It’s not like there’s a particular rivalry between Northwestern and the U. of C., but I still thought this was funny in a malicious sort of way. Kudos to the Trib reporters (Jodi Cohen and Brian Cox) for giving the NU class of 2008 just enough rope to hang themselves.

“If your goal in the speaker selection process was to make graduating seniors happy about leaving this university, then mission accomplished,” Matthew Braslow of Vernon Hills wrote on Tuesday to Northwestern President Henry Bienen. Braslow also said he will not attend.

“Matthew, grow up,” Bienen wrote back Wednesday morning. Bienen’s e-mail added: “You also sound like a very unhappy person. I am sorry for that. Hopefully things will improve for you over the years.”

But other seniors also seem to be taking the choice as a personal slight, calling the decision to honor Daley everything from “lame” to “a letdown” in interviews with the Tribune and in some of nearly 200 messages posted on The Daily Northwestern student newspaper’s Web site.


“I thought we’d have someone with a much higher profile, especially after President Bienen hyped it so much,” said senior Simon Lu. “I thought it would be someone with a national or international profile . . . I was hoping someone more famous would show up.” 

If I were Henry Bienen I’d make them listen to Todd Stroger too, just to be a dick about it. I dunno about you but I’m learning a lot about Chicago this week. Posting will be light/non-existent today and/or tomorrow, so just let it sink in a bit.

Update: I should probably make the subtext clear. In an increasingly urbanized country, big-city mayors matter. If you live in Chicago or plan to after graduation, Mayor Daley is as or more important to your day-to-day life–the taxes you pay, the businesses you might work for, the neighborhood you live in–than Barack Obama, not to mention Tony F***ing Blair. There are legitimate reasons to question the choice, in particular the decision to give Daley yet another soapbox, but the idea that Daley isn’t important or famous enough to grace NU’s graduation isn’t just hopelessly pretentious, it’s actually a real conceptual problem.