Loyola hosts Islam and Hip Hop on Campus

By Jennifer Jones

Students, faculty, and staff  attended Professor Suad Abdul Khabeer’s discussion on Islam and Hip Hop in Quinlan Life and Science Auditorium at Loyola University Chicago, Tuesday evening.

Loyola Professor Su’ad Abdul Khabeer spoke about the relationship and history of Islam and Hip Hop in her lecture, “Peace To Allah and Justice: Islam and Hip Hop.” The majority of the audience was students interested in the connection of the two cultures.

“I partly came because I had watched a documentary on PBS recently that was about Islam, Hip Hop, and the community. I didn’t know that the speaker was a consultant on that film,” said Syed Qadeer, 20, Sophomore Biology Major.

” I am interested to understand the content and meaning of the songs being discussed,” said Julia Kusnier, 20, sophomore Psychology and Political Science major.

Professor Khabeer opened the discussion with lyrics from Jay-Z, which captured almost everyone’s attention, before talking about the individual histories of Islam and Hip Hop.

“Islam and Hip Hop are in a dialogue together through people and culture,” said Professor Khabeer. Although Hip Hop is linked with topics of sex, violence, and misogyny, Professor Khabeer argues Hip Hop is emblematic to Islam with the Islamic belief of the knowledge of self.

Letting the audience listen to Peace to Allah and Justice by legendary Hip Hop group Brand Nubian, to further illustrate that Hip Hop is a way to communicate Islam.

“Knowledge of self is knowing who you are to understand the present,and should lead you to be active in the world,” said Khabeer.

Khabeer explained that Islam and Hip Hop have a intercultural communication through the East and West.

“I thought of it more as Hip Hop branching out into the world and other cultures just translating it into their own language” said Sara Tahsin, 22, Senior Pre Optometry major. “I didn’t think of Islam and Hip Hop as coming full circle, it was a great speech. ”

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Loyola student candidates work for last-minute votes

By Rebekah Comerford

Even as candidates for Loyola University Chicago Student Government campaign for last-minute votes today, many students admit having little knowledge about the candidates, the issues, or even how to vote.

Students are being asked to vote online and have until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday to cast a ballot.

The candidates for United Student Government Association President are:

  • Sean Anderson, freshman, 18, political science and international business major.
  • Jessica Hyker, junior, 19, biophysics major.
  • Tim McMahon, junior, 21, political science and communication major.
  • Sean Vera, junior, 20, political science major.

This video features a speech by each candidate and views of students:


Students seem largely unaware of the work of the Unified Student Government Association, according to an informal survey conducted on campus as students vote for student government officers.

Despite election fliers pasted conspicuously throughout campus, few know what services the student government actually provide, and 100 percent agree that the student body in general is ignorant of student government’s  presence beyond sponsorship of events.

“We had no idea a lot of the things we have on campus and think are really cool, USGA started,” said Katie Cotsakos, 19, a sophomore history and classical civilisation major.

Those who are aware of student government’ believe it enhances student life greatly beyond just allocating funds for student activities.

“They’re really important because they connect the student body with the administration, giving us a voice,” said Lena Asfour, 21, a senior journalism major. “Every week, USGA has a senate meeting in which you can go and state your case if something is happening on campus that you don’t approve of.”

When questioned about their lack of knowledge, most students espoused new marketing campaigns such as a stronger Internet presence and email updates and events beyond election fliers to raise awareness of the group’s activities.

“They need more vocal communication” said first time voter, Joe Tomaso, 22, a senior in management. “If they’re anything like me; they just see it, then it’s out of sight out of mind kinda thing.”

Speaking of recent achievements by the student government, particularly the introduction of Rambler Bucks outside campus, presidential nominee Sean Anderson, 18, a freshman in political science and international business, believes communication is to blame for the lack of recognition.

“If the student government actually does something and then publicizes what we do, then students will realize what’s happening on campus.. They have to do something to make them realise we exist,” Anderson said.

This lack of information appears to have affected seniors as all questioned believed they were ineligible to vote for this year’s election. However, they remained optimistic for the ballot email to come.

“If I get the email, I will definitely vote” said Asfour.

Contrary to last year’s poor voting figures, 80 percent polled promise to click on the ballot link today with issues such as cuts in the student activities fund, diversity, tuition and Loyola’s reimagining programme weighing heavy on their minds.

However some are cynical about the difference the new government will make.

“I have a hard time believing that someone I vote for is gonna influence my tuition because Loyola’s just gonna raise it every year no matter what,” said Melissa Cochrane, 22, a senior nursing student. “They’ve raised it every year I’ve been here. ”

Be sure to vote for your student government by clicking on the ballot email in your student account

Mark Shields teaches political lessons in visit to Loyola

By Avery Aoueille

In an enlightening and comedic speech to a Loyola University Chicago audience Tuesday evening,  political commentator and columnist Mark Shields shed light on the presidential elections, tackled some controversial political issues, and offered a glimpse at the future of American politics.


Shields, who is known for his political commentary on the PBS’ award-winning “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” and for the 17 years he worked on CNN’s political show “Capital Gang,” used his experiences in the political arena to address the nation’s current state of affairs—more specifically, the upcoming 2012 presidential elections and the jobless economic recovery. Shields also discussed the war in Iraq and the distinct nature of American politics in comparison with those of other nations.

With a  journalism career beginning with the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 and subsequently covering 11 presidential elections, Shields summarized his belief in politics as “nothing more and nothing less than the peaceful resolution of conflict among legitimate competing interests.”

After explaining the political process as the only method to solving our nation’s problems, Shields put the challenges of a public figure into perspective.

