Former Benedictine University Student Gets Prison Sentence After Trying to Join ISIS

30 Nov

Michelle Reilly

News Editor


A former student of Benedictine University, Mohammed Hamzah Khan, was arrested back in October of 2014 for trying to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Khan was taken into custody after allegedly attempting to travel overseas to join ISIS, according to the United States Attorney’s Office’s press release. Khan had been a student at Benedictine during the 2013-2014 school year, but was not enrolled at the time of his arrest.

Now, two years later, the verdict is in and the sentence is much shorter than anticipated. According to a report by CBS Chicago, the 21-year-old Bolingbrook native pleaded guilty to trying to join ISIS and has been sentenced to 3 years, 4 months in prison. However, with his time already served, it looks like he will be freed in time to enroll in college next fall. The judge did order that when Khan is released, he will be under supervision for 20 years.

Khan and his family told CBS they are grateful for the decision and made sure to tell the judge, FBI and other government officials that. But, the judge wanted to make sure Khan understood something.

“I hope you appreciate what happened in this case… You, who profess to regard this country as your enemy: Here you have not been treated as an enemy.”

At the time of his arrest, authorities obtained a search warrant to Khan’s residence, where they found a 3-page letter he had left for his parents before his flight, according to the release.

Khan states in the letter, “FIRST and FOREMOST, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO NOT TELL THE AUTHORITIES. For if this were to happen, it will jeopardize not only the safety of us, but our family as well. My dear parents, there are a number of reasons I will be going to the blessed land of Shaam, and leaving my home. We are all witnesses to the western societies getting more immoral day by day. I extend an invitation to my family to join me in the Islamic State.”

This portion of the note was taken for evidence, along with an ISIS flag and a calendar with drawings in support of ISIS, all of which the authorities turned over to the United States District Court. Khan was taken into custody at O’Hare International Airport and was then thought to be given a charge that could be up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, all according to the United States Attorney’s Office.


Men’s Basketball Rebounds with Win over UW-Oshkosh

30 Nov

Logan Hanson

Sports Editor

The Benedictine Men’s Basketball team defeated #21 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UW-Oshkosh) Saturday Night at the Rice Center. The victory snapped a two game slide for the Eagles and ended a three game stretch where the Eagles played ranked opponents.

“Defensively our best effort bar none,” Head Coach Keith Bunkenburg said, “Our kids were phenomenal…overall our best effort on defense.”

The match saw the Eagles lead for most of the contest. After UW-Oshkosh opened the game with an early 8-5 lead five minutes into the game, the Eagles began to take over. Senior Guard Michael Blaszczyk hit a layup to open a 13-0 run for the Eagles. A three pointer by Senior Forward Shawn Soelter gave the Eagles the lead 10-8 with 13:44 left in the half. Freshman Forward Kenny Bogus finished off the run with a three of his own to give the Eagles an 18-8 lead with just over ten minutes left in the half.

UW-Oshkosh fought hard to get back into the game twice bringing the game within five points in the half, however the Eagles went on a 7-0 run to return the lead to double-digits. Senior Guard Tahron Harvey finished the run converting a jump shot with 3:31 left in the half to give the Eagles the 33-21 lead. UW-Oshkosh finished the half with a run of their own, scoring the final five points and giving the Eagles the 33-26 lead headed into the break.

The Eagles were strong in the second half, never trailing throughout the half. UW-Oshkosh battled twice pushing the Eagles lead to just two points, but the Eagles answered every run with a run of their own including a 7-0 run in the middle of the half. When UW-Oshkosh pulled within five points, the Eagles opened a 9-0 run to take a firm grip on the lead with 6:36 left in the game. The Eagles kept the game out of reach for the rest of the game as UW-Oshkosh never got within eleven points during the rest of the half giving the Eagles the 68-55 win.

“I know all five of us can score on any given night,” Blaszczyk said, “I was just fortunate to be hot tonight and we also had huge contributions off the bench tonight from Zach and Brayden so any given night anyone can score.”

The Eagles next game will be at home against Rockford Wednesday night at the Rice Center. The game will mark the beginning of NACC conference play for the Eagles.

