlina Smith, 29th Ward and Action Now activist, was the most prominent speaker at the event. She spoke about the importance of their battle for the future, as her young daughter and another girl, sat at her feet.

Because we need our legislators to actually write some real policies that will not just affect us now, but will affect these little ladies later on in life.”

Men and women, bracing the windy conditions, spoke out positively about women in the workplace and their importance to the United States economy.They also gave reasons on how equality in the workplace can be achieved. Some suggested that equality can be achieved through changing people’s attitudes, others noted that legislation that support women needs to be promoted and passed, and others suggested simply fighting for it.

Juan-Carlos Parker, a former Morton West graduate who was at the rally supported this final point of view. “When you’re asking for a seat at the table, the people already at the table aren’t usually happy about it.”

Morton College students support women’s equality, in and out of the workplace. Women and men all voiced their support for women, but all acknowledged the long fight ahead for them. A Morton College student, wishing to remain anonymous, said, “I will most likely not see the end of the fight for women’s equality in and out of the workplace.”

But Morton College students also stressed the importance of being one. Eunice Bonilla said she found it encouraging to see men and women, “Band together toward the social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.”

The fight for women’s rights, in the workplace and out, will continue to be fought over in the next coming years. And their determination is not lost out to the people, as the 400 men and women ended their protest outside James R. Thompson Center by shouting, “Stand up and fight!” as passing bystanders looked on in curiosity, and some clapped in support.