 “Running for office is the bold act of somebody who’s seeking and risking public rejection, which most of us go to great lengths to avoid,” he said.

Despite Shield’s comedic approach to politics, he spoke  seriously about the nature of American politics.

 “American politics are different from those of any other place on the planet on the basis that we only have two political parties,” Shields said.

According to Shields, Americans have two main characteristics.

“The first is almost a national sense of optimism… coupled with that optimism that makes American politics is a fierce practicality, a pragmatism.” Shields said. “Americans are only interested in results. We believe what is right works.”

Shields also stated that there is one major difference between the two political parties.

“Republicans fall in line. Democrats fall in love,” said Shields, who went on to demonstrate how this difference has affected elections in the past and explains that difficulty that the Republicans are facing in the 2012 presidential election.

“Republican nominees have a problem right now. There is no natural succession or hierarchy going into this race. There is no real natural leader,” Shields said.

Shields threw in a comedic twist to his commentary on the psyche of a political party or candidate when it loses an election, calling John Kerry “a stiff…and too French,” which caused chuckles from the audience.

“I liked the amount of humor he used,” said Sabrina Wottreng, 18, a freshman majoring business. “He didn’t use too many big political words, he kept it every understandable, which I appreciated.”

In a more serious tone, Shields expressed his reasoning in firmly disagreeing with George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. He recalls asking every senator who voted for the war in Iraq one question. “I asked them whether they had ever had a child enlisted in the ranks of the United States Military,” Shields said.

The result: only one person, Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota, had a child enlisted in the military, according to Shields.

Shields acknowledges a divide between those that hold the power and those that make the sacrifice.

 “All of a sudden, all the sacrifice, all the pain of this war, has been born on less than 1 percent of Americans in the United States,” he said.

“An army does not fight a war. A country fights a war,” Shields said. “If a country isn’t willing to fight that war, it should never send an army.”

The majority of audience members were pleased with the topics covered by Shields.

The spokesperson from the Loyola University Chicago College Democrats, the student organization sponsoring the event, thought the event was very successful.

“I was pleased with the variety of topics that were covered,” said Kara Kwiatkowski, 20, a junior at Loyola majoring in biology. “We wanted to get the community involved and we were really happy with the turnout.”

However, another member of the Loyola College Democrats wished Shields would have discussed the histories of parties other than just the Republicans and Democrats.

“The one thing I would have really liked to see was an explanation of where the Tea Party came from,” said Emily Caminiti, 19, a freshman psychology major. “But other than that I thought it was excellent.”

Loyola Hospital technology makes brain surgeries safer

Loyola University Chicago Hospital is the first hospital in the Midwest that utilizes technology making certain brain aneurysm surgeries less dangerous and expensive.

Here’s the news release from Loyola Medicine:

MAYWOOD, Ill. — Loyola University Hospital is the first center in the Midwest to use new technology that makes minimally invasive surgery for life-threatening brain aneurysms safer and cheaper.

Dr. John Whapham used the technology to repair an unusually large aneurysm (bulging blood vessel) in patient Randy Riiff of New Lenox, Ill. Riiff went home the morning after his surgery, feeling tired, but experiencing no pain or discomfort.

The surgery took just 1½ hours. By comparison, minimally invasive surgery using standard technology would have taken about seven hours. And the longer the surgery, the greater the risk of anesthesia side effects and other surgical complications, Whapham said.

“The faster we can get in and out, the better it is for our patients,” Whapham said.

Whapham led an endovascular neurosurgical team that included radiographers Daniel Arnswald, BSRT(R), and Tomasz Szkliniarz, RT(R), and nurses Vanessa Brunson, RN, and Niakisha Jackson, RN.

About 6 million Americans — 1 in 50 people — have brain aneurysms that could rupture. Each year aneurysms burst in about 25,000 people and most die or suffer permanent disabilities, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

Traditional open-brain surgery to repair aneurysms is highly invasive. The surgeon opens the skull, gently retracts the brain and places a clip across the base of the aneurysm. Recovery can take months. Open surgery also can affect thinking skills by, for example, making it difficult or impossible to do complex tasks.

Whapham uses a less-invasive technique that’s becoming increasingly common in brain surgery. He inserts a catheter (thin tube) in an artery in the groin and guides it up through blood vessels into the brain. He passes tiny coils of platinum wire through the catheter and releases them into the bulging aneurysm. The bulge fills with coils, causing the blood to clot. This effectively seals off the aneurysm. “It’s like filling a bathtub with concrete,” Whapham said. The procedure is called a coil embolization.

Riiff’s aneurysm was unusually large. At its widest, the bulge was about 17 mm (about 0.7 inch) across. Typical aneurysms are 3-5 mm wide. Riiff’s aneurysm was discovered after he underwent a CT scan to investigate what was causing his severe headaches.

With standard technology, filling such a large aneurysm would require 40 or 50 coils and take 7 or 8 hours. Whapham used a new type of platinum coil, called Penumbra Coil 400®, which is four times longer than standard coils. Consequently, Whapham needed only 12 coils to fill the aneurysm.

Coils cost $1,000 to $2,000 apiece, so using fewer of them will sharply reduce the cost of the surgery, Whapham said.

Moreover, the new coils are four times softer than conventional coils. This will reduce the small risk that a surgeon could accidently puncture a blood vessel wall while deploying the coils, Whapham said.

“This new coil is a game changer,” Whapham said. “It’s the start of a revolution in the minimally invasive repair of aneurysms.”

Whapham is an assistant professor in the Departments of Neurological Surgery and Neurology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

“He did a wonderful job,” Riiff said.