College Football Playoff Race Heating Up

30 Nov

Daniel Dalenberg

Staff Writer

On Saturday afternoon, one of the best rivalries in American sports was set for one of the most important games in rivalry history. Third ranked Michigan Wolverines traveled to Columbus to take on the second ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. This matchup essentially set up who would go on to the College Football Playoff, on top of the massive rivalry. Add in that both schools are led by big name coaches, Michigan’s John Harbaugh, and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, this game had all the ingredients for an all-time classic.  An all-time classic it was.

Photo from

Photo from

The whole game was a defensive bloodbath, which was controlled by Michigan throughout.  At the end of regulation, down 17-14, Ohio State forced overtime on a 23 yard field goal by Kicker Tyler Durbin.  Ohio State got the ball for overtime and made quick work, scoring a touchdown on a Quarterback J.T. Barret seven yard run.  Michigan needed to respond with a touchdown or their playoff hopes would be over.  Fittingly, it came down to 4th and goal from the five yard line when Quarterback Wilton Speight found Receiver Amara Darboh in the back of the endzone.

In the second overtime period, Michigan had the first chance to score, but Ohio State’s defense came up big forcing a 37 yard field goal by Kicker Kenny Allen. Now, all Ohio State needed was a touchdown to win, and essentially clinch a spot in the college football playoff. Michigan’s defense was as strong as it had been all year and stopped Ohio State on 3rd down, making it 4th and one on the 16 yard line.

Instead of electing to tie the game on a field goal, Urban Meyer kept his offense on the field. J.T. Barret ran the ball on a QB keeper, plunging towards the first down marker.  The referees gave him a favorable spot and called the play a first down.  The play was reviewed but the ruling on the field stood, although the camera angle made the call debatable.

In postgame comments, Meyer said of his decision to go for it on 4th and 1, “If you can’t get that far, you’re not a championship team.”

On the ensuing play, Curtis Samuel took a handoff and scampered into the endzone untouched to win the game for Ohio State, 30-27.

While Ohio State won the game, neither team will appear in the Big Ten championship game, as Penn State won the Big Ten East division. Therefore, Penn State will face off with Wisconsin for the Big Ten championship this Saturday. Whichever team wins, will likely be in the discussion to make the college football playoff along with many of the other power five conference winners.  Here are the matchups (outside of the Big Ten) this weekend you need to know, and what each scenario could lead to.

SEC Championship game: Alabama vs. Florida

Out of all the games this upcoming weekend, this game will have the least impact on the playoff landscape.  Alabama has essentially already clinched a spot, and Florida is out of contention.

ACC Championship game: Clemson vs. Virginia Tech

This game is a play-in game for Clemson. Currently ranked 3rd in the playoff rankings, a loss in this game would most likely eliminate the Tigers from playoff contention because it would give them two losses in their last four, too opponents outside of the top ten. Virginia Tech is not in contention.

Pac 12 Championship Game: Washington vs. Colorado

Currently ranked 4th in the playoff rankings, Washington needs this win to make a strong case to be included in the College Playoff discussion.  A weak non-conference schedule makes the chances of Washington making the playoff as a two loss team, unlikely.  On the other hand, Colorado has been a great story this year, but unfortunately even a win against Washington would not put them in the playoff.

Rivalry game, Big 12: Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State

A win for either team puts them in the conversation for the fourth playoff spot. But, it seems that both two loss teams would need some help to get in.

What each team needs to happen: In order of current AP rankings

  1. Alabama: already in
  2. Ohio State: already in
  3. Clemson: win and in
  4. Washington: win and solid chance of being in
  5. Michigan: Washington or Clemson loss and Wisconsin win puts them in conversation. Michigan beat Wisconsin head to head earlier in the season.  So, if this scenario occurs the debate on who should be the fourth playoff team will be intense.  Clemson and Washington losses open the door for both the Big Ten champion and Michigan to make it.
  6. Wisconsin: win gives them a chance as stated above.
  7. Oklahoma: win gives them a chance as well, would probably need at least Clemson or Washington to lose to give them a legitimate shot. Both Clemson and Washington losing would make the conversation between Oklahoma, Big Ten champion and Michigan for the last two spots
  8. Penn State: same as Wisconsin, but better odds of making it with win, because of their marquee win against Ohio State.
  9. Colorado: Win and Oklahoma, Clemson losses puts them in the conversation with the Big 10 champion and Michigan, but has little chance.



Look Out We Might Be Next

30 Nov

Dielle Ochotorena

Staff Writer

In a post-electoral United States, we are faced with a President-elect who openly discriminates any person of color, categorizes women, and desires to “Make America Great Again”. News flash: it never will, especially with that rhetoric. But to most Filipino’s having a socially destructive, woman oppressing, power hungry leader is not new.

In June 30, 2016 Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte was made the President of the Philippines and will be for the next 6 years. He is a man who has made casual rape jokes, ordered deaths of petty criminals because he said so, called the Pope and President Barack Obama “a son of a whore”, and boasted about his extramarital affairs to reporters citing that he has two wives and two girlfriends of vary ages all over the country.

His election run has garnered much support through his main point of cracking down on the war on drugs in the Philippines and putting those who are involved in drugs to justice. While it might sound great and logical, since the start of Presidency the war on drugs has amassed some 730,000 suspected drug users and dealers who have turned themselves in or arrested have overrun and overcrowded the local jails all over the country. But here’s the kicker, “close to 2,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed in encounters with police over the past four months. And that number doubles when you add unexplained killings that human rights groups blame on vigilantes, the police or both” (NPR).

The amount of aggressiveness brought forth by the Duterte administration and the fear of these vigilantes hunting down suspected criminals is enough to cause such a chaos and over population of the jails. I’m going to focus on a word here: suspected. As of right now, these people locked up in jail or those that have been killed are and were suspected of doing drugs or committing narcotics trafficking. Suspected. And yet they are being locked up or being killed through executive order of the President to shoot and kill those suspected of committing drug related crimes and actions (CNN).

He has built a platform on fear mongering and openly wanting to kill and wipe out the criminals he believes the people of the Philippines wish to get rid of. If these past six months are anything to go by, the Presidency of Duterte will be bloody and non-transparent. I fear for what is to come not only those who are being directly targeted by him and his administration but for those he will come for next.

American should watch their backs, Duterte might seem far and distant to you but words and actions filled with hate and discrimination got him the Presidency, just as it for Donald Trump. Duterte might be half way across the world but his ideas and his beliefs are very similar of that of the man about to be sworn in on January. I say watch out America, we are in for a long four years.

Warming Up to Climate Change: Crafting a Solution to Persuade Deniers

30 Nov

Omair Ali

Staff Writer

As the polar ice caps were continuing to melt and global greenhouse gas levels were continuing to rise, some of us were hoping that our nation would stand firmly at the forefront of the fight against climate change for another four years; yet, we now see how little people know or care about the idea of global warming as we all find ourselves in a situation severed from the little hope we previously had.

In an interview with Fox News last Sunday Reince Priebus, president elect Trump’s future chief of staff, said that Trump’s “default position” on climate change is that “most of it is a bunch of bunk,” which suggests that the upcoming administration might halt current, governmental efforts to investigate and mitigate the impacts of climate change. This would dramatically change our government’s involvement in climate research, despite there being an overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the theory of climate change; some of the most renowned and trusted organizations that have endorsed the existence of climate change include: The National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, NASA, and several agencies organized by the United Nations. Naturally, a consensus as far-reaching as this would garner public support, but we have yet to see American attitudes shift to one side over another.

A recent Gallup Poll taken in March 2016 indicates that 64% of Americans demonstrate a

“great deal or fair amount” of concern about global warming, which is the highest value since 2008. However, a recent Pew poll paints a different picture on how divided Americans actually are. The poll, conducted between May and June of this year, asked participants to identify with a political party and where they lie on the political spectrum; i.e., liberal, conservative, or moderate.


According to this poll, 55% of self-identified liberal democrats believe that the findings of climate scientists are influenced by the “best available scientific evidence”, whereas 57% of self-identified conservative republicans believe that the findings are influenced by “scientists’ desire to advance their careers.” A stark contrast in opinion also exists in regards to the credibility of climate scientists, where only 70% of liberal democrats and 15% of conservative republican believe they can be trusted.


The results of the poll seem to illustrate a difference in opinions that can, unsurprisingly, be divided along party lines. What is more alarming than differing, partisan perspectives is that only 48% of this poll’s participants believe that global warming is due to human activity, where anthropogenic global warming is the theory held in wide regard by the scientific community. America appears to be split on the issue of climate change, a thought that scares me as our environmental issues have yet to evolve into


If decades of progressing scientific research and heaps of evidence cannot persuade stubborn deniers, then what will?


It will take tremendous amounts of guilt. Guilt is a feeling that can be hard for people to stomach, and guilt could be the only way to get fact-fleers from being able to push policies that will aggravate global warming. So, how can we give climate change deniers a taste of guilt? This question is much more difficult to answer, but I believe that aggressive educational programs that highlight the current and future impact of environmentally-negligent behaviors would be one way to spread guilt.

Programs and curricula that highlight the consequences of unregulated industries in other regions of the world, as well as the implications for future sustainability in various regions of the world, would be a way in which facts and evidence can bring about guilt. But there also needs to be an emotional flair that causes people to feel bad about their beliefs. Asking questions related to climate change that would evaluate the deniers’ morality or personal intentions is one way to initiate emotional appeal.

Another way to make deniers feel guilty is to make them feel the pathos of future disasters provoked by climate change; this can be done through science-backed filmmaking and illustrations of what future societies would look like. In addition, organizing group activities and environmental debates that allow deniers to explore the topic of climate change more deeply would certainly increase the exposure of climate change and cause them to become more open to its existence.

Yes, climate change is technically a theory that can be debated and refuted, but we also have evidence that suggests that climate change is slowly pushing humankind towards the brink of extinction.

So, I stand firmly with the existence of climate change, and I believe that it is just as important to be proactive by using facts, logic, and emotional appeal to support and forward the belief of climate change. I also think it is appropriate to cut the ties between environment and partisan politics so that people would be encouraged to use an open-minded opinion to evaluate the evidence for and against climate change.

Keep in mind that these are simply thoughts on paper. It is extremely difficult to tackle an issue as complicated as climate change, and it will take a lot more effort to construct a solution to create a nationwide culture of consensus regarding the possibility­­—rather—­the reality of climate change.


Everything we need to know about Kanye West’s Hospitalization

30 Nov

Jacqueline Gorr

Scene Editor

Kanye is taking steps back to get his life back on track

Kanye West cancelled the rest of his Saint Pablo Tour which was supposed to end New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn New York. According to E! News, “all tickets will be refunded at point of purchase”. West performed on Nov. 19 and only sang three songs and ranted about Hillary Clinton and the radio. West states, “well, the press is going to have a field day because the shows over”.

Fans were not happy because he left the concert early and didn’t perform hardly any of his greatest hits. West’s doctor made a call to the Los Angeles Police Department and that was dispatched to the Los Angeles Fire Department. TMZ states, “the dispatch call was due to a psychiatric emergency”. West was home with his personal trainer and he voluntarily went to the hospital because he is suffering from exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

West was taken to the UCLA Medical Center because his doctors believe that he is in danger to himself or to other people. Reality star Kim Kardashian was supposed to make her first public appearance at the Angel Ball in New York but immediately flew back to Los Angeles to be by her husband’s side. West has been traveling for his tour, working on another fashion line, taking care of two kids and recovering from Kim Kardashians Paris robbery situation so, you can see how the rapper can be exhausted.

Many people saw this coming because West stopped a couple of his concerts mid-way and ranted on music and politics. He kept doing it on multiple occasions that it made him seem like he was going crazy.  John Legend states “what I saw was scary. I hope he gets the help that he needs”. Kim Kardashian spent thanksgiving at the hospital next to her husband’s side. A source tells E! News, “Kanye is trying to get better, but he has not been released yet because he and the doctors feel he needs more time to recover “.

Police Chief Retires

22 Nov
Michael Salatino

Michael Salatino

Former BenU Police Chief Michael Salatino is no longer with the university. In an open email Tuesday, Marco Masini, Vice President-Student Life stated, “Chief Salatino decided to retired.  His years of service to the University (are) greatly appreciated.”

According to the Benedictine website, “Chief Salatino has over (35) years experience in municipal and higher education law enforcement. Chief Salatino held many positions within municipal law enforcement eventually rising to Commander. Chief Salatino holds a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of Southern Police Institute’s Command Officers Program.”

Masini also stated, “Updates on the leadership of the University Police department will be forthcoming